History of Early American Automobile Industry
1891-1929

Chapter 13

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Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3


Automobile sales in1906 were the highest that it had ever been and was continually growing. With the ever improvement of the roads thanks to the Good Roads Committees for better highways that were being organized accross the country and with inns and hotels with facilities for "Automobilists", touring cars were in big demand.  Long distance touring had become a summertime must for the rich patrons and for promotion of the automobile manufacturers. Bostonian Charles Glidden organized the first one in 1905 that awarded a large silver trophy for certain achievements. This prize was the the most prized one in all of automobiledom. The winner could brag about it with advertisements in all the trade magazines and huge posters at its dealerships. There were hundreds of smaller tours throughout the country. Every wekend in every part of the country, there were speed races on race tracks and mountain sides for hill climbing contest. Crowds would gather from miles around to see these events. The car had graduated from a noisey fad to a passion in all parts of the country

After an extensive research of all the years from the beginning to 1929, a conclusion was drawn that 1906 was the most productive year during this time frame. It is true that some years had more startups and some produced many times over the amount of cars, but none was more stable than this year. There were several models introduced, but unlike most every year, there were no major bankruptcies or receiverships.

Except for a few who were still copying the French look, the car bodies being made were an American product that had a distinctive elegant look that other countries envied. Just to name a few, these makers were Reading Metal Body Co. that would later become Fleetwood and then the Cadillac Fleetwood, Chauncey Body Co., Boston; New Haven Carriage CO, New Haven, CT; Merrimac Body Company, Merrimac, MA; and the thirty body making companies in Amesbury.

There were an unaccountable number of factories making every part of the automobile. There was never another American industry that produced more factories for a single product than the automobile. They were located in every section of the country from Maine to California. From 1900 to 1929 there were forty-three companies in Amesbury making automobile parts. Pettingell Machine Company, Amesbury,  was the largest maker of automobile machinery in the world. They invented the Automatic Power Hammer in 1905.   Fisher body had 500 of them in their factory.


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1906 Cadillac Model K Unrestored with a Top by Amesbury Top Company, 1904-1915
Photographs were furnished by Steve Stephens, the owner


 

Below are shown a few accessories that had a major impact on the business.

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1906 Gray and Davis Advertisement
Largest Aiutomobile Lamp Maker in the World

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1907 Leather Tire Advertisement

 

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Automotive Accessories Advertisement

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1906 Diezmann Shock Absorber Advertisement

   

 

 
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1906 Muffler (Scarfs) Advertisement
No lady would be seen driving an automobile without her muffler (head scarf).

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1906 Auto Lock Plug Advertisement
A great and timely theft prenvention lock
This was a great deterrent in automobile thefts

 

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1906 Pedal Car Advertisement


New Haven

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1906 New Haven Automobile Advertisement

Beverly Rae Kimes wrote in her book, Standard Catalogue of American Cars-1805-1942 "that some sources mentioned that New Haven Carriage Company may have built a car, but New Haven produced only coach work". 


Monarch

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1906 Monarch Automobile Runabout

The single-cylinder 7 H.P. ait-cooled Monarch was first built in Aurora, Ill. by Monarch Automobile Company in 1905 by owner E. B. Overshiner of Chicago.  Its slogan was " Body Rides on One Pair of Springs, Machinery on Another" Its price tag was $500 and had a speed up to 22 mph. Early in 1906, two of the backers, William George and A. B. McCord, left the company and built another car named Aurora. The Monarch went into receivership but successfully emerged to build a few more cars before going into foreclosure ion 1908

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1906 Monarch Automobile Advertisement


Aurora

William George and A. B. McCord left the Monarch Automobile Company in early 1906 to build a car that would "be of service to mankind" in their Aurora Motor Works company. Production began in 1907 with

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1907 Aurora Roadster Automobile

 

The Aurora Motor Co. or The Aurora Automobile Co. made an American Automobile called the Aurora from 1906 to 1908. The Aurora was produced as a Touring Car and a Roadster or Runabout. These early automobiles were made in Aurora, Illinois and priced at $775. The Aurora was equipped with a two cylinder horizontal type engine that developed 20 horsepower.

