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America on the Move
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Ad for Briggs-Stratton motor scooter, about 1915

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Ad for Briggs-Stratton motor scooter, about 1915
NMAH, Archives Center, Ayer Collection


This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — Creating a Nation of Drivers

Advertisement from The American Boy for Structo toys

Briggs-Stratton scooter ad
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

Automobile related advertising for young people often downplayed girls’ interest in motor vehicles, or left them out of the picture completely. This ad for a motor scooter is one of the minority of early 20th century ads in which a girl is pictured, and, although she is in the background of the image, she is actually holding a scooter's handles, suggesting that she rides it. The text accompanying the image, however, with its references to “lucky fellows,” “a real red-blooded boy,” and “the first two-wheeled motor vehicle that boys could ever own and enjoy” suggests that young men are the advertisement's primary target.

Physical Description
Date Made:
about 1915

Almost as soon as the first automobile took to the roads, American children played with car toys, read car books, and even learned how combustion engines worked. Making cars a part of kids' lives-even kids whose families didn't own cars-helped make automobile ownership appealing to future generations of car buyers. Because much of this material targeted boys, it helped shape a society in which women were far less likely to own and drive a car.

Related People, Places, and Events
Briggs & Stratton Company--Motor Vehicle Division

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