History of Early American
Addendum 1 Addendum 2 Addendum 3
American Electric Vehicle Company
From the time that the first Duryea went into
production until the arrival of the Stanley Steamer, there were many companies that had
produced an automobile. As we have seen some of these were very successful and a great
many were not. One of the companies that seemed to have a great future with superb
automobile models was the American Electric Vehicle Company from Chicago, IL. It was first
shown at the 1899 New York Electrical Show with great public appeal. However, it had been
made from 1896. Montgomery Ward was one of it first customers. The Elgin Sewing
Machine and Bicycle Company was the manufacturer. The American Electric automobile was the
only car in American to win a gold medal at the Paris Exposition.
1896 Montgomery Ward's Electric Horseless Carriage
American Electric Co. Chicago, IL
American Electruc Brougham Automobile
American Electric Runabout Automobile
American Electric Dos-a-Dos Automobile
American Electric Mail Phaeton Automobile
1899 American Electric Company Advertisement
Copied from the 1899 Horseless
This company has on exhibition a runabout
buggy, fitted with a multipolar motor of their own design and manufacture, of 1,600 watt
capacity, rated at half saturation and capable of delivering double this power for a
period of time without overheating. The battery equipment consists of forty-two 8o-ampere
hour accumulators, also of their own design and manufacture, rated at a five hour
discharge rate. They promise a detailed description of these accumulators in the near
future. The series parallel control gives five gradations up to a maximum of fifteen miles
an hour. The wheels are fitted with 3 1/2 inch salient rubber tires and ball bearing
axles. The rear wheels are 26 and the front 34 inches in diameter. The motor has a hollow
armature shaft, through which passes tho driving shaft, on either end of which is a steel
pinion, meshing into a large feed gear, attached to the hub of the rear wheel of the
vehicle. In this driving shaft is a differential gear automatically adjusting the
different speeds of the rear wheels in turning corners. On the dashboard is a combination
volt ammeter with a double scale which indicates the mileage capacity yet remaining in the
batteries at any time. The charging apparatus is automatic and the vehicle, while simple
in construction, is provided with conveniences and appliances which should make it
practical in the hands of the ordinary purchaser.
1897 American Electric
In 1900, the company wanted to move to New
York City to attract wealthier buyers and to expand its models. The move was a disastrous
decision for it drove the company into bankruptcy and out of business in 1902, The factory
was sold for $15,000.
The Stanley Twins in their
1898 Stanley Steamer
The Stanley Brothers, F.E. and F.O. Stanley of
Kingfield, Maine, were inventors with several patents. One of them was the dry plate for
photography. They sold the patent to George Eastman maker of the Kodak Camera Co. for
$200,000. They moved to Newton, MA and being fasinated with steam automobiles, sold their
automobile and they began plans to make a steamer of their own.
It has never been reported as to what make was their
automobile. It was a 1898 Whitney Steamer. This photo copied from Ebay minutes before it
was sold proves this.
Their steamer was completed in 1898 on a Currier,
Cameron, and Co. body. After testing it, they decided to put it into production.
Production was started in November of that year with two hundred bodies on order.
After thirty bodies were in production, John Walker,
publisher of the Cosmopolitan Magazine, bought the company for $200,000. In turn, Walker
sold half interest to Anzi Barber, an asphalt maker. The Stanley brothers were made the
managers with an agreement that they would not go back into business for two years. The
new company's name was the Locomobile Automobile Co.
Before the year ended, Walter and Barber ended their
partnership with Barber keeping the Locomobile name and factory location. Walker
moved his share to Tarryton, NY with is name Automobile Company of America. Because there
were several companies with similiar names, he changed it to Mobile Automobile Co.
As soon as the two years were up, The Stanleys began
to make the Stanley car again. But in order for them to start, there were sevearsl legal
problems that had to be solved. One of which was a long patent lawsuit that was brought by
Whitney in 1898 and was still on going. The simple redesigned their engine and the lawsuit
was dropped. Walker, who had originally paid $200, 000 for the Stanley patents, sold them
back for $20.000. With all of the legalaties settled, they once again were in business.
In is interesting to note that Currier, Cameron, and
Co. made bodies for Stanley, Locomobile, and Mobile and Grout. They were all very much
alike in the begining. All bodies by his company were made of wood until 1908.
F.E. and Mrs. Stanley in his 1903 Steamer at
Crawford Notch Hotel in the White Mountains
1902 SDtanley Runabout Automobile
1903 Stanley Automobile,Model C
1908 Stanley Automobile, Model F
1918 Stanley Automobie, Mountain Bus
1924 Stanley Automobile, Model 750B
The last one made before moving to Bethlehem, PA.
The Stanley Brothers sold their company in 1918 a
year before Freelan was killed in Newburyport, MA while trying to avoid hitting a woman.
1918 Stanley Steamer Automoble Advertisement
This is the only Stanley advertisement that is known. It was a two page advertisement in
the 1918 Motor Age Magazine that I was able to rearrange to a single page and made it as a
1920 Stanley Closed Body Coupe
Body by Currier Cameron Company as the body maker.This Company made their first body in
1920 Stanley Steamer Autombbiles
The original name of the Company was the Automobile
Company of America, but soon finding out that the name was already in use, the name was
changed to Locomobile. Within a short perod of time, the partners split with Barber
keeping the Locomobile name and factory and all cars in stock and on order. He was
well ahead of his former partner.
