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The first women-motorists

New era in the evolution of the means of conveyance, which had come with the birth of a motor car, seemed to be a realization of the centuries–old dream about subjugation of speed. Women were also among the lovers of motor cars.

We can find a lot of words of admiration turned to the first women-motorists on the pages of old magazines dated the beginning of the 20th century. The names of German motorists – the winners of different motor races – are mentioned more often than others.

Frau Emmy Opel, the wife of the owner of the Opel firm, became the winner of numerous competitions with balloons. Once she managed to win a money prize (1000 DM) in the tourist competition, which consisted of 3 laps with a general length of 900 km (Bielefeld – Hannover – Frankfurt-am-Main). There were 80 motor cars in the competition and Frau Opel drove Opel car.

Frau Ergard, the wife of the director of motor-car factory “Heinr. Ehrhardt” and the participant of many motor-car races, became the winner of the mountain competition (Eisenach – Mainingel – Eisenach), 150 km, dated the 4th of August 1901. There were 8 participants in the competition. Traversing the path for 5 hours, Frau Erdgard was the first in “the 4th car class” (650–1000 kg).

Frau Gertrude Eisenmann, the wife of the owner of the firm called “Marks Eisenmann & Co”, at first, was fond of bicycle, then – motor tricycle, and at last – a motor car. She won the prize for stamina and the first prize in the mountain competition.

Frau Girtzlin had an honorary title “Cars’ Queen”. She won the first “club” prize and a women prize in the race Strasbourg – Colmar – Strasbourg dated the 16th of June 1901. Frau Girtzlin covered 155 km in 4 hours 5 minutes driving “the 2nd class” car.

In 1907 Frau Lemann, the wife of the famous motorist and the director of a large factory, won several prizes and a gold desk (Plakatte) in Herkomer’s competition.

British woman Mrs Dorothy Levit was among 155 participations in Herkomer’s competition (1906) and won a special prize and a gold desk.

It was written about all these prizes and motorists’ triumph in the magazine “Автомобиль и воздухоплавание” (it means “Motor Car and Aeronautics”) dated 1911.

As soon as the first motor car appeared in Russia, it found its lovers at once. For example, we know that Princess Dolgorukaya was among the participants in the race St. Petersburg – Kiev (1911); Volkova took part in the races of the first motor car society.

The magazine “Дамский мир” (it means “Women’s World”) told its readers about the triumph of the nineteen-year old girl Ariadna Rimsky-Korsakova, who had won the first women’s prize.

Suvorina won the prize in the winter ice-race St. Petersburg – Kronstadt.

Outrunning the balloons and time, they won prizes in mountain competitions, ice-races, races in extreme conditions. They were able to compete with men and became worthy rivals in subjugation of speeds. Little by little, the number of motor car lovers grew and very soon they became the means of conveyance.


Девичник. 2001- 2006.
  Авторский журнал. 
© "Девичник/ Devichnick", 20012006.
© Оформление, текст, фотоматериалы Молотилова Л. К., 20012006.
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