History of Early American Automobile Industry

Chapter 3

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Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3

Picture and article are copied from the 1911 Automobile Review Magazine

Another old car, also the property of the United States Motor Company, was begun in 1876 and not completed until 1895. It was put in service and used until 1906 when President Benjamin Briscoe induced the proprietor to take it out of his San Francisco barn and ship it to the Maxwell factory.

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Briscoe displayed it at the 1907 Chicago Automobile Show

Mr. Briscoe saw that the car embodied features which were being claimed as new inventions long after this old car had been completed and he not only bought the car but also obtained the drawings that were filed in 1876. The car has been inspected by many persons interested in patent rights on automobile features and has proved that many so-called inventions were neither new nor original.

The other car that is referred to was Columbia's 1895 gasoline experimental model that is as shown on this page.


Copied from the February Issue of the 1895 Horseless Age Magazine


In nearly all accounts of the Duryea motor wagon which have thus far appeared, the name of Charles E. Duryea has been mentioned as the sole inventor, while the very important part performed by his younger brother, J. Frank Duryea, in the development of the machine, has been lost sight of. As the motor in its present form is the work of the younger brother, it is fitting that a few facts should be given about his life and his mechanical education.

J. Frank Duryea was born in Illinois, in the year 1869. Having a taste for mechanics he came East to obtain a practical knowledge thereof. His first experience was gained in a bicycle shop at Washington, D. C Later he studied tool making and machine construction in shops in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

In the Spring of 1892, at the solicitation of his brother, Charles E. Duryea, he took up the subject of the motor vehicle, and worked on it in collaboration with his brother. When, a short time afterward, Charles E. was called West on other business the younger brother found himself facing the motor problem alone. He buckled to it with energy and perseverance, and after three years' experimenting perfected the motor which is so successfully employed in the Duryea wagons, the strong points of which are reliability, wide range of speed and ease of starting

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1892 Duryea Automobile

Mr. Duryea's conception of the motor-vehicle of the future is one in which no mechanism is exposed, and the wheels are unencumbered by gears or chains, which collect the dust and dirt of the road. He is the mechanical superintendent of the Duryea Motor Wagon Company.

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1894 Duryea Runabout with Charles Duryea

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1895 Duryea Automobile Advertisement

At first, the Duryea Brothers were not interested in body changes, the mechanical parts were more important. There were two 1895 models ordered for the Chicago Herald-Tribune Race race, but they did not arrive in time.  Hence, they had to use the 1894 models and pray that it would not break down. For lack of interest in body styles, the 1894-1896 models had very minor body changes.

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1896 Duryea Runabout

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1896 Duryea Advertisement

Copied from the 1896 February Issue of the 1895 Horseless Age Magazine

Barnum & Bailey Lead the Procession

Barnum & Bailey have come to town, and with them a new attractionno less than a new model Duryea motor wagon, which they will introduce in their opening parade, exhibit in operation at Madison Square Garden, New York, beginning April 2, and take with them on their annual tour through the country. Brilliant posters, large and small, in which the winner of the Chicago race is the central figure, confront the New Yorker at every turn, and cast the familiar lions, tigers, acrobats and equestrians into the shade. It is expected that the motor wagon will be a centre of interest everywhere, and in its effect upon the general movement the billing and exhibition of this vehicle marks an important era. The enterprising showmen are entitled to the thanks of all who have the progress of the new invention at heart

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1896 Barnum & Bailey Poster with Charles and Frank Duryea in their car.
This extensive publicity not only made the automobile popular, but helped make the Duryea name as the most recognizable.

There was a drastic change in the chassis and body of the 1897 models

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1897 Duryea Three Wheel Model
This model has basically the same body as before but with three wheels.

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1898 Duryea Physician's Wagon

The chassis and body are one. It was supposed to give the occupants a much smoother ride and was stronger. The bodies had been made before by Currier,  Cameron, & Co. of Amesbury, MA, but now they also made the chassis.

The Duryea Brothers sold the rights to build the Duryes automobiles in 1897 to the National Motor Carriage Co. and in 1898, the first models from the new company appeared..On March 20th the Duryea Motor Vehicle Company, of Jersey City, N. J., was incorpoiated at Trenton, with a capital stock of $1.500,000. The principal stockholders are William P. Williams and Charles L. Spencer, of New Yoik, and Charles H. Hall, of Jersey City.

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Copied from the 1898 Horseless Age Magazine

The new 1898 model of the Duryea Motor Wagon Company is a most creditable piece of workmanship, both in exterior design and finish, and in its mechanical details.The body is rather low and the wheel base large, giving great stability. The wheels, 30 and 34 inches, respectively, are of wire, with heavy tangent spokes, and wide hubs. Seats are provided for four persons dos-a-dos, although a child could also be carried on the rear seat. The mechanism is extremely compact and fully protected from dust. The motor, of four horse-power, has two cylinders, 4^x14^, with counterbalanced cranks to prevent vibration. It weighs only 89 pounds exclusive of the fly-wheel, which, with its 7o pounds, brings the total up to about 16o pounds. The exhaust steam from the cooling tanks, which are found in the side of the body and conform to its outline, is carried into the mufflers, under the rear footboard and is there thoroughly dissipated and deadened. The motor runs at a variable speed of from 2oo to 1.ooo revolutions, the flow of gasolene being regulated by an inspirator containing a float, which ensures a constant flow.


National Motor Carriage Co.

Copied from the 1898 Horseless Age Magazine

This concern, incorporated recently under New Jersey laws with a capital stock of $500,000, has opened offices at 1 Madison avenue, New York. They will operate unier the Duryea patents, and are now turning out 50 carriages on orders, 25 runabouts like that illustrated in their advertisement, and 25 physicians' carriages, both styles to be sold at $1,000 each. By next spring they expect to carry a stock on hand, opening a repository in New York for that purpose.

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1898 Duryea Dos-a-dos Automobile

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The 1898 Duryea Delivery Wagon 

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1898 Duryea Automobile Advertisement

The Duryea automobile achieved more accolades from its beginning to its final sale than any other car of its time and its feats could never be duplicated. It won the 1895 Chicago Herald-Tribune Race  It was the first one to be put into production and the first one to be advertised in 1895.  The Duryea won the Gold Medal at the1896 London to Brighton Race in England in November. There were three Duryeas in England at the time making it the first American car in Europe. It was the first gasoline model delivery van that was made several months before the Winton. 

Charles Duryea

Charles Duryea began to make his Duryea models in 1900 in Peroia, IL and shortly moved to Reading, PA in that year. After the sale of the Duryea Motor Carriage Company in 1897, he kept his name in print writing for the Horseless Age Magazine.

Peoria, Ill., May 1, 1899. Editor Horseless Age:

It seems to the writer that the stupidity of drivers is resposible for more trouble from the horse than the horse's own lack of sense. A horse is not supposed to have a high degree of intelligence and should not be condemned for not exhibiting more than he has. Some horses lack sense, of course, and cannot be taught, but most of them are reasonably tractable, and lack of intelligence reflects upon their masters. Most horse accidents, now so common, would not occur if reasonable care or diligence were exercised by the drivers. One of the cleanest upsets I ever saw was manipulated by a sleepy junk dealer, driving a steady old rattle-bones of a horse to a rickety old wagon, loaded high with rubber boots, of hose, scrap lead pipe and a small calf, with legs tied. The horse saw the motor vehicle coming while yet some distance away and turned down a cross road, quickening his pace into a trot. This acceleration of gait awoke the driver, who grabbed for the lines, got hold of one, and proceeded to pull the horse tip. The result of course was an upset, unload ing the calf with the junk on top of him and spilling the driver cff just clear of the overturned wagon. The harness let go and the horse ran back toward the motor wagon and was caught by a bystander. We helped set up the wagon and left the driver to load up his junk at hi< leisure, for we felt that he was the whole cause of the trouble and that he deserved what he got. But we did feel sorry for the calf.


