History of Early American Automobile Industry

Chapter  6

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1901 The Blue Re-Sile  Single Tonneau made to exhibit its unique "Wheel Within a Wheel" wheels. None were put into production. and  no other punlicatios every mentioned them

This article was written in the 1899 Horseless Age Magazine.

Westfield, Mass., June 24. Editor Horseless Age:

Last fall while returning from a trip to a nearby town by motor carriage I passed through one of our widest streets and saw a horse hitched in front of a house, facing the direction in which I was coming. As I drew near I noticed that he raised his head as high as his tie rein would allow, and picked up his ears very sharp. This was a signal for me to stop, and as I drew closer I saw he was a type of the well-known country horse, and was hitched to an old dilapidated wagon. I drew forward very slowly, but soon saw that he would not stand while I passed him. A boy whom I had with me went into the house in front of which the horse was hitched, but the owner was not to be found inside. He was in the house on the opposite side of the street. The boy crossed over and called for the man who owned the horse. The owner soon appeared, and proved to be a veritable "Uncle Sam," wearing a long linen duster. He came out to the curbing in front of the house and motioned me to go on. I called to him to go across the road and hold his horse, as I knew his horse would not stand, but he still made motions for me to go on. The boy then returned to me and said that the farmer said his horse had met my carriage several times before, and had passed it without being afraid. With this assurance I took the side of the road most remote from the horse, and crept forward very slowly. The horse kept his eyes fixed upon the carriage as I slowly passed him. Finally I had passed so far that his tie rein would not permit him to turn his head any farther, when he faced forward, lowered his head and raised his heels and wriggled them in a very vigorous manner. The farmer ran across the street, took hold of his bridle and began to slap him on the head. I went back to assist him, but the faster the slaps were applied the faster the heels flew. 1 then held his bridle while "Uncle Sam" applied a few vigorous kicks, but all to no purpose. His horseship had seen the carriage go without a horse, and had decided that the one he was hitched to should travel that way hereafter, for no amount of suasion, either moral or otherwise, would cause him to stop. Upon freeing himself from the carriage, he turned around, so that he might face my vehicle, which had been left some distance down the street. He did not attempt to run away; it was simply a case of "must see it." I assisted the farmer to gather up the remains, and then asked him if he considered it my fault, to which he replied, "No," and immediately proceeded to libel his horse in vigorous language.

A few days later he appeared at my store and said that he had talked the matter over with a neighbor, who advised him to see a lawyer, who informed him, that I had no right on the public highway, and was liable for damages, which he assessed at $6, proved by a bill from a repairer. I explained the circumstances to him over again, and he went away, to all appearances satisfied, but in fact, went straight to a clothing house, for whom I was advertising at the time, one customers he was, and rather than lose his trade, they offereu to give him a new pair of Sunday pantaloons. He was evidently not satisfied, and went away without accepting the terms of peace. He appeared again la few days later and was finally fitted out with a $7 suit of clothes, and went his way rejoicing, being a living advertisement for the clothing house. Moral: Horses have no brains, and horse beaters less.

Yours truly
Gilbert J. Loomis


These types of incidents were taking place all over the country.


In 1896 Gilbert Loomis built his firt car that was a steamer, but he did not put it into production. He invented a carbuerator that he manufactured.  In 1900, he built his next car that was a gasoline model


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1900 Loomis Runabout
Loomis Automobile Co. Westfield, MA 

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1901 Loomis Runabout

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1902 Loomis Runabout



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1901 Loomis Runabout Automobile

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1901 Loomis Delivery Wagon

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1903 Loomis Blue Bird Touring

The 1903 Loomis had a three cylinder water cooled upright engine and was driven by a bevel gear and chain. The frame was angle iron and wood. A worm and wheel steering gear was used. The wheel base was 87 inches with a 56 inch tread. The wheels were of the 30 inch artillery type with 3 1/2 inch detachable tires. The foot brake which was ordinarily used acted to expand internal metal members against drums secured to each rear wheel. There was also an internally expanding drum brake in the gear car. The engine shaft, which ran lengthwise of the car, was attached through a flexible coupling to the enclosed in an oil change speed gear. The separate clutch system was used having three forward speds and reverse. The well known Loomis carburetor and muffler naturally formed parts of the equipment. Throttle and spark control were located on the steering column, and one lever at the right of the operator controled all gears. Twelve gallons of gasoline was carried.

In 1903, Bloomingdale's  Department Store in New York City ordered 500 delivery vans, he immediately accepted, but the contract caledl for them to be delivered within two months and when he could not possibly do this, the contract was cancelled. He sold his company in 1904 and did what he was a masterful engineer for Pope Tribune and Speedwell. In 1897, he was the first person to purchase an insurance policy on an automobile in the United States. It was for $1,000 at $7.50 per annum.

