History of the Early Ameican Automobile Industry

Chapter 8


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The Lead Taxicab Company of Chicago that was built to control the taxi business by the Lead Trust Group, was the leading story for the first part of 1901. They were on a slippery slope and heading for extinction. The only question was when.and by the mddle of the year, $10,000,000 dollars of investors money was not worth the paper it was printed on.

Lead Cab Doom.

Cash is running low in the Lead Cab treasury. The public has not been investing in these shares of late and last weeka desperate effort was made to replenish the depleted treasury and give the scheme a little longer lease of life. A call was issued by the New York Lead Cab Company for $io on each share of stock. The news of the assessment was apparently the last straw which broke the camel's back, for the stock came tumbling out in large quantities. Everybody who was unfortunate enough to own a share wanted to get rid of it. and on Wednesday the price fell to 2l4 bid, while on Friday, the day of the squeeze in Wall Street, another point was lost, bringing Lead Cab stock down near its natural level, for the real estate and leases in the company's possession will save it from the zero point. It, is safe to say that the results of this call were scarcely what was expected by the loud-lunged, brazen-throated hucksters of the Lead Cab Trust. Let them call again and the stock will no doubt lose another point. The lambs have all been shorn.


The cat is out of the bag at last. Lead Cab officials are going to Jersey City to attend another funeral. The New England Lead Cab Company has given up the ghost, and on April 29 the directors will make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of watered corporations to take formal action on its demise and bury the remains. The semi-annual statement of the company's finances shows that more than $1,250,000 has been invested in the "business," and that for the six months ending March 1, 1901, the gross income, including interest on deposits and rentals, was $95,310, while the total expenditures for the same period were $211,969. The deliberations of the directors, therefore, can scarcely be of a protracted nature. The company states that it has managed to save from the wreck $607,084 in cash and 245 Lead Cabs, in a more or less dilapidated condition, and not likely to be "distributed among the other branches." as was given out to be the destination of the Chicago Lead Cabs at the recent discontinuance of business.

The ill starred company also controls the stock of the Boston Transit Company, organized sonic time ago. with a cash capital of $400,000, ostensibly to run Lead Cabs in the fashionable Back Bay district of Boston. It also maintained a Lead Cab establishment at Newport, R. I., where it owned real estate, as well as at 541 Tremont street, the site of its central station. After two years of studied deception on the part of the promotors of this colossal speculation the public is finally getting an insight into its rottenness. In spite of the assistance of a purchasable crew of henchmen and a servile press the truth has prevailed. The outraged stockholders have demanded investigation and the figures are public property. Subterfuge will avail no longer.

When, about two weeks ago. the dissolution of the Chicago branch was announced the management and a parrot press stated that the heavy losses sustained were due to the bad streets of the Western metropolis, overlooking the annual report of the Philadelphia branch, almost as unsatisfactory, where roads are of good surface. And now. to settle all controversy, the Boston company appears at the confessional and adds its doleful story to the growing tale of Lead Cab woe. With such overwhelming evidence of the worthlessness of the system staring the public in the face, how much longer will the New York branch be able to drag out its miserable existence? We shall await its annual statement with interest, for, adept in financiering as its promoters are. it is impossible to see how they can prevent like disclosures and follow the other companies to the limbo of exploded humbugs.

Once these Lead Cab fiascos are out of the way. honest automobile manufacturers will breathe easier and honest automobiles find readier acceptance from the public.


The injury that is done the automobile industry through the failure of such stock-jobbing schemes as the Lead Cab companies, is well shown by an editorial on the recent suspension of Lead CaB business in Boston, which appeared in one of the local dailies. The editorial is headed "Overdoing It." After referring to the statement of losses presented by the directors at the windup, the editor gives us a delicious bit of humor. He says: This company is not at all of the sort of some of the mushroom automobile concerns, that sprang up like gourds in a night, to wither and die, almost, the next day. Those concerns were not organized to build motor carriages. They *ere organized to sell stock. Their cunning creators saw 'heir chance to take advantage of the sudden and great popular interest in these new vehicles, by making people of small means, and small knowledge of business methods and conditions, believe that by investing a few dollars in the stock of a company that was going to "strike it rich," in th'is new and wonderful business, they would reap sure and great rewards. The Electric Vehicle Company, on the contrary, is a bona fide business corporation, with a very large amount of capital actually invested, and the company has probably made its experiment under as favorable conditions as were possible at this stage of the development of the new industry.

This is enough to touch the risibles of a marble statue. The wolves in sheep's clothing who promoted this monstrous scheme should send for copies of this paper as a salve to their consciences, for they will find no vindication from those who are conversant with the facts. But it is in the last paragraph that we find the sting for the automobile industry, as well as in that which follows. We are told that the explanation of the failure lies in the fact that the automobile business has been overdone and that invention has not kept pace with "capitalistic enthusiasm. "In spite of all the economies that could be applied in manufacture of these vehicles, and all the business shrewdness that could be employed in placing them on the market, it remains true that automobiles are extremely unprofitable vehicles from a common «ense business point of view for their purchasers and users.

The "business shrewdness" referred to in the last paragraph was shown, not in the placing of the Lea,d Cabs upon the market, but in placing the Lead Cab stock, to the extent of many millions, and in the sale to the various operating companies by the chief instigators of the conspiracy on the public pursethe Electric Storage Battery Companyof large numbers of storage batteries known and proved to be unfitted for traction purposes. The promoters escaped early with their plunder; the dreary statement of losses remains to the stockholders, while the industry suffers in its good name, and the impression goes abroad that the automobile is premature and cannot be economically used as yet for business purposes. The public know nothing of the various motive powers, of the natural limitations of the electric storage battery, of the superiority of steam and gasoline for general commercial work, and of the peculiar circumstances attending the Lead Cab flotation. Hence the heavy blow that is dealt the industry by such disasters as the Lead Cab Trust has brought upon us.

Fortunately the automobile industry is young and strong. It will shake off the parasites that have fastened upon it and live down the odium which their misdeeds have caused. Even the editor above quoted realizes this, for he rightly says, in conclusion, that this state of things will be but temporary.

Fey Brothers
Northbridge, MN

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1901 Fey Runabout
Fey Brothers, Northfield, MN.
This was built, including the body, entirely by themselves


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1904 Fey Brothers Air Cooled
The body was purchased


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Fey Brothers' Lincoln and Frank, fourth and final  automobile was completed in 1905 Fey Logo on the side


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One of the First Women Chaufuese in America



This company shows the Compound gasoline car which was developed and brought out by the Graham-Fox Motor Co. Its chief peculiarity is, of course, the compound gasoline engine with two four-cycle, high pressure cylinders, and a low pressure two-cycle cylinder between them. The motor is connected directly to the transmission gear box by universal couplings, and the clutch is within the gear box that it may run in oil. The differential on the cross counter shaft is also in the casing. There is but one side lever, which is used to apply the emergency brake. The speed changes are made by a wheel under the steering wheel.  The wheel base is 112 inches. The wheels are 36 inches in diameter and fitted with 5-inch tires. The high pressure cylinders are of 71/2-inch bore and 6-inch stroke. The construction of the cylinder heads and valve chambers is somewhat peculiar owing to the requirements of compounding. The valves are flat seated. Two spark plugs are used in each high pressure cylinder to give quick ignition. The clutch is made of two metals and is in the form of a drum into which shoes expand. The faces are not smooth, as ordinarily, but are in the form of saw teeth, giving a large area. The exhaust from the high pressure cylinders, through the low pressure cylinder to the muffler, reduces it to about 25 pounds pressure at the entrance of the latter. The muffler is therefore simple and not liable to create back pressure. The ear throughout presents many interesting departures from ordinary construction

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1902 Fox and Graham Runabout

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1904 Compound

John Eisenhuth, San Francisco, CA, had made an experimental automobile in 1896 , but not meeting with any success he decided to head East to continue with his ideas. In Newark, NJ, he met up with D. F. Graham who had developed a Graham-Fox compound engine that he really liked. They made a prototype that was exibited at the New York show in 1903. Under a clouded beginning, Eisenhuth, produced the Compound in his new Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Conmpany in Middleton, CT. Lawsuits by Eisenhuth and Graham-Fox followed but were soon settled. A price tag of $6,000 was a serious mistake and the company name did nothing to enhance the car. Soon, the price was drastically dropped to $2,000 without any success. The Eagle automobile was the successor to the Compound in 1908.

