Early electric cars boasted a top speed of 20–25 MPH and a range of only about 30 miles before needing to be recharged. While the cars were heavy and tiller steering was difficult, electric cars were frequently driven by women due to the ease of starting and absence of either a gasoline or steam engine to maintain.
The Rauch & Lang and Baker Electric cars were closely connected for many years, and through 1916, practically identical lines were sold under both names. Baker built the power plants; Rauch & Lang built the bodies. Starting in 1917, the cars were sold only as Baker Electrics.
Purchased about 1950 by Clarence Marshall from Spencer Sharpless of Wayne, Pennsylvania, this car had been in storage. A mercury-vapor type charger came with the car, but the vapor bulb had lost its vacuum, and attempts to charge the batteries were unsuccessful. In the early 1950s, a motor-generator charger was donated to the Marshall collection by Frank V. du Pont. The original-type batteries remained in the car until 2002.
The car stood as a static exhibit in the museum until late 2001, when members of the Marshall Steam Team took on the task of making it run again. They purchased and installed new deep-cell golf-cart-type batteries and activated the motor-generator charger. A small charger was soon installed next to the rear batteries to simplify the recharging process.
This car adopted by:
- An antique car friend in honor of Emil Christofano
- Fran Randolph
Capacity: 5 passengers
Engine: 90 volts
Weight: 3,500 pounds
Wheelbase: 92 inches
Cost: $2,800 in 1916; 2015 equivalent: $60,967