1907 catalog shows the elegance of chauffeuring in a bygone era.
In 1907, the Chicago Cubs won the fifth World Series ever played, Teddy Roosevelt was president, and Brooks Brothers of New York issued its catalog of chauffeuring garments and accouterments. “In view of the rapid development of automobiling, we are constantly adding new lines to our stock,” says the catalog. One glimpse of these uniforms, and the elegance and style of chauffeuring at the turn of the century is apparent. As many of today’s operators know, a uniformed chauffeur certainly adds a touch of class.
The booklet features 21 different types of chauffeur overcoats, gloves, and jackets. Model posed in such curious attire as double-breasted coats made of leather, raccoon skin, and Russian dog skin. The overcoats cost as much as $275. The catalog even lists vest made of reindeer skin. Judging from the photos, knickerbockers, caps, and macintoshes were also in vogue at the time.
Some of the accessories include Thermos bottles ($5 to $7.50), leather pillows ($7.50 to $35), flasks ($1 to $60), an automobile knife ($25), and rugs ($7.50 to $50). The company also carried “Luncheon, Tea, and Combination Baskets fitted for from two to eight persons and interlined to exclude dust” for ($10 to $150).
Special thanks to Steve Spencer of London Town cars in Long Island City for this look back at the beginnings of chauffeur uniforms.