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This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — Fixing Cars

Patent 1,979,029
Patent 1,979,029

Motor Vehicle Brake and Clutch Control
Catalog #: 1997.0362.01, Accession #: 1997.0362
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This device was patented by William Fetter of Baltimore Maryland, in October 1934. U.S. patent number 1,979,029. This full-size safety device allowed a driver to operate the brake and clutch with the left foot, while operating the accelerator with the right foot. Similar devices were used by the Fetter family. This device was not used.
Physical Description
artifact. 7 3/8" L x 5" W x 1" H ; metal
Date Made:
about 1934
Gift of Bernard F. Fetter

Many people thought that cars, as the dealer sold them, were inefficient or lacked much-needed accessories. Model T owners sent the Ford Motor Company ideas for improvements, and hundreds of mail-order gadgets and attachments allowed owners to upgrade the Model T or make it work better. Inventors fashioned devices that claimed to make cars safer, more fuel-efficient, or easier to use. Some of these devices later became standard features on cars. Others remained popular add-on items, and still others failed to catch on

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