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1905 Compound Automobile Advertisement


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C.A. Baxter, Windom, Mn, riding in his 
1900 Milawaukee Steamer automobile

The Milwaukee Automobile Company, Milwaukee, WI, was organized in 1899 with a $100,000 capitalization fund by W. H. Starkweather, Herman Pfiel, and W. D. Smith. It was a familiar design of most runabouts made at the time. Published reports on it was that is would not "revolutionize the industry". For two years, they built the same car, but the prices got higher. The company reported in 1902, that production was at its fullest and was having trouble filling back orders having enough cars for the spring season. Their biggest problem of over production and slow sales caused them to go bankrupt in May. The company wa sold at auttion.

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1901 Milawaukee Automobile Advertisement

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1901 Milawaukee Automobile Advertisement


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1901 Chiquita  The Smallest Car ever built

The smallest automobile ever built is that made by the Jenkins Automobile Company, of Washington. D. C, for Chiquita. the little 26-inch atom of humanity, who is now using it at the Pan-American Exposition. It is a little electric Victoria, complete with top, electric lights and gong, fenders and wheel steering gear. It is. in fact, so exact a miniature duplicate of a full grown automobile that it is difficult to fix its real proportions in one's mind. It has 12-inch wheels, fitted with 1'4-inch Diamond pneumatic tires; electric lights, showing red and green on the sides: a top which raises and lowers: leather fenders over all four wheels. The cushion is 14x8 inches; from the step to the ground 4 inches, and from the seat to the ground 14 inches. The front and rear axles are 24 inches apart, centre to centre, and the track 24 inches wide. With the top up it doesn't come up to one's elbow. It is guaranteed to run for 2.000 hours with absolutely no attention except that required to guide and control it. The motor is hung beneath the body on the truck and connects with the gear on the differential directly on the rear axle. Both rear wheels drive. While the little machine is suitable for use in the streets, it is also adapted for stage or indoor use. kindergarten or nursery. Some idea of the size of this little machine can be had from the photograph showing it standing beside the wheel used on a big steam, coach made by the same company

Several Articles Copied from the 1901 Horseless Age Magazine

Would Arrest the Passengers, Too.

An interesting and rather strange decision was made by Magistrate Pool in the Jefferson Market Police Court, New York, the other day.George E. Bilycw, driver for Jefferson Seligman, a prominent member of the Automobile Club of America, was arrested for alleged violation of the speed ordinance, and taken to the police court. H. R. Ickelheimer, a friend of Mr. Seligman's, was Bilyew's passenger at the time, and he gave bonds for the driver's appearance.The magistrate took the policeman to task for not placing Mr. Ickelheimer also under arrest as an accessory to the "crime." He said he had no copy of the new State law at hand, but he believed State laws should not interfere with home rule in New York. Geo. F. Chamberlin, chairman of the law committee of the Automobile Club of America, when asked for an opinion on the magistrate's ruling declared it absurd. "Would the magistrate arrest every passenger on a trolley car that Was going too fast?" he said.



The Indiana Supreme Court has just rendered an interesting decision touching on the rights of all modern vehicles.

On the 18th inst., in reversing a judgment for damages recovered by Claude Bennett against Edward Bogue, the court held that a city or town has no power by ordinance to exclude from its streets automobiles, bicycles, motor cycles, traction engines and other vehicles operated by something other than horse power on the mere ground that steam or electricity or some new and unusual motive power is used to propel them. The fact that they interfere with drivers of animals and that injury occurs by reason oi fright to said animals makes no difference.

The plaintiff, who was a twelve year old boy, riding a bicycle, collided with a steam vehicle that Bogue was running through the streets of Kokomo. One of the facts relied on to show that Bogue's negligence caused the resulting injury was that he was violating a city ordinance, which prohibited the running of vehicles propelled by steam through the streets of Kokomo. Judge Monks, who wrote the opinion, said:

Indiana municipal corporations have no powers except such as are granted to them by the express words of the statute under which they are organized, or by necessary implication. No incidental powers can be implied, except such as are essential to the accomplishment of the purposes of their creation and continuance. Ordinances passed pursuant to the powers possessed by cities must be reasonable, or they will be pronounced invalid. The general grant of authority over the streets and highways given by the statute does not authorize the enactment of an ordinance unreasonable in its provisions. Highways and streets are not for the exclusive use of vehicles propelled by animal power, nor are travelers confined to the use of such power and to ordinary carriages on highways. The use of any new and improved means of locomotion must be deemed to have been contemplated when the highways and streets were laid out and dedicated whenever it was found the general benefit required it, and such means of locomotion cannot be excluded therefrom, merely because their use may tend to the inconvenience or even to the injury of those who continue to use the highways and streets by former methods.

To say that the new method of travel shall be banished from the streets, no matter how much the general good may require it. simply because the streets were not so used in the days of Blackstone, would not comport with the advancement and enlightenment of the present age.

Persons making use of horses as a means of travel or traffic by the highways have no rights therein superior to those who make use of the ways in other modes. While locomotion on public ways has hitherto been chiefly by means of animals, yet persons using them have no prescriptive right and are entitled to the same reasonable use of the ways which they must accord to all others.

Improved methods of locomotion are perfectly admissible, if any shall be discovered, and they cannot be excluded from the -existing public roads, provided their use is consistent with present methods. The restrictions upon the use of highways are only such as are calculated to secure to the general public the largest practical benefit from the enjoyment of the easement, and the inconveniences must be submitted to where they are only such as are incident to a reasonable use under impartial regulations.

When highways are not restricted to some particular use they are open to all suitable methods, and it cannot be assumed that these will be the same from age to age, or that new means of making the ways useful must be excluded merely because this introduction may tend to the inconvenience or even to the injury of those who continue to use the roads after the same manner as formerly. A highway established for the general benefit of passage and traffic must admit of new methods of use whenever it is found that the general benefit requires them, and if the law should preclude the adoption of -the use to the new methods, it wouW defeat in greater or less degree the purposes for which highways are established.

Horses may be and often are frightened by the newly adopted locomotions, but it would be as reasonable to treat the horse as a public nuisance for its tendency to shy and be frightened by unaccustomed objects as to regard the vehicle propelled by new methods of locomotion as a public nuisance from its tendency to frighten horses. The use of the one may impose upon the manager of the other the obligation of additional care and vigilance beyond what would otherwise be essential. If one in making use of his own means of locomotion is injured by the act or omission of the other, the question is not one of superior privilege, but is a question whether under all tho circumstances there is negligence imputed to some one, and if so, who should be accountable for it.

The law of Indiana requires owners of traction engines to send some one ahead, at least 50 yards, to warn all persons approaching who are in charge of horses, and makes it the duty of the engineer to stop his engine until said horses have passed. The penalty is a fine from $3 to $50. Judge Monks concludes his opinion by saying that while cities have the power to regulate public travel upon streets and prohibit certain classes of vehicles from using certain streets so as to make their use reasonably safe ior those who go upon them on foot or in vehicles, and to enact ordinances to protect life, limb and health and property, they have no such authority or exclusive power over the streets as to prohibit the running of automobiles, traction engines or other steam vehicles on all the streets. Such an ordinance is not a reasonable exercise of the power of cities over their streets, and is therefore invalid.


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1901 Kidder Steam Wagon

The Kidder runabout was briefly described in The HorseLess Ace of January 23, and a more complete description of the Kidder system appeared in the Business Automobiles issue of February 6. In the following are given some further details and a number of improvements which have been made since that time. The boiler and heavier parts are hung low, as a low centre of gravity reduces the danger of overturning when rounding curves. The 2j^x3',2-inch engines are placed on the main frame, and the crank is carried in bearings on the re shaft carries a very strong, noiseless spur pinion. which directly engages the differential gear on the driving axle. There are, therefore, no chains used in the transmission. The upright tubular boiler has its shell and heads made of plate, which successfully withstands the test of being heated red-hot, plunged sudddenly in cold water till cold, and then bent short double under the heaviest blows of a trip hammer without the slightest indications oi fracture. There are a number of new features of value embraced in the boiler. Perfect vapor will remain for an hour in zero weather after all fire is extinguished, ready for a Bunsen fire on lighting a match, with no condensation at the dischargejet. In the Kidder burner all lighting or firing back is said to be rendered impossible, as the jet is at the top of the boiler, two feet away from all fire. Hot instead of cold air is fed to the burner, effecting an important economy in fuel. The jet is inside the body of the vehicle, protected from wind. It is closed or opened from the seat, and is.also under automatic regulation by the steam pressure.

