History of the Early American Automobile Industry

Amesbury Body Builders

Chapter 32

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Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3

K  Doubleday's book "The Automobile Bodybuilders of Amsbury, MA", Coachbuilt's website, and John Bartley's Papers " Automobile Bodies Built in Amesbury" at the library were used extenselively in this research.

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.

The most definitive history of automobiles and bodies built in Amesbury with a short history of each builder and pictures of car bodies that they built..

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 1892. 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 thirteen bodies for the Duryea automobile.It is very possible that they also built their running gears. 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 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.

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1909 Charles Wing Co. Advertisement

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.

Copied from the 1899 Horseless Age Magazine

Amesbury, Mass., the carriage-making center of the East, has a new $150,000 automobile manufacturing company, under the management of Joseph T. Clarkson, Charls F. Worthen and Edward B. Brungs, well-known carriage builders. Electricity will be the motive power.

,John England's  gasoline model was mentioned being made by B & H Mfg. Co in 1904. This was taken from the 1904 issue of the Massachusetts' Business Register. No other records are known. It was not listed in the 1904 Amesbury City Directory. Another model was being made in 1907 that never was completed.

3,000 finished automobile bodies were shipped from Amesbury in 1900.

Copied From the 1910 Automobile Manufacturer Magazine


The one great fear of the town is that the automobile business will go west, the same as the carriage business did, but there is nothing being done to stop it if it should. The cheapness of labor and materials in the west gradually undermined the eastern firms, and now most of the carriages built are made in the middle West. Fortunately we had the auto to take the carriage's place, but the West has been making strenuous efforts to land the making of these. As autos are sold at a price that demands the best of labor, the auto body building still stays in the East, however.

As they couldn't land these industries that way, Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Indianapolis, etc., have organized Booster clubs, with anywhere from forty to one hundred thousand dollars for an emergency fund, urging them to locate in their cities, showing them the advantages, particularly in freight and express rates, and even offering to build factories for them if they should move. The moving of the Atwood Castle Co. from here is a result of such a campaign, and of late very tempting offers have been held out to Gray & Davis, Amesbury Metal Body Co., Hasset & Hodge, and Biddle, Smart & Co. In fact, practically every firm in town has received offers to remove to one of these places.

We can't have a club with a fund of that amount, but if we could even have an association without any funds that would try and get new industries here and also to keep what we've got, it would certainly be a move in the right direction.Amesbury Exchange.

Currier, Cameron, & Co.

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 chassises. All of their bodies were made of wood untl 1908.

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1894 Duryea Runabout

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1898 Duryea Delivery Wagon

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 twenty-six Amesbury manufacturers who were making bodies and at least twenty companies that were making parts.

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The Stanley Twins in their 1898 Stanley Steamer

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 coach work and subcontracted the painting and trimming to the Shields Carriage Co. In 1899, John Walker bought the Stanley Automobile Co and in turn, sold half interest to Anzi Barber

Two hundred more were ordered by the new owners. Within six months, the partners split with Walker naming his share the Locomobile Co. and Barber moved his share to Tarrytown, New York calling his company the International Automobile Co. A little later, it was changed to the Mobile Co. The Locomobile car was one of the most successful companies in the country while the Mobile Co. lasted three years. However, Currier, Cameron, & Co. was making bodies for both companies.

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


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1901 Locomobile Runabout
Locomobile Co. of America, Bridgeport, CT

1903 Locomobile Steamer Advertisement
Body Made by Briggs Carriage Co., Amesbury
Add states that the executive will be moved to Bridgeport on April 1st., 1903

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 finddefinite 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. Briggs continued building the Locomobile bodies until 1922 when the Locomobile was purcahsed by willial Durant fro his Durant Motoe Company. At that time, Briggs retired and the company closed down.



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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 

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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 Eclipse Runabout
Eclipse Automobile Company, South Easton, MA


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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.

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1899 Victor
Overman Wheel Co., Chicopee, Ma.

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.

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1901 Stanley Runabout
Stanley Motor Carriage Co. Newton, MA 

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

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1918 Stanley Closed Body Coupe

Stanley bodies were made from 1901 to 1922.

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.

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


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

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1900 Mobile Runabout
Mobile Company of America, Tarrytown, NY

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1900 Mobile Steamer Dos-a-dos Park Car
Mobile Company of America, Tarrytown, NY


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1901 Steamobile
Keene Automobile Co., Keene NH.


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1901 Safety Steamer
Safety Steam Automobile Co, Ipswich, MA


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1902 Puritan Runabout
Locke Regulator Co. Salem, MA 


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1901 Concord Steamer
Concord Motor Coach Co., Pennacook, NH

1901 Whitney Runabout
Whitney Machine Co. Brunswick, ME 


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1902 Pope-Robinson Rear Entrance Tonneau

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


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


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1903 Orient Buckboard
Waltham Mfg. Co. Waltham, MA 

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1909 Metz Runabout
The Metz Co. Waltham, MA 


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1905 Waltham Orient Deluxe Touring

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


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1908 Maxwell
Maxwell Motor Corp. Detroit, MI

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1915 Briscoe Runabout
Briscoe Motor Corp. Jackson, MI 

When Stanley was sold to a Bethlehem, PA group in 1923 and by this time all the other automobile companies had long before had gone out of business, Currier, Cameron & CO. ceased operations.


