Early American Automobiles
Amesbury, Massachusetts Body Builders

The most definitive history of automobiles and bodies built in Amesbury with photos and a short history each builder

From 1895 to 1932, Amesbury had the most body manufacturers than any city in America. The quantity and quality was recognized world wide, just as their carriage building. Frank and Charles Duryea of Chicopee, MA are recognized as making the first successful gasoline driven automobile in the United States in 1893. In 1895, they were ready to place their car into production. They called on an old friend John Currier, a partner of Currier, Cameron, & Co. Carriage Company to build the bodies for the first production car in America. Currier, Cameron, & Co. continued building Duryea bodies throughout their existence. In the meantime, they also built some Duryea chaisses.

From 1896 to 1912, Currier, Cameron, & Co. Carriage Company made bodies for more automobiles than any other body maker in the world, including Fisher Body of Detroit. A very big statement for such a small company. At least seventy-five were counted during the research for this web site.

This was the beginning of the body building industry in Amesbury that lasted until 1932 when Walker had to stop making bodies for the Franklin automobile. During this time, there were at least thirty Amesbury manufacturers who were making bodies and at least twenty companies that were making parts.

Not until the early 1920's, the body builder was able to have the name on the body of the automobile. Not until 1923 would Hudson Automobile Company reveal that Biddle and Smart made their bodies and then after being questioned from their dealers. This being the case, unless records were kept by the builder, there was no way one would be able to identify the body builder. There were a very few exceptions to this. A lot of research that has been done to publish this page came from such company records published in books and on the internet. There was tremendous amount of information that has been gathered that had never been recorded anywhere. Luckily, after spending one year and going through thousands of web sites, reading hundreds of digitized automobile related material, some several times, and following every lead that was available was this information put together. Every bit has been carefully verified before being written. Because of the internet, information has been found that was impossible to find before. Nothing is written in stone.

This page was made possible by Beverly Kimes History of the American Automobiles,  K. Doubleday's book "The Automobile Bodybuilders of Amesbury, Ma.",  John Bartley's Papers,  Coachbuilt,  Comcept Automobiles, Remarkable Cars,   The Steam Car Club of Great Britian, and the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

Dates are for only bodybuilding by the manufacturers.

Home  Amesbury Body Makers  MA Automobiles    Automobiles  Merrimac Auto Bodies    Pioneers   Links   Auto Ads   E. Rickenbacker    1902 Thomas Automobile  Special Automobiles  Wells Automobile Museum

Currier, Cameron, and Company

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Charles Duryea in his 1895 Duryea Automobile

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1896 Electrobat
Morris and Salom Electric Carriage
and Wagon Co. Philadelphia, PA

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1898 Duryea Delivery Wagon


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1898 Duryea Physician's Wagon

1899 Columbia Vehicles,  Runabout in center is flanked by two Delivery Three Wheelers.  Lawrence Duffie is the gentleman on the left. The other gentlemen are unidentified. The Runabout body was  made by Currier, Cameron & Co
Courtesy of the Columbia Automobile web site

(Stanley twins 1898)

Stanley Brothers riding on their Stanley automobile
Circa 1898

In 1898,  The Stanley Motor Carriage Co.of Newton, MA, commissioned Currier, Cameron, and Co. to construct ten bodies for its new steam-operated automobile. As was their practice at the time, Currier & Cameron constructed the coachwork and subcontracted the painting and trimming to the Shields Carriage Co. In 1899, Stanley sold the steamer to Locomobile. Two hundered more were ordered by the Locombile company..






















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1899 Locomobile Runabout
Locomobile Co. of America, Bridgeport, CT

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1899 Locomobile Runabout
Locomobile Co. of America, Bridgeport, CT

  The Locomobile Company of America was founded in 1899.  John Walker bought the Stanley Automobile Co. for $200,000, with all of one car built, but 199 more ordered, then sold a half interest to paving contractor, Anzi Barber. Their partnership was a very short one. Walker went on to found the Mobile Company of America in Tarrytown, NY, while Barber kept the Locomobile name and moved to Bridgeport, Ct. I cannot find definite proof, but my belief is that the one hundred ninty-nine bodies remaining to be built were given the Locomoble name.  In 1900, Locomobile  gave them a contract to produce 20 bodies per week in three varying styles; a runabout, a Victoria, and Stanhope. Shown here are two different styles of the same model.


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1898 Grout Gasoline Stanhope
Extremely rare photograph

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1899 Grout Gasoline Runabout
Grout Bros. Automobile Co. Orange, MA


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1900 Grout Runabout Driven by one of the Grout Brothers
Grout Bros. Automobile Co. Orange, MA

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1901 Grout Stanhope
Grout Bros. Automobile Co. Orange, MA


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1901 Grout Light Delivery Van


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1901 Grout Runabout
Grout Bros., Orange, MA

1900 Grout

1901 Grout Queen Stanhope E
Grout Bros., Orange, MA

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1904 Grout Touring
Grout Bros Automobile Co., Orange, MA

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1899 Victor
Overman Wheel Co., Chicopee, Ma.

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1899 Eclipse Runabout
Eclipse Automobile Company, South Easton, MA

A horseless carriage

1899 Eclipse Runabout
Eclipse Automobile Co., South Easton, MA

In 1899, Everet Cameron, owner  of the Eclipse Automobile Co. of South Easton, MA, contracted with the Boston Postal Service  to build its first automobiles. Cameron, Currier, and Co. was given the contract to build the bodies.

