History of Early American Automobile Industry

Chapter 10


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Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3


Down around Philadelphia the countryside constable still continues to add to his income at the expense of the long-suffering Quaker antomobilist. A flagrant case in point was that recently of Dr. George Fales Baker, a prominent Philadelphia sawbones. The worthy doctor was careering over the roads of Radnor township at a 4-miles-an-hour clip, his engine being in bad shape for some unknown cause. He was endeavoring to reach a nearby blacksmith shop in the hope of making a temporary repair, when a pair of the township's coppers astride of bicycles, who were following his car, halted the doctor and informed him that he was under arrest. '' Why, pray ?'' queried the healer. "Didn't blow your horn when you passed that road back there." As the cops really needed the money, Dr. Baker was compelled to accompany them to the magistrate. After that dignitary had listened to the harrowing details of the charge he merely said: "Seven-fifty and costs." "But, my dear sir," urged the doctor, "in Chicago they fine an antomobilist for blowing horns. And you now fine me for not blowing mine." "This is Radnor township, sir." "But, sir, I think I heard that your township laws mention nothing about horn-blowing." "Ah, but you forgetthe state law covers that. You broke the law of the state of Pennsylvania." The doctor ponied up, and then went in search of a repairman, tooting his horn vigorously all the way, while the constables, who are entitled to half the fine, hurried off it search of new victims. When he got home he put in an application for membership in the Automobile Club of Philadelphia, which is about to inaugurate a campaign in the hope of bringing about uniform laws for government of automobiles throughout the state.

Copied from the January issue of the 1904 Motor Age Magazine


Nineteen hundred and three was an eventful year in the a u t o m o b ile trade, industry and sport. The gradual development of the previous years seemed to have let loose a flood of action along different lines at the same time and the making of history suddenly took the strenuous channel. In automobile manufacture, in automobile selling, in automobiling, in automobile legislation, in automobile racing, in automobile touring, in every thing and all things pertaining to the automobile events have taken such turns that future and permanent activity is assured. Nineteen hundred and three necessitated activity and action. all branches of automobiling had created interests so involving one another that the methods of pioneering would not fit the requirements. Novelty pure and simple had worn off of automobiling. It had become so widespread that definite action was forced to succeed resolution and planning had arrived.

Automobiles were rebuilt for 1903. The shows of last January and February partly conveyed this fact. The shaftless carriage had been passed and the day of the motor car and individually characterized creation had come. The crude principles of construction had reached a stage of development at which form and method might be taken more carefully into consideration and the production of automobiles in commercially large lots became a fact. Runabouts were supplemented by all manner of heavy cars and small and heavy cars took on a style and finished appearance never before possessed. General tendencies in construction spread like wild fire; a few general classes of cars sprang up to
succeed the straggling host of freaks,

American cars were put into open competion with European cars. The American builders had reached a stage of confidence in their products. Rule of thumb designing had ceased in the more extensive factories automobile manufacturing had become an established art. Development in construction throughout the year proved the predictions of show time. Each new thing was some thing brought out to render the construction of the car, part by part, a more carefully-studied process. Refinement became imperative to attain success. European styles were copied broadcast and in the copying were improved in many instances. At any rate, the systems of construction which had proven themselves worthy in Europe were adapted, more or less carefully as the case might be, to the requirements of American automobiling. This adaptation of foreign methods led naturally to the edition de luxe in high-powered road cars. At the end of the year there was no style of large aristocratic car that did not have its representative of American manufacture. As power was raised and elegance suc-ceeded plainness in design and finish, weights were cut down and the strong light car was created. Small cars became heavier, but large cars became lighter. In each class makers sought to establish a certain factor of power with a certain factor of safety and comfort.

Nineteen hundred and three was the first year of business vehicles in more than experimental use. Builders who had never before paid attention to this one of the greatest of all branches of automobile building found it possible to adapt their systems of construction to the commercial car. No wonderful business was done in this line. Enough business was done to show that the venture was entirely practical. Nineteen hundred and three spread automobile agencies, branches, etc., into every city in the United States. Directly or indirectly buying dealers sprang up in localities into which previously automobiles had come only as the purchases of pioneers who hail traveled far to get them or who had ordered by mail. Even in cities and towns of moderate size, large, well equipped stores and gargages were established. Automobile selling became just as much a part of a community 's business as carriage selling.

Nineteen hundred and three settled the show question on a satisfactory basis. It furnished two great national shows, each taxing the capacity of their respectives places of holding and several highly prosperous local shows in smaller trade centers, these shows arranged in most cases by the dealers whose lines were exhibited. Nineteen hundred and three saw the formation of dealers' associationsin all of the large trade centers. Some of these associations quickly
assumed roles of usefulness; others, unfortunately, drooped somewhat after the first enthusiasm had gone. Nineteen hundred and three divided the manufacturing trade. The Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers was formed, with the avowed purpose of restricting the manufacture of gasoline automobiles to the ranks of licensees under the Selden patent. The year went out with infringement suits brought against an unlicensed maker, a dealer in unlicensed ears, and an importer of unlicensed cars; 1904 will determine the validity of the patent and the strength of the A. L. A. M. In the affairs of automobiling generally, 1903 furnished more legislative debate and action than had marked all previous time. State and municipal authorities and automobilists sought, each by their peculiar light, to solve the numerous questions arising from the intermingling of automobiles with other means of transportation upon the common highways. It is probable that nothing final in legislation was accomplished. But the uselessness of restrictive laws was shown on the one side and the worthlcssness of too great an independence upon the other. It may be said that during 1903 all sides to the question sought a common ground upon which to co-operate.

