Peter Witt streetcars that are not PCCs

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 07, 2018 8:23 AM

Some views of the 6000's, single-end, 1929 and 1930, Brill, Brooklyn cars

Taken by the late Frank Pfeuler:

Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, Brooklyn side:

Above again, looks like it is operating on the Putnam line, a WWII restoration line converted to bus earlier in 1941 that was largely still intact.  And the line was etended over the BB to Park Row Manhatta.  The car is justemergffing from the Brooklyn Bridge.   The double-end Peter Witt on the right might be a Myrtle Avenue car headed for Wyckoff Avenue.

Below at Grand Army Plaza, intersection of Eastern Parlway and Flatbush Avenue, the car is on the heavy Flatbush Avenue line.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 2:44 AM

Our mutual friend notes:

I'm fascinated that Mr. Witt was the youngest of 11 siblings. If his parents had fewer children, would there be PCC cars? which seem to me to be a progression of his idea.

Dave:  I would also ask, what about nearly all local transit buses?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:08 AM

Peter Witt cars predate the PCC.  Several smaller operations, like Gary Railways, had Peter Witts for their heavier routes but never purchased PCC's.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 3:31 AM

And there were systems that never owned non-PCC Peter Witts but did use Peter-Witt PCCs:  Johnstown, San Francisco, Los Angeles Ry., Boston, Washington-DC, Cincinatti, Montreal, Nwark, NJ. 

And there were PCCs that were not Peter Witts, San Fancisco (PCCs both kinds, today too!), Dallas, Illinois Terminal.  (Red Arrows were not PCCs).

Most cities with Peter-Witt PCCs did use Peter Witts before PCCs:  Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto, Shaker Heights, Pacific Electric, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Birmingham, Baltimore, St. Louis.  (PE's double-ended, ditto the PWs, the "Hollywoods")

Unsure of Kansas City.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 6:06 AM

From Mike:

The city of Cleveland has long been recognized as one of America's most desirable communities, both as a trade center and as a place of residence. Its busy marts have held out opportunities to men of substantial worth and business prominence, and its beautiful residential sections have attracted people of wealth and culture. Like all large cities, however, one of its most serious problems has, until within recent years, been the problem of transportation. Its districts are so situated, its street system is so planned, and its traveling public so large that for a long time the question of handling its street car facilities in an expeditious and satisfactory manner was one of grave consequence. This problem has been solved through the genius of one of its best known citizens, Peter Witt, who in 1916 secured the patent on what is known as "The Car Rider's Car," a street car coach which has been put into operation on the city's surface lines, and today Cleveland may boast of one of the fastest-working systems of any in the country. Mr. Witt has long been well and favorably known in business circles of Cleveland, and continues to be prominent in public affairs, in which he has taken a leading part for some years.


 
A native son of Cleveland, Peter Witt was born July 24, 1869, his parents being Christopher and Anna (Probeck) Witt. Christopher Witt was born in Mecklenburg, Germany, and after acquiring the trade of blacksmith he toured Germany. Some time during the early '40s, while in the southern sections of this empire, he put the tires on the first locomotive which ascended the Alps. There he met Carl Schurz, the German patriot who later was forced to flee to Scotland to escape arrest after having participated in the revolutionary movements in the Palatinate and at Baden, and in 1849 came to the United States. Mr. Witt settled at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he secured work at the trade of blacksmith, which he had learned in his youth, and remained in that city until 1866. While there he met and married Anna Probeck, who was born in Germany, near Mainz, and who in 1851, after losing her parents, had come alone to the United States at the age of eighteen years. They were married August 27, 1853, and resided at Philadelphia until the spring of 1866, when they came to Cleveland, Mr. Witt securing employment at his trade at the old Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Works, where he assisted in the building of the first locomotives put together this side of the Allegheny Mountains. He worked at his trade until about 1889, when he retired, and then lived quietly until his death, which occurred at Cleveland December 15, 1897, Mrs. Witt surviving until October 10, 1909. This pioneer couple of Cleveland were most highly respected. Mr. Witt, who was a splendid citizen, was intensely interested in the Abolition movement, but maintained an independent stand upon political questions.
 
There were eleven children in the family, seven born at Philadelphia and four at Cleveland, and of these five grew to maturity: Charles, the eldest of these, was killed in a railroad collision while a fireman on the Chicago & Northwestern Railway at Hanover Junction, near Baraboo, Wisconsin, October 11, 1883, being then twenty-four years of age; Sophia is now Mrs. Frederick Hayes, of Cleveland; Anna is the widow of Alexander Dow and lives in this city; Herman, deceased, was bailiff in the court of Judge Morgan of Cleveland; and Peter is the youngest.
 
