Transportation & Technology

1900 - 1939

AutoownerTravel in the 1900’s changed greatly. While people continued to rely on trains, carriages, and boats, two exciting ways to travel were not far off in the future. Can you guess what they are?

People continued to use horse drawn carriages as a way to get to and from town. Farmers used them to plow their fields. They also used trains to get from Hilliard to Columbus. 


In 1885, Karl Benz invented the first automobile. This was very exciting. Then, in 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T, which changed the way that Americans were able to travel. The first touring car in Hilliard was owned by Mr. Fred Fishinger. The automobiles ranged in price from $490.00 to $2000.00 fully loaded. A $500 car compared to a workers pay in 1912 would be like paying $47,000 today. Of course, a fully loaded automobile then, consisted of:  a top, dust hood, glass windshield, gas tank, auto meter, robe, foot-rail and gas lamps. A robe was a piece of cloth that passengers would wrap around their feet in cold weather, because the early cars had no heat. These cars were not like the ones we see today with heat, air conditioning, leather seats, sunroofs, cup holders and DVD players!! The automobile opened up a whole new world for the residents of Northwest Franklin County. Can you guess what it is? It greatly decreased their travel time?  It used to take a day or two to travel by horse and now they could make the same trip in a matter of hours by car.


telephoneThe telephone came to Hilliard in 1904. In the beginning, people found it difficult to use. In order to talk to their neighbors, even those across the street, they had to pay a toll! Can you imagine?  In 1921, Ohio Bell took over and began providing services to the area. They did not charge a toll. How do you think that the telephone improved the life of people living in Northwest Franklin County?  It definitely made it easier for people to get information out. Before, they had to rely on paper and pencil and the mail system, now they had a more immediate way of communicating.

The first radio station was built and started transmitting in 1920 in Pennsylvania. Ohio’s first radio station began transmitting in 1922. How do you think a radio station can be important for communication?  One important way is to notify us when severe weather is approaching our area.

typewriterPaper and pencil, letters and newspapers continued to be major forms of communication. However, the production and standardization of the typewriter by Remington & Sons would greatly change how the typewriter would look, as well as typed pages.


What an exciting time this was for the residents of Northwest Franklin County!  Think about how dirty the oil lamps and candles would make their homes. How raw do you think the women’s hands got from using the washboards?  Well, one of the “greatest” technologies introduced in the 1900’s was electricity. Many people were nervous, even scared about using electricity. But it was so exciting, they could not resist. How many different ways do you think this improved the life of the residents of Hilliard?

stoveelectric lampElectric lamps were a great improvement over the oil lamps and candles. Not only were they cleaner, but also they burned much brighter and lasted longer. They also presented a much lower risk of fire. The electric washing machine was introduced in 1914 and by the end of the 1920’s one-half of American households owned a washing machine.

It was during this time that people began cooking on gas stoves instead of over open fires or in the fireplace. This was much safer. Once again reducing the risk of fire in the home.


Overview Compiled and Edited by Lauren Davis

The Quartoquecentenial of A Pride Community – 1978, Hilliard, Ohio

Northwest Franklin County Historical Society Library