Nineteen hundred and three developed the automobile club into a useful body. In many cities old or new clubs took active part in local work or strengthened their organizations for future work. But in national organization the year marked greater efforts than in local clubdom. The American Automobile Association, formed a year prcviously as a union of clubs, found that individual membership was necessary to its permanent success. It amended its constitution to that effect and started on again along somewhat new lines to build up a great national organizatiou. In the business of attaining a great body of members the American Motor League started ahead of it and during the year worked hard and still harder to increase its membership. With membership it could become a strong factor in automobiling; without membership it was nothing. So the work for membership was carried on so vigorously that it stimulated the  A. A. A.to renewed efforts and the dying year beheld tho two organizations, rivals in spirit if not by public expression of sentiment. The A. A. A. controls racing; it seeks greater membership anel a greater field of influence. The A.L.A.M. has the greater membership, is working along the lines of touring and other phases of general automobiling.

Nineteen hundred and three had its touch of humor here and there also. Chauffeurs' unions were organized in New York and Chicago and the "boys" promised all sorts of reforms of benefit to themselves and to automobilists. Nineteen hundred and three established long distance touring as one of  the most attractive forms of automobiling. Extensive club tours, tours of individuals over all sections of the country, tours to the arctic circle and the crossing of the continent by three auto- mobile parties, and by a motor bicyclist demonstrated the fitness of American cars for rough, hard work. In formal tests of automobiles there were two national ones during the yearthe business vehicle test conducted by the Automobile Club of America and the New York-Pittsburg endurance test, conducted by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Only eleven cars took part in the former, owing to the fact that the N. A. A. M. had refused to recommend participation in it because of the belief that the time was not right for such an affair. It was successful, however, go far as it went, and seven of the starting cars completed the tasks set for them in good shape. The endurance run was most peculiar of all tests of automobiling. Preparations were made for a particularly careful test of the cars under ordinary touring conditions, and then the heavens opened and sent down the greatest downpour of water in the history of New York state. The run became a struggle through a flood, in which thirty-one automobiles fought to win where trains and all other means of transport faileel. Twenty-five succeeded and rounded up at Pittsburg, mud covered but little injured by the hardship. It was a crucial point in motor ear testing and motor cars were not found wanting.

In automobile sport, track racing was popularized in two scores of cities and half that number of places saw the purely racing automobile in close and exciting competition. Fully 250,000 persons witnessed motor car track racing anel two-thirds of this number saw the kind of class A racing which for the season was run at an average speed rate- of 1:03 to the mile, 57 miles an hour. The mile track record was briken six time's during the summer and finally placed at 54% seeonels. In racing 1903 also saw the overgrowth of road racing, its develop- ment to a point where it became an abnormal and dangerous sport, which in its unrestricted form was brought to a finality in the interdicted Paris-Madrid race. But it also saw the development of the limited read race to a point of international consequence in the realm of general news, the. Gordon Bennett cup race in Ireland being the center of the world's eyes last July.

Straightaway racing also secured a hold in America. Courses near or in large cities being practically out of the question, little straight-away racing had ever marked the sport in this country. The eliscovery of the suitable qualities of the Ormond-Daytona beach, in Florida, for such contests resulted in the inauguration of annual speeel contests. Preparations are already being made for a series of contests to occur between the New York and Chicago shows and it is probable that world's records will go glimmering. Taken as a whole the year was a healthy, lively, active one. It spreael every branch of automobiling wonderfully and built up the trade to a  point where it is prepared to build $33,155,000 worth of automobiles in a twelvemonth. For a conservative estimate of the probable output of the different factories which will actually place cars on the market during 1904 gives a total of production of 30,000 cars. This production would be divided roughly as follows: Licensed gasoline cars, 16,000; unlicensed gasoline cars, 8,000; electric cars, 3,000; steam cars, 2,000; miscellaneous, 1,000.

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The present year promises to be one of rejoicing both for horses and lovers of horses.The noble animal will witness his emancipation from drudgery and hard work to an extent that will be truly amazing. The motor this year will "get down to business" and take its rightful place in practical business life. The transfer of heavy freight will be by motor, the merchants have begun to deliver dry goods and groceries by motor and even the farmer to plow by motor. The time is come for the practical adaptation of the motor car to everyday vocations. The adoption of the automobile in business will probably be limited this year only by the output of the factories making such cars. This year will rank as the first of the commercial motor vehicle era.