Waker was given the rights to the Stanley patents
and property at Tarrytown, NY. Currier, Cameron, & Co. stilled supplied bodies for
1899 Locomobile Runbout
1901 with a front seat
1900 Locomobille Four-Seat Automobile
1901 Locomobile Do-a-Dos
Copied from the November, 1901, Motor-Car Journal
A Philadelphia correspondent, in the course of a
recent letter, remarks that "a lot of good and reliable vehicles are being made in
America, and the forth-
coming show at Madison Square Garden, New York, will bring about a revolution here as
regards models. Steam-cars have been the most popular
type of automobile so far, but the gasoline (petrol) vehicle is making rapid strides]with
the public. The Locomobile Company are doing the best business; they are very progressive
people, and are shortly sending a reprasentative out to Japan to see exactly what the
prospects are for motor-cars in the 'Land of
the Rising Sun.' Very few manufacturers have made money this year; in fact, I think that
those who have made money could be counted on the fingers of one hand; the principal cause
is that they have turned out a lot of unreliable machines which have been sent back to
them. They have, however, profited by the experience, and next year they should make
money..(End of article)
Locomobile moved to Chicopee, MA in 1901 and
shared a portion of the factory building with Overman Automobile Co., makers of the Victor
Steam car. A. L. Riker, who had previously sold his Electric Motor Vehicle Co, to the
Leads Taxi Trust of Havard, CT, joined the Locomobile Co. as chief engineer. Riker was put
in charge of developing a gasoline automobile.
Tn 1900, the Currier, Cameron, & Co. Carriage
Co, had received so many conracts for bodies that they could not handle all of them.
Cameron only made bodies in the white with Shields Carriage Co. doing the decorating.
Leitch Carriage Co. joined to help. Locomobile gave them orders for 20 bodies a week in
the runabout, stanhope, and Victoria styles.To handle this order, they needed more help,
so Briggs Carriage Co. was asked to join. Briggs agreed to do so only if they could have one fourth of
1899 Locomobile Advertisement
The Locomobile was
not only one of the most advertised cars, but their advertisements were the greatest
1901 Locomobile Advertisement
1901 Locomobile Touring Car
1902 Locomobile Advertisement
Locomobile Six Passenger Touring body by Briggs Carriage Co. Amesbury, MA
In 1902, Locomobile wanted a new model for its
gasoline cars and because they liked Briggs's work, they contracted him to make the bodies
for their new body style The result was one of the most beautiful bodies made of horseless
carriage type. Briggs continued making bodies for Locomobile until 1923.
1902 Locomobile Advertisement
Copied from the 1903 Edition of
the Automobile Topics Magazine
Locomobile Gasoline Car
An entry in the Boston Reliability Run which
has been the subject of considerably discussion is a Locomobile gasolene car entered by A.
L. Riker, and manufactured by the Locomobile Company of America. This is an entirely new
departure in the line of Locomobile machines, the firm's reputation being hitherto
identified with the ubiquitous steam carriage which has become world famous. The new
Locomobile gasolene car is designed by A. L. Riker. The engine is of the multi-cylinder
type, situated in front, the large car having four cylinders and the smaller car two
cylinders. A feature of the engine is the improved throttle control, which permits the
carriage to be run very much like a steam carriage. In other words, the carriage can be
run slowly through crowded streets, thus obviating any danger of overheating the motor.
The carriage is built on French lines to run on American roads, and is fitted with many
important improvements. With the high-speed gear it runs in every way as smoothly as a
steam carriage, and has ample power, so that there is very little occasion to drop back
into a lower gear.
The large, 12-hp. car
will weigh about 2,000 pounds, and consists of a rectangular steel platform placed on four
32-inch artillery wheels, this underframing containing the engine, steering connections,
etc. This chassis can be equipped with any style body, and will be built in two
sizes12-hp. and about 8-hp.
The Locomobile Company
of America is building gasolene carriages because it believes for touring the gasolene car
has many advantages, but believes for all around work there is nothing so good as steam,
on account of its great hill-climbing powers, ease of control and absolute quietness of
operation.The new machine steers with a wheel, has powerful brakes, and its working parts
are easily accessible, particularly the engine valves. The gears are easily changed, and
run with little noise and vibration. While built for touring, this style of car has
covered a mile in 1 :08.
company will build two sizes of gasolene carriagesa large car having 12 nominal and
18 developable horse power, to sell for $5,000, and a smaller car of about 8 nominal horse
power, to sell at a lower price. Ten of the large cars are being builtthe first one
having been completed early in the summer and having been run about 4.000 milesat
Chicopee Falls by the Overman Automobile Company, a concern
which has a close business alliance with the Locomobile Company.
1904 Locomobile Laundelet
1905 Locomobile Automobile Advertisement
1909 Locomobile Model 4
1917 Locomobile Coupe
1923 Locomobile 48 Touring Series
1928 Locomobile Sedan
Like so many manufacturers that were in dire straits
in 1922 because of the recession of 1921, Locomobile decided to declare bankruptcy and put
the company up for sale.William Durant, who had started the Durant Motors in Flint, MI, a
year earlier bought the company and it stayed as a viable company until 1929.
Overman Wheel Co.
Chicopee, MA. 1896-1902
From 1896, A. H. Overman, owner of OverMan
Wheel Co. of Chicopee, MA, had been experimenting with gasoline driven cars. Harry
Knox, later builder of the Knox automobiles, was the engineer and inventor of its engine.
However, Overman changed to steam power for his first production as the Victor Steamer in
1899, under the company's name, Overman Automobile Co. Knox left the company and started
his own company in 1899.
1900 Victor Runabout
1902 Victor Gasoline Tonneau
1901 Victor Advertisement
1902 Victor Automobile Advertisement
Walter Baker helped Morris and Salom build their
Electrobat car in 1893 and with the help of the White Brothers, who owned the White Sewing
Machine Company, started the Baker Motor Vehicle Company in Cleveland, OH in 1899, using
the 1898 model as the protype.
