When I first heard about something being invented in Michigan called, "The Thing," the first thing that popped into my head was some kind of mad scientist experiment, some twisted abomination of man's folly attempt to play God. That was clearly not what "The Thing" was, nor was it even remotely close. I guess I just watch too many horror films. The Thing was actually a big deal when it was invented back somewhere between 1884-1885, so much so that it has it's own Michigan historic site landmark.
What Is "The Thing?"
Erected in 1981, the historical site reads:
Thomas Clegg (1863-1939) and his English-born father, John, built “The Thing,” the first recorded self-propelled vehicle in Michigan (and perhaps in the country) in 1884-85. The Thing, driven by a single cylinder steam engine with a tubular boiler carried in the rear, seated four. The vehicle was built in the John Clegg & Son machine shop here in Memphis. It ran about 500 miles before Clegg dismantled it and sold the engine to a creamery. The shop was razed in 1936, just a short time before Henry Ford offered to buy it for Greenfield Village.
If you want to check out the historic marker, it's located on the east edge of town, on the south side of Bordman Rd, just east of its intersection with Cedar St. The marker has its own tiny pull-out, big enough for one car. Memphis is located Northeast of Detroit, in what could be considered the top knuckle of your thumb area.