Category: Automobile


Thomas Humber (1841 – 1910) was a British Engineer interested in improving the bicycle designs of those times. Humber was credited with inventing the safety bicycle  with the pedal driving the rear wheel. Later on, he pioneered same size wheels and diamond-frame design in bicycles.

A Humber Bicycle –

In 1869,  Humber and Company was created to manufacture bicycles. In 1892, Thomas Humber sold off his rights to Henry Lawson of Daimler (England). As a logical step , Humber was experimenting with motorization. In 1896 , they introduced motorized bicycle fitted with Pennigton engine. A 1904 Humber motorcycle –

Humber continued to excel in the motorcycle and motorized tricycles. Parrallely they were experimenting with cars. In 1898 they introduced the first car and followed up with another in 1899 –

This was followed with a car in 1903 , called the Humbrette

During the war , Humber manufactured aircraft engines and continued to manufacture cars after the war.

In 1928 , Humber acquired Commer and in 1929 they acquired Hillman.  In 1932 , the Rootes group acquired Humber. Rootes group was taken over by Chrysler in 1964 and in 1978 Chrysler(Europe) sold off to Peugeot. After 1976, the Humber marque slowly disappeared.

Some of the famous and well know Humber cars – Humber Pullman and Humber Sceptre.

 


The Humber logos –

PACKARD – Luxury

James Ward Packard (1863 – 1928) bought a car from Winton and was not satisfied with its operation and approached Alexander Winton with some suggestions to improve the car. Winton rebuked him and told him to build his own car to incorporate all the suggestions.  James Packard along with his brother William Doud Packard(1861 – 1923) built the first car in 1899.

A 1899 Model A Packard-

 

In 1900, they formed the Ohio Automobile company to manufacture cars. In 1902 , they renamed the company as Packard Motor Car Company.

A 1902 Model F and a 1910 Packard Tourer

 

Packard was known for reliability and luxury and sold their cars in the price range of over $2000 when all others were selling cars below $1000 and thus was serving wealthy customers.

Packard was known for new inventions and innovations. Some of major and well know inventions are –

1913 – Introduced spiral bevel gear in the final drive making the cars silent

1923 – Introduced hypoid gears leading to lower floor levels

1940 – Introduced air conditioning

Packard was one of the top automobile manufacturer for long time before losing traction around the 1950s. Some of the well know models out of a large array of models are –

A 1920 Packard Twin and a 1947 Packard Clipper

In 1954 Packard was acquired by Studebaker corporation and in 1956 the company was renamed as Studebaker-Packard Corporation. By 1962, the Packard badge was dropped and the brand disappeared.

Packard Logo –

 

The history of De Dietrich et Cie can be traced back to 1684 when Jean de Dietrich bought over a forge and came to be known as the “King of iron”. De Dietrich expanded in to manufacture of railway carriages after 1800. The Franco-Prussian war of 1870 split their factories between two countries – Luneville(France) and Niederbronn (Germany).

In 1896 , De Dietrich further expanded in to Automobile production. They built their first automobile with the 2-cylinder engine procured from Amedee Bollee, elder brother of Leon Bollee. The 1896 De Dietrich car –

In 1898 , they further refined the design and introduced the “Torpilleur”  with a 4-cylinder engine. The 1898 de Dietrich Torpedo –

By 1899/1900 , De Dietrich had tied up with Vivinus of Belgium to produce cars at their Niederbronn factory  and Turcat-Mery at their Luneville plant , under the De Dietrich badge. A De Dietrich badge Vivinus and Turcat-Mery cars –

 

 

In 1902, De Dietrich engaged Ettore Bugatti, a young and award winning engineer, at their Niederbronn factory to design develop new cars. One of the well know car being the type 5 –

In 1904 , Ettore Bugatti left De Dietrich to join Mathis Car Company and, in the  same year , De Dietrich closed their Niederbronn factory and shifted the entire automobile production to Luneville factory. In celebration , the word Lorraine was added to the De Dietrich name and the company name was changed to Lorraine-Dietrich. The Cross of Lorraine was adopted as the logo.