1898 Baker Electric Runabout
1901 Baker Electric Speed Machine
On its first race, while going around a curve, it
left the track and landed in a a large group of spectators killing several and wounding
many more. It was completely demolished. The race officials were blamed for letting it
race. The window was a 4" by 8" sheet of mica and the driver had no side vision.
1903 Baker Electric Advertisement
1903 Baker Electric Advertisement
1906 Baker Electric Runabout
1906 Baker Electric Advertisement
1906 Baker Electric Shaft-driven High-speed
Raceabout. The battery is under the hood
1908 Baker Electric Advertisement
1909 Baker Electric Cosed-Body
1914 Baker Electri Coupe
Baker Electric merged with Rauch and Lang in 1915 to
become the Baker, Rauch and Lang Company
John Walker, the original buyer of the Stanley Co.,
left the partnership as a definitely looser. In order for him to start his company, he had
to start from scratch and spend a lot of capital to get his factory in ready for
production.His company was called the Automobile Company of mderica, but soon changed it
However by, 1900, the Mobile Steamer was put into production under the name of Mobile
Company of America
1900 Mobile Runabout
1901 Steamobile Automobile
1902 Mobile Runabout Automobile
Even though the Locomobile was inferior in
construction and style, The Mobile was far behind in sales. The company closed down in
1904. Brisco-Maxwell moved into the factory with their Briscoe-Maxwell automobile.
When Harry Knox graduated from the Springfield, MA
Industrial School at age 19, he went to work for Elektron Company, a manufacturer of
electric motors and elevators. In 1896, He went to work for the Overman Vehicle Co. in
Chicopee as the engineer with their gasoline car that was being used as an experiment.
Three of these were built, but when the car went into production in 1899, it was a steam
vehicle. Knox left the company and started designing an air cooled engine. With his
former classmate, Herman Farr, he went to Dpringfield and convinced Elisha Cutler into
forming the Knox Automobile Co. The business started in 1899 with a three-wheel vehicle
with a six-horsepower air-cooled engine. The air-cooled engine was mch simpler, but
overheating was a problem. This problem was fixed by screwing in 1750 rods into the engine
to emit the heat into these rods. The name "Old Porcupine" was soon gi9ven to
this odd looking contraption. It was always advertised as the Waterless Automobile"
1899 Three-Wheel Runabout
Fifteen were made in 1900 and 100 the next year.
There was no reverse on the transmission, as the vehicle could turn a nine-foot circle.
The three-wheelers were sold for cash right from the factory door.
1903 Knox Advertisment
1904 Knox Touring Model Tudor
In a dispute with the company executives, he
left in 1904 and started another one called the Knox Motor Car Co. in 1905.
When that name was challenged, he formed the Atlas Motor Car Company across town near the
Knox factory. The Knox Automobile Co. kept its original name
1906 Knox Model F-4 Runabout
1910 Knox Limosuine
1909 Knox Transport
1909 Knox Commercial
1909 Catalogue Drawings
1910 Knox Fire Truck
1912 Knox Advertisement
For a few years after Harry Knox left, the company
did very well, but the lustre was lacking, but after a few setbacks, they continued
making cars under a trusteeship. In 1914, the assets were sold to Frank Sutton and was
reorganized as Knox Motors CO. The passenger cars were phased out and making trucks and
fire wagons continued . Amerger with the Militor Corporation, makers of motorcycles.
Passenger cars were going to bed made, but it never happened. The company closed in 1927.
Grout Brothers' Factory, Orange, Ma
In 1896, the Grout Brothers Automobile Company, Orange.
Mass, was capitalized at $250,000.00, and the entire stock was owned by members of
the Grout familyW. L. Grout, the father, and his sons. W. L. Grout was for many
years factory manager for the "New Home" sewing machine, and brought that
establishment to where it could produce one sewing machine for each minute of the working
day, and also to where it could produce one machine per day for each name on the payroll
and salary list. In this ?nely-equipped factory two of the Grout boys received a thorough
The three brothers, Carl, Fred and C.B. were set up in business
by their father
William H. Grout who had once worked for the White
Sewing Machine Co. had set up a company in Orange, MA to make his sewing machine called
the New Home. In 1898, his three sons Carl, Fred , and C.B decided to start making
automobiles. Their father gave them the needed finances. The engine was fuel by gasoline
and it was tested to have the necssary horse power and relilable to use. In November of
1898, producton was started and the twelve bodies were made by the Hume Carriage Co. in
Amesbuy. When these cars were sold, they ordered more bodies from Hume, but he told them
that he wanted to stick just the carriage making. They contated Currier, Cameron, &
Co. After a few of the gasoline models were made, they changed from gasoline to steam
1896 Grout Gasoline Stanhope
model used for the 1899 cars.
A Hume Carriage Co. Body
1898 Grout Gasoline Runabout
Currier, Camero, & Co. Body
Edited from the 1898 Horseless Age Magazine
The elegant gasolene carriage
shown herewith is the first effort of Grout Bros., Orange. Mass., and they are so well
pleased with its performance that they have decided to begin manufacturing them for the
market. The vehicle weighs about 1,100 pounds, and is propelled by a 6 H.P. horizontal
gasolene motor, having two cylinders with the cranks set at 180 degrees, thus avoiding
disagreeable vibration. Ignition is by electric spark from a generator, and the motor is
started by one turn of a crank in the usual way. All parts are self-oiling. All
speeds from 4 to to 20 miles an hour may be obtained by means of a lever on the left hand
side controlling a gear transmission which exhibits features not generally seen in this
connection. The pivoted wheel steering is employed, the lever being situated in the center
of the seat. A band brake on the countershaft is powerful enough to bring the carriage to
a sudden stop. The wheels, fitted with three-inch pneumatics, have bronze aluminum alloy
hubs, wooden spokes and steel rims. Electric side lamps and an electric gong complete the
equipage. They will manufacture gasolene vehicles of any desired style, including delivery
wagons, and are now engaged upon a new carriage, which will be brought out in the spring.
