History of Early American Automobile Industry

Chapter 11

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Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3


John Lambert, owner of a lumber yard, grain elevator, and hardware store in Ohio City, Ohio,   made what is recognized as the first gasoline model automobile in this country in 1890. He tested it for some time before he had made sales brochures in 1891 showing it with a price tag of $550. With no sales forth coming, he decided to build stationary gasoline engines at his Buckeye Mfg. Company Co. in Anderson, IN.

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John Lamberts 1891 Buckeye Gasoline Buggy, Actual Photograph

Once again in 1895, he announced that he was entering into production of his 1891 model, but he never did. He devised a friction transmisssion that he used in all of his cars. His next car was a four wheel model in 1898, but he did not put it into production.

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1902 Union Runabout

However,   in 1902, he introduced his Union automobile that was made in Union City, IN. Most of the components were made in his Buckeye factory in Anderson and in 1905, he moved his production to Anderson.  The 1905 models were renamed to Lambert.

The pictures below were cut from the 1905 September Horseless Age Magazine

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1906 Lambert Touring

The 1906 Lambert models were totally redesigned.

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1906 Lambert Runabout

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1906 Lambert Delivery Wagon


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1906 Lambert Automobile Advertisement

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1910 Lambert Touring

From 1906 through 1915, the company made an average of two hundred a year. In 1916, the number dropped to one hundred and in 1917, the company entered the war effort and never made any cars after that.


Some Shadows in This Picture.

Editor Horseless Age: October 1903

An automobile is not only an attractive but a very interesting machine, and many of the advertisements are extremely fascinating and alluring. The uninitiated might be led to believe that all that is required is to sit on the seat, move a lever, and away she goes, up any hill, through any amount of mud, or sand, that all roads are alike, that it is a simple proposition, and "a child can run it," all at a cost of less than 2 cents a mile, etc. Nothing could be more misleading and such advertisements are false. I purchased a machine with a similar ad., describing the roads over which I wished to run, and was assured I could do so with little or no trouble. After becoming familiar with the machine around home I undertook a trip of 45 miles, my wife accompanying me, and let me say right here but for her and my early education there would still be echoes of profanity along that road. The machine was advertised to weigh less than 600 pounds, and strong enough to carry a ton. To my great surprise I found that it weighed 860 pounds instead, and yet the frame broke under the immense strain of two persons of medium weight. The slender speed wire broke. The spiral connection to the circulating pump broke, allowing the water to become overheated. The rubber gasket gave out and water leaked into the cylinder. The utterly worthless gears stripped while ascending a hill on my return after making the other repairs, and left me again, and yet no outward profanity. I have had all of these radical defects repaired, and occasionally make short trips, feeling quite confident of reaching home the same day, and without a rope, although there are many other things to annoyignition plug, gasoline flow, muffler, tires, etc. These troubles are all liable to and do occur with the most expert driver. The machine was carefully handled, well oiled, and in no single instance will I shoulder the blame. My advice to would be purchasers is to think twice before purchasing, look into the matter most thoroughly. ReadThe HorseLess Age and get posted. Try and get if possible as much of a guarantee with a horseless wagon, representing hundreds of dollars, as you would were you to purchase a cheap horse wagon, costing $50 to $100. Out of it all there is fun to be had. and I am getting my share.

From the first part of the new century, there were many companies fighting the Electric Vehicle Patent on the Selden Vehicles. There were several judgements against the companies that refused to pay. The fee was five percent on every vehicle sold and that was that.William Whitney, the owner of the patent wanted to beat the companies into submission.

George Day, Whitney's President, was in favor of an organization of dealers to get together in order to protect the patent. "The worthiness of the industry would be protected and keep the wastrels out."  This idea went over very well with the group, but a settlement on the fees had to be dealt with. Day arranged a meeting between the dealers and Whiney at his $2,000,000 house in New York City. By seeing his house, the dealers would be scared to go up against him. This group was the Manufacturers Mutual Asociation and the companies involved in were Oldsmobile, Packard, Locomobile, Haynes and Apperson, Autocar, Searchmont, Knox, Pierce, and Peerless. The Winton company was left out because it was known that it was secretly bargaining with Whitney and did not want their demands to be known.

Day knew before the meeting that the group had met with Winton and if Whitney refused they would put up a unified front against the patent.

