Mercury (aka Hermes), seen here as a decorative glass window display from the 1909 Chicago Auto Show, served as a symbol that represented the annual event during it's early decades. Featured behind a steering wheel and wearing his winged hat, Mercury is the mythical god of trade, profit and commerce, as well as the messenger of Zeus. The 9th annual show was held at the Coliseum and the First Regiment Armory, with 278 exhibitors displaying 92 different automobile brands. Baker Motor Vehicle Co., Cleveland, Ohio, appeared at the show and advertised that it was the largest exclusive manufacturer of electric cars. In a section by themselves were 19 different makes of motorcycles.
An intricate display for the Oakland Motor Car Company at the 1909 Chicago Auto Show featured carved profiles of motor vehicles and Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Edward M. Murphy founded Oakland on August 28, 1907 in Pontiac, Michigan. In 1926, Pontiac became a companion car to the Oakland, which was then manufactured by General Motors. Oakland was discontinued by 1931.
Elaborate decorations surround the Pope-Hartford exhibit. New features on the 1909 Pope-Hartford include an increased crankshaft and improved carburetor. Big talk at the show about the brand was that the engine was now mounted on a subframe, and the camshaft and gears could be removed without taking the engine from the frame.
For the 1909 Chicago show, the Cadillac Motor Car Co., exhibited the appropriately named 30-hp Model Thirty, which was offferd in three body styles. Gone were the single-cylinder engines. Later that year, H.M. Leland sold Cadillac to General Motors.
On display during the 1909 Chicago Auto Show were two recent winning racing cars. On the left is the 1907 Thomas Flyer that won the 1908 New York to Paris race. Next to Thomas sits the two-seat Locomobile, which won the Vanderbilt Cup race in 1908.
A scene from the 1909 Chicago Auto Show captured an exposed chassis with straight six-cylinder engine, all finished in chrome and polished metal pieces. To the left is the Elmore exhibit, and kiddie corner is the elaborate setup for the National Motor Vehicle Co.