Delivery wagons were also a product of this company of which the
illustration. The lighter vehicles have a single steel tube frame strongly made with
braced joints at the fittings. They also propose to build steam carriages if desired. In
the middle of the year, they began to build only steam automobiles.
1898 Grour Gasoline Runabout
Grout Gasoline Delivery Van
1901 Grout Stanhope
Winner of the Nelso Hill Cimbing Race in its class
1901 Grout Light Delivery Van
Minute Tapoioca Pudding was also made in Orange
1902 Grout Touring
1902 Queen Stanhope E
1903 Runabout with a seat up front with closed foot rest
1904 Touring with a side entrance tonneau
1905 Grout Touring with a barrel shaped hood
1906 Grout gasolineTouring
Grout's "Frenchie" Runabout.
1903 Grout Automobile, French Style
One of the first concerns to perceive the demand for
steam cars designed on what are termed gasolene lines, Grout Bros, Orange, Mass, have
worked consistently to meet this demand. They have followed up their steam touring car.
which attracted so much attention at last winters shows. With a runabout.
appropriately named the "Frenchie." It is also furnished with a tonneau body.
The lines and general appearance of the "Frenchie" appeal at first sight. The
long wheel base. the business-like look of the car. with its hooded front and low and
rakish body and angle iron frame, stamp it as a winner. An examination of its power plant
and details of construction confirm this favorable impression. Both the boiler and the
engine are located in front. the latter being positioned hormonous with patented down
draught, which carries the heat and odor away from the occupants of the car. The engine is
completely encased. affording a much desired protection from out~ side shocks. It is of
ample power, insuring the maintenance of good speed, even on the steepest hills. The
engine drives direct to the countershaft, with transmission to the rear wheels by means of
individual chains. Wheel steering is used, the steering rod having fitted on it a second
wheel used as a throttle. This throttle works up and down, and rotates either with the
steering wheel or independently, as may be desired. Ample provision is made for the
carriage of supplies, the fuel tank holding 'sufficient gasolene to run the car 150 miles.
Grout Bros. are prepared to make immediate deliveries of this new model, and anticipate a
good trade in it. They are also building a steam racing car, which is expected to possess
1904 Grout Automobile Advertisement
Frederick E., designed all
of the many different forms of Grout steam wagons and is acting superintendent and chief
constructor of the works at Orange, Mass. where about 125 men are now employed. Frederick
E. Grout built his ?rst automobile, driven by a pair of opposed cylinder-fired motors in
1896 and his ?rst steam wagon in 1898. His faith in the future of the steam wagon is
unbounded, and his unceasing efforts to improve this class of vehicle have culminated in
the ?ne condensing steam touring car. This is the first wagon to which Grout Brothers have
applied a condenser.
In 1906, a decision was made to change back to
1906 Grout Gasoline
The Grout Brothers also exported their steamers to
The Weston Motors CO. Ltd, England and were called Weston Steamers there'
1900 Weston Steamer Automobile
1900 Weston Steamer Delivery Van
1902 Weston Steamer Dog-Cart
1902 Weston Runabout
Their father took over the company in 1906 because
he did not care for his sons' business practices. They were spending too much money. They
sruggled along until 1913 when all production was ceased
One might say that the Packard was the first luxury
car built in country, from their beginning in 1899 to their shutting down in 1958 at
Detroit, MI, they were designed and built like one.
It all started after buying a Winton automobile in
1898 in Clebveland, OH and trying to drive it back to Warren, OH, James Ward Packard
encountered several problems with his purchase. Without getting any help from Alexander
Winton and being told to try to build a better car, he went back to Warren and in 1899, he
did what he was told to do; he built one of the best cars that were ever made in the
industry and lived up to to its reputation.
James W. Packard driving his first Packard in 1899
To add insult to injury, two of Winton's men went to
help. With James's brother William Dowd and these two men, the Packard
automobile was produced in November of 1899. It had a 7 hp, single cylinder, four-stroke
engine and chained driven. 49 were made in 1900,
1899 Packard Runabout
The first two were bought by William Rockefeller
at the New York Automobile Show who was a former Winton owner.
In September of 1900, the Ohio Automobile Company
was organized and production began in earnest. At the New York Automobile Show in
November 1900, the new 1901 models wew exhibited. Among these were the New Model C with
1900 Packard Advertisement
1901 Packard Advertisement
1901 Packard Advertisement
In 1902 , William Joy, a wealthy Detroit business
man was buying quantities of Packard stock. He soon became the owner. In October the name
was changed to the Packard Automobile Co. in 1902 with twenty-five hundred additional
stocks were sold which were bought by Joy. 2,500 cars were sold in 1902.
1903 Packard Runabout Model F "Old
One year later, the company was moved to
Detroit. A factory was being built in Detroit beginning in January of 1903.,
Meanwhile, the big news of the summer was Packard's record breaking run from San Francisco
to New York in two dys less than the Winton Model. The car's nick-name became "Old
Pacific and the run was highly publicized in all major newspapers.
Tom Fetch and "Old Pacific" at the Henry
Ford Car Museum
1903 Packard Model F Rear Entrance Tonneau
Packard's 1903 Gray Wolf Racer with Designer and
Driver Charles Schmitt.