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 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.

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1898 Grout Automobile Gasoline Stanhope
Extremely rare photograph

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1908 Hume Carriage Company Advertisement


A change in the personnel of the Hume Carriage Co., Amesbury, Mass., has recently been made, in which two of the partners have sold their holdings to Charles F. Robinson, who has been connected with the firm for sixteen years, and one of the firm for eight years, as treasurer and general manager, and C. R. Pierce, formerly financial manager of a large business in St. Louis, Mo. The personnel of the company is: William M. Hume, president; Charles F. Robinson, vice-president and general manager; C. R. Pierce, secretary and treasurer; N. G. Pierce, chairman board of directors. The firm was established in 1857, and has always enjoyed the reputation of making strictly high-grade work, and of honorable dealing. They will continue to maintain the high standard of work, and in addition an automobile body and top department, making limousine and touring car bodies, also trimming and painting the body, ready for the chassis.


Biddle and Smart Carriage Company

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.

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1905 Biddle and Smart Advertisement

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

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. K. Davenport's  book
"The Automobile Body Builders of Amesbury Massachusetts" states that Biddle and Smart built bodies for the Thomas Automobile Co. from its earliest times.

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Last, but not least, is the great 1907 Thomas Flyer, the winner of the 1908 New York to Paris Race

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1903 Peerless Limousine
Peerless Motor Car Co. Cleveland, OH 

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1908 Biddle and Smart Advertisement

A Biddle and Smart advertisement appeared in the 1905 Horseless AgeMagazine stating that they had made the body for the 1903 Peerless limousine.

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1908 Packard Model 30
Packard Automobile 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 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 

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


Copied from the 1908 Carriage Monthly Magazine

William E. Biddle Dies of Pneumonia.

In the death of William E. Riddle, of the firm of Biddle & Smart Co., on December 27th, the city of Amesbury, Mass., lost one of its most influential and best citizens. Mr. Biddle had been on a business trip to Chicago when he was stricken down with pneumonia, and succumbed after only a few days' illness. He had been identified with the business interests of Amesbury since 1865, when he entered the machine shop of the Salisbury Mills Mfg. Co., as a clerk of minor rank. A little later he became salesman for a shoe firm,and then went into the bakery business.

In 1870 he began the manufacture of carriage gears and bodies, and general carriage woodwork, but in 1876 fire destroyed his then small plant. Shortly afterward he went into partnership with the late W. W. Smart, Amesbury, erecting the large factory building, 260 x 60 feet, at present occupied by the firm of Hassett & Hodge. M. D. F. Steere was admitted into the firm in 1882, and the name was changed to Biddle, Smart & Co. In 1889 Frank Stinson entered the firm, and the name was changed again to Biddle & Smart Co., which it has since retained.

The year following this alliance the sales of the company ran close to three quarters of a million dollars, and the hands numbered 270 in all departments. For a number of years following the company increased their business materially,- but upon the death of Mr. Smart, they reduced their operations to the mill, and the wheel manufacturing department was turned over to the Carr, Prescott which Mr. Biddle retained an interest. A few years ago Mr. Biddlc's son William became interested in the business, and since that time a number of improvements have been made in the plant, among which was the erection of a model brass foundry, which goes under the name of the Amesbury Brass and Foundry Co. Automobile body building is another recent successful departure. The department employs 100 men, under the superintendency of William Biddle. During the past fall a new brick mill, three stories high, was added to the factory buildings.

Mr. Biddle was always interested in public enterprises, and was identified with a number of social and business organizations in his home city, of which he was so proud. He was also one of the incorporators of the Amesbury National Rank, and served as its president for a number of years. Through his influence a number of prominent industries were brought to Amesbury.

The deceased was sixty-two years old. He is survived by a widow, one son, William E: Riddle, Jr., vice-president of the Riddle & Smart Co., and three daughters, Mrs. Charles N. Dennett, Jr., Roxbury, Mass.; Mrs. Fred. Lavis, Mt. Vernon, N. Y., and Miss Zclma Riddle, Amesbury. He was highly esteemed by those who knew him best, and his sudden death proved a shock to his community and to the carriage industry.


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.

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1909 Hudson Runabout
Hudson Motor Car 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.

In 1921, the Hudson Dealers asked the Hudson company for rhe name of its body makers. They convinced that it would greatly increase their sales. The first advertisement of Biddle and Smart being the body maker was named.

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1921 Hudson Super Six Touring Automobile

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Both articles were cut from the 1923 Issues of the Hudson and Essex Triangle phamplet


Hudson Automobiles Designed by Walter Murphy

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 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.

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1929 Hudson  Biddle & Smart Victoria  Automobile


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1929 Hudson Model L Club Sedan Automobile

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1929 Hudson Sports Phaeton Automobile

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1929 Hudson Club 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."