A pilot light, also controlled from the seat, will not be extinguished by gales. For hard hill climbing, the pilot may be turned up to a fierce blow-pipe heat, well distributed under the boiler, adding materially to the heat of the main fire. In first firing up. a few teaspoonfuls of alcohol or gasoline only are required which are burned in a small heating pan attached underneath. The air pressure of 45 pounds is automatically maintained in the fuel tank without hand pumping. The fuel tank. of seamless drawn steel tubing, is tested to 300 pounds pressure per square inch. Three styles of the Kidder vehicles, in addition to the delivery wagon, are now ready, and others are in progress.

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The Growth of the Automobile Storage and Repair Business.

New industries of such scope as automobile manufacture are always followed at an appropriate time interval by minor allied industries, among which is that of repair establishments. In this particular the automobile movement has proceeded along the same lines as other industrial developments of recent years. In one respect, however, there has been a difference in the introduction of the automobile and that of other mechanical productions. It is the first time that a machine has been placed upon the market for private owners and users which, if they live in a large city, it is often inconvenient and even impossible for them to store at their own premises while in use. This same condition, of course, obtains with horse carriages in large cities, but there is rather a large difference between the care required by a horse and buggy and by an automobile, whatever be its propelling power. The livery and boarding stables at which urban owners keep their carriages and horses did not therefore attempt or succeed in securing the new business that followed the advent of the automobile. On the contrary, a large number of storage stations specially for automobiles have already been established in all the larger cities. These stations, while generally referred to as storage and repair stations, are storage stations primarily, as in general the greater part of repairs made is on vehicles permanently stored at these stations. Again, there are some stations at which practically no repairs are made at all.

The recent series of articles in The Horseless Ace on storage and repair stations in New York city brought out the fact that although the business is quite new there are already quite a number of stations which are excellently equipped, and offer owners every facility both in the matter of storage and of repairs. The practical results to be obtained from an automobile are much increased by its being cared for by practical mechanics. In this respect the automobile storage and repair stations bid fair to do their share in rendering the use of the automobile more practical. A better class of mechanics can evidently be employed by these stations than private owners would employ to care for and operate their vehicles, and, moreover, as these mechanics at the station in their work upon the carriage will be under the guidance of an experienced foreman it is to be expected that vehicles kept at such stations will always be kept in better condition than those housed by the owners themselves. The automobile storage and repair business is, consequently, a most important branch of the automobile industry. That such stations fill a pronounced want is farther attested by the rapid growth in their number and by the extensive business the larger and longer established ones are doing.

Long Distance

The United States Long Distance Automobile Company began making gasoline engines in 1900. The organizers of the company were Lewis Nixon, John C. Fremont, and D. J. Newland.   Automobile production began in 1901 with a variety of styles and 1, 2 and three cylinders were offered. The designer of he car, C. C. Riotte, designer of marine engines, was the designer  and it was a very good model. It was praised in the presas as being almost free of noise. By November production was promised  of 12  cars per week and it was kept. The name was changed to Standard in 1904 and all models thereafter were known as Standards..

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1901 Long Distance Automobile

Copied from the 1901 Horseless Age Magazine

The Gasoline Carriage of the United States Long Distance Automobile Company.

The carriage herewith illustrated is of an intermediate class, both as regards weight and engine speed. Its design is very much on the same lines as the general type of heavy American gasoline carriage and it is perhaps the extreme simplicity of parts, together with careful proportioning, which has enabled the designer to attain the. for this type of vehicle, very low weight of i.ooo pounds, with supplies.

The engine is a single cylinder water cam works. It has a bore of 5 inches, a stroke of y inches and is rated at 7 horse power at 750 revolutions per minute. The engine is started from the seat by means of a ratchet release crank. The shaft of this crank is geared to an extension of the engine shaft by a chain in the ratio of 2 : I in order to make starting easy. The transmission gear is on the sun and planet principle, giving two speeds ahead and one reverse. The wheels are 30 inches in diameter, of wood, and provided with 3-inch pneumatic tires. The vehicle has the standard track and a wheel base of 5 feet. The United States Long Distance Automobile Company, of Jersey City, are the manufacturers of this vehicle, which is the design of their engineer. C. C. Riotte


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1902 Long Distance Automobile Advertisement



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1904 Standard Tonneau Touring Automobile

The Long Distance company was reorganized as the Standard MotorConstruction Company in 1904 and its first model under its new name was slightly larger than its previous cars and unlike the previous engines , it was offered only as four on a single wheelbase chassis. Its name was Standard Tourist U. S. Long Distance. It became simply the Standard in 1905 with a longer wheelbase. The prices jumped to $3,000 for the touring to $3,900 for the Landaulet. Evidently, the profitibility was not enough and the company was sold to

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1905 Standard Automobile Advertisement


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1907 Hewitt Touring Automobile

In 1906. the Hewitt Motor Car Company, New York City, owned by Edward Hewitt, bought the Selden license from the defunct Standard Motor Construction Company and made its first car that had a single -cylinder engine. A four-cylinder touring and a limousine was also offered. Most of the single-cylinder models were exported to Europe. The 1907 models had eight-configured cylinders which the first ones to made. Trucks were also a part of the Hewitt company and it was absorbed by the Metzger Motor Car Company in 1907.

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1907 Hewitt Landaulet Automobile

Only Hewitt trucks were continued until 1912 when it was absoerbed by a corporation that included the Mack trucks.

Copied from the October Issue of the 1901 Automobile Topics Magazine


Before the records of the New York-Buffalo contest are surrendered to the pages of retrospective automobile history, it may be well to deduce a lesson, if possible, from the great gathering of automobiles for which it was the occasion. As Automobile Topics sees things, the contest was chiefly remarkable for teaching that Europe cannot teach America automobile construction in the future, whatever she may have done in the past. A level has been reached where certain American automobiles constructed to sell for $1,000 to $2,000 are found equal to imported French machines, costing over $10,000, when confronted with the task of driving over American roads in their worst condition and at lawful speeds. Greater heights of perfection must be reached by means specially adapted for the special conditions with which we have to deal. We cannot reach American heights from a European level. Our constructors will take care of what must be done in this respect. Their intelligence on engineering details cannot be increased or hurried by the counsels of newspaper men. But there were features of more general import which cropped out in the Endurance Contest. Nearly all vehicles carried spare tires in a conspicuous and unsightly manner. In many of them motors and transmission gears were protected against mud and dust by tarpaulins suspended under the wagon body. The smaller steam vehicles appeared loaded like Mexican donkeys with the baggage of the travelers and spare parts. Things were seen strapped to the vehiclesprings and axles. Elegance and comfort were not greatly in evidence. It seems to Automobile Topics that such a degree of reliability in the power features has been reached that constructors and designers might now pause in their labor for mechanical efficiency and devote more thought and art to the creation of spacious structures affording permanent protection for the mechanism against mud and dust, and definite arrangements for keeping baggage out of sight or at least not obviously out of place. Destined to be the practical vehicle the automobile should evidently cease to parade any makeshift arrangements from the moment when its practicability on the main points is generally conceded.

There has perhaps been a tendency to build automobiles specially for city and suburban service; that is, small vehicles with no baggage capacity but specially neat and attractive in get-upsuch at least is the accusation of Europeansbut in continuing this policy we should be wasting one of the principal charms of the automobile: viz., that it may go far from home and be in itself a new nomadic home for its owner. As such it is at its best, but only when arranged for comfort. To the electric vehicles might perhaps be abandoned the true "runabout" design; not that runabouts are impracticable with other forms of power, but they stand in the way of sales of more elaborate vehiclesthis is the manufacturer's side of itand they reduce the charm of automobilism to its narrowest form for those who buy them, with the exception of the small class of peoole who may keep an assortment of automobiles at disposal. The electric runabout, on the other hand, is just fit for its field and reflects credit on automobilism in general.

One of the participants in the Endurance Contest, after reaching Buffalo, went straightway home to lengthen the wheel base of his 3,300 lb. carriage to about 9 feet, an increase of more than two feet. The experience of others was similar. The long wheel base and the low center of gravity are among the points of design which have received the nod of confirmation from our first long distance event. Fortunately these are points which make for comfort and roominess.


