Early American Automobiles
Chapter 17Home Forward Contents
By the end of 1909, the high wheel buggy was fast loosing interest and sales had dropped dramatically. Most of them had simply closed down or gone into bankruptcy.
However, some of these companies decided to make automobiles with conventional bodies , but still using high wheels. Some of these were Zimmerman, McIntyre, Schacht, and International Harvester
Sales of automobiles were at an all time high and were forecasted to be even higher in 1910. Contented with the success of their 1909 models, very few companies made changes in their 1910 models. Those that did only added one or two new models.
Copied from the January 6, Edition of the Motor Age Magazine
has been estimated that America's motor car output for 1910 will be close to if not fully
200,000 cars. A reflection of this truth is already being shown in the elaborate
preparations and' the large number of exhibitors for the two great annual and national
shows in New York city. Close observers of the business interests that make possible an
output of 200,000 cars see the truth of this statement in the bustling activities
everywhere apparent among makers of cars and accessories. In scores of cases the product
of 1909 is being increased for the coming year from 25 to 50 per cent. New factories have
been built, others enlarged, great combinations for economy and improvements have been
effected, and the great series of shows which, beginning in New York, will be continued
for the next 4 months or so in all parts of the country, promise to be
However, it didn't turn out to be so. It started out with lawsuits and ended with lawsuits. . The first one was the E. M. F Company filing a lawsuit against the Studebaker Company on January 5. The Studebaker and the E.M.F companies had been fueding for some time over the contract between them. A contract was made with the Studebaker Company to market its cars through its agencies. The normal fee for the agencies was twenty percent of the sale price. However, Studebaker allowed only ten percent for the E. M. F. vehicles, making it impossible for the agencies to make a profit. This hindered the sales of these cars. Also any advertisements or literature had the Studebaker name at the heading giving it an apperance of being a Studebaker product. The E. M. F. Company claimed by doing this, Studebaker wanted to damage the company to the point that they could buy it. Also the company had to put its stock in a stock pool in a local bank. By doing this, no stocks could be sold to other concerns, namely General Motors Corporation. The judge decided to set the court date later and let the status quo remain. Before the case was filed, E. M. F. had begun to enlarge its factory and erecting a huge showroom. Experts in marketing and selling were hired and production was increased dramatically. However, later the Studebaker Company did buy the E. M. F. Company and used their cars for the 1912 Studebaker models.
A. L. A. M. announced that two more companies had joined its organization. Those being Hupp Motor Car Comapany and Pierce Motor Car Company. A total of fifteen new members including White who bought the Waltham Company's assests, Metzger Motor Car Company with its purchase of Hewttt, and the Overland Motor Car Company who had recently bought the Pope-Toledo Company.
Copied from the January 6, Edition of the Motor Age Magzine
What Will the End Be?
present year has been a momentous one in the history of the A. L. A. M. in view of the
recent court decision in which the validity of the Selden patent was sustained in the
circuit court. Up to that juncture, motoring history in America was chiefly one concerned
with the progress of rival organizations: the license group on one hand, and the
independents, as they were termed by many, on the opposite side. Up to the
It is to be hoped now, that at least the leaders of the rival organizations have been amalgamated by the court decision into one, that there will be more unity of action among the different manufacturers of the country. Up to the present it has been a factional fight, the Seldenites arranged on the one hand and the Independents on the other. It is a fact that at times the energies of these respective parties, which have been to an extent occupied with party controversy, could much better have been employed to the demands of the general activities of motoring, and so have worked a common good to both parties. Now that this barrier is broken the different members in the new Selden fold should act with concerted vigor and forget little trade jealousies that have been so important in the minds of some. The big industry demands big-hearted action, and if there was ever a time when the strongest united action of an industry was required, it is today. There is a big field for the undivided activities of this recently rehabilitated licensed organization. Up to the present time many of the manufacturers have held aloof from problems which are of vital interest to the industry, and they have been left to the motoring organizations, composed largely of individual car owners and clubs scattered throughout the length and breadth of the country. It is only in the last year that these manufacturers have realized that good roads sell cars and that now it is imperative to develop good road movement in states where the virgin trails are labeled highways. The output of cars in certain states can be doubled and trebled if the good road movement is pushed and reap directly as a result of this, and they should be willing to help it along by moral and financial aid. Federal legislation is a point of utmost importance to makers and will prove of increasing importance during the next few years because of higher license fees and increased road taxes, which may be imposed on cars. In order that the motor car may bear its proper proportion of this there must be united action of the makers and the many different clubs and affiliated organizations throughout the country, and with this action much can be obtained which the industry requires at the present time."
They were determined to control every aspect of the motoring industry. Any angency that sold their cars would be shut down if any independant makers were sold by them. Not only the agencies were threatened, so were parts makrs, shows, and races. They would also set the amount of cars that could be made and what location that they were located. Nothing could be done without its consent.
