In 1891, Wilhelm Bruhn, a German inventor, created the first taximeter. This is simply a device that accurately calculates a taxi's fare by measuring the distance traveled. In 1897, soon after Wilhelm invented the taximeter, the first taxicab was built. This led way to a revolution in the transportation industry where taxi cabs were now competing with horse draw carriages.
In 1900, the transportation was changed forever when the New York Taxi Cab company imported six hundred gasoline powered taxi cabs from France. Though by the 1910's taxi cabs had become popular because of their easy maintenance, they were still relatively pricey. This made them more common for the wealthy and not an affordable transportation for the working class.
The most recognizable feature of the modern taxi cab is the yellow and black checkered design. However, this design was the mark of one taxi cab manufacturer and not a design of taxi cabs in general. The Checkered Cab Manufacturing Company was one of the few taxi cab companies that was not an automobile manufacturer such as GM and Ford Motor Company who also manufactured taxi cabs. Though these taxi cabs were manufactured in Michigan, they were one of the most popular taxi cab companies associated with this form of transportation in the 1920's.
During the 1930's this form of transportation grew in numbers. However, it was a dark time for the taxi cab industry as many taxis were fighting for fares. The Checkered Cab Company was found to be bribing the mayor and even the Taxicab Commission could not control the industry. Many taxi drivers were the victims of unfair labor practices. In 1934, they decided to strike and the Haas Act of 1937 was soon passed. This act served to regulate the industry and introduced the official taxi license.
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