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

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 busi


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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)

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.

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.

Walker Carriage Company

George T. Walker left the Hume Cariage Co. in 1898 to set up his company, Walker Cariage Co. Because of the carriage workers' strike at Amesbury in 1903 moved his factory to Merrimac. There is no certain date as to when he began to make automobile bodies it is assumed to be shortly after moving. His sons, George Jr. and James joined the business. His son, James , wanted to return to Amesbury and with Harlan P. Wells, the Walker-Wells CO. was organized and was located at 79 Elm St. By 1913, the firm soon outgrew its facility and bought a vacant plant that once housed the Folger & Drummond Carriage Works on Railroad Avenue.

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1909 Walker Carriage Co. Advertisement

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In 1919 Walker Body Co. of Merrimac built a new factory on Oak Street in Amesbury to house the entire wood-working and body framing departments. The Merimac factory was closed. At its peak, the Oak St. factory employed 500 hands; 200 preparing the wood in the lumber yard, kiln and milling departments, and 300 assembling those pieces in the body framing division. With the Merrimac plant now closed, the former Clark Carriage Co factory was purchased in 1920, in order to provide additional space for Walkers painting, trimming and finishing departments. Another Walker plant, the former Amesbury Metal Body Company, on Oakland Street housed the 120 employees who made the firms metal products. Walker made all their own door locks, forgings, molding and sheet-metal stampings, and supplied many of Amesburys other body builders as well.

The 5 Walker plants were widely separated, and to an extent each was a self sustaining unit, so that if one were destroyed by fire, the others could continue without interruption. H. H. Franklin & CO. invested a considerable sum in the Walker Carriage Company in 1920 and from that date through 1932, the firms only customer would be Franklin, and their only product, closed bodies. During the following decade, Walker became Amesburys second largest builder, producing from 8-10,000 bodies per year. 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.

Before the exclusive contract with Franklin, Walker produced bodies for a number of automakers that included 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.

Because both companies worked together, there is bo distinction of which one made the bodies that are shown.

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

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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

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1917 Abbott-Detroit Touring
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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1911 Jackson Touring
Jackson Automobile Co. Jackson, MI 

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1912 White Touring
White Sewing Machine Co. Cleveland, OH 


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1919 Buick Roadster

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1925 Franklin Model C

In 1924, H. H. Franklin & CO. decided to build only luxury cars. This decision now made Walker building elite luxury models of five and seven-passenger sedans. . These sedans required very laborous and tedious work with lavish materials and excellent craftsmen. The maximum output for them was thirty to forty per day. The designer for these cars was J. Frank de Causse. Because of his reputation as a designer, the 1925 special made Franklin was admittted to the invitation only1925 New York Salon Show where it received rave reviews.  Shortly after taking over as the designer, de Causse fell ill and was unable to continue.


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1930 Franklin Car for John D. Rockerfeller


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1932 Special Built Franklin Airman? with special paint decoration

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1931 Victoria Coupe

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1930 Franklin Pirate Sedan

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1930 Franklin Sedan

Taking over the designing of the Franklin car from de Causse was an independant designer Franklin Dietrich who had an elite repuitation. These models were also exhibited at the salon shows.

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1932 Franklin 163 Oxford Automobile

Two special automobile bodies that this firm made was  in 1906 when they made the 1907 Cadillac closed body prototype for the 1907 New York Automobile Show and the Special 1909 Studebaker Surburban.

Bryant Body Company

In 1918, Walker was awarded a contract to make closed bodies from the Jordan company. In order to fullfill this contract, it was necessary to organize another company to build thebodies. This was accomplished by the employees of Walker and Biddle and Smart investing in this new company Called Bryant Body Company. George Bryant, a local lumber dealer furnished the finances. The exceutives came from both of these companies. They were Frank Bryant and John O'Brien from Biddle and Smart and James H. Walker from Walker Body Company.

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1919 Jordan Limousine Automobile

They bought the former Clark Body Company and the equipment. For the next six years, they furnished the Jordan Automobile with closed body sedans. Upon the disolution of the company in 1925, Biddle & Smart bought the company in 1925 and converted the building into a paint drying plant.


Clark Carriage CO. & Clark Body Company

n 1910, William Durant, owner of the Buick Motor Co. in Flint, MI, came to Amesbury to persuade the Clark Carriage Co. to make bodies for his Buick automobile. He was the president of General Motors and was an old friend of the Clark Family. By this time Thomas Clark was the owner of the factory and consented to start building bodies which included Buick and Oldsmobile. They continued to do work for this company during their entire career in the automobile business, specializing in the touring cars. 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.

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


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1917 Buick Touring Automobile
Buick Motors Co. Flint, MI

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1911 Oldsmobile Limited Automobile
Oldsmobile Automobile Co. Lansing Mi.

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Body Tag for the 1911 Oldsmobile

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

In 1915, Durant paid another visit to Amesbury to inform the citizens about the 1915 Chevrolet Coupe that he had named the Amesbury Special in honor of the people of Amesbury.