The board of directors called a meeting in early January to consider what to do. The board recommended that Ford would be left alone and that lawsuits would be brought against some other chosen companies. These were H. J. Koehler Company, New York, Velie Motor Vehicle Company, Moline, IL and Abbott-Detroit Motor Car Company, Detroit. Like Ford, Abbott-Detroit defied A. L. A. M. and notified all of its agencies that a Surety Bond was drawn on a prominent bank to insure them against any damages brought by lawsuits that would harm their sales. Velie was a continuation of the Deere-Clark Company that had recently called it quits. Because John Deere, John Deere Farm Machinery Company, had controllng interest in the Deere-Clark Company, his in-laws were in position to organize the Velie Company. The Deere family had deep pockets and well trained lawyers to pursue a lawsuit against A. L. A. M. for restraint of trade under the Sherman Act. Other companies followed suit. Ford was advised by his friend Thomas Edison to challenge the recent ruling in the Appeals Court. After several months of considering what to do, A. L. A. M decided since the patent had short time to run and with all of the lawsuits against them it would be to their best interest not to go forward. By this time, there were eighty-three companies that had joined its organization.
General Motors plan was for a total output form its factories would be 68,700 with Buick making 47,500 of them. By the end of the year, General Motors fired Billy Durant as president and was on the verge of going bankrupt. What a difference a year can make.
In late spring, the forecast for the original number to be produced was lowered drastically from 300, 000 to 250,000. The reason was that parts manufacturers was slow in retooling their machinery for the 1911 models, that by this time, was being done in January. The same was also for the independant parts makers leaving a large group of manufacturers of assembled cars without parts and causing them to be late in the year to introduce their models for the coming year.
The 1910 Morse was 4 cylinder vertical type rated at 34 horse power with a extraordinary 127 inch wheel base that gave it a look of excellence and splendor. Full elliptic springs in front and rear. It had a jump spark ignition with a Eiseman high tension magneto and batteries. The transmission had 4 forward speeds and reverse with direct drive to third and geared up to fourth. The 25 gallon copper gas tank was suspended from the rear. An extra large tonneau allowed for extra seating. It was provided with a foot rail, coat rail, and pockets. It came fully equiped with horn, two front lights and two side lights, spare tires, complete repair accessories, and tool boxes with tools. The body builder was W.B.Judkins and Co of Merrimac, MA, which was one of the best body builders in the trade. A devasting blow to the company was when he had to have a major recall for defective castings from his supplier. The company could not fully recover and it was shut down in 1916. Thus went one of the superior automobiles of its time. Original priced at $4,200.
Copied from the 1910 Automobile Industries Magazine
The list of exhibitors promised two new cars, one of which was to be the Anderson, but through some inadvertence it failed to develop on time, and section No. 133 was pretty well filled up with Kline Kars instead. The Morse car, however, which is made by the Easton Machine Company, South Easton, Mass., was in place, and is attracting a wide amount of discriminating attention which cannot be explained away on the ground that the car is new. The photograph of this car, which will be found among the especially noted features of the show, presents a chassis in the foreground, which has all the earmarks of satisfying quality.
1914 Vaughn Touring Automobile
THe production of the Vaugh automobile is convulated at best. GuyVaugh, a prominent race car driver, decided to build a car in 1910 with some backing from W. A. Wood Manfacturing Company. The car was to be called Guy Vaughn. From ther it proceeded through three other companies with minimal production and bankruptcy until 1913. By then Vaugh had left the company and went to work forWright-Martin Aircraft Corporation and it was now a Vaughn. In 1914, the Vaughn Car Company was incorporated and a few cars were made until it went bankrupt that year.
1914 Vaughn Automobile Advertisement
1910 Sibley Automobile Advertisement
Lumber Dealer, F. M. Sibley financed the Sibley Car Company, Detroit, MI, in order to help his son Eugene. Manufacturing began in 1910 and the roadster was its only model.with a 30 hp, four-cylinder motor on a a 106 inch wheelbase. The transmission was three speeds and the price of the car was $900. In 1911, the Detroit Valve and Fittings Company sued the Sibley Company for default on lease agreement of the factory building. The Sibley closed down.
When the Spaulding automobile was produced in 1910, the Spaulding Manfacturing Company had been making carriages for 36 years in Grinell, Iowa. Henry W. Spaulding's two sons Frederick and Ernest had joind the firm with their father. They decided to go into car business with a pair of four-cylinders, 30 horse power models: a three-speed and a two-speed transmissions. The wheel -base was 120 inches and the price was $1, 500. They were to be sold through their carriage business agencies. In 1911, they came out with a larger model that sold for $2,500 and these were to be sold through automobile agencies. This did not work out and they returned to their carriage angencies in 1912. The 1913 model was a 40-horse power on a 120 inch wheel base and it stayed there.
They came out with their famous Sleeping Car model in 1915. Getting parts in 1916 and underfinancing doomed the car, but they kept in business by making farm machinery.
