History of Early American Automobile Industry

Chapter  4

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Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3

Chapter 1

American Electric Vehicle Company
Chicago, IL

From the time that the first Duryea went into production until the arrival of the Stanley Steamer, there were many companies that had produced an automobile. As we have seen some of these were very successful and a great many were not. One of the companies that seemed to have a great future with superb automobile models was the American Electric Vehicle Company from Chicago, IL. It was first shown at the 1899 New York Electrical Show with great public appeal. However, it had been made from 1896. Montgomery Ward was one of it first customers.  The Elgin Sewing Machine and Bicycle Company was the manufacturer. The American Electric automobile was the only car in American to win a gold medal at the Paris Exposition.

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1896 Montgomery Ward's Electric Horseless Carriage
American Electric Co. Chicago, IL

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American Electruc Brougham Automobile

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American Electric Runabout Automobile

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American Electric Dos-a-Dos Automobile

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American Electric Mail Phaeton Automobile

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1899 American Electric Company Advertisement

Copied from the 1899 Horseless Age Magazine

This company has on exhibition a runabout buggy, fitted with a multipolar motor of their own design and manufacture, of 1,600 watt capacity, rated at half saturation and capable of delivering double this power for a period of time without overheating. The battery equipment consists of forty-two 8o-ampere hour accumulators, also of their own design and manufacture, rated at a five hour discharge rate. They promise a detailed description of these accumulators in the near future. The series parallel control gives five gradations up to a maximum of fifteen miles an hour. The wheels are fitted with 3 1/2 inch salient rubber tires and ball bearing axles. The rear wheels are 26 and the front 34 inches in diameter. The motor has a hollow armature shaft, through which passes tho driving shaft, on either end of which is a steel pinion, meshing into a large feed gear, attached to the hub of the rear wheel of the vehicle. In this driving shaft is a differential gear automatically adjusting the different speeds of the rear wheels in turning corners. On the dashboard is a combination volt ammeter with a double scale which indicates the mileage capacity yet remaining in the batteries at any time. The charging apparatus is automatic and the vehicle, while simple in construction, is provided with conveniences and appliances which should make it practical in the hands of the ordinary purchaser.

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1897 American Electric Delivery Van

In 1900, the company wanted to move to New York City to attract wealthier buyers and to expand its models. The move was a disastrous decision for it drove the company into bankruptcy and out of business in 1902, The factory was sold for $15,000.


The Stanley Twins in their 1898 Stanley Steamer

The Stanley Brothers, F.E. and F.O. Stanley of Kingfield, Maine, were inventors with several patents. One of them was the dry plate for photography. They sold the patent to George Eastman maker of the Kodak Camera Co. for $200,000. They moved to Newton, MA and being fasinated with steam automobiles, sold their automobile and  they began plans to make a steamer of their own.

It has never been reported as to what make was their automobile. It was a 1898 Whitney Steamer. This photo copied from Ebay minutes before it was sold proves this.

Their steamer was completed in 1898 on a Currier, Cameron, and Co. body. After testing it, they decided to put it into production. Production was started in November of that year with two hundred bodies on order.

After thirty bodies were in production, John Walker, publisher of the Cosmopolitan Magazine, bought the company for $200,000. In turn, Walker sold half interest to Anzi Barber, an asphalt maker. The Stanley brothers were made the managers with an agreement that they would not go back into business for two years. The new company's name was the Locomobile Automobile Co.

Before the year ended, Walter and Barber ended their partnership with Barber keeping  the Locomobile name and factory location. Walker moved his share to Tarryton, NY with is name Automobile Company of America. Because there were several companies with similiar names, he changed it to Mobile Automobile Co.

As soon as the two years were up, The Stanleys began to make the Stanley car again. But in order for them to start, there were sevearsl legal problems that had to be solved. One of which was a long patent lawsuit that was brought by Whitney in 1898 and was still on going. The simple redesigned their engine and the lawsuit was dropped. Walker, who had originally paid $200, 000 for the Stanley patents, sold them back for $20.000. With all of the legalaties settled, they once again were in business.

In is interesting to note that Currier, Cameron, and Co. made bodies for Stanley, Locomobile, and Mobile and Grout. They were all very much alike in the begining. All bodies by his company were made of wood until 1908.

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F.E. and Mrs. Stanley in his 1903 Steamer at Crawford Notch Hotel in the White Mountains


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1902 SDtanley Runabout Automobile

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1903 Stanley Automobile,Model C


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1908 Stanley Automobile, Model F

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1918 Stanley Automobie, Mountain Bus

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1924 Stanley Automobile, Model 750B
The last one made before moving to Bethlehem, PA.

The Stanley Brothers sold their company in 1918 a year before Freelan was killed in Newburyport, MA while trying to avoid hitting a woman.

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1918 Stanley Steamer Automoble Advertisement
This is the only Stanley advertisement that is known. It was a two page advertisement in the 1918 Motor Age Magazine that I was able to rearrange to a single page and made it as a single image.

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1920 Stanley Closed Body Coupe
Body by Currier Cameron Company as the body maker.This Company made their first body in 1898.

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1920 Stanley Steamer Autombbiles


The original name of the Company was the Automobile Company of America, but soon finding out that the name was already in use, the name was changed to Locomobile. Within a short perod of time, the partners split with Barber keeping the Locomobile name and factory  and all cars in stock and on order. He was well ahead of his former partner.

Waker was given the rights to the Stanley patents and property at Tarrytown, NY. Currier, Cameron, & Co. stilled supplied bodies for both companies.