When James Clark wanted to retire from the company in 1915, the Clark Carriage Company closed down. However, his brother Thomas joined with George E. Hodge to continue making Buick bodies as the Clark Body Company. George already had a company making auxiliary seats for seven-passenger sedans. This was a short-lived company for it was sold to the Bryant Body Company in 1919. At one time there were one hundred and twenty-five men employed.

Shiels Carriage CO.

At the turn of the century, the Shiels Carriage Company was owned by J. Woodbury Currier a trimmer at the John H. Shields Company and George E. Collins who was the manager of the same company. J. Woodbury Currier was a cousin of John Currier, a partner in the Currier, Cameron and Company.When Hume Carriage Co. received orders feom the Grout Brothers of Orange, MA. to make additional bodies, they decided that they wanted to remain a carriage maker and the orders were turned over  to Shields Carriage Company. At about the same time, Currier, Cameron and CO. received such a large order of bodies from the Locomobile company in 1900, it was too much for them to handle and Shields was invited into a parttnership and Shields became a trimming concern. Currier, Cameron and Co. became the body maker for the Grout Brothers.

James Leitch Company

In 1900, Leitch joined with Currier, Cameron, & CO. and Shields Carriage to make most of the bodies for the regional manufactures. Like Hollander and Hollander-Morrill Companies, he built bodies for several taxi companies, including Sultan of Springfield, MA and Harlan Whipple's Taxicab Company of New York City

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1908 Sultan Touring Automobile

Copied from the  April 3, 1909,New York Times

Talk of a "Taxicab Trust" was revived yesterday, when President Harlan J. Whipple of the New York Taxi-Service Company announced that he had bought up the 100 Sultan motor cars and twelve touring cars of the Hexter Taxameter Company, making the second New York City taxicab company which Mr. Whipple's company has bought out in the East six weeks.

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1913 Oldsmobile Touring Automobile
Oldsmobile Automobile, Lansing, MI. 

A 1913 Oldsmobile Touring with Leitch's tag is known to exist.


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1908 Catalogue Cut

His factory which abbuted Clark's Pond burned down in 1912, and he went out of business.

Horworth and Rogers Carriage Co. also built bodies similiar to the ones shown. In 1905, Horworth and Rogers factory was destroyed by fire with 25 completed   bodies.

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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1908 Amesbury Brass Foundry Advertisement

Lambert Hollander

Carriage Avenue

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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Lambert Holland Carriage Co. Factory
Later Lambert and Hollander Automobile Company

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1908 Sultan Touring Automobile
Sultan Motor Co. Springfield, MA

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1909 Haupt Tonneau Automobile
New Departure Mfg.Co. Bristol, CT

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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


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1909 Sultan Taxicab Advertising,

Hollander and Morrill
Carriage Avenue

Successor to Lambert Hollander

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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.

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1910 Detroit Cadillac Automobile Advertisement

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1911 Detroit Cadillac Automobile Advertisement

In December of 1915 Hollander & Morrill started moving out of the former Lambert Hollander factory on Carriage Hill to much larger facilities leased from the Merrimac Valley Power & Buildings Co. The new factory was located in Amesburys upper millyard and was built by the Hamilton Woolen Co.

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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1911 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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1918 Detroit Cadillac, New York City

In December of 1915, Hollander & Morrill moved out of the former Lambert Hollander factory on Carriage Hill to much larger facilities. The new factory was located in Amesburys upper millyard and was built by the Hamilton Woolen Co.

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1924 Cadillac Town Car Advertisement

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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.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 these 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 at 99 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.


1902 Boston and Amesbury Stanhope

Why was this model called Boston and Amesbury? Another car that was built in Boston in 1899 was named Boston and the 1900 electric car built in Amesbury in 1900.

Amesbury machines, John Miller, Jr., co-owner of the Miller Brothers CO., joined with a Boston engineer, John Spiller to develope an automobile using Spiller's engine. With two investors, Robert C. Patten and C. V. Childs, they formed te Boston and Amesbury Manufacturing Company to build their two-passenger stanhope model named Boston and Amesbury. The body was designed by Miller with Shields Carriage Company painting the body and doing the trimming the interior. It was a two-passenger stanhope with a drop down set for two that was popular on the 1902 model-year cars. It had left-hand steering wheel and Gray and Davis made brass special lamps. The runing gear was painted blue.and the body was painted red with black mouldungs.  The seats and top were trimmed in green lather green broadcloth was used to line the inside of the top.

In 1907, a very small contract was drawn up with the Cleveland Auto Co. of Ohio for twelve bodies per week.

