Riker Electric Vehicle Company
The Riker was a veteran and brass era electric car founded in 1898 in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Andrew Lawrence Riker was an early designer of automobiles -- aptly called "horseless carriages." He was born in New York City on October 22, 1868, the son of William J. and Charlotte L. Riker.
Riker sketched a never-to-be-built electric-powered three wheeler in 1884 and in 1888-89 he founded the Riker Electric Vehicle Company (located in Elizabethport, NJ), soon to become one of the country's largest manufacturers of electric cars and (later) trucks.
Riker produced his first electric car in 1894, using a pair of Remington bicycles as a base.
An article in the September 26, 1896 edition of Scientific American lists The Riker Electric Motor Company, of Brooklyn, N. Y as the winner of the horseless carriage race in Narragansett Park track at Providence, R. I. The prize was $900.00. The article also states "The fastest mile was made by the Riker electric carriage, the time being 2:13." This is possibly the first automobile race done around a track in the USA.
The advertisements shown below appeared in such prestigious magazines of the day as Harper's Magazine (above) and McClure's Magazine (below). The publication running the "Ride in a Riker" ad is unknown. The three vehicles pictured are the Riker Electric Demi-Coach, the Riker Electric Victoria, and the Riker Electric Phaeton.
Riker electrics were produced by
Riker Electric Motor Co. of Brooklyn NY from 1896 to 1899, then by Riker
Electric Vehicle Co. of Elizabethsport NY until 1900 and finally by the
Riker Motor Vehicle Co (still in Elizabethsport) after 1900, all named for
Andrew Lawrence Riker. While the Riker electrics included a variety of
cars including a record-holder racer, the production vehicles were mostly
2-seater runabouts and dos-à-dos 4-seaters. The Riker marque is probably
best-known however for their heavy electric trucks.
After a merger with
Electric Vehicle Company
in 1901, only the trucks continued to be built under the
Riker name. There are 3 Rikers in the holdings of the Henry
Riker became the first president of the Society of Automotive Engineers.
He donated an electric car to the