1915 Spaulding Sleeping Car" Automobile
was a well-made four-cylinder chassis with a Buda motor and listing at $1,230 as touring
car or roadster. It had plenty of power and high-class components and had been changed
only in minor detail. A special feature of this carwas the supply of a touring body for
five passengers which can be converted into a sleeping place by dropping the back of the
front seat. This is done in a few minutes and the cushions were so shaped that a
comfortable bed could be fixed up. Magneto ignition and the Entz system of single unit
lighting and starting were fitted to the Buda motor, and the three-speed gearset was
situated amid ships, while the floating rear axle had exceptionally large brakes.
1915 Spaulding "Sleeping Car" Model Advertisemnet
In 1906, car salesman Maurice Wolfe, joined the Wilcox Brothers in Minneapolis, MN, to form the H. E. Wilcox Motor Car Company in making the Wolfe automobile. They were either air-cooled or water-cooled four-cylinder engines with double-chained drive. 30 cars were made in 1907 and 153 in 1908. The name was changed to Wilcox. Their sales were profitable and a Trux model truck was put on the market. In 1910 cars were discontinued.
The Wilcox was a continuation for the Wolfe that had been built from 1906-1910 by H. E. Wilcox Motor Company, Minneapolis, MN. The company was owned by brothers H. E. and John F. Wilcox, and Maurice Wolfe, hence the name Wolfe. The Wilcox It had a four-cylinder, water-cooled, Carrico engine. Sales for these cars were profitable, but in late 1910, the Wilcox Trux were more preferred and car production was stoped. H. E. Wilcox went to work for the Meteor company that had just been organized.
1910 Wilcox Touring Automobile
1910 Wilcox Automobile Advertisement
1910 Clark Runabout with Tonneau
One of the manufacturers to have a longer production period was the Clark models that were first made in Shelbyville, IN, in 1910. The men behind the compay were, John Clark, J. H. Akers, A. J. Thurston, Arthur Woodward. Acting, and acting as general manager was Mauruce Wolfe, whose Wolfe cars had previouly ceased production .
1910 Clark Automobile Advertisement under the Clark Motor Car Company
Coming out of bankruptcy in 1912, Clark had enough and sold the company to Wolfe who named the car as the Meteor.
In 1912, Maurice Wolfe, general managerr of the late H. E. Wilcox Motor Car Company, Minneapolis, MN, came to Shelbyville, OH and bought the Maxweil-Downing Company, maker of the Clark automobiles. The company name was changed to the Meteor Motor Car Company.
1914 Meteor Automobile
Only a few cars were built before he decided to move his company to Piqua, OH and a daily schedule of 14 cars were produced. While he was in Shelbyville, he sold a few Clark cars during the changeover. The Meteor Motor car Company continued making only cars until 1917, but there after the company concentrated on funeral cars and hearses with passenger cars on special orders. His company became the Divco-Wayne Corporation, makers of the famous Divco small trucks.
1910 Rockwell Taxicab Renamed the Yellowcab
The Rockwell Taxicab, made by The New Departure Manufacturing Company, Bristol, CT, was the most notable models of the year. Its bright yellow color soon earned its name as the Yellow Cab and soon became the Yellow Cab Company. A majority of the cars that are shown with their advertisements were made for the 1910 season and were gone within a year and the only picture of them is shown on their advertisements. .
On August, 11. The Thomas Flyer that had won the New York to Paris Race and was welcomed at its arrival in New York. Thus, being the first automobile to make a round the world trip
1910 Cino Limousine Automobile
The Cino was put into production in 1910 by the carriage making firm of Haberer & Company Cincinatti, OH. All of the major components, including the bodies, were made at the factory and were well made. In order for it to have been able to be driven over the mountaims in the Ohio River region, it had to be a very good hill clinber. Claims of the factory being flooded by the Ohio River that year which destroyed the factory and it was discontinued.
1910 Cino Automobile Advertisement
The Abbott-Detroit Motor Car Company, Detroit, MI, produced it first automobile in 1909. Its touring feats in stock classes and hill-climbing races were the best for any automobile in its class. However, the life of the Abbott-Detroit was less than perfect. Charles Abbot, the founder of the company retired in 1910. The company was in trouble in 1913 and when the creditors came calling to take stock of their investments, they were dumbfounded to find that they were made stock holders and the company was sold later that year to Edward F. Gerber, maker of Gerber Baby Food of that city for $237, 500. He bought out the creditors with 15 cents on the dollar and continued to produce the car. Gerber was out two years later when R. A. Palmer took over.
Their slogans were numerous in numbers and touted to be the pinnacle of manufacturing. However, a production schedule of 15-20 cars a day was very satisfactory. In 1916, a decision was made to consolidate into a huge and expensive plant in Cleveland, OH, and the company was reorganized as the Consolidated Car Corporation. This decision was disastrous for the company because the sales were not wnought to pay for the expansion. The cars made there were called the Abbot. This did not save the company from oing into bankruptcy in 1917.