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1899 Locomobile Runbout

1901 with a front seat

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1900 Locomobille Four-Seat Automobile


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1901 Locomobile Do-a-Dos

Copied from the November, 1901, Motor-Car Journal

A Philadelphia correspondent, in the course of a recent letter, remarks that "a lot of good and reliable vehicles are being made in America, and the forth-
coming show at Madison Square Garden, New York, will bring about a revolution here as regards models. Steam-cars have been the most popular
type of automobile so far, but the gasoline (petrol) vehicle is making rapid strides]with the public. The Locomobile Company are doing the best business; they are very progressive people, and are shortly sending a reprasentative out to Japan to see exactly what the prospects are for motor-cars in the 'Land of
the Rising Sun.' Very few manufacturers have made money this year; in fact, I think that those who have made money could be counted on the fingers of one hand; the principal cause is that they have turned out a lot of unreliable machines which have been sent back to them. They have, however, profited by the experience, and next year they should make money..(End of article)

Locomobile moved to Chicopee, MA in 1901 and shared a portion of the factory building with Overman Automobile Co., makers of the Victor Steam car. A. L. Riker, who had previously sold his Electric Motor Vehicle Co, to the Leads Taxi Trust of Havard, CT, joined the Locomobile Co. as chief engineer. Riker was put in charge of developing a gasoline automobile.

Tn 1900, the Currier, Cameron, & Co. Carriage Co, had received so many conracts for bodies that they could not handle all of them. Cameron only made bodies in the white with Shields Carriage Co. doing the decorating. Leitch Carriage Co. joined to help. Locomobile gave them orders for 20 bodies a week in the runabout, stanhope, and Victoria styles.To handle this order, they needed more help, so Briggs Carriage Co. was asked to join. Briggs agreed to do so only if they could have one fourth of Locombile's trade.

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1899 Locomobile Advertisement

The Locomobile was not only one of the most advertised cars, but their advertisements were the greatest

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1901 Locomobile Advertisement

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1902 Advertisement

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1901 Locomobile Touring Car

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1902 Locomobile Advertisement

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1902 Locomobile  Six Passenger Touring body by Briggs Carriage Co. Amesbury, MA

In 1902, Locomobile wanted a new model for its gasoline cars and because they liked Briggs's work, they contracted him to make the bodies for their new body style The result was one of the most beautiful bodies made of horseless carriage type. Briggs continued making bodies for Locomobile until 1923.

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1902 Locomobile Advertisement

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1903 Riker Locomobile Gasoline

Copied from the 1903 Edition of the Automobile Topics Magazine

Locomobile Gasoline Car

An entry in the Boston Reliability Run which has been the subject of considerably discussion is a Locomobile gasolene car entered by A. L. Riker, and manufactured by the Locomobile Company of America. This is an entirely new departure in the line of Locomobile machines, the firm's reputation being hitherto identified with the ubiquitous steam carriage which has become world famous. The new Locomobile gasolene car is designed by A. L. Riker. The engine is of the multi-cylinder type, situated in front, the large car having four cylinders and the smaller car two cylinders. A feature of the engine is the improved throttle control, which permits the carriage to be run very much like a steam carriage. In other words, the carriage can be run slowly through crowded streets, thus obviating any danger of overheating the motor. The carriage is built on French lines to run on American roads, and is fitted with many important improvements. With the high-speed gear it runs in every way as smoothly as a steam carriage, and has ample power, so that there is very little occasion to drop back into a lower gear.

The large, 12-hp. car will weigh about 2,000 pounds, and consists of a rectangular steel platform placed on four 32-inch artillery wheels, this underframing containing the engine, steering connections, etc. This chassis can be equipped with any style body, and will be built in two sizes12-hp. and about 8-hp.

The Locomobile Company of America is building gasolene carriages because it believes for touring the gasolene car has many advantages, but believes for all around work there is nothing so good as steam, on account of its great hill-climbing powers, ease of control and absolute quietness of operation.The new machine steers with a wheel, has powerful brakes, and its working parts are easily accessible, particularly the engine valves. The gears are easily changed, and run with little noise and vibration. While built for touring, this style of car has covered a mile in 1 :08.

The company will build two sizes of gasolene carriagesa large car having 12 nominal and 18 developable horse power, to sell for $5,000, and a smaller car of about 8 nominal horse power, to sell at a lower price. Ten of the large cars are being builtthe first one having been completed early in the summer and having been run about 4.000 milesat Chicopee Falls by the Overman Automobile Company, a concern which has a close business alliance with the Locomobile Company.

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1904 Locomobile Laundelet

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1905 Locomobile Automobile Advertisement

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1909 Locomobile Model 4

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1917 Locomobile Coupe

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1923 Locomobile 48 Touring Series


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1928  Locomobile Sedan

Like so many manufacturers that were in dire straits in 1922 because of the recession of 1921, Locomobile decided to declare bankruptcy and put the company up for sale.William Durant, who had started the Durant Motors in Flint, MI, a year earlier bought the company and it stayed as a viable company until 1929.

Overman Wheel Co.
Chicopee, MA. 1896-1902

From 1896, A. H. Overman, owner of OverMan Wheel Co. of Chicopee, MA, had been experimenting with gasoline driven cars.  Harry Knox, later builder of the Knox automobiles, was the engineer and inventor of its engine. However, Overman changed to steam power for his first production as the Victor Steamer in 1899, under the company's name, Overman Automobile Co. Knox left the company and started his own company in 1899.

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1900 Victor Runabout

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1901 Runabout

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1902 Victor Gasoline Tonneau

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1901 Victor Advertisement

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1902 Victor Automobile Advertisement

Baker Electric

Walter Baker helped Morris and Salom build their Electrobat car in 1893 and with the help of the White Brothers, who owned the White Sewing Machine Company, started the Baker Motor Vehicle Company in Cleveland, OH in 1899, using the 1898 model as the protype.

