History of the American Automobile Industry
The clink of the glasses when the clock struck 12 and the figure six slid out of the calendar to make way for a numeral one unit greater, announced the end of the biggest year in motor car history and the birth of a new one possibly as big. It will be great in motor car production, but still greater in motor car perfection.
This tremendous speeding up of production is having a marked effect on the makeup of the car. And here figures in one of those providential combinations which favor both builder and consumer. The motor car buyer wants simplicity. He wants an absence of parts where parts are not needed. He wants parts which need attention so located that he can get at them easily.
Consider the manufacturer's side. He is working towards the same end and the balances are even. The more simple the car the more quickly it may be assembled. The more accessible the parts, the less trouble the assembler has in fitting those parts to the chassis under construction. In these days, when one man works 8 hours a day turning down on nut on the same part of each chassis which comes crawling toward him on an uncanny looking endless chain, it is quite desirable from a manufacturing standpoint that that nut be so located that the laborer can get it firmly seated before his allotted 15 sec. per chassis, or whatever it may be, has terminated.
Bad News Came Fast
The Railway Embargo had started in full force
DETROIT, Feb. 1917, Motor Age
More than $10,000,000 worth of motor cars are tied up here because of existing freight conditions produced by embargos declared by thirty railroads since the beginning of the U-boat war. These figures are based on a statement made by J. S. Marvin, general traffic manager of the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce, who says unless something improves matters radically in the next few weeks the situation will become even more serious. Mr. Marvin found more than 25,000 empty freight cars tied up in
The Packard company has about $1,000,000 worth of cars tied up and is driving its products to Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus. The Ford Motor Co., which requires at least fifty empties daily, is getting from six to ten each day. Dodge Bros, are sending cars under the driveaway rule and are shipping an average of 150 a day. The Cadillac Motor Car Co. has 1000 cars ordered, paid for and ready for shipment which it has been forced to place in storage because of lack of shipping facilities. The Paige-Detroit company is in the same position with a similar number of cars. The Chalmers company has 300 cars in storage and is threatened with a shortage of material. More than 400 cars lay idle at the Hupp Motor Co. plant with little prospect of early shipment, and the company has been paying express charges of $250 a day to get materials from Cleveland. Maxwell, Hudson, King and other big concerns are having the same troubles and all are busy fitting their products for the drivers from the different agencies who come to drive the cars over the roads to their home towns. Many companies are driving their cars to nearby cities, where they hope to secure better shipping facilities.
February 22, 1917, MOTOR AGE
Chicago, Feb. 20Driving motor cars overland in trains having a pilot and a conductor on definite schedule with a train dispatcher, track maintenance crew and all the other features of a well-regulated railway system has been the outgrowth of the almost complete embargo of motor car freight on railways since the first of the month. The U-boat warfare which resulted in the embargo declared by thirty railroads has resulted in tying up more than $10,000,000 worth of motor cars in Detroit, but it also has resulted in the development of a new method of getting cars to dealers in quantities, independent of freight conditions, and one which probably will be one of the chief features of delivery to dealers even after railroad conditions become normal.
The Fageol Brothers, Rollin, Frank, and William, Des Moines, IA, built their first car in 1900 with Rollin doing the designing and machine work, Frank was a clerk, and William was a jeweler. The car was never put into production. They became car dealers in Iowa. When they moved to California, they decided to pursue automobile manufacturing. Rollin left on his own to pursue his inventions. Frank and William joined forces with Louis H. Bill and Webb Jay both who had former experiences in the trade.
1917 Fageol Touring
Fageol Motor Company was formed in November in 1916 to build automobiles, trucks, and buses. This foursome did not thnk small. They built the highest priced production cars that had ever been built in this country. The wheel bases were from 125-135 inches and the price for the chassis began at $9,500 , $12,000 for the production touring or speedster models, and $17,000 for closed bodies. The engine was six-cylinder, 125 horsepower aviation engine, designed by Hall and guaranteed to do 80 mph. It could go from a standstill to 25 mph in 40 feet. It is not known the exact number of cars that were built, but at the New York City Automobile Show, 20 had been ordered when it was shown at the show there. 45 were planned for 1917, but that was a lot to hope for.
1917 Fageol Bus
Two chassis were completed by February for exhibition on the show circuits. There was no problem selling the cars but making it was something else. It was promoted into the 1918 show season, but the idea of production any more was given up. When the war was eniment, Hall began making airplane engines for the government. A very few more with different engines were built after the war with the last one was the company's president's model in 1921. Fageol trucks survived many company changes until it was bought by Peterbuilt in 1938.
Six years after winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, Ray Harroun entered his automobile design into production. It had a four-cylinder, 16 horse power, but could evelop 43 horse power at 2400 rpm. It was a one unit power plant with a 107-inch wheelbase. The fiorst production included a three-seat roadster and a five passenger touring car.