In 1907 , Lorraine-Dietrich acquired the Italian luxury and race care maker  Isotta-Fraschini which in turn brought in technology like four wheel brakes and overhead cam engines.

Lorraine- Dietrich was involved in racing and had won many major automobile races of that time including the Tour de France. A 1915 Lorraine-Dietrich race car –

During the world war I , Lorraine- Dietrich was involved in the manufacture of aircraft engines.

After the war , automobile production was restarted. A 1924 Lorraine-Dietrich –

Automobile business became unprofitable and ultimately closed down in 1935. The Luneville factory was converted to manufacture of railway coaches.

The Lorraine-Dietrich logo –

The logo of Turcat-Mery and Vivinus which were sold under the De Dietrich badge –

 

The history of Studebakers can be traced back to the 1700s when three German brothers emigrated to the US. John Studebaker (1799 – 1877), son of one of the Studebaker brothers was involved in the business of blacksmith and metal working. He ran his business on the philosophy “always give more than you promise” and in the process ran in to debt.

John Studebaker had five sons (pictured above) – Henry (1826-1895) , Clement (1831-1901) , John Mohler (1833-1917), Peter Everst (1836-1897), Jacob Franklin (1844-1887) and were the pioneers of Studebaker Corporation as we know today.

In 1858 , Henry Studebaker and Clement Studebaker formed the company H and C Studebaker to manufacture wagon components  and later on wagons. John Mohler Studebaker was in the business of making wheel barrows and parts.

In 1868 , John Mohler joined the wagon making business and Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company was formed. Studebaker became largest and finest manufacturer of horse-drawn wagons.

A Studebaker Wagon –

Studebaker flourished in the wagon business aided by war and supplies to the war machinery.

In 1891 , Frederick Fish , son-in-law of John Mohler joined the business and was urging the Studebaker brothers to move towards horseless carriages. In 1897 , Studebaker Automobiles was created to manufacture and sell horseless carriages. As the Studebakers considered gasoline and steam engines as noisy, they decided to manufacture electric automobiles. In 1902 , Studebaker introduced the first electric automobile. The second electric automobile was purchased by Thomas Edison

Frederick Fish continued to look for opportunities to enter the gasoline automobile and, in 1904, entered in to agreement with Garford Automobile company to supply engines and Chassis on which Studebaker will build the carriage and sell it through their distribution network. These cars were known as Studebaker-Garford

Garford company could not keep up with the demand and coupled with labour problems were unable meet the requirements of Studebaker. Frederick Fish was looking for an alternative and in 1909 entered in to an agreement with E-M-F company to supply engines and chassis to Studebaker. Garford was discontinued. A Studebaker-EMF car –

E-M-F cars were notoriously unreliable and was known to have major mechanical problems in transmission and clutch and was jokingly known as “Every Morning Fix-it”. E-M-F company also ran in to financial problems and it gave an opportunity for Studebaker to acquire the company . In 1911 , Studebaker Automobiles acquired E-M-F Company and renamed as Studebaker Corporation and then on all cars were branded as Studebaker. After that Studebaker sent out mechanics to all owner’s of Studebaker-EMF 20 cars and replaced defective parts , probably the first recall.

Studebaker was one of the major suppliers of automobiles and military equipment during the WWI.

In 1937 , Studebaker corporation planted 5000 pine trees in their factory in such a shape to spell the company name. Even today these tress can be seen from satellite pictures. Link to Studebaker trees.

 

Some of the famous an well known Studebaker Automobiles –

1927 Studebaker Erskine

1939 Studebaker Champion

1950 Studebaker “Bullet Nose”

1953 Studebaker Starliner

1963 Studebaker Avanti

In 1954 Studebaker was acquired by Packard Corporation and in 1956 , the company was renamed as Studebaker-Packard Corporation. In spite of this the company was losing money in view competition from Ford and General Motors. In 1962, the Packard name was dropped and reverted back to the earlier name Studebaker Corporation.