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1908 Cleveland Touring Automobile

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1908 Miller Brothers Limousine Automobile

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1908 Miller Bros. Advertisement

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1909 Landaulette Advertisement copied from the 1909 Hub Magazine

In 1913, Miller Brothers moved into the recently vacated Ellis Wagon Company's location at 99 Friend Street. They were there until around 1922 when they ceased operation. Lucier Brothers CO., Albert, Didas, and William,  moved in doing painting and upholstering as well making a few bodies on special orders. They closed down in 1926



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Amesbury Rattan and Reed Company

Copied from the 1910 Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal

The Reed body, illustrated herewith is manufactured by the Amesbury Reed & Rattan Co., Bailey Building, Chestnut Street, Amesbury, Mass. This concern also manufcturers a two-seated body with a basket on the back, also separate baskets in reed or willow. The bodies are built on a 5/8 in. steel platform, and are made of the best imported rattan. They can be colored to suit the purchaser and can be upholstered with any material desired. The bodies are made to fit any chassis and are rubber lined making them dust and water proof. The seats are either the divided or straight back type and upholster may be moved for washing and cleaning.

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1907 Automobile With a Rattan Body

The Amesbury Rattan and Reed Company was a small wicker furniture maker that made wicker bodies beginning around 1900 until shortly after 1910. During its existence from 1900 to 1923, they also made wicker accessories for automobile. These included hampers, baskets, and containers.

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1908 Continental Tonneau Automobile, wicker body

Amesbury has the unique distinction of being the first town in 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, thie body building was discontinued,but rattan accessories were continued until 1925.

Howarth and Rogers

1912- 1914

Copied from the 1912 Automobile Topics Magazine

Ultra Six Appears in Amesbury

The first Ultra car has made its appearance, in Amesbury, Mass., from the shops of Howarth & Rogers Co. The machine is a six-cylinder one, and has been designed by R. H. Randall, a member of the Society of Automobile Engineers. It is to be made in a seven-passenger car for $3,200, fivepassenger for $3,000, and roadster for $?,800. The cylinders are cast in threes, and the motor develops 38 horsepower. The transmission is of the four-speed type. The first body which has been built is entirely an Amesbury production, and gives promise that the new cars will be handsome ones. The radiator is of the pointed type, aiding materially the sweeping lines in securing a low and speedy appearance. While the car is low hung, the clearance is ten inches. A point where the car resembles a foreign one is in the wheels, which are of wire, interchangeable, with a fifth wheel carried in the rear for use when it becomes necessary to change a tire. The wheelbase is 128 inches. The first machine to be turned out will be used as a demonstrator in and around Boston. It is probable that the Ultra Motor Co. will locate in Amesbury and build a plant, the Howarth concern having acted merely as assemblers for the first machine.

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Cut from Beverly Rae Kimes "American Automobiles from 1805-1942" Book

Pettingell Machine Company

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1908 Pettingell Avertisement

December, 1911.
Special Machinery Equipment of the Leading
Automobile Body Shops

A review of the growth of the metal hody business for automobiles takes one to Amesbury, Mass., where the work was first done in a small way by hand, then the increased demand called for machinery and change in method of manufacturing from hand work to machinery designed and built for this special line of work to supply the demands for aluminum and sheet steel bodies. Considerable credit for encouraging, assisting and developing the metal body business should be given to the Pcttingell Machine Co., Amesbury, Mass., the home of the industry, as the management has from the beginning persistently worked and kept experts in touch with workmen in the various shops to develop and build special machinery for the various parts of the work, and encouraged and advised the various body manufacturers to add metal body machinery to their line and be prepared for their share of the enormous business which would surely develop.

They have found the cost of extra or special machines needed to enable manufacturers to make both wood and metal bodies is small compared with the large field for the work. They have built many special machines for various factories and builders and also developed a standard line of machines for metal body work that are now recognized and indorsed the world over and are in use in all the principal factories in America and have also shipped to England, Germany, Australia, Canada and Italy, and are rapidly being installed by many other factories as they see the trend of business towards metal bodies.

The machine company is continually adding to their standard line of machinery any machines or equipment which prove practical and useful after thoroughly trying out on actual work. The old time carriage and body factories of Amesbury, which formerly set the style and standard for quality and work for the world, are all rushed on orders for metal bodies for high-grade automobiles, using Pettingell machinery which has enabled them to keep up their reputation of making the best bodies in the world. Manufacturers in other cities alive to the progress of the Amesbury manufacturers and the possibilities of their metal body work have ordered and installed large numbers of the Pettingell machines in their factories. In Detroit, which is rapidly forging to the front as the largest automobile center of the world, the manufacturers have discarded many of their old line machines and installed large numbers of the various Pettingell machines. In one factory alone (Fisher Body Co.) they have 17 Pettingell patented automatic hammers, large and small, for various kinds of work, and full equipment of beading machines, metal cutting machines, rolling machines and punches, also five Pettingell patent saw lenoners as well as bevel and miter saws, irregular dressers, etc., and can find no other machines better than the Pettingell line for quality and quantity of work.

The frame of their automatic power hammer is of special design to give plenty of room to handle and form body and seat panels, backs, etc., in working. The machines are usually set up high enough to allow room between the floor and the anvil frame to turn or swing a full back panel when working, and operator stands on a small wood platform and controls machine with his foot. Some of the best operators in the country were formerly body makers and
blacksmiths and helpers in the carriage factories. Some mechanics will bring out their work from these hammers so smooth that it will require scarcely any sandpapering or filing. Moldings or headings of various shapes are made in the sheets of metal at the various factories with Pettingell beading machines. Various sizes are found in different factories run by both power and hand, and they also make for these various machines tools for turning over flanges and edges of metal, folding in wire, etc., which is a great help in many factories doing such work. Foot presses for putting on solid molding and rolling machines made in various sizes by the Pettingell Machine Co. are also used in the leading factories.