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1898 Baker Electric Runabout

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1901 Baker Electric Speed Machine

On its first race, while going around a curve, it left the track and landed in a a large group of spectators killing several and wounding many more. It was completely demolished. The race officials were blamed for letting it race. The window was a 4" by 8" sheet of mica and the driver had no side vision.

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1903 Baker Electric Advertisement

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1903 Baker Electric Advertisement


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1906 Baker Electric Runabout

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1906 Baker Electric Advertisement

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1906 Baker Electric Shaft-driven High-speed Raceabout. The battery is under the hood

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1908 Baker Electric Advertisement

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1909 Baker Electric Cosed-Body Coupe


1914 Baker Electri Coupe

Baker Electric merged with Rauch and Lang in 1915 to become the Baker, Rauch and Lang Company


Mobile Steamer

John Walker, the original buyer of the Stanley Co., left the partnership as a definitely looser. In order for him to start his company, he had to start from scratch and spend a lot of capital to get his factory in ready for production.His company was called the Automobile Company of mderica, but soon changed it However by, 1900, the Mobile Steamer was put into production under the name of Mobile Company of America

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1900 Mobile Runabout

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1901 Steamobile Automobile

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1902 Mobile  Runabout Automobile

Even though the Locomobile was inferior in construction and style, The Mobile was far behind in sales. The company closed down in 1904. Brisco-Maxwell moved into the factory with their Briscoe-Maxwell automobile.


When Harry Knox graduated from the Springfield, MA Industrial School at age 19, he went to work for Elektron Company, a manufacturer of electric motors and elevators. In 1896, He went to work for the Overman Vehicle Co. in Chicopee as the engineer with their gasoline car that was being used as an experiment. Three of these were built, but when the car went into production in 1899, it was a steam vehicle. Knox left the company and started designing an air cooled engine.  With his former classmate, Herman Farr, he went to Dpringfield and convinced Elisha Cutler into forming the Knox Automobile Co. The business started in 1899 with a three-wheel vehicle with a six-horsepower air-cooled engine. The air-cooled engine was mch simpler, but overheating was a problem. This problem was fixed by screwing in 1750 rods into the engine to emit the heat into these rods. The name "Old Porcupine" was soon gi9ven to this odd looking contraption. It was always advertised as the Waterless Automobile"

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1899 Three-Wheel Runabout

Fifteen were made in 1900 and 100 the next year. There was no reverse on the transmission, as the vehicle could turn a nine-foot circle. The three-wheelers were sold for cash right from the factory door.

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1903 Knox Advertisment

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1904 Knox Touring Model Tudor

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In a dispute with the company executives, he left  in 1904 and started  another one called the Knox Motor Car Co. in 1905. When that name was challenged, he formed the Atlas Motor Car Company across town near the Knox factory. The Knox Automobile Co. kept its original name

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1906 Knox Model F-4 Runabout

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1910 Knox Limosuine

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1909 Knox Transport

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1909 Knox Commercial

1909 Catalogue Drawings

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1910 Knox Fire Truck

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1912 Knox Advertisement

For a few years after Harry Knox left, the company did very well, but the lustre was lacking, but after a few setbacks,  they continued making cars under a trusteeship. In 1914, the assets were sold to Frank Sutton and was reorganized as Knox Motors CO. The passenger cars were phased out and making trucks and fire wagons continued . Amerger with the Militor Corporation, makers of motorcycles. Passenger cars were going to bed made, but it never happened. The company closed in 1927.


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Grout Brothers' Factory, Orange, Ma

In 1896, the Grout Brothers Automobile Company, Orange. Mass,   was capitalized at $250,000.00, and the entire stock was owned by members of the Grout familyW. L. Grout, the father, and his sons. W. L. Grout was for many years factory manager for the "New Home" sewing machine, and brought that establishment to where it could produce one sewing machine for each minute of the working day, and also to where it could produce one machine per day for each name on the payroll and salary list. In this ?nely-equipped factory two of the Grout boys received a thorough mechanical

The three brothers, Carl, Fred and C.B. were set up in business by their father

William H. Grout who had once worked for the White Sewing Machine Co. had set up a company in Orange, MA to make his sewing machine called the New Home. In 1898, his three sons Carl,  Fred , and C.B decided to start making automobiles. Their father gave them the needed finances. The engine was fuel by gasoline and it was tested to have the necssary horse power and relilable to use. In November of 1898, producton was started and the twelve bodies were made by the Hume Carriage Co. in Amesbuy. When these cars were sold, they ordered more bodies from Hume, but he told them that he wanted to stick just the carriage making. They contated Currier, Cameron, & Co. After a few of the gasoline models were made, they changed from gasoline to steam power


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1896 Grout Gasoline Stanhope model used for the 1899 cars.
A Hume Carriage Co. Body

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1898 Grout Gasoline Runabout
Currier, Camero, & Co. Body

Edited from the 1898 Horseless Age Magazine

The elegant gasolene carriage shown herewith is the first effort of Grout Bros., Orange. Mass., and they are so well pleased with its performance that they have decided to begin manufacturing them for the market. The vehicle weighs about 1,100 pounds, and is propelled by a 6 H.P. horizontal gasolene motor, having two cylinders with the cranks set at 180 degrees, thus avoiding disagreeable vibration. Ignition is by electric spark from a generator, and the motor is started by one turn of a crank in the usual way. All parts are self-oiling.  All speeds from 4 to to 20 miles an hour may be obtained by means of a lever on the left hand side controlling a gear transmission which exhibits features not generally seen in this connection. The pivoted wheel steering is employed, the lever being situated in the center of the seat. A band brake on the countershaft is powerful enough to bring the carriage to a sudden stop. The wheels, fitted with three-inch pneumatics, have bronze aluminum alloy hubs, wooden spokes and steel rims. Electric side lamps and an electric gong complete the equipage. They will manufacture gasolene vehicles of any desired style, including delivery wagons, and are now engaged upon a new carriage, which will be brought out in the spring.