Before the meeting, each member was given a card to read his answer when they met with Whitney. They read their list of demands that they wanted as a group and when each member was questioned by Whitney's laywer, each one gave the same response. Whitney knew that he had lost and setlled with their demands. This happened about the time that Whitney's taxi empire had completely collapsed and most of the district branches had declared bankruptcy.

On March 3, 1903, the Association of Licensed Automotive Manufacturers, A.L.A.M, was formed. George Day was elected as the General Manager. Now the adversaries were the managers and would set the fees and vote on each applicant who wanted to join. The first members belonged to the Manufacaturers Mutual Association and the Electrical Vehicle Co. that had just  made a gasoline automobile. Winton would only join if all of his fees that he had paid for lawyers would be rebated by the Electrical Vehicle Company. Whitney agreed and victory was declared.

Advertisements appeared in all major newspapers announcing that only A.L.A.M. licensed manufacturers were authorized to build or sell gasoline cars. Any others would be liable for paent infringement. By early summer seventeen more members were invied to join. The list included Pope, Duryea, Cadillac, Northern, Franklin, E.R. Thomas, U.S. Long Distance, commercial, Yale, Toledo, Elmore,Waltham, and Smith & Mabley.

Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company

Ah, what about Ford who was in the act of starting  his new company Ford and Malcomsom LTD?  Ford put in an application to join, but was flatly refused for he was not dependable and he had failed with two previous companies. They more or less dismissed him as a nuisance.

Ford decided to build his cars without their permission. Jeffery with his Rambler company was also doing the same. Rather than fight Jeffery, they chose to take on a weaker opponent who was Henry Ford.

It seems that at the turn of the century, Henry Ford was a complete failure in the automobile industry. When his Detroit Vehicle Co. went out of business in 1900, some of his backers still believed in him, one being William Murphy, the richest man in Detroit, persuaded him to reorganize under the Henry Ford Co. Ford was the chief engineer with Murphy the president. Ford's salary was  $50.00 a week. However, Ford became enthrolled with racing and turned to concentrate on building racing cars.This did not sit well with the board because their money was supposed to be used in  building family cars.

Ford told his brother that the company will kick me out about me followng racing, but they will get the advertising and I can make money at racing and not manufacturing. Unable to deal with Ford, he was fired from the company in early 1902. Two race cars, but not one automobile, It was decided to take what they could get from the all the inventory that they still owned and they enlisted the services of Henry Leland, one of most knowledge men in the trade, to disperse the material.

Ford found a new backer, Tom Cooper, a renouned bicycle racer with a sizeable bank account. Cooper had met Ford at the Grossepoint track and made a couple of laps to advise him about the conditions. Enough money was given to Ford to build two racers, one apiece. Coming to work with Ford was Harold Wills who had worked with Ford at the Henry Ford Co. He would help for ten percent of the profits. He and Ford became fast friends and worked day and night in an unheated garage drawing blue prints for his racer. This was the same Harold Wills who in 1918 decided to take his ten percent of the profits that he had been earning and build his own car. His share was $21,000,000 and his new car was the Wills St. Claire, one of the finest made in the 1920's.

During the summer, Cooper lost faith in Ford and gave up. Ford by now was focused on the profits that he could make at racing to build his own car company. Now he had lost two backers, but he was not about to give up. His new backer was a rich coal merchant named Alexander Malcomson. Malcomson advanced him $3,500 as startup funds. The money was a modest amount, but Malcomson wanted the partnership to remain a secret for he did not want his bankers to know about his dealings with a two-time loser. A separate account was set up with   Malcomson's office manager, James Couzens to handle all accounts and keeping a sharp eye on Ford.

The garage became a production studio and a competition shop. The race cars were finished first with one named the Arrow and the other 999. They were identical with four cylinders and all mechanical features exposed and used a tiller for steering. for safety reasons. It had one seat because Ford didn't want to risk two lives. Ford gave his machine a test drive that September and he said laer that driving the beast was not only a dirty job but also terrifying and he would rather have gone over the Niagara Falls in a barrell.

The Grossepoint race was near and a young man who loved speed and danger was hired to be the driver. His name was Barney Oldfield. He knew that his only competition would be the Winton Racer. He said before his ride that it may be his death. He won the race with ease.

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Ford's 999 Racer

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Winton's Bullet

Before the race, Ford got nervous for he was afraid that failure would hamper his new car production, so he sold both racers to Tom Cooper. Ford would say that the cars were Cooper's, but he had designed them.

