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This pass is good on all railroads provided the bearer walks, carries his own baggage, swims all rivers, and stops at Huggins, the Tailor, 207 Locust St., Harrisburg, Pa.
Someone clipped this spoof of a railroad pass out of a newspaper published sometime in 1906 (the text on the other side of the clipping helped me to determine the year).
Despite the promise of a potentially valuable “Free Pass” for the Pennsylvania Railroad, it becomes quickly apparent that there’s a catch. “This pass is good on all railroads,” it says, “provided the bearer walks, carries his own baggage, swims all rivers, and stops at Huggins, the Tailor, 207 Locust St., Harrisburg, Pa.”
Edgar J. Huggins, who’s listed as a “merchant tailor” in Boyd’s Directory of Harrisburg and Steelton for 1908, used this fake pass as an ad to attract potential customers to his shop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
It’s likely that Huggins’ Free Pass ad appeared during 1906 in the Harrisburg Telegraph newspaper, but I haven’t been able to figure out exactly when (I did locate other “Huggins the Tailor” advertisements in the issues for March 22 and May 9, 1906).
At first I was puzzled by the illustration. Why would a railroad pass—even one that’s intended as a joke—depict a canal boat being pulled by horses rather than a locomotive pulling a train? (See a rotated version of the ad for a better view of the boat.)
But after considering it further, I think that placing a canal boat on the Return Ticket extends the joke by suggesting that the pass holder—who presumably has already had to walk, swim, and carry his own luggage to get to his destination—will have to return home on a form of transportation that was already outmoded for passenger travel well before 1906.