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1901 Crestmobile

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1902 Crestmobile

The Crest Manufacturing Company, Cambridgeport, Mass.. recently brought out a light gasoline runabout equipped with their 3.5 horse power air-cooled motor. The motor, together with the carburetor and muffler, is placed on the front axle, to make the currents of air created by the . motion of the vehicle as effective in cooling the engine as possible. A chain transmits the power from a sprocket on the engine shaft to the change gearing fastened to the reaches, and fro.11 this gear another chain runs to the compensating gear on the rear axle. The change gearing provides for a considerable range of speed. Chain driving is employed, the manufacturers say, on account of the low cost of maintenance and because it is practically noiseless. The gasoline tank is stated to hold sufficient fuel for a 60 miles run. and is placed underneath the seat, where are also located the battery and induction coil. The weight is given as a trifle over 400 pounds. The manufacturers state that they will gear the carriage to suit the purchase.


The Crestmobile Construction

TO produce a gasoline automobile which may be placed in the hands of inexperienced persons with safety, has been the aim of the Crest Manufacturing Company of Cambridge, Mass., and the method adopted to accomplish this end has consisted in reducing the motor, operating and steering devices to their simplest possible form.

To what extent this may be done is, of course, of the greatest interest to the public to find out, as nobody will willingly have a more complicated and expensive piece of machinery on his hands to take care of than is necessary for his purpose. In order to form an opinion on this point two things are necessary; first, to know how the automobile can be simplified and how it will look after it is done, and. secondly, how it will operate and what degree of comfort it will afford its users. On the first point a description of the Crestmobile will serve the purpose; on the second point prospective purchasers must satisfy themselves.

It is first to be noticed that weight reduction is not effected by reducing the dimensions and strength of any of those parts which support the vehicle.

The tubing, wheels and axles are of the same gauge and diameter as used on carriages weighing one thousand pounds. By the elimination of some 400 pounds of machinery from the Crestmobile it becomes one of the lightest automobiles now made.'and remains at the same time one of the strongest. The removable tank is one of the striking features, and will appeal to the tourist when occasion comes to store vehicles where objection to gasoline is made on account of insurance rules.

All the mechanism is exposed and under the eye of the operator. The motor with its carburetor is placed on the front axle, where it is

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very easily accessible for repairs or examination. The clutch transmission device is placed underneath the body on the reaches, having flexible bearings. The power of the motor is carried to it by sprocket and chain. Another chain connects from the sprocket of the transmission device to the compensating gear on the rear axle. The chain for transmitting power, say the makers, is a most flexible form of transmission, requiring little adjustment and what is more important, it is noiseless.

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1903 Crestmobile

All Crest cars were built with the machinery entirely suspended on the frame, independent of the body, which is hung on flexible springs, and was entirely free from motor vibrations. The motors wee air-cooled and suspended on springs. The 1903 was provided with a direct shaft drive, long tubular steel with 28" Diamond detachable tires. The transmission had two forward speed and a reverse with a direct drive on high speed. The frame was especially designed for rough roads. The body has no machinery, water tanks, etc. havinng a large space for storage. The start up is unique for its simplicity of mechanism and control. The new Crest muffler made it very silent, and the 5 H. P. motor gave ample power. The finish and comfort of riding were first-class in every way. The wheels were either wire or wood and fitted with 28x2-inch Dunlop detachable tires. The car hds ample luggage space and had an extremely attractive design and finish.

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1902 Crestmobile Advertisement

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1903 Advertisement

The company was sold to Alden Sampson in 1905 and it was moved to Pittsfield and no other ones are known to have been built.


Thw Prescott Steamer was put into production in 1901 by the Prescott Automobile Manufacturing Company, New York City, The president of the company was A. L. Prescott. The price of the car was in the $1,000 price range and it was a very good car for this price. The company met its demise in 1907, when an employee absconded with a great deal of cash.

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1901 Prescott Steamer Automobile

The Prescott Steam Carriage.

The Prescott Automobile Manufacturing Company, of 09 Chambers, street, New York, with a factory at Passaic, N. J., have been at work for something like a year perfecting a steam carriage of their design. This vehicle has a 66-inch wheel base and weighs 1,050 pounds. The wheels are wire spoked, 28 inches in diameter, and provided with 3-inch Fisk tires. The burner is equipped with a special generator and pilot light. The latter only burns when the main burner is extinguished, the lighting and extinguishing of the pilot light being automatic. A 16-inch fire tube boiler is used, having a dry plate to avoid priming. The steam is used at 200 pounds nominal pressure in a double cylinder 2t-«x4-inch engine, with link reversing motion, which is geared down to the rear axle in the ratio of 12, 13 or 14 to 30.

All tanks are of sheet copper, the water tank, having a capacity of 35 gallons, being located in the rear of the body, around the boiler, as usual, and divided into compartments to prevent slopping over, and the gasoline tank, of 10 gallons capacity, and air tank-being placed in front, in a dasher.   The air tank pressure is maintained by means of an independent steam compressor, which can be started and stopped from the seat. A throttle lock, a most useful and practically necessary attachment, has been provided.

The president of the Prescott Automobile Manufacturing Company is A. L. Prescott, who has become known as the manufacturer of "Enameline" stove polish. Frank F. Weston is secretary of the new company, and has long been identified with the bicycle business by his connection with the Eclipse Manufacturing Company, of Elmira. The company are said to have a very strong financial backing, and will carry on the manufacture of these carriages on a large scale

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W. H. & H. M. Wells in a  1902 Prescott Racing Car


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1902 Prescott Automobile Advertisement


Copied from Beverly Rae Kimes Book, Standard Catalogue of American Cars from 1805-1942

In 1896, Alexander Mohler and W. A DeGress built what was probably the first automobile in Mexico. Returning to the Untied States at the turn of the century, they settled in New York City, where from 1902-1903, they produced a car called the "Rockaway. Refer to the Rockaway

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1901 Mohler Automobile

1901 Horseless Age Magazine

The light gasoline carriage herewith illustrated has just been completed by Mohlcr & De Gress. of Long Island City. It weighs. complete, 750 pounds, and is propelled by a single cylinder, vertical motor placed in front under a bonnet. The drive is chainless and direct to the rear axle for the high gear. Besides this high gear there are a hill climbing and a reverse gear, and all are operated by a single lever. The shaft running from the gear box to the differential  universal joints and carries at its end bevel pinion, which meshes with a beval gear crown on the differential. The bevel gear has a thrust roller opposite the pinion. All the bearings are plain. The pedal which unclutches the motor also applies the front brake and retards the spark. To prevent the motor from racing when the clutch is out and the brake applied this pedal is connected with the spark shifting mechanism, and retards the spark when depressed and advances it again to the point occupied before when released. The band brake on the rear axle, which is operated by a hand lever on the side of the seat, performs these same functions.

All the gearing is inclosed in malleable iron cases and runs in oil. The cooling water tank is under the bonnet, a radiator is placed in front, and the circulation is effected by a centrifugal brass pump. It is claimed that the water never boils. The steering is self-locking (by worm). The regulation of the spark and mixing valve is by means of little levers on the steering pillar. The tires are 28x3 inches and the wheels are of wood. The frame is of wood, 2x2 inches. and is reinforced with steel. The frame. carrying the motor and gear, acts as a super frame which bridges the regular frame, making a very flexible and strong construction. All the reach joints are flexible. The vehicle is intended to carry' two people, but the makers state that during tlie trials recently made with it it carried four persons up long 6 per cent, grades on the high gear.

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1903 Rockaway Runabout

The Description of the Rockway  is Copied Verbetem from the Same Book

Rockaway, New York (1902-1903)

Alexander Mohler was a native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, who went to Mexico to buld a car in 1896. Precisely why he chose Mexico is not known, but he did find a partner there named W. A. DeGress. Doubtless theirs was one of the first automobiles built south of the border, though Mohler and DeGress did not remain in Mexico long. Around the turn of the century, after building two additional automobiles there, they headed north, settling in the Astoria section of Queens in New York City. They brought one of their Mexican-built cars with them, but there is no evidence that any subsequent vehicles were marketed  under the name of Mohler & DeGress. The principal activity of the partners initially was engine building. In 1902, However, they began manufacture of light runabout. Its name derived from the beach town of Rockaway on Long Island where the partners set themselves up for car production. The Rockaway car was powered by a single or double-cylinder, water cooled engine, with shaft drive, and wheel steering, and was available inseveral styles. It was marketed for the partners by Charles Shain in New York City, who sometimes arbitrarily gave his own name to the car, and even more arbitrarily raised its price from $650 ti $1,500 in 1903.   Mohker and DeGress discontinued the car's manufacture by the end of that year, and in 1904, commenced production of automotive parts and accessories. Late in 1905, they sold their businessto F. A. Seitz.