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Ford Motor Company

In November of 1902, Ford and Alexander Malconson established the Ford and Malcomsom Company, LTD. Malcomson found in Detroit a former wagon factory that they could use as an assembling plant for all parts needed. John and Horace Dodge, who were at the time making transmissions for the Olds company was contacted and decided to join with Ford. Tthe brothers like risks and believed that Ford would be much better in the long run. Two years earlier, they were dead broke and now all of their funds were tied up in their machine shop. They arranged a contract with Ford to build 250 chassis with wheels at $250 each. Ford advanced them $5000. for startup with an additional $5,000 in Ford stock on delivery of the first chassis.

In June of 1903, the  Ford Mobile Company became the Ford Motor Company, but no cars had been built. July saw the first Ford Model A's loaded on freight cars and in fifteen months 1700 had been built. None of these were recognized under  A.L.A.M's license for Ford had elected to fight.

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1903 Ford Model A

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1903 Ford Advertisement

The advertisement claims that Mr. Ford was the third one to build an automobile in America and the first one in Detroit. Both of these were false, but it did send a defiant message to A.L.A.M.  He fought them until A.L.A.M was disolved in 1912 and he never paid a dime.

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1904 Ford Advertisement

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1905 Ford Model F

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1907 Ford Model K

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1905 Ford Advertisement

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1905 Ford Racing Machine with Ford at the Wheel

The 1905 Model N had a price tag of $500 and was cheaper than the curved-dash Oldsmobile. 1906 saw a production of over 8,000 cars.

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1906 Ford 6-clyinder Runabout


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1906 Ford Advertisement

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1906 Appreciation Letter for Support

1906 saw the breakup with his partner, Malcomson, who was his benefactor in his racing days. Malcomsom wanted to make high-end cars that commanded much higher prices and were poor sellers. Ford wanted to make his less expensive ones that were the profit makers. Ford had already established the Ford Mfg. Co. to build engines and running gears that had been purchased from the Dodge Brothers. He and Malcomson had a falling out in November of 1905 and Ford made up his mind that Malcomsonn must leave. There were many bitter arguments between the two and Malcomson asked for his share of the profits. Ford paid him $175,000 which Malcomson used to start another car company, the Aerocar.

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1906 Aerocar Touring

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1906 Advertisement

The Board of Governors for the Ford Motor, Company was furious, and demanded that he had to go. Malcomson refused and it took seven months before he left. Now the Ford Motor Company belonged to Ford and he could now make his car for "the mass of milions".

His other problem was his trouble with A.L.A.M. and its Selden Patent. It had been a thorn in his side from the day that he reentered the business. Ford proved to them that he was serious about building automobiles and that he was determined to fight the organization.There were letters with threats sent back an forth between the two but no court action was taken. It usually took five years and a lot of traveling for each's lawyers to settle a patent dispute. A.L.A.M. would go after a small company that could not pay the legal fees to go to court and scare it to pay.

This article was written in the May, 24th, 1906 Automobile Magazine
It is copied verbetim


It was a formidable array of legal talent, famous in the annals of patent litigation and fortified with the knowledge begot of wide experience, that gathered at the garage of the Decauville Automobile Company, Broadway and Fifty-sixth street, New York City, at high noon, Saturday, May 19. The meeting was arranged by counsel for the opposing sides in the suits now pending involving the Selden patent, the purpose being the examination of the original Selden motor and observation of its operation. George B. Selden, the patentee, accompanied by his sons, Henry R. and George B. Selden, Jr., were present, together with personal counsel, the Hon. George Raines of Rochester, and the A. L. A. M. was represented by W. A. Redding and Samuel R. Belts as counsel, S. T. Fisher, ex-assistant Commissioner of Patents, and H. F. Cunz. The defendant Ford interests were represented by R. A. Parker of Detroit as counsel, who was accompanied by Prof. Carpenter of Cornell University and Jesse Smith of New York, as experts.

The car was operated by the younger Seldens, and all interested parties so desiring were given a ride around the garage floor. The body and wheels of the car are new fittings, but the motor was made in 1877. Patent was not applied for by Mr. Selden until 1879, and same was not granted by the Patent Office until 1895. As a patent has 17 years to run, its limitation is six years hence, in 1912. The Selden car complete weighs 700 pounds, is four feet between wheels, which are 32- and 38-inch front and rear respectively. The motor is of the two-cylinder type, having three horizontal cylinders, with independent compression, and capable of a varying speed of from 100 to so revolutions per minute. The present ignition is jump spark.