Studebaker corporation could not keep up with the competition and finally was closed in 1966.

The evolution of the Studebaker logo over the years –

HORCH – Listen

August Horch (1868 – 1951), a German Engineer, was employed in the Engine factory of Karl Benz. In 1899, he quit Benz and started his own company and named it A.Horch & Cie. The first automobile made in 1901 was a 2 cylinder , 4.5 HP car –

In this car , Horch had a “shock-free” engine design – it was claimed that a 5 cent coin, standing on its side, will not fall when the engine is idling. He was also the first to introduce Aluminum alloy for the engine crankcase and transmission housings.

In 1904 Horch introduced  4 cylinder cars and in 1908  6 cylinder cars –

Horch recognized the importance of racing and was actively involved in various racing event , winning many. A 1908 Horch racer –

In 1909 August Horch quit the company after a tussle with the board of directors. After quitting A. Horch & Cie, August Horch created another company  called Audi, the latin translation of Horch – meaning “Listen”

Horch continued to manufacture luxury cars with bigger engines. In 1923, Paul Daimler designed a 8 cylinder engine for Horch.

A 1938 Horch –

In 1928, Horch was acquired by another company called DKW. In 1932 , 4 companies got together and formed the Auto Union comprising of Horch, Audi, DKW & Wanderer.

After the war,  Horch manufacturing facilities in East Germany were controlled by Russians and manufactured Sachsenring P240 cars and later on the infamous Russian Trabant cars. A 1956 Sachsenring –

In 1964, Auto Union was acquired by Volkswagen group and later renamed as Audi.

Horch Logo –

Adam Opel (1837 – 1895), a German,  founded the company Opel Nahmaschinen to manufacture sewing machines in 1862. In 1886, he expanded in to the manufacture of Bi-cycles. At his death in 1895, Opel was the market leader in both sewing machines and Bi-cycles.

After Adam Opel’s death , his sons Fritz Opel and Wilhelm Opel decided to design and manufacture Automobiles. In 1899 , they teamed up with Friedrich Lutzmann to develop a Motor car and the Patentmotorwagen “Systeme Lutzmann” was born.

The design of the Patentmotorwagen was outdated and only 65 units were made before stopping manufacture.

In 1901 , the Opel brothers entered in to a licensing agreement with Automobiles Darracq to manufacture and sell Darracq cars – Opel body on a Darracq chasis, under the brand Opel-Darracq. A 1902 Opel -Darracq –

Opel – Darracq partnership continued till 1906, by which time Opel started developing and manufacturing their own engines and car. Opel-Darracq partnership was dissolved in 1907.

In 1909, Opel introduced their small car – Opel 4/8 PS. This car came to be known as the “Doctor’s Car” as it was very useful and easy to use for physicians making house calls. It was one of the first cars to have Opel insignia in the radiator.

In 1924 , Opel introduced a cheaper 2-seater car called Opel Laubfrosch – meaning tree frog. The name tree frog due to its protruding headlamps, boat-like rear and green paint. The car was manufactured in the first  mass production facility of Opel  in Germany. There was an unsuccessful claim by Citroen on the originality of the design this car.

In 1928, Opel was acquired by General Motors and became subsidiary of General Motors covering the European market. Opel went on to manufacture many well known models – Opel Kapitan, Opel Olympia, Opel Kadett etc. A 1936 Opel Olympia which was released to commemorate the Berlin Olympics –

During the war, Opel made trucks, the famous being the Opel Blitz – German for lightning. The lightning symbol forms a part of Opel’s logo today. A Opel Blitz truck –

The evolution of  Opel Logo –

The first logo with initials A and O – 1862

The Opel “eye” logo which was used till about 1935

The Opel logo during the wars – airship inside an “O” depicting German Engineering.