1916 Harroun Seven Passenger Touring Automobile
In September, 1917, the Harroun Motors Corporation was organized with a capital fund of $10,000,000. John Moniham, formerly with Premier and Marion automobile companies, was the president. It was located in Wayne, MI, and 24,000 cars a year was estimated. with 500 being done before the end of the year. LIke so many companies that were patroitic doing the war years, he started to build munitions for the government and spent a half-million dollars for machinery and like so many the government took several years before settling claims. Also, like many other companies, for lack of capital to continue production with enough cars, the 1922 model was the last year for the Harroun automobile.
Harroun Automobile Advertisement
1917 Harroun Automobile Advertisement
Unusual features among the new cars, chiefly are exemplified in the Hassler, a product of the Hassler Motor Co., Indianapolis, a new manufacturer backed to a large extent by the same interests which have been manufacturing the Hassler shock absorber for Ford cars. The car is the development of Charles Merz, the Indianapolis racing driver who has been acting as its experimental engineer. Standard units in the car include a Buda four-cylinder L-head block standard motor of 31/2 by 51/2-in. bore and stroke. This engine is claimed to develop 40 hp. at 1950 r.p.m. It is the standard Buda product with full aluminum crankcase and helical gears camshaft drive
1917 Hassler Roadster Automobile
Robert Hassler's first car was built in 1898, but not put into production. In 1904, he was one of thre organizers of the Marion Motor Car Company. He later went into business by making shock absorbers. By 1917, he was ready to star his own automobile company and organized it as Robert H. Hassler, Inc. His first model was a staggered two-passenger roadster for $1,650. It was advertised as the "Restful Riding Car" Several were shown at the Chicago Automobile Show, but evidently this was the entent of its production for the company was disolved in the fall. With the approaching of the war, he decided that it was the wrong time to build cars.
A frame of original design features the Chicago six, made by the Pan-American Motors Corp., of Chicago. It is fitted with standard parts throughout. The power-plant is the 40-hp. 31/2 by 5 six-cylinder Rutenber fitted with a Bayfield carbureter. The gearbox and clutch are a unit with the crankcase making it a unit powerplant, the clutch being a multiple-disk dry-plate type transmitting the drive to a Warner selective three-speed gearbox. The rear springs are 57 in. long, semi-elliptic, 2 in. wide. The wheelbase is 120 in. and the tire size 32 by 4. Gray & Davis electrical equipment is used for starting, lighting and ignition. The storage battery is a Willard and throughout full equipment is used.
1917 Chicago Six Touring Automobile
The Pan-American Motors Corporation was formed in January, 1917, in Chicago. as he Chicago Light Six. The name was changed to Pan-American a short time later with a promise that the model would be named the Decauter. It never happened. There was a replacement of management in July, 1918, by stockholders and Edward Danner became president. Two hundred cars had been built by then with three cars a day. Commercial vehicles were built in 1917, but they were dropped in 1919. There were continuous tnternal problems and in 1921, Danner announced that the auditor had found a $40,000 shortage. The treasurer, Edward Phares had left a few weeks earlier. He was found and arrested, tried and found guilty, and was sent to prison. The board of directors voted to liquidate the company while it was still solvent by phasing out the company in 1922. In July of that year, the assests were sold at auction.
1920 Pan-American Cars for 1920
1917 Pan American Automobile Advertisement
1917 Ben Hur Touring Automobile
The Ben Hur, Ben Hur Motor Car Company, Willoughby, OH, was a continuation of the Allen automobile and L. L. Allen was hoping that a name change would help. He announced in February that he had shipped 30 automobiles and was making 5-10 per week. owing for the difficulty of obtaining bodies. His factory was capable of making 20 per week. A stock holders meeting was called for in March to raise the capital fund from 0ne to six million. The results were probably no becaus the the Ben Hur did not last until summer.
In reality, The Moore-Car was a motor-cycle, but W. C. Moore insisted on calling it a car. It was produced by the Moore Car Corporation of America, Indianapolis, IN with an initial capitalization of $5,000, 000. His partners were F. D. Hill as president, B. G. Hewitt as treasurer, and I. E. Wimple as treasurer.
It had a pair of wheels that could be raised or lowered by a touch of a button. It had a three-speed Sinclair Engine and shaft drive was a feature point. The local newspaper touted it as the car with the best engineering skill in America. Both men and women of any age could drive it without any problems of getting their clothes dirty. Moore had helped Ransom Olds build his first cars. The company was short lived.
This was the first of its kind and a forerunner of the modern day automobile auction enterprises.