Any one contemplating the manufacture of metal bodies will do well to consult them in regard to requirements of machinery and be assured of getting proper machines for the work and at the same time save money on their equipment, besides getting many helpful ideas in regard to advanced machines, tools, etc., and working the metal, also in getting out body stock. The Pettingell machines cost less to buy and operate than machines which are not so well adapted
to the work.

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1913 Pettingell Machinery Advertisement

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1913 Pettingell Advertisement

March, 1912.

The Pettingell Machine Co., Amesbury, Mass., manufacturers of carriage and automobile machinery, received a personal visit from Paul Kellner, of Kellner & Sons, Paris, France, in January. The object of Mr. Kellner's call was to purchase some of the Pettingell metal body machinery, which will be sent to the factory in Paris, the finest and largest in France. Mr. Kellner stated that orders for additional machinery would follow as soon as he returned to his home city. The Pettingell company has recently shipped machines to Austria; Turin, Italy, and London, Eng., and are preparing another shipment for Austria. They have just made arrangements with the A. R. Williams Machinery Co., Canada, with branch houses in St. John, Montreal, Toronto, Winnepeg and Vancouver, to act as special agents in the Dominion. Already a number of the largest manufacturers in Canada are using the Pettingell machinery in their factories.

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New Department of the Pettingell Machine Co.

In this number of The Carriage Monthly the Pettingell Machine Co., Amesbury, Mass., are notifying the automobile body manufacturers that they will add to their plant a department in which they will do high-grade metal body work, also work on metal parts. Heretofore they have confined themselves to the manufacture of machinery for wood and metal bodies, but the increasing demand for metal working machines has exhausted the supply of expert men, and they are continually receiving requests from various manufacturers for competent operators to work the machines.

In order to help out the body manufacturers, the Pettingell Machine Co. have secured the services of Gottlieb Bela, one of the best workmen, if not the best, in this country, and they will take such work as the "various manufacturers cannot do in their own plants and will guarantee to do all such work in a first-class manner. They do not intend to handle the cheaper class of work, but will confine themselves strictly to high-grade production. They will also take workmen from the different factories using their machinery and teach them how to run the machines and thus enable the manufacturers, in the future, to do all classes of work in their own shops. This is a chance of a life time for young men who wish to learn this business, and at the same time it enables body builders to send the most difficult parts of the work where they are sure it will be done in a satisfactory manner. From manufacturers doing high-class (duplicate) mill work the Pettingell Machine Co. would require one form or sample sent them, and they will complete and return as many parts as wanted, all existence of the motor-driven vehicle." perfectly done.

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Pettingell Machine Co's Automobile Body Department

The making of dies or forms to press out the metal stock for a sample job is too expensive a process, unless a quantity order is certain to follow, and this you cannot be sure of until after the sample has been submitted. Whether it is the entire metal work or only some part that is giving your workmen trouble, the Pettingell Machine Co., through its metal body department, is prepared to help you. This company manufactures metal automobile body machinery used in leading factories here and abroad, and the Pettingell experts have perfected themselves in the use of these machines, turning out the highest possible grade of work."

The company has recently opened a body shop, in which their experts are prepared to assist all manufacturers in any work that is causing trouble. They also get out your sample work and do any of your special jobs in metal body construction that require special facilities and unusual skill. Particulars will be mailed to manufacturers of vehicle bodies upon request to The Pettingell Machine Co., Amesbury, Mass.

This new department was located at 79 Elm Street and the first body built was for the 1914 Winton model.

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This body work was one of the finest examples of an automobile body yet made. It shows the craftman's skill employed by the Pettingell company and the glass work manufactured by the Amesbury Bent Glass Company.

In 1913, Pettingell Machine Co. moved its metal body department to 79 Elm Street which is on the corner of Clark and Elm Streets.Walker-Wells had recently moved their compnay to the corner of Chestnut and Oakland Streets. His first contracts were with Winton Automobile Co., Cleveland. OH and Franklin Auitomobile Co., Syracuse, NY, with Biddle and Smart doing the decorating. In 1915, Pettingell Machine Co. was reorganized   and Charles Pettingell, son of the founder, went to work with Walker-Wells. The firm was sold to Gottlieb Bela, foreman the metal body making department,  with this department becoming the Bela Body Company.

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1917 Lincoln Model L


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1916 Packard Touring

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1917 Marmon Touring

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1915 Franklin Coupe

Bela also built small numbers of full-custom bodies for Boston's automobile dealers. Liberty, Lenox, and National chassis were displayed at Mechanics Hall during the 1917 Boston Auto Show with Bela bodies and the firm is known to have built bodies for Cole, Marmon, Mercer, Packard, Peerless and Simplex. By mid-1916 orders were sufficient to require additional manufacturing capacity and a vacant factory in nearby Framingham was purchased from the Standard Woven Fabric Co. in order to keep up the demand. Sub-assemblies parts that were  built in Amesbury were transported to the new Framingham plant for final assembly, painting and trimming..