Copied in full from Beverly Rae Kimes Standard Catalog of American Cars published in 1979

At the turn of the century, Amesbury was among the leading carriage manufacturing centers in the United States. Organized in 1899, with a capital stock of $150,000, was the Amesbury Automobile Company. Involved in the venture were a number of local carriage builders, including J.T Clarkson, C.F. Worthen, and Edward R. Briggs. The chief engineer was C.J. Bagley, a well known electrician in town, who had designed an electric motor which was claimed to be the lightest and most efficient appliance yet built. Prospects bode well for this venture. "There are no better carriages in the world than those built in Amesbury" The Motor Review stated, "and its high reputation will give to the new company a prestige that a town of leser reputation cannot acquire for years." It appears that the Amesbury Automobile Company proceeded no further than building a prototype or two, before the carriage makers involved returned to their horse drawn efforts and Bagley returned to his electrical work. (End  of article).

But Amesbury had its first made automobile that is on record.
In 1901, Arthur England, a machinst, built an automobile and he displayed it in his father's machine shop.
In 1900 Briggs Carriage Company joined with Currier, Cameron, and company making automobile bodies.
In August 1905, a company was formed in Amesbury, Mass., to manufacture a 15 horse power car from the designs of Chas. H. M Monroe

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1901 American Daimler Delivery Van
Daimler Mfg. Company, Long Island City, NY
Body Made By Currier Cameron, & Co.
There is no other record that this car existed
Copied from James Homans 1902 book "Self Propelled Vehicles"

In 1888, William Steinway, maker of the Steinway Pianos, secured the rights to manufacture engines and automobiles under the Daimler Motor Co. in Hartford, CT. He died in 1896 and  the company was reorganized as the Daimler Manufacturing Co. in Long Island City, NY making engines, but a very  few commericial vehicles were made. In 1905 the company started making exact copies of the Mercedes, but stopped in 1907. The company is still in business

In 1901, Stanley Motor Carriage Co. contracted Currier , Cameron, and Co. to make bodies for their new edition of the Stanley Automobile.  With all of these body orders, Currier-Cameron could not do all the work themselves, so three other carriage companies, Shields, Leitch, and Briggs were contracted to help make the bodies.  These four companies were involved in supplying these bodies. Leitch and Briggs were also independent makers.

Stanley bodies were made from 1901 to 1922.

1901 Stanley Runabout
Stanley Mfg Co. Lawrence, MA 1899-1901
Stanley Motor Carriage Co. Newton, MA

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1922 Stanley 735 Touring, possibly the last automobile body made by Currier-Cameron & Co.

Over the next several years, contracts were made with many manufacturers, including Briscoe, Maxwell, Mobile Steamer, Orient Buckboard, Pope Robinson, and chassis for Stevens-Duryea. It is recorded that they were also body makers for most automobile companies in the region with no names given.

With the help of the computer, I have been able to find most of these companies with photographs of their automobiles. It was done by comparing bodies with the Stanley and Locomobile bodies of the same years.

1899-1900--Steam car built by Howard Coffin while in college using the Locomobile body, but with a larger engine



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1900 Locomobile with Prince Kuhio and his wife of Hawaii


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1900 Mobile  Runabout
Mobile Company of America, Tarrytown, NY

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1901 Safety Steamer
Safety Steam Automobile Co, Ipswitch, MA


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1902 Stevens-Duryea Stanhope
Stevens Duryea Automobile Co. Chicopee, MA

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


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1901 Steamobile
Keene Automobile Co., Keene NH.


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1900 Mobile Steamer Runabout
Mobile Company of America, Tarrytown, NY


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1902 Puritan Runabout
Locke Regulator Co. Salem, MA


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1901 Hoyt Runabout
Hoyt Electrical Instruments Co., Pennacook, NH


1901 Whitney Runabout
Whitney Machine Co. Brunswick, ME

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1904 Pope Robinson Tonneau
Pope Robinson Automobile Co. Hyde Park, MA




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1902 Binney-Burnham Nine passenger Surrey
The Binney & Burnham Co., Boston, MA


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1901 Rochester Runabout
Rochester Cycle Mfg. Co. Rochester, NY


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1902 Waltam Steam Buggy Runabout
Waltham Mfg. Co. Waltham, MA

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1903 Orient Buckboard
Waltham Mfg. Co. Waltham, MA


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Front View
Courtsey of the Wells Automobile Museum


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Rear View

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Buckboard Engine, Number 4+P 821



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1909 Metz Runabout
The Metz Co. Waltham, MA
The first Metz


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1904 Waltham Orient Deluxe Touring
Waltham Mfg. Co. Waltham, MA

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1901 Skene
J. W. Skene Cycle & Automobile Co. Lewiston, ME


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1903 Bridgeport Steamer
Bridgeport Boiler Works, Bridgeport, Ct.
Only one known

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1908 Maxwell
Maxwell Motor Corp. Detroit, MI

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1915 Briscoe Runabout
Briscoe Motor Corp. Jackson, MI




Hume Carriage Company

Somewhere in my researching Amesbury body building, I came across an article which stated that Alexander Pope, owner of the Columbia Automobile Co,   Hartford, CT,  had ordered automobile bodies from Amesbury prior to 1900. I have assumed all along that this would be Currier-Cameron & Co. Carriage Co. The only mention of Hume making automobile bodies was for Grout Brothers in Orange, MA.