Lead Cab Scandals.

Recent developments in the New Jersey courts, reported elsewhere in our columns, indicate that the mischievous Lead Cab speculation, which has been dragging the whole automobile industry through the mire for several years past, is approaching the point of collapse. The wanton and reckless expenditure of the investors' money in the early days of this scheme, made, no doubt, to dazzle the unsophisticated and impress them with the vast prospects of the enterprise, could have had but one result, even if the system it was pro| posed to exploit had been generally recogj nized as one of merit and future promise.

Substantial business returns could not reasonably have been expected on such a colossal basis, and the stockholders would have had to face a startling deficit in any event. As a matter ot fact the storage bat tery which formed the nucleus of the speculation was wholly unsuited to automobile work, and the methods employed by the promoters were of the most reprehensible known in finance. By puffery, concealment and evasion-, by the aid of names high in the commercial world and through the columns of a venal press, they sought to unload upon the unsuspecting public the widow, the orphan, the unwary small investormultimijlions of worthless stocks. The persons directly responsible for the flotation were old in financial "ways that are dark," but the scheme was too vast and too hollow to meet with complete success, and the ruins have tumbled about their ears.

As long ago predicted in The Horse-Less Age, the deluded minority stockholders have appealed to the courts for an investigation which was denied them by the officials of the Trust. With public attention finally fastened upon this festering spot in company promotion, and the law at last aiding the outraged stockholders, unpleasant revelations are certain to follow. Men prominent in financial circles will be smirched in reputation and poorer by some millions than they were, while the small investors, who can least afford the loss, awake to find themselves but dupes in the hands of the practiced stock manipulators who have planned and carried out the whole affair.

Owing to the wealth and prominence of certain parties interested the Lead Cab Trust has prolonged its melancholy existence beyond the limits usually fixed for such erratic schemes, but the day of reckoning seems to be at hand. The former spokesmen of the Trust, who were continuously in the public prints, are strangely silent or have suddenly taken leave for

protracted vacations. Subterfuge can no longer avail. The facts must now be-publicly known.

The Lead Cab Trust was at once the most ambitious and the rottenest stock speculation that Wall Street has ever seen. If its lessons could only be learned thoroughly by the public we might find more satisfaction in its downfall. But human greed is great as human credulity; men will worship financial idols and place too much faith in the clamor of the daily press, whose publishers are usually as careless as they are ignorant of the real merits of a scientific or mechanical question.

As for the automobile trade the result has been so long foreseen that comparatively little shock will be felt by future disclosures, and we feel warranted in saying that even the public is now sufficiently educated in the general merits of the different systems of propulsion, and its speculative ardor is now sufficiently cooled to make a repetition of such financial scandals in the automobile trade an impossibilies


Lead Cab Junk.

The manager for the trustees having in charge the winding up of the affairs of the New England Electric Vehicle Transportation Company, Boston, Mass., is finding difficulty in disposing of some of the assets. Most of the old batteries have been sold for junk, while those in good condition have been disposed of to other automobile companies. Many of the small vehicles have been sold to individuals, and some of the extra material has been turned into money; but the cabs, broughams and delivery wagons are almost all still on hand, being stored in the main floor of the station, awaiting a purchaser. A few delivery wagons have been disposed of to a local express company to be made over and used in a parcel delivery service, and a few wagonettes have gone to Cottage City, Mass., to be used as public carriages, but there are more than a hundred vehicles left under the rotunda of the station. Men have been at work during the summer taking down some of the wagons and cabs that were in bad condition, and piles of detached wheels and other parts are the result. The bodies of the 'buses operated for some time last spring on Beacon street are still on hand, and the station itself, with suites of offices, shops, elevators and expensive special machinery, is practically the same as it was. a monument to the folly of a too confiding public.

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1901 Stevens Arms & Tool Co. Advertising Space gor Rent



The Keystone Motor Company, Philadelphia, PA, began making automobiles in mid 1900 with a single-cylonder, 5-horsepower, water cooled car that was called the "Autocycl and a two-seater called a "Wagonette". They were designed by Edward Gallaher. Motors were also made available and by August, they had sold 71 motors, 5 Autocycles, and 4 Wagonettes. It was a very profitable business. So much so, that th following month, a Philadelphia group bought the companyand the Searchmont was introduced in November, The 1901 Searchmont was identical to its precedessor.

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1900 Keystone Three Seated  Autocycle

WE illustrate herewith the latest addition to the regular product of the Keystone Motor Co., of Philadelphia. It id the third type of vehicle that they placed upon the market. Theyhave some regular delivery wagons and "Wagonettes" under way, but so far the vehicles theyhave marketed consist of the standard "autocycle, the parcel delivery wagon, and a three-seated  autocycle.

The three-seated autocycle is a standard autocycle elognated 16 inches, which with the addition of a seat placed over the motor for the operator. The frame is made of 11/2-inch steel tubing. The wheels are 30 inches and thirty-four inches diameter, fitted with a 21/2-inch pneumatic tires. Th motor is one of  the Keystone standard 4 by 4   inch engines rated at four horse-power. It is completely controlled from the driver's seat. A small lever regulates the speed and the clutch and back gear mechanism are also controlled from the seat. Maximum speed  is 20 mph and the intermediate speeds are obtaine by shifting yhr ignition. The standard tread is four feet and the wheel base is 54 inches. Larger wheel base can be had bt ordering . They are making extensive arrangements for manufacturing these  vehicles, which they believe will prove aspopular as their standard autocycle

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1900 Keystone Automobile Advertisement


This group of business men included Theodore Search, head of the stetson Hat Company and Spencer Trask bought the Keystone Motor Car Company in November, 1900. Gallaher stayed on as plant manager and the car was produced through 1902 as the Searchmont. The managers had grand ideas and they hired the famous French racedriver, Henri Fournier, into the company. His status was so great that the company was renamed as the Fournier-Searchmont later that year. How many ideas were incorporated into the Searchmont remains unknown, because Fournier left for France and never returned.

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1901 Searchmont Stanhope
Searchmont Motor Car Co., Philadelphis, PA

Gallaher was partly responsible for thje  design of the 1902 Fournier-Searchmont with Lee Sheridan Chadwick beimg the engineer.

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1902 Fournier-Searchmont Automobile Advertisement


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1901 Klock  Runabout  Automobile

In August of 1900, Percy Klock, Stamford, CT, began to advertise his car as "The most Perfect Gasoline Carriage in Use" and he was using the Duryea patents. He then organied himself as the National Motor Carriage Company. But even that was not good enough for him so he reorganized his company as the International Motor Carriage Company, dropped the mentioning of Duryea patents, and moved his offices to the most expensive location in New York City. However, his factory remained in Stamford. He first exhibited it at the 1900 New York City show and his automobile was described as one of the best models on is type in the show. It was priced at $1,200, a price that was too high for him to survive for more than one year.

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Hiram Bradley, a well known mechanical engineer of Oakland, CA, built what was described as a "neat little machine that was substantially built". The total weight of the car was 900 lbs. It held enough water and gasoline for 80 miles. It had wire wheels with 3-inch pneumatic tires. It had a two-cylinder , 5-horsecpower engine with a transmission power direct from the motor to a variable speed device with a chain to the axle.

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1900 Bradley Gasoline Automobile

Bradley, Wheeler, and Company, Kansas City, MO, was planning to have an entry into the 1895 Chicago Herald Tribune Race, but never made it. In 1900, it was simply known as Bradley for its designer, Hiram T. Bradley. By September of that year, the Pacific Motor Company. Oakland, CA, was organized with a capital stock of $100,000 to put Bradley's car into production as their Pacific model. A new $120,00 factory was planned that had a a lady's reception room nd a men's club room. It would have different departments for body building. Models of other types of fuel were planned, but never made. The factory was never made and the Pacific was built to order only until 1904.

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Copied from the 1901 Automobile Topics Magazine

Some Factors in the Growth of Automobilism

IF orders for one million automobiles, at an average price of perhaps $1,000, await the automobile industry as soon as the public are convinced that automobiles will do traction work, in all its varieties, better and cheaper than it is now done by horses, it would be strange if the industry would not do everything in its power to advance the time when the public may have reason for feeling so convinced.