Another incident from like cause occurred with a small, nearly blind, boy. driving while his mother sat on the seat beside him. The boy did not see the motor vehicle approaching, and his mother was so engaged in watching it that she neglected to think of either horse or boy. The horse was so sleepy and sedate that the motor vehicle's pace was not slackened much, and before the horse had time to think the vehicle was upon him. A sudden bolt sidewise across the gutter dumped the wagon over and the passengers out. The motor vehicle stopped to help in the matter, the horse was soon caught and the woman and boy, more interested in the motor vehicle than in their own, seemed thankful to have ;.n opportunity of examining one of the horseless rigs. Littl<or no damage being done and nobody being hurt, we all went onr ways rejoicing.

It is quite evident to the writer that a horse enjoys a joke occasionally. Not long ago, while driving out in the suburbs, parallel to a street car track, we were speeding along at twenty miles an hour and just keeping in advance of an electric car whose motorman, conductor and passengers were enjoying the race. A strong, intelligent horse, hitched to a American Express Co.'s wagon was met and passed, bringing the horse between our path and the streetcar track. Both driver and horse were watching us, and the horse saw an opportunity to have a little joke of his own. He therefore gave a playful little jump away from us, as if he were scared. This jump, however, brought him in front of the rapidly approaching electric car, and he at once awoke to tht fact that the joke might prove serious, so a second jump brought him so far back our way that had we not been going rapidly he would have collided with the vehicle, showing very plainly that he had no particular fear to us.


Duryea Automobiles

Copied from the English Motor-Car Journal Magazine1900 Edition

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1900 Duryea Phaeton Automobile with Mr. & Mrs. Duryea


There are many motorists who will remember the excellent performance of the Dnryea car in the memorable run to Brighton in 1896. Since that time many have wondered what had become of Mr. C. E. Duryea and his vehicle. We learn, however, that he has been busy at work perfecting his car, which is now being manufactured on a commercial basis by the Duryea Power Company, of Reading, Pa., U.S.A., and  the official name given to it being two-passenger driving phaeton. Power is supplied by a three-cylinder horizontal petrol engine of 6-J h.p. The cylinders are in. diameter by 4-J in. stroke, and are fed by a single pipe from a simple vaporiser, and exhaust into a single muffler. Magneto-electrical ignition is adopted, a single generator furnishing the current. The cranks are set at 120 degrees, which gives regular impulses and with little noise or vibration. If one cylinder fails for any reason, the other t wo are amply able to drive the carriage home. An extension of the engine shaft is mounted the variable - speed gear, the connection between this and the rear axle being by means of a single chain

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1901 Duryea Tonneau Automobile

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1903 Export Model for Six-Passengers
It was equipped a 10-12  horse power, three-cylinder motor and a long wheel base with low center of gravity and weighed 1,000 lbs

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1901 Duryea Runabout

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1907 Buggyaut Automobile

He made three and four wheel cars always using his standard tiller. While he was doing a show in Columbus, OH in 1907,  he learned that he was ousted from his company. He hurried back to Reading and set up shop in a garage and built his 1907 Buggyaut under his name.

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1907 Advertisement

He cars never were good sellers and he struggled along until 1914.

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1917 Cyclecar Protoype

When his 1917 prototype failed to find a backer, he called it quits.

Without his brother, he didn't achieve any success and his cars were old fashioned vehicles of a bygone era.

Frank Duryea

On the other hand, Frank, who was from the very beginning of the Duryea cars until his split with his brother in 1897 was the brains of the business. Charles never gave him any credit and barely mentioned his brother in any publication. He was refeered to as the mechanic.

Shortly after the brothers broke up, Frank went to work for the Automobile Company of America and designed their 1899 American automobile. He did the designing from his home in Springfield, MA.


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1899 American Stanhope Runabout
Automobile Co. of America Stanhope, New York, NY

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In 1900, The name was changed to Gasmobile and was in business until 1905.

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1900 Gasmobile AutomobileAdvertisement

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1901 Gasmobile Automobile Advertisement

Copied from the October Issue of the Automobile Topics Magazine

Five models of " Gasmobiles" will be exhibited by the Automobile Company of America, namely, a 9 hp. Stanhope for two passengers; a 12 hp. "Gasmobile Special" for two passengers; a 12 hp. Surrey for four passengers; an "H. C. Gasmobile Surrey" of 20 hp. for four passengers, and an "H. C. Gasmobile :' of 35 hp. with tonneau body. The standard type Gasmobile differs from that of last year only in minor details. In lines, finish, and equipment the public will notice that the carriage presents an even more striking appearance than at last year's Show. For the Gasmobile Surrey, which is intended to fulfil the same practical purposes of the Standard type, except that the seating capacity is larger, wheel steering has been adopted owing to the added steering power necessary with the increased capacity. Side chains are also adopted for the same reason.

The "H. C. Gasmobile Surrey" is constructed on lines decidedly foreign and the carriage is not unlike some of the well-known foreign products, being equipped with a four-cylinder upright engine located in front. Sufficient power is developed to travel at high speed over reasonably good roads.

The "H. C. Gasmobile," with tonneau body, introduces to the American public a high-power, high-speed carriage in which it has been the aim of the builders to combine elegance of appearance with superior road-riding qualities. It is equipped with a six-cylinder upright engine from which the highest speeds are expected to be realized. The "Gasmobile Special" is one of the most recent productions of this company and is the result of a demand created by enthusiasts desirous of higher speed in the two-passenger vehicle.

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Max Fleischman of Cincinnati is possibly one of the most thoroughly dyed-in-the-wool automobile enthusiasts in the United States. Starting with a small runabout he has purchased several types of carriages. Disregarding speed he has toured throughout the East and West, and his latest acquisition, a Gasmobile Special, is intended for racing purposes and tours at high speed. He proposes participating in all prominent tournaments throughout the country.

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1902 Gasmobile exhibited at the 1902 New York Automobile Show.in January.

Advertisement and description were copied from the 1901 Issue of the Automobile Topics Magazine

"THE "H. C. Gasmobile" of thirty-five hp., the exhibited specimen of which was snapped up at $8,000 before the Show was an hour old, represents a class of automobile not heretofore built in America. With extreme speed in view the car is constructed with a six-cylinder engine to furnish power, and this is located in front similar to the foreign carriages. It is built with a tonneau body easily removable as well as the road-going front seat which can also be stripped for racing. While this carriage has never been tested to its extreme limit it is quite possible that seventy miles an hour is not beyond the possibilities of the car. Within a short time the Automobile Company of America intends to try out this carriage with a view of demonstrating its qualities, both on the road and track."

Beverly Rae Kimes has this car being made on special order for  C. V. Brokaw and  was not put into production. However, the advertisement states it was sold at the beginning of the show and that eight more were ordered. So it was put into production and was the first six-cylinder car to be made in this country. The picture is not shown in her book.

Copied from the 1901 November Automobile Topics Magazine

Mr. C. V. Brokaw, who purchased a 35 hp Gasmobile at the New York Show, calls attention to the fact that he is a stock broker and not a clothing dealer as inadvertently stated in the paragraph referring to the transaction in last week's issue

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1902 Gasmobile Touring

Copied from the August 1902 Hordeless Age Magazine

Reciever's Sale of the Automobile Company of America's Property

There will be a public auction of the entire property and plant of the Automobile Company of America on Monday, September 8, on the premises, corner of West Side avenue and Broadway, Marion, Jersey City, N. J. The lactory of the company is situated near the Marion Station of the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The plot contains 3 acres, occupying an entire city block, with street frontages on four sides. 'I he mean length of the plot is about 406 feet, and it is about 257 feet in width. The buildings cover about one-half of the land.

