Posts Tagged New York

Coates–Goshen 1908 – 1910

The Coates-Goshen was produced by Joseph Saunders Coates in Goshen, New York. Automotive industries reported $150,000 was raised for a new factory at 183 Greenwich Avenue Goshen, NY with a capacity of 150 units for the year.

The cars had four-cylinder engines of 25-hp and 32-hp and in 1910, larger 45 and 60-hp models were built. Some sources say the factory burned down and they closed after they built only 30 cars. This story makes no sense with the advertisements and records for years of production. Others sources say the building still stands as of 2010  retaining its original look as Healey Brothers Chevrolet-Buick.

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Buckmobile 1902-1905

W.H. Birdsall built the first prototype Buckmobile in 1901. The introduction of the car was announced in the June, 1902 Horseless Age and the Buckmobile was one of 114 exhibitors at the November, 1902 New York Auto Show.

The first Buckmobile factory was located in the old Utica Automobile Company plant (which Buckmobile succeeded) at the intersection of John and Catherine streets in Utica, NY. When production exceeded plant capacity Buckmobile relocated to 708 Genesee Street at the intersection of Shepherd Place in Utica. The Utica Automobile Company building remained in operation as a retail automobile dealership offering Wintons, Oldsmobiles, Locomobiles, Electrics and Buckboards.

Childs Company in Utica (just a few blocks away) built the wood coachwork for the Buckmobile roadsters and runabouts from 1903 to 1905. The car was built with leather seat and aluminum fenders. The gasoline capacity was 6 gallons that allowed the 2 cylinder vertical engine to run the car 100 miles with a top speed of 25 miles per hour. The engine was under the seat until 1905, the hood was only for style. The Buckmobile was a single chain drive vehicle with two speeds forward and one reverse controlled by one lever. The wheels could be ordered as either wire or artillery wood construction and either lever or wheel Steering could be ordered. The car listed for $1,850.00 in 1904.

In June of 1904 Motor Age announced the Black Diamond Automobile Company of Geneva, New York would consolidate with Buckmobile and had also purchased the Remington automobile plant to produce practically the same machines being made by the Buckmobile. In November  of 1906 “The Automobile”  reported the Seaton Automobile Company, of Utica, was organized and had purchased the plant of the Black Diamond Automobile Company on Sunset avenue. Legal documents show it was purchased at the Sheriff’s sale on October 17 by the former president of the Buckmobile Company, A. J. Seaton.

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Cleveland Motor Car Company

Cleveland Motor Car Company  was started in the early 1900’s by E. J. Pennington in Cleveland, Ohio. Certainly not to be confused with the Cleveland Automobile Company started by F.C. Chandler in 1919–the two companies are not related. It is not clear to me when he actually built his cars, maybe 1903-1908 (?). Above is the 1907 Cleveland and below is the 1905 Cleveland ad. I have seen many conflicting reports each stated with confidence, so I have used dates that have been published in periodicals of the time and advertisements. Very few cars were advertised that were not built such as the Davis, advertised from 1930-1932 in hopes of re-opening the factory that had been foreclosed.

Before the Cleveland Motor Car Company, E.J. Pennington built The Tractobile from 1900-1902 in Carlisle, PA. The steam-powered device could be attached to any horse drawn carriage to make it into an automobile. The steam motor was connected to a removable frame built between two bicycle wheels with a tiller connected to the right wheel. The Tractobile advertisements used an acrostic for Steam Engine.
Simple, Trusty, Economical, Ample power, Mechanical, Efficient, Noiseless, Gearless, Interchangeable, No complications, Exhaust invisible.
The Tractobile sold for $450.00 by itself, or a complete car could be ordered for $625.00 ($650.00 with rubber tires). There is a photo below.

When estimating production numbers for automobiles in the New Year, the January 7,1904 issue of Motor Age stated, “A new and unknown quantity in the local field is the Cleveland Motor Co., a concern headed by E. J. Pennington.”  In the same issue it was reported that “Only one Cleveland retailer failed last season”. This is why I used 1903 for a start date. That seems to fit with the discontinued idea of the steam engine device as well. The ad at the top is a 1905 Cleveland model.

The July 6, 1905 issue of The Automobile reported Pennington was working on a huge 208-horsepower road juggernaut with a locomotive “cow-catcher” in front. Below is a photo of the Pennington built car from 1895 with a cow catcher attached, most likely his original idea, not the model reported he was working on in 1905. (208 horse on this ride would be frightening.)

Motorized baby carriages were also mentioned as one of the ideas Pennington had in other publications. E. J. Pennington certainly had a history of coming up with ideas to make money that didn’t work out, and cost his investors a great deal of money. The New York Times reported June 28th 1904 that E.J. Pennington was arrested for fraud at the St. Louis World’s Fair. After his death on March 10, 1911 the New York Times article Claimed his life was out of the adventures of the get-rich-quick variety. It also stated he was married again hours after his wife was buried.