Delivery wagons were also a product of this company of which the illustration. The lighter vehicles have a single steel tube frame strongly made with braced joints at the fittings. They also propose to build steam carriages if desired. In the middle of the year, they began to build only steam automobiles.

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1898 Grour Gasoline Runabout

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1898 Grout   Gasoline Delivery Van



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1901 Grout Stanhope
Winner of the Nelso Hill Cimbing Race in its class




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1901 Grout Light Delivery Van
Minute Tapoioca Pudding was also made in Orange


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1901 Advertisement

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1902 Grout Touring

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1902 Queen Stanhope E


New York to Seattle Pan Pacific Racein automotive magazine. The June 1-23 New York Times had reporters giving day by day reports.  The Stearns car not only showed up a date late, but it broke down soon after starting.

Steans had heard about the Daimler-Knight engine and its capabilities. He and his best mechanics traveled to the factory to give it a thorough checkout. After two years of strenuous checks, he applied for rights to use the engine. In 1912, the Stearns-Knight made its appearance.

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1903 Runabout with a seat up front with closed foot rest


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1904 Touring with a side entrance tonneau

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1905 Grout Touring with a barrel shaped hood

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1906 Grout gasolineTouring

Grout's "Frenchie" Runabout.

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1903 Grout Automobile, French Style

One of the first concerns to perceive the demand for steam cars designed on what are termed gasolene lines, Grout Bros, Orange, Mass, have worked consistently to meet this demand. They have followed up their steam touring car. which attracted so much attention at last winters shows. With a runabout. appropriately named the "Frenchie." It is also furnished with a tonneau body. The lines and general appearance of the "Frenchie" appeal at first sight. The long wheel base. the business-like look of the car. with its hooded front and low and rakish body and angle iron frame, stamp it as a winner. An examination of its power plant and details of construction confirm this favorable impression. Both the boiler and the engine are located in front. the latter being positioned hormonous with patented down draught, which carries the heat and odor away from the occupants of the car. The engine is completely encased. affording a much desired protection from out~ side shocks. It is of ample power, insuring the maintenance of good speed, even on the steepest hills. The engine drives direct to the countershaft, with transmission to the rear wheels by means of individual chains. Wheel steering is used, the steering rod having fitted on it a second wheel used as a throttle. This throttle works up and down, and rotates either with the steering wheel or independently, as may be desired. Ample provision is made for the carriage of supplies, the fuel tank holding 'sufficient gasolene to run the car 150 miles. Grout Bros. are prepared to make immediate deliveries of this new model, and anticipate a good trade in it. They are also building a steam racing car, which is expected to possess wonderful speed.


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1904 Grout Automobile Advertisement

Frederick E., designed all of the many different forms of Grout steam wagons and is acting superintendent and chief constructor of the works at Orange, Mass. where about 125 men are now employed. Frederick E. Grout built his ?rst automobile, driven by a pair of opposed cylinder-fired motors in 1896 and his ?rst steam wagon in 1898. His faith in the future of the steam wagon is unbounded, and his unceasing efforts to improve this class of vehicle have culminated in the ?ne condensing steam touring car. This is the first wagon to which Grout Brothers have applied a condenser.

In 1906, a decision was made to change back to gasoline power.

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1905 Grout

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1906 Grout Gasoline

The Grout Brothers also exported their steamers to The Weston Motors CO. Ltd, England and were called Weston Steamers there'

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1900 Weston Steamer Automobile

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1900 Weston Steamer Delivery Van

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1902 Weston Steamer Dog-Cart

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1902 Weston Runabout


Their father took over the company in 1906 because he did not care for his sons' business practices. They were spending too much money. They sruggled along until 1913  when all production was ceased


One might say that the Packard was the first luxury car built in country, from their beginning in 1899 to their shutting down in 1958 at Detroit, MI, they were designed and built like one.

It all started after buying a Winton automobile in 1898 in Clebveland, OH and trying to drive it back to Warren, OH,  James Ward Packard encountered several problems with his purchase. Without getting any help from Alexander Winton and being told to try to build a better car, he went back to Warren and in 1899, he did what he was told to do; he built one of the best cars that were ever made in the industry and lived up to to its reputation.

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James W. Packard driving his first Packard in 1899

To add insult to injury, two of Winton's men went to help. With James's brother William Dowd  and  these two men, the Packard automobile was produced in November of 1899. It had a 7 hp, single cylinder, four-stroke engine and chained driven. 49 were made in 1900,

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1899 Packard Runabout

The first two were bought by William Rockefeller at the New York Automobile Show who was a former Winton owner.

In September of 1900, the Ohio Automobile Company was organized and production began in earnest. At the New York Automobile Show in November 1900, the new 1901 models wew exhibited. Among these were the New Model C with wheel steering.

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1900 Packard Advertisement

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1901 Packard Advertisement

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1901 Packard Advertisement

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1901 Packard Advertisement

In 1902 , William Joy, a wealthy Detroit business man was buying quantities of Packard stock. He soon became the owner. In October the name was changed to the Packard Automobile Co. in 1902 with twenty-five hundred additional stocks were sold which  were bought by Joy. 2,500 cars were sold in 1902.

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1903 Packard Runabout Model F "Old Pacific"

One year later, the company was moved to Detroit. A factory was being built in Detroit beginning in January of 1903., Meanwhile, the big news of the summer was Packard's record breaking run from San Francisco to New York in two dys less than the Winton Model. The car's nick-name became "Old Pacific and the run was highly publicized in all major newspapers.

