Boston, March 5- In the local automobile clubs, when the old-timers get to talking the ancient history of automobiling, it is not uncommon to hear them refer to such and such an event is happening “in the year George Morrill got his first streamer” or “the year George Morrill drove the little Delon”, or “the year George Morrill brought over the big six-cylinder Napier.” To the novice this is all Greek, for though he very likely knows George Jr., of Norwood (not to know him is a confession of little acquaintance with automobiling in Boston), he very likely is not familiar with the fact that automobiling in Boston began with Mr. Morrill, and that for the past fifteen years he has been one of the most ardent owners and drivers of motor vehicles in this State and the country at large.
Mr. Morrill is president of the George H. Morrill Company, manufacturers of printing inks, whole large factory is one of the leading industries of Norwood. Mass. He makes his home in the same town, where he has a beautiful estate, including a large mansion, fully stocked stable, and a motor house of large proportions. His estate is one of the sights of the town, and his motor house is known far and wide among automobilists for its complete equipment and appointments. While he is an enthusiastic automobilist and has attended many of the motoring events of importance in America and abroad, he has never used his car with a view of establishing touring or speed records, making use of them largely for the convenience of himself and his family.
At least three things stand out prominently in Mr. Morrill’s career as an automobilist: he owned the first car that was seen on the streets of Boston; he drove the first six-cylinder car teen in this part of the country; and he has owned probably as many automobiles as any other man in Massachusetts, having been the possessor of twenty-one, including the four which now occupy his garage. His present equipment consists of a Model K Winton limousine, a Model M Winton touring car, a 20-horsepower Napier runabout, and a Maxwell runabout, the last largely used by his son. This is rather a small equipment for him, as he has customarily had at least a had a dozen cars at a time.
Mr. Morrill began his motoring career in September 1893, when he became possessor of a single-cylinder runabout made by Charles Duryea, of Springfield, Mass. The car was shipped from Springfield to Boston, and when it made its appearance on the streets the crowds that assembled were so large that it was only with great difficulty that the automobile was driven through the city and to the home of its new owner in Norwood. It was on this occasion that the term “Get a horse” is said to have originated, though other sections make claim to the distinction of having originated this opprobrious ejaculation, formerly the bane of the Automobilist, but happily now rapidly falling into disuse. The little machine made its initial trip without serious trouble, and people followed it nearly to the outskirts of the city. Long after that whenever Mr. Morrill was expected along the road crowds gathered at the corners much as they do along the parade route of a circus.
Regrets that He Did Not Save His First Car.
This first machine in Boston was a crude affair, compared with the latest product of the factories. The engine was under the footboard and the transmission was through a countershaft to the rear wheels, the power being transmitted by means of a series of belts. Chains were not then in use. The motor was rated at 10 horsepower, and there were three speeds ahead and one reverse. Speaking of his first experiment in motoring, Mr. Morrill said to The Automobile representative: “I have often wished that I had saved that first car, just to show what a fool a man could be. If I made it go five miles without a stop I thought I was having lots of fun. A little later, when I proposed buying another car, Mrs. Morrill sized up the situation well when she said that with the first machine I was lucky if I got out of the yard, and with the new one I would be lucky if I got back”
The second car owned by Mr. Morrill, also a Duryea, was bought in 1894, and he went over to New York to see it perform in the John Brisben Walker race from the city hall up to Ardsley and return. The race started, and for ten miles or so Mr. Morrill followed the car with a pair of horses. The longest trip he made with this car was from Norwood to Providence and return, and the journey took two days. Mr. Morrill frequently makes the same trip with one of his present cars in a few hours. At that time he was able to buy gasoline at five cents a gallon, and when the price was raised to eight cents it seemed to him like extortion. There was no need of sirens and other forms of warning, for the machine made noise enough itself to warn everything else out of the way. People were known to have stood beside the road for three hours to watch the contrivance go by. In 1895 Mr. Morrill drove his automobile to the Brockton fair, and it was the first machine that had been seen there. The car was a greater attraction for the fair visitors than the Midway, the prize cattle, or the balloonist.
Mr. Morrill Also Owned a Number of Steam Cars.
After several years’ experience with the Duryea gasoline cars. Mr. Morrill turned to steam, which seemed to be in the ascendancy, and his first steamer was a Locomobile of the small runabout type. Then he had in succession five Stanley steamers, and the Stanley brothers always took great pride in keeping Mr. Morrill’s cars equipped with the very latest devices and improvements. Thus he had one of the first ball-bearing cross heads and one of the first superheaters. These early steam cars cave good satisfaction compared with the earlier gasoline vehicles, but Mr. Morrill eventually went back to gasoline explosion motors and has used them steadily ever since. At one time he owned two small De Dions, then much in vogue in Boston and vicinity, and at other periods he drove a Rambler, Pierce Arrow, a Stevens-Duryea, and other well-known makes of American gasoline cars.
He has owned five Wintons, and bought the first Winton car sold by Harry Fosdick when he became manager of the Boston branch of the Winton company. That was in 1902. The following year he purchased another Winton, and in 1904 bought a third. His other Wiutous are the two which he is now using and which constitute the chief members of his “stud.”
It was in 1904 that Mr. Morrill introduced the six-cylinder to Boston, he went abroad in the summer, and while in England with Charles J. Gliddcn, the world-girdling automobilist, bought of S. F. Edge & Co., Ltd., a six-cylinder Napier. With this car he toured in England, and also drove to the Gordon Bennett race in Germany. he brought the car home in June, 1904, and drove it for several years, using it on his trips to the Florida tournaments in 1905 and 1906. Said Mr. Morrill: ‘‘That car cost me in all $12,000, and I sold it last year for $1,900. I am through with foreign cars, and have no use for anything but those made in America. I also do not care for six-cylinders, I believe that if a properly made four- cylinder and a properly made six-cylinder were placed side by side, and a man were asked to tell which was which without seeing them, he would be unable to do so. They talk a great deal about better balance and all that sort of thing, but I don’t see it, and I have had experience ”
His Hospitality Is Noted and His Garage Is Ideal.
Recently Mr. Morrill had his garage, formerly 35 feet square, enlarged to 35 by 55 feet. It is equipped in the most up-to-date manner with granolithic flooring, turntable, pits, stands, washing space, and the like, and he is about installing electric lights. Everybody who travels the New York road through Norwood knows that in case of emergency he will find all sorts of supplies in the Morrill garage, and Mr. Mor-rill is the kind of automobilist that believes in helping his brother sportsmen when in distress. His automobiles arc always at the disposal of his friends, of whom he has many, and it is not a strange sight in Norwood to see a cavalcade of three or four automobiles filled with people leaving the Morrill estate for a run to some point of interest. Mr. Morrill has kept no account of his mileage, and does not know how many thousand miles he has traveled, but each summer he does much touring, usually making a trip into the mountains, and he keeps his ears going all through the Winter.
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