1896 Motor Show
Held at the Imperial Institute, London from 9th May to 8th August 1896.
EXHIBITION OF HORSELESS CARRIAGES 
The exhibition of horseless carriages, brought together by the Motor Car Club, though the number of exhibits is not large, is sufficient to show that the manufacture of these vehicles is now passing out of the experimental stage. It shows, further, that the purchaser of the near future will have to choose between oil and electricity as a source of power.
Electricity has the advantage that it works without smell and with less noise and vibration, but the disadvantage of the costliness of the accumulators, and the impossibility of recharging except where the electric supply is available. Carriages made and exhibited by the Universal Electric Carriage Syndicate, Victoria Street, S.W., can, it is stated, run thirty-five or forty miles at eight miles an hour without recharging, an operation which takes about three hours. Messrs. Offord and Son, of Gloucester Road, S.W., also showed an electric carriage made as an experiment, and sufficiently encouraging to warrant further practical trial.
The objections to the carriages driven by oil motors have been indicated above, but they have the immense advantage that their fuel can be obtained easily. The Arnold Motor Carriage Co, Mark Lane, E.C., showed a very workmanlike carriage, which was easily steered and stopped, and did not give out much smell. Its price is stated to be “about £125.” The fuel used is benzoline, of which it can carry enough to travel seventy miles at the cost of a halfpenny a mile. The benzoline is lighted by an electric spark.
A number of practical vehicles are shown also by the Daimler Motor Co – phaetons, a private omnibus, and a tramcar, among others. The fuel is oil.
Messrs. Hollier, Gascoyne and Co, of Maidstone and Birmingham, exhibit an oil machine known as Rogers Express Autocar; and Messrs. New and Mayne, of Westminster, a Hildebrand oil motor bicycle, an apparatus in which the art of packing a great deal of complicated machinery into a small space appears to have been carried to great perfection.
Steam carriages of two patterns are shown: the Serpollet, already described in these columns, which has, when compared with the old motors, a rather clumsy appearance; and a steam tricycle, shown by the British Motor Syndicate, Holborn Viaduct, in which the fuel is methylated spirit. The interest if not the utility of the exhibition is increased by the display of certain flying machines. Mr. Maxim shows a model of his steam flying machine, on of the actual engines, and one of the screw propellers. Herr Lilienthal’s flying, or rather gliding or soaring, machine, is exhibited, as also a similar apparatus invented by Mr. P. S. Pilcher.
Mr. H. Midleton shows a flying machine, in which the lifting power is obtained by two small balloons.
The exhibition will remain open for some time, and the visitor can make trial of some of the motor cars, which are manoeuvred on the ground.
Exhibited early motor cars from:
- Arnold Motor Carriage Co showed two 'neat little cars'.
- Offord and Sons of 92 Gloucester Road, London showed a four-wheel electrically driven dog-cart
- Universal Electric Carriage Co (Walter Bersey) of 39 Victoria Street, London showed a phaeton and a landau electrically driven.
- Daimler of 40 Holborn Viaduct, London and of Coventry showed several cars.
- Mulliners of Birmingham showed a carriage frame for a Daimler motor chassis
- British Motor Syndicate of Coventry showed a vehicle with a Kane-Pennington engine.
EXHIBITION  Exhibits included:-
- L'Hollier and Gascoigne-Benz motor carriages
- Garrard and Blumfield electric motor carriage
- Arnold-Benz motor carriage
- Offord and Sons electric carriage
- Walter Bersey's electric phaeton and landau
- New and Mayne's oil motor cycle
- Daimler showed a Peugeot bus, a Peugeot 'vis-a-vis', and two Victorias fitted with 4 hp motors; and Gottlieb Daimler's original petrol tricycle of 1896.
- Humber showed motorcycles fitted with Kane-Pennington oil motors.
- British Motor Syndicate showed among other exhibits, a Serpollet carriage, a De Dion tricycle, and a bicycle behind the saddle of which there was a large propellor driven by a Kane-Pennington motor. Pennington claimed he had reached 35 mph on this machine without pedalling.
Sources of Information
- British Medical Journal of 16th May 1896.
- Vital to the Life of the Nation. Published 1946
- The Early History of Motoring by Claude Johnson