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C.A. Coey’s School of Motoring was a mail correspondence course in the 1910s that for $15 aspiring chauffeurs, mechanics, and auto salesmen could learn the rules of the road and how to maintain automobiles. The Coey-Mitchell Automobile Company also sold three models during its four year life.

In the 100-year-old text relating to motoring, I found some lessons that are still applicable to our daily lives outside the car.

I also crack open the latest Pepsi throwback, “Pepsi 1893,” and give it a swirl. Do I like and recommend it?


I’m Chad, welcome to Railroad Crossing. Today we are going to talk about school of motoring as well as take a sip of 1893 Cola.

Now, you’re not going to take a sip, but I am, unless you go down to the store right now, pick up one of these and have one along with me, ah and see if we have the same reaction.

Not a sponsor.

[train horn]

So I was recently going through some of my grandparents’ books and one of the things that I came along… or came across, was a C.A. Coey’s School of Motoring.

Now this was a correspondence course, a mail correspondence course around 1910 or so.

The copyright on here is A.D. 1910, not to be confused with 1910 B.C.

Coey’s marketed this as a fifteen dollar course that you could take and learn to be a chauffeur, earn money, basically by taking people around.

The correspondence course would teach you how to maintain the vehicle, how, ah, the rules of the road.

This was ten lessons that you could take. You would basically get Lesson One and then in the back of Lesson One there were questions, you would fill out those questions, send them in, they’d grade them, then they’d send you Lesson Two.

Um, a few of the passages that I liked when I was going through this was about electric cars and they were driven mostly by women, and they could be unpredictable, according to this.

It says–I mean, I–[stammers] not my quote, it’s coming from here:

“The electric vehicle used widely in most cities are to blame for most of the accidents as they are nearly always found near the middle of the street, and in order to pass them, the driver is compelled to invade forbidden territory to get by (as it is almost impossible to make any headway as these vehicles run on an average of about eight miles an hour) and are often compelled to swing directly in the paths of vehicles coming from an opposite direction.

These electric machines are driven mostly by women and it is not an uncommon thing to see them pull to the left curb, so it behooves the gasoline motor car driver to keep his eye open.”


[inspirational music]

So here are the Life Lessons I found from Coey’s.

Do not be afraid to pump a tire when necessary–there is air enough for us all.

Don’t forget that pedestrians have the right-of-way on all street crossings.

Don’t exceed the speed limit unless you wish to pay a fine.

Don’t get rattled–keep cool. Let the other get excited if he wants to.

Don’t insist on your rights when going at a high rate of speed–the other fellow may be wrong but it is better for him to be wrong than you to be sorry.

Don’t enter an argument with truck drivers, street car operators–you are the one who can be most damaged.

Don’t depend on other people getting out of your way–especially women and children, for they do not know how to avoid danger.

Don’t take a chance–better let the other motor man be the big man than to go home in an ambulance.

Don’t Drink–95 percent of the auto accidents are due to liquor.

Do not sneak away after an accident–be game, stand your ground, right will win.

CHAD: That’s just assuming the other person is of course at fault because YOU took the motoring school class so you would never be at fault, right?

And then my favorite:

Do not expect any more road courtesy than you give.

[Thoughtful music]

[Theme music, train bells and horn]

If you haven’t yet, go ahead and go get one of these.

Not a sponsor. Not an ad or anything like that.

But I’m going to go ahead and crack this open. If you have one go ahead and try it out now too.

[Can top opens with a hiss]

That’s a good sound.

Um, unfortunately, I’m pretty sure this didn’t originally come in cans, I kind of know the history of cans, I wrote a little bit about it.

Probably came in a bottle more like this. This was actually bottled in 1998. I’d recommend not drinking this.

But, ah we’re going to try this original cola.

Oh, I should explain a little about this, I haven’t done that.

Crazy, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

So it’s “1893 Pepsi”

Hopefully not anything made back then, just bottled recently. Purportedly using the original fola. A cola. Fola.

Boldly blended, made with Kola Nut extract, that’s Kola with a K, dark brown malt flavor, touch of aromatic bitters, sparkling water, and real sugar.

And the real sugar, this here, it say Fair Trade Certified Sugar, so it’s not just any sugar, it’s fair trade. So you can feel good about that.

The ingredients: Carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, phosphoric acid, sodium citrate, and natural flavor–

What IS natural flavor?

Everything has a natural flavor. How can you add natural flavor to something. Like what is natural flavor? Like, it’s not a plant.

Potassium sorbate, caffeine, gum Arabic, kola nut extract, and that’s the final thing.

So there you go. So–

What are you thinking?

Okay, so for those of you who are not testing along, I’m trying to think here.


Heh, I actually have to say, it tastes more like Crystal clear Pepsi. Or maybe a little bit like Coke.

But I always thought, back in the 90s when Crystal clear Pepsi actually did come out, for the first time, I did, when I had it I kind of felt like it tasted like Coke.

My, that’s only my personal taste-buds, you know everybody tastes things differently, but according to my taste palette, it tastes a little like Coke, or if you’re just strictly a Pepsi person it tastes a little like Crystal clear Pepsi.

[Chad voice over] It definitely has more of the cola flavor.

I mean, it’s good. It’s good.

I’m sorry if you were waiting for you know, Good, Bad, should I try it, what not.

I think it’s good. I like it. I like it better than Crystal clear Pepsi, um, I’ll say that right now for those of you who think that Crystal clear Pepsi should have just remained a memory.

I think it actually tastes better than regular Pepsi. I mean, I’m not a pop aficionado, or whatever, I mean, obviously I some affinity for Pepsi and um I–I feel sorry for the poor sap who drank this. Ah–yeah.

Obviously if there is something like this I’ll try it. If you are one of those people who kind of wonder, and you see a new brand and you want to try it, yeah, definately go ahead and even if you’re not, I’d say pick up a can–not a sponsor–pick up a can and try it out.

I like it.

So, what did we learn today?

Well, we learned, that you basically receive as much courtesy as you give.

Um, kind of like the love you… the love you make is equal to the love you take? Or the love you take is equal to the love you make? I forget how that goes.

I’m going to get a lot of angry comments about that.

But, um, yeah, so, basically the amount of courtesy you give is the amount of courtesy you will receive.

So don’t expect any more than what you give.

We also learned to try new things, or old things, if you will.

That’s about, that’s about it. So um, again, I’m Chad, thanks for watching, this is Railroad Crossing, and I will have a new video–

Oh! A train around the room update.

Not much has happened. In fact, nothing’s happened. Um, at all. So, maybe coming in the winter time I’ll do something, but we’ll see.

So, thanks for watching.

[crossing bells]

[theme music]

[train horn]

For they do not know how to avoid danger.

I’m going to get a lot of angry comments about that.


Below are the sources of information I used to create dialog and factoids (and make myself appear generally knowledgeable) in the video.

Motoring School


About Chad Leigh Kluck

Originally from Nebraska, I am a history and railroad enthusiast currently living near Saint Paul, Minnesota. I enjoy trains, photography, and nostalgic memories, as well as the history of transportation, agriculture, eateries, breweries, and railroad towns. More...

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