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Due to the war effort causing a great shortage in body making materials and Pettingell Machine Co. was now making machines for the United States, Canada, and The British governments,  They were the largest seller of automobile body machinery in the world.  At one time, Fisher Body had over 500 of the automatic hammers and there was no large repair shop without one. The Company was sold in 1926 and was moved to Lawrence, MA. Bela sold his body company to Richard Long of Framingham in 1918.

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.


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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1915 Ford Touring

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1921 Ford Model T Coupe

Amesbury Metal Body Company

In 1907, J. Albert Davis, retired partner of Gray and Davis, who was a leading proponent of matal bodies, decided to begin building metal bodies. With Charles Prescott, and Fred English, chief machinest for Gray and Davis, the Amesbury Metal Body Co. was formed for making metal bodies. They were one of the first to do so. James Walker, of Walker-Wells, funded the company. Later, Fred England moved to Detroit. When the Walker-Wells partnership was formed in 1911, they absorbed the Amesbury Metal Body CO.and moved into the building. Their work now was making aluminum panels for Walker Body CO. im Merrimac and  and Walker-Wells in Amesbury. This arrangement continued until Wells retired in 1919 and both Walker Companies were organized as the Walker Body Company and built their factory on Oak Street. It is now a condiminium complex.

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1908 Amesbury Metal Body Company Advertisement

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1907 Packard Limousine
Packard Automobile Co. Detroit, MI

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1911 Stevens Duryea Touring
Chicopee, MA

Where Skill and Hard Work Won Out

The success of the Amesbury Metal Body Co., Amesbury, Mass., manufacturers of automobile bodies and fenders, affords a splendid example of the possibilities open to mechanics in the East to establish an industry along the lines which were in vogue in the early history of New England industries. Many of the largest manufacturing industries of the present day located in New England are the outcome and development of a small beginning. It was the custom for one or two mechanics living in the same neighborhood and possessed of practical knowledge in a particular line of manufacturing to associate themselves in a partnership for the manufacture of the article in which they were skilled. In many cases their only assets were their mechanical skill, good character and a capacity for hard work. They found a sale for the goods in their immediate neighborhood and business was confined to a restricted area. The profits derived from the sale of their goods was turned back into the plant, the partners drawing just a sufficient amount to cover their daily household needs.

With the development and growth of the country there came a corresponding development in their business, which meant larger factories and more employes. The employes were the sons and daughters of the neighbors, and, as new capital became necessary, shares of stock were sold, and these neighbors participated in the profits of the business. Today in scores of instances these small beginnings have grown into large and most important industries. The Amesbury Metal Body Co. demonstrates that it is still possible to start on the old lines, and with small capital succeed in building up a profitable business. Starting in business three years ago with a small capital they have achieved a success which is truly remarkable. At first they adopted the standard method of producing bodies, but they soon realized that the old-fashioned method was too slow and that in order to build up a profitable business it would he necessary for them to devise a system which would enable them to produce their goods not only at the least cost, but also in larger quantities in the same given time, and having become convinced of this fact, they undertook to work out the problem. They could not draw from the results and experiments of others made in this line as the plans of manufacturing which had been evolved by them were entirely original, consequently, they were dependent on their own resources to work out new ideas, as every dollar invested in the enterprise belonged solely to the members of the firm. They were not handicapped by directors nor factory managers in their experiments.

With a feeling that their future success depended absolutely upon the perfection of their ideas, they started upon the task of working them out. It was no easy task, and they toiled long hours and many times under discouraging conditions, and, having such a small capital to start with, they were worried as to the outcome, as failure to perfect the method which they had in view would mean the loss of their entire savings which they had put in their capital, as the
expense attendant upon the experiments would have absorbed the entire amount. But eventually their skill conquered the difficulty and they succeeded in perfecting their ideas.

Today they are producing bodies under that system which are practically perfect, not only as regards strength and durability, but also in the other essential of a high-class body, absolute smoothness of surface. The best evidence that could be offered as to the quality of their work and the satisfactory service which they render their patrons is the fact that they have manufactured 2,500 bodies of one type for one manufacturer under their new method. It is pleasant in these days of large capitalization to learn that it is possible for skilled mechanics to go into business and successfully compete with firms which have been established for years and with ample capital to finance their contracts. Today the Amesbury Metal Body Co., as the result of skill and persistence, is one of the largest automobile aluminum body manufacturers in the country, and in addition to reaping a substantial reward for themselves they are giving employment to a large number of skilled mechanics in the town of Amesbury. From the present indications, they will run their factory to its full capacity for 1912. The company sells only to the automobile manufacturers and does not accept orders from individuals.