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1897 Columbia Stanhope

While reading the 1897 and 1898 Horseless Age Magazines, I came across these photographs of the 1897 and 1898 Columbia automobiles. By comparing the body frame to the Hume Carriage at the Bartlett Museum, I have no doubt that Hume Carriage Co. made these bodies.

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1898 Columbia Stanhope

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Hume Carriage at the Bartlett Museum


According to all former references concerning Hume Carriage Company, they ceased making bodies and stuck to carriage making. In the 1908 edition of the International Automobile Manufacturers Magazine, Hume Carriage Company is listed as making wood and metallic bodies, auto covers, foot rests, robe rails, auto seats, auto tops in Amesbury.

To view his work for Marmon, please go to the Special Automobiles Page

Also on this list is Amesbury's  Auto Body & Finishing Co. making wood and metallic bodies from 1906-1923. Coachbuilt website also makes reference to this company, but no automobile names are mentioned. K. Doubleday does not make make reference to this company in her book.

Briggs Carriage Company

Around 1903, Locomobile awarded the Briggs Carriage Co. the contract for new styles of bodies. Briggs subcontracted the wood framing to Currier-Cameron, the result being that Locomobile was more than satisfied, with the job. Briggs closed his business in Amesbury in 1923



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1903 Locomobile Six Passenger Touring
Locomobile Co. of America, Bridgeport, CT

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1923 Locomobile 48 Series VIII
Last body built by Briggs
Durant Motors bought the Locomobile Co. in 1923



Boston and Amesbury
Boston and Amesbury Mfg. Co.

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1902 Boston and Amesbury Stanhope
This automobile was named the Boston and Amesbury because a Boston Automobile Co. was organized in 1899 in Boston and an Amesbury Automobile Co was organized in Amesbury in 1900 and made one automobile.

In 1902, John Miller, machinest, co-owner of the Miller Brothers Company and a  Boston engineer, H.A Spiller to form the Boston and Amesbury Mfg. Company along with two investers, Robert Patten and  C.V. Childs. Spiller made the engine and Miller made the body with the Shields Carriage Co. doing the decorating and trimming. It was a two passenger Stanhope with two passenger provided with an extra seat stored under the main one. When needed, it could be removed and attached to the front of the vehicle. The company propose building gasoline carriages in three styles, a two cylinder 4x4 inches, 8 horse power; a two cylinder 5x5 inches. 12 horse power, and a four cylinder 4x4, 16 horse power. The smaller size is herewith illustrated. Everything will be manufactured in the company's own shops except the Baldwin chains and the International Endurance tires.

Biddle and Smart Carriage Company

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Biddle and Smart commenced automobile body production  in 1902 and by late 1903 they had a contract to produce limousine bodies for Peerless. By 1907, proper metal sheeting over a hardwood frame was developed as the standard construction technique. The company embarked on limited series production for a growing list of satisfied customers: touring cars for Mercer and Alco, Abbott coupes, National roadsters, Packard and Winton sedans and assorted models for Lincoln, White, Chalmers, Marmon, Peerless, Haynes, Speedwell and Club. They became specialists in using aluminum, although steel-paneled bodies were also produced.

When the Hudson Automobile Company was formed in 1909 with initial help from E.R. Thomas of the Thomas Automobile Co., they chose Biddle and Smart to build bodies for them. Both touring and coupes were built. The relationship lasted until 1930. Biddle and Smart were the largest in Amesbury with Walker being the second largest.




Only two known and this one has never been restored. There is no known record of the names of automobiles that Biddle and Smart made in 1902. Thomas Automobile company was founded in Buffalo, NY in 1902. It was the earliest customer of Biddle and Smart and comparing the 1902 Thomas with the 1903 Peerless limousine, a known customer, the two are identical except for the hoods. This leaves little doubt that Biddle and Smart made this automobile.


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1902 Thomas Touring
E. R. Thomas Motor Co. Buffalo, NY


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1903 Peerless Limousine
Peerless Motor Car Co. Cleveland, OH

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1908 Packard Model 30
Packard Automobile Co. Detroit, MI

The First World War had consumed almost all of the metal used in the industry and the struggle to survive for the companies that assembled automobiles was too great for they could not get parts for their cars. Then, came the recession of 1921. A great number of companies that had been able to keep struggling along, simply gave up and closed down. Biddle and Smart lost their small companies, but Hudson Motors kept them busy.

The end probably started in 1926 when Hudson built its own body plant and by December 1929, when Hudson declined to renew its usual annual contract, the end was apparent. Additionally transportation charges to and from Amesbury made Biddle & Smart too expensive for Hudson to use as the prices on all new automobiles were falling appreciably. With the Depression worsening, Hudson turned more body business over to nearer suppliers, such as Briggs and Murray, and Biddle & Smart found itself not only without a major Detroit customer, but with no customers at all.

After completing the contract with Hudson for 1930 model bodies in the summer of that year, Biddle and Smart was advised that, beginning in 1931, it would no longer be the outside source for Hudson bodies. The custom-body firm tried for a brief period to market aluminum boats, but within months the company was out of business.

They were known as one of the best custom series bodymakers in the country.


