A license plate of famed “Speed Demon” Barney Oldfield is a limited engagement exhibition at the Museum of Fulton County. The Ohio plate, issued on July 8, 1908 to the F.B. Stearns Company of Cleveland, was on their Greyhound Racer driven by Oldfield.
His first race in the vehicle came on July 15, 1908 in St. Paul, Minn. on the Hamline track where he established a new track record. “Oldfield is the same reckless ‘devil’…on the turns he takes chances that make the crowd hold its breath in horror,” reported one newspaper.
Born in Wauseon, Berna Eli “Barney” Oldfield began racing bicycles in Toledo in 1894. On June 20, 1903 Oldfield became the first American to drive a mile a minute and was billed as “America’s Premier Driver,” while driving the ‘999’ built by Henry Ford.
“It was Barney who made Ford a household word,” according to a Smithsonian Magazine Article published in 1998. In 1910 he was recorded going 131.25 miles per hour, the fastest ever traveled by a human being at that time making him the “Speed King of the World”.
The license plate, on loan from Justin Klienfelter of Napoleon, will be featured in the exhibit along with permanent exhibit items including a duster (driving coat) worn by Oldfield and his baby cradle.
The new Museum of Fulton County features the permanent exhibit “Preserving the Past, Embracing the Present, and Making the Future,” The Legacy Shop, as well as special exhibits and events. It is located at 8848 State Highway 108 across from the Fulton County Fairgrounds. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information call 419-337-7922 or email [email protected]