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May 11, 1984

XXIII. The Automobile Makes an Impact

Author Affiliations

From the Morris Fishbein Center, University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1984;251(18):2352-2355. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340420024020

In 1882 the young doctor just starting in practice was advised, as soon as his circumstances permitted, to get a horse and buggy. These would show that his practice was growing, and "anyone can ride into a full practice much quicker than he can walk into one." However, the young physician was enjoined never to "let a bony horse and seedy or unsuitable kind of carriage" stand in front of his office for "hours at a time, as if to advertise both your poverty and your paucity of practice."1

Within the next 20 years the position of the horse and buggy was undergoing a profound reevaluation. A new mode of transportation was emerging from a long gestation, to become a thriving infant with a great future.

Inventors in France had taken the lead. In 1895, in a 727-mile race, nine of 22 entries crossed the finish line. In America the