I asked this a while back, but did not get an answer. Maybe nobody know's exactly...
Was'nt the Model T the first U.S. car, or first mass produced car, to have the steering wheel on the left side?
I know doing that allowed occupant's to exit onto the curb/sidewalk inorder to avoid the mud and manure of the road's.
According to Bruce's book You are correct. All Ford's made before the T were right hand drive. Most other makes were also right hand drive and the T set the standard for left hand drive.
If you consider them mass-produced, Knox used left-hand steering circa 1902-04. I believe they built several thousand cars at that time.
There were probably others, but Knox came to mind first.
I hope this helps,
And just imagine if there had been a worldwide standard for driving from the RIGHT SIDE of the car!
I guess Knox like Ford made cars with steering wheels on either side? I saw a 1907 Knox surrey top limousine in the Nethercutt museum in the Los Angeles area in October that is R/H drive. A remarkable, large, ornate car.
More help from Google - here is a collection of Knox advertisements which indeed show that Knox mass produced cars with the controls on either side years prior to the Model T, so Ford was definitely not first.
1899 Waverley Electric was operated from the left hand side (tiller in the middle - driver sat on left and controls were on the left). There is an 1899 Waverley Electric at the Auburn Museum and another in the collection of the Indianpolis motor speedway (not currently on display).
Two 1900 Waverley Electrics are in Minnesota - one owned by the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul and one owned by a private collector in Minneapolis. Both are operated from the left.
I just finished reading an article about Brush automobiles. The prototype was built in 1907 and mass production started shortly thereafter, also in 1907. It appears that all had steering wheels on the left hand side, including the prototype.
I believe that Brush automobiles, built from 1907-11 were also left hand steering wheel equipped.
Probably first, but not in mass production:
According to the "Automobile Quarterly" magazine Volume 16 Number 2 and some links below, Thomas Jeffery
built his first quadracycle-like car in 1897,
first production prototypes in 1901,
invented the clincher tire,
first installed the a front-mounted engine,
first used a steering wheel, and
put the driver on the left in his experimental Rambler Models A & B in 1901.
Dad, Charles Jeffery told his son that it was "Too radical", the public was not ready for a front-mounted engine, left-hand drive and wheel steering; why doom the venture at the outset by indulging in the unconventional?
Models C & D ($750) in Feb 1902 eventually had tiller-steering and under-seat engines.
There are many parallels to Henry Ford; Thomas Jeffery even help Henry Ford fight the Selden patent.
I have been studying up on Rambler since we got a 1910 Model Fifty-five for Christmas, but that is another story.