Horseless Age January 1908 said “the Cleveland Motor Car Company began making important changes in its organization. It disposed of its factory in Cleveland, and made arrangements to build a new factory at Milwaukee. Early last summer At the same time the main office and sales department were removed from Cleveland to 1659 Broadway, New York, where all the business of the company is now transacted. The company decided to build 300 cars during the coming year, and to dispose of its product entirely through branch offices.” Below is a scan of the specifications for the Cleveland out of a book with all the vehicle specifications for all cars and trucks sold in the United States in 1907.

I have found no other mentions of a Cleveland factory in WI, so I have used the 1908 for an end of production. By 1913 there was a tire store located in the NY office address listed earlier.

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Chase 1907-1912 (Trucks through 1919)

Aurin M. Chase started the Chase Motor Truck Company in 1907 employing about 200 factory workers at 332 south West Street in Syracuse, New York. The plant manufactured frames, bodies, transmissions, and engines. The early Chase vehicles were fit with a three-cylinder, two-cycle air-cooled engine of their own design. I see a listing for three Chase trucks, along with specifications, in the 1907 publication of the Illustrated Directory of Specifications, but no Chase cars are shown. This announcement was published in The Municipal journal & public works publication in 1907 “The Chase Motor Car Company has been awarded contract for a runabout gasoline automobile for the Department of Public Works.”

Chase had the idea to build a basic gasoline-fueled highwheeler that could be transformed into either a truck or a passenger car. This idea is still used in contemporary production. The Chevrolet HHR (Heritage High Roof) was built on a Chevy Cobalt automobile chassis, and the PT Cruiser utilized the Neon automobile chassis.

In the July 1, 1909 publication of Automotive Industries reported the Chase Motor Truck Company, Syracuse, N. Y., is now bringing out a surrey or business wagon. Chase was introducing a vehicle for a combination of business and pleasure. The surrey type body was fit with a removable rear seat that converted converted the vehicle into a runabout for two. The removed rear seat also provided a large space in the rear for luggage or cargo. It reminds me of the El Camino, or even the Suburban/Tahoe with removable and folding seats. A canopy style top could also be purchased at an additional cost to the regular price of $900, according to the car show roster published in The Horseless age, another automobile trade magazine.

By 1909 the company was producing a two-cylinder air-cooled engine with 129 cubic inches and 12 horsepower. Chase focused advertising on the simplicity of the vehicles and the air-cooled engines, “which means that there is no pump, no water to be renewed frequently, no piping to leak, nor any other sources of trouble.” The September 1, 1909 edition of The Power Wagon, a commercial vehicle trade magazine of the day, complimented them on the simplicity of their ideas by stating “Their engineering is expressed in exceedingly simple form.” A full description was included in the article.

In 1912 the company had doubled their business in a little over a year, so production of the one-ton truck, with chain drive, wooden carriage wheels and solid tires was supplemented with a variety of Continental engines. Chase would eventually use the four-cylinder engine from Continental as the standard truck power plant.

In the August 16, 1913 “Telephony magazine” The American Telephone Journal,
It was about the Chase fire truck.

“With a truck of this kind the fire fighting company, upon receipt of an alarm by telephone or through the regular channels, could make a record breaking run to the scene of the fire. It will be noticed that the truck carries all the essentials with which to quench an incipient fire. It arrives on the scene long before the mandrawn or horse-drawn vehicles can get a fair start in the direction of the fire. Used in towns having telephone fire alarm service, the fire losses should be small.”

The text in quotes above was taken from that telephone periodical. Below is a photo of the fire hose truck built for the Ontario Hose Co., of Canandaigua, N. Y., by the Chase Motor Truck Company.

Chase Motor Truck Company ended production of passenger cars in 1912 to focus on building the profitable trucks. During World War I production of trucks were focused on the military, but many contracts were cancelled by the government which put a significant number of truck builders out of business. Financial problems arose at Chase as a result of contract losses and providing replacement parts to customers. . Chase also built tractors from 1911 until 1919 but shortly after the war the demand for tractors leveled off also and Chase was sold to a Canadian parts supplier in 1919.

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Berkshire 1905-1912

The Berkshire was built in Pittsfield, Mass, by The Berkshire Automobile Company, which moved operations to Cambridge, MA in 1912. You can see from the above photo of the 1911 Berkshire that it was a right hand drive car.

In March of 1905 The Horseless Age reported Berkshire Automobile Company had completed their first touring car propelled by a 30 horse power, four cylinder motor. The Dec 28, 1905 issue of The Automobile stated The Douglas Andrews Company of New York, had secured the selling agency for the entire output of the Berkshire Automobile Company and would probability open stores in the large cities. I don’t know how that actually unfolded. The 1906 ad below advertises a 24 horse power motor that sold for $2500 and a 35 horse power motor that sold for $3000.

The Jan 11, 1912 issue of The Automobile reported The Berkshire Automobile Company decided to move to Cambridge, Mass to a temporary factory while a new building was erected. Vintage ads show fours and sixes were available for 1912.