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1904 American Veneer Automobile Body

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1904 Excelsior Supply Co. Advertisement

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1904 Buick Motor Advertisement

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Rattan Novelty Company Advrtisement

Articles copied from the 1904 Motor Age Magazine


Progress is rapid in the automobile world. How rapid only those who are closely in touch with motor manufacturing know. That fact, and the high state of development to which the tourist motor car has attained, are strongly impressed on one by certain new features which have been introduced into the system of making in this year's reliability trial?. If anyone had proposed 4 years, or even 2 years ago to penalize competing cars in the trials of vibration, noisiness, dust-raisin;; and the like, he would simply have been laughed to scorn; yet all these factors will have very important bearing upon the results of this year's tests, while, in addition, finish and appearance and general cleanliness of the motor and gear are also to be largely taken into account. The reason for introducing what may, perhaps, be called minor considerations such as these is not far to seek, nor is the fact that it is not only possible, but absolutely essential, to allow for them difficult to understand. It amounts to this, that the modern motor car has reached the standard of perfection so advanced that in order to differentiate between cars, all of a very high level of excellence, questions of convenience, comfort, and appeaTance have tobe elecideel upon with the greatest nicety.

Your modern automobilist is the most exacting person in the worlrl where his car is concerned, anel he is by no means satisfied unless to good speeil qualities, the efficiency and general reliability of mechanism, are added all the equalities which the owner of a smart horse carriage consielers essential style, appearance, anel comfort. Manufacturers have already realized this, anel during the past two years competition has been very keen among them to produce not only a thoroughly trustworthy ear so far as running qualities are concerned, but also a handsome,
comfortable, cleanly anel well-finished vehicle. It is evidence of a new stage in the progress of automobile construction, and be it said, a department of it which is in some respects quite as important as the primary considerations of engine efficiency and power, strength and rigidity of frame building and all-round reliability. Motor cars must express a certain degree of refinement and elegance as well as the predetermined degree of power. It does not, however, indicate that the automobile, whether as a pleasure ew a> onimercial vehicle, has attaineel anything like the fulness of its growth. Far otherwise, indeed; it shows merely that there is a general recognition that all branches of its development must now go hand in hanel. The touring motor ear of to-day is a conveyance so luxurious that to some it might perhaps seem that little can be done to improve it, but it may safely be asserted that its fellow of, say, a decade hence will be ten times more comfortable and commodious. Indeed, the development of the automobile for touring purposes has far exceeded the most optimistic anticipations of those who nursed English automobilisim in its early days. What its fu-ture progress will be it would be impossible to say, but to judge from the advance made during the past 7 years it will be as great as it will be beneficial in altering English commercial and social life in all its aspects


In 1904, Oscar Lear, Lee A. Frayer, and William Miller joined forces to organize the Oscar Lear Automobile Company to produce the Frayer-Miller automobile that was air-cooled and  four cylinders. Oscar Lear had previously owned the Buckeye Motor Car Company and Frayer and Miller were a team making designs for air-cooled engines. Their combining forces gave the new company the benefit of using all three talents.

When they built their six-cylinder engine model in 1906, it was billed as the first six-cylinder car to be sold in America. However, the Gasmobile had sold a six-cylinder cars in 1903.

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1905 Frayer-Miller Automobile Advertisement

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1907 Frayer-Miller Coupe Hanson Automobile

In 1907, the company moved to Springfield, OH. Passenger cars were built until the fall of 1909. The name was changed to the Buckeye National Motor Car Company   and devooted full time to building commercial trucks. Kelly MOtor Truck Company, owned by the Kelly Springfield Tire Company became the owner in 1910.


Late in 1902. William Marr got a job with Detroit automobile dealer in Detroit and with Schneider's blessing, Marr designed an experimental one-cylinder, six horse ;power runabout on a 66 in. wheel base and tested ikt for 1,000 miles. They decided to put it into production with a price tag of $600.. The Marr Auto-Car Company was formed with Fauber Manufacturing Company in Elgin IL to make 100 of them.

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1904 Marr Auto-Car Runabout Automobile

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1904 Marr Auto-Car Advertisement

While building the cars, the factory burned down in August, 1904 with fourteen Marr cars inside. The factory was not rebuilt and the exaxct number of cars that were sold is unknown,  William Marr returned to work for David Buick.

David Buick

David Dunbar Buick, inventor of porcelanizing iron and applying this method to bathtubs, sold his business and turned to making gasoline engines in 1899. He reorganized his business in 1902 to Buick Mfg. Co. Joining Buick in the business was Walter Marr and Eugene Richards. The three of them designed the valve in head engine and the first Buick car was made and tested. Supplying the money was Benjamin Briscoe who owned a sheet metal company making garbage cans. Briscoe reorganized the company into Buick Motor Company in early 1903.and all he had was a test car to show for it even though he was coninuing putting money into the business. The factory was ready but no evidence of a car was forth coming. Getting rid of his investment in the Buick Motors was a primary thing that was on his mind. He met James Whiting of Flint Wagon Works, Flint, MI, and unloaded the whole business late in the summer. Still only a prototype was to show for his money. It was not until August of 1904 that it was put into production with sixten orders for the next two months.  Whiting soon ran out of money and David Buick was still piddling and didling round with his engine and a profit was not likely to happen any time soon. In November, Whiting talked to a fellow businessman from Flint, William "Billy" Durant, co-owner of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company and a sale was made.

