174. Today in 1920s Turkey: 9 January 1926 (New Taximeters for Istanbul’s Taxis)

in #history3 years ago (edited)

no1859- p4 detail 1- 9 Jan 1926- Karagoz- BDK- low res.jpg
(Illustrated snippet, Karagöz, 9 January 1926, no. 1859, page 4.)

Otomobillere Taksimetre Konduktan Sonra
Karagöz: Azizim Şehremini Bey, yaptın bir iyilik bari bir daha yap da şu hamallara da bir taksimetre koy!! Baksana yüz adımlık yere yarım papel istiyor!
İlave: Taksimetre arabalara ve otomobillere konan bir makinedir ki araba yürüdükçe bu makine saat gibi işler, ne kadar yol gittiğini yazar. Müşteri de parasını ona göre verir.

After They Put Taximeters in the Automobiles
Karagöz: My dear Mr. Mayor, you’ve done (us) one favor, now do (us) another and put taximeters on the porters!! Just look, he wants half a buck for a hundred steps distance!
Addendum: A taximeter is a machine that is put in vehicles and automobiles and runs like a watch as the car run. It records the distance traveled and the customer pays according to that.

This short, illustrated blurb functions as a witty observation and a public information notice. Its headline announces the arrival of taximeters in cabs, a new development made possible by the mayor. Personally, this news surprised me. Frankly, I did not expect signs of such as lively taxi environment in Istanbul in the 1920s. What did not surprise me was the need for a mechanism to keep cabbies honest, apparently this has been a problem since the earliest stages of the trade…

The accompanying image includes the journal’s mascot, Karagöz on the left. Karagöz is featured in nearly all of the publication’s illustrations and he is always recognizable by his black beard and bulbous, extravagant hat. On the right is another, familiar figure, the Mayor of Istanbul, Emin Erkul Bey. His photographs appear with some regularity in the local newspapers and due to his comical physical attributes, caricatures of him often circulated in the Istanbul-based satirical journals. Like this illustration, most caricatures draw attention to his large, shiny top hat, round glasses, buck-teeth, and emphatic mustache. The conversation between the two characters is meant to reenact the below text (in all its gripping detail) which is why a porter is included traversing the background.

Karagöz’s comment about putting taximeters on street porters allows our intercessor to make this news relevant to all readers, even those who may have never used a taxis, but have used the services of a street porter, who operates on foot. Similarly, the witty comparison is fitted with an explanation for what a taximeter is, in case any readers are feeling confused about the news of this clever device appearing across the city.

no1859- p4- 9 Jan 1926- Karagoz- BDK - low res.jpg
(Illustrated snippet, Karagöz, 9 January 1926, no. 1859, page 4. Hakkı Tarık Us Collection, Beyazıt Library, Istanbul.)

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