1910 Abbott-Detroit Automobile Advertisement
1912 Cutting Roadster Automobile
With Horatio E. Clarke, an investment broker, as president; Wedworth W. Carter, whose uncle was a prominent banker, as secretary-treasurer; and Charles Cutting as engineer, the Clarke-Carter Automobile Company was formed in Jackson, MI in 1909 to produce the Cutting automobile.
1912 Cutting Racer
The Cutting was a well-thought and well-built automobile that placed in the top 15 of the 1911 and 1912 Indianopolis races. No radical changes were made in the next two years. In 1913, the company realized that its initial capital was drastically underfunded reorganized as the Cutting Motor Car Company, but investments did not come forth and the company went bankrupt and was sold for $30,000. The remaining cars were sold through the Mason Company, Des Moines, IA.
1910 Cutting Automobile Advertisement
In November of 1909, the Brunner Motor Car Company, Buffalo, NY, was incorporated with a capital fund of $14,000 to make their Brunner models. The men behind the company were B. S. Morden, A. L. Dixon, and C. P. Miller. The car had a two-cylinder, 14-horsepower engine and had a shaft drive, planetary transmission on a 90-inch chassis. Even though, most advertisements featured their delivery wagon, a touring car was also offered. Its most distinguised feature was a muffler on each cylinder. It did not make it to the end of the year.
1910 Brunner Automobile Advertisement
1910 Wisco Automobile Advertisement
The Wisconsin Carriage Company. Janesville, WI had been in the carriage trade from 1885 when in 1909, they decided to enter into automobile manufacturing. Engineer T. E. Warmock was hired to design their new model known as Wisco. It was a 30-horsepower, four-cylinder on a 118-inch wheelbase. It had a shaft drive, three-speed selective transmission, and cone clutch. The price for a baby tonneau and touring was $1,750. 100 units was to be its goal for the 1910 season. However, only a portion was built before the company realized that they could not make carriages and automobiles and since carriages were making more money than automobiles, the Wisco was dropped.
1910 Starr Speedster Automobile
The Starr Motor Car Company, Minneapolis, MN, was organized in late 1909 by Fred Starr who had previously worked for the White automobile company. Its slogan was the "Wise Men from the East followed the Starr,but the Wise Men from the West Rode in Them". In 1910, he indicated that he was moving his factory to Wisconsin, but it never happened. Evedintely there were not too many "Wise Men from the West ", because the company closed down that year after building only six cars.
1910 Starr Automobile Advertisement
From the late 1870's, the United States Carriage Company, Columbus, OH.with Fred C. Meyers as president, had been specializing in manufacturing the very best horse-drawn vehicles that specialized in several models. They were the most widely known maker of these models throughout the Midwest. His youngest son, Frederick Meyers, took over at the turn of the century when his father died while an ecxended vacation to his homeland.
In October of 1909, the company announced that they were beginning to produce their Great Eagle automobiles the following year making several different models. They appeared in February and were huge automobiles. Although a runabout was promised to be its first model, a seven-passenger landaulet on a 122- inch wheelbase with a four-cylinder engine was produced. It gave the impression that it was made for one's final ride.
1910 Great Eagle Automobile Advertisement
A six-cylinder engine was used in 1912. A runabout was produced sometime later, but in 1915, the wife of the president put the company into receivership with a $6,000 note. Rumors were heard that other creditors were unhappy and she did not want to lose her investment. There was talk that the automobile would be made a few years later, but it di not happen.
Lember W. Coppock, a former engineer for the Apperson Brothers in Kokomo, IN, moved to Marion in 1906 when he learned that the Murillo Manfacturing Company was beginning to produce automobiles. However, this did not happened and he formed his owned company to build utility vehicles under his firm's name, Coppock Motor Car Company. By July of 1907 he was in financial troubles and a firm from Decauter promosed him help if he would move to Decauter, IL. He agreed and by January he was in operation with delivery trucks as it sole vehicle. The company was reorganized as the Decauter Motor Car Company in 1909 and Coppock left the company.
1910 Decauter Automobile Advertisement
The first model produced under the new company was a four-passenger two-cylinde, air cooled car that was known the Decauter Utility Car that could be converted into carrying parcels in the rear. It was priced at $750. It appeared on the marked in April, 1910.Two hundred were sold by the end of the year and the company bragged that they could sell a thousand more if they could make them fast enough. The Utility model was discontinued in 1911 because the company came out with a new model truck, Hoosier Limited, that sold for $2,500 and it became a great seller. The factory in Decauter was not adquate to keep up the demand and with a $100,000 offer from Grand Rapids, they company moved there. It prospered until 1930.
After selling several models of automobiles in their stores since the turn of the century, the Koehler Sporting Goods Company in New York City decided in 1910 to build a better model car than what they were selling. They started building both cars and trucks under the name of Koehler. The Koehler automobile was a 40-horsepower, four-cylinder touring model on a 112-inch wheelbase. In 1913, the company dropped the automobile in favor of producing only trucks. They were made until 1923.
