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Holsman Runabout Highwheeler

A typically American ‘buggy’ or ‘runabout’. Originally these were horse-drawn wagons, but at the beginning of the 20th century Harry K. Holsman fitted a twin-cylinder engine to one, thereby becoming one of the most well-known manufacturers of these so-called ‘highwheelers’.

The car was controlled by pulling the large lever backwards; this tightened the transmission belts and set the car in motion. When the lever was pushed forward, the belts slackened and the brake pads were forced against the rear-wheel pulleys. In order to reverse, the lever had to be pushed further forward, thereby pressing a drive wheel against the road wheels.

The launch of the cheaper and more reliable Model T Ford spelled the end of the highwheelers, which were being built by several manufacturers at the beginning of the 20th century. Holsman went out of business in 1910.

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