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1901 Locomobile on top of Lookout Mountain, TE

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1901 Oldsmobile plodding along on a muddy road

1901 Horseless age Magazine

Automobile manufacturers and dealers, in some cases, are adopting catchpenny methods of advertising. They photograph their automobiles in uncanny places, on the tops of almost unscalable mountain peaks, on Niagara's ice gorges (hoisted into position by block and tackle), in mud hub deep, or with loads of humanity standing upon them many times their normal seating capacity. Sometimes they insert large factories in their advertisements, covering acres of ground, only a small corner of which they occupy. Advertisements of this class are to be condemned. They are invariably intended to "stretch the truth." The best that can be said of them is that they are founded in ignoranceignorance of the strength of materials, nature of road strains and horse power required to overcome obstacles, on the one hand, and ignorance of human nature on the other. Their result is plainly to mislead and effect sales under false representations. The average reader, seeing the automobile pictured in such positions, imagines that it is something between a road vehicle and a flying machine; that it is able to climb like a mountain goat and to cross well-nigh impassable morasses, and that its carrying capacity is as miraculous as its climbing abilities.

Wise men, ancient and modern, have remarked that it is not possible to fool all the people all the time. Manufacturers who, in these early days, are founding their hopes on their ability to hoodwink the public should ponder these words. Persisting in this policy they can scarcely count upon that ultimate success which comes to those who set before themselves a higher standard.


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1901 Peerless Motorette

The Peerless Mfg. Co. completed its first car, a single cylinder Motorette, in November of 1901 with Louis P. Mooers as it chief engineer. The 1902 model had twin cylinders and ninty were sold.  The company's name was changed  to Peerless Motor Car Co. Four cylinders were used in the 1903 models.. For the next two years, heavy emphasis was placed on racing with Barney Oldfield as the driver. In 1905 Oldfield and Mooers left the company and with the hiring of Charles B. Schmidt, luxury automobiles were once again built. The Peerless was one of the Big P's. The slogan for the Peerless was " Built in America for American Roads" and later "All That the Name Implies", meaning that it had no peers.

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1902 Peerless Simplex with L.P. Mooers at the Wheel

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1901 Peerless Automobile Advertisement

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1902 Peerless Automobile Advertisement

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1903 Peerless Limousine Automobile
Body by Biddle and Smart, Amesbury, MA

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1903 Peerless Automobile Advertisement

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L.D. Rango in a 1903 Peerless Racer at Elyria Races

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H.D.Savage in a 1903 Peerless Racer-Winner of the 5 Mile Minneapolis Race

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1904 Peerless Advertisement

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1905 Peerless Victoria Model Automobile

Copied from the December, 1904, Motor Age Magazine

The Peerless Motor Car Co., of Cleveland, Oh., has added to its 1905 line a 60-horsepower car, the motor of which is a duplicate of that used in the Peerless Green Dragon racing car used this fall on the track circuit by Barney Oldfield. The car is fitted with a Victoria body with hood for the rear seat, and is indeed a fashionable conveyance.

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1905 Peerless Side Entrance Tonneau

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1905 Peerless Advertisement


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1910 Peerless Automobile Touring

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1910 Peerless Automobile Advertiseme

Philippe Mordant's 1927 Peerless 6-72

1927 Peerless Sedan 6-72

Throughout its history, Peerless lagged behind in sales to Cadillac and Pierce-Arrows, but it endured through many internal problems and management changes. In 1921 the company was sold to Richard Collins, the former president and general manager of Cadillac. Many of Cadillac's top level executives came with him. Peerless assests were $14,000,000.00 and all looked well. Sales soared where other companies were stumbling along. Even with this success, troubles continued and Collins and his team were out. This team would make the 1926 Pontiac. The peerless continued in business with different models until 1931, when it was decided that brewing a keg of Carling Black Label beer would be more profitable.


Pierce and Pierce-Arrow

The George N. Pierce Company was organized in 1896 to manufacture bicycles with Charles Clifton as its treasurer and he convinced the company to build automobiles. Its first car was a steam car  built in 1900 and it was a failure. While going to France that year to study the French De Dion motor. David Ferguson was hired as the engineer and two cars were completed. They were used as test models. The single cylinder "Motorette"  was put into production in late 1901. Two cylinders were used in the 1903 models. They were called the Arrows and four cylinders were called the Great Arrows in 1904.