The current Opel logo from 2010 onwards –

In 1891 , Albert Eadie (1850 – 1931) and Robert Walker Smith (1857 – 1933) bought out George Townsend and Co which was in the business of manufacturing sewing needles, fishing hooks and bicycles. They renamed the company as Eadie Manufacturing Company.

Apart from the existing business , Eadie Manufacturing was also supplying weapon and rifle parts to Royal Small Arms factory located at Enfield. On receiving a large supply contract from them , Eadie Manufacturing named their bicycle as Enfield, in celebration. In 1892 , they added the “Royal” and thus became Royal Enfield bicycles.
In 1893, the line “Made like a Gun” was added in the company logo. In 1896, a new company – New Enfield Cycle Company was created to concentrate on the bicycle business. In 1897 , the company was renamed as Enfield Cycle Company Ltd.
Enfield was known for designing varieties of bicycle variants and were one of the pioneers in the evolution of bicycles – ladies bicycle, back pedal brakes, sprockets etc.
Some of the early bicycles – a 1895 Eadie Boneshaker and a 1904 Enfield Tandem bicycle.

 

Enfield Cycle Company started experimenting with motorised cycles and in 1898 brought the first motorised Quadracycle with De-Dion engine.
Due to booming business on bicycles, Enfield did not concentrate on motorisation and it was not until 1903 they introduced motorcycles. A 1913 and a 1923 Royal Enfield Motorcycle –
In 1906, Enfield Cycle Company created a separate company to manufacture cars, named as Enfield Autocar Company. In 1907 , Enfield Autocar Company was acquired by Alldays and Onions. From 1919 cars were made under the Enfield-Alldays brand.
Enfield Cycle Company continued to make motorcycles under the Royal Enfield brand and were major suppliers to Military and Army across the world and were major contributors during both the world wars.
In 1932, the legendary “Bullet” was introduced with various engine options.
In 1949, the Indian Army imported the Royal Enfield Bullet as the motorcycle for their use in border patrol and in 1955 Bullet was manufactured in India in collaboration with Madras Motors in Madras (now Chennai). Later on the name was changed to Enfield India as the motorcycle was fully localised.
In 1968, owing to financial troubles, the Enfield Cycle Company was sold to Norton-Villiers-Triumph and the brand disappeared from 1970.
However, the Royal Enfield continued to be manufactured in India as Enfield India. In 1994, Enfield India was acquired by Eicher group. Eicher group repurchased the Royal Enfield brand in 1995 and now is being used in all the Enfield Motorcycles being manufactured in India.
The Logo of Enfield Cycle Company and Royal Enfield –

 

Alexandre Darracq (1855-1931) , a Frenchman , created Gladiator Cycle Company in 1891 and was very successful in the business. In 1896 , he sold the bicycle company and formed Automobiles Darracq et Cie. Initially Automobiles Darracq was involved in electric carriages, Millet motorcycles and Leon Bollee automobiles.  In 1900, Darracq built its first car and was the first to use pressed steel chasis and was one of the first cars to be manufactured using factory machine as compared to skilled labour.
A 1901 , 6.5 HP Darracq –
Alexandre Darracq expanded his geographical footprint by licensing his car designs.
In 1902, he licensed his design to Adam Opel of Germany who made cars branded as Opel-Darracq in Germany.
In 1905 , he formed A. Darracq and Company in Britain.
1906 , he licensed his design to a group of Italians and formed the company Societa Automobili Italiana Darracq (SAID) in Milan. This company did not do well and in 1909, a new company was formedAnonima Lombarda Fabbrica Autombili (A.L.F.A). This company flourished and was later taken over by Nicola Romeo which became Alfa Romeo.  A 1910, 24 HP A.L.F.A-
In 1907 , he licensed his design to Spain and formed Sociedad Anonima Espanola de Automiviles Darracq.
Darracq was heavily involved in racing and Darracq cars won many race events. Darracq was holding the land speed record in 1904 and 1905.Louis Chevrolet was one of the famous test drivers for Darracq. A Darracq racer –
Alexandre Darracq retired from business in 1913 and sold out his holdings to Britisher Owen Clegg who took charge of Automobiles Darracq. In 1919, Darracq acquired Talbot and in the next year Talbot-Darracq was merged with Sunbeam to form Sunbeam-Talbot- Darracq (STD)combine.
The STD combine collapsed in 1935 and was taken over by Rootes group. Rootes group went in to financial trouble in 1964 and was acquired by Chrysler Eurpoe. In 1978, Peugeot and Renault acquired the brands from Chrysler Europe.
The Darracq logo –