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Century 1899-1903

Century built steam, electric, and gasoline automobiles in Syracuse, New York. They all had tiller steering. The advertisement above is for the 1902 Century.  The January 7th 1904 issue of Motor Age reported the Century Motor Company produced an excellent gasoline automobile, and took enough orders at the New York Auto show to have a good year. Century was unable to handle the volume of vehicles sold or to build the cars at the price estimated they could be turned out. The Century Company went to great expense in purchasing new equipment for their factory and had built one of the best automobile plants in the country at that time. Century had too many liabilities to make a merger with another company a financially sound decision. In July of 1903 Century laid off 200 employees and production ceased.

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Bliss 1906

Eliphalet Williams Bliss in Brooklyn, NY founded the E.W. Bliss Co. in 1867. The Bliss Company was diversified through the manufacture of shells and projectiles and the manufacture of tools, presses, and dies for use in sheet metal work. Bliss took out patents on machines for manufacturing and soldering metal cans and for shaping and casting sheet metal. Today the company is still manufacturing metal forming type Industrial Machinery and Equipment Machine tools.

In 1904, Motor Age Magazine printed the news that “The E.W. Bliss Company has taken up the manufacture of automobiles. Experiments have been so successful that plans are being made for the installation of a plant which will permit extensive operations along these lines.”

Bliss was on the roster as one of the 204 exhibitors for display on the main floor of the Automobile Club of America sixth annual car show  in New York Jan 13th through Jan 20th 1906. The photo at the top is a 1906 Bliss and shown below is a brochure for their metal press. Eliphalet Bliss died in 1902, so he never got to see the cars that would carry his name on the badge.

By Rick Robinson

Church Growth Associates, Inc.

Follow my hobby of antique cars and the restoration of my 1929 Pontiac.

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Berg 1902-1905

Hart O. Berg began production of the Berg at Cleveland, OH. The Berg was an assembled car sold through their Berg Automobile agents in New York City, Binghamton, NY, Detroit MI and Philadelphia, PA. The Berg was priced starting from $2,700.00 for the smaller 78 inch wheelbase two cylinder engine models with 32 inch x 3 1/2 inch wheels and tires, and three speed transmission. There was also a 90 inch wheelbase car with the larger four cylinder engine and the larger 34 inch x 4 inch wheels and tires and a four speed transmission. The photo above is a 1904 Berg with the prices listed on the top right. Below is a 1904 Berg magazine ad. 1905 was the last year for the Berg, when the Berg Automobile Co. was sold to the Worthington Automobile Co. of New York, NY.

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Babcock 1909-1913

H.H Babcock produced an assembled car called the Babcock in Watertown, New York from 1909 to 1913. This automobile is sometimes confused with the Babcock Electric, They were both built in New York, but this was a gasoline engine car not related to the Babcock Electric.

Henry Holmes Babcock started Watertown’s first carriage factory during the early 1870s. Carriages, wagons and sleighs would be the standard mode of transportation in the New York snow-belt for another fifty years. Babcock was most successful in the automobile business by building commercial and auto bodies. The first major bodybuilding contract arrived in the early 1900s for 80 omnibus bodies for use in the City of Buffalo. Babcock also made production bodies for Dodge Brothers, Ford, Lincoln, Franklin and Wills-Sainte Claire automobiles during the teens and twenties.

Babcock introduced six different styles of delivery van and depot hack bodies for Ford Model T and TT chassis and for the Dodge Brothers. Babcock used a patented steel body construction for all of their commercial bodies. These were marketed directly to Ford and Dodge dealers rather than the manufacturer. Babcock commercial bodies to fit chassis for White, Olds and GMC were also available until Babcock closed in August of 1928. At the top is a Dodge Brothers truck ad, promoting the Babcock body.Below you will find a picture of the original Babcock factory and a period ad for the Babcock car, proud of the price, whatever it is.

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Babcock Electric 1906-1912

The Buffalo Electric Carriage Company was started in 1900 and became the Babcock Electric Carriage Company in 1906, founded by and named after Francis A Babcock. The Babcock was marketed at women using the selling features of being clean, safe, and easy to use. Some advertising for the Babcock used children as well. The cover of a 1907 Babcock Electric brochure has a picture of a little girl driving the car with her mother sitting next to her. In the early automobile days, the electric car was a competitive market for the auto manufacture. In Buffalo alone, there were over 300 electric cars being used by 1908, not counting all the commercial vehicles. The New York Times reported in October of 1906 about a historic run of 100 miles made by a Babcock Electric car from Jersey City to Philadelphia on a single charge and using only its stock batteries. That would be a good run in 2011 for an electric without help of on-board charges. The driver averaged 12 mph on the historic run in 1906, not so bad for a 2011 golf cart.

There was a time when steam electric and gasoline cars equalled each other in production, but price advantages, availability of electriciy, and the introduction of electric starter by DELCO, first used on the Cadillac, soon place the gasoline engine in the fore front for sales.

In 1912 Babcock Electric was sold and became The Buffalo Electric Vehicle Company which went out of business in 1916. This Joined a roster of some thirty automakers that went out of business in Buffalo, NY. The top photo is a Babcock Stanhope model for 1906. Next is the Babcock Electric Carriage Company Factory followed by a Stanhope being re-charged.  If you have had an auto repaired recently, you might enjoy seeing an invoice from 1910. Last but not least is a scan of a period advertisement.

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