The Lost Cord

By Barbara E. Taylor

Perspiration beaded on Czolgosz's forehead as he inched his way through the receiving line towards President McKinley. Giving his brow one last swipe with the handkerchief, he slowly wrapped his hand -- and the short-barreled .32 caliber revolver in it, making it look as though his hand were injured and dressed.

lt was 4:07 P.M. on September 6, 1901 and he had come to kill the President. Inching his way forward among hundreds of well-wishers in the Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, he at last stood face-to-face with the President. McKinley, neatly dressed in pin-striped trousers and a dark frock coat, extended his hand in welcome. Czolgosz leaned forward, and suddenly two gunshots shattered the noisy ballroom. McKinley, stunned, rose up on his toes, staring in astonishment, then slumped backward into the arms of his Presidential aide.

Within minutes, McKinley was carried outside to the Exposition's electric-powered ambulance. Quickly attendants threw open its doors and the ashen President was laid inside while crowds looked on in shock. Mortally wounded, the President whispered, "Don't let them hurt him," as the doors were closed. The driver immediately turned the switch to power the motors and the electric ambulance rolled silently forward on its sad and fateful journey.

When told this story, do electric car enthusiasts bow their heads for a moment, lamenting the untimely and tragic death of the twenty-fifth President? No. Their eyes widen, and they quiver with excitement. "He rode in an ELECTRIC ambulance?! In 1901? Wow!"

Unlike the story of the gasoline-powered car, which has been chronicled and re-chronicled by thousands of automobile enthusiasts, the history of electrics faded to an obscure footnote in history, irrelevant to today's transportation system. Who ever heard of folks like Davenport, Maxim, Aronson, Hoke, Beaumont, or Worden? If cars were people -- and some auto enthusiasts treat their cars better than people -- electric cars became the dark family secret.

And thus "The Lost Cord" starts the perilous journey documenting Electric Vehicles and mostly one man's continuing battle to bring them to the American Public.

Photo Gallery

Front Cover - Jpeg image - 110 Kb Back Cover - Jpeg image - 53 Kb

Vanguard & CitiCar photos
Bob Beaumont & some of his cars - Jpeg image - 63 Kb

CitiCar Production Line - Jpeg image - 50 Kb

Vanguards being loaded onto a truck - Jpeg image - 51 Kb

Tropica photos
Jim Muir's Early Tropica Sketches - Jpeg image - 57 Kb

Tropicas being loaded onto a truck & IEEE Demo - Jpeg image - 61 Kb

The Tropica Production Line - Jpeg image - 83 Kb

Copies are available, by request, with Bob Beaumont's personal autograph.

The book is 513 pages long with photographs. To order it, try the publisher at...

$25.95 Available from:
Greyden Press
2020 Builder's Place
Columbus, OH 43204

Accepts all major credit cards.

Though this book is out of print and may be very hard to find...UPDATED - Nov 2005

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