Monday, December 5, 2011

Bennett Buggy: Never Say Never

During The Great Depression, gasoline, oil, and repairs became too costly for many folks. It turned out the best use of their automobiles was to remove the heavy engines and turn what was left into buggies to be pulled by oxen or horses. This was most common in Saskatchewan where farmers were hit not only by the financial collapse but also by drought; the times are otherwise remembered as the Dirty Thirties. The buggies themselves are remembered not-so-affectionately as Bennett Buggies, named after R. B. Bennett, who was Prime Minister of Canada at the time.

Can anyone say Obamamobile!

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Technologically Advanced Bennett Buggy

The Glenbow Museum  (click here for link to complete photo)
Title: Oxen pulling automobile, Lashburn, Saskatchewan.
Date: Winter 1913
These Oxen were certainly up to the task of pulling this early automobile, though I think travel would have been a bit slow! There is some disagreement as to whether this was actually a Bennett Buggy, or just someone getting an ox-tow to the garage? The date on the photo puts it well before The Great Depression, The Dirty Thirties, and Prime Minister R. B. Bennett's term. But, I favor that it may be a Bennett type buggy because it's obviously cold outside and the driver has the top down and the windshield removed. This would be helpful in communicating his wishes to the ox, but unbearably cold if he was planning on traveling at road speeds; even 1913 road speeds! The draw-bar also appears to be attatched to the car, a task unneccessary for a simple ox-tow.

Perhaps it was so cold that the driver has given up ever getting that frozen, block-headed engine running again --- making this a Bennett Buggy, well in advance of its time!

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