1910 Koehler Automobile Advertisement
The Detroit-Dearborn Motor Car Company was organized in the summer of 1909 by Edward Bland,, Arther Kiefer, Elmer Foster, and Samuel Lampham and were making cars by the end of the year. The D-D cars were 35 horsepower as a touring torpedo model called the Minerva. Next came a touring roadster Nike and both were priced at $1,650. The body had well-desingned appointments and it was a very good vehicle. The capitalization was $50,000 and was too little and after only a 110 models were made, bankruptcy was declared.
Failing to convince anyone in Watertown, WI., to finance a medium-priced automobile that he had designed, F. W. Aborgast, son-in-law of a wealthy grain merchant, went to Columbus and offered to build a test a model. He told the townspeople that he would build his car there if they would finance it. It was successfully tested and financies were granted. The Badger Motor Car Company was incorporated with A. M. Bellack as president and a factory was completed by November and production began on the Badger automobile. Storage space was needed to store unfinished cars and the Columbus Canning Company was used. Problems soon set in. The dealerships that were invisioned did not appear and the outside press found faults with the constucttion. In order to sell the cars, they were traded for farm land in several locations. Then the stockholders got worried and started to sell the farmland without much success. The canning company bought back the factory and turned it into a grain mill. There had been 237 cars built when it went under in 1911.
1910 Badger Automobile Advertisement
The "Only" automobile was designed by Francois Richard in 1909. It was a one-cylinder with a 5" bore and a 10-inch stroke. It was claimed that it could get 30 miles per gallon with a top speed of 60 mph. The engine was under the hood of the two-seat roadster. that had a price tag of $700.. Three gentlemen by the name of Fred Edwards, Fred Seymour, and Henry Dickisens like the car\and organized the Only Motor Car Company, Port Jefferson, NY in 1909. A few were made until it closed down in 1910.
1910 Only Automobile Advertisement
The A. L. A. M. Saga Continues
President Smith of the organization at the 1909 Glidden Tour
Copied from the 1910, January Issue of the Automobile Magazine
A.M.C.M.A. TO BE DISBANDED AT CHICAGO
While it is true that the controlling factors in the A. M. C. M. A. will not disclose beforehand the action which will be taken at the meeting which will be held in Chicago during the National Show time, it is fairly good inside information that the A. M. C. M. A. is to be abandoned. It was originally organized under a contract for five years, and the time will expire within the next week or two. That this contract will not be renewed is largely due to the absence of companies outside of the A. L. A. M. When the atmosphere clears up, the only company left will be the Ford Motor Company, and while it seems quite certain that the Ford will continue as heretofore, the fact remains that the A. M. C. M. A. was organized almost independently of the position which was previously assumed by Henry Ford. He is still sticking to his position as then taken, and the disbanding of the A. M. C. M. A. is simply a logical move in the absence of members to support it An association without members is in a rather anomalous position
ALL BUT FORD TO BREAK. INTO A.L.A.M.
It is now fairly understood that all the companies which were joined together under a contract for five years, and were known as the A. M. C. M. A. will be admitted into the fold under terms which The Automobile published some time since, but it was not then assured that the entire list of A. M. C. M. A. would come over. While the association is acting upon these names, seemingly one at a time, the fact remains that there is a place, apparently, for each one of the A. M. C. M. A. companies, with the understanding, of course, it desires a seat at the board. ( End of article)
General Motors Corporation
The biggest story, in 1910, was about the the financial troubles that General Motors Corporation was having. At the beginning of the year, General Motors was on firm footing, but by fall, they were begging for financial help from any source and a new management team, minus Durant as the president, would take over.
The year started out to be very promising and everthing seemed to be running very smoothly for the giant corporation, but behind the scenes, Durant was in trouble for he had made one bad investment in an automobile electric lamp company owned by John Heany that cost the corporation $7 million dollars in cash and stock. This lamp was supposed to be the ultimate lamp of its time. It was guaranteed to stay lit in all sorts of weather. There was one fault with this purchase; Heany had patent papers that were falsefied and was sued by the rightful owner, General Electric.
Then the unsuspected happened, the industry took a nose dive and investors got worried. Durant had spent all of the cash that he had in buying his companies that there was no money left and Buick was $8 million in debt. Bankers began to call in their loans. Durant went from bank to bank throughout the midwest trying to get loans, but none would help. At least $12 million was needed. In early September, the directors called a meeting and decided to unlaod three of the weaker models. Durant realized that his dream company that he had spent the better part of his life developing was begining to disapear before his eyes. The directors called for another meeting the next day and Durant was ordered to be there.
The next morning, Durant was informed that the directors had arranged for a $10 million loan from three banks and the banks would be paid back within five years. During this time, they would have control of General Motors and Durant would serve on the board as vice-president. He had no other choice but to accept.