The property of the company also includes a number of new, second hand and unfinished automobiles, viz.: (new), one 12 horse power surrey, one 12 horse power special Stanhope, ten 9 horse power Stanhopes; (second hand), four 4 cylinder touring cars, 20 horse power, one 12 horse power surrey, ten 9 horse power Stanhopes; (unfinished), one 6 cylinder 35 horse power touring car, six 12 horse power surreys, three 9 horse power Stanhopes. In addition there are new bodies (three aluminum tonneaus and three surreys) and unfinished bodies (nine tonneaus, twenty-four surreys and four Stanhopes).

What makes this auction a special one is that a six cylinder 35 hp Touring car was part of the inventory to be sold. This shows that the Gasmobilw was active in the production  of this car making it one of the earliest sixes to be made. Of the thundreds of companies that I have read about of going bankrupt or into receivership, this is the only one to give an inventory of the vehicles.

In late 1899, Frank left the Automobile Company of America in and started another company, Hampden Automobile Co., at Springfield, MA in 1901. Before any were sold, The Stevens Arms Co. of Chicopee bought the company, It was used as a prototype for the 1902 Stevens-Duryea automobile. The Hampden Automobile Co. had started building fifty in November with a shipment date by March, 1902. The production was  continued with the same due date, but they were now  known as Stevens-Duryea automobiles.

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1901 Hampden Runabout
Hampden Automobile Co. Springfield, MA
The body was made by Currier, Cameron, & Company, Amesbury, MA

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1901 Advertisement

While seeking more space and financing, he contacted the Stevens Arms Co. in Chicopee, MA. When they saw his work, they bought the company and moved it to Chicopee. It was put into production in 1902 as the Stevens-Duryea automobile.


Copied from the November 1901 Issue of the Horseless Carriage Age

The Stevens-Duryea Motor Carriage.

The J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company, Chicopee Falls, Mass., are putting in a large amount of new machinery preparatory to getting out the J. Frank Duryea gasoline automobile. Castings for fifty machines are on the floor and twentyfive men are already at work. The firs! lot of machines will be ready for the market in March next. (It has been referred to being his Hampden model)

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1902  Stevens-Duryea Stanhope

The company shared a space where the Victor car was being built.

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1903 Stevens-Duryea Runabout with a fold down seat up front.

The 1905 model was Stevens-Duryea first four cylinder, 20 hp touring car followed by the 1906 50 hp, shaft driven, six cylinder and it became a high quality as well as a high priced vehicle. Prestigious convertism became the phrase that identified the car. From this time  on the company was known for its top quality touring an closed body limousines. A runabout could be special ordered.

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1905 Stevens-Duryea Advertisement

Also in 1906, the automobile company separated from its parent company and became  the Stevens-Duryea Co. Stevens-Duryea's sales were about a hundred cars a year.

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1903 Stevens-Duryea Automobile Advertisement

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1912 Stevens-Duryea Advertisment


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1911Stevens-Duryea Automobile Advertisement

1913 Stevens Duryea Model C Image

1913 Stevens-Duryea AutmobileTouring

In 1915, there were 15,000 Stevens-Duryeas on the road. For lack of working capital, the assembly line was closed down. They were debt free, but had no funds and no way of getting any for parts without comprising quality for cheaper cars. He began work on older models and  selling repair parts until 1915 when the parent company sold the factory as well as the Stevens Arms company to Westinghouse to manufacture war parts.

After the war, Stevens-Duryea Company was reactivated and began making parts for former Stevens-Duryea automobiles. It was aslo decided to reproducing a complete automobile

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Taken from the 1921 Motor-Age Magazine

1921 was the worst year in the history of the automobile industry and very few models introduced during the year survived for any length of time and so it was for the Steven-Duryea. They were made on order until 1927, when they closed down for good.

Haynes- Apperson

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The Original 1894 Haynes Automobile
Right Side

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Haynes-Apperson 1893 Runabout
Left Side

Elwood Haynes, Kokomo, IN, made plans to build a gasoline engine automobiles in 1894. Working with  two brothers, Elmer and Edgar Apperson who owned the Riverside Machine Shop in that city built the car. It took its first test run in July, 1894. The three of them formed a partnership and started the Haynes-Apperson Co. In 1896, The company was named Haynes-Apperson Company.

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1896 Haynes-Apperson Six Seater

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1899 Haynes-Apperson Advertisement

Advertisements appeared in the trade magazines that they were now capable of producing two cars a week, making their yearly output at 100 units. The usual wait for delivery was about five months

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1900 Haynes-Apperson Surrey

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1900 Haynes-Apperson Runabout

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1901 Haynes-Apperson Advertisement

On Nov. 2nd, 1901, the Apperson Brothers announced that their partnership with Haynes-Apperson Automobile Co. would be disolved on November 30th.  It was not a friendly separation by any means.



Elmer and Edgar Apperson started the Apperson Brothers Automobile Co. in 1902 and continued in business until 1926

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1902 Apperson Tonneau

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1902 Apperson Brothers Advertisement.
Notice that they had built cars for another company meaning the Haynes-Apperson, but did not mention its name.


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1904 Apperson, model A Touring

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1905 Apperson Advertisement

In 1914 , the "Jack Rabbit was produced and bcame a model on its on with a four cylinder engine. The 1916 models had eight cylinders.

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1914 Apperson "Jack Rabbit" Automobile Advertisement

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1916 Apperson Jack Rabbit Touring Car


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In 1916, the Apperson Brothers announced two new chassises known as Apperson Roadoplanes which were somewhat different from anything this company had previously offered. The 1917 models include a six and an eight with cylinder dimensions of 33/4 by 5 inches.

1918 Apperson, Designed by Automobile Dealer C.T. Silver.
It was known as the most beautiful car in the company's history.

Elmer Apperson died in 1920 at age 58 while attending an automobile race. This was a devasting blow for the company because the brothers worked together and depended on each others talents. The Apperson car had been from production a well made automobile in the medium price range with low production figures. It largest sales figure was 2,000 cars in 1916. With the brothers death, sales began to suffer in 1923 and for the first time in its history, oputside capital was needed. The company was renamed to Apperson Automobile Company in 1924, Nothing helped and in 1926 the company was in receivership and closed down. It outlived the Haynes by one year.



Haynes automobiles were made under the name Haynes-Apperson Co. until late 1905

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1902 Haynes-Apperson Automobile Advertisement

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1903 Haynes-Apperson Runabout

Haynes is now advertising as being the oldest maker of motor cars in America which demonstrates that false advertising is not new.

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1903 Haynes-Apperson Advertisement

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1903 Haynes-Apperson Automobile Advertisement

Copied from the 1903 Issue of Automobile Topics Magazine

A remarkable performance was made on July 4 by a Haynes-Apperson runabout which left their factory at Kokomo, Indiana, in the morning and arrived at Plain City, Ohio, a distance of 245 miles, on the same evening. The main features of the run were as follows: Distance traveled, 245 miles; time on road, 14^ hours; average speed, 169-10 miles per hour; gasolene consumed, 11 gallons; miles per gallon, 223-10; water evaporated, 1 gallon; time spent on repairs and adjustments, 5 minutes. Considering that this machine was new and that for about half the distance it was operated by the purchaser, who had had but little practice before starting, and that the journey was made over the ordinary country roads in Indiana and Ohio, it is a remarkably good showing, as no time was counted out for delay occasioned by bad places in the road, nor by fractious horses which were encountered.

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1904 Haynes Advertisement

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Elwood Haynes Driving his 1905  Four Cylinder Touring

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1915 Haynes Advertisement

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Haynes continued making cars under the Haynes-Apperson Co. name until 1905 when the name was changed to Haynes.

