Guest post from the CMA’s Mindy Groff …

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“Clearance” is not a word I typically associate with antique vehicles. So when I came across a catalog advertising the “Eighteenth Annual Clearance Sale of Seasonable Carriages,” I was intrigued.

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This booklet was printed in 1900 by the Henderson Bros. of North Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1856 by John J. Henderson and Robert Henderson. In addition to selling vehicles built by other companies, they also manufactured their own carriages and carriage parts.

According to the opening page, “the purpose of this booklet is to SAVE YOU MONEY, and at the same time reduce our stock quickly. We have reduced the prices on these carriages in some instances to one-third less than what we have been offering them for.” They boast that “we can supply you with any kind of a carriage or wagon that is in common use in this country, and at any price you wish to pay.” The reader is encouraged to “WRITE US NOW” to check availability and place an order. The carriage equivalent, it seems, to buying a used car today.

The vehicles advertised inside do indeed look like bargains. A Brewster Opera Bus, originally priced at $2,600, now reduced to $525. A brand new Break discounted from $2,500 to $650. A six-seat Rockaway for just $185. The booklet is filled with descriptors like “good as new,” “thoroughly renovated,” and “rare bargain.”

If you’d like to view the full listings and see images of the vehicles, you can! We have the original catalog in our library, but it is also available digitally on the Internet Archive, which is a non-profit Internet library. And If you’re not familiar with the Internet Archive, I’d encourage you to check it out further. This is an amazing online resource of digitized books and other printed materials, including many carriage catalogs and texts.