Owing to the vast and varied interests involved in the present litigation, the demonstration by the original motor was one of particular interest. It was a part of the regular accumulation of evidence which is being taken before U. S. Commissioner John A. Shields, and which will be presented by him to the United States Court in October for a finding. Not until then will be learned what all the students of the Selden auto thought of its operation. The representatives of the opposition were not inclined to express an opinion on the matter last Saturday.

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George B. Selden, the inventor, Is the man with the gray moustache standing partly to the rear of the body of the car. He can be distinguished by the watch chain on his vest. Henry R. Selden is at the wheel, and W. A. Redding and H. F. Cunz are at the right of the picture. The Hon. George Raines is behind the steering wheel, only his straw hat showing.

In 1908, he had achieved his dream. The car that he had always wanted was now a reality

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Copied and Edited from the 1907 September Issue of the Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal
The New Model T Ford Touring Car

The latest sensation in automobile circles is the placing of a 20 H. P. 4-cylinder touring car on the market by the Ford Motor Co., of Detroit, at the very unusual price of $850. This new machine is unique in many of its constructions. A good hill climber and suitable for all-around touring purposes. It is spoken of as a four-passenger touring car, altho there is ample room on the rear seat to accommodate three persons. The body is of the straight line touring car type.This machine contains a 4-cylinder engine. 3 1/2 x4 Inches. 20 H. P . with all four cylinders being cast in one piece. Shaft drive is used to the bevel gear rear axle of life type.  The control Is at the left, a special and peculiar rear spring construction. Also, an unique magneto arrangement of the Ford design Is embodied In the flywheel construction, as described In the text. The price complete  $850; weight 1200 pounds. In a general way, It may be stated that the car is of light weight, has a very compact power plant, the four-cylinder engine being cast in one piece. Unit power plant construction Is used and is mounted on three points, giving flexibility. The first of these models has been on the road undergoing the most severe testing for nearly a year and has shown itself to possibly reach either the car body or occupants.

This motor consists of three parts, an oil pan of pressed steel extended at the rear to form the flywheel and transmission housing, a center section consisting of the upper half of the crank case and all four cylinders cast in one piece., even Including the two-to-one gear housing and the upper piece, which forms the head of all four cylinder! and liretalned In position by twelve nuts. This power unit is supported at three points. There are many peculiarities in construction, as described In the text. entirely original Ford features. The steering and control are on the left side. This has been done for obvious reasons, as nearly every advantage is to be gained by left side controlwhen conforming to the road regulations of this country, and right hand con trol has been more a matter of blind copying from European practice where our road conditions are reversed, than from any actual existing requirements.

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1908 Ford Model T

In 1909, six years from the date of the patent lawsuit was filed, it was finally brough to trial. Trial was being held on June 1st in New York City. The New York to Seattle Pan American Race was being held the very same date a short distance from the courthouse. The trial was delayed so everyone could see the start of the race. Ford's lawyer turned to the judge and asked him if in all the cars that were parked there, did he see a Selden automobile. The judge laughed and said no. Every car maker in the country thought that the suit would be invalid and Ford would win. The judge said that he would study all evidence and give his ruling later. Ford left immediately for Seattle to see his car cross the finish line first on June 23rd. He was one happy man.

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1906 Shawmut Touring at the beginning of the race

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1906 Shawmut Touring at the end of the race

His verdict was reached on November 5th in favor of the Selden patent. Ironically, it was the same date that after a long investigation into the race after the Shawmut crew filed charges against Ford for an engine change in Rawlings, WY that was illegal. The Shawmut car was declared the winner and the Guggenheim Cup and prize money was given to the Shawmut Automobile Co., Stoneham, MA. Ford was devasted about the two verdicts. The automobile manufacturers were shocked and a great number hastened to join A.L.A.M and pay all back dues. Ford went to see his old friend Edison for advise and Edison told him to appeal and he did. Jeffrey gave him $25,000 to help in the appeal. In 1911, when the appeal was to be heard, the Trust that held the Selden patent did not contest the appeal and gave Ford the victory that he had fought for eight years.

Most of the original founders of A.L.A.M. had long since gone bankrupt.

