Who Was At The 6/8/2013 Dance (Page Two)
Welcome Ryan Pinedo
Did You Know? - The term "chauffeur" comes from the French term for stoker because the earliest automobiles, like their railroad and sea vessel counterparts, were steam-powered and required the driver to stoke the engine. Early petrol/gasoline-powered motor cars, before the advent of electric ignition, were ignited by 'hot tubes' in the cylinder head which had to be pre-heated before the engine would start.
Hence the term 'chauffeur' which, in this context, means something like 'heater-upper'. The chauffeur would prime the hot tubes at the start of a journey, after which the natural compression cycle of the engine would keep them at the correct temperature.
The chauffeur also maintained the car, including routine maintenance and cleaning, and had to be a skilled mechanic to deal with breakdowns and tyre punctures en route; very common in the earliest years of the automobile.
Only the very wealthy could afford the first automobiles, and they generally employed a chauffeur rather than driving themselves.
A 1906 article in the New York Times reported that "...the chauffeur problem to-day is one of the most serious that the automobilist has to deal with.", and complained that "...young men of no particular ability, who have been earning from $10 to $12 a week, are suddenly elevated to salaried positions paying from $25 to $50..."—and recommended the re-training of existing coach drivers.
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