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1907 Aurora Automobile Advertisement
 


Simplex

From its production date in 1907 until it was discontinued in 1919, the Simplex automobile made in New York, NY, by the Simplex Automobile Company,  was America's most prestigeous automobile. It was designed for the person who wanted and could afford the very best. When Smith and Mabley discontinued their S & M Simplex model, Herman Broesel bought the assests and the services of its chief engineer Edward Franquist. Franquist had just completed a 50 horsepower T head engine for the Simplex and eventuall the horsepowere was increased to 90. The 50 horsepower was it most popular model and 250 were sold within five years. The coach work was done by some of the best in the business. The price tag was in the $5,000 range. When Broesel died in 1912, his sons took over and the next year the company was sold to Goodrich, Lockhart and Smith. Goodrich was the B.F. Goodrich Tire Company The sons and Franquist stayed on to run the company.

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1908 Simplex Touring Automobile

The company was moved to New Brunswick, NJ, shortly thereafter. In 1914, they bought the Crane Motor Car Company, Bayonne, NJa super expensive model that its chassis sold for $8,000 and moved it to New Brunswick. Henry Crane was made second vice-president. The common name for the models was clled Crane-Simplex, its official name was Simplez, Crane model 5.

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1908 Simplex Automobile Advertisement

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1912  Simplex Speedster Automobile

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1915 Crane-Simplex Model 5 Farnham-Nelson Torpedo Touring

Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation bought the company in 1917 and during the war the factory was regulated to the war effort. It was discontinued after the war and for the next two years, the parts were used to assemble as many cars as they could. Around 450 cars were built by the Crane-Simplex Company.


1906 produced a great number of automobiles in various styles and models. Below are some of the companies that were organized in that year.  Unfortunately, most of them did not survive beyond two-three years and have been forgotton. However, each and every company was a part of the industry and should be recognized.

Williams

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1906 Williams Electric Runabout

The name of this automobile had four different names during its existence from 1905-1910. William Demars put into production the Demars Electric built by his company, Demars Electric Company, Cleveland, OH, in 1905. The principal owner was John Blakeslee. In Early 1906, Blakeslee formed a group to buy out Demars and started his company, Blakeslee Electric Automobile Company. A twentty of these cars were built,   J. F. Townsend, H.A. Williams and several members of the Byrider family, who all of them had been unsuccessful in building the Williams Gasoline Car, purchased the Blakeslee Electric and began making cars under the Williams Electric model name. The advertisement indicates this. Less than a year later, the Byride family bought the company and changed its name to the Byrider Electric. The Byrider Electric Automobile Company went out of business in 1910. During all of this, there were very few changes made in the car.

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1906 Williams Electric Runabout Advertisement
The Williams gasoline model mentioned in the advertisement never was made.

 


Dorchester

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1906 Dorchester, Hub Motor Car Co.

In 1906, the Hub Motor Exchange , Boston, MA, purchased the Crest Mfg. Co, maker of the Crestmobile, Cambridge, MA and began to bulid a car somewhat similiar to the Crest runabouts of the earlier years. This was hurting the sales of the remaining Crestmobiles on hand and forced the company to merge with the Alden Simpson Company in Pittsfield, MA. The Dorchester had a one cylinder, four horsepower  engine mounted on the front axle with tiller steerng. It was priced at $400, but it did not survive the year. Another attempt to produce a different model  called Hub in 1907 also failed.

Copied from the 1906 Automobile and Cycle Trade Jurnal

The “Dorchester” is a neat little runabout, weighing 400 pounds, having a 4 H.P. motor and listing at $4oo—$I per pound,I horse power to each 100 pounds of carweight. It is especially adapted to the use of physicians and persons requiring a car of simple construction. It is driven by a vertical, air-cooled gasoline engine, hung in front of the front axle. Transmission of power is through a system of chains giving two speed changes. All mechanism is supported by the axles and the springs have only the body to support. The seat is roomy, and there is ample space back of it for parcels or luggage. It is claimed by the makers that the car will run 40 miles on one gallon of fuel and that the fuel tank holds enough for three times that much running. The Dorchester has a price tag of $450.00. Weight is 400 lbs. The Dorchester runabout is marketed by Hub Motor Car Co., I91 Freeport St., Dorchester, Mass.

