HOISINGTON — In 1913, when the twentieth century was young, forever changes occurred in the lifestyles of Americans with the use of the horseless carriage. In those days, quality was the norm, and a vehicle manufactured that year, a 1913 Glide 36-42, still starts right up and runs today at the Thorne residence in Hoisington.
Glide automobiles were made by the Bartholomew Company from 1902-1920 after which it became the Avery Company. The company’s slogan was “Ride in a Glide, then Decide.” It was touted as the vehicle that could plow through the mud with no problems.
The new cost of the vehicle was $1690 and only a couple of hundred 1913 36-42 Glides were manufactured by a company that never used the assembly line.
The company went out of business in the 1920s, and any replacement parts have to be special made.
Dave Thorne purchased the used Glide in 1921 and immediately saw the advantages to such a vehicle for use on the farm near Susank. He changed the back end to a truck that was used for hauling wheat.
It was used around the farm and driven by his children. Never did he dream that it would become the unique,
amily heirloom that it is today. His grandson, Harold Thorne said that Teddy Roosevelt drove a Glide to his inauguration.
“It didn’t have a fuel pump, so if you didn’t have a full tank of gas, you went uphill backwards,” said Harold.
The car has passed from father to son and will eventually be passed to grandson and great-grandson. “Growing up, it was pretty unique,” said Harold. “Labor Day was more fun than Christmas because we got to be in the parade.”
“My son and grandson are very enthusiastic about keeping it,” said Harold. “It’s going to stay in the family.”
Alfred, Dave’s son, agreed and said, “I wouldn’t part with it.”
The vehicle has been in the Hoisington Labor Day parade since 1957. Nowadays, the Glide is on run on Labor Day only. The actual number of miles is 25,269, and the Thornes take out all of the fluid during the off months.
In 1956, Alfred, after returning from military service, got a hold of the Glide and used the back end of a model A to return the vehicle to its roots as a passenger car. The chassis is still a Glide.
R.P. Spangler, a Glide historian, sent a letter to Alfred in 1983, telling him that Spangler had only found 15 Glides still in existence from the 1904 model through the 1918.
The Thornes have celebrated family events around the Glide. When three girls were going to be in the Labor Day princess contest, they decorated the Glide with crowns.
In fact, the car is so intertwined with the history of the family, that it is a part of the family.