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Tom Fetch and "Old Pacific" at the Henry Ford Car Museum

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1903 Packard Model F Rear Entrance Tonneau

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Packard's 1903 Gray Wolf Racer with Designer and Driver Charles Schmitt.

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1905 Packard Model L Boattail Runabout

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1906 Packard Automobile Advertisement

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1907  Packard Runabout Model 30

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1914 Packard Touring


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1910 Packard Automobile Advertisements

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1911 Packard Automobile Advertisement

One might say that the Packard was the first luxury car built in country, from their begining in 1899 to their shutting down in 1958 at Detroit, MI, they were designed and built like one. The original factory name was the Ohio Automobile Company for the first two years, but it changed to the Packard Automobile Co. A group of wealthy Detroit business men invested in the company and enticed the company to move to Detroit. Because they very good sellers to customers who demanded the very best, they were able to survive all of the ups and downs of the industry and through two wars until the 1950's. Trying to be the best technological car on the market was their downfall for too many mechanical problems were detrimental to their sales.The company joined with the Studebaker Co., but Studebaker could not save them and they were retired from the market in 1958. Packard, Peerless, and Pierce-Arrow were the three big "P" luxury cars.


Frank Stearns, whose father had become wealthly in the quarry business, built his first car in 1896 in the basement of his home. He was seventeen at the time and had never driven one before.. His father had set up a fine machine shop for him. When his father saw the machine, he encouraged young Frank to continue in his work and the machine shop was moved to the carriage house. F. B. Stearns & Co. was organized in 1898 in partnership with the Owens Brothers . The Owens soon left to start their own company. When the Owens brothers, the & Co. was dropped and  Frank became the president, general manager, and treasurer. His father was vice-president. He owned the company outright and never needed any money to operate.

He decided that his cars would be the very best and were for wealthy clients. The automobiles and price confirmed this. Before he ever sold a car, he would put it under strenuous tests, tear down the engine for inspection of any faults. He sold fifty cars in 1901. The 1902 model had a steering wheel and left hand driving. It went back to right hand driving the next year. His models always seemed to be one step ahead of the others. He never made a racing car, but he entered his stock made cars in all types of races and won most of them. It was the fastest and most powerful stock made car at the time. The price of his cars were in the $5,000-$7,500 price range

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1908 Stearns Touring

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1909 Stearns Toy Tonneau, scanned from a postcard.

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1912 Stearns Toy Tonneau Touring

Of all the races that Stearns car entered and won, there is no coverage of    1909


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The Knight Engine


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1915 Advertisement


Silent Knight Stearns Cars for 1912

It has been known for some little time that the F. B. Steams Company has been preparing a sensational offering for the 1912 season, and a few persons had the tip that the Silent Knight engine was to be used by this noted concern. This week comes the official announcement of the matter , and the StearnsKnight is about ready to make its bow to the American public. The Stearns Company has burned its bridges behind it, and for 1912 will make only this Silent Knight model, doing away entirely with the Poppet valve type of engine.

vibrationless, these qualities are the least of the noticeable features of this engine. Probably the most noteworthy is power. The engine develops high power, as noted above, yet it develops that power easily and sweetly.Best of all, it maintains its wonderful power year after year, principally due to the valve construction. Among other things, tests have conclusively proven that this engine will not fire prematurely under any conditions, nor will it gather carbon. The valves cannot carbonize, nod do they ever need grinding. Furthermore, it is never necessary to re-time this engine. The valves are positively controlled at all times and at all speeds.There are many other reasons for the marvelous results secured from the StearnsKnight motor. ition. Water cooled.

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1925 Stearns-Knight Sports Sedan
Body made by Witham Body Co., Amesbury, MA

The Stearns company was sold to Willys Automobile Co. in 1919, and it was built until 1928.


Thomas Jeffrey, manufacturer of the Rambler Bicycle, and his son made their first automobile in 1897 and it was named the Rambler. Not meeting with any success, they made two more that also received little notice. They exibited the next one at the Chicago Show in 1900. The Jeffreys concentrated on making automobiles.

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1897 Rambler prototype with Thomas B. Jeffery

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1901 Ramble

The American Bicycle Company purchased the Rambler Bicycle Company in 1900

The Rambler began serious production in 1902 with their model C Stanhope. When they sold the bicycle company, they kept the Rambler name.

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1902 Rambler C Stanhope Automobile

The 1902 model had a steering wheel instead of a tiller, a front mounted motor, and left hand drive, but it went back to the tiller immediately and its motor under the seat. It also changed back to right hand drive and remained that way until 1914. The wheel steering was used once again in 1904. The Rambler quickly became the number two best selling car with the Oldsmobile being number one. Their advanced designs, quality work, and a low price enabled them to increase sales each year

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1902 Rambler automobile Advertisement

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1902 Advertisement

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1903 Advertisement

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Jeffery promoting his Rambler Automobile
named after his favorite horse "Rambler"

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1911 Touring

Tragedy struck in 1910 when Thomas fell ill while on vacation and unexpectedly died. His son Charles took over the company. Charles changed the name to Jeffery in 1913 in honor of his father. After running the company for two years, he began to wonder about keeping the company or selling so he could relax and go on vacations.

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1913 Jeffery Automobile Advertisement

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1913 Jeffery Six

Copied from the 1913 Horseless Age Magazine

Jeffery CarsA New Name for an Old Established Line

Two entirely new cars, a four and a six, have been produced by the Thomas B. Jeffery Co., Kenosha, Wis. They will bear the name of Jeffery, in honor of the late Thomas B. Jeffery, organizer of the company. The two new cars are of very similar design, but show many departures from the Rambler cross country model, which is still being produced.