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1923 Haynes  Model 55 Touring
Amesbury Body Company, Amesbury, MA made bodies for Haynes from 1916-1924.

The company operated until 1925 when it went into bankruptcy..


In the 1896 edition of the Horseless Age Magazine, Woods Motor Vehicle Company's had their catalogue of its electrical vehicles and stated that they had been doing so for two years.

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Landau or Coach

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Demi Mail Phaeton

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Delivery Van

Woods vechicles were built for commercial use for taxicabs, delivery vans, and rentals

Copied from the 1896 edition of the Horseless Age Magazine
From C. E. Woods point of view

"The first effort of this Company was to ascertain these conditions by pursuing a vigorous inquiry amongst cab and hack drivers, delivery wagon drivers, livery stables, etc , to learn the specific conditions of the different classes of vehicles on which mechanical power might be applied. This inquiry resulted in ascertaining that the average run of the cab, or public brougham, sometimes called coupe, does not exceed twenty-five miles a day; hacks do not exceed in the average over twenty miles a day; team rentals for liveries do not exceed an average of over four hours per rental, which would not average over twenty-five miles a run; while light delivery wagons do not exceed forty miles a day in their operation. There are, of course, some limited exceptions to these conditions, but several hundred inquiries resulted in these data, from which the Woods Company infer that it is hardly necessary, from a practical and commercial point of view, to equip a vehicle for a continuous run of from ten to fourteen hours, or a mileage capacity of one hundred or more miles, as is talked by the majority of the advocates of motor vehicles. Except in such vehicles as it might be desired to run on long stretches across the country, the equipment would be a useless amount of weight to carry around for no advantage except in a special emergency. Public conveyances and delivery wagons used constantly on the crowded streets of a city can under no circumstances expect to use a speed greater than five or six miles per hour, and vehicles for pleasure will probably be limited to twelve or fourteen miles on streets where they may be used.

Careful inquiry into public sentiment and conditions convinced the Woods Company that the first demand for motor vehicles is for light delivery wagons; then for public conveyances; then for liveries where the carriages can be rented by the public at large, and probably, after an accumulation of experience in these directions, heavy trucks will be considered. These latter they think are especially adapted to this class of work, as a careful inquiry shows that a day's operation does not mean more than about five hours actual run, the rest of the time being spent in receiving and discharging their loads at warehouses, depots, etc It must also be remembered that the speed of this class of work is extremely low, rarely exceeding three or four miles an hour, and in designing an equipment for such vehicles all these points must be taken into consideration."


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1898 Woods Victoria Hanson Cab

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1898 Woods Hanson Cab

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1898 Woods Light Road Buggy


When the Electrical Vehicle Company decided to build its fleet of taxicabs and try to monoplize the industry, a group of Chicago based businessmen bought Woods' patents and organized the Wood's Motor Vehicle Co. in 1899 with C. E. Woods as the superintendent.

Woods left the company shortly therafter and resumed building vehicles under his own name. Only a few cars were  built before it went into receivership and Woods became an automobile dealer.

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1899 Woods Electric


The Woods Motor Car Company continued until 1918

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1904 Advertisement

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1916 Woods Mobilette

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1918 Coupe

From  1911 to 1918, a hybrid car, model 44 Coupe was built with a four-cylinder gasoline engine as well as electric power. Below 15 mph,  the car was electric powered and above it the gasoline engine took over with a maximum speed of   35 mph.



Starting in 1891, Charles Black, Indianapolis, IN, owner of a carriage shop, began working on a car using the Benz as a model. It was finished in 1894, just after Elwood Haynes car. He made a refined version in 1897, but he sold his patents in 1901 to an Indiana group that started production of the Black Automobile in 1903. The Black company ceased operating in 1909.

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1894 Black Runabout Automobile

Charles H. Black, proprietor of a blacksmith shopin Indianapolis, IN, decided to build a gasoline automobile that was completed in 1893. It was similiar to the Benz models. It was driven by two different size belts, providing a high and low gear with a one small one-cylinder engine. Every part, except the spark plug, was made at his shop. The spark plug was bought from the Benz Company for $25. It could travel at 12 mph all day using only two gallonsof gas. He was able to het financing to produce his car in 1896 and organized the C. H. Black Manufacturing Company. The few that he made were sold locally and none has survived. In 1899, he renamed his company the Indiana Motor & Vehicle Company. He sold his company in 1900 and the Black cars became  the Indiana models, but they went out of business within a year. Black continued to drive his car until 1918.

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  Ransom E. Olds built his first steam experimental automobile in 1887

1892 Olds photo

His 1892 Steamer was sold to an Inidan prince, but the ship sunk enroute to his country.

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1896 Oldsmobile
Clark Carriage Co., Lansing, MI, made the bodies for his cars and became a partner in the Oldsmobile Co.

In 1897, he started producing the car in his new company, Olds Motor Vehicle Co. in Lansing, MI. He not only made gasoline driven cars, but he also exprimented with electrics. He eventually set kept with the gasoline models.

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1897 Oldsmobile

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R. E. Olds and his wife in their 1899 Runabout
The body was made by Clark Carriage Co., Lansing, MI

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1899 Oldsmobile Advertisement

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1899 Oldsmobile Surrey

The Olds engines were selling but his automobiles were not doing so well and his backers were losing interest. He needed more financing. Samuel Smith, Detroit, a dealer in all types of the standard engine, but wanted no part of the automobile, gave him the money he needed. By agreeing to this, Olds had to move his automobile manufacturing to Detroit and to become a minority stockholder in his own company, the Oldsmobile factory was built in 1899 and both his engine and automobile was incorporated under one name, Olds Motor Works


After surviving a disastrous fire in 1900, he came out with his 1901 Curved Dash Model

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1901 Oldsmobile Advertisement

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1903 Oldsmobile Advertisement

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1904 OldsmobileTonneau

He left the Oldsmobile company in the spring of 1904 becuase he had some serious disagreements with Fred Smith the president of Olds Motor Works. Smith wanted to build high-end vehicles, but Olds preferred to build less expensive models for the working class. He left the company and started another one using his initials, REO Motor Car Co.   

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1905 Oldsmobile Commercial Cars Advertisement

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1905 Oldsmobile Touring Automobile

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1905 Oldsmobile Advertisement

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1905 Oldsmobile Advertisement

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1906 Model four-cylinder touring car with a collapsible hood

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1907 Oldsmobile Palace Touring  Model Advertisement

From 1901 through 1906, they were the best selling cars in the country with the highest volume produced. However, when the Palace car came out in 1907, the public was not ready for such an expensive Oldsmobile. The price of the car was very high in comparsion to the new Buick and Reo cars that were on the market. The sales took a nosedive in 1907 and by 1908, they were in a sad shape and agreed to Billy Durant's, owner of the Buick company, offer to buy them out in to start his General Motors Corporation. The saying was that Durant bought an empty name and ta thousand-mile supply of Oldsmobile roadside signs.

1910 Oldsmobile Limited

Durant had a vision of what he wanted the Oldsmobile to be. In 1910, the Oldsmobile was once again a prominent marque in the industry. It entered into the luxury class with its Autocrat and Limited series.

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1911 Oldsmobile Autocrat Racer

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1911 Oldsmobile Limousine

1911 Oldsmobile Limited Image

1911 Oldsmobile Limited

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Body Tag for the 1911 Oldsmobile

The Limited Series bodies were made by the Clark Carriage Company in Amesbury.

