By Carl Reese
Charles Glidden accomplished many significant things in his lifetime. Along with his wife Lucy, were the first to circle the world in an automobile back in 1902 they did it again in 1908. Charles was a billionaire that sponsored the AAA Glidden Tours. An enthusiastic automotive pioneer, Glidden automotive endurance rallys paved the way for better roads.
Glidden tours were anything but a holiday. The cars were far from reliable in those days. The saying “the motor car, after a woman, the most fragile and capricious thing on earth.” was popular in this time period. The roads were to say the least were atrocious. Some of the better conditions were captured in the film of the first Glidden tour imbedded below.
Glidden invited the press to ride along in the rally. This press invitation proved to be genius. Articles about the deplorable road conditions were effective in embarrassing local, state and government officials into improving road conditions. You can read more about Charles Glidden in my earlier post ” AAA Sponsored the Very First Automobile Cross Country Rally”
Please enjoy some footage I dug up of the very first Glidden Tour.