Copied from the Oct. 6, 1910 Issue of the Autmobile Magazine
DEFINITE announcement of the financial plan ^ adopted to solve the tangled problem of the General Motors Company was made late Wednesday afternoon, when it was officially stated that J. & W. Seligman & Co., of New York, and Lee, Higginson & Co., of Boston, had underwritten an issue of $15,000,000 6-per cent, first-lien, five-year gold notes based upon all the assets of the twenty-one component companies repre>ented in the holdings of the General Motors Company. These companies are: Buick Motor Co., Cadillac Motor Car Co., Olds Motor Works, Marquette Motor Co., Cartercar Company, Oakland Motor Car Company, Rapid Motor Vehicle Co., Northway Motor & Manufacturing Co.. Elmore Manufacturing Co., Reliance Motor Truck Co., Welch Company of Detroit, Weston-Mott Company, Randolph Motor Car Co., Welch Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Jackson-Church-Wilcox Co., Michigan Motor Castings Co., Champion Ignition Co., Michigan Auto Parts Co., McLaughlin Motor Car Co., Ltd., General Motors Company of Michigan, Oak Park Power Co.
General Motors Finally Gets Support
$15,000,000 First Lien, Five-Year, Sinking Fund, Gold Notes, IssuedJ. & W. Seligman & Co., New York, and Lee Higginson & Co., Boston, Underwriting the Issue. Settles the Immediate Future of Twenty-one Component Automobile Companies, and Blows Away the Clouds That Threatened the Whole Industry for Several Months. The total issue authorized was $20,000,000, but the remainder not included in the terms of the underwriting may only be issued with the aproval of the company's finance committee which is to be nominated by the bankers.
The issue is designated positively as sinking fund notes. The assets of General Motors are estimated by the bankers at $37,383,000, about $12,000,000 of which is represented by real estate holdings and equipment of plants, subject to real estate obligations aggregating £266,500. The funded debt and capital stock of General Motors, including the new issue, will be as follows: S15.000.000 first-lien, 6 per cent., five-year, sinking fund, gold notes $17.835,400 7 per cent., cumulative, preferred stock. $2,800,000 of which is held by the company or its subsidiaries. S20.835.030 common stock.
The Central Trust Company of New York has been designated as trustee, and mortgage notes and shares of stock of subsidiary companies securing the issue will be I'eposited under the trust deed which has been executed. The majority of the stock deposited under voting-trust agreement will be voted by the trustees designated by the bankers to nominate a majority of the board of directors of the company within three weeks. This applies also to the subsidiary companies. Six out of seven members of the finance committee of General Motors and a comptroller for each of the component companies will also be selected.
The whole transaction simply means that the control of General Motors, with all it represents, has passed into the hands of a board of directors and a finance committee named by the financial interests who have underwritten the notes. They will administer the properties for the next five years, and if at the expiration of that period the notes have been taken up, control of the property will revert to the present owners.
In the preliminary statement issued by the bankers, a most rosy view of the future of the company is taken. To the trade, the settlement of the financial troubles of General Motors is of prime importance. The clouds that have beset that company for months have darkened the horizon of the whole business and the storm that has been averted by the consummation of this deal has been a very real menace to a number of companies not directly involved. The talk of ruinous cutting of prices which has been heard at intervals recently will be stilled and the danger of the crumbling of a giant fabric, the falling of which must inevitably have buried dozens of companies in its ruins, has been averted.
In their statements to the public the bankers declare that the trouble with General Motors in the past year has been over-enthusiastic production and they assert that with conservatism as the keynote of the new regime, the business has a profitable future. A damper was cast over the whole trade when it was announced recently that the Buick Motor Company, one of the largest of the members of the General Motors, was obliged to offer to sell one-year 6 per cent, notes at 85. This deal, which meant that the company would have to pay 21 per cent, for the use of money, is nullified by the huge underwriting plan that has been accepted. It is planned to settle all outstanding obligations of the companies under the supervision of the new finance committee and then to provide a fund of at least $3,000,000 as working capital.
The following are the automobile companies that were owned by General Motors. Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Buick have been previously shown.
Byron Carter who built the Jaxson Steamer and Jackson gasoline cars in Jackson, MI, left the company when there was a disagreement on the type of car that was to built for the 1905 models. He at first produced his Cartercar in Detroit. In 1907, Carter moved his new automobile company into the Pontiac Spring and Wagon Works in Pontiac, MI where the Pontiac Buggy was being built. After the Rapid Truck moved to Detroit in 1905, Pontiac Spring and Wagon Works decided to build a car of its on. The Cartercar and the buggy were built in the same factory until the owners sold the factory for stock in the Cartercar in 1908. The Pontiac Buggy was stopped. Two years later, the Cartercar was sold to General Motors. In 1914, General Motors decided to stop production.