1905 Packard Model L Boattail Runabout
1906 Packard Automobile Advertisement
1907 Packard Runabout Model 30
1914 Packard Touring
1910 Packard Automobile Advertisements
1911 Packard Automobile Advertisement
One might say that the Packard was the first luxury
car built in country, from their begining in 1899 to their shutting down in 1958 at
Detroit, MI, they were designed and built like one. The original factory name was the Ohio
Automobile Company for the first two years, but it changed to the Packard Automobile Co. A
group of wealthy Detroit business men invested in the company and enticed the company to
move to Detroit. Because they very good sellers to customers who demanded the very best,
they were able to survive all of the ups and downs of the industry and through two wars
until the 1950's. Trying to be the best technological car on the market was their downfall
for too many mechanical problems were detrimental to their sales.The company joined with
the Studebaker Co., but Studebaker could not save them and they were retired from the
market in 1958. Packard, Peerless, and Pierce-Arrow were the three big "P"
Frank Stearns, whose father had become wealthly in
the quarry business, built his first car in 1896 in the basement of his home. He was
seventeen at the time and had never driven one before.. His father had set up a fine
machine shop for him. When his father saw the machine, he encouraged young Frank to
continue in his work and the machine shop was moved to the carriage house. F. B. Stearns
& Co. was organized in 1898 in partnership with the Owens Brothers . The Owens soon
left to start their own company. When the Owens brothers, the & Co. was dropped
and Frank became the president, general manager, and treasurer. His father was
vice-president. He owned the company outright and never needed any money to operate.
He decided that his cars would be the very best and
were for wealthy clients. The automobiles and price confirmed this. Before he ever sold a
car, he would put it under strenuous tests, tear down the engine for inspection of any
faults. He sold fifty cars in 1901. The 1902 model had a steering wheel and left hand
driving. It went back to right hand driving the next year. His models always seemed to be
one step ahead of the others. He never made a racing car, but he entered his stock made
cars in all types of races and won most of them. It was the fastest and most powerful
stock made car at the time. The price of his cars were in the $5,000-$7,500 price range
1908 Stearns Touring
Stearns Toy Tonneau, scanned from a postcard.
1912 Stearns Toy Tonneau Touring
Of all the races that Stearns car entered and won,
there is no coverage of 1909 New York to Seattle Pan Pacific
Race in automotive magazine. The June 1-23 New York Times had reporters giving day by
day reports. The Stearns car not only showed up a date late, but it broke down soon
Steans had heard about the Daimler-Knight engine and
its capabilities. He and his best mechanics traveled to the factory to give it a thorough
checkout. After two years of strenuous checks, he applied for rights to use the engine. In
1912, the Stearns-Knight made its appearance.
The Knight Engine
Silent Knight Stearns Cars for
been known for some little time that the F. B. Steams Company has been preparing a
sensational offering for the 1912 season, and a few persons had the tip that the Silent
Knight engine was to be used by this noted concern. This week comes the official
announcement of the matter , and the StearnsKnight is about ready to make its bow to the
American public. The Stearns Company has burned its bridges behind it, and for 1912 will
make only this Silent Knight model, doing away entirely with the Poppet valve type of
vibrationless, these qualities
are the least of the noticeable features of this engine. Probably the most noteworthy is
power. The engine develops high power, as noted above, yet it develops that power easily
and sweetly.Best of all, it maintains its wonderful power year after year, principally due
to the valve construction. Among other things, tests have conclusively proven that this
engine will not fire prematurely under any conditions, nor will it gather carbon. The
valves cannot carbonize, nod do they ever need grinding. Furthermore, it is never
necessary to re-time this engine. The valves are positively controlled at all times and at
all speeds.There are many other reasons for the marvelous results secured from the StearnsKnight motor. ition. Water cooled.
1925 Stearns-Knight Sports Sedan
Body made by Witham Body Co., Amesbury, MA
The Stearns company was sold to Willys Automobile
Co. in 1919, and it was built until 1928.
Thomas Jeffrey, manufacturer of the Rambler Bicycle,
and his son made their first automobile in 1897 and it was named the Rambler. Not meeting
with any success, they made two more that also received little notice. They exibited
the next one at the Chicago Show in 1900. The Jeffreys concentrated on making automobiles.
1897 Rambler prototype with Thomas B. Jeffery
The American Bicycle Company purchased the Rambler
Bicycle Company in 1900
The Rambler began serious production in 1902 with
their model C Stanhope. When they sold the bicycle company, they kept the Rambler name.
1902 Rambler C Stanhope Automobile
The 1902 model had a steering wheel instead of a
tiller, a front mounted motor, and left hand drive, but it went back to the tiller
immediately and its motor under the seat. It also changed back to right hand drive and
remained that way until 1914. The wheel steering was used once again in 1904. The Rambler
quickly became the number two best selling car with the Oldsmobile being number one. Their
advanced designs, quality work, and a low price enabled them to increase sales each year
1902 Rambler automobile Advertisement
Jeffery promoting his Rambler Automobile
named after his favorite horse "Rambler"
Tragedy struck in 1910 when Thomas fell ill while on
vacation and unexpectedly died. His son Charles took over the company. Charles changed the
name to Jeffery in 1913 in honor of his father. After running the company for two years,
he began to wonder about keeping the company or selling so he could relax and go on
1913 Jeffery Automobile Advertisement
1913 Jeffery Six
Copied from the 1913 Horseless Age Magazine
Jeffery CarsA New Name for an Old
Two entirely new cars, a four
and a six, have been produced by the Thomas B. Jeffery Co., Kenosha, Wis. They will bear
the name of Jeffery, in honor of the late Thomas B. Jeffery, organizer of the company. The
two new cars are of very similar design, but show many departures from the Rambler cross
country model, which is still being produced.