By now, almost all the manufacturers were using Oldsmobile's method of the production line. The Oldsmobile was to have stations along the way and have trained workers put on the proper parts as the running gear was pushed along. It was called the first production line in the industry. It was the same method used by the carriage makers in Amesbury, MA had been using since 1853. In 1894, Currier, Cameron, & Co. Carriage Co. used it when they assembled the 1898 Duryea automobile bodies.

Henry Ford had a sharp eye for business. In 1913,  the turn over rate for employees was enoromous. it was the practice for companies to have three trained workers for each job on the assembly line. If a worker quit, another one was ready to take his place and the line kept moving. He decided that if he were to give them a raise from $3.00 per day to $5.00 per day that very few workers would quit and would be dropping the $9.00 a day to $5.00.


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1914 Model T Automobile Advertisement

Also, Ford had his engineer to study a way to have his production line move faster. After several months, the idea was to have a long belt on rollers to move the cars. This was the first moving assembly line in the world and now Ford controlled production of automobiles.The prices of his cars dropped drastically from year to year as the assembly line was improved. Ford's statement that any color could be had if it is black is because black paint dried quicker, but special colors could be ordered  for a few extra dollars.

There were very few changes in the Model T over the next fifteen years. After the First World War, Ford retired and placed his son Edsel in charge. When Ford bought out his Wills and Dodge Brothers shares in 1918, he was the sole owner. Even though Ford was the top seller, Edsel saw some competition making inroads into its sales. He wanted to make changes to keep pace with his competition. At first his father objected, but in 1928, the Model A ford was ready for sale. A completely new car and a safe future for the Ford company was secured.

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1915 Ford Touring

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1923 Ford Touring

From 1915-1923 Amesbury Speciality Co., Amesbury, MA bodies for Ford Motor Co.

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1928 Ford Model A coupe
Tin Lizzie had become a lady

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Tin Lizzie Song Book


However, There is a lot more about his company that is interwoven with other automobiles discussed in detail in chapters with years from 1918 to 1921.


When Henry Leland was doing the inventory for the defunct Henry Ford  Company, he concluded that there were enough parts available and with his engines several complete cars could be built. William Murphy agreed to Leland's ideas and made him the chief engineer and his son his assistant. The name of the company would be named after the French explorer, Cadillac, who had discovered Detroit. The first car was put into production on October 2nd 1902 with Ford's parts and Leland"s engine. It was an immediate success and was one of the top five sellers from the very beginning of its production. Leland owned a machine shop with Robert Faulconer that made steam and gasoline engines but they began supplying Cadillac with engines, transmisions, and steering gears.

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1902-03 CadillacTonneau

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1902 Cadillac advertisement for the 1903 model that was shown at the 1903 New York Automobile Show

In 1905. Murphy called Leland into his office and demmanded that he take charge of the company or he would close it down. He said that it was being run by a bunch of investors who had no idea of what they were doing. Although he did not want the job, he took the manager's position with his son as an assistant treasurer.  The Leland and Faulconer Co. became a part of Cadillac. The 1905 model still used the 10 HP single-cylinder engine as the 1902 model had. Pence Automobile Company in Minneapolis, MN, who was the largest Cadillac dealership in the country with twenty-five percent of the sales asked Leland to change to higher powered two-cylinder engine, but Leland refused and Pence dropped the Cadillac delearship and changed to Buick.

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1905 Cadillac Model E

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1906 Cadillac Advertisement

By 1909, Durant had bought the Oldsmobile Co. and Oakland Automobile Co, Pontiac, MI and was in serious negotations with Ford to purchase his company. Having Ford as a GM company would make GM the best selling company in the world. A price of $6,000,000 in gold had been agreed to and when Durant went to the bank to get a loan, the bank turned him down. Durant knew that he was not going to be able to buy the Ford Automobile Co. so he went after Cadillac, the next best seller. After several months of bargaining with Henry Leland, a deal was settled with Leland for $5,500,000 Leland being given permission to keep complete control of the Cadillac Co.

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1912 Cadillac Model 30

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1915 Cadillac 8 Automobile Advertisement

In 1914, Leland had a dispute with General Motors board and left the company to form the Lincoln Motor Company to build aircraft engines.. According to Durant, who had retaken control of General Motors, he got too big for his britches, and was fired..There were several changes in the Cadillac leadership over the next decade, but the quality of the car was never questioned and still is a top seller today.


