|Frick's Car and Carriage Museum|
|The Story of Pittsburgh and the Automobile|
If you're a lover of history and/or old cars, then a wonderful way to while away a Pittsburgh afternoon is at the Car and Carriage Museum of the Frick Art & Historical Center. Housed in a 5,800-square-foot exhibition space, the museum showcases a remarkable collection of nearly 20 historic automobiles, most of which were either produced in Western Pennsylvania, owned and collected by Pittsburghers or built using the raw materials from the city's paint, steel and glass manufacturers. The beautiful collection, hailing from 1898-1940, truly illustrates the story of Pittsburgh's place in automotive history.
Although Detroit earned the title of America's "Motor City," Pittsburgh was home to 20 car makers at the turn of the century, producing such notable vehicles as the Penn, the Standard, the Keystone, the Brush and the Artzberger. The American Austin became the prototype for the Jeep used during WWII, and the Standard's heavy construction made it perfect for armed combat during WWI - the vehicle was outfitted with guns and used as an armored car.
While Pittsburgh was quickly outpaced by other cities as a significant center of automobile production, the city continued to play a vital role in the explosive growth of the industry. Steel from Pittsburgh's mills, oil from Western Pennsylvania fields, glass and paint made here all proved to be valuable commodities to American auto makers as the industry developed.
Pittsburgh-made cars, as well as cars made as avant-garde playthings for the privileged (such as a 1909 Mercedes 45/50 Tourer, Helen Clay Frick's 1931 Lincoln Model K and 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Touring Car); cars built for the workingman (the famous Ford Model T Touring Car); and cars collected by Pittsburgh's active community of antique automobile aficionados are all on display in the Frick Car & Carriage Museum. Visitors are also greeted with timelines and vintage photo murals illustrating the evolution of the automobile - and the transformation of American society - from the horse-drawn carriage to the bicycle to the automobile.
Museum admission is free and tours are self-guided. Visitors should allow 45 minutes to 1 hour for a complete tour. Museum tours are Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 5pm, Sunday 12pm - 6pm. Closed Monday. For information on group tours and educational programs for schools, call (412) 371-0600.
Information and photo courtesy of the
Frick Art & Historical Center.