In 1913, the company began marketing it as a quality car in medium pricer range. The sales were very solid through out the war years and the second tenure of Durant being the head of General Motors. Oldsmobile was  not affected by the recession or depression of the 1920's. In 1929, Oldsmobile topped the 100,000 mark

Boston, MA, 1896-1904

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1896 Whitney Steam Wagon

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1897 Whitney Motor Buggy

Boston born George Whitney, grandson of Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, began experimenting with steam engines in 1883. He built his first automobile in late 1896. He sold it to a buyer in Connecticut and made seven more cars, all different, that were sold and he patented his engines.

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1897 Catalogue Pictures

The Stanley Brothers were reported to be friends of  Whitney and were knowledgeable of his cars and they sold the car that they owned and began to manufacture steam cars of their own. Whitney sued the Stanley Brothers for using his patents.


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Whitney in his No. 2 Steamer

Mr. Whitney has built several wagons, no two alike. The first one weighed 750 lbs., and was driven by a pair of single engines, 2 in. bore, with 4 in. stroke. This car was completed in October, 1896, and had a light chain transmission. Whitney's second carriage, built for the Whitney Motor-Wagon Company, of Boston, from which these illustrations were taken, was finished February 20th, 1897. This car also has 2-in. by 4-in. cylinders; in his later wagons Whitney uses cylinders n\ in. bore, with 4 in. stroke. All Whitney's engines are fitted with a valve-driving shifting crank-shaft, driven by chain and sprockets from the engine crank-shaft, the valve-driving crank-shaft being fitted to change its angular position relative to its driving sprocket by means of a hand-actuated, longitudinally movable, double spiral grooved reversing sleeve. The action ol this reversing gear is the same as that of the well-known shifting eccentric, the cranked
valve-actuating shaft being introduced to avoid the large diameter sliding surfaces inseparable from the use of eccentrics, and for the sake of compactness. Whitney uses two diameters of wheels, 36-in. rear drivers, and 36-in. front steering wheels, with 3-in. Hartford pneumatic tires, costing; 120 dols. for the four, and used with 100-lb. air pressure. The wheels have steel rims and heavy reduced spokes, with bent ends at the hub.

It is enough to say that Whitney has tried bevel gears, spur gears, and chains for his transmission, and that none of them exactly meet his views. He has used rear-wheel sprockets up to 20 in. diameter, 2 in. pitch, and 1 in. face, and these very heavy and amply proportioned chains and sprockets do not appear much more durable than the lighter ones before used. The very large bronze and steel spur gear and pinion he used wore out with only 500 miles' travel. Whitney is at present directing his attention principally to this point of transmission mechanism. It is to be noted that all the motor-cars here illustrated have their transmission gear open to light road dust, and it is clear to the writer that the speedy destruction of all forms of gearing applied by Whitney has been due to grinding away, not to the legitimate wear of one clean, well-lubricated metal surface upon another. The general lines of Whitney's cars vary but little from common forms of carriages. The chief peculiarities of Whitney's construction are to be found in his frame construction, his valve motion, his front axle construction, and in his steering lever.


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1899 Whitney Steamer Runabout


Whitney in England

A considerable amount of information has been published that the Stanley Brothers moved to Lawrence, MA and built cars there. This is incorrect. The automobile that was made in Lawrence was first called Whitney-Stanley. The Whtiney-Stanley had patent rights to make the car and it was manufactured by the MacKay Sewing Machine Company, owned by Frank Stanley. Later, the vehicle was called MacKay Automobile

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Mr. Whitney is Standing at the Right and his driver is Mr. Arthur du Cross

Whitney left for England in 1899 for a business trip and a vacation. He took his automobile with him and displayed it at the Exibition at the Agricultural Hall in London.

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Thye leading exhibit at the April, 1900, Automobile Show in England was this Brown-Whitney Steamer


The Winton Motor Carriage Company was incorporated in Cleveland, OH in March, 1897 with Alexander Winton, a bicycle maker, as president and owner. He had been experimenting two years with different models.

1896 Winton - The First

1896 Experimental Car

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1897 Winton  Expermiental

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1898 Winton Tonneau

He was ready to build his latest model in November. The style he chose was more of the conventional type and it was very successful. The Winton company has been giving credit for.selling the first car, (Duryea sold thirteen in 1896); for being the first to advertise in 1898,( the 1895 edition of the Horseless Magazine had five car advertisements); and. the maker of the first deliver van in 1898 (Crushink Screw Manufacturing Co, Providence, RI, was probably the first one in 1896)..

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1900 Winton Advertisement

Winton automobiles were the largest sellers in the country in 1900

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1901 Winton Runabouy Automobile

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The Jackson's 1903 Winton car at the end of its long journey across the country

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1905 Winton Four-cylinder Model C Touring

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1905 Winton Railway Motor Car

Copied from the October Issue of the 1905 Motor Magazine

That's what the letter K stands for," said Mr. Charles B. Shanks, general sales manager of the Winton Motor Carriage Company, in his private office at the end of the sixty-foot end-door exposition railway car designed and built by the company for exhibition purposes to introduce their new $2,500 model K in advance of the shows. The freight car was located in New York during the first week of October, at One Hundred and Twenty-ninth street and North River, beneath the viaduct, its tour having begun at Clevelandon September 24. After a week's stay at New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburg were next visited, and it is expected that, weather permitting, the tour will last until Thanksgiving Day, the final stop being made at Los Angeles, California. The body of the exhibition car exteriorly was colored the well-known Winton red, and had on both sides an     immense oil painting of the new model K and a gorgeous illustration of the Winton plant, with lots ot green fields and blue skies surrounding it. Between these appeared the Winton escutcheon in gold and red and black. A broad flight of steps for the convenience of visitors led to the body of the car at one end. The interior decorations were in white enamel and gold striping, the floor being covered with green linoleum and rugs to match. Three hundred incandescent electric light bulbs were arranged in rows on both sides and the ends of the car, just above the decorative frieze which has laurel-wreath panels surrounding a capital W.

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1906 Winton Model K Automobile Advertisement


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1908 Winton Six-teen-Six Runabout with a Single TonneauIn 1908, Winton introduced its Six-teen-Six models. 

It was a very popular model and was made until the company went out of businessin1924

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1908 Winton "Sixteen-Six"

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1909 Winton Six Touring

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1913 Winton Six
Body was made by the Bela Body Co. of Amesbury, MA.

However, he is the reason that the Packard automobile was made in 1899. He refused to listen to criticism from the Packard Brothers and told them to try and build a better one. They tried and did. He stopped building the Winton in 1924.


Col. Albert Pope was a successful Boston businessman who founded the Columbia Bicycle Co. in 1877 that began making high wheel bicycles.The Columbia bicycle was an immediate success and made Pope a fortune. Pope was well aware of Hiram Maxim's mechanical skills

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1895 Hiram Maxim Motor Tricycle made from a Columbia Tricycle

The two collobarated and made their gasoline prototype in 1895


1895 Columbia Experimental Gasoline Runabout

Copied from the 1912 June Issue of the Automotive Industries Magazine

The advance made in automobile designing and building in a comparatively few years is demonstrated by an examination of a 17-year-old Columbia runabout now in the possession of the United States Motor Company. This relic of the early days in many ways expresses in crude form certain ideas which at this time are current building fashion. It shows at a glance that some of our modern ideas were conceived by designers 17 years ago.

For its day and date the old runabout was a remarkable achievement. The wheel base is reasonably long but when first built its length seemed unusual. The steering is by pivots in axle jaws, for it seemed to be early realized that the fifth wheel steer was not practical for cars. Full elliptic springs were used front and rear and wire wheels were the only equipment in those days. Extending the full length of the chassis are heavy reach rods, and this was probably the last automobile in this country to be built with reaches

The old car has a two-cylinder vertical motor mounted in the rear of the chassis and almost directly underneath the seat. Yet this location affords clearance and accessibility. The motor is water and air-cooled. That part of the cylinder which is swept by the stroke of the piston is cooled by fins that are cast integral with the cylinder. The cylinder-head and valves are jacketed for water-cooling. Cylinders are mounted upon a two-piece bronze crankcase within which is enclosed the fly wheel, transmission and rear axle gears.

