“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Racine in Racine County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

The Spark

The Spark Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul F, May 27, 2010
1. The Spark Marker
Inscription.  In 1873 the Rev. Dr. J.W. Carhart of Racine designed and operated the first light self-propelled highway vehicle in the United States, and probably the first in the world. He named it the Spark. It was driven by a two cylinder steam engine, steered by a lever, and had a speed of five miles per hour. When his “infernal machine” first appeared, the hideous noise created by its operation caused the people of Racine to threaten to run Carhart out of town. Carhart seems to have agreed with the general opinion of his invention but added, “It must be remembered that at the time there were no liquid fuel, ball bearings or rubber tires.” At the 1908 International Automobile Exposition held in Paris, France, Carhart was addressed as the “Father of Automobiles” and received a cash award and a certificate of honor for his invention.
Erected 1957 by Wisconsin State Historical Society. (Marker Number 72.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included
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in the Wisconsin Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1873.
Location. 42° 41.943′ N, 87° 50.308′ W. Marker is in Racine, Wisconsin, in Racine County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Durand Avenue and South Ohio Street. Marker is located inside Pritchard Park, at the northwest corner of Durand and Ohio. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Racine WI 53406, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Civil War Memorial (approx. 1.8 miles away); Mound Cemetery (approx. 1.8 miles away); Soldiers of the American Revolution (approx. 1.9 miles away); Joe (approx. 2 miles away); Spanish-American War Memorial (approx. 2.1 miles away); Southside Historic District/ Southside Historic District Parks (approx. 3.1 miles away); 32nd 'Red Arrow' Infantry Division Memorial (approx. 3.1 miles away); Racine City Hall (approx. 3.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Racine.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .  A Racine pastor invents a horseless carriage in 1873 - Wisconsin Historical Society. (Submitted on August 12, 2010, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
The Spark Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul F, May 27, 2010
2. The Spark Marker
Marker from parking lot.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 9, 2010, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,609 times since then and 79 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 9, 2010, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 14, 2024