March 15, 1917, MOTOR AGE
Chicago dealers are going to conduct a used car show. Several hundred cars, every one of them used, are going to be racked up attractively in the big coliseum and sold off the floorsome of them under the hammer. It is the spring clearance sale for the winter holdovers and is a move in the right direction. The dry goods man, the furniture man, the haberdasher, the milliner, all clean out their shop-worn stock when the season is about to change. The same cleanout should be practical to the motor car dealer.
Having saved the dealer money and cleaned off his floors for the spring-selling drive, the used car show well may justify its holding. Dealers are realizing more the problem of properly disposing of used cars, and the show is as yet a new venture. If this exhibition proves as successful as there is reason to believe it will, the dealer will have come that much nearer the solution of one of his most important problems. The Coliseum calls for big business whenever used, and if this exhibition follows the precedents, it will fill all the ambitions its sponsors have created for it.
The 1917 Model Steam Cars
1917 Stanley Steamer
The Stanley steamer operates as easily, in fact, very similarly to an electric car, is easier to handle in crowded traffic than any gasoline car built, has a pickup which drives your back into the upholstery and runs without an appreciable amount of noise and with no vibration. These things were proved to a representative of Motor Age when he was permitted to drive one of the 1917 models through the streets of Chicago. The drive was started in a car which had been standing in the garage for some 3 or 4 hrs. The pilot light was burning, consuming approximately 1/24 gal. an hour. It was a matter of stepping into the car turning on the main burner with a small lever on the steering column, opening the throttle and steering into the street. There was no time lost in generating steam, no operation necessary other than turning the main burner lever. Throughout the drive the cloud of steam sent up by old model steamers was not in evidence; there were no disagreeable odor or roar from the main burner under the boiler.
The 1919 model is known as the "Victory. It contains the 31/2 by 41/2 six-cylinder Red Seal Continental engine and is a five-passenger touring car. It has been refined and is designed to meet the demands for a lightweight quality car. Other specifications are 118-in. wheelbase, Timken bearings, Borg & Beck clutch, full-floating rear axle and freeze-proof radiator. The body is of the straightline type with double cowl and is upholstered in genuine leather.
When the Partin-Palmer Motor Car Company got into trouble in 1915, the company'ss name was changed to Commonwealth Motor Car Company and the car became the Commonwealth in 1917. It was known as "The Car with the Foundation". Generally, the motors were four-cylinders, but in 1919 six-cylinders were added to the line known as the Victory Six. A roadster with an optional of a tent was called the American Traveler. In 1922 a car designed by Leland Goodspeed and had his name was produced. In 1921 Commonwealth joined with Markin Body Corporation and the two companies proceeding in making Checker Cabs.
1919 Dyneto Advertisement Featuring the Commonwealth Automobile
Getting Prepared for War
April 19, 1917, MOTOR AGE
Recent war conditions make it imperative that the motor car industry furnish a great many men of technical ability to the government. Thousands of mechanics will be needed as drivers for motor truck convoys; for mechanics to assist these, and other thousands will be necessary as aviators and mechanics to assist aviators.
The Darling car to be made in Dayton, Ohio, in the old Wright-Martin airplane plant will have one chassis with several bodies. The illustration shows the first body model. The price is not yet fixed, but will be under $2,000. The chassis has such units as Continental engine, Borg & Beck clutch, Timken axles, Kellogg tire pump and Boyce Moto-Meter. The chassis will have a 130-in. wheelbase.
1917 Darling Automobile
The Darling, Darling Motors Company, Dayton. OH, was organized in late 1916 and was put into production in the spring of 1917. The men behind this venture were employees of the National Cash Register Company. They were George Dillman, M. M. Dugan, and J.D. Frock It was designed by James Guthrie. It had a 130-inch wheelbase and was priced at $1,600 and was a touring model. Very few were made before these gentlemen lost interest and ithe company ended that year.
1917 Darling Automobile Advertisement
1917 Horseless Age Cartoon Depicting Poor Service
In 1917, there were five manufacturers that had credit plans for their dealers. Several more were considering plans and a lot more had no plans at all. By 1920, almost all of them had credit plans. Ford was the lone holdout until 1923. It was a cash deal only and it was hurting the trade. The dealers were doing their best to drum up more business. Some of them began to accept used cars as trade-ins as one way to sell their cars. However, in order to sell the used cars that the companies were no longer in business, they had to have parts. Companies began to incorporate to make parts for these cars. This gave way to for distributors of these parts to open their wholesale parts store. The dealers could now buy all the parts that they needed and have them stocked in their shops. Selling used cars became a big part of their business, especially during the war years when new cars were unavailable.
Copied from May 29 Issue of Motor Age Magazine
Copied from the December issue of Motor Age Magazine
The car that will be shown by the Olympian Motors Co. is a new model throughout and it is distinguished among other things by an unusually efiicient spring suspension. The rear springs are set crosswise and are well back of the rear axle, while the front springs are set inside the frame. The engine is of the head valve type with four cylinders, 3 1/4 by 41/4 with 45 horsepower. The wheelbase is 112 inches and four models on one chassis; five-passenger touring, four-passenger roadster, two-passenger roadster, a sedan, and a coupe.