 

 

Alldays and Onions Pneumatic Engineering Company was formed in 1889 by the merger of  John C Onions Ltd and William Allday and Sons. These companies were involved in Engineering and blacksmith operations and were founded by John C Onions in 1650 and William Allday in 1720, respectively.
Alldays and Onions expanded in to manufacture of bicyles. In 1898 , Alldays and Onions manufactured their first car called the Traveller, even though it was not sold before 1903. An original 1900 Traveller –
By 1903 , Alldays and Onions were selling cars and also expanded in to Motorcycles. Motorcycles were sold under the Allday-Matchless name and was later renamed as Allon , so as not to confuse with another company by the similar name (Matchless). A 1903 Alldays and Onions Motorcycle –
Alldays and Onions manufactured and sold cars and Motorcycles and were known for their hill climbing ability. They expanded to trucks and tractors also.
In 1908, they acquired the Motor car division of Enfield Cycle Companycalled Enfield Autocar Co. Alldays and Onions brand and the Enfield Brand were kept separately and cars were sold under their own brand names. A 1907 and a 1914 Enfield car –
By 1919 , Alldays and Onions and Enfield Autocar Company were merged to form Enfield-Allday and from then on cars were made under the Enfield-Allday brand. A 1919 Enfield-Allday car –
The Allday and Onions logo –
Enfield – Alldays closed operations in 1925 and the Enfield brand was repurchased by Enfield Cycle Company.

 

 

Thomas H White (1836 – 1914) was an inventor and pioneer of sewing machines which were sold under the New England Brand and later White brand. In 1858, Thomas White founded the White Manufacturing Company to manufacture and sell sewing machine and components. The company was renamed as White Sewing Machine Company in 1876. In 1894 , his son Rollin Henry White (1872 – 1962) joined the company and was interested in horseless carriages and automobiles.
In 1898 , he bought a Locomobile steam car and went about improving the reliability of its boiler. In 1898 he invented a flash boiler suitable for automobiles. The flash boiler had coiled water tubes and had the advantage of reducing the starting time of a steam car from the traditional 20+ min to less than 10 min. He had also used the compound steam engine with high pressure and low pressure cylinders. A condenser in the front recycled the exhausted steam back to the water tank as water, thus increasing the range.
Watch Jay Leno start and drive  a 1907, 30 hp White Steamer here.
In 1900, they made the first steam car with the flash boiler. Rollin white developed variants with his steam engine including trucks.  A 1900 White steam car and truck.
White entered in to racing and in 1905 , a White Racer named “Whistling Billy” set the land speed record of 74 mph. In 1906 the company was renamed as White Motor Car co.
White also had the reputation of being the first official Presidents Car in the USA. In 1909, President Taft made a White Model M his official state car. White is also credited with the first automobile to be used in wars for transport. The official state car – Model M –
By 1910,  realising the mass adoption of internal combustion engine, they moved to manufacture of Gasoline engine trucks. White trucks were famous for their quality and were in demand from all over the world including for military purposes.
White Motor Car Company consolidated its leadership in the truck segment by acquiring a lot of truck companies. In 1951 they acquired Sterling Motor Truck Company; in 1953 they acquired Autocar Company; in 1957 they acquired REO Car Company and in 1958 they acquiredDiamond T Motor Car company. In 1976 they merged Diamond T and REO to form the Diamond Reo Truck company.
White Motor Car company with all its subsidiaries were taken over byVolvo Trucks in 1981 and the brand slowly disappeared after that.
The logo of White –