The Jeffery Four is powered by a high speed bloc cast motor with 33/4 x 51/4-inch cylinders. All valves are on the right hand side, the valve stems and springs being inclosed by a single long cover plate secured by two thumb nuts. The exhaust pipe is separate from the cylinder casting, but the inlet passage is cored in the casting, so that only a short, plain pipe is required for carburetor connection. The reciprocating parts are made as light as possible, each piston weighing only 3 pounds, complete with rings and wrist-pin. There are three crankshaft bearings. Connecting rod bearings are 2x2}4-inch, and the main bearings are also 2 inches in diameter, with a total length of 11 inches

The Jeffery Six is a duplicate of the Four in almost every detail. The cylinders are of the same size, but are cast in pairs, and the wheelbase is 128 inches, with 36 x 41/2inch tires. Five different types of bodies are supplied for the Jeffery Four. Standard five-passenger touring car and two-passenger roadster sell for $1,550. The two-passenger, inside driven coupelette is $1,950, and four-passenger inside driven sedan $2,350. A five-passenger limousine on the same chassis costs $3,000.

Charles Nash became the president of General Motors Corporation in 1914 when Henry Leland quit over the direction that the corporation was going. William Durant, president of Buick and Dort Companies was positioning himself to return as the head of General Motors by buying all of the banks that was financing General Motors. Nash and Durant had been good friends but had recently had a dispute, and Nash knew that his stay at General Motors was coming to an end. When Charles Jeffery approached him in 1918 about buying his company, Nash readily agreed. The Jeffery car was now a Nash vehicle.




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1899  Eclipse Runabout

A horseless carriage

1899 Eclipse Boston Mail Delivery

Everitt Cameron grew up in Brockton, MA, and started learning the machinist's trade at an early age. At that time the bicycle business was enjoying a boom and bicycle racing was very popular. Having developed an interest in the sport, Cameron built a special racing bicycle weighing twenty-one pounds less than the conventional type which weighed thirty-nine pounds. The result was so good that Mr. Cameron continued in the bicycle business for the next two years. In 1899, however, he became interested in the future possibilities of the horseless carriage and built his first steam car. Two cars of this type were used by the Back Bay Post Office of Boston to collect mail, and it is believed that these were the first automobiles used by the Post Office department. Becoming annoyed with the dirty, exposed chain of the 1899 models, he built his first drive shaft car in 1900. The engine was a three cylinder radial steam engine, mounted on the end of the drive shaft and hinged to the body. Although twenty-five of these machines were built.

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1902 Eclipse Runabout

The novel feature of the eclipse was the burner and boiler arrangements. The burner used kerosene rather than gasoline. Suposedly, kerosene was 25 percent more productive than gasoline. Barber Mfg. Co. of Boston manufactured the burner and was claimed that steaming up only took ten minutes. The burner was composed of a large number of pipes radiating from a central gas chamber with each pipe was slotted through which the gas passed. The pilot light was started by alcohol and rapidly heated the kerosene to cause gasification that started the main boiler. The kerosene was heated by traveling through the boiler giving it a lower firing temperature

In 1902, after selling his interest in the Eclipse automobile, he went to Taunton, MA to build the Taunton Steaamer

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1902 Taunton Steamer
The Eclipse and Taunton Cars were often referred to as Cameron Automobiles

The Taunton was a steam touring car designed to carry either two or four passengers, a folding seat being provided in front, which could also be used as a luggage carrier.The boiler was of the water tube type with superheating coil. The engine was a three cylinder one, 2x3 inches, with a single eccentric and crank, without stuffing boxes, slides and crossheads, and entirely inclosed. The carriage was equipped with wire wheels and pneumatic tires, brake drums were fastened directly to the wheels, and the brakes which act on these drums are said to be double acting. The drive was chainlesswith the engine being geared directly to the rear axle by bevel gears. All the parts of the driving gear were completely inclosed. The tank capacities were as follows: Water, 40 gallons; fuel, 20 gallons; lubricating oil, 1 gallon. The weight of the vehicle'complete, with tanks filled, was 1.200 pound.

When he got tired of steam cars in 1903, he started working with gasoline and developed the Cameron Automobile. He had James  Brown Machinery Company in Pawtucket, RI build his automomobiles until 1905 when the company decided to stop making cars.

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1904 Advertisement

In 1905, The United Motor Corporation decided to stop making Cameron automobiles and sold the company to James Brown Machine Company. Both companies were located in Pawtucket

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The Cameron car for 1905 appears in the form of a three-cylinder, side-entrance tonneau car, which the James Brown Machine Co., of Pawtucket, E. I., has just introduced. The car has a running gear of modern construction with I section front axle, semi-elliptical front springs, full elliptical springs and 28-inch artillery wheels with 3-inch detachable tires. The motor has three vertical air-cooled cylinders, and is arranged longitudinally on the front of the frame.

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In 1905, James Brown Machine Co. decided to quit building automobiles and Cameron Car Co. decided to manufacture its car in Brockton, MA.

The company quickly out grew the factory and moved to some of its manufactuiring to Beverly, MA  in 1908 to the former Beverly Machine Co. building where the Beverly automobiles had been built. No cars were built in 1906.

Copied from the January issue of the 1908 Horseless Age Magazine

Cameron Company Moved to Beverly, Mass

The Cameron Motor Car Company, of Brockton, Mass., have purchased the factory of the Beverly Manufacturing Company, of Beverly, Mass., and the Cameron cars will hereafter be made in Beverly. It is stated that 100 cars are in process of construction, and it is planned to make 400 cars in all the coming season, in' two models, at $850 and $1,050 respectively. The Beverly Manufacturing Company owns a brick factory fronting the Bass River, and only a few minutes from the Boston & Maine freight depot, and also a two story frame structure, which is to be used as a garage and is now being fitted up for the purpose.