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1909 Hudson Runabout
Hudson Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI
First year that Biddle and Smart made bodies for Hudson Motor Company



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1923 American Made Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Rolls-Royce of America Inc. Springfield, MA

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1929 Lincoln, Dietrich Design
Lincoln Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI
1917 - Date





1928 Hudson Phaeton
Hudson Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI

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1912 Abbot Detroit
Abbott-Detroit Motor Car Co. Detroit, Michigan


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1916 Mercer
Mercer Automobile Co. Trenton, NJ

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1906 Thomas Flyer Touring
E. R. Thomas Motor Co. Buffalo, NY


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1906 National Model E-7
National Motor Vehicle Co. Indianapolis, IN

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1908 White Model L
White Sewing Machine Co. Cleveland, OH


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1909 Winton Model 1
Winton Motor Carriage Co. Cleveland, OH
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1910 Chalmers Detroit Model 30
Chalmers-Detroit Chalmers Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI

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1913 Speedwell Tonneau
Speedwell Motor Car Co. Dayton, OH

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1910 Pope Hartford
Pope Mfg. Co. Hartford, CT

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1915 Cole Touring
Cole Motor Car Co. Indianapolis, IN


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1914 Haynes Touring
Haynes Automobile Co. Kokomo, IN

1913 ALCO Model 6 Berliot Limousine
American Locomotive Automobile Co. Providence, Rhode Island


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1913 Marmon Model 32
Nordyke and Marmon Co. Indianapolis, IN


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1930 Hudson Model T Coupe, the last automobile  body that Biddle and Smart made

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1927 Essex Boattail Speedabout-front view
Hudson Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI


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1927 Essex  Boattail Speedabouts-rear view
Hudson Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI

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1929 Essex Speedabout
Hudson Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI


The Speedabout was not offered in 1928, and although it reappeared in 1929, only five are known to have been built. The coachbuilding firm of Biddle and Smart of Amesbury, Mass supplied the custombuilt, stylish and attractive bodies. The boattail body was now fitted with a narrow rumble seat and although Hudson claimed it added seating for two (perhaps children) in reality it could only accommodate one adult; hence the three- passenger designation. Once again special gear ratios were fitted, but along with an overdrive the Speedabout was now capable of speeds of about 80mph. The engine remained stock with a 55hp rating at 3600rpm. The $965 Essexs curb weight was about 2,500 pounds. Reportedly, the Speedabouts were only built as show cars by Hudson, primarily to gauge interest in their production feasibility. (Remarkablecars)

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1929 Hudson Canopy Express
Hudson Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI


One very rare bird is an un-restored 1929 Hudson canopy express in the collection of Phil Williams of Remsen, New York. The cab on his vehicle is similar, if not identical, to that found on the Dover canopy express and includes a cab-mounted Biddle & Smart body tag. He writes:

"I've attached a couple of pictures of my Hudson.  They show that this is slightly different than the Dover.  First, it is a Hudson not an Essex.  Most obvious is the straight roof, not a humpback like the Dover pictures. The Hudson bumper (not pictured) and dual side-mounts also differ from the Dover.  IE: this is not identical to Dover, but unique as a Hudson.  It also has the rose pattern dash in addition to the body tag (Coachbuilt).

1929 Hudson by sjb4photos-catching up.

One of Their Best

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Last, but not   least, is the great 1907 Thomas Flyer, the winner of the 1908 New York to Paris Race
Thomas Automobile Co, Buffalo, NY
E. R. Thomas Motor Co. Buffalo, NY 1902-1913


Special work for Hudson producing Walter Murphy's Designs  For Hudson Automobiles

Walter Murphy, Pasedena, Ca., was one of the leaders in the automobile industry. He was one of the richest men in America who owned controlling intrerest in some of the leading companies at that time. In 1920,  he was given dealership's rights for the Lincoln automobile for California and shortly had them through out the state. In order to get the bodies that he wanted for his clientele, he set up a body building shop in Pasadena. His bodies were designed by his company and speciallly built for the rich and famous. His designs were considered to be some of the best ever.

For reasons that remain unclear, Harold L. Arnold, Hudsons California distributor, swapped distributorships with Murphy in 1926 - the former, now handled Lincoln, and the latter, Hudson. Now that Murphy had a direct relationship with Hudson, the Detroit automaker became interested in gaining the services of Murphys roster of talented designers. Biddle and Smart did all of Hudson's top of the line automobiles.

Murphy built a couple of prototype convertible sedans for Hudson in 1927.  Six cars were eventually commissioned by Hudson and ultimately delivered to Detroit: a landau sedan, a Victoria, a seven-passenger sedan, a convertible coupe, a convertible sedan, and a fixed-head coupe. Hudson management liked them, but Murphy lacked the capacity to build in quantities that Hudson needed, so the prototypes were sent off to Amesbury for assimilation by Biddle and Smart into 1928 production and eventually wound up in the hands of Hudson Co. executives. Murphy also designed a low, handsome 1928 Hudson convertible sedan that was later produced in quantity by Biddle & Smart, albeit with a roof that was three inches taller. Each of these Biddle & Smart bodies carried a cowl tag that announced "Designed by Walter M. Murphy, Coachbuilders, Pasadena.

Murphy was well aware of the quality work that Biddle and Smart did because he was using their facilities to build his Lincoln bodies. When Murphy decided to call it quits around 1931, Hudson bought the entire contents of the business. There was a large number of Duesenberg bodies that was included. Hudson Motors shipped the entire lot by rail to Biddle and Smart to have the tops raised for the 1932 Hudson automobiles. This was Biddle and Smart's last job for Hudson.