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Buick Test Engineer Walter Marr driving a 1904 Buick with Thomas Buick, David Buick's son as a passenger.

David Buick stayed with the company until 1908 when he went into manufacturing carburetors and eventually building, in 1921, the Lorraine Car that lasted one year and a prototype for the Dunbar Automobile that never went into production.  He died broke in 1929.

1921 Lorraine Touring Auomobile



Buick motors still used the Flint Wagon Works factory until its new factory was built in 1908. In 1910 Whiting went back to building cars under his name, the Whiting Motor Car Company in his original factory.

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1911 Whiting Touring Automobile
The company was in business from 1910-1912

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1911 Advertisement

William Crapo Durant, Billy to all of his friends was the key figure in the automobile industry from the day he entered it in 1904 until he retired in 1930. To put it simply, if one could describe it best, if the industry were a a bus, he would own the controlling interest and be the driver while the rest would be passengers going along for the ride. He was one of the best liked men in the business and he treated every one like gentlemen and they respected him.


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1902 Flint Roadster

When Alexander Brunnell Cullen ( ABC) Hardy could not convince his associates, Josiah Dort and William Durant, at the Durant-Dort Carriage Co. of Flint, MI to build cars, he went out on his own and in 1902, he organized the Flint Automobile Co. and produced one-cyclinder, 8 hp, roadster that was called the Flint Roadster. It was named the "Touring Car for Two". It was modestly priced at $850.. He built fifty-two before deciding to close down because he was not going to pay royalties for the violations of the Selden patent.  Hardy later joined Durant as an officer in his General Motors Corp,. and became one of its top leaders.

David Dunbar Durant finally acquiesced to the notion of entering into the automobile industry and he bought the Buick Mfg. Co.

1904-to Present
Buick Manufacturing Company
Flint, MI


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December 10, 1904

The Buick car, built by the Buick Motor Company, Flint, Mich., is one of the new machines put on the market during the past summer and which gives promise of enjoying wide sales in the 1905 trade because of numerous good features in Its design. The Buick Manufacturing Company, which built their first car last May, were reorganized in November, when the capital was Increased from $75,000 to $300,000, and the staff of officers also changed around. The first car built has been in constant use since July, and has proven its right to be considered one of America's well built and durable vehicles. The 1905 car is a finely finished, side entrance tonneau car, with an 86-inch wheel base and standard tread. Its power, furnished by a 20-horse power, horizontal, double opposed motor, is sufficient for ordinary touring. The bore and stroke are 43/4x5 inches, all mechanical valves are Interchangeable and the cylinder walls and heads are water jacketed. The cam shaft and gears placed in the bottom of the crank shaft run in oil. Other features of the motor Include jump spark ignition with current furnished from dry cells, sight feed oiling, specially made pistons and extra heavy steel crank shaft. A planetary gear transmission gives two forward speeds and a reverse, with direct drive on the high speed. This transmission contains but six gears, which is considered an important fact. Sight feed lubrication from crank shaft pressure supplies lubricant to the pistons, crank shaft, and motor and transmission bearings A Kingston carburetter is placed close to the motor and the water and fuel tanks occupy the space under the hood. The drive is through a single chain from a sprocket, loose on the crank shaft, to the sprocket on the spur gear differential, on the center of the rear axle. Two friction band brakes, on the differential, are foot operated. The running gear is solidly constructed and no detail is neglected in exterior finishing. The dark colored body Is striped In gold and the easy lines of it give a pleasing effect. The wheels are 30x31/2, and Hyatt roller bearings are used. The car weighs 1,650 pounds and sells for $1,000. The advantages claimed for this machine are, ease of control, one hand lever, and foot pedals being used, sight oiling to all important parts and bearings, easy riding resulting.


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1905 Buick Touring Automobile

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1905 Buick Automobile Advertisement

With Durant as the owner of the company, capitalization was increased from $75,000 to $1, 500, 000 and all stock was sold to Flint residents in one day. The Buick went into mass production in 1905 with 750 cars built with each year seeing a huge increase over the previous year. By 1908, it was the second largest selling car in the country with Ford being the largest.

Durant and John Clark, owner of the Clark Carriage Co. in Amesbury, MA, knew each other and were good friends. Every year, Durant would buy the latest models of Cark carriages to use as a model for his Dort models. He tried to convice Clark to make bodies for his Buick, but Clark, like Durant, had no use for them. In 1910, Durant came to Amesbury to talk again about his desire for Clark's help. John Clark had recently retired and his son was willing to make make bodies. Clark Carriage Co. also made bodies for Oldsmobile and Chevrolet.

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1908 Buick Touring

Over four thousand Buicks were sold during 1908 and Durant used its assests to launch his bid to buy other companies for his General Motors dream. In the latter part of 1910, he was deeply in debt and had to relinguish his control of General Motors to save it. He left General Motors in 1910 to start a new company with Louis Chevrolet, a well known race car driver. The new car would be the Chevrolet automobile. His suggestion to the bankers that Charles Nash should be promoted as president of   the Buick Company . His suggestion was accepted and in 1912, Nash became president of General Motors. Walter Chrysler beacame president of Buick at this time. Durant left General motors with the intention that he was going to regain control of General Motors.

