Trolley Car & Horse Drawn Car Photo Collection (East Coast)
Early Trolley Cars, Electrified Horse Drawn Cars, Possibly in Richmond,VA?
This photo has never been published, I hold the 5X7 negative
Early Horse Drawn Street Car Scene, most likely Richmond,VA in 1890?
This photo has never been published, I hold the 5X7 negative.Best guess is a parade by UofVA Military Units. It is alsonever been positively identified.
Dear Mr. Bolt, I don't pretend to be an expert on street railway history. As I write this, I am looking at photographs of Frank Sprague's 1887-88 trolley line in Richmond, Viginia. The cars pictured in my book have rather crude trolley poles. They appear to be mounted on a three or four leggedstand. The poles have a large trolley wheel for current collection and what appears to a rather large ball shaped weight on the lower end. The ruck visible under the car on the right in your photo appears to be different from the cars in the Richmond photographs I'm looking at. Daft equipped cars of the mid 1880's used a four wheel "troller" which rode on twin wires for current collection. Van Depoele equipped cars and later Sprague equipped cars used trolley poles similiar to the ones on the cars in your photo. Trolley car technology improved rapidly between 1888 and 1895. The cars in your picture could very well be Richmond cars. If they are, I'm willing to bet that the picture was taken a few years after the intial Richmond line opened in 1887-88. William D. Middleton's book "The Time of the Trolley" (Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1967) has some really nice pictures of early Richmond trolleys for you to compare your glass plate to. The trolley pole on top of the car in the middle appears closest to the 1887 Sprague design, but appears to be too thick. Is it possible that someone may have enhanced (exaggerated) the trolley pole with a little darkroom magic to emphasize that these were trolley cars and not horse cars? During the late 1880's and the 1890's, a new trolley line was a source of immense civic pride. Maybe I further muddied the water with my observations...hopefully not. It's really difficult for a novice such as myself to identify very early trolley cars. Many of them were homebuilt by the fledgling transit companies from horse and cable cars. One final thought... you could obtain a map of Richmond's trolley system during its first decade and then try to pin point the location by looking at other period photographs taken along the trolley routes. For example, you might identify the buildings in the background of your glass plate in another picture known to be taken in Richmond. This would be very tedious and time consuming...though I know people who have done such things for research p
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