Motor cars at the Lewis Cycle and Motor Works, 1905-1906

There are more than thirty images of motor cars appearing in the thirty-eight photographs of the Lewis album. Of the cars that appear, the majority appear in more than one photograph, usually skilfully arranged to provide and air of "business" to each of the scenes. Creative marketing was clearly well to the fore, even in 1905.

The photographs in the album cover two separate periods, separated by something like twelve months. The earlier photos in the McHenry Street factory date to the second half of 1904, while those from the Motor House on Victoria Square and the Molton Street factory behind it date from some time between September 1905 and March 1906. While one or two of the cars in the photographs may have been manufactured at the Lewis Cycle and Motor Works, the majority are well known imported brands: Rover, Talbot, De Dion-Bouton and Gladiator.

In September 1905 it has been estimated that there were only 140 motor cars in South Australia, so in these photos we see a significant slice of motoring in the state. The cars shown are true pioneers, and it is worth looking at each of them in a little detail.

The cars we have identified so far are:

Identifying the cars in the Lewis photographs is a work in progress. If you have a comment or correction on the work so far, please feel free to e-mail.

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