It Wasn’t Around Long, But It Was Important

November 1, 1895

The American Motor League (AML), the first automobile club in the United States, held its preliminary meeting in Chicago. A total of 60 people were at the meeting, which took place at the Chicago School of Electricity on Dearborn Street. The new club’s main objectives included promoting continued technological innovations for automobiles, which were still in a nascent stage of development at that time.

The Duryea brothers, c. 1894

Those in attendance that Friday evening constituted a veritable “Who’s Who” of automotive pioneers, including Charles and Frank Duryea, who built and road-tested the first American gasoline-powered automobile; Charles Brady King, who was instrumental in spearheading the organization of AML to promote the “horseless carriage” and is widely credited as the first person to actually create and drive a self-propelled automobile in Detroit; Henry G. Morris and Pedro G. Salom, who jointly developed the first successful electric automobile, the Electrobat; and Sterling Elliott, who invented what remains the basic system of front-wheel steering throughout the world. 

At the meeting, Dr. J. Allen Hornsby was named temporary president of the new group. He used his introductory speech to outline AML’s goals. At a meeting held about a month later, Charles Duryea was formally elected AML’s president.

AML may have been a trailblazer when it came to automobile clubs in the United States, but it was short-lived. In 1904, the group was merged with the American Automobile Association.   For more information on the American Motor League (AML), please check out

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