The Jeffery Four is powered by a
high speed bloc cast motor with 33/4 x 51/4-inch cylinders. All valves are on the right
hand side, the valve stems and springs being inclosed by a single long cover plate secured
by two thumb nuts. The exhaust pipe is separate from the cylinder casting, but the inlet
passage is cored in the casting, so that only a short, plain pipe is required for
carburetor connection. The reciprocating parts are made as light as possible, each piston
weighing only 3 pounds, complete with rings and wrist-pin. There are three crankshaft
bearings. Connecting rod bearings are 2x2}4-inch, and the main bearings are also 2 inches
in diameter, with a total length of 11 inches
The Jeffery Six is a duplicate
of the Four in almost every detail. The cylinders are of the same size, but are cast in
pairs, and the wheelbase is 128 inches, with 36 x 41/2inch tires. Five different types of
bodies are supplied for the Jeffery Four. Standard five-passenger touring car and
two-passenger roadster sell for $1,550. The two-passenger, inside driven coupelette is
$1,950, and four-passenger inside driven sedan $2,350. A five-passenger limousine on the
same chassis costs $3,000.
Charles Nash became the president of General Motors
Corporation in 1914 when Henry Leland quit over the direction that the corporation was
going. William Durant, president of Buick and Dort Companies was positioning himself to
return as the head of General Motors by buying all of the banks that was financing General
Motors. Nash and Durant had been good friends but had recently had a dispute, and Nash
knew that his stay at General Motors was coming to an end. When Charles Jeffery approached
him in 1918 about buying his company, Nash readily agreed. The Jeffery car was now a Nash
grew up in Brockton, MA, and started learning the machinist's trade at an early age. At
that time the bicycle business was enjoying a boom and bicycle racing was very popular.
Having developed an interest in the sport, Cameron built a special racing bicycle weighing
twenty-one pounds less than the conventional type which weighed thirty-nine pounds. The
result was so good that Mr. Cameron continued in the bicycle business for the next two
years. In 1899, however, he became interested in the future possibilities of the horseless
carriage and built his first steam car. Two cars of this type were used by the Back Bay
Post Office of Boston to collect mail, and it is believed that these were the first
automobiles used by the Post Office department. Becoming annoyed with the dirty, exposed
chain of the 1899 models, he built his first drive shaft car in 1900. The engine was a
three cylinder radial steam engine, mounted on the end of the drive shaft and hinged to
the body. Although twenty-five of these machines were built.
1899 Eclipse Runabout
1899 Eclipse Boston Mail Delivery
1902 Eclipse Runabout
The novel feature of the eclipse was the burner and
boiler arrangements. The burner used kerosene rather than gasoline. Suposedly, kerosene
was 25 percent more productive than gasoline. Barber Mfg. Co. of Boston manufactured the
burner and was claimed that steaming up only took ten minutes. The burner was composed of
a large number of pipes radiating from a central gas chamber with each pipe was slotted
through which the gas passed. The pilot light was started by alcohol and rapidly
heated the kerosene to cause gasification that started the main boiler. The kerosene was
heated by traveling through the boiler giving it a lower firing temperature
In 1902, after selling his interest in the Eclipse
automobile, he went to Taunton, MA to build the Taunton Steaamer
1902 Taunton Steamer
The Eclipse and Taunton Cars were often referred to as Cameron Automobiles
The Taunton was a steam touring car designed to
carry either two or four passengers, a folding seat being provided in front, which could
also be used as a luggage carrier.The boiler was of the water tube type with superheating
coil. The engine was a three cylinder one, 2x3 inches, with a single eccentric and crank,
without stuffing boxes, slides and crossheads, and entirely inclosed. The carriage was
equipped with wire wheels and pneumatic tires, brake drums were fastened directly to the
wheels, and the brakes which act on these drums are said to be double acting. The drive
was chainlesswith the engine being geared directly to the rear axle by bevel gears. All
the parts of the driving gear were completely inclosed. The tank capacities were as
follows: Water, 40 gallons; fuel, 20 gallons; lubricating oil, 1 gallon. The weight of the
vehicle'complete, with tanks filled, was 1.200 pound.
When he got tired of
steam cars in 1903, he started working with gasoline and developed the Cameron Automobile.
He had James Brown Machinery Company in Pawtucket, RI build his automomobiles until
1905 when the company decided to stop making cars.
In 1905, The United Motor Corporation decided to
stop making Cameron automobiles and sold the company to James Brown Machine Company. Both
companies were located in Pawtucket
THE NEWEST CAMERON
The Cameron car for 1905 appears in the form of a
three-cylinder, side-entrance tonneau car, which the James Brown Machine Co., of
Pawtucket, E. I., has just introduced. The car has a running gear of modern construction
with I section front axle, semi-elliptical front springs, full elliptical springs and
28-inch artillery wheels with 3-inch detachable tires. The motor has three vertical
air-cooled cylinders, and is arranged longitudinally on the front of the frame.
In 1905, James Brown Machine Co. decided to quit building
automobiles and Cameron Car Co. decided to manufacture its car in Brockton, MA.
The company quickly out grew the factory
and moved to some of its manufactuiring to Beverly, MA in 1908 to the former Beverly
Machine Co. building where the Beverly automobiles had been built. No cars were built in
Copied from the January issue of
the 1908 Horseless Age Magazine
Cameron Company Moved to Beverly, Mass
The Cameron Motor Car Company, of Brockton, Mass.,
have purchased the factory of the Beverly Manufacturing Company, of Beverly, Mass., and
the Cameron cars will hereafter be made in Beverly. It is stated that 100 cars are in
process of construction, and it is planned to make 400 cars in all the coming season, in'
two models, at $850 and $1,050 respectively. The Beverly Manufacturing Company owns a
brick factory fronting the Bass River, and only a few minutes from the Boston & Maine
freight depot, and also a two story frame structure, which is to be used as a garage and
is now being fitted up for the purpose.
