Generally speaking your description of starting an early antique car is correct. As noted the moving of the spark advance lever is an extremely important event. When done correctly the car will start and run perfectly. However with a slip of your memory and the turn of the crank many people have broken an arm or finger as the engine simply fires too soon and rotates it back against your arm. My experience of cranking an antique 4-cylinder engine is much easier than cranking an antique 2-cyclinder of the same size. You are simply bringing up twice the cubic inches of compression at the same time. Everyone has watched the effort that old motorcycle riders go through to kick start a Harley-Davidson with 96 cubic inch 2-cylinders. This Maxwell she was trying to start has 196 cubic inches in 2 cylinders. I guarantee you it deserves all the respect Lyn Woodward placed upon it. I was very impressed with the ease that Lyn Woodward was able to grasp and understand the driving of this type of car. Antique cars can be a handful. Lyn has proven to be a very gifted writer and I appreciate the homage that she has given to Alice Ramsey. To have a great writer and gifted car enthusiast is a blessing, thank you Lyn and crew.
It is great to see that the car was right hand drive like most American cars of the time.
Why America changed is subject to much conjecture.
Just have a look through the many car museums in the world including the USA to see just how many of the American cars on display are RHD before the USA went their own way and ruined what could have been a rare case of uniformity for the world.