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Louis Chevrolet Driving Buick's 1910 Bug

It was Durant who recruited Chevrolet to be Buick's race car driver and the two were very good friends. Durant's departure did not hurt Buick's sales for he left it in very good shape with dependable supervisors, Walter Marr retired in 1921.

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1911 Buick Model 33

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1914 Buick Touring

1914 saw the first six cylinder motor and it still had the overhead valves as did the original motors.The wheel based had been increased to 130 inches. Buick sales continued to skyrocket and 125.000 were sold in 1916. Through the war era, two recessions, and one depression, Buick still remained as one of  the top sellers in the country.

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1926 Buick Master Six

De Motte

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1904 De Motte Automobile Advertisement

The Demotte Motor Car Company, Valley Forge, PA, was introduced in 1904 with several model styles, including trucks and buses, with the same chassis. The normal horse power was 20 for smaller vehicles and a larger one for trucks and buses. Their slogan, "Quaker Staunchness and French Perfection", did not help it to survive the year. .


There were two companies that were building cars at the same time in Kalamazoo, MI. One was built by the Michigan Automobile Company and the other one was built by the Michigan Buggy Company.

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1903 Michigan Runabout

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1903 Michigan Automobile Advertisement

Brothers Frank and Charles Fuller, owners of Kalamazoo Mfg. Co, combined with Frank Blood and his brother, owners the Kalamazoo Cycle Company, to manufacture an automobile in 1902 and incoportated the Michigan Automobile Company. By 1904, 100 had been sold and they expanded to a light touring model. In 1905, the the Blood brothers split with the Fullers and decided to build their own cars that were the same as the Michigan models. Both groups quit the making of cars by 1908.

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1903 Blood Brothers Runabout  Automobile


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1904 Michigan Automobile Advertisement

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1905 Michigan Touring Advertisement

The Michigan  Buggy Company, Kalazamoo, built their frst car in 1904 and was offered on special orders only from 1904-1911 and was called the Kalamazooo or a Michigan. In 1911, the company was reorganized as the Michigan Motor Car Company. and began serious production. Henry Cameron, who had previously was the chief engineer at the Flanders Mfg. Co., was hired as the Michigan's chief engineer and John Campbell, a well recognized designer, was hired as the designer. The Michigan became the Mighty Michigan

The Michigan that is described below was usually called the "Mighty Michigan" to separate it from the other ones and it was built by the Michigan Buggy Company of Kalamazoo. They had built what they called a motorized buggy in 1904. that was a single-cylinder model that sold for $1450. Limited numbers of these cars were made through the years by a customer orders and was either called the Kalamazoo or Michigan .

Serious production did not get started until 1911when the name was changed to the Michigan Motor Car Company. It was called the Mighty Michigan with a 40 hp, four-cylinder engine

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1912 Mighty Michigan

1911 Michigan Automobile Advertisemement

In 1911, the company was reorganized as the Michigan Motor Car Company and over a $350,000 was provided for advertisements. The price tag for was $1,500 and slogans were touting its achievements. In 1913 the company's front office was in trouble and a few officers were wanted for fraudelant dealings. THe advertised work force of 300 employess was only on paper and  four officials were rigging the payroll for $100,000 each and yet, another one had lost most of the company's funds at the race track while another one was using the mails for fraudelant stock selling. Hugh Chalmers took some time off from building his Chalmers in Detroit to try to save the company. It went into bankruptcy and court cases lasted for two years before the factory was finally sold.


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1905 Logan Tonneau

The Logan was made in 1904 by Benjamin A. Gramm, owner of the Logan Construction Company, Chillocthe, OH. Most of them  had a 20 horsepower, either air or water-cooled, two-cylinder engines. THe Blue Streak Semi-Racer Roadster had a 20-25 horse power engine that "could out run any thing on the road" that was priced at $1,750. It was a stretch of the truth, but it was a well built car. By 1907, all of his cars were air-cooled. In 1907, the company started building trucks. They went bankrupt in 1908.

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1905 Logan Automobile Advertisement

He relocated in Bowling Green, OH, and started the Gramm-Logan Motor Car Company that built trucks until the Second World War.



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1912 Marion Bobcat Roadster

The slogan " The car that has set men to thinking" was adopted by the Marian Motor Car Company, Indianapolis, IN, in 1904. I had a   four-cylinder air-cooled engine that developed 16 horsepower. It was under capitalized at $100,000 and struggled to stay in business. In 1909, John Willys, Willys Overland company, bought controlling interest in the company. In 1912, under capitalization was solved by reorganization with a capital fund of $1,125,000 with J. I. Handly becoming president. He also owned the American Underslung.

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1905 Marion

A judgement was brought against the Marion in an attempt to block the sale. It was thrown out. He organized the Mutual Motors Corporation in 1914  and he bought the Imperial Motors Car Company, Jackson, MI. and moved both cars there The Imperial was out of business by the end of 1915.