The best way of carrying conviction is undoubtedly to produce automobiles that actually will do the work for which there is a general demand, and will do it in a manner that fits into the conditions to which the automobiles must be applied.

Automobiles, for example, which call for highly skilled work from men filling lowly positions of servitude, are hardly the final thing, unless it should prove possible to revolutionize the ordinary relations between men and their servants.

A considerable amount of readjustment of old relations to new conditions will probably take place gradually, but the more any one type of automobile is charged with in this respect, the more it is apt to suffer commercially until the readjustment has been effected.

The demand for automobiles at the present time either does not exceed 10,000 vehicles per year, or else the industry is unable to produce all that is wanted; for the past year has not produced 10,000, nay, probably not more than 5,000 vehicles, and out of this number at least90 per cent, have been of the class commonly designated as pleasure vehicles. Their suitability is not measured with the severe rule applied in matters of strict utility, but with the more lenient one by which full credit is given for all the pleasure derived from them, while the troubles arising from their use are generously charged to the accounts of sport, novelty and fashion.

It is perfectly well understood that the number of those who will buy and use automobiles on this basis is very limited, and that the automobile industry must comply with a more severe standard before automobile-traction can take the place of horse-traction, and before the now only potential demand for one million automobiles, more or less, can materialize and justify the ambitions of the two hundred manufacturers, more or less, who have entered the industry with the intention of manufacturing complete motor vehicles.

It is also understood that the past year has shown results by which the public in general have become fairly well convinced that automobiles for fast, light travel, have already been perfected to the point of affording a service that cannot be obtained by any other means, and that the doubts which remain among prospective purchasers, within this narrow branch of automobilism, have reference mostly to what particular makes of automobiles are preferable.

At the same time it is noted that this branch of automobilism cannot be the one upon which the industry can depend, nor the one to whose development the public are looking forward. It supplies something which horse traction never supplied, and the demand for it is an uncertain factor hinging largely upon fashion; for in the long run there is likely to be only very few persons who will be found willing to spend much of their time flying from place to place for the mere pleasure of covering distances rapidly and independently of railroads or other common carriers.

It is only as a substitute for horses, and not as a new commodity adapted for a new class of travel, that the automobile commands an unlimited market. As a new commodity it has progressed very rapidly indeed, with more rapidity than safetywhile as a substitute for horse traction it is decidedly in its infancy. Nearly everything that can be said on this subject must be said and understood with much mental reservation. The comparison between horses and automobiles is never one that can be dealt with in exact terms.

Horses have been used, for example, for many branches of work for which they are very poorly adapted, and from these they may be ousted by automobiles, even while the latter remain somewhat defective, just as they were ousted from the transcontinental mail and express service by the railways long before the railroad service was as perfect as it is to-day. Automobilism naturally attacks its utility work first at thepoints where horse service is weakest. Then, by slow degrees, it enlarges its sphere, growing gradually to greater perfection by adaptation to the more and more severe tasks imposed upon it. Understanding of automobile mechanism spreads at the same time among the public; men fitted to take care of automobiles become more numerous and less exacting; and after a decade or two it is found that automobiles may be substituted for horses without subsequent disappointment, even if no other factors are considered by the purchasers than reliability and economy of the machines as machines.

At the present time the questions of possible misuse of the machines by incompetent help, and deterioration, accident, delays and annoyances from this cause, constitute a hindrance to the adoption of automobile traction, and this a hindrance which is of hardly less importance than the absence of automobile types specially and suitably designed for the various classes of utility work for which automobiles might be used if such types had already been evolved and tested. In one sense the problem of labor by drivers and caretakers is even the more stubborn one, because its solution cannot be hurried, as can those relating to construction by conscious and concentrated efforts on the part of constructors and manufacturers. There might be room for pessimism on this score were it not that the horse, considered as a machine, has never been handled by the majority of its users with any high degree of skill. It is at best a troublesome source of power, which can be used with safety only at low speeds.

A mechanically inclined people should quickly learn to handle automobiles with more intelligence than has been devoted to the horse, and should find it easy to get more out of them, in reliability as well as economy, if their speed were reduced to equality with horse traction, or not more than 25 per cent, higher. Only on such a basis would a comparison in results be fair and profitable, the speed possibilities of automobiles constituting a factor which cannot be materialized, and over-emphasized as they are at present, without dragging the question of the personal qualities of hired help unduly into the foregroundto the detriment of automobilism.

When all the factors in the growth of automobilism, which have been referred to in the foregoing, are viewed in their relation to the actual development of the industry, it seems impossible to escape from the conviction that the majority of the industry have not yet taken heart to look upon automobile traction as the unavoidable substitute for horse traction in general. If they were fully convinced that the market for utility automobiles would expand in response to any efforts they might make for mass-production of substitutes for the horse, they would naturally turn their efforts in this direction where the field is unlimited and competition quite insignificant. They choose, however, to make pleasure automobiles almost exclusively, which are not substitutes for horses but an entirely new commodity, and for which the demand is comparatively limited. In choosing this narrow field of work they deliberately choose the rigors of competition and practically refuse to substantiate the claim that automobilism has progressed to the point where it should be accepted as superior to older forms of vehicular locomotion.

Do they mean to make this denial of the most important claims to economy and practicability which have been advanced for the motor principle, or have they simply been drawn farther into a fashion movement than they originally intended to go?

If the latter, they may signify it by entering more extensively in the production of common-sense vehicles and paying less frantic attention to those high speeds which the horse never possessed and for which the demand is ephemeral and capricious, and by adopting, on the other hand, the rational methods of finance and engineering which are best adapted for increasing the public's desire to purchase utility vehicles.

The Fischer Motor Vehicle Company of Jersey City has an electrogasoline stage in operationevery now and thenin New York city, and it is expected that a powerful corporation will be formed to exploit its advantages as soon as these become known in financial circles. Two or three trucks embodying the same construction of the power system are stated to be in daily operation in Jersey City.

This power system is composed of a three-cylinder 10 hp. gasoline engine driving a i io-volt dynamo connected by direct circuit to twin 6 hp. motors geared to the rear wheels. On level roads and with light loads the storage battery, which also forms part of the equipment, is not

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called into use, but, on the contrary, is charged with the surplus power turned out by the gasoline motor. On grades or bad roads the power accumulated in the battery is switched into the electric motors to assist the current from the dynamo.

As the weight of the vehicle is 7,200 lbs., the running gear is heavy; it is built of angle iron and mounted on steel-bound wood wheels, 36x44. The tires are 4-inch solid rubber. The stage is lighted by electricityfrom the battery, and heated in Winter by means of the cooling water. Five speeds ahead and two reverse are all governed by electric means, it seems. The gasoline is carried in a twelve-gallon tank under the operator's seat just forward of the engine. The interior of the stage accommodates twelve people, and the top of the vehicle will hold six in addition to the operator. The body of the stage is detachable, so that the vehicle may be'converted into a dray or delivery wagon at small cost.


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1902 Kunz Runabout Automobile

In the runabout class of cars, the Kunz Automobile Company, Milwaukee, Wis., show construction which represents considerable experimenting and careful observances. In general appearance the car is not unlike the standard runabout types, seating two in the seat proper, with a dos-a-dos seat in the rear accommodating an additional two. The motor is of the two cylinder type, water-cooled, of the four cycle principle. It is so constructed as to protect all the running parts from dust or mud. The transmission provides for three speeds forward and reverse, the shifts being accomplished by the use of a single lever. For mixture control a throttle is provided which permits a variation of from 75 to 1400 revolutions per minute, the operation of which is accomplished by a foot lever placed conveniently. The ignition is the make and break contact, the current being generated from a dynamo so arranged that by cranking to start the spark comes direct without the use of batteries. The exhaust is muffled with a device which thoroughly deadens the noise under all conditions. The gear is light and mounted on four roller hearings for the rear axle and ball bearings in front. The car complete weighs 750 pounds, with gasolene sufficient to run 175 to 200 miles.

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1901 Kunz Automobile Advertisement



Copied from the 1902 May Issue of the Automobile Magazine

The automobile side of our summer of 1902 will be well worth the watching, writes Harper's Weekly. Shall we have plans for new roads, or special automobile roads, or more laws against speed? Shall we get higher rates of speed, or cheaper machines? Probably the improvement in motive power, in cheapness, and in speed will go on. Probably, too, the automobile will push its way into the highways, and people will have to look to their safety with greater care. That is a natural kind of growth, and will doubtless go along on its own sweet way, paying its fines and penalties cheerfully as it goes.

