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Saturday, October 29, 2011
Early American Automobiles Amesbury Body Builders
Amesbury Body Builders 1895-1932
The most definitive history of automobiles and bodies built in Amesbury with photos and a short history each builder
A large amount of this material was taken from two sources,Coachbuilts' web site, the largest and most detailed internet site for American car body builders. Some of the information was edited and some was copied verbatem and K. Doubleday's book, Autotomobile Bodies Built in Amesbury.
S. R. Bailey & Co's 1898 Electric Victoria Phaeton was the first car made in Amesbury.
There were some cars built that were one of a kind and were never put into production. These include the 1899 Amesbury Electric.
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 1900 gasoline, a model that 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 Dicterory. Another model was being made in 1907 that never was completed.
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
1894 Duryea Runabout
1898 Duryea Delivery Wagon
From 1896 to 1912, Currier, Cameron, & Co. Carriage Company made bodies for more automobiles than any other body maker in the world, including Fisher Body of Detroit. A very big statement for such a small company.
This was the beginning of the body building industry in Amesbury that lasted until 1932 when Walker had to stop making bodies for the Franklin automobile. During this time, there were at least thirty Amesbury manufacturers who were making bodies and at least twenty companies that were making parts.
Not until the early 1920's, the body builder was able to have the name on the body of the automobile. Not until 1923 would Hudson Automobile Company reveal that Biddle and Smart made their bodies and then after being questioned from their dealers. This being the case, unless records were kept by the builder, there was no way one would be able to identify the body builder. There were a very few exceptions to this. A lot of research that has been done to publish this page came from such company records published in books and on the internet. There was tremendous amount of information that has been gathered that had never been recorded anywhere. Luckily, after spending one year and going through thousands of web sites, reading hundreds of digitized automobile related material, some several times, and following every lead that was available was this information put together. Every bit has been carefully verified before being written. Because of the internet, information has been found that was impossible to find before. Nothing is written in stone.
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.
1899 Locomobile Runabout Locomobile Co. of America, Bridgeport, CT 1900-1928
1901 Locomobile Runabout Locomobile Co. of America, Bridgeport, CT 1900-1928
The Locomobile Company of America was founded in 1899. John Walker bought the Stanley Automobile Co. for $200,000, with all of one car built, but 199 more ordered, then sold a half interest to paving contractor, Anzi Barber. Their partnership was a very short one. Walker went on to found the Mobile Company of America in Tarrytown, NY, while Barber kept the Locomobile name and moved to Bridgeport, Ct. I cannot find definite proof, but my belief is that the one hundred ninty-nine bodies remaining to be built were given the Locomoble name. In 1900, Locomobile gave them a contract to produce 20 bodies per week in three varying styles; a runabout, a Victoria, and Stanhope. Shown here are two different styles of the same model.
Don't stop here! There are a whole bunch of great Pics and info on 1895-1932 Motor Cars!:) Don