 


Smith

Although several cars had been built by Dr. Clement Smith and Terry Stafford in Stafforsd's garage in Topeka, Kansas, prior to their corporation of the Smith Automobile Company in 1904. The model name for the cars were Veracity. They were two cylinder buggy types with chain drive.

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1901 Veracity Runabout

In 1906 a four cylinder was built and its name was Smith  and had a shaft deive. Sales for the first year suffered from a poorly designed intake manifold, but the next year saw a production nunber of 100 cars. The name was changed from Smith to Great Smith . It was virtually the same car, but a better type of trinning material was used and the Great Smith name sounded better.

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1906 Smith Side Entrance Tonneau. Automobile

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1907 Great Smith Automobile Advertisement

Only ten cars were sold in 1907 and the Smith Brothers decided that they had enough and sold out to a group that wanted to transfer the factory to Grand Rapids, MI. However, the group soon found out that by the Smith Automobile CO. having joined A. L.A.M. was a mistake for the syndicate refused the move stating that too many cars were being built in Michigan and too few in Topeka. They had the authority to refuse the move. The group lost interest in the Great Smith and sold it to Brothers Charles and George Southwick and assembled the remaining parts into a model called the Westerner. This last a very short time and the factory was sold for silo manufacruring.

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1910 Great Smith Cruiser Automobile


La Petite

 

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1905 La Petite

Detroit Small Car, 54 inch body

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1905 La Petite Automobile Advertisement

 

J. P. La Vigne had been building a three-wheel car each year since 1898. until 1903 when he built a four-wheeler. With his daughter as his technical advisor, he decided to go into production and formed the Detroit Automobile Manufacturing Company. It was to be a car that would sale for $375. He exhibited his car in the Detroit Automobile Show in 1905 as La Petite. It was under a large banner that read   "Within the Reach of All". After making 200 of them, he gave up on the idea of car making so he could pursue some of his other dreams.  This left the company in a prediciment, but they soon came out with a slightly latrge version of the La Petite, the Paragon.


Paragon

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1906 Paragon Runabout

The 1906 Paragon was the continuation of J.P. La Vigne's 1905 La Petite automobile that was built by Detroit Automobile Manufacturing Company, Detroit MI. He abdruptly decided to stop building the La Petite in 1905. When he did, he had a lot of material left over so he decided to build another car that was slightly larger and call it Paragon. The wheel base of 68 inches was the only difference between the two cars. It weighed only 650 pounds and was powered by a 5 hp engine that could travel at 22 mph. It had a price tag of $375. It was first made with a two stroke engine but was soon changed to a four stroke with the same horse power. Before the year was over, they sold out to another company that made the Marvel automobile.

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1906 Paragon Automobile Advertisement

 


Marvel

Late in 1906, the Marvel Motor Car Company moved into the factory that had previously built the Paragon and started working toward its Marvel model for the 1907 season. with 325 cars to be produced. It had a $825 price tag. Bankruptcy was declared in the fall of 1907.

Copied from the 1906 Horseless Age Magazine

The Marvel Motor Car Company, of Detroit, Mich., are putting on the market for 1907 a two passenger roadster driven by a 12 to 14 horse power opposed motor set crosswise under the hood. This motor is water cooled on the thermo-siphon sys-tem, a vertical tube radiator being used. The flywheel is in front, well up on the radiator, and has fan spokes for creating a draft. The valves are on top and are mechanically operated by direct push rods. Ignition is jump spark, current being furnished by dry cells. A two speed and rear of the motor, making these control connections very simple. The body is of wood and is made with divided seat and ample carrying space in the rear. Asiatic carmine is the standard color. The weight is given as 1,300 pounds. The Marvel Motor Car Company is a new concern, but its members have been connected with the trade for some time. They will devote their entire time and attention to this model.