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1901-1902 Motorette-Stanhope

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1902 Pierce Knockabout

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1902 George Pierce Motorette

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1905 Pierce Great-Arrow Automobile

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1909 Pierce-Arrow Automobile Advertisement

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1910 Pierce-Arrow Automobile Advertisement

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1911 Pierce-Arrow George Washington Model

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1911 Pierce-Arrow Advertisement

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1911 Pierce-Arrow Show Car called the George Washington

The car that will be shown this season has been named the George Washington Coach and is a five-passenger touring landaulet mounted on a six-cylinder, 66 hp. chassis. In color the car is green with an autumn brown stripe. The interior is fitted with a folding wash basin, a luncheon locker and various accessories. In the exterior of the car the connoisseur will find a return to the days when the owner took pride in having his equipage decorated in conformance with his taste. These decorations were, in those days the works of famous artists, their ideas appearing on the panels and other parts of the body most adaptable to decorative purposes. The panels of the George Washington Coach are by Ernest Fosbery of with such rapid strides, however, that it may now be considered the ideal car for the physician or business man. It is always ready for use in all kinds of weather and so easily operated that a child can run it. It is not only confined to city use, but may also be used for runs out in the country. Seventy-five to 100 miles at a very desirable speed may be safely covered without recharging the battery. The battery can be charged any place where current can be had with a line voltage of no to 125. If the current is direct a rheostat is used and if it is alternating, a rectifier is used. Its maintenance is very low as compared to a horse or gas car, the most important items being to keep the battery charged and the moving parts well lubricated, and the car is ready to use at will.

1927 Pierce-Arrow Limousine

By 1915, the Pierce-Arrow had reached to 15,000 sales and had reached the upper echelons in the industry. It was preferred by the rich and famous.  When in 1918 , it introduced the dual-valve six, it was prefered by the rum runnners because it was fast and quiet. By now Cadillac had its V-8  engine and  Packard had its twin-six. Pierce-Arrow believed that six cylinders were enough and refused to change. In the next decade, there were many changes in management and triials of mergers that didn't work. One of these was with the Studebaker company in 1929 with Ralph Erskine as president, but Studebaker went into receivership in 1932 and Erskine committed suicide. A new company took over and Pierce-Arrow was once again an independant company. By 1936, sales had reached such a low figure that they could not recover and in 1938 the company was sold at auction.

Automobiles Built in St. Louis, MO

St. Louis was the hub of automobile industry west of the Mississippi, River. From the very beginning there were several experiertmenatal automobiles that were being built. These were well designed cars with many novel patents granted.

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1905 Automobile Made by a 14-year Old Boy from St. Louis, MO

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1895 Electric Buggy made by J. D. Perry



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1898 Langan Motor Carriage

On his way back home from a visit to France in 1898, Louis Langan bought several American gasoline motors.  Back in St. Louis, he built his first automobile with a top speed of 18 mph. He incorporated the St. Louis Gasoline Motor Co. in November of 1898 and a small number of cars were made. When he received a large order for motors, he turned to building only motors. When the check for the motors never arrived, he had to closed down his company.

St. Louis

George Preston Dorris was born in Nashville, TN and began to build an automobile in 1895.

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1899 Photograph

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1897 Dorris  Dos-A-Dos Gasoline

After two years experimenting his car for two years he 1897 model, decided to put them into production with his friend, John French, in St. Louis MO. The St. Louis Motor Carriage Co. was formed  with French being the president and he would serve as chief engineer. The St. Louis cars were the first ones to be put into production West of the Mississippi River. They were always advertised as "Rigs That Run"

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1899 St. Louis  Delivery Wagon

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1900 St. Louis  Stanhope Automobile

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1900 Light Delivery Wagon


The 1900 St. Louis was the ffirst in the country with a unit type power plant, sliding gear transmission in the crank case that was submerged in oil through the transmission.

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1901 St. Louis Runabout

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1901 St. Louis Delivery Van

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1901 Sixteen Passenger Omnibus

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1901 St. Louis

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1902 Advertisement


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1902 St. Louis, Boston Model

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1903 Runabout and Tonneau

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1904 Advertisement

1900 St. Louis Gasoline Motor Car

1904 St. Louis Motor Car Runabout

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Automobile Exibition Area for rhe 1904 St. Louis Exposition

The sales for the car was so good that in late in 1905, the company was reorganized as the St. Louis Car Company and moved to Peoria, IL. Dorris stayed behind and used the factory to make a car in his name, Dorris. The first one was the 1906 Model. The car sles were not very good in Peoria and the St. Louis Car Company's factory as shut down in 1907.

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1907 St. Louis Automobile Advertisement


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Dyke Auto Supply Company Advertisement


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17 18  19 20    21 22 23   24 25  26 27  28 29   30  31  32 33

Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3