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1929 Hudson Model L Club Sedan
Considered a Classic
Designed by Walter Murphy
Built by Biddle and Smart

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1929 Hudson Sports Phaeton
The prize of the Hudson Automobile
Designed by Walter Murphy
Built by Biddle and Smart

Walker Carriage Company

Walker produced bodies for a number of automakers; Abbott-Detroit, Buick, Holmes, Jordan, Lexington, Packard, Paige, Reo, Studebaker, White, Winton, Jackson, and Buick, but they were closely associated with the H.H. Franklin Mfg. Co. of Syracuse, New York. From 1910 through 1932, Walker produced bodies for the air-cooled automaker, and for most of those years Franklin was Walkers largest customer and Walker was Franklin's principal supplier of coachwork.

According to former employees, Walker employed 1500 hands in 1926-27, its peak years, and consumed over two million board feet of white ash lumber. During this period, Walker produced an average of 75 aluminum-clad bodies per day, making them the nation's largest consumer of sheet aluminum.

The December, 1930 issue of Autobody included pictures of three Raymond H. Dietrich designs built by Walker:

A Victoria coupe designed by Raymond H. Dietrich and executed by Walker on the Franklin series 15 chassis. It has the modish sloping front and rounded front header, the curved motif being repeated at the back and on the special trunk.

Sport sedan, designed by Raymond H. Dietrich and constructed by Walker, on Franklin chassis. This bears a close relation to the Victoria coupe, but instead of the large trunk, this body has a swept rear that can be used for luggage; access is by a small door at the back

The Franklin Tandem sedan, designed by Raymond H. Dietrich and built by Walker Body Co., was noteworthy not only for its square back and undercut door, but also for the narrow pillars and flush side. The use of the new Campbell concealed hinge permitted a center pillar of minimum width.

Years later, Dietrich recalled: "Construction used by Walker followed methods practiced by the finest custom builders. When designing for Franklin, I was always sure the construction - and workmanship - would meet the same high standards established by the custom coach builders." (Coach Built)

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1910 Franklin Touring
H.H. Franklin Mfg. Co. Syracuse, NY
The first body built for Franklin

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1932 Franklin 163 Oxford,
Franklin Automobile Co. Syracuse, NY
Body by Walker, the last body built in Amesbury


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Jordan Playboy Advertisement
Considered to be the best automotive advertisement of all times


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1920 Jordan, Playboy Coupe
Jordan Motor Car Co. Inc. Cleveland, OH
The 1920's most famous coupes

1912 Abbott-Detroit by sjb4photos-catching up.

1912 Abbott-Detroit Model 44
Abbott-Detroit Motor Car Co. Detroit, Michigan


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1916 Studebaker Coupe or Runabout
Studebaker Corp. South Bend, IN

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1921 Lexington Touring
Lexington Motor Co. Lexington, KY 1909-1910
Connersville, IN 1910-1928 

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1913 REO  Model S Demi-Tonneau
REO Motor Car Co. Lansing, MI


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1926 Paige Sedan
Paige-Detroit Motor Car Co. Detroit, MI


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1921 Holmes Limousine
The Holmes Automobile Co. Canton, OH

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1915 Packard   1-35 Touring
Packard Automobile Co. Detroit, Mi.


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1920 Chevrolet Touring
Chevrolet Motors, Flint, Mi.


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1908 Jackson Touring
Jackson Automobile Co. Jackson, MI

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1912 White Touring
White Sewing Machine Co. Cleveland, OH

In 1906, Henry Leland, owner of the Cadillac Automobile Co., visited Walker Carriage Company and hired the company to build Cadillac's first closed automobile body to be shown at the 1907 New York Show. He was so impressed with the beauty of Walker's work that he wanted the company to move to Detroit. Walker declined to do so.

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1906 Cadillac
Henry Leland's Personal Car
Body by Walker Carriage Co., Amesbury, MA
Now in the Detroit Historical Society Museum


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1906  Closed Body Cadillac with Henry Leland

Clark Carriage Co. and Clark Body Co.


Among the body building companies that developed in Amesbury shortly after the introduction of metal covered bodies in 1910 was the Clark Carriage Co. After the death of John H. Clark, senior member of the firm, the business was continued by Thomas Clark, who for many years was not at all antagonistic to the automobile, believing that there was a place for both carriages and autos. As a result very few early wooden auto bodies were built by this company. Their first motor car bodies were built of aluminum for the Buick Motor Car Co. They continued to do work for this company during their entire career in the automobile business, specializing in the Buick touring car. In 1913 seven to ten bodies per week were finished. A large brick factory at the corner of Oakland and Chestnut Street housed the establishment where in 1916 one hundred and twenty-five men were employed. The Walker Body Co. bought out the Clark Carriage Co. in 1920. (Coach Built)


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1910 Buick Model 10
Buick Motors, Flint MI
1904 -Date


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1915 Chevrolet, Amesbury Special Coupe, the only known photo
Named for the City of Amesbury



1917 Buick Touring
Buick Motors Co. Flint, MI
Last year for Clark Carriage Company





1911 Oldsmobile Limited Image

1911 Oldsmobile Limited
Oldsmobile Automobile Co. Lansing Mi.

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Body Tag for the 1911 Oldsmobile

Lambert Hollander


Lambert Hollander was a supplier of taxicab bodies for firms in Boston and New York and both he and J.N. Leitch, another Amesbury coachbuilder, supplied bodies to Harlan P. Whipples Taxicab Service Co. which was headquartered in Boston. At the time Taxicab Service was using Sultan, Berliet, and ALCO chassis. Hollander and Morrill assumed supplying these same firms.