As early as 1895 Columbia engineers decided that sliding progressive gear transmission was a practical device. This, however, gave way to a more improved selective transmission. Another feature of the old veteran is its muffler cut-out. This was the first car ever built with a cut-out, showing that in the earliest days of the automobile manufacturers realized the value of a device which would relieve back-pressure. The steering wheel was built to be tilted, a practice used to some extent but not generally adopted. Left-side drive was used on the old model, a feature which is now a strong tendency.


The motor has a roller bearing crankshaft. Inasmuch as there were no commercial bearings on the market when the car was built, the cages were all hand-made. In every point the old car represented the most advanced thought of those days, and it is remarkable how many of the early ideas have survived until the present time.

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1897 Mark 1 Columbia Stanhope

Even though, Pope allowed Maxim to still make a few gasoline model, the primary focus was to produce electric models snd in late 1896, the two collaborated on making theirelectrics.. It was finished and tested in 1897.

Production began in 1898 with an order for bodies of different models. In order to keep Maxim happy, he was allowed to make a few gasoline models. Some of these bodies were made in Amesbury, MA as well as in New Haven, CT.


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1898 Columbia Surrey

Riker electric automobile, built about 1900

1898 Columbia Landaulet
Body by Judkins Criage Co. Merrimac, MA

In 1898, Flandrau & Company, New York distributors for the cars built by Colonel Pope's Electric Vehicle Company in Hartford, Connecticut, ordered twenty bodies for these new vehicles. The driver sat in a little open "balcony" behind the tall, glass-enclosed passenger compartment and steered using an early steering wheel. Judkins was considered the best closed body carriage maker in the country. When the vehicles left Judkins, they were complete except for the wheels.

In 1899, the Columbia and the Electric Vechicle Companies would merge.

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1899 Columbia Runabout
Body made by New Haven Carriage Compbany, New Haven, CT

Riker Electric Motor Vehicle Co

When Andrew Riker was eighteen years old, he built his first electric motor and started his company, Riker Electric Motor Co., to sell them. He also built his first car in the same year. The 1895 was an improvement on his previous one. He started the Riker Electric Motor Vehicle Co. in 1894.

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1895 Quadracylce

1896 Rikev Electric Tricycle<br><br><br>

1896 Riker Electric Tricycle


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1898 Riker Phaeton


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1899 Riker Dos-A-Dos

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1898 Riker Delivery Wagon

Riker electric automobile, built about 1900

1899 Riker Landau
This vehicle is the same as the 1898 Columbia.
Riker ordered his bodies in 1899 from Judkins

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1900 Riker Runabout


Electric Vehicle Company

Unknown to the automobile makers, there was a very dark cloud that was ready to hover over the industry for the next twelve years. In 1898, a group of electrical car makers, with Woods Chicago Electric Vehicle Co. being chief amoung them, formed a syndicate to form a taxicab company that would be the largest one in all major cities and would dominate the trade. The parent company was the Lead Taxicab Trust. They owned the Electric Vehicle Company.

William Whitney, president of the American Tobacco Company and most of the trolley lines in New York, had recently bought the Electric Vehicle Co. and Electric Storage Battery Company, was  pondering about how he could maximize his investments. When he saw how easy that the electric vehicle had manuevered through a snow storm, he got the idea to build electric taxi cabs and have a company that had them in every part of the country and that they would monolopize the cab industry. This would take a lot of taxis and a facility to build them. Because Col. Albert Pope's Columbia company at Hartford, CT and had the capability and  both of them did things on a grand scale, he arranged a meeting with him.  In 1899, Pope joined forces with Whitney with Pope being the president of the Electrical Vehicle C0. Around four thousand vehicles were ordered.   There would be sixteen main terminals in selected cities branching out into smaller cities.

Copied from the 1899 Horseless Age Magazine

A $200,000,000 Enterprise.

The plans of the big syndicate which has bought up the motor carriage department of the Pope Manufacturing Co., absorbed the street railway system of Chicago and organized a number of companies, capitalized at from $3,000,000 to $25,000,000 are beginning to take more definite shape.

The intention of the organizers of the enterprise is to establish a factory in Chicago, where all the vehicles needed in that center will be manufactured, and to keep the Columbia Automobile Co., at Hartford, busy supplying the demand in the eastern section of the country. Extensive additions will be made to the Columbia motor carriage factory, including a plant for the manufacture of storage batteries, the Columbia Co. having obtained from the Electric Storage Battery Co. an exclusive license to use their patents.

Copied from the English Motor-Car Journal, 1899 Issue

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1899 Columbia Omnibus

In America, where electric vehicles appear the favourites with builders, one The "Columbia" naturally expects an electric omnibus, and Electrical Omnibus, in this connection we are able to give an illustration of a very successful omnibus, if we are to judge from the tests that have been made with it. Both outside and inside seats are provided, affording accommodation for fourteen passengers, besides a quantity of luggage on the roof, around which a rail is built. The car has one motor geared to the rear axle. A maximum speed of ten miles per hour, with the batteries loaded for a thirty-five mile run, has, it is stated, been attained from one charge on ordinary country roads. The controller gives a range of three speeds forward and three to the rear. The car is well equipped withbrakes that are easily applied, The wheel base is 8ft. and the wheel gauge 54 in. The wheels are 36in. diameter for the front and 42in. for the rear, arid are equipped with 3Ģin. Kelly solid rubber tires. The steering is accomplished by means of a horizontal handle standing normally parallel to and slightly in front of the driver's seat, and hinged to the steering post which passes up just inside of the body at the driver's left. The motor is suspended in front of the rear axle, and is contained in the usual casing, which also encloses the differential gear. The motor is of four horse-power normal capacity, but claimed to be capable of developing three times this output with heavy loads and on grades. This 'bus has recently been completed at the Hartford, Conn., factory of the Columbia and Electric Vehicle Company. The batteries, which are concealed within the body, were supplied from the Electric Storage Battery Company, New York. The total weight of the vehicle, including batteries, is 4200 lb.

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Two 1899 Advertisements still using the Columbia Automobile Company's Name

With manufacturing plants in Hartford. Chicago, and other centers the vehicles will be distributed to the various subcompanies holding exclusive licenses from the parent company. These sub-companies, so far formed, are the New England Electric Vehicle & Transportation Co., capital $25,000, coo: the New York Electric Vehicle & Transportation Co.. capital. $25.000.000; the Pennsylvania Electric Vehicle Co.. capital, $6.000,000. and the Illinois Electric Vehicle & Transportation Co.. capital $25,000,060. Other operating companies will be organized, bringing the total capitalization of the parent of this gigantic enterprise, the American Automobile Co., of New Jersey, up to $200,000,000.

Lillie Langtry modelling a sable motoring coat. Standing next to an electric City and Suburban car. The driver tips his hat to the photographer.<br>Credit: National Motor Museum / HIP / TopFoto

1900 Columbia Taxicab with Opera Star and Singer Lillian Langtry


Copied from the English Motor-Car Journal, 1899 Edition


It is stated that l000 public cabs and carriages will be put into service in the streets of Chicago as soon as possible.