American Gas

In 1902, the American Motor Carriage Co. put on the   market its American Gas runabout that was priced $1,000. It had a single-cylinder, water cooled engine, planetary transmission, chain driven. The officers were George McKay, F. D. Dormand, J. F. Morriss, and George Dormand was the engineer. Incorporation of the comany was August of the previous year. The price was probably too high for the automobile and not enough sales to to be profitable and the company went into receivership in 1904. The price was lowered to $750 and sales picked up , but it was too late. The leftover parts were used to complete as many cars as possible.

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1902 American Gas Automobile Advertisement


Copied from the 1902 Automobile Topics Magazine

President Roosevelt's Baneful Conservatism

L. F. Bush, a newspaper correspondent in Washington, brings a story from the national capital which will make many people wonder at the ways of society folk. Automobile dealers, he writes, who have been making an extra effort to make Washington the auto center of America, complain that the smart set of the capital is not taking to the horseless vehicles as it is in New York, Chicago, Boston and other large cities. The unbroken system of asphalt streets makes Washington the ideal place for autos, but the fad is not running riot, by any means. President and Mrs. Roosevelt are blamed for the flagging of interest, for there has been a perceptible decrease in ardor since they have been at the White House. Both are enthusiastic equestrians, and they set the style in outdoor exercise just the same as they do indoors. The smart set has stored away its automobiles and resumed the saddle.

Because the President has found it impossible, because of public business, to leave the White House before late in the afternoon, a stylishly-dressed equestrian is a rare sight in the vicinity of Washington before four o'clock. A few years ago morning rides were the fad. Now there is a general opening of stable doors at four o'clock, and the streets are filled with riders, who dash through the city on their way to the country. President Roosevelt seldom rides on the Conduit road or in the parks, and the fashionables, following his example, have abandoned these old-time favorite rides, and make across the river to the Virginia country roads. Auto dealers have tried in vain to have the President give their business a boom by using a machine, but up to date he has refused. It isasserted there would be twice the number of autos on the streets of Washington there are now if the President would set the fashion. Mrs. Chauncey M. Depew is about the only woman of the ultra fashionable set who manages her own machine. She has an electric runabout, and she takes the senator to the Capitol every pleasant day. Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont has a French-made victoria, but she allows a chauffeur to manage it for her. The Countess Cassini, Miss Root and Miss Wetmore all have autos, but they seldom use them as compared with the number of times they arc seen on their horses


The Ajax runabout, manufactured by the Ajax Motor Vehicle Co., 220 West Thirty-Sixth street, New York, is designed to meet the requirements where simplicity of operation and construction are necessary. Seamless steel tubing with a tensile strength of 2,500 pounds per square inch is used in the running gear. Flexible joints are provided at the ends of the reaches, which minimize the effect of uneven roads. The springs used are of the best oil tempered steel, tested to resist a weight of 2,500 pounds. The tires are 21/2 inches by 28 inches, and written guarantee of the maker is given with them. A piano-box body with angle iron frame gives ample room under the seat for a battery of high capacity. If desired a closed seat with leather top can be furnished. The motor is V/2 H. P. and is provided with ball-bearing attachments, which give ease of action and durability. It is the Zeco Magneto all inclosed in a dust and water proof case. A ring oiler being supplied the bearings always run cool and no attention need be given them.

The Zeco dynamo, also manufactured. by this firm, is better adapted where a greater volume of current is required, such as on a multiple cylinder gas engine. It generates 10 volts at a speed of 1300 R. P. M. Both machines are supplied with the same style dust and water proof box method of oiling connections, etc.The Ziegler Electric Co. are now making a special offer on these machines and all those interested will do well to correspond with the firm.

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1902 Centaur Runabout Automobile




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1902 Waltonmobile automobile

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Copied from the May Issue of the Automobile Topics Magazine


CONSIDERABLE annoyance has been caused automobile owners who have been rightfully or wrongfully arrested for alleged excessive speed, from the necessity of producing bonds for their appearance in court, or, alternatively suffer the ignominy of being locked up in jail. This necessity, in the nature of things, is most likely to arise at a moment when time is precious. In fact the very urgency of despatch may in several instances have been the underlying cause of the arrest. A suggestion has been made by Mr. Adams of the Adams-McMurty Company in New York, which seems to obviate the requirements under such circumstances. He proposes that one of the many surety companies undertake to furnish the necessary bonds, either on its own responsibility, or in co-operation with the automobile clubs, and that each automobilist take advantage of such arrangements to provide himself or herself, in advance of the necessity, with a document in which the required amount of surety may be filled in when the emergency arises, but otherwise in due form as a bond for appearance. With a document of this character in his or her possession, the automobilist would not be subject to vexatious delays, yet the demands of the law would be complied with, and the surety company could guard itself against abuse by stipulating a maximum amount as well as the nature of police charges to which it would be applicable

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An automobilist wore the proper clothing. An ametuer wore what he needed.


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1902 Torbenson Runabout with V. V. Torbenson at the wheel and T. Mills as the passenger

V. V. Tobenson, former suprttendent for the Searchmont company incorporated his first company as V. V. Torbenson Company in Newark, NJ in 1901 as maker of automobile specialities. Later in the year it was changed to Torbenson.Gear and in built his first automobile in 1902. From 1902 to 1905, he built a few more that were good performers at local events in all categories except hill climbing which was due to poor gears. With a capital stock of $500,000, he reorganized his company in 1905 as Torbenson Motor Car Company. However only a few cars were built for customers and an ocassional delivery vehicle. He stopped making cars in 1911 and became a major gear builder for trucks until 1923.


No "Rake-off" for the Coachman

A Rochester dealer, not entirely unknown to readers of The Horseless Age, tells the following incident of his experience: Recently a man came to him to negotiate for the purchase of a machine. The next day the coachman of the would-be autoniobilist came to the establishment and inquired of the dealer how much he, the coachman, was going to get out of the deal. "A good cigar," said the dealer, "and you can have it now if you want it."

The coachman was wrath. Whenever his employer purchased a horse, he said, he had always gotten a ''rake off" of about S.25 from the dealer, and he now demanded $75 as his commission for inducing his employer to buy an automobile. If the money wasn't forthcoming, he declared, he would "queer the deal. "The dealer ordered the coachman out of his establishment and the next day informed his employer of the man's demand, adding that if the payment of a commission to the coachman was the customary thing, he would add the $75 to the price oi the automobile and pay it. The gentleman was indignant at his coachman's conduct, but bought the machine. In a few days he returned to say that he had experienced any amount of trouble with it, and asked that the machine be overhauled. "The trouble lies in the fact that your man didn't get his $75," said the dealer. The man took the hint and discharged the coachman. From that time on the automobiiist had no more trouble with his machine.

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Disaster at the May 31st Staten Island Speed Trials

Copied from the May Issue of the Automobile Topics Magazine

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While waiting for the examination in Magistrate Croak's court in the morning Mr. Baker talked freely of the accident and of kis racing machine. He asked for the morning papers, and as he glanced through the list of dead and injured his face grew grave and he shuddered. Air. Baker complained that his right leg was sore and that he was stiff all over, while Dcnzir had a lame back and a big lump on the back of his head. Mr. Baker believed that this latter injury had been inflicted when the rescuers started in to pound in the top of the automobile body to rescue them.

Mr. Baker said that in the run from the starting point to the kilometer mark, where the roadway made a slight curve, the machine had run as smoothly as if on glass, AND, COVERED IN A S THE Y WERE, THE ¥ DID NO T THINK THE Y WERE RUNNING AT A GREA T STEED, EXCEPT AS TOLD BY THE STEED METERS WITHIN THE BODY OF THE MACHINE. As they made the turn in the road there began a slight undulating motion as if they were in a boat on the water, and then the machine began to sway. He at once called to Denzer. who was behind him watching the gauges and machinery, to hold fast and cut off the electric current, and apply both brakes. He jammed on the brakes so hard that the rear wheels were locked and the vehicle began to slew around. THEN IT SEEMED THAT THE CROWD OF SPECTATORS WERE WHIRLING PAST THE LITTLE WINDOW IN THE CONNING HOOD IN A CIRCLE TO THE RIGHT. The machine, having left the course, struck the trolley track sideways; there was a whirl of dust, obliterating sight, and the next he was conscious of was excited shouts and hammering on the thin body of the machine. He raised the hood and helped Denzer out.