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1907 Marvel Automobile Advertisement

However, another company moved in and bought the assests with the intention of  making the Crescent cars. Crescent cars were to be the continuation of the Reliance automobiles. The Reliance Automobile Co had decided to focus on trucks. The new Company was Named Crescent Automobile Company. This companywas uncertain what it wanted and soon closed down without making a car. 


Banker Juvenile Electric

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The "Banker Juvenile" Electric Car 

The Banker Brothers were bicycle dealers in Pittsburg, PA and first dabbled in making a car in 1895 with a Kane-Pennington motor. From time to time, they would build another vehicle, but they started dealin in automobiles and were very successful at it with several showrooms across the country. Their next venture was the Juvenile Electric that had a wheel base of 52 inches and could carry two juveniles comfortably. The price tag was $400. It was not very successful and it closed down at the end of the year.

Copied From the 1906 Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal

A neat little electric car which should prove very popular has just been placed on the market by Banker Brothers Co., of Pittsburg, Pa., who realize that there is a good market for a small juvenile ear with a fair battery mileage. The Banker Juvenile has a battery radius of 35 miles per charge, the battery consisting of twelve cells, half of which are in the rear, under the seat, and half in front, under the hood. The machine is equipped with a Westinghouse ball bearing-motor developing 1 1/2 H. P. normally and 3 H. P. under an overload. It has also a Westinghouse controller giving normally speeds of 2, 4, 6 and 12 miles per hour forward or backward, but a lower or higher speed controller can be provided if desired bythe purchaser.


Carey

The Carey automobile was exibited at the 1906 New York Automobile Show, but little facts are known about it . Specifications of the car are not known nor how many were built.  By 1907,  the whereabouts of Carey was not known and the Cary company faded from sight.

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1906 Carey 5-Cylinder Runabout

Copied from the Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal

The Carey Motor Co., 208-214 West 124th St., New York, are building the new Carey Revolving Cylinder Air-Cooled Engine. This engine presents many novel features. The crank-shaft is solidly secured to the side frame of the car, and does not revolve, while practically all of the other parts of the engine revolve in a vertical plane around the crank shaft. The cylinders, of which there are five, in this engine, are cast of grey iron, with ten cooling flanges or ribs. The heads, which are cast separate from the cylinders, are also of grey iron, and carry the valve chambers, both heads and chambers being well supplied with cooling ribs. Both inlet and exhaust valves are positively operated by push rods extending from the crank case. and a short pipe leading to the carburetor, which is on the left and just back of the engine.


Colburn

Copied from the Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal

This car, when driven in an altitude near sea level, will give theoretically about 17 per cent, more power, and for this reason the whole design of the chassis, wheels, bearings, etc., is for a 40 horse power car, while the builders rate the car at only 28 horse power. The weight of the car is given as 2,400 pounds, and the wheelbase is 107 inches.:The body is of conventional outline and seats five.

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1907 Colburn Touring Automobile

The Colburn Automobile was a product of Colburn Automobile Company, Denver, CO and was placed on the market for the Rocky Mountain region with a specially designed high altitude engine. The

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1908 Colburn Touring Automobile

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1908 Colburn Runabout

It was powered by a four-cylinder, four-cycle, 30-horsepower motor and there were four foward speeds, direct on third,  and a selective type transmission. It had four brakes on rear wheels. The touring was a five passenger model  and the roadster could seat three. Both were built on the same chassis and  priced at $3,250.

From 1908-1911, there were several names for various models, but none were very effective for sales. By the end 1911, the company realized that it was time to close down and it did so in February, 1912 and the company became a dealership for National Aautomobiles.


Windsor

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1906 Windsor Tonneau Automobile

J.A. Windsor incorporated the Windsor Automobile Company in late 1905. He was not able to get backing in Chicago, IL so he took his plans to the Single Center Buggy Company in Evansville, IN.  Willis Copeland owner of the buggy company agreed to build the car for him. It was a four-cylinder, 30 hp touring car with shaft drive. The transmission was called  a  "rolling traction drive". Copeland's supertindent had designed and patented it. The car was put into production in 1906 and it was priced at $2500, but sales were almost non existent.and he had no sales organization and it went out of business at at the end of the year.