Studebaker was a well known carriage company in South Bend, IN, for a good many years and was not too eager to join the automobile business. They built an electric car in 1898 and also built some bodies for a few car companies, but it was not until 1902, that John M. Studebaker's son-in-law persuaded the carriage company to enter automobile manufacturing. It was an electric that was designed by Thomas Edison.

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1902 Studebaker Electric Runabout

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1902 Studebaker Advertisement

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1903 Studebaker Advertisement

Gasoline models were not considered until they bought out the defunct General Automobile Co. in Cleveland, OH in 1904.

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1903 General Runabout


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1903 General Runabout Advertisement


1905 Studebaker Gasoline Model Side Entrance Tonneau

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1908 Studebaker Touring 
These two models were originally named Garfield-Studebakers.

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1905 Advertisement

Their first gasoline model was  two-cylinder model with a side entrance tonneau. Production of the electric models continued in small numbers until 1912. The chassis for the gasoline models were supplied by the Garford Company of Elmira, OH and continued exclusively until 1908. From 1908 until 1912, they were a secondary source of supply. 

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1907 Studebaker Touring Automobile

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1908 Studebaker Electric Victoria Phaeton Automobile

That year, Studebaker began an association With Everitt, Metzer. and Flanders with Studebaker selling the E-M-F automobile through their dealerships.

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1909 E.M.F. Touring

The E.M.F. had so many mechanical faults that Studebaker took over the company in 1910 and spent a milion dollars to satisfy customers complaints. The partners soon broke up and started their own companies. Studebaker disolved the company in 1913.

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1910 Everitt Advrtisement

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1910 Advertisement

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1910 Studebaker "Emperor William" Touring Car

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1910 Studebaker Delivery Wagon

Copied from the September issue of the 1912 Motor Wholesale Magazine


Departs from Cash Basis and Will Accept NotesProtected by Leases and InsuranceConflicting Opinions.

Undoubtedly few occurrences of recent years have caused more perturbation and excited more variegated comment within the industry than the announcement made late last week by the Studebaker Corporation that henceforth it would accept notes from responsible buyers in payment for its E-M-F and Flanders cars.

While "selling on consignment" to agents has been by no means rare, the action of the Studebakers marked the first departure from the cash basis on which the automobile business has been conducted almost from its inception. There are those who have believed that ultimately something of the sort would come to pass but the nature of the automobile and the amount represented by each sale make the risk so great that none cared to hasten the day or looked forward to it with equanimity.

The reasons for the radical move on the part of the Studebaker Corporation were thus summarized by its general manager, Walter E. Flanders: "We have in view the future rather than the immediate present, and with the object of expanding and at the same time placing our business on as solid a foundation as others, we simply have adopted the credit method which, more than any other factor, has been responsible for the success of such concerns as the International Harvester, the .Rock Island Plow, the Studebaker Wagon, the Singer Sewing Machine and other concerns whose market is worldwide. We have considered the advent of the credit in this business as inevitable and our move is but the consummation of a plan long since laid."

On Tuesday last an official of the Studebaker Corporation stated that the stimulating effects of the announcement had been felt almost immediately. In many cases," he added, "dealers have reported that their local banks discounted the buyers' notes, so that the paper will not reach us at all. But we are not doing an instalment business," he continued, "and if the Motor World will assist in counteracting that impression it will perform a service for the industry. We simply are extending creditextending the same form of accommodation that prevails in nearly all other businesses. But by no means are we throwing the door wide open to anyone who is able to attach his signature to a note and cares to do so. We merely are making it possible for those who are financially responsible to purchase an automobile and in a sense permitting them to use it while paying for it"

The Studebaker plan includes the execution of a lease when a sale is effected and a car delivered, the dealers being supplied with blank leases drawn in accordance with the laws of their respective States. No fixed first payment or percentage of the purchase price is required.

"It all depends on the circumstances and the character of the buyer," skid the Studebaker official, in reply to the Motor World's question on this point. "In most cases we believe we can obtain from one-half to three-quarters down. When we get at least one-half, the car immediately is insured in favor of the Studebaker Corporation or of the dealer making the sale. We do not anticipate that many of the notes will run for a longer period than six months."