1912 Cartercar Automobile Advertisement
1914 Cartercar Touring Automobile
1907 Oakland Touring
In 1906, the owner of the Pontiac Buggy Company, Edward Murphy, wanted to start making automobiles and Alanon Brush who had been responsible for the early Cadillac's design and when they met, Brush showed his new design for a two cylinder car that Cadillac had refused. Murphy bought the idea and they set up the Oakland Motor Car Company, named after Oakland County, MI. .It was ready for sale in January of 1908 although Brush was no longer in Pontiac. He had returned to Detroit to manufacture his Brush automobile with Frank Briscoe financing it. Murphy was disappointed with only three hundred car sales for that year. Later that year, he sold his company to General Motors.
1909 Oakland Automobile Advertisement
The Oakland automobile survuived General Motors' sell-off in 1912 and sales continued to increase year by year. It had won many races including speed and hill-climbing. After the war, because of poor management and quality control, sales dropped dramatically. It continued in production through 1931.
Management decided to start work on a new low price car in 1923. Production began in 1925 and the new model was introduced with much fanfare at the 1926 New York Automobile Show as the Oakland-Pontiac, but with its spectacular initial sales, it was decided to be a new brand and Oakland was dropped from its name and now it was Pontiac. GMC's troubles in 2010 resulted in Pontiac's demise.
1903 Welch Runabout
In 1899, A.R. Welch organized the Chelsea Mfg. Co to make small novelty toys in Chelsea, MI. With the help of his brother Fred, they made their first car in 1901. Production of the car started in 1903 with financial help promised J.D. Watson, fiveteen cars were made. Watson did not supply the all the money that was needed and caused the company to declare bankruptcy. Welch moved the company to Pontiac, MI in 1904 under the name of Welch Motor Car Co. with $100,000 capitalization funds. The small car known as the Welch Tourist soon became one of the largest automobiles in the industry and was known as the Welch.
1904 Welch Model 4-0 Closed Coupled Touring
1904 Welch Limousine Advertisement
A company was set up in 1909 at Detroit to make a less expensive car and was referred to as the Welch-Detroit and the ones made in was sometimes called the Welch-Pontiac, but they all were commonly known as Welch
Elmore No. 1
James and Burton Elmore's father owned a bicycle company and in 1898 decided to build automobiles. Ten cars were built before the company was incorporated as The Elmore Mfg. Company in 1902. A single cylinder, two-stroke engine was under the seat. The 1903 had a double cylinder and the Elmore's claimed it to be the "Only double cylinder engine to start without cranking." this became its slogan. The engine stayed under the seat until it was front mounted in 1906 that had a three or a four cylinder motor..The hood on the 1904 model was a dummy to keep it in style with other models.
Its best year ever was 400 cars in 1907
When William Durant was creating General Motors in 1909, he bought the Elmore company for $500,000. Two models, 36 and 46 both were four cylinders, two cyles, water-cooled engines. The 36 model could be either a touring, demi-tonneau, or a landaulet. The 46 would either be a seven passenger or a a limousine. General Motors had just gotten a $10,000,000 bailout from several banks and had to shed some of its losing models. The Elmore was discontinued in 1912.
1906 Rainier Side-Entrance Tonneau
Having been a sales agent for the V.E car, In 1905, John Rainier decided to build a car of his own, keeping his Manhattan dealership as his headquarters.and building a factory in Flushing with the final assembley. He purchased his chassis from the Garford company of Elyira, NY. It was the first car to offer a full year guarantee. When Garford started to make chasis exclusive for Studebaker in 1907, Rainier decided to move his company to Saginaw, MI and to build a complete car.
1909 Rainier Advertisement
Production at the new factory was begun in 1908 with 300 cars built that year, but by the end of the year he ran out of money to pay for the 1909 models. The 1907 bank panic left the company with very liitle money to meet its obligations. His assests far exceeded his liabilities, but he needed cash to pay his employees and to buy the parts that he needed. He had no choice but to declare bankruptcy in January of 1909 and his business was sold for $20,000 at auction to his bookkeeper who was bidding for him. He sold his company to General Motors and the Marquette Company was organized to operate it keeping the Rainier name until 1912 when it was changed to Marquette.
Copied from the 23 Sept, 1911. Automobile Topics Magazine
Merge Marquette and Welsh Companies
Announcement was made some time ago of the merging of the factories of the Marquette Motor Companymanufacturing the Rainier car, and the Welch-Detroit Company, manufacturing the Welch-Detroit car, at the plant of the Marquette Motor Company, in Saginaw, Mich. To market the product of the Marquette Motor Company, a sales company, known as The Marquette Company, has been incorporated as a subsidiary to General Motors Company.
The Marquette Company will handle the Rainier and Welch-Detroit cars, likewise the new car named Marquette. This latter car will be made in five body types on two chasses a two-passenger runabout, four-passenger tourabout, five-passenger touring car, and seven-passenger touring car, with a rating of 40-45 hp. and wheelbase of 122 inches, on the lines of the Welch model, and sold at $3,000.
