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Last updated 2009.09.16
Boyertown, Pennsylvania is home to the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. Boyertown is about 35 miles from Philadelphia. If you are in the area, and have the time and interest, visit the museum. Their collection ranges from horsedrawn vehicles to early bicycles to some early gasoline cars. However, our primary interest was the number of electric vehicles in their collection.
The material for this page comes primarily from our visit to the museum in September 2009. Regrettably, while the world is again paying more attention to electric vehicles, much of the museum's electric collection is not on display, making room for a display about a local diner based on a trolley car. (Not that we have anything against trolleys - we also visited the Trolley museum in Scranton PA on this trip, and would also recommend it. If someone wants a page about that museum here, please let us know.)
The Boyertown Museum claims to have the world's largest collection of electric vehicles. With a boast like that, how could we not take the time for a visit?
The first EV we encountered was a 1914 Detroit Opera Coupe on loan from Ralph Leoncavallo. The Detroit was produced by the Anderson Electric Car Company, but most of the vehicles produced were called Detroit, and not Anderson. We are fortunate that the Anderson company was a successful and prolific manufacturer by the standards of the time, and a number of Detroits have survived to the current day.
The second EV on display was a 1921 Milburn Opera Coupe. The Milburn Wagon Company was known for their light electrics which they produced from 1914 to 1922.
1991 SunCycle Solar Electric Motorcycle
Next on display were a one-off solar motorcycle called the SunCycle, and an Auranthetic electric motorcycle.
This was followed by a 1972 Battronic delivery van. If I understood correctly, the Battronic Truck Corporation built electric trucks, vans and buses during the 1970s on the very location which now houses the museum. This particular delivery van sports the colours of the Cinnaminson High School, which was known for several electric vehicle projects through the 1970s and 80s (and possibly more recently).
Hiding behind the Battronic van, there is a Henney Kilowatt. The Henney Kilowatt was a late 1950s/early 1960s Renault Dauphine converted to run on electric power. The vehicle was the inspiration of Eureka-Williams company, better known for the vacuum cleaners the company produced (Eureka). Dozens of these vehicles were produced, and they were purchased primarily by electric utilities for meter reading and other transport duties.
Next comes a Sebring-Vanguard CitiCar. The CitiCar was the inspiration of Robert (Bob) Beaumont, and is the most successful electric car of the modern era (measured in number of vehicles sold). The story of Beaumont and the CitiCar are chronicled in the book The Lost Cord.
Moving to another room, we found a few more EVs tucked away. In addition to operational support vehicles that included a Yale electric tug, an electric forklift and an electric scissor lift, there were a couple of venerable electric trucks and a more modern small panel truck.
The small panel truck is a conversion of a Ford Escort European model. This vehicle competed in the NESEA Tour de Sol.
One of the trucks is an Edison Electric utility generator truck.
Finally, the larger truck is a Commercial Truck Company of America machine that served in the Curtis Publishing Company's fleet in New York City. The Ford Escort panel truck is sitting comfortably on the bed of the Commercial, to provide you with a sense of scale and size.
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