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America on the Move
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Bell gasoline saver

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Bell gasoline saver
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2003-11603


This object appears in the following sections:

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

Advertisement for the gasoline saver
Advertisement for the gasoline saver

How to Attach the gasoline saver to your car's manifold
How to Attach the gasoline saver to your car's manifold

diagram showing gasoline saver attached to a Ford's manifold
diagram showing gasoline saver attached to a Ford's manifold

Homemade turn signal

Sinko windshield heater

Bell Gasoline Saver
Catalog #: 1986.0971.01, Accession #: 1986.0971
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
Manufactured in Washington, D. C, the Bell Gasoline Saver cost $5. The Bell Gasoline Saver was collected in its original box, which housed two sheets of paper which provide instructions on how to attach the small device to a car's manifold. Purportedly this attachment improved gas mileage.
Physical Description
artifact. 4 1/2" L x 1/2" H x 2" W; silver colored metal; shaped like an upside down "J". Device has a threaded end to screw into car's manifold, and an adjustable screw to control airflow. The device is hollow metal, and has a moveable ball inside it. Marked with "Bell Gasoline Saver Pat. Pend" embossed into metal.
Date Made:
about 1915-1920
Dist of Columbia
Gift of Howard Cayton
As more and more Americans took to the wheel, they often tinkered with their cars so that they more effectively suited their needs, or to overcome early automobiles' very obvious limitations. A users could buy kits that converted Model T's into a stationary engine, lights, turn signals, anti-theft devices, and a host of other products that the makers of auto accessories touted as essential and useful. Although not all of them worked, or were succesful, some of these early add-ons, became standard features on later cars.
Related People, Places, and Events
Bell Gasoline Saver Company, Inc
Located at 1909 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C.

Related Person
Edward Watts Saunders (1860 - 1921)
Representative Saunders, a Member of Congress from 1906-1920, was listed as the President of the Bell Gasoline Saver Company. Saunders, a Democrat from Virginia, was a lawyer and judge before becoming state congressman. He resigned from Congress to become a State supreme court judge in 1920, and died in 1921

Related Person
Robert Newton Page (1859 - 1933)
Robert Page was a congressman from North Carolina, and the Vice President of the Bell Gasoline Saver Company. Page was in the lumber and railroad business, was mayor of Aberdeen North Carolina, and a state representative before he was elected to the House. He was a Democratic member of congress from 1903-1917. He did not stand for reelection in 1916, and went back into private business, becoming a banker. He died in 1933.

Related Person
C. E. Grosscup
Secretary-Treasurer of the Bell Gasoline Saver Company.

Howard Cayton

Place of Manufacture
Washington, DC

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