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Bud the bulldog’s goggles

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Bud the bulldog’s goggles
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2003-19222

IN CONTEXT

This object appears in the following sections:


Crossing the Country: Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903
Crossing the Country: Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903 — First to Drive across the Continent

RELATED OBJECTS
Pulling Alice Ramsey's Maxwell automobile out of a ditch


Winton automobile


Bud's goggles
Catalog #: 167685.03, Accession #: 167685
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

In the spring and summer of 1903, H. Nelson Jackson completed the first transcontinental automobile trip in a 1903 Winton touring car. Jackson, a physician from Burlington, Vermont, was on vacation in San Francisco and made a bet at a gentlemen’s club that a car could endure the grueling trip through the rugged West, where there were virtually no roads, and across the East in less than 90 days. He purchased a slightly used Winton touring car, hired mechanic Sewall Crocker to accompany him, stocked up on supplies, and took off for New York City. The trip took 64 days, including breakdowns, delays while waiting for parts to arrive, and hoisting the Winton up and over rocky terrain and mudholes.

In Idaho, Jackson acquired a bulldog and named him Bud. Bud became the two men’s traveling companion during the remainder of the trip. He eagerly took to car travel, but blowing dust irritated his eyes, so Jackson purchased a small pair of goggles for him to wear. Jackson, Crocker and Bud appear together in many photographs of the trip. Bud lived in the Jackson home in Burlington, Vermont the rest of his life.

Physical Description
Metal goggles with fur lining and strap. " x 3" x 1 "
Details
Date Made:
about 1903
Locations:
Idaho, Vermont
Credit:
Gift of H. Nelson Jackson
History

Today many people take their pets with them on car trips. But at the dawn of the twentieth century, cars had appeared only recently; long trips were still problematic and not really a family occasion. The usefulness of automobiles—their power, mobility and flexibility—was greatly limited by the condition of rural roads. Very few roads were paved, and flimsy bridges were designed for horses and carriages. The few improvements made at the urging of rural Americans and bicycle riders consisted of grading and gravel. Road grading, paving, bridges, signage, and other improvements were virtually nonexistent in the West. These obstacles, combined with the mechanical unreliability of many cars, caused some people to doubt whether long-distance auto travel was practical.

The success of the Jackson-Crocker-Bud trip astonished many and made headlines throughout the nation. It gave Americans the desire to make long-distance auto travel commonplace. The trip inspired several imitators and—in the next 10 to 20 years—attempts to break the time record for cross-country motoring, road surveys in the West, construction of a coast-to-coast highway, transcontinental trips by motorcycles and trucks, and hordes of autocampers on vacation in the West with Model Ts and tents. By 1925, a system of numbered highways blanketing the country in a grid, from north to south and east to west, had been mapped out.

Although hard-surfaced roads were not common until the 1930s, the Jackson-Crocker trip gave American road and car enthusiasts a vision that carried them through decades of rapid development, intense efforts, and high emotions as they broke down obstacles. By the early 1920s, the West was a new frontier populated by motorists who followed in the path of H. Nelson Jackson, Sewall Crocker, and Bud. Considering Americans’ attachment to their pets, it is fitting that a canine companion helped Jackson and Crocker lead the way by making their journey a little more pleasant and tolerable.


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