The electric automobiles offered an advantage over the other types of vehicles offered during the early 1900s. They were quiet, clean, and easy to operate. The steam-powered cars had a reputation for often blowing up. The technology evolved over the years and the likelihood of this happening decreased, but it was still a faint possibility. They took a while to heat up, often requiring up to a half-hour before use. Internal combustion had the greatest drawbacks but the greatest potential. The engines were loud, dirty, smelly, and produced smoke. They required a strong arm to start, which sometimes kicked-back and cause damage to the individual trying to starting the machine. The introduction of the electric starters made the internal combustion engine much more appealing and would ultimately rule-out as the option of choice.
The proper choice for a lady or businessman was an electric automobile. The biggest drawback was the range in which they could travel, which was limited to the charge of the batteries. The silent and easy operation was very appealing and the ease of use was unmatched. There were a few manufacturers of electric automobiles during this era, such as the Waverley Company of Indianapolis.
The Waverley Company has roots that date back to 1898 when the Indiana Bicycle Company merged with the American Electric Vehicle Company of Chicago. The Indiana Bicycle Company was apart of the American Bicycle Company which was owned by Colonel Albert A. Pope. This was the first electric-powered automobile offered by the Pope Company.
In 1904, the Waverley automobiles were renamed to Pope-Waverley; the other Pope businesses also experienced name changes in a similar fashion during this time. Production of the Pope-Waverley continued until 1908 when the company experienced financial difficulties. The Waverley department was sold back to its founders and former employees, W.C. Johnson, H.H Rice, and W.B. Cooley in 1909. The Waverley Company continued from 1909 through 1916.
The company produced a variety of body styles to accommodate the demands of its customers. The models included the Stanhope, Victoria-Roadster, Surrey, Coupe, Brougham, and the Runabout.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2007