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1908 Cameron Runabout

advert106.jpg (48542 bytes)1910 Cameron  Speedster

Six-Cylinder Touring Car had a long, low, rakish appearance and was just as fast as it looked

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1910 Cameron Advertisement

In 1910, the Cameron was made as four and six cylinders.This is the only advertisement showing that the Cameron was being built in Beverly, MA and New London, CT at the same time. The Cameron Car Company has been said to have moved from Beverly to many different cities. However, the standard runabout was made in Beverly with other models being made elsewhere.

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1912 Cameron Advertisement

Only advertisement showing that the Cameron was being built in Beverly, MA and Attica, OH. The Ohio factory made the touring model.and their trucks were made in Alma, MI

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1914 Cameron Touring Automobile

The Cameron Mfg. Co., New Haven, Conn., will produce for 1916 a $1,000 six-cylinder car of 122-inch wheelbase and 33 by 4 wheels, with two styles of body, a flve-passenger touring and a runabout with an inclosed seat in the rear, which makes a four-passenger car when opened.

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1916 Cameron Automobile with a Victoria Top

Cameron Car made plans 1913 to move to West Haven, CT and a new factory was built. A 1914 prototype was made before the factory was rented to a French Company to make wartime materials with the undrstanding that after the war, it would be returned to the, The war lasted five years and by this time Cameron had run out of money. They closed down in 1920.


Starting in 1898, Waltham Mfg. Co., Waltham, MA, the largest watch and clock makers in the country, began to manufacture automobiles. In the ten years that they existed, they made more types of cars than any other manufacturer.

According to the June issue of the 1898 Horseless Age Magazine, there were three different steam cars being built in Waltham, MA. Two of these were being made by John Piper and George Tinker of the American Waltham Automobile Co located in the Comet Bicycle Co. plant. Needing more space, they decided to move into the Waltham Mfg. factory at the invitation of Charles Metz the owner of the plant.

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1898 Piper and Tinker Steam Car
American Waltham Mfg. Co
Body by Currier, Cameron, & Co, Amesbury, MA

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1898 J.W. Piper and G.M. Tinker Steam Car
American Waltham Mfg Co.


1898 Waltham Orient Steam Buggy
Body by Currier, Cameron, & Co.

At the same time Waltham Mfg. was also building their steam car known as the Orient Steam Buggy after the Orient Bicycle that Metz had been making for years. This car was no completed in time for the New York Automobile Show. Waltham Mfg. Co discontinued the steam cars in 1899 and started making gasoline vehicles in 1900.

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1899 Orient Electric Prototype
Made by Tinker and Piper who were now working for Waltham Mfg. Co. However, none were put into production.

Charles Metz wanted to concentrate on his bicycles and motorcycles so he sold the company to a group of businessmen and went to Brockton, MA to continue making them under the Metz brand.


In 1900, Tinker and Piper decided to moved their production to a new factory and changed its name to Waltham Automobile Company.

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1901 Waltham Steam Buggy Runabout
Waltham Automobile Co.

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1902 Waltam Steam Buggy Runabout

Not meeting with much success, they decided to shut down the manufacturing business and deal in automobile parts


Copied from the 1900 Horseless Age Magazine

The " Victorlette." As the photograph shows, It Is a light gasoline carriage, normally carrying two people, but with an auxiliary seat in front, which makes it possible on good roads to add a third and even a fourth passenger. It is fitted with a 3 h. p. Aster or de Dion watercooled motor, with speed-changing gears. In designing this vehicle, the makers have endeavored to get away from the " horse wanted " style, and our readers will agree that they have been successful both In achieving this and In producing a graceful and attractive turnout.

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1900 Orient Victorlette

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1900 Orient Victoriette

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1900 Orient Autogo

The Orient Autogo was designed after a French car but made by Waltham. It could be ordered with either three or four wheels. Its production was short lived.



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                                       1900 Autogo Advertisement

Waltham Mfg. Co decided to continue with regular type cars in 1901.

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1901 Orient Automobile

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1901Orient Automobile Advertisement


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1902 Orient Runabout


1903 Orient Runabout



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1904 Orient Side Entrance Tonneau

This was a cross betwenn the ordinary models and an Orient Buckboard. The photo shows that it had eliptical springs where as the Buckboard did not. It had a heavier Aster engine mounted on the back and could carry four people. Top speed was 20 mph.

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1904 Waltham Orient Touring

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1905 Waltham Orient Deluxe Touring

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1906 Waltham Orient Advertisement


Waltham Orient Buckboard

When the Orient Buckbard made its first appearance atthe 1903 New York Autmobile. it was a sensational hit. It was exported to almost every foreign market and its sales surpassed the early Locomobile sales figure. The power plant was a single-cylinder De Dion  placed on the rear axle. The body was bolted to two hickory boards placed lenghtwise from axle to axle with four-inch hickory boards going crosswise.This arrangement gave the passengers a smooth ride over rough terrain for the body acted as springs. It was one of the lowest priced cars on the market at $350.

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1903 Orient Buckboard

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1906 Orient Buckboard

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1903 Buckboard Racer

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1903 Orient Buckboard Advertisement

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1904 Orient Buckboard Surrey

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1906 Orient Buckboard

After an extensive test on the rural mail routes, in 1906, the United States Postal Service used them for rural mail delivery.

Like so many companies in 1907, the Waltham company began to struggle for survival. They need financing for materials but none could be had. The banks refused money to almost all of the automobile companies. The 1908 Orient Deluxe output was very small and it was identical to the 1907 model.

