Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/291

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Electric Cabs

having one wheel only. A large proportion of the invitations were accepted, and when the expectant people had assembled, their host, with great ceremony, led them to the coach-house and showed them the one-wheeled horseless vehicle—a wheel-barrow!

After that incident which was talked about all over England—much to the disgust of the members of the Society of Arts who had attended the private view—the interest in horseless vehicle invention subsided for more than thirty years. When at last the craze did again break out, cabs appear to have been overlooked. Steam barouches, vans and omnibuses were invented in large numbers, but no one appears to have tried his hand at a steam cab, and it was not until 1897 that horseless cabs were placed on the London streets. These electric cabs were a pleasing novelty to Londoners and were well patronised, but it must be confessed that there were several objections to them. The want of originality in their build was very marked, for in appearance, although they only carried two passengers, they differed but little from a four-wheeler minus the horse and shafts. But that is a trivial objection compared with the following one which