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1906 Windsor

The Windsor was not the first car that Willis Copeland had built in his Single Center Buggy Company. He had built the 1903 Zentmobile for Schuyler Zent.

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1903 Zentmobile Tonneau

Schlyler Zent had been trying for two years to get backing for his Zent automobile.  Copeland agreed to build it for him in his Single Center Carriage Company. However after a disagreement with Copeland, Zent went to Bellefontaine, OH, in 1904 to build his Zent cars there. He produced a few cars there until the end of 1907.

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1906 Zent Automobile Advertisement

 


Traveler

The Traveler was produced by Bellefontaine Automobile Manufacturing Company in 1907 that had previously made the Zent automobiles.

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1906 Traveler

It was a five-passenger touring car with a 28 horsepower, four-cylinder, water-cooled engine that sat on 104-inch wheel base with a normal tread. It was shaft driven with a bevel-gear drive and a sliding speed change gear with three forward speeds and a reverse. The wheels were 32 inches and the weight was 2350 lbs. They were great performers in fair weather, but when it rained the cars stopped and would not move. When he finally discovered the reason for this was moisture in the friction gears. It was fixed by enclosing the transmission. By now, the reputation of the car was damaged and in order to regain his reputation, he changed the company name to Traveler Automobile Company and started making the Traveler automobile. It was the Simplicity automobile with a different name. He also continued making the Simplicity model. In 1912, he gave up the manufacturing of cars and opened a Chevrolet dealership in Evansville.

In the meantime, Copeland built his own car and it was called Simplicity.


Simplicity

The   Simplicity was to be his crowning achievement. It had the same transmission as the Windsor with four-cylinder water-cooled engine and he set up a new company called Evansville Automotive Company to build it.

 

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1906 Simplicity Automobile Price $3,000

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Limousine, Formerly the Windsor automobile of the Evanaville Automobile Co., Evansville, IN, $4,500

The above models show the beauty of these cars and they also show that they were Windsor cars with Simplicity names. The cars  and captions were copied from the 1906 Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal.

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1906 Simplicity Automobile Advertisement


 

Single Center

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1908 Single Centre High Wheel Auto Buggy

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1908 Single Centre Roadster Automobile

 

The Auto Buggy had a roadster style body with a two-cylinder , water-cooled, four-cycle, 15 horsepower engine and it could seat two-four  people. The wheel base was 86 inches and the weight was 900 lbs and it was priced at $675.   Except for the roadster's price tag was $800, it was tthe same as the Auto Buggy.

The Single Center was being made at the same time as the Simplicity and was made for a very short time before being discontinued.


Bliss

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1906 Bliss Automobile

E.W. Bliss claimed in early 1906 that he had built the very best car evermade. It was a touring car with afour cylinder 30 H.P. engine with a 114 inch wheel base priced at $5,000. There was a lot of talk of how well his car was built. It was on display at the New York Automobile, but he claimed that business would prevent his going to the Chicago show. By January of 1907, ten cars had been sold and Bliss said that he had enough of the industry and went back to the machinery business.

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1906 Bliss Automobile Advertisement

 


Merkel

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1906 Merkel Runabout Automobile

Joseph Merkel, owner of the Merkel Manufacturing Company, Milawaukee, WI, had been making bicycles and motorcycles from 1901 when he decided to build automobiles in 1905 with his new company Merkel Motor Company. He made three models with three different horsepower and wheelbase sizes and were offered with a price range from $1,500-$3,500.   Air and water-cooled engines were optional. He produced cars on a small scale until 1907, when he shut down.

 


Deere

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1906 Deere Automobile Touring

By 1905, W.E. Clark of Moline had built two cars that were never put into production for lack of financing. In 1905, he needed financing to try again and he persuaded the John Deere's company, Deere & Company, to help him. Deere bought the machinery from the defunct Clarkmobile  company of Lansing, MI. and the Deere-Clark Motor Company was formed in January of 1906. Clark's first two cars were air cooled, but the Deere-Clarks were water cooled. They were touring, limousines, and runabouts. "Built to Satisfy" was the slogan, but the Deere company was not so satisfied and took their name off the car and their money from the company.

