The car in the doorway of the Winnipeg Taxicab Co. garage is a Franklin town car, one of Winnipeg's first fleet of taxicabs. Here is how the Winnipeg Free Press reported their arrival on March 21, 1910 (page 18):
Winnipeg Company Inaugurated
Its System -- Cosy Cars --
Object of Interest
The first of a fleet of taxicabs for Winnipeg were seen on the streets yesterday afternoon, and as a novelty and an inviting system of transportation, they created a great deal of interest. They are the property of the Winnipeg Taxicab Company, Ltd., which is composed almost entirely of local capital. The cars are of the Franklin air-cooled type, and are really models of luxury and comfort.
They are upholstered in buff leather, have electric lights, are fitted with foot warmers for the ladies in winter time and have accommodation for seating four passengers, there being two auxiliary seats within the body of the taxi. There is also a place in front for a trunk or hand baggage, with a third auxiliary seat beside the driver.
A number of the local newspaper men were treated to the pleasure of the first rides, and can testify to the speed and comfort of the cars. Only two have been delivered here yet, but fifteen more are under order and will be in commission on the streets by the middle of April. The company also gives assurances that sufficient cars will be purchased to give an absolutely satisfactory and efficient service, according to the demands of the trade. No service, however, will be guaranteed until at least ten cars are in operation. For the present the cars will be housed in the Winnipeg garage.
The Winnipeg Taxicab company was promoted by the W.S. King company, Ltd., with whom were associated MacMicking and T.J. Murray.
In the original photo, the license number 1682 is clearly visible on the Franklin's radiator. The numbers 1678 to 1682 were registered to the Winnipeg Taxicab Co. in 1910. Manitoba did not issue license plates until 1911, so between 1907 and 1910 car owners painted the numbers on the radiator, or made their own plates by tacking house numbers onto pieces of leather.
The original photo belongs to Alma (Mrs. Bert) Bentley of Winnipeg, a member of the Manitoba Classic & Antique Auto Club. Her father was a mechanic or driver for the Winnipeg Taxicab Co. In the photo he is seated on the hood of the little car in front of the garage.
The Winnipeg Taxicab Co. was listed in the Winnipeg city directory up until 1934.
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Revised February 13, 1998