July 20, 1916, MOTOR AGE

Two sizes will make up the line of the Mutual Motors Co., Jackson, Mich.. These cars are sold under the name of the Marion-Handley, taking the name from J. I. Handley, president of the company. The sixes are known as the 6-40 and the 6-60, and the two cars possess great similarity of design. In picking out the features of the Marion-Handley line, probably the outstanding point is the lightness in ratio to power. The smaller car has about 1 horsepower for 60 pounds' weight, and the larger car about 58 pounds per horsepower. Throughout, both cars will be seen to follow very closely the up-to-date practice of high speed motor with light semi-flexible frame construction, giving the characteristics demanded in the way of quick acceleration and economical performance. The 6-40, the smaller of the two cars, has a high-speed unit powerplant, with the 31/2 by 5-inch cylinders cast in a single block. The motor is L-head, and is rated at 45 horsepower.

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1916 Marion-Handley Automobilehe Marion was renamed the Marion-Handley.

The company struggled until 1918 when it went out of business.


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1904 Marble-Swift Runabout Automobile

The Marble-Swift Automobile Company, Chicago, IL, was established by George W. Marble and George P. Swift in 1903 to manufacture an automobile that featured their friction transmison. The transmission constisted of two large metal disks attached to short cross shafts attached to the frame, each of which carries a driving sprocket. Marble had previously made wood rims that and had sold his company to The American Bicycle Company. Their initial plan was to market the transmission but decided to make complete cars. They were two cylinders, 16 horsepower runabouts on a 83-inch wheelbase. that sold for $1,050. The 1905 model was 22 horsepower on an 83-inch wheelbase that was priced at $1,500. The Windsor automobile succeeded the Marble-Swift that year.

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1904 Marble-Swift Automobile Advertisement


J. H. Dawson Machinery Co.-The Dawson is of the light tonneau order, driven by a 15-horsepower, two-cylinder vertical motor. This has mechanically operated inlet valves placed upon the same side of the cylinders as the exhaust valves and operated by the same cam shaft. The motor is of the double-cylinder upright pattern, rated at 15 horsepower.and instead of being placed with the shaft longitudinally of the car as in ordinary construction, is placed crosswise and drives the transmission gear with a chain, the gear also being crosswise of the car. The speed changes are made through individual clutches while the reverse is through a small sliding pinion through the secondary shaft. The final drive is by chain to a live rear axle. The transmission gear, which furnishes two speeds ahead and a reverse drive, is simple and The speed changes are operated by means of a hand lever on the steering wheel pillar, while the sliding gear to give the reverse drive is brought into that driving position through a heel pedal. There is a brake on the transmission gear and one on each rear wheel. Both sets of brakes are operated by pedals.

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1904 Dawson Tonneau Automobile

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1904 Dawson Automobile Advertisement

The D. H. Dawson Machinery Company, Chicago, IL  had barely begun production before a fire destroyed the factory



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1904 Wolverine Automobile Rear Entrance Tonneau Automobile

The Reid Manfacturing Company, Detroit, MI, was in the business making many store furnishings along with its Wolverine Automobile called the "Cleverest Automobile Built". Walter Marr who had left David Buick, designed the automobile. Aftrer he designed the car, he was given a check and said that he was not needed anymore. He returned to work with his former employer. Gilbert H. Albaugh, who had bounced from several automobile companies, was brought in as the engineer. He redesigned the car from Marr's prototype. The press .praised the car. Everything was not going well within the company and Reid company was succeeded by Wolverine Automobile Company in 1905.  The company moved to Dundee, MI in 1906 and was a new name, The Wolverine Auto and Commercial Vehicle Company. The company folded immediately and the Maumee prototypr was built but was produced in Toledo, OH.

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1904 Wolverine Automobile Advertisement

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1905 Wolverine Automobile Advertisement


The Buckmobile was made from 1903-1905 by the Buckmobile Company, Utica, NY with a price tag of $1200. The wheelbase was 82 inches and had a 56-inch tread.  A wheel size of eithe 28-inch or 30-inch whells could be had. It was chain driven with a Brown-Lipe differential with a douuble acting brake. The motor was a 15 horsepower, two cylinders, and water cooled. Foward speed was controlled by a lever and the reverse used a foot pedal. The price was $1,200.

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1904 Buckmobile Automobile

The Buckmobile, known "Easy of Riding Without a Peer" car, was idea of Albert J, Seaton and was the president with  A. Veeder Brower providing the finances. The designer was William H. Birdsall, who later was to design many well known marques. Two cars a week were its original production , but with a very favorable reception at the New York Automobile Show, the company decided that mrore cars were needed. A car a day was produced, but the company over extended themselves and never recovered. In october of, 1904, the company merged with the Black Diamond Automobile Company which hd bought the former Remington company but production stopped after 40 cars were made. The company was sold at auction in 1905.

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1904 Buckmobile Advertisement

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1905 Buckmoble Automobile Advertisement


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1904 Premier Runabout Automobile

George B. Weidely built and sold a buggy powered by a water-cooled engine in 1902. The following year, with the help of Harold O. Smith, the Premier Motor Manufacturing Company was formed. The water-cooled engine had been an experimentation, and it was Weidely's belief that an air-cooled engine would be a better alternative. The Premier cars would be powered using this type of design. With capital stock of $50,000, the company began producing automobiles The engine featured overhead valves and powered the rear wheels via a sliding gear transmission and shaft drive.