WC. BAKER is, we believe, a truthful, as well as a brave man. He certainly has the courage of his convictions, as he has shown, first by introducing his well-known type of light-weight electric runabout, and, secondly, by his system of four-row ball-bearings which he has successfully applied under conditions of load and service for which ball bearings were not previously considered adapted. His ideas on mechanics are usually sound, and are well borne out in practice. Nevertheless, it was the machine built by Mr. Baker-not an automobile, not even a racing automobile, or a racing machine, but simply a speed machine with a wrong classification labelwhich caused deaths, injuries and consternation at the automobile speed trials on Staten Island last Saturday.

At a time when a man is bowed down with grief over a blunder by which fellow-beings were hurled into eternity, and from which he and his companion escaped only by a miraculous chance, there are enough who will assail the man figuring most prominently in the catastrophe, and enough who will essay to administer the kick of the fabled ass to all who were officially connected with the management of the event; enough, finally, to load onto the shoulders of automobilism the burden of blame for an occurrence which was rendered possible only through the fatuous violation of all automobile precedents.

In the present instance attempts have been made to represent the steering gear of the Baker machine as foolishly faulty, and it has been charged that the wheels of the structure were fatally weak. But there is nothing in the facts of the case to indicate that the steering gear would not hold the machine on the road if the hands of the driver directed the steering wheel properly, nor that the wheels would not endure the stresses of exceedingly fast travel so long as kept on a smooth road surface. The mechanism of the machine itself was apparently as thoroughly thought out as that of any of Mr. Baker's other creations. The blunder was not one of mechanical engineering. niame has also been showered upon the stewards of the event, the starter and the officers of the Automobile Club of America in general. But a careful review of the precautions taken and the manner of their enforcement reveals great forethought in regard to all matters coming within the scope of past experience. It does not reveal, however, a system of well-defined responsibilities by which it would have become incumbent on any one person or set of persons to detect the blunder in Mr. Baker's conception of a racing automobile. President Shattuck. for example, is quoted as follows:

I did not see the machine until the morning of the meet. Mr. Baker, I do not know personally, but he has a reputation as a skilled electrician and a careful man. He is thirty-two years old and has had much experience in the Baker Motor Vehicle Company, of Cleveland, of which he is, I believe, the head. The company made this machine for the purpose of capturing records with it. There was nothing freakish about the automobile except its peculiar windbreak. Under this canoe-like cover was a legitimate electric battery. This machine had been tried a number of times in Cleveland before Mr. Baker brought it East. He had met with no mishaps. The trials yesterday were free for all, and we saw no reason to bar the entry of the Cleveland machine.

Probably all others connected with the management of the trials "saw no reason to bar the entry." Mr. Baker himself, and Mr. Denzer, both staked their own lives, that no such reason existed. Unfortunately, the lives of others were also staked, and lost, on this fateful failure to perceive that the machine differed on one vital point from all automobiles ever placed on the road or on the racetrack in this or any other country.

This difference was so pronounced and so deeply important that the accident, according to all rules of reasoning, must be charged directly to it, in the absence of all supportable argument pointing to other causes.

In no automobile of any description whatsoever, and in no speed machine graced with the name of an automobile, has it ever been attempted to place the man at the steering wheel under complete cover (strapped to his seat or unstrapped), and with his eyes limited in vision by the area of a mica pane some To inches in width and perhaps 2 inches high. With no other machine has it been considered as within the limits of conceivable foolhardiness to divorce the perceptive faculties of the driver from the surroundings through which he is supposed to guide his vehicle, by placing him in such a position that the first joltmight obscure and confound his sense of sight and render it impossible for him to determine, instantly and instinctively, the direction of the vehicle and its relation to the roadbed. In all other machines built for speed purposes, at least the head of the driver has been left free and unhindered in its movements, projecting above the frame or windbreak of the vehicl

What it means to do otherwise has been sadly demonstrated on Staten Island, and a careful perusal of the remarks of Mr. Baker, as quoted at the beginning of this article from an interview, will hardly fail to convince any unprejudiced person that the blunder committed in this respect was the fundamental cause of the deplorable accident.

While short-distance automobile racing is a vain and empty sport which can easily be spared, the accident was not due to the racing. It was not due to the speed attained. The Mors machine exceeded the Baker machine in speed, at least up to the kilometer finish. The Serpollet machine went much faster at Nice. Much higher speeds have been attained on rails by electric and steam locomotives. It was probably not due to defects in the mechanism of the vehicle. It was simply an incredible blunder due to forgetfulness of the fact that the absolutely free activity of the senses of the driver forms an indispensable link among the factors which must cooperate for the guidance of power vehicles.

This fact has never before been questioned in theory or in practice. Probably it will never be questioned in the future.


Official Action on Road Racing

A change of heart has come over the Automobile Club of America in regard to racing on the highways, the change being occasioned by the fatal accident at the Staten Island trials last Saturday, caused by a speed machine which was operated in a manner violating all precedents for automobile racing, but erroneously admitted to the trials because its maker wanted to enter it. The new standpoint of the A. C. A. was embodied in a resolution passed by the board of governors at a meeting held last Tuesday, and the resolution is worded as follows: Whereas the Automobile Club of America deeply regrets and deplores ihe terrible accident which occurred during the holding of the record trials by this club cm Staten Island, on May 31 last,

Resolved, That, although similar trials have been heretofore held throughout the world without serious accident, yet this accident upon Saturday, notwithstanding every safeguard that precaution could suggest was adopted, has convinced the governors of the club that it is unwise to hold speed trials with automobiles on the public highways, and that the governors of this club will not hold or consent to the holding of such contests by the club.

In this resolution track racing is not referred to, although several of the governors desired to include it and thereby sever the A. C. A. entirely from automobile racing, and it is not binding upon any other automobile club, since the American Automobile Association has assumed national control over racing matters (limited to the clubs which are members in it). This latter organization also held a meeting on the same day, at which Winthrop E. Scarritt, president of. the association, presided. Mr. Jefferson Seligman and Mr. A. R. Shattuck, of the Automobile Club of America; Mr. A. R. l'ardington, of the Long Island Automobile Club, and Mr. VV. J. Stewart, of the Automobile Club of Xew Jersey, were also present. The accident was discussed also at this meeting, but no action was taken except that of formally conferring authority upon the stewards of race meets to exclude any machine which they might consider unsuitable or dangerous. The members of the race committee also were empowered to refuse racing licenses to promoters not identified with clubs or regularly organized associations, and it wras announced that the Long Island Automobile Club would hold a race meet at Brighton Beach on August 23

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Mrs. Eva De Voe100 Years OldIn Her Century Steam Carriage

SYRACUSE, N. Y., has rediscovered the old truth that extreme old age takes kindly to new things, while cautious conservatism is usually cultivated by those who have not yet turned 50 years. Mrs. Eva De Yoe, who lives at the corner of Kinne and West Manlius streets, East Syracuse, last Saturday celebrated the rounding out of a century of birthday anniversaries by a spin in her Century steam vehicle. The coincidence in the name of the vehicle lends a peculiar appropriateness to the event.

Mrs. De Voe is the mother of five generations, who were represented at the centennial. Her faculties are intact. Last year, when she celebrated her 99th birthday anniversary, she astonished her relatives by wanting to learn to ride a bicycle. This was immediately tabooed, the opinion being that a comfortable, easy-running automobile, with a top, was safer and better for a woman of her age. She enjoys riding in an automobile, and says that it makes her feel young again; but, for that matter, she has been looking forward to automobile driving for 60 years. "Back in the forties" Lorenzo Dow was a well-known resident of New York State, and he was a preacher and a savant. Mrs. De Voe tells that he sometimes called the children together, and said: "You musn't make funof me; but I say that the time will come in less than 100 years when people will be going around in carriages without horses, and will be able to talk with their friends hundreds of miles away." His prophecies sank into the mind of Mrs. De Voe, and she has thought of his sayings many times since. She likes motor vehicles because there is no danger of their running away. She expects that in a short time people will be sailing through the air with the same readiness that they now go around in automobiles.

This remarkable automobilist was born in Rotterdam, Schenectady County, June 7, 1802. Her first husband was John N. De Graff of Montgomery County, to whom she was married in 1822. Six children were born. Her husband died in 1839, and two years later she married John I. De Voe of Orville. She was again widowed in T863.

The machine in which the old lady is sitting is the latest model of the Century steam runabout, made by the Century Motor Vehicle Co. of Syracuse, and is easily controlled by the aged enthusiast.


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