The Electric Vehicle Company bougth out Riker in 1900. By buying these two companies, the Electric Vehicle Company, now owned the two major electric car manufactures with the best taxis. Riker was given the responsibility of producing their gasoline models

Copied from the 1901 Automobile Cycle and Trade Journal

This carriage, sketches of which we show, has just been finished at the Elizabethport factory of the Electric Vehicle Company, from designs of their manager, A. L. Riker. It will be seen that it is of the familiar French type, with tonneau body and motor placed under a steel bonnet at the front. The frame is of channel iron, and to it are bolted the body, motor, gear box. shafting, etc. The motor, of the two cylinder, vertical, water cooled type, is said to develop 9 brake horse power at 900 revolutions. It has 4x4-inch cylinders, with cranks set at 180 degrees, in order to reduce vibration.

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1901 Riker Automobile Gasoline Touring Model

Riker left the Electric Vehicle Company in 1902 and went to work for Locomobile at their new location in Chicopee, MA as their chief engineer and to develope Locomobile's gasoline models. When he left, the factory at Elizabethport was closed down and all machinery was moved to Bridgeport, CT. All models would now be called Columbia.

In 1899, Pope asked his supertendant to check the records in New York to see what he could find out about patent rights for automobiles. After a few days, he was handed some papers about a Selden Patent on gasoline motors and his automobile. These papers were shown to Maxim. When he saw them, he dismissed them as being worthless, but Pope told him to look at the wording.  Pope struck a deal with Selden for $10,000 up front, yearly wages, and a percentage of sales on all gasoline automobiles. There was no car.

In late 1900, Pope became dissatisfied with Whitney's grand scheme and sold him his share in the Electric Vehicle Company. The Riker name was dropped, but it kept the Columbia model.

In 1901, they were taken to court for trying to force this patent on gasoline automobile manufacturers.. The following two articles were taken from the 1901 Horseless Age Magazine. To understand what this patent did to the entire automobile industry, it is well worth reading.



The first bearing in the long expected Selden patent litigation came to a close on November 10, when Judge Coxe, of the United States Circuit Court, for the Southern District of New York, banded down a decision on a writ of demurrer entered by the defendants, the Wiuton Motor Carriage Co., of Cleveland, U., and based on the claim that the patent was void for lack of patentability, overruling the demurrer, and leaving the main points of contention for further proof. The judge's decision Is as follows:

The bill, In the usual form, Is based upon letters patent No. 549,160, granted November 5, 1895, to George B. Selden for a road vehicle, the motor being a liquid hydrocarbon gas-engine of the compression type. The application was Died May 8, 1879.

The demurrer, though divided under five separate beads, Is bised upon the broad proposition that the patent, on its face, is void (or lack of patentability.

Stated generally the argument for the defendants Is as follows: The specification concedes that ail of the elements of the combinations of the claims were old; that steam engines were employed to propel road wagons,liquid fuel being used to generate steam; that gas engines were old and their use, as well as that of other motors, had been proposed for tram cars and similar vehicles. This being the admitted state of the art it Is argued that it did not require an exercise of the Inventive (acuity to substitute a gas-engine for a steam-engine In a wellknown self-propelling vehicle.

It Is insisted, further, that the claims do not cover combinations, but are (or aggregations merely.

The law Is very plain. A patent must not be held Invalid upon demurrer unless Its Invalidity so clearly appears that no testimony can change the legal aspect of the case. If doubt exists the complainant Is entitled to its benefit; if the faults pointed out by the defendant may, by any chance, be cured by proof; If, in short, there be a possibility that the complainant may succeed, the demurrer should be overruled. (Am. Fibre Co. v. Buckskin Co., 72 Fed. Rep. 508.)

It should be remembered that the Invention, if there be one, was made very early In the history of "horseless carriages." The court will take judicial notice that prior to May, 1879, the art of propelling vehicles by motors, carried by the vehicle Itself, was In Its Infancy. These carriages were unknown to the streets of New York and (ew were seen on the streets of Paris. They were, without exception, crude and tentative machines. Selden must, therefore, have been among the earliest experimenters In the art. If the thousands of steam and electric "automobiles" which now are constantly perambulating the streets of every large city had been available as models, the task of constructing a successful "gasmobile" would have been less difficult. In other words, the fact that Selden's work was done over 21 years ago should not be lost sight of in estimating the value of his achievement. Upon the present record he must be regarded as the first to construct a road-locomotive provided with a liquid hydrocarbon gas-engine of the compression type so arranged as to leave the platform of the carriage unobstructed.

The drawings of the English patents referred to show locomotives designed to run upon rails and, therefore, presumably, upon levels or light grades.

This was not the problem which was solved by Selden. He has made, or It must, on demurrer, be assumed that he has made, a self-propelling vehicle, which is capable of traveling on ordinary country roads, going up and down hill, and making long distances without replenishing Its fuel receptacle. Surely, It required Invention to construct such a machine. But in order to test the proposition still further let It be assumed that steam carriages and electric carrlag<s similar to those In common use to-day, were known prior to 1879, and that gas motors bad actuallyIbeen used to propel, upon common roads, the heavy and clumsy structures shown in the drawings of the English patents.

This statement of the prior art assumes three most pregnant facts not found in the record; but, even so, bow stands the case? It is fair to assert that, in no circumstances, could it involve Invention to create the patented machine because similar machines had been propelled by electricity and steam, and machines, differing radically in structure and purpose, bad beenpropelled by gas? Was there nothing more than the new application o an old device to a well-known class of vehicles? It was thought that the complainants are entitled to a more liberal interpretation of the patent than that contended for by the defendants.

The patentee's contribution to the art should not be considered from a narrow point of view; his work should not unexamined through an Inverted telescope; the horizon of Invention should not be contracted to the periphery of a sixpence. The patent described an ingenious and complicated machineoperated by a type of englne^never used before In road locomotives, employing with safely a highly volatile and dangerousfluid. The carriage of the patent Is easily handled; It economizes space, and may be managed by one possessing no expert^ knowledge. It cannot be maintained, upon the English specifications alone, that the construction of such a machine required no Inventive skill, itis possible, if not probable,that a light road carriage equipped after the English plan would prove a lamentable failure. The doctrine Invoked by the defendants, that the transfer o( an old device to a new use does not Involvelnventlon,if applied without qualification or exception, would destroy many of the most valuable patents. (See Potts v. Creager, 155 U. S., 597.

The court discusses a large number of situations in which the rule is inapplicable and concludes with the following pertinent observation: "Indeed, it often requires as acute> perception of the relation between cause and effect, and as much of the peculiar Inventive genius which is characteristic of great inventors, tograsp the idea that a device used In one art may be made available in another, as would be necessary to create the device de novo."   The court Is clearly of the opinion that the Immense weight of authority sustains the proposition that this patent cannot be held invalid on demurrer. The court has refrained from discussing the subsidiary questions mooted on the briefs as they may appear In a totally different light after the proof is presented.The demurrer is overruled, with costs. The defendants may answer In 20 days.

The decision created quite a flutter among the gasoline vehicle manufacturers at the Madison Square Garden Show when it was announced, and it was unanimously resolved to contest the suit to the final Issue, which can hardly be reached, however, for a year or more.

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Copied from the 1904 Hoseless Age Magazine


A meeting of automobile manufacturers was held In the press room of the Garden at 10.45 Saturday. Over thirty firms were represented. John Brisben "Walker; of the Mobile Company of America, was elected temporary chairman, and S. Ralph Estep, of the Motor Age, temporary secretary. A committee of eleven was elected to take in hand the preparation of a permanent organization of automobile and accessories makers, and to have power to draft a constitution and by-laws, select officers for the first year and to secure a certificate of Incorporation. The committee chosen was: S. F. Davis, Jr., Locomobile Company of America; Chas. ES. T. Davis, Jr., Locomobile Company of America; Chas. E.Baker, Baker Motor Vehicle Company; E. P. Wells, Steamobile Company; John Brisben Walker, Mobile Company of America; Chas. E. Duryea, Duryea Power Company; J. M. Hill, Electric Vehicle Company; Alexander Winton, Winton Motor Carriage Company; C. J. Field, De Dion-Bouton Motorette Company; A. J. Winslow, International Motor Carriage Company.

