THE ELECTRIQUETTE: The Past
The Electriquette, a motorized wheelchair, was made for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park by the Exposition Motor Chair Company of Los Angeles.
It was used in San Diego and San Francisco, plus on the beach boardwalks of Venice, CA and other tourist locations. No surviving carts are known to exist. (More on the history of the carts) They were used in Balboa Park in 1915 and 1916, but there is no info on when the last of them were removed or what happened to them.
THE ELECTRIQUETTE: The Present
In 2011, San Diego entrepreneur Sandor Shapery, of Shapery Enterprises, decided to bring the wicker carts back to San Diego. He brought on board David Marshall, an architect with an interest in historical projects (Heritage Architecture), and Marshall used images and documents from the San Diego History Center and other sources to draw up plans for a prototype.
That prototype was unveiled in November of 2012 at the San Diego History Center where it was displayed.
As part of their exhibit celebrating the centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the San Diego International Airport also displayed one of the Electriquettes in a terminal during 2015. Up to 17 million passengers had a chance to see and learn about the famous Electriquette.
In March of 2016 the Electriquettes officially returned to Balboa Park, with a kiosk in front of the Reuben H Fleet Science Center. The “soft opening” days of March 25 and 26 were a celebration with almost 200 free half-hour rentals given away.
Since then, thousands of people have enjoyed a ride on an Electriquette. August 14, 2016 was proclaimed Electriquette Day for the City of San Diego by the Mayor. A special Electriquette Celebration was held that day for the public.
A San Diego legend is returned to our city – the Electriquette!