Amesbury Body Company

Market Square, between Boyle's Drug store and Hollander and Morrill

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Backed by local investors from the employees of Biddle and Smart and Walker Body Co., 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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1923 Haynes Model 55 Touring
Haynes Automobile Co. Kokomo, IN

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1919 Holmes Series A
The Holmes Automobile Co. Canton, OH

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1923 American Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

When the Rolls-Royce decided to manufacture their automobile as the American Rolls-Royce in Springfield by the Springfield Body Company, it was decided that the bodies had to be built by several body companies. Two of these companies were Biddle and Smart and Amesbury Body Company.

It was absorbed by either Biddle and Smart or Walker Body Company in 1925. In all probability, because Biddle and Smart were also making Rolls-Royce bodies, Biddle and Smart was the company.

Rand and Bryant Carriage Company

George W. Hill, of Bradford, MA. owned the Hill Automobile Company in Haverhill. In 1904, he had a prototype built by Gilman W. Brown in West Newbury, MA.

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1904 Hill Touring Automobile

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1907 Hill Tonneau Automobile

In 1950, when Mrs. George Hill was being interviewed about the Hill automobile, she stated that Bryant Body Company of Amesbury built its body. Rand and Bryant has been building carrriages since 1890.


S. R. Bailey & CO

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1906 Essex Steam Touring  was also modeled after the 1905 French Serpollet Car.

By Bailey using the same molds for the two companies, it would save each one a good sum of money that neither the Essex or Hill company had..

Copied from the  36th Annual Report of the Bureau and Stastistics of Labor Magazine,
March 1906

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In Beverly Rae Kimes book " Standard Catalogue of American Cars from 1805-1942", she states that the 1906 Essex car was identical to the French Serpollet automobile. Only a very few were made.

Bailey Electric

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This 1907 model was shown at the New York Show in January with a bar as a tiller, as shown above, but at the Boston Automobile Show in April, it had a D-shape wheel as the tiller.

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1908 Bailey Electric Victoria Phaeton Automobile

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Copied from the 1909 Massachuetts Manufacturers Journal

The Bailey Electric Vehicles. One Of the most attractive automobiles 0n the market is the Bailey Electric Victoria Phaetona characteristic product of this old and' noted company. For more than   fifty years their vehicle products have been known for beauty of design, ingenious mechanical construction, and superlative grade in handicraft and materials. The two generations of skill in handling the ingredients of light draft have been applied to the electric automobile problem, and three years to the perfecting of this one vehicle. The electric vehicle herewith illustrated is different in design from other electrics, both in style and mechanical appointments. The wheels and tires are larger, and the weights are hung lower than in any other, it is claimed. The batteries are hung under the floor. It is made with both wheel steer and with long lever, the motor control in both cases being on top of the steering column and under the operator's hand. The three brakes are operated from one pedal, though separately connected, for the purpose of safety. The manufacturers say the seat is about six inches wider than in other cars of this type, thereby af fording comfortable room for three people. , There is no machinery within the body of the car, the entire space under the seat being used for stowage.

S. R. Bailey &  Co.  have manufactured carriages for fifty years, and are manufacturing this car in the same high grade as their well-known road wagon.

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1909 Bailey Electric Advertisement

This advertisement was used in the 1909, 1910, and 1911 editons of the Journal

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1909 Bailey Electric Victoria Phaeton Automobile

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1911 Bailey Electric Victoria Phaeton


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1912-1913 Bailey Electric Victoria Phaeton


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1912 Bailey Electric Roadster

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1913 Bailey Electric Model F Roadster


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1915 Bailey Electric, Utility Company Special

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1914 Bailey Electric Touring
Used as a Prototype, none made

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1913 -1915 Bailey Electric Delivery Van

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1913 Bailey Electric Automobile Advertisement

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1912 Bailey High Speed Roadster Automobile Advertisement


Graves & Congdon CO

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1908 Amesbury High-Wheel Motor Buggy
Later named the Crown
The only known photograph

The name was changed to "Crown" when production began.

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1908 Crown High Wheel Stanhope Runabout
Graves & Congdon Co.

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1910 Crown Automobile
Copied from the 1910 Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal

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1909 Crown Advertisement

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1909 Graves & Congdon Advertisement




C. C. Witham Body Co

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1920 Adveisement

Those little bumper cars, or the original name "Dodgem", that you see and your children drive at all the amusement parks, were manufactured in Amesbury from 1916-1925 by Carlton Witham of Merrimac

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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.

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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

The factory was located at 100 Friend St. where the former Rollins Carriage factory was located  across the street where Miller Brothers had their body business. It is a vacant lot at Ellis and Friend Street.

Wentworth Body Company
Unit Body Company

In 1918 The Chelmsford. MA. School Board ordered a GMC and a Pierce-Arrow truck to be taken to the Wentworth Body CO. Amesbury, to have bus bodies made. School buses, then known as barges, was a novel idea, especially for a small town. When the school board received the buses, they were very satisfied with the results.

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The one on the right is a GMC Barge (bus ) and on the left is the Pierce-Arrow

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1906 Cadillac with Top Built by Amesbury Top Co.

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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. Even though their advertisements listed Amesbury as one of the cities, no record is known as to thier location here.

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