Opinions expressed by two "high-up" men, who were members of a trade group that discussed the Studebaker departure, best serve to show the views that are held. "There are only about three businesses in which 'cash on the nail' has been the rule, and the automobile business is one of them," said the first man. "It is hardly supposable that it could last for all time and it was inevitable that some day we must break away from it. There will be no general breaking away for quite awhile yet, but we may as well iook facts in the face and though it will require big money to swing it and the risks will be great, if we must do it we simply must set about making arrangements to that end."

The other member of the party was not quite so philosophical. "It is well enough to talk about wagons and bicycles, plows and sewing machines," he remarked, "but in no respect are they comparable with automobiles. The difference in their cost and the character of their use is too great to place them in the same class. We all know what trifles often cause buyers to dispute their bargains, so what will be the position of manufacturers or dealers, if, by the credit system, purchasers are placed in position to repent of their bargains or throw their cars back on our hands after having taken up a few notes. We would either have to carry an army of lawyers or go into the used-car business."

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1913 Studebaker Closed Car Coupe

Studebaker also marketed the Flanders car through 1912. However, Garfield started marketing its model at this time, but without the help of the Studebaker dealerships, it soon folded.

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1912 Garfield Six-Fifty Model

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1911 Studebaker Advertisement

The name was changed to the Studebaker Corporation and all the models bore the Studebaker name. Fred Fish who had been president from the beginning retired and Carl Erskine took over. One of its three engineers that were employed by the corporation was Carl Breers who had made a steam automobile in 1901 in his father's basement when he was eighteen years old.


1901 Breer Steam Runabout

With the big sixes post war models, the Lights, the Special, and Big Six,  that these three men produced made the Studebaker name famous. The three engineers left shortly after these came out and did consulting work.  When four wheel brakes came out in 1923, Studebaker declared them to be dangerous. However,  in 1926, they were installed. That same year, the 1926 Erskine Studebaker model appeared which was supposed to be a Eurpean style car in the lower price range

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1928 Erskine Model 51 F Sedan

His management team did not like the idea and they were let go for managers who did agree with Erskine.

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1926 Studebaker President Model

This model was used to the early part of 1930's. The corporation closed down in 1963.




Brothes Frank and Morris Eckhart made theit first car in 1900 that was a single-cylinder, tiller steered and started their Automobile Company in Auburn, IN.   The company was capitalized at $2,500. The car was priced at $800. which was well above other models at the time. They continued experimenting for two years. In 1903, the brothers started manufacturing in earnest. It was basically the same car, but now it had pneumatic tires.

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1903 Auburn Runabout

Shortly after the Chicago Automobile Show in 1903, the company started manufacturing in earnest.

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1904 Auburn Tonneau

The car remained the same chained-drive, but it had pneumatic tires and tonneau and  touring variations. The 1905 models had a two-cylinder touring. 

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1909 Auburn Model G Touring

The 1909 model was fitted with a four cylinder. From there, until 1919, the company plodded along making no significant chassis changes and they looked like most of the other automobiles of the period. There sales never set and records and at best was just enought to keep them afloat. The same officers  of the company had been there from the very beginning and they were not very good. 

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1909 Auburn Advertisement

1911 Auburn by sjb4photos-catching up.

1911 Auburn Tourning

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1919 American Beauty Six Coupe

The Eckharts gave up in 1919 and sold controlling interest to William Wrigley, th chewing gum king. The immediate change was a new six-cylinder model was introduced called the American Beauty Six. It ran into the post war recession and only sold 15,000 cars in the next four years. By 1924, only six cars a day were being built and those were slow sellers. Hundreds of unsold cars were in the company's yards the day the day that a super salesman named Errett Cord, who at one time was the sales manager for the Moon Automobile Company, came to visit to see what he could do. After looking over the huge stockpile of black cars, he advised them to repaint everyone into brighter colors. With an energetic sales campaign, the cars began to sell.

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1920 American Beauty Automobile

1925 Auburn Advertisement

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1926 Auburn American Beauty

They offered him the general managers position and he said that he would take it if when the company began to make a profit, he could buy the company. The board agreed and in 1926, he owned the company. He also bought the Duesenberg Motors Company and introduced his new line of Cord Automobiles.

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1928 Boattail Speedster

He brought in young talented designers with new ideas. The 1928 models were introduced with a bigger more powerful engine that could challenge any make of automobiles in its price range.  Due to the depression in 1929, Auburn sales    were down, but they had a thousand dealerships and in 1930 sales rebounded and eventually a thousand more were added.


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