Although the number of global automobile manufacturing companies has dwindled to fewer than two dozen, there was a time from about 1900 to 1916 when there were more than 1,000 independent automobile manufacturers in the United States alone. The cars from this period of motoring growth and innovation known as the Brass Era are distinguished by their large brass radiators and highly polished brass trim. Competing automobiles had little else in common as convention had not yet been set. The steering wheel could be on the right or left, if there was a steering wheel at all. Meanwhile, the engine could have one, two or four cylinders and it could be mounted out front, in the rear or beneath the body. Inventors and manufacturers were also competing to determine whether steam, electricity, or internal combustion would rule the world of the automobile.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2009/05/22/the-forgotten-joys-of-the-brass-era