On the other chassis, a seven-passenger car of the Rainier type will be produced, 45-50 hp., 119-inch wheelbase, and listed at $4,000. The models on both chasses will be built with demountable rims, 36x4^ inch tires, electric lights and combination side and tail lamps. Following the custom of the Welch-Detroit and the Rainier cars in the past all of the Marquette cars will be completely equipped
Geneva Ewing Taxi
The second attempt at automobile manufacturing in Geneva began in 1908. E.L. Ewing began production of the Ewing Taxi with a plant crew of fifty men. This company was in business just two years and sold out to General Motors who moved the business to Flint, Michigan.
Rapid Truck Company
1905 Rapid Delivery Van
In 1906, the Rapid Truck Company moved from Detroit to Pontiac.
Copied from an article in the 1907 Operation and Maintenance Magazine
MANY MODELS OF PASSENGER AND MERCHAN-DISE VEHICLES, INCLUDING OPERA 'BUS, WAGONETTE,
Chief Characteristics.The Pontiac line comprises chassis of three different sizes, upon which can be mounted bodies of any desired style. The smaller passenger cars and the light delivery wagons are on the 1-ton chassis, while the twenty to twenty-five passenger sightseeing bodies and the large stake and slat truck bodies are put on the I 1-2 ton chassis. Except in the matter of size, the chassis are alike, being made with angle steel frames reinforced, half platform springs at the rear with an auxiliary flat leaf spring over the rear axle. The engine is of the double-opposed type, water cooled, and placed lengthwise of the frame underneath and well on the left side, with the flywheel in the center of the running gear. Heavy planetary gearing on the right extension of the crankshaft provides change of speed. A center chain transfers the power to a spurgear differential on the countershaft, which turns on roller bearings. Two sizes of engine are used, one having 5 by 5-inch cylinders and developing 24 horsepower, and the other 5 1-4 by 5-inch cylinders and rated at 30 horsepower. Simplicity and accessibility are prime features of the 1908 Rapid vehicles. Spur pinion and sector steering mechanism is used and is entirely enclosed in a dust-proof case packed with grease. A conspicuous peculiarity of these cars is the location of the galvanized sheet steel gasoline tank in the dash and the radiator ^ just beneath it, in front of the front axle.
1907 Rapid Advertisement
1909 Rapid Truck Baggage carrier for the 1909 Glidden Tour
The Reliance Automobile Mfg. Company was organized in Detroit in late 1903 with its first production in the summer of 1904 with a side entrance tonneau and claimed it to be the first in the nation. Lack of money in capitalizing caused the company to reorganize as the Alliance Motor Car Company. Taking charge was J.M. Mulky, but within a short perioosd, he was succeeded by Fred Paige.
1905 Reliance Tonneau
1905 Reliance-Detroit Advertisement
A 16 hp passenger car was also built. Later that year, the passenger car portion of the business was sold to the Cresent Motor Company. The Crescent Company never put it into production. Reliance concentrated on the truck end of the business. The 1907 3-ton model, like the Carter car, had a friction drive that was invented by O.W. Davis and built in Rochester, New York. The truck division was sold to General Motors in 1909..
1907 Reliance Truck Advertisement
Exibited at the 1907 Chicago Commercial Truck Show
William Durant purchased the company in 1909 through his newly formed General Motors Company. It was then reorganized and moved to Owosso, Michigan after the city put up $30,000 towards the move. Trucks were produced there beginning in 1909 and marketed by Reliance Motor Truck Company. As a result of a merger between Rapid and Reliance, the General Motors Truck Company was organized as a sales company for Rapid and Reliance trucks. In 1912, both trucks became General Motors Trucks with the first one produced in 1913 at a new factory in Pontiac, MI.
1912 Reliance Truck
1913 GMC Dump Truck
The Welch machinery was transferred to the Ranier factory in Saginaw, MI and the 1912, with a few modifications, the 1911 Ranier became the 1912 Marqurette. All of General Motors automobile companies were jettisoned during its reorganization except the Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac, Oakland, and Cartercar. The Cartercar lasted until 1914.
Copied from the Automobile Magazine, Nov. 17, 1910 Issue
General Motors New Board: Debts Paid
"Responding to the instructions of the voting trustees, now in charge of the General Motors Co., a new board of directors has been chosen. It consists of the following: W. C. Durant, Anthony N. Brady, James J. Starrow, Albert Strauss, J. H. McClement, Nicholas L. Tilney, Richard Lukeman, Jr., Benj. F McGuckin, H. L. Carlebach, Arthur P. Bush, Jr., and George Reichert.
All of the old board except Vice-President Durant failed of re-election. Anthony N. Brady, whose name is second on the list, has been financially interested in motor manufacture for some time and is connected with a number of prominent companies. James J. Starrow, represents Lee, Higginson and Co. and the others on the list represent various financial interests identified with the flotation of the $15,000,000 bond issue. Announcement was made after the meeting that all matured obligations of General Motors had been taken care of and checks were being prepared for mailing."
With a recommendation from Durant, Nash became the president of Buick. In 1912, he was promoted a head of General Motors. Under his leadership, within a year, General Motors became a very profitable company.
Home Forward Contents