c1899 Worth 'Dog Cart'  Chassis no. 232E6

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Lot 250
c1899 Worth 'Dog Cart'
Chassis no. 232E6

Sold for US$ 46,800 inc. premium
c1899 Worth 'Dog Cart'
Chassis no. 232E6
When discussing the Worth several inaccuracies have crept in to the history of this brand over the years. It is tempting to regard the car encyclopedias as definitive sources on the more obscure brands (especially when in this case there are only two extant) and these encyclopedias perpetuate some older mistakes. This becomes clear when we review our Worth data.

Significantly, the example on offer is not a chain-drive car. This is important as noted historian Beverley Rae Kimes used an article on page 292 of the Automobile Review and Automobile News of November 15, 1902 as the basis for saying that Worths were made by J.M. Worth of 2833 Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago. Cars from this firm were chain driven but this car is shaft driven. Indeed, the patent which most closely resembles it was filed on August 14, 1899 by William O Worth with two thirds assigned to William R Donaldson and Henry W Kellogg. This is patent number 668,074 which was issued February 12, 1901.

The fact that Kimes used a picture of the Worth to illustrate the listing for the J M Worth company has perpetuated the mistake. This was a simple mistake. The Chicago Motor Vehicle Company made William O Worth cars. J M Worth seems to have offered a more lightweight car than the massive Worth we have here.

Perhaps the most authoritative article on William O Worth was written by George S May who was professor of history at Eastern Michigan University. It was written in Adventist Heritage in July 1974 and a copy is held in the National Automotive History Collection of the Detroit Public Library. He writes that Worth formed the Chicago Motor Vehicle Company in the suburb of Harvey in Chicago with Donaldson and Kellogg in 1899 and by early 1902 the company had turned from vehicle manufacture to engine manufacture. The Chicago Motor Vehicle Company made cars they called Worths.

So, what is the date of this car? Certainly, George May reviewed correspondence from the family archives and wrote that it was unlikely that Worth was still making his cars by early 1902 and the company was beginning to concentrate on engines.

So the dates for this car are 1899 to 1901. We talk about it being an 1899 car because that is when William O Worth submitted his patents (in August) so he must have made one by that year. But the car could also have been made in 1900 or 1901. History suggests that it is unlikely to have been made in 1902 or later.

Rooting out the history behind obscure makes can be great fun and very rewarding—and here is an example just begging to have someone unearth its story!

Potentially a London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run candidate, the inestimably rare Worth is said to be completely original, excepting the two Model T Ford carburetors on its engine. It is believed in running condition, but has not been recently started.

The Worth comes to the sale from a prominent Australian museum now closed. Certainly one of the oldest never-restored motorcars in existence, the centenarian Worth is a 'dusty jewel' from very beginnings of the auto industry, certainly worthy of consideration.

Without reserve
c1899 Worth 'Dog Cart'  Chassis no. 232E6
c1899 Worth 'Dog Cart'  Chassis no. 232E6
c1899 Worth 'Dog Cart'  Chassis no. 232E6
c1899 Worth 'Dog Cart'  Chassis no. 232E6
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