1908 Waltham - Orient Buckboard by rbglasson.

1908 Orient Buckboard

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1908 Waltham Orient Taxicab

Because the Orient Buckboards were still in demand and to induce more sales, an entirely new model was produced. an enclosed taxicab was also made. However this could not rescue it. Between 1903 and 1908 they made approximately 2,500 Orient Buckboard Cars at the Waltham Manufacturing Company on Rumford Avenue. The cars were sold all over the world and today they are a big part of America's history on cars. Recently a survey was taken throughout the world of all Orient Buckboards in existence today. There are a total of 57 Orient Buckboard owners today.

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The Orient Buckboard was the largest selling vehicle in the world and it could be seen in almost all parts of it.

In late 1908, in order not to go into bankruptcy, the company was resold to Charles Metz, the original owner. In 1909, the Metz automobile was introduced to the market asthe Metz Plan.

Metz Automobile Company

In 1909, the Waltham Automobile Company was failing and Charles Metz, who had left the company in 1902 to form his Orient Motorcycle Company, returned and bought the company. It was named the Metz Automobile Company.

At the 1909 Boston Automobile Show, The Metz Plan was singled out for an article in the Horseless Age Magazine for one of its featured articles describing it as one of the best small cars of the show.

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1909 Metz Plan Roadster with top up

Metz Manufacturing Company , Incorporated.
Article taken from the 1910 Horseless Age Magazine

"The Metz Manufacturing Company has been incorporated under Massachusetts laws at Waltham, Mass., to take over the business of the C. H. Metz Company, which nearly a year ago bought out the Waltham Manufacturing Company. The new company is capitalized at $300,000. The directors are: John C. Robbins, president; Charles Spiegelberg, treasurer, and Charles H. Wolfe. Mr. Metz is the majority stockholder. The company will continue to manufacture assembled parts for a runabout, which are sold under what is known as the Metz plan, the purchasers doing the final assembling themselves. It is said that nearly 200 men are at present at work in the company's plant. There has been some talk of removing the business to some other city, but the Waltham Business Men's Association has taken the matter up, and will make endeavors to hold the company."

Although Metz was not the first to offer a kit car, Dyke and Sears pre-dated Metz with do-it-your-self high wheelers, it did offer the first known kit automobile on the installment plan, known as the Metz Plan. The buyer would buy 14 groups or packages of parts for $27.00 which would be put together with the plans and tools supplied, or a factory assembled automobile could be bought for $600.00. This plan was in effect until 1911 when it became impractical to compete with a dealer supplied model "T" Ford.

1909 Metz Plan Roadster

1910 Plan Roadster

In 1911, Metz introduced the Model 22 as a 1912 model. The Model 22 had a 4 cylinder engine and continued using the friction drive concept that had been used in the Plan Car. Only one body style was available and the color was dark blue with cream wheels. This was a two person roadster without doors. An available option to increase seating capacity was either a single seat or a double seat that could be mounted on the tool box at the rear of the car; however, utility of these seats was limited due to difficult access. The standard Model 22 roadster initially sold for $495 in 1912 and 1913.

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1911 Metz Runabout

Metz entered three Model 22 cars in the July 1911 Glidden Tour. He did so to give them a good road test before full scale production. The Metz team was the only team out of the 70 cars on the tour that arrived at the finish line without a time extension. However, they did not accumulate enough points to gain an overall win. Metz also sent a three car team to compete in the 1913 Glidden Tour from Minneapolis Minnesota to Glacier Park Montana and this time they won with perfect scores and no time extension. In some ways this win was detrimental to the Metz company since it convinced Metz that the friction drive concept was the best and he continued using it even though noticable sales resistance to it was evident.

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1912 Metz Twenty-Two Runabout Autoobile

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1912 Metz Advertisement

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1914 Metz Automobile Advertisement



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1915 Metz Delivery

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1917 Metz Touring Automobile


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1917 Metz Roadster Automobile

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1910 Metz Advertisement

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1916 Metz

In 1917, the federal government used the plant for war production. The company did not make a 1918. Because the government failed to pay for the use of the plant., Metz was in dire financial straits. They introduced the Master Six model, but because for lack of funds, it was an assembled model. Metz struggled until 1922 before he called it quits. The 1922 Metz was named the Waltham.

Copied from the 1919 Motor Age Magazine


Waltham, Mass., Jan. 10The last exponent of friction drive for passenger cars has switched. The Metz Co. is bringing out a new car which will have gear drive and be known as the Master Six. It will be powered with a 45-hp. six-cylinder engine, having three-speed sliding gear transmission, semi-floating rear axle, I-beam front axle and semi-elliptic springs on the rear with Hotchkiss drive. Five tires, 32 by 4, on demountable wire wheels will be used. Electric equipment throughout Is standard. The new car will have a wheelbase of 117 in. and weigh less than 2500 lb. Fuel feed will be by the Stewart vacuum system. The car is to sell at $1,495

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1920 Metz Automobiles

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1922 Waltham Sedan


The Abner Doble Steam Automobile Company

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1913 Doble Touring a wrecked White Motor Company steamer, driving a new engine of the Doble brothers' own design. It did not run particularly well, but it inspired the brothers to build two more prototypes in the following years. Abner moved to Massachusetts in 1910 to attend MIT, but dropped out after just one semester to work with his brothers on their s

There were four Doble brothers: Abner, William, John and Warren. The father patented the Doble Pelton wheel in California and made money. All were at one time associated with the automobile company, with Abner, John and Warren as the leading lights. Abner built his first steam car between 1906 and 1909 while still in high school, with the assistance of his brothers. It was based on components salvaged from

team cars. The Ffamily moved to California in 1914 and continued making cars there.


Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3