The Harris Bus

The Harris Bus (HM3QF)

Location: Baltimore, MD 21202
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 17.517', W 76° 36.614'

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The race to invent a gasoline-powered motor vehicle began in earnest in the 1890's. Most investors started with the modest idea of a two-seater, but William Thomas Harris, an engineer of this city, was more ambitious. He proposed a 15-passenger bus.

In early 1892, Harris took his proposal to William Hollingsworth, a machinist located at 210 Holliday Street and later at this address, who helped him design and build the bus during that winter and spring. In April, Harris applied for a patent, which covered various features of the transmission and steering apparatus. The patent was granted the following April. The bust was powered by a standard twenty-five horsepower Van Duzen engine. The body was built by the Leonhardt Wagon Manufacturing Company of Baltimore and incorporated many stock items of the day - including railway car seats, and lamps typical of firefighting equipment.

A trial run was reported in the June 12, 1892 Baltimore American. What the passengers thought of that momentous ride is unknown. A writer for the Horseless Age later disparaged the bus as "a ponderous, complicated contrivance, a huge leviathan of the roads, which crushed the pavements under its steel tires as it passed over them."

Indeed, Harris' 6,000 lb. car was less successful than other, lighter pioneer vehicles, but it was a first and ambitious attempt at gasoline-propelled public transportation. Harris died on December 29, 1924 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
HM NumberHM3QF
Series This marker is part of the Maryland: Baltimore City Historical Markers series
Placed ByThe City of Baltimore, Chesapeake Region, Antique Automobile Club of America, sponsor, and William Donald Schaefer, mayor
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 13th, 2014 at 12:54am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 361138 N 4350411
Decimal Degrees39.29195000, -76.61023333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 17.517', W 76° 36.614'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 17' 31.02" N, 76° 36' 36.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 410, 443
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 227 Holliday St, Baltimore MD 21202, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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