 
 
Peter Witt secured his education at the old Orchard school on the West Side, Cleveland, and in 1886 was apprenticed to the trade of moulder, a vocation at which he was employed until 1896, as a journeyman in various establishments at Cleveland and elsewhere. In the latter year he became interested in newspaper work and insurance, and, having made a profound study of the matter, published two books upon the subject of taxation, which attracted widespread interest at the time. In 1901 Mr. Witt became the first appointee of the late Tom L. Johnson when he took the mayoralty chair, being given the office of what was known as the "Tax School," a special department which had been created by the mayor himself. This department Mr. Witt conducted until November, 1902, when the office was abolished by the injunction rule. On May 4, 1903, Mr. Witt was elected city clerk of Cleveland, in which office his services were so satisfactory that he was reelected in 1906 and retained the office continuously until January 3, 1910, when, with the Tom Johnson administration, his office expired. During the two terms following, Mr. Witt confined his attention to his private affairs, but January 1, 1912, he again entered public life during Mayor Newton D. Baker's administration, as City Street Railway Commissioner, an office in which he became intimately familiar with the problems of street transportation. At the expiration of his term of office, January 1, 1916, he returned to his private affairs, which include principally consulting work in railway operations.
 
During this time he has patented what is known as the "Car Rider's Car," as noted above, but which is generally known as the Peter Witt car by the operators.  He secured the patent April 25, 1916, and since that time numerous other cities have adopted this car. At this writing, May, 1917, there are cars in service at Cleveland, Toledo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and Schenectady, with cars building for Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Erie and Youngstown, and numerous other large centers of traffic. For this front-entrance, center-exit car, Mr. Witt makes the claim that it loads quickly, lessens accidents, gets all the fares, pleases the car rider, has less platform expense, lessens lawsuits, secured more dividends and assures public favor.
 
A description of this new car may not be without interest. Its features are not new and untried, but have been developed and adopted in standard practice on the cars of the large systems in different parts of the country. The low entrance and exit at the center have been widely used on many of the principal city railways; the door and window systems have been widely adopted; the combination of the longitudinal and transverse seats has been quite common in long city cars for many years; placing the conductor near the center of the car is far from unusual; single-end operation with the motorman's position partitioned to prevent encroachment upon his operating space and, at the same time, to permit him to control the entrance door and step and to observe freely the incoming passengers, has been broadly adopted; and, in fact, all of the individual features are well known and firmly established in modem electric railway design. The distinctive feature of this car is the provision of the largest amount of loading space of any pay-as-you- enter or pay-as-you-leave car that was ever put into operation. This feature is attained without the sacrifice of seating space, and it achieves the most advanced method of fare collection that has yet been conceived.
 
John J. Stanley, president of the Cleveland Railway Company, has witnessed the evolution of the transportation system from horse-drawn vehicle to electric-propelled motor, from turntable to loop, from bell-punch to fare-box, and his opinion is: "I have seen it all, and unhesitatingly say that in the front-entrance, center- exit car the last word in car design has been spoken." In a report to the American Electric Railway Association, F. W. Doolittle, director of the Bureau of Fare Research, American Electric Railway Association, said in part when speaking of the Car Rider's Car: "This car is of the front-entrance, center-exit type. In the forward half of the car, seats are arranged longitudinally, leaving a large standing-area, and in the rear part of the ear there are transverse seats with a center aisle, together with a marginal seat about the rear end and two short longitudinal seats near the center of the car. The forward half of the car is for passengers who have not paid their fares and the rear half of the car is for passengers who have passed the conductor, stationed at the center-exit, and who therefore have paid their fares. All passengers leave through the center door, those from the rear leaving without the attention of the conductor and those from the forward part of the car paying as they leave. During periods of heavy travel a large number of passengers can be taken aboard this car in a very short time and, since there is always the incentive of cross seats in the rear part of the car, a considerable portion of the passengers automatically work past the conductor, paying their fare as they move and thus lessening the length of time necessary for stops. This type of car has much to commend it as a revenue-producing unit, and the success with which its use has been attended in Cleveland doubtless will lead to the construction of more cars of a similar design."
 
 
 
Mr. Witt has consistently maintained an independent stand in political matters. He has been very active in Cleveland politics, and in 1915 was a candidate for mayor, but met with defeat through an accident in the preferential ballot. He defeated the present mayor, Harry L. Davis, by 3,000 votes in the first choice votes, but in the second and third choice was counted out.
 
Mr. Witt married June 14, 1892, at Cleveland, Miss Sadie James, who was born and reared in the "West Side, about a block away from the home of Mr. Witt, and attended the Orchard school. She is a daughter of Absalom and Sarah (Owen) James, now deceased, who became residents of Cleveland in 1868. Three daughters have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Witt, all at Cleveland. Hazel is a graduate of East High School, class of 1913, and of the Women's College, Western Reserve University, class of 1917. Norma Jean, a graduate of East High School, class of 1914, attended the Women's College one year, then took up kindergarten work, and is the wife of Herbert Cooper Jackson, Yale, 1916, now with the firm of Pickands, Mather & Company, of Cleveland. Helen is attending the Doan Grade School.    from 1918 History of Cleveland   Lived another 30 years.

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