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1908 Deere Automobile Advertisement

A total of 200 had been builet. In 1908, The Midland Motor Car Company took over the operation .


Midland

The Midland automobile was manufactured by the Midland Motor Car Company that took over the operation of the former Deere-Clark factory in 1908. Capital stock was $500,000 with C. H. Pope as resident.  It had a 30- 35 H.P. four-cylinder water-cooled engine and carried four passengers. The wheel base is 112-118 inches depending on the model, Fully equipped with some of the best accessories, the price was $3,500.  The Midland was an exceptionally good car.and had a production figures as high as 600 in 1912.

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1908 Midland Automobile

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1908 Midland Automobile Advertisement

Pope retired in 1911, and the Deere estate took over control. 1913 had a higher figure for production. However, in 1913 bankrupt proceedings were filed. Investigation proved that it was a solvent company, but a lot of irregularities were uncovered in the finance departartment that were blamed on Pope, which had died in the meantime. The company assests were sold  and a great car was no more and a factory that had made some fine automobiles was empty.


Reliable Dayton

The Reliable Motor Car Company, Chicago, IL, was incorporated in the fall of 1906 by Willaim Dayton with a capital of $25,000, several months after it began production that spring. The two-stroke water-cooled engine was beneath the seat and had its radiator placed over the front axle. It later had a four-stroke engine and all of its engines were made in Chicago by Dayton and Mashey Automobile Works. In 1909, Fal Motor Company bought the company for its Fal models.

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1906 Reliable Dayton High Wheeler Automobile

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1909 Reliable Dayton  Automobile

 

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1907 Reliable Dayton Automobile Advertisement

 


F. A. L.

The F. A. L., or as originally named the "A Car Without A Name", was put into production by the FAl Motor Company, Chicago, IL,  at the former Reliable Dayton factory in 1909.  By now, it was named  the F. A. L by using the initials of its owners, T. S. Fauntleroy, H. R. Averill , and E. H. Lowe. A lot of stock, mostly to farmers, was sold in the area, but it was soon depleted. N. H. Sicklen stepped in and   took over as president and just as fast he left. It went into receivershp in 1911. Investors claimed the the money was no being wisely spent and contracts were unfullfilled. C. J. Marhoefer became president in 1912 and announced that a new model was to be built known as the "Grayhound" , a two passenger roadster with one headlight and sleeping conditions.

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1909 Falcar Touring Automobile

Nothing helped its sales and in the summer of 1914, its assets were sold at auction. 65,000 cars were made during its roduction period.

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1909 Falcar Touring Advertisement

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1910 Falcar Advertisement


Eagle

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1906   Eagle Automobile Tonneau

The Eagle Automobile Company, Buffalo, NY, made two Eagle models with an air-cooled engine and chain drive. One was a 12 H.P. two-cylinder roadster priced at $950. and the other was a four-cylinder 24 H.P. touring with a price tag of $2,250. The company made very few of either before collapsing the same year. without many peopleknew that it had existed.

 


Culver

Copied from the 1906 Automobile and Cycle Trade Magazine

The "Culver" is a runabout built on the lines of the ordinary horse-drawn buggy, with falling top and high wheels, shod with solid rubber tires. It is made by the Culver Practical Automobile Co., Aurora, IL.  It is equipped with a 2-cylinder horizontal opposed motor of 3 3-16 ins. bore and 4-in. stroke, developing at normal speed 6 H. P. 'Llie intake valves are automatic, are operated direct by plunger, and are noiseless. The engine hangs low at centerrear of body bottom, all working parts are exposed. A most advanced type of muffler construction is used, the expansion spaces being so designed as to give the utmost efficiency.

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1906 Culver High Wheel

Dr. D. D. Culver opened his company in Aurora with an idea to make a car that was for doctors. It had a 72 in. wheel base and it also had a tilting steering wheel that made it easier to get in and out. This novel feature did not help sales, so he returned to his to his practice of medicine before the end of the year.