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1909 Sultan Landaulet Town Car
Sultan Motor Co. Springfield, MA

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1909 Sultan Taximeter (Taxi)
Sultan Motor Co. Springfield, MA


Hollander and Morrill

Successor to Lambert Hollander

On September 1st, 1909 an Agreement of Association was signed by George H. Hollander, Gayden W. Morrill, Lambert Hollander and Frank F. Morrill creating Hollander & Morrill Inc.  Hollander and Morrill continued building bodies that Lambert Hollander had been supplying.  Maxwel-Briscoe and Pierce-Arrow also contracted for bodies.

By 1913 they had started building bodies for Inglis M. Uppercus Detroit Cadillac Motor Car Co., a firm that would soon become their best customer. Detroit Cadillac, the Manhattan Cadillac distributor, had a custom body department that was headed by J.R. McLauchlen, and prior to Cadillacs association with Fleetwood, many of Uppercus town cars, landaulets and limousines were designed by McLauchlen and built by Hollander & Morrill.

The firm prospered until 1923 when sales began to decline and by 1924 were struggling to stay in business. Finally, on August 17, 1925 the Board voted to accept the offer of Biddle & Smart Company effective as of June 30, 1925, and voted to dissolve the Corporation and surrender its charter as of the close of business August 17, 1925


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1910 Maxwell-Briscoe
Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Co.  Tarrytown, NY and Detroit, Mi


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1913 Cadillac Four Door Touring
Detroit Cadillac Motor Car Co, Manhattan, NY
One of the first bodies built for Detroit Cadillac

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1913 Pierce Arrow Touring
The George N. Pierce Co. Buffalo, NY

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1922 Cadillac Town Car, Cadillac Motors, Detroit, Mi.
One of the last bodies built


Holland and Morrill Factory, Amesbury


Miller Brothers

After Currier Cameron , and Co. and Hume Carriage CO.  the Miller Brothers were next to make bodies. Their first auto body, a two-seater runabout, was finished in August of 1901. Almost all of their bodies were either experimental or special pieces of work which were mounted on many different style chassis. From 1901 to 1907 this concern did not accept any form of contract for production bodies from any individual motor car builder. In 1907 a very small contract was drawn up with the Cleveland Auto Co. of Ohio for twelve bodies per week. This organization was composed of four brothers: Thomas, William, Robert and John Miller. The last of these, however, severed relations with the company in 1903. All of theses men were skilled carriage artisans, having worked in the ranks over a period of many years. During the first nine years of auto body-building, the directors of Miller Bros. moved their business four different times. They were the first located on Market Street opposite the Amesbury Fair Grounds, but due to expansion they moved, over into a building on Carriage Avenue.

The other occupant of this factory desired more floor space and forced them to move a third time, which was into one floor of the Babcock's No. 5 plant on Chestnut Street. Because of trouble among the executives of the business organization, the company ended up shortly after 1910 in a garage on Friend Street, with only one of the original four brothers a member of the firm. During their relations with the auto body industry of the town, they never employed more than forty workers.


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1902 Boston and Amesbury Stanhope
Boston and Amesbury Mfg. Co, Boston, MA

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1908 Cleveland Tourneau
Cleveland Motor Car Co. Cleveland, OH


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1909 Advertisement copied from the 1909 Hub Magazine


Amesbury Rattan and Reed Company

Amesbury has the unique distinction of being the first and only town of the country in which a rattan automobile body was ever manufactured. When these bodies were placed on the market in 1906, they were a great novelty to the automobile world. The firm that designed these bodies was the Amesbury Rattan and Reed Co., which was located in one corner of Babcock's No.5 plant. During the companys short existence it enjoyed a high reputation for excellence in construction and beauty of design in its claims for the bodies. Having been exhibited at several of the larger auto shows of the East, and having gained the approval of the automobile critics, these bodies were said to be the most durable on the market at that time. Such exhibitions created a considerable demand for the basket bodies. They were made to fit any chassis although the firm specialized in fine custom work. The bodies were rubber lined with straight back upholstering, making them water and dust proof. Due to uneasiness among the directors, George Ayscough and Arthur Skinner, this concern was liquidated in 1911. The six employees of the company tried to maintain the business after 1911, but were unsuccessful in their attempts.


autos2607.gif (28338 bytes)Two seated Roadster withe a Rattan Body by
Amesbury Rattan and Reed Co.
Amesbury, Ma.


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1903 Corbin
Corbin Motor Vehicle Co. New Britain, CT 1903-1912

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1900 Two Seated Electric Runabout

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1906 American Reed Body


Bela Body Company

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1913 Winton Six
Winton Motor Carriage Co. Cleveland, OH

A.G. Bela was the owner of the Pettingill Machine Company and in 1913 started making automobile bodies for Winton Automobile Co. and Franklin with Biddle and Smart doing the decorating. In 1916, he moved his body assembly operation to Framingham, MA. He stilled  made component parts in Amesbury He shut down in 1918 and sold the body business to Richard Long, a Framingham businessman. The Pettingell Machine Company continued making machines and sold them to United States, Great Britian, and Canadian governments. They were the larest seller of automobile body machinery in the world. They continued to do business into the early 1940"s At one time, Fisher Body had over 500 of the automatic hammers and there was no large repair shop without one. In late 1917, they began to manufacture parts for automobiles bodies.

