The prototype car barge shown here was reportedly built for less than $100 and in use by a motorist in Aberdeen, Washington, to cross a bay 20 miles wide. It is shown on the cover of Popular Mechanics a hundred years ago this month, August 1915.
Each paddle wheel is connected to a hardwood wheel, which is strapped with leather straps to the spokes of the car’s wheels. The rear of the car is jacked up off the floor, and the craft is ready to cross the bay. It reportedly took about eight minutes to load the car aboard and make it seaworthy.