1908 Cameron Runabout
|1910 Cameron Speedster
Six-Cylinder Touring Car had a long, low, rakish appearance and was
just as fast as it looked
1910 Cameron Advertisement
In 1910, the
Cameron was made as four and six cylinders.This is the only advertisement showing that the
Cameron was being built in Beverly, MA and New London, CT at the same time. The Cameron
Car Company has been said to have moved from Beverly to many different cities. However,
the standard runabout was made in Beverly with other models being made elsewhere.
Only advertisement showing that the Cameron was
being built in Beverly, MA and Attica, OH. The Ohio factory made the touring model.and
their trucks were made in Alma, MI
1914 Cameron Touring Automobile
The Cameron Mfg. Co., New Haven, Conn., will produce
for 1916 a $1,000 six-cylinder car of 122-inch wheelbase and 33 by 4 wheels, with two
styles of body, a flve-passenger touring and a runabout with an inclosed seat in the rear,
which makes a four-passenger car when opened.
1916 Cameron Automobile with a Victoria Top
Cameron Car made plans 1913 to move to West Haven,
CT and a new factory was built. A 1914 prototype was made before the factory was rented to
a French Company to make wartime materials with the undrstanding that after the war, it
would be returned to the, The war lasted five years and by this time Cameron had run out
of money. They closed down in 1920.
Starting in 1898, Waltham Mfg. Co., Waltham, MA, the
largest watch and clock makers in the country, began to manufacture automobiles. In the
ten years that they existed, they made more types of cars than any other manufacturer.
According to the June issue of the 1898 Horseless
Age Magazine, there were three different steam cars being built in Waltham, MA. Two of
these were being made by John Piper and George Tinker of the American Waltham Automobile
Co located in the Comet Bicycle Co. plant. Needing more space, they decided to move into
the Waltham Mfg. factory at the invitation of Charles Metz the owner of the plant.
1898 Piper and Tinker Steam Car
American Waltham Mfg. Co
Body by Currier, Cameron, & Co, Amesbury, MA
1898 J.W. Piper and G.M. Tinker Steam
American Waltham Mfg Co.
1898 Waltham Orient
Body by Currier, Cameron, & Co.
At the same time Waltham Mfg. was
also building their steam car known as the Orient Steam Buggy after the Orient Bicycle
that Metz had been making for years. This car was no completed in time for the New York
Automobile Show. Waltham Mfg. Co discontinued the steam cars in 1899 and started making
gasoline vehicles in 1900.
Made by Tinker and Piper who were now working for Waltham Mfg. Co. However, none were put
Charles Metz wanted to concentrate on his bicycles
and motorcycles so he sold the company to a group of businessmen and went to Brockton, MA
to continue making them under the Metz brand.
In 1900, Tinker and Piper decided to moved their
production to a new factory and changed its name to Waltham Automobile Company.
1901 Waltham Steam Buggy Runabout
Waltham Automobile Co.
1902 Waltam Steam Buggy Runabout
Not meeting with much success, they
decided to shut down the manufacturing business and deal in automobile parts
Copied from the 1900 Horseless Age Magazine
The " Victorlette." As the photograph
shows, It Is a light gasoline carriage, normally carrying two people, but with an
auxiliary seat in front, which makes it possible on good roads to add a third and even a
fourth passenger. It is fitted with a 3 h. p. Aster or de Dion watercooled motor, with
speed-changing gears. In designing this vehicle, the makers have endeavored to get away
from the " horse wanted " style, and our readers will agree that they have been
successful both In achieving this and In producing a graceful and attractive turnout.
1900 Orient Victorlette
1900 Orient Victoriette
1900 Orient Autogo
The Orient Autogo was
designed after a French car but made by Waltham. It could be ordered with either three or four
wheels. Its production was short lived.
1900 Autogo Advertisement
Waltham Mfg. Co decided to continue
with regular type cars in 1901.
1901 Orient Automobile
1903 Orient Runabout
Side Entrance Tonneau
This was a cross betwenn the ordinary models and an
Orient Buckboard. The photo shows that it had eliptical springs where as the Buckboard did
not. It had a heavier Aster engine mounted on the back and could carry four people. Top
speed was 20 mph.
1904 Waltham Orient Touring
1905 Waltham Orient Deluxe Touring
1906 Waltham Orient Advertisement
Waltham Orient Buckboard
When the Orient Buckbard made its first appearance
atthe 1903 New York Autmobile. it was a sensational hit. It was exported to almost every
foreign market and its sales surpassed the early Locomobile sales figure. The power plant
was a single-cylinder De Dion placed on the rear axle. The body was bolted to two
hickory boards placed lenghtwise from axle to axle with four-inch hickory boards going
crosswise.This arrangement gave the passengers a smooth ride over rough terrain for the
body acted as springs. It was one of the lowest priced cars on the market at $350.
1903 Orient Buckboard
1906 Orient Buckboard
1903 Buckboard Racer
1903 Orient Buckboard Advertisement
1904 Orient Buckboard Surrey
1906 Orient Buckboard
After an extensive test on the rural mail routes, in
1906, the United States Postal Service used them for rural mail delivery.
Like so many
companies in 1907, the Waltham company began to struggle for survival. They need financing
for materials but none could be had. The banks refused money to almost all of the
automobile companies. The 1908 Orient Deluxe output was very small and it was identical to
the 1907 model.