1917 Olympian Cabroliet and Sedan
R.A. Palmer was general manager of the Carter Car Company, Pontiac MI. When Carter Motor Car Company was sold, he produced chassises with everything but the body that were made by his Pontiac Chassis Company. When General Motors decided to sell the factory, he bought it immediately to build his own automobiles. that was first class and priced at $1,000. He incorporated his company as the Olmypian Motor Car Company. His Olympian model was a four-cylinder with a rainbow of colors that could be had. It was "made for the masses". His company produced 10 cars a day in 1918 when war work interfered with production, but it returned to 15 cars a day in 1919. Amid charges of mismanagement in 1920, the company was sold to Otis Friend who immediately began to build his Friend models.
1918 Olypian Automobile Advrtisement
Detroit, Dec. 22The coal and freight car situation still continues to be the largest problem the motor car industry has to face, and conditions are about the same as last week. Several factories throughout the state are closed for lack of fuel, and the state fuel administrator is in Washington taking the negative method of relieving the situationnamely, proposing that all factories not producing war materials or necessities close for a week or two over the holiday season.
The Templar series, an entirely new line just announced by the Templar Motors Corp., Cleveland, Ohio, is featured by its overhead-valve four-cylinder engine,largely the design of A. M. Dean, who was formerly with the Ferro Machine & Foundry Co., and a Templar product. Four models are offered, a five-passenger and four-passenger touring ear at $1,985 each, a four-passenger Victoria-Elite at $2,155 and a two-passenger baggage-carrying touring roadster at $2,255. Dynamometer tests of the engine show a horsepower curve that is a straight line from 400 to 1800 r.p.m. with a maximum of 43 hp. at 2100 r.p.m. The S. A. E. rating is 18.23 hp. The piston displacement ia 196.8 cu. in. and the bore and stroke 31/2 by 51/2 The wheelbase is I 1 8 in., and turning radius, 40 ft.
1917 Templar Baggage Carrying touring Roadster
The super-fine small car named Templar was put into productiobn in July, 1917 by the Templar Motors Corporation, Cleveland, OH. Stocks in the company had been offered previouslyi in February. The man behind this venture and its president was M. F. Bramley who owned the Cleveland Trinidad Paving Company of that city. The engineer was A. M. Dean, who had worked for Pope Hartford. The Templar's name came from Bramley's facisination with the Templar Knights and its emblem was the Maltese Cross. Only a few were made until the Armistice. Munitions were made at the factory during the war. However, there were 1,800 built before July, 1919. Shortage of materials and a frivilous lawsuit that was made by a dissatisfied stockholder kept production down to 128 the next year. In Decemberr, 1920, most of Templar's factory burned down. However, production was able to continued in the portion that was not damaged. In late 1923, the company went into receivership for failure to pay a supplier. It was able to survive receivership and six cylinders were added to the line. In 1924, a Cleveland bank put it into bankruptcy.
1918 Templar Automobile Advertisement
Copied from the 1917 Motor Age Magazine
The Deering Magnetic car will be produced by the Magnetic Motors Corp., Chicago. The chief features of this new car include the Entz electric transmission mounted in a chassis using the Dorris engine. The Dorris engine is of the six-cylinder, valve-in-the-head type, cylinders cast in blocks of three with a 4-in. bore and a 5-in. stroke. The wheelbase of the Deering-Magnetie is 132 in., using Eudge-Whitworth wire wheels fitted with 33 by 5 cord tires.
1917 Deering-Magnetic Automobile
The Deering Magnetic was first shown at the January, 1918 Chicago Automobile Show. The company's name was Magnetic Motors Corporation of Chicago. However, it was built in its entirety by the Dorris plant in St. Louis, MO. The transmission rights were purchased from the Owens Magnetic Company. The designer of the car was Karl H. Martin who designed the Roemer, Kenworthy, and his own Martin Wasp. It never caught on and because of parts were hard to come by, the factory ceased operations in 1919.
The attempt to state 3 months in advance just what will be the chief features of an industry as progressive as the motor car industry is to assume superhuman powers of second sight. It is almost as hazardous to attempt to predict just what the features of the new motor car selling season will be by scrutinizing the announcements of say three-quarters of the manufacturers as it is to attempt to foretell the results of an election by means of a straw vote. On the other hand, it may be taken for granted that the designs fixed upon by a major proportion of the car manufacturers are to a great extent indicative of what the market as a whole probably will be and that the same manufacturing and sales policies which influence75 per cent of the industry will obtain throughout the whole of it.
Even with all of the industry's troubles, the expection of automobile production far 1917 was well beyond what was predicted.