Modern American “Road Trips” Began With Henry Ford And Thomas Edison “Autocamping” In 1920’s

“By the mid-1920s, the term “autocamper”— describing drivers whose trips were long enough to necessitate stops at night to camp —entered the national lexicon. Thanks were due in large part to Henry Ford and three of his friends: the inventor Thomas Edison, the tire-company magnate Harvey Firestone and the naturalist and author John Burroughs.”

Ford_Edison_Harding_and_Firestone_New_York_Times_1921

  • “…when Ford and Edison, joined by Firestone (one of Ford’s major suppliers) and Burroughs (Ford enjoyed his books and essays on nature), set out on their summer car trips, Americans were eager to share every moment. The Vagabonds’ car-and-truck caravan was routinely followed by packs of journalists and film crews, the latter often hired by Ford. In theaters, feature films were proceeded by news “shorts,” and audiences enjoyed watching Ford perform basic roadside repairs and Edison snooze beside a campfire…”

Wall Street Journal

Read more in the Wall Street Journal:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-invention-of-the-summer-road-trip-11561780860

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