Those present signed a resolution to the effect that the , object of the prospective organization would be to advance and protect the interests of the trade. It was the consensus of opinion that it would be unwise to limit or define the course of action. The Committee on Organization was given power to increase its number, should exigencies arise to make this desirable. The committee, as elected, represents three makers of steam vehicles, three makers of gasoline vehicles, four makers of electric vehicles, one maker of parts and accessories.

A brief discussion on topics of interest to those present occurred after the closing of business relative to the organization preparations. The attitude of the association toward shows or exhibitions received considerable attention. On motion it was decided to instruct the Organization Committee to provide, when any show should be proposed, that the secretary obtain by mail a consensus of opinion concerning the desirability of patronizing it, from all makers, and that the numerical result of such investigation be forwarded to all members to assist each in forming an individual judgment about exhibiting, no member to be restricted. Freight rates in the West were also briefly discussed.

On motion the Committee on Organization was instructed to arrange for a general convention of the members, to occur at a suitable time during and at the Pan-American Exposition, said convention to be a first annual convention of the kind. The Organization Committee met after the adjournment of the general meeting and adjourned to meet on call on Wednesday evening of this week. A letter received from the Motor Age relative to a Chicago Automobile Show next spring was referred to the secretary, to be printed and forwarded to all members for consideration.

The next case was made by Henry Ford in 1903

Copied from the English Motor-Car  Journal, 1900 Issue

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1900 Columbia Gasoline Voiturette (Runabout) Automobile

Illustrated is a neat little two seated petroleum-spirit motor-car which has lately been put on the market by the Electric Vehicle Company, of Hartford, Conn., U.S.A., and Paris. The vehicle, which is known in America as the Columbia gasolene runabout, is operated by a single-cylinder motor of 4 h.p.: it is of the water-cooled type, and is fitted with electric ignition. The water tank, which is situated in the front of the vehicle, holds four gallons, and is equipped with a radiating coil. The petrol tank, which has a capacity of fivegallons, or sufficient for a run of 100 miles, is situated under the seat. The power of the engine is transmitted direct to the rear axle without the use of belts or chains. Three speeds ahead and one backward, operated by a single lever, are provided, the maximum speed being about twenty miles per hour. Steering is controlled by an inclined hand-wheel, the pillar of which is pivoted at the bottom to allow of easy access to the seats. The road wheels are of wood, all being 28 in. in diameter, and shod with 3 in. pneumatic tires. The car, which, as will be seen, has a neat and attractive appearance, weighs complete about l,3001bs.

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1900 Columbia Jaunting Automobile


The somewhat novel vehicle has lately been put on the market by the Electric Vehicle Company, of Hartford, Conn., U.S.A. Generally speaking, the machine is identical with the tricycle parcels carrier brought out by the same concern a year or so ago, the only difference being the novel jaunting car body fitted in place of the parcels chest. The frame is of tubular construction, while it will be noticed that plate springs are introduced between it and the body, with the object of reducing the vibration transmitted to the passengers. The machine is driven by a small water-cooled petrol motor of the vertical type, located in front of, and geared by a friction clutch and two-speed gear to, the rear axle. The driver sits on a cycle saddle and has at hand all the control levers as also the steering bar. Pedals and chain gear are provided as usual for starting the engine, but owing to the use of a clutch this can be done without having to propel the machine at the same time. The steering device is of a novel character: the handle-bar stem terminates in a bevel wheel meshing with a similar pinion on the end of a long rod which runs parallel with the top tube of the frame. This rod has another bevel pinion at its forward end, this gearing with a correspond. The road wheels are of the cycle type, 28 in. diameter, shod with 2 in. pneumatic tires. The petrol tank has a capacity sufficient for a run of 75 miles. By detaching the body the machine can be quickly converted into a carrier tricycle.

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1901 Columbia Victoria Phaeton
Body made by New Haven Carriage Co. New Haven, CT

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1901 Columbia Electric Victoria

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1903 Columbia Victoria Advertisement

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1901 Columbia Mark 8 Gasoline

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1901 Advertisement of the Mark VIII Gasoline Model

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1901 Electric Vehicle Company Advertisement

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1901 Riker Tonneau
This picture was cut from the July, 1901 Horseless Age Magazine

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1902 Gasoline Model  Runabout, designed by Fredrick Law, the new engineer.

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1902 Law Tonneau

Copied from the 1902 Edition of the Automobile Topics Magazine

The Electric Vehicle Company, of Hartford, has arranged for the produc tion of a new line of vehicles. The company has purchased all the inven tions of Fred A. Law, who has been making gasolene machines that contain some improvements not found in others. The Law vehicle is equipped with a double-cylinder motor. Four speeds ahead and one reverse are controlled by a single lever, with safety locks. The body is entirely independent of the chassis, and consists of three parts. For the regular tonneau is substituted a surrey back. The entire body is supported above the axle by two full elliptical springs in the rear and two half-elliptical springs in front. The distinguishing feature of the new machine is the interchangeability and accessibility of every piece connected with the engine or driving gear. The company has one of the machines complete and in daily use

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1902 Elebron Victoria

Copied from the 1902 Automobile Topica Magazine

AMONG the electromobiles in which the battery is in two parts, of which one is over the rear and the other over the front axle, the Elberon victoria, which the Electric Vehicle Company has adopted as one of its standard patterns under the factory name Mark XXXI, has achieved much popularity. It is distinctly a carriage for light pleasure service and park riding, as well as for calling and other social functions. Its handsome finish and graceful lines give the carriage a most stylish effect, and this, in conjunction with the long wheel base and the flexible spring suspension, insuring great ease in riding, appeals especially to ladies, with whom the victoria has always been one of our most popular types. This carriage has a double motor equipment, with the steering rod as well as the controller handle on the left side, leaving a clear spacef/in front of the seat. The controller gives three speeds forward and two backward. The battery is divided evenly on the front and rear axles. This arrangement, experience has shown, is the most advantageous in the operation of all electric vehicles. The body hangs particularly low, making it most easy of access to the passengers. The battery is of the Exide type, consisting of forty cells, and gives a radius of forty miles on each charge, based on level asphalt or macadam.

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In 1904, Columbia had thirty-seven models of automobiles.

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1904 Columbia Racer

Copied from the November,1904, Motor Age Magazine

Eddie Bald Driving the New Columbia Races on Charter Oak Park Track

The Electric Vehicle Co. has stripped one of its 30-35 horsepower cars for Bald to drive. Bald's stripped car is shown in the picture with a special cooler, practically the only change from the stock models. This has been found to give insufficient radiating surface and has been changed for one of the disc and pipe coolers used on the cars of 2 years ago. Bald 's car weighs something more than 2,000 pounds and has gears, casing and water tank. By no means is it a racing car, nor will it come under the head of a touring car. It was put up by the company to test Bald's capabili- ties and daring before going to the expense of building an eight-cylinder racer.

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1905 Hartford , CT   Electric Police Wagon

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1905 Hartford , CT Electric Ambulance

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1906 Columbia Electric Brougham


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1906 Columbia Electric Advertisement

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1907 Columbia Gasoline Advertisement

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1907 Gasoline-Electric Columbia Automobile

By this time, the Leads Taxi Company had declared bankruptcy in 1903 and the Electric Vehicle Company was in trouble. It went into receivership in 1907, but soon emerged as the Columbia Automobile Co. The only profits left from The Leads Trust were the royalities from other gasoline cars. The Columbia was absorbed into the United States Automobile Co. in 1910. More information on the Columbia automobiles is shown after they were absorbed and can be read in Chapter 9. 

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