These advertisements appeared in the 1917 Hub Magazine


The United States Government
War Department

when calling for proposals and bids for machinery
recently specified machines made by the


In an emergency the United States Government
Engineers want the bestmachines that can be
depended on to do the work at all times, so they


When you want the best order PETTINGELL Machines

Bevel and Mitre Saw Tables --- Improved Saw Toners--- Irregular Shapers
Automatic PowerHammers --- Friction Drive Rotary Metal Cutters
Beading and Moulding Formers --- Rolling Machines
Foot Presses -- Cornice Brakes, Etc.






In addition to our regular line of metal and wood
auto body and aeroplane machinery, we have
opened a department for the manufacture of
and are now in a position to supply many parts

Windshields --- Pedestal Bases --- Rocker Plates --- Hinges

stock clamps (for use in wood mill)

Special Parts --- Aeroplane Hardware

Special tools (for body machinery)

We would suggest that manufacturers place their orders for hardware parts soon, as our supply is to be limited. If in need of any special parts WRITE US and we shall be glad to give you all information possible. Automatic Machinery enables us to turn out parts rapidly and at a low figure.

Get our prices before placing order

Pettingell Machine Co.

Amesbury, Mass.





Bryant Body Company


Bryant Body Company was founded as the result of the Walker Body Co.'s not being able to fill required or contracted orders. In 1918, Mr. Jordan, of the Jordan Motor Co. came to Amesbury to have the Walker Body Co. build a certain number of Jordan bodies for him per month, but it was found that under no circumstances could the desired number of bodies be fabricated by the local concern. Thus the Bryant Body Co. was founded which engaged only in the construction of sedans for the Jordan chassis, producing eighteen bodies daily from its three plants.

This company was one of the first to use the paint spray machine, which eliminated much of the hand painting and varnishing. Modern trim stitchers were also made use of in these factories. Some four hundred men were employed by the Bryant Body Co. before it went out of business. Orders for Jordan bodies decreased until the Bryant Body Co. was forced out of business in 1926. The machinery and much of the skilled labor was turned over to the Walker Body Co.


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1924 Jordan Two Door Sedan
Jordan Motor Car Co. Inc. Cleveland, OH


Amesbury Specialty Company

Amesbury  Speciality Company made bodies for Ford Model T Series. They also did custom work for other Amesbury companies.


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1923 Ford Model T Touring
Ford Motor Co. Detroit, Mi
1903- Date

Amesbury Metal Body Company

One of the first business organizations in the east to engage in the manufacture of aluminum auto bodies was formed in Amesbury in 1907. It was called the Amesbury Metal Body Co., and was composed of James H. Walker, John Foster, Fred England and J. Albert Davis, all of whom were once members of various body concerns of the town, but because of the invention of metal covered bodies, severed their relations and founded one of the most prosperous of all local metal shops. Their establishment was, like many others, located in Babcocks No.5 plant on Chestnut Street where they employed some forty metal workers. Because of their building metal fenders and engine heads for various auto chassis  they completed only eight finished motor car bodies per week. During their six years stay in Amesbury before going to Detroit in 1913, more than on-half of their work was for the Stevens-Duryea Motor Co. but they also built bodies for the Studebaker, Packard, and Alco automobiles. This firm was the second in the country to press-out metal engine hoods and door panels but very little of this work was done in Amesbury. Many of the pioneer auto body builders who had been building wooden bodies for some years before metal covered frames came in began to renovate their plants and hire the metal men to do this type of work. Some of the same concerns were liquidated, but most of them held on until the large presswork began to be employed, which was the key to maximum production. From 19l0 to 1920 several successful body building firms grew up in this community as the auto body business was proving to be very profitable and beneficial to the business men of the town already engaged in it.

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1907 Packard Limousine
Packard Automobile Co. Detroit, Mi


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1912 ALCO  Touring
American Locomotive Automobile Co. Providence, Rhode Island 1905-1913


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1913 Studebaker Touring
Studebaker Corp. South Bend, IN

1913 Stevens Duryea by sjb4photos-catching up.

1913 Stevens Duryea Touring
From Springfield, MA to Saginaw, MI
The last body built before moving to Detroit


Amesbury Body Company

Backed by local investers from the employees of Biddle and Smart and Walker Body, this company made bodies for the Haynes Automobile Co. and Holmes Automoble Co. Maybe, this was a joint venture between the two companies in order to handle an increased workload because Biddle and Smart was making bodies for Haynes and Walker was given the contract for the newly formed Holmes Automobile Co.

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1916 Haynes   Model 32 Touring
Haynes Automobile Co. Kokomo, IN

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1922 Holmes Series 4
The Holmes Automobile Co. Canton, OH

S.R. Bailey Carriage Co.

In 1903,  Samuel R. Bailey began to manufacture auto bodies and automobiles in 1903. The Bailey Electric Victoria Phaeton was the best known product. Here as in the firm of James N. Leitch, precise building methods for custom work were employed which required a great deal of time. The chief executive, S.R. Bailey, did not allow small mill machinery in his factory after it was invented, until it became necessary to do so in order to handle large automobile orders. Their victoria body was rather simple in construction, requiring less time to complete than did other bodies of the period, but the construction of their own electric-powered chassis was a very toilsome task. During the firm's interest in the auto business of the town, they employed thirty experienced body-makers.

Bailey  not only built the bodies for Boston MAs Essex, Essex Motor Car Co., of 1906, but assembled the car there as well, but the car did not survive the year.