Postal

Fred Postal had an idea for a car to be used for postal deliveries and was designed to do so. He used the recently closed factory of the Anderson Machine Co. of Bedford, IN. to make his car. He thought that by using his last name would be a good sales gimmick, but it wasn't good enough to keep him in business in longer than esrly 1908. The number of sales is not known nor just how many routes that this car traveled. 

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1906   Postal Runabout

Copied from the 1906 Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal

A new runabout, known as the “Postal,” has Just been placed on the market by the Postal Auto and Engine Co., Beclford, Ind., formerly known as the Anderson Machine Co. The machine is of the buggy type, and has, in addition, all the accepted features of high-class automobile construction. The machine is especially designed for rural mail service. as well as for professional men in general. The motor is I2 1/2 H. P., 2-cylinder opposed, air-cooled. The speed of the runabout can be varied from 4 to 35 miles per hour. The speed change gear gives two speeds forward and_one reverse. The wheel base is 72 inches, with wheel tread of 56 inches. Front wheels are 42 inches dia., rear wheels 44 inches, both front and rear wheels beingfi tted with  solid rubber tires. The price of the “Postal” runabout is $450.
 


Farmer's Wagon

 

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1899 McCormick Grass Mowing Machine

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George Ellis, an employee of McCormick, with his 1892 Automobile

According to documentation filed with the photograph, Ellis claimed that he successfully ran his automobile on February 28, 1892 and drove it for many months. He built it in his friend's basement and had to take it apart to get it out. This car is in the McCormick Museum.

McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, Chicago, IL, that had been in business making harvesting machinery for a half-century and its chief rival, Deering Harvesting Company, began discussing a merger in 1902. Along with three other similiar companies, Plano Manufacturing Company, Milwaukee Harvesting,Company, and Wardner, Bushnell & Glessner, the International Harvester Company was founded.

For many years before it was decided to manufacture autmobiles, the company engineers had been testing versions of what was need by farmers. In 1898, four years before the merger, E.A. Johnson of the Engineering Department had made a gasoline automobile and drove it to work for months. In 1905, he designed and developed an Auto Buggy at Keystone. It was a two-cylinder, air-cooled engine on a high-wheel chassis that was to look like a horse drawn buggy. It was designed for farmers to drive to and from markets and for family Sunday driving. In 1906 they were introduced  as the Farmers Auto. They had tiller steering.

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1906 Farmers Auto with Tonneau

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This model has the tonneau removed for delivering produce.

The pictures of these two are not shown or mentioned on any web site or in the International Harvester historical literature.

Copied from the 1906 Horseless Age Magazine

The Farmers’ Auto, manufactured by the International Harvester Company of America, of Chicago, Ill., is designed specially for traversing country roads. The body has two good, roomy seats and the rear wheels 44 inches in diameter; both fitted with I 1/2 inch solid rubber tires. Axles are I 1/4 inch diameter. Wheel base is 80 inches, and track standard. The ground clearance is 16 inches. The price of the Farmers’ auto, without top, is $600 F.O.B. Chicago Ill.

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1907 Auto-Buggy Delivery Model

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1907 Family Touring Model

The name was changed to Auto-Buggy in 1907 and after a hundred were made,  the manufacturing was moved to Akron, OH. The most notable difference was the wheel sizes, the steering wheel was used, and an up-date in accessories.

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Front Cover of the 1907 Owner's Manual

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1910 International Truck
International Harvester Co. Chicago, Ill. 
1900- Date

The Auto-Buggy was one of the most popular high-wheelers ever built with 4, 500 being made before the decision was made to cease its production and to concentrate on farm vehicles and trucks. They were sold by International-Harvester dealers in farm equipment.

 


Federal

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1906 Federal Runabout

The Federal Motor Car Co. , Chicago, Ill., began  to manufacture a runabout in 1906 for the 1907 season. It was constructed in a piano box style to obtain   maximum power, speed and durability. The motor was 12 horse power, double opposed cylinders on the 2-cycle principle. Cylinders were air-cooled. Speeds were regulated by a small wheel under the steering wheel, which could be operated by two fingers. Moving the friction wheel toward the outer circle of the disk increased the speed. and moving it back toward the center decreased it. The reverse motion was by moving to the rear of the center of the fly wheel. There were no clutches or gears used in the speed transmission. Solid tires were used on 36-inch wheels, with I4 inches clearance. It was priced at $375.

