Friday, April 17, 2009

Christchurch Electric Trucks, 1920s


Click image for larger view.
Photo by Adam MacLay. Alexander Turnbull Library.


Lest anyone think that electric trucks were not up to the task of hauling a heavy load, these Orwell trucks of the New Zealand Express Co. stand laden with Michelin tyres on a Christchurch street.

And for the ladies, something that was "simple of operation" and would not "soil the gloves" was in order. Heaven forbid that any would wish to drive an Orwell electric truck...


Click image for larger view.
Magnus, Sanderson & Co., Ltd., Wellington, seller of The Detroit Electric, an ideal lady's car. 1917
Update:


The New Zealand Express Co building, artist sketch 1905

A sign of Christchurch's prosperity in the early twentieth century, the New Zealand Express Co building designed by the Luttrell brothers was at 7 stories the tallest building in New Zealand at the time of its completion. The trucks in the picture above are located at the far left of the building "around the corner". The photo below includes yet another truck that appears to have been backed up to the first Orwell. Two different photographers are credited with the respective photos - a photo shoot by truck papparazzi or a misattribution?


photo by Adam Henry Pearson. Alexander Turnbull Library

And a fossil-fueled specimen of the type that would dominate for the next century:


photo by Adam Henry Pearson. Alexander Turnbull Library

5 comments:

Canterbury Heritage said...

The photo was taken in Hereford Street, with the extant 1905 New Zealand Express Company's building at the southeast corner of Manchester Street to the Right. To the Left is the circa 1883 neo-Venetian Gothic former premises of Skelton, Frostick & Company's Zealandia boot and shoe manufactory, which was demolished in 1934. The 48-volt Orwell model trucks were built by Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies Ltd. at their factory beside the River Orwell near Ipswich, England. Founded in 1789, they're still in business as the subsidary of an American corporation.

kuaka said...

The same River Orwell that provided Eric Blair with the pseudonym George Orwell.

Updated pics to include better views of the NZ Express building and the neo-Venetian next door which looks to be occupied by a printers & publishers by this date, Skelton, Frostick Co's Zealandia having received, if you'll excuse the pun, the boot!

Jayne said...

So I mayn't order a Detroit electric car to trundle about in oh so delicately with my gloves and hat and hair pins and....

kuaka said...

That's right, Jayne, even though an electric truck is (was) "simple of operation" and, might we add, clean. Of course, in order to handle the tyres you'll probably want to wear your black gloves...

Kevin Cudby said...

The apparent misattribution is probably an error in Turnbull Library's captions. The photos are from a collection entitled: "Maclay, Adam Henry Pearson, d 1955 :Negatives". The caption writer sometimes gives "Adam Henry Pearson", and sometimes "Adam MacLay"