S.R. Bailey was the largest and most successful automobile maker in Amesbury.   In K. Doubleday's book "The Automobile Bodybuilders of Amesbury, Ma." There were two others before him. Arhtur English built one in 1901 and displayed it in his father's garage. A year later, John Miller of the Miller Brothers Co. completed and started a production company named   "Boston and Amesbury Manufacturing Co." and built the 1902 Boston and Amesbury Automobile.

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1908 Bailey Model Victoria
S.R. Bailey & Co. Amesbury, MA


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1911 Bailey Victoria Phaeton with The Baileys at Lake Gardner, Amesbury


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1908 Bailey Electric Victoria

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1912  Bailey Coupe

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1913 Bailey Coupe

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1914 Bailey Touring


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1915 Bailey Special

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1915 Bailey Delivery Van


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1913 Bailey Runabout
S.R. Bailey & Co. Amesbury, MA
With the original 100 mile battery
Only one known and in exceptional unrestored runing condition
Courtesy of Bart Bailey, owner


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Rear View
For a detail view, click on Bailey Automobile

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1906 Essex Steam Touring

The Essex Motor Car Company of Boston was incorporated  during the spring of 1905 by Arthur Hovering, Lawrence Cushman, and Frank Branan for the purpose of building a steamer with a four cylinder single acting 15-20 horse power engine featuring poppet valves. Only one model would be offered at $3,000, a side entrance tonneau on a 107 inch wheel base which resembled the famous Serpolliet from France. Early in 1906, it was revealed that Essex had contracted with the Bailey Carriage Company of Amesbury, one of the largest carriage manufacturing plants in New England, for the building of the Essex. Most probably all of the Essexs to follow were produced in Amesbury. There were not many made before it went under. There are no pictures known of the Essex. The photograph is a picture of the 1906 French Serpoliet, the only one in existence.


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1907 Hill Tonneau


The Ultra Motor Car Company was established in Amesbury in 1912 and a prototype of its new car was completed in the shops of Howarth and Rogers Company that October. Designed by R.H. Randall, the Ultra was a 38 horse power six, fitted with a four speed selective transmission and set on a 128 inch wheel base chassis.The body was an entirely Amesbury production. The radiator was of the pointed type aiding materially the sweeping lines in securing a  low and speedy look. It had sporty wire wheels. The first models were a five passenger touring car for $300, a seven passenger for $3200, and a roadster for $2800. The first moodel built was a demonstrator in and around Boston in an attempt to raise financing. In late November, the Ultra Motor Car Company anouunced plans to relocate in Taunton. It is unknown if the relocation took place or how many cars were built. There were three known to have been registered in Boston.

Crown Motor Vehicle Co.


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1908 Crown  Stanhope Runabout
Congdon and Graves Carriage Co.

Article from the February, 1908 issue of the  Horseless Carriage Magazine

"The Crown Motor Vehicle Company has been incorporated in Massachusetts with a factory in Amesbury to manufacture High Wheel Cars for business and pleasure to sell from $600 to $1000. The officers are W.A. Shafer, President; Frank Dodge, Treasurer; W.A Grayson, Secretary. They were to be shown at the following Boston Automobile Show. " It was the company's belief that a high-wheel vehicle was needed in rural areas. Very few were made before shutting down in 1909.

Witham's Body Company


The Witham Body Co. was incorporated in November of 1922, and was a continuation of the C.C.Witham Body Co., which was organized in 1916. Although in business for a very short time this body firm manufactured some of the finest sport closed bodies that were ever built in the country. This body company, which had a capacity of eighty bodies per month, built entirely for the Stearns-Knight Motor Car Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, and the Wills Sainte Claire Motor Co. of Marysville, Michigan. The Witham factory was situated opposite the Railway freight office on the right hand side of the railroad tracks in a building formerly occupied by the Atwood Lamp Company.

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1922 Wills Sainte Claire A6B Sports Sedan
Wills Sainte Claire Co. Marysville, MI

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1925 Stearns-Knight Sports Sedan
F. B Stearns Co. Cleveland, OH

Standard Anti-Friction Equipment Company

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1901 Standard Anti-Friction Equipment Company Chassis with wheels

The 1901 Standard Anti-Friction Equipment Company was created by the Empire Ball Bearing Axles, Chicago, Il, joining forces  with Amesbury Pneumatic Gear Co. with help from the Sheldon Axle Co to manufacture axles, gears, wheels and any part of a vehicle that any part a company needed from light to heavy commericial. . They also manufactured a complete line of their own design.

C.C.Witham Body Co

Dodgem Cars

Those little bumper cars, or the original name "Dodgem", that you see and your children drive at all the amusement parks, were first manufactured in Amesbury in 1916-1922  by Carlton Witham of Merrimac.

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1906 Advertisement

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1906 Advertisement

Gray & Davis and Atwood lamps were on over 50 percent of all the early automobiles.

Pictured below are the eleven examples taken from a Leitch catalogue of bodies manfactured by Leitch and Co. Almost all of the major companies built similiar cars.

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1908 Catalogue Cut



Horworth and Rogers Carriage Co.
also built bodies similiar to the ones shown.

In 1905, Horworth and Rogers factory was desstroyed by fire with 25 completed

Article from the 1905 edition of Cycle and Automobile Trade Magazine

Howarth & Rogers Co., of Amesbury. Mass., whose factory was destroyed by fire recentlv, have purchased a new three-story brick building, which has been equipped with machinery and which will be devoted to the manufacture of automobile bodies exclusively.

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