These are 8×10″ prints mounted to 11×14 inch boards. The reverse of each is stamped “John D. Isaac, Batavia, New York”. These gentlemen all appear to be a family – there’s way too much resemblance between three of the four to be anything other than brothers/father and sons. And I love the dog being included in the photo, and hopping up in the back seat like just another passenger. Just goes to show dogs have always loved cars.
The big mystery is the car – what make is it. I initially thought it was a Dodge, from the shape of the fender and the headlamps, but the grille is not quite right, and neither is the maker’s enamel plaque on the grille, or the hood vents, the door opening pattern (suicide door on the front, standard in the rear) or the contour of the cowl where the hood fairs into the body. This is a larger, more luxurious car than a Dodge, but the common (and not-so-common) marques I can think of to look up don’t seem to match either. It’s not an Essex, Hudson, Hupmobile, Locomobile, Plymouth, Haynes, Mercer, Peerless, Pierce Arrow, Buick, Cadillac, or Overland, that I can tell. It could be as late as the early 1920s, but it’s definitely not past 1930.
EDIT: Doing some more digging, I think I found what it is. It’s a ca. 1916-1918 Studebaker, most likely a Light Six touring car.
Yet another topic to collect – old car photos. I’ve had an obsession with cars since I was a kid – my dad had a 1955 Ford Thunderbird that he restored, and that sparked the passion. In high school, I drove a 1962 Nash Metropolitan until my parents decided it was unsafe and made me get a used Honda instead. Which turned out to be far more unsafe than the Met, because it was capable of going fast :). For your appreciation, here’s a 1920s Packard, and a 1911 Cadillac.
The Packard photo is clearly a snapshot, having been made with a smaller camera and printed by machine on thin gaslamp or other silver gelatin paper. The Cadillac photo is more of a formal portrait, contact printed and mounted on heavy card stock, taken with an 8×10 view camera. The owner would have been extremely proud of his car to have taken that photo, as the level of effort and expense to do it were considerable. And in November of 1911, he would have been justifiably proud of that car – Cadillacs have always been expensive luxury cars, but in 1911, a car like that would have been a truly rare thing and extremely expensive. By the early 20s when the Packard photo was taken (the car looks like it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1923-25), not only was photography more accessible to a mass market, so were cars – even Packards were more commonplace, and they were direct competitors to Cadillac, if not considered superior. Packard was one of the three “P’s” of the great automobile manufacturers of the 1910s and 1920s – Packard, Peerless and Pierce Arrow. By the 1930s, Peerless was gone, and Pierce Arrow was on the ropes, to vanish as a manufacturer by the onset of WW II (although their 12-cylinder engine continued on in production in one form or another into the 1980s as the power plant for fire trucks).