1908 Orient Buckboard
Waltham Orient Taxicab
Because the Orient Buckboards were still in
demand and to induce more sales, an entirely new model was produced. an enclosed taxicab
was also made. However this could not rescue it. Between 1903 and 1908 they made
approximately 2,500 Orient Buckboard Cars at the Waltham Manufacturing Company on Rumford
Avenue. The cars were sold all over the world and today they are a big part of America's
history on cars. Recently a survey was taken throughout the world of all Orient Buckboards
in existence today. There are a total of 57 Orient Buckboard owners today.
Buckboard was the largest selling vehicle in the world and it could be seen in almost all
parts of it.
In late 1908, in order not to go into
bankruptcy, the company was resold to Charles Metz, the original owner. In 1909, the Metz
automobile was introduced to the market asthe Metz Plan.
Metz Automobile Company
In 1909, the Waltham Automobile Company was failing and Charles Metz, who had
left the company in 1902 to form his Orient Motorcycle Company, returned and bought the
company. It was named the Metz Automobile Company.
At the 1909 Boston Automobile Show, The Metz Plan
was singled out for an article in the Horseless Age Magazine for one of its featured
articles describing it as one of the best small cars of the show.
1909 Metz Plan Roadster with top up
Metz Manufacturing Company ,
Article taken from the 1910 Horseless Age Magazine
"The Metz Manufacturing
Company has been incorporated under Massachusetts laws at Waltham, Mass., to take over the
business of the C. H. Metz Company, which nearly a year ago bought out the Waltham
Manufacturing Company. The new company is capitalized at $300,000. The directors are: John
C. Robbins, president; Charles Spiegelberg, treasurer, and Charles H. Wolfe. Mr. Metz is
the majority stockholder. The company will continue to manufacture assembled parts for a
runabout, which are sold under what is known as the Metz plan, the purchasers doing the
final assembling themselves. It is said that nearly 200 men are at present at work in the
company's plant. There has been some talk of removing the business to some other city, but
the Waltham Business Men's Association has taken the matter up, and will make endeavors to
hold the company."
Although Metz was not the first to offer a kit car,
Dyke and Sears pre-dated Metz with do-it-your-self high wheelers, it did offer the first
known kit automobile on the installment plan, known as the Metz Plan. The buyer would buy
14 groups or packages of parts for $27.00 which would be put together with the plans and
tools supplied, or a factory assembled automobile could be bought for $600.00. This plan
was in effect until 1911 when it became impractical to compete with a dealer supplied
model "T" Ford.
1910 Plan Roadster
In 1911, Metz introduced the Model 22 as a 1912
model. The Model 22 had a 4 cylinder engine and continued using the friction drive concept
that had been used in the Plan Car. Only one body style was available and the color was
dark blue with cream wheels. This was a two person roadster without doors. An available
option to increase seating capacity was either a single seat or a double seat that could
be mounted on the tool box at the rear of the car; however, utility of these seats was
limited due to difficult access. The standard Model 22 roadster initially sold for $495 in
1912 and 1913.
1911 Metz Runabout
Metz entered three Model 22 cars in the July 1911
Glidden Tour. He did so to give them a good road test before full scale production. The
Metz team was the only team out of the 70 cars on the tour that arrived at the finish line
without a time extension. However, they did not accumulate enough points to gain an
overall win. Metz also sent a three car team to compete in the 1913 Glidden Tour from
Minneapolis Minnesota to Glacier Park Montana and this time they won with perfect scores
and no time extension. In some ways this win was detrimental to the Metz company since it
convinced Metz that the friction drive concept was the best and he continued using it even
though noticable sales resistance to it was evident.
1912 Metz Twenty-Two Runabout Autoobile
1912 Metz Advertisement
1914 Metz Automobile Advertisement
1915 Metz Delivery
Metz Touring Automobile
Metz Roadster Automobile
1910 Metz Advertisement
In 1917, the federal government used the plant for
war production. The company did not make a 1918. Because the government failed to pay for
the use of the plant., Metz was in dire financial straits. They introduced the Master Six
model, but because for lack of funds, it was an assembled model. Metz struggled until 1922
before he called it quits. The 1922 Metz was named the Waltham.
Copied from the 1919 Motor Age Magazine
METZ DROPS FRICTION
Waltham, Mass., Jan. 10The last exponent of
friction drive for passenger cars has switched. The Metz Co. is bringing out a new car
which will have gear drive and be known as the Master Six. It will be powered with a
45-hp. six-cylinder engine, having three-speed sliding gear transmission, semi-floating
rear axle, I-beam front axle and semi-elliptic springs on the rear with Hotchkiss drive.
Five tires, 32 by 4, on demountable wire wheels will be used. Electric equipment
throughout Is standard. The new car will have a wheelbase of 117 in. and weigh less than
2500 lb. Fuel feed will be by the Stewart vacuum system. The car is to sell at $1,495
1920 Metz Automobiles
1922 Waltham Sedan
The Abner Doble Steam
1913 Doble Touring a wrecked White Motor Company
steamer, driving a new engine of the Doble brothers' own design. It did not run
particularly well, but it inspired the brothers to build two more prototypes in the
following years. Abner moved to Massachusetts in 1910 to attend MIT, but dropped out after
just one semester to work with his brothers on their s
There were four Doble brothers: Abner, William, John
and Warren. The father patented the Doble Pelton wheel in California and made money. All
were at one time associated with the automobile company, with Abner, John and Warren as
the leading lights. Abner built his first steam car between 1906 and 1909 while still in
high school, with the assistance of his brothers. It was based on components salvaged from
team cars. The Ffamily moved to California in 1914
and continued making cars there.
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