In 1903, The company produced 25 vehicles and 50 in 1904. The company continued to grow and  production would rise to 250 by 1907. It used a large oak leaf on its radiator as its embem and was probably the first company to do so. 

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1904 Premier Automobile Advertisement

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1910 Premier Four Door Touring

In 1911, the company  produced a 1,000 vehicles in two model ranges, a four-cylinder powered Model 4-40, and a six-cylinder Model 6-60. Both came available in four body styles which including a Roadster, Clubman, Tourer, and a Limousine. The Model 4-40 had a wheelbase size of 126-inches while the Model 6-60 with its 60 horsepower engine and its wheelbase was 140-inches.

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1916 Premier Roadster Automobile\

The Premier company entered three racers in the Indianapolis Speedway 500 in 1914 with one finishing seventh, one broke down with a ruptured oil line, and the other one crashed.  Shirtly thereafter the company went into receivership and George Wiedely and H. O. Smith had left the company to form another company.

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William T. Patton Motor Company Advertisement featuring the Premier Automobile

(Trixie Friganza was born as Delia OCallaghan in February 29, 1870, began her career as an operetta soubrette at 16, working her way from the chorus to starring in musical comedies to having her own feature act on the vaudeville circuit. She became a movie actress in 1920 playing a quirky comdienne. She retired from the movies in 930 due to ill health and died in 1955.)

The company saw numerous changes in ownership and model names through th war and the turmoil of the early 1920's but still was viable automobile. It beacame a six-cylinder, 79 horsepower  car in 1924, but by the end of 1924 it was making only taxicabs. In 1926, it was sold to the National Taxicab Company and that company was soon out of business.


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1904 Bates Rear Entrance Tonneau Automobile

M. F. Bates, Lansing, MI, owned the the Bates and Edmonds Motor Company and had been producing high quality gasoline engines since 1889. In July, 1903, he dediced to build a complete car he incorporated his Bates Automobile company with a capital stock of $60,000. and a two-cylinder, 16 hp Bates wa production by the end of the year. He upgraded it to a three-cylinder, 18 hp in 1905. Financial trouble soon set in for the company. His "Buy your Bates and Keep Your Dates" went out of business soon thereafter.

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1904 Bates Automobile Advertisement

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1905 Bates Automobile Advertisement


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1904 Dolson Rear Entrance Tonneau Automobile

The Dolson automobile was first produced in 1904 by John L. Dolson and Sons, Charlotte, MI. as a two-cylinder, opposed, water-cooled, 15 horsepower touring model with a speed of 36 mph. Later, it was followed by a more powereful four-cylinder. The wheelbase was 82 inches with a 56-inch tread and 30-inch wooden wheels. The lever on the side was for high speed and brakes. The low speed and reverse was controlled by a foot pedal. It weighed 1600 lbs and it was priced at $1,450 with all accessories.

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1904 Dolson Automobile Advertisement

In 1906, it was reorganized with a capital fund of $300,000 and the company was renamed the Dolson Automobile Company. The Dolson was one of the best built cars on the road. It was known as the "Durable Dolson" and it was. Financial troubles set in and the company went into involuntary bankruptcy in 1907. The Dolson business was sold in 1908 with 25 cars still in production. They were completed in early 1909. The total production for the company was 700 cars.

Royal Electric Stanhope

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1904 Royal Electric Stanhope Automobile

The Royal Electric was manufactured by the Royal Automobile Company, Chicago IL. It was incorporated in 1904 by Louis Dailey, Warren Akers, and K. K. McLaren.  A gasoline model was also offered. It had a 60 inch wheel base , elliptic springs and wooden wheels. The charge would last for 75 miles. A small seat for a child was behind the dash. The price was $1800.. The gasoline car was the Royal Princess with a 16 horsepower engine and the whellbase was 82 inches. Both cars went out of production in 1905


Rodgers & Co.The Imperial is another addition to the ranks of the air-coolers. It is of the stout runabout pattern, with the chassis rigged either as a runabout, doctor's wagon or delivery wagon. The motor is a double-cylinder horizontal placed across the front under a peculiar hood. The air cooling property of the regular copper ribs is enhanced by a fan, while a ventilator on the crank case provides for the alternate drawing in and expulsion of air to cool that part of the motor. The transmission is by sliding gears and propellor shaft, with bevel gear final drive. The springs are long, the makers, as old carriage builders, having been consistent to their trade in building for comfort as well as efficiency. The car is equipped with 30-inch Midgley wheels.

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1904 Rodgers Imperial Automobile


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1904 Rodgers Imperial Automobile Runabout

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1904 Rodgers Imperial Coupe Automobile

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1904 Imperial Atomobile Advertisement

It was manufactured by the carriage making firm of Rodgers and Company, Columbus, OH. T. W. Pickard, supertendent, designed the car and named it the Imperial. Of the four announced models that were initially offered, only three were made. They were the runabout, coupe, and  a delivery wagon. Production was discontinued in 1905.