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1907 Federal Runabout Automobile

It was reorganized later in 1907 as the Federal Automobile Company. In 1908, the company moved to Rockford, IL. It was built only as a two-seat vehicle until its demise in 1909 when it was bought out by the  Industrial Automobile Company in Elkhart, IN. Only a small quantity was made before the factory closed down.


Kissel-Kar

In 1907, Badger was renamed Kissel-Kar. The Badger car and information can not be found in any other published form. This includes Beverly Rae Kimes 1996 edition of the Standard Catalogue of American Cars or any web sites.

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1906 Badger Automobile that will be produced in quanties in 1907

This information was copied and edited from the 1906 Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal

The Kissel family of Hartford, WI, had been making farm equipment since 1888 before entering the manufacturing gasoline engines in 1903 for farm use. They made their first automobile in 1904 that was a runabout. Four Kissel brothers formed the Kissel Motor Car Company in early 1906 with only one stockholder, Kissel Brothers. The model produced was named Badger Runabout with a Kissel motor that was made in their factory. It was a four cylinders, four cycle, water-cooled engine that produced 18 H.P. It had a clone clutch with three forward speeds and a reverse, sliding gear transmission that could travel 35 mph on a good road. The second Badger runabout was finished in April had a 24 H.P. motor that could travel up to 60 mph.

Desiring plenty of power for their car, the 1907 Badgers will have a 35 H.P. motor. The wheel base will be increased from 82 inches to 96 inches and will have two styles, runabout and touring.

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1909 Kissel-Kar Automobile

Three new models came out in 1909. They $1,350 roadster, a $1,500 touring car, and a new six-cylinder, 60 H.P. touring car $3,000. The roadster and touring   car were   made smaller with a 25-30 H.P. and a reduction in pricing was made. The quality of the cars did not suffer. Zimmerman Brothers made the bodies. A little later, Kissel Kars were mede in their entirety at their factory. In 1914, three lamps were placed under the dash giving it to be the first to have dashboard illumination.

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1908 Kissell Kar Advertisement

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1909 Kissel-Kar Advertisement

 

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A page cut from the the 1915 Issue of the Horseless Age Magazine

Kissels cars were some of the best selling cars in the teens in their price range, but they experimented with different types of engines and they settled for the Double Six in 1917, the year that they dropped the "Kar" from their model name for fear that the public would object to it because of the impending conflict with Germany.

1923 Kissel by sjb4photos-catching up.

1923 Kissel Gold Bug

Several body styles were introduced in the 1920's such as the "Staggard Door", that proved popular and were good sellers. 1928 was a down turn in sales and no credit was available in 1930. They were morgaged to the limit when they made a bad deal with The Ruxton Automobile Company that caused them to go into bankruptcy in 1931.


Elite Junior

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The “Elite” Junior, Model A Automobile
Copied from the 1906 Horseless Age Magazine

This is a small automobile intended for the use of children, ranging in age from four to eight years, and whose weight does not exceed sixty pounds. The miniature car is a perfect imitation of the larger cars, it differing from them only in the nature of its motive power. Instead of a Gasoline Engine or Electric Motor, it depends upon a large steel coil spring for its source of energy. This large spring is encased for protection against breaking, and should it for some reason break, it would be impossible for it to do any damage whatever to either the car, or the child using it. The car is intended only for level sidewalks or asphalt roads. Two foot pedals are provided, one for actuating the brake and the other for controling the power. The car when wound up will run one-eighth of a mile and is absolutely noiseless in its operation. It has a 48 in. wheel base, with a 24 in. tread, giving a good substantial foundation on the ground, and cannot be overturned without great exertion. It has I6x1% in. pneumatic tires. The complete weight of the car is 86 pounds. It is finished with brass trimmings and heavily lacquered and requires no polishing. This vehicle is made by Hughson & Burchett Motor Co., Newark, N.J.

It lasted for one year and went out of business for unknown reasons.

 

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