This Day in Auto History
One hundred twenty five years ago, the first automobile club in the United States, the American Motor League, held its first planning meeting in Chicago, Illinois. There were 60 members at that time. Dr. J. Allen Hornsby was named president of the new organization, and Charles Edgar Duryea, the car manufacturer, and Hiram P. Maxim, car designer and inventor, were named vice presidents. Charles King, who constructed one of the first four-cylinder automobiles in the following year, was named treasurer. The main goal of the new AML was to encourage experimenters and inventors to manufacture horseless carriages. They had two obstacles to overcome to accomplish this. The AML had members in over 600 towns, however only existed for a few years. One of the reasons was the diversity of interests of the members. The AML could not cater to all these interests. Those that wanted an association that represented just automobile manufacturers associated themselves with trade associations. Those that wanted representation for just the engineers of the mechanical aspects associated themselves with the Society of Automotive Engineers. Motorists were represented by the American Automobile Association ("AAA"), newly formed in 1902. In 1904, the AAA merged with the very first American automobile organization, the American Motor League, under the direction of the first chairman, Augustus Post.