Santos Dumont

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1904 Santos Dumont Automobile

The Santos Dumont, named after the fanous French racer, was the idea of Charles W. Groff and Frank Runken. They had been experimenting with automobiles as early as 1899. Originally, they were going to use their company's name, but decided to use Columbus Motor Vehicle Company, located at Columbus, OH.  The prototype was finished by late 1901 and was produced one year later. It was a four-passenger tonneaau with a 12-horsepower water-cooled engine that was mounted under the seat. It was priced at $1,500.  A single-cylinder, 9-horsepower runabout was also made in 1903 that cost   $1,250.  Financial trouble set in and the company was reorganized with a capital stock of $100,000 and William Frisbe was named president. The car was redesigned for 1904. Its  four-cylinder, 20-horsepower,  air-cooled engine was now under a hood and the tonneau held five pasengers. The price was now $2,000.and the name was changed to Dumont. In 1904, Frisbe was deep in debt and the company went into bankruptcy. Reorganization was attempted, but did not succeed.

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1904 Dumont Automobile Advertisemnt


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1904 Niagra Automobile

The Niagra was made by the Wilson Automobile Manufacturing Company in Wilson, NY from 1903 to 1905. A special feature of this car was the the transmision, differential, and brake were in one piece mounted in the center of the rear axle.The wheel base was 72 inches with a tread of 56 inches with 30-inch wooden wheels and 3-inch tires. The 7-horsepower, 30 mph, single-cylinder engine  was water cooled. The two-speed control lever was on the steering column and the reverse was controlled by a foot lever. The engine was started from the front seat. The weight was 1100 lbs and the price without top $850. The top was $50 extra. The company was sold in 1905 to the LaSalle-Niagra Automobile Company  made the LaSalle- Niagra.

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1904 Niagra Automobile Advertisement


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1904 Taunton Automobile

The 1904 Taunton automobile was manufactured in the Taunton Motor Carriage Company, Taunton, MA. It had a single-cylinder, 7 horsepower, upright water-cooled, De Dion engine. The transmision was a three- speed planetary with a bevel gear drive. A folding front seat that held two passengers. The speed change gears were controlled by foot levers as well as the emergency brake. 28-inch tubular or wire wheels with 3-inch tires could be ordered. In 1905 the company decided to concentrater on motors for bicycles and boats.


The Mercury was built by the Mercury Machine Co, Philadelphia it fiirst saw production in 1903. It had seven horsepower, vertical, water-cooled engine with a three-speed sliding gear transmission with a cone clutch.and shaft drive. The wheel base was 78 inches with a 48 inch tread. The wheels were 28 inches and 3- inch diamond clincher tires Thhe weight was 1250 lbs and with a tonneau, the price was $1,025 and without, it was $925.

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For the quality and price, it was a good little car, but under capitalization caused it to cease production in 1904.


Geneva Steamer

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1904 Geneva Steam Automobile

The Geneva Automobile Manufacturing Company, Genevea, OH, made the steamer from 1901 to 1904. The engine was a two-cylinder that was connected directly to the differential by a spur gear. The twenty-inch boiler held enough water for a hundred miles. 30 of its cars were sold in the first six months. Addition fininancing was sought and promised, but never came through. The company was sold in 1904 with no more than 30 cars made each year.

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1901 Geneva Automobile Advertisement


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1904 Ottokar Automobile

Otto Konigslow, Cleveland, OH, advertised himself as a builder of automobiles in 1902. Claiming his eperttise as a builder of over 10,000 bicycles, and had been experimenting with automobiles for several years. No one had any knowledge that he had done so. His new model was called the Ottokar and was manufactured by his Otto Konigslow Machine Cmpany. Its wheelbase was 78 inches with a standard tread, 28-inch artillery wheels and had a single chain drive. Its engine was a single-cylinder   water-cooled  locatedin the center of the car. The transmission was of the three-speed plantery type with the usual lever and foot pedal controls. His first year produced 15 cars and 50 more were made in 1903. The weight was 1150 lbs and the price was $850, including the accessories.. His sales were lackluster in 1904 with only ten sales. He sold his company in 1904.


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1904 Haase Automobile

The Northwestern Furniture Company, Milawaukee, WI, built two experimental cars and entered them into Labor Day parade to measure their reception. The reception went well and a decision was made to begin production in their Northwestern Automobile Company. . They were named after the company president. They had a 72-inch wheelbase with a standard track, 30-inch tires with a spur differential, hand brake, and lever steering. The engine was 6 horsepower, two cylinders, and was water cooled. THe speed was 25-30 mph and the weight was 1250 lbs with a price tag of $600.


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1904 Seabury Five-Pasenger Tonneau Automobile

Following the purchase of the Howard Motor Car Company by Charles Seabury, the Seabury was the former Howard and the largest model that was continued in November, 1904-1905. Its engine remained at 24 horse power with  a 105-inch wheelbase. It was designed by Budd Gray a mechanical engineer who had done work previously for the LaFrance Fire Engine Company. At  the same, time, Seabury had him design a new model called the Speedway. The Seabury model was halted in early 1905 and a little later, so was the Speedway.


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