Tag Archives: Waverley

Check out the Indianapolis made Waverley

An electric car in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Indiana Automobiles: Precision over Production exhibit is the 1899 Waverley Electric. Visit the Indiana Automobiles: Precision over Production exhibit today.

1899 Waverley Electric

Waverley electric vehicles were built in Indianapolis under four different corporate names: Indiana Bicycle Company (1898 1901), International Motor Car Company (1901-1903), Pope Waverley (1903 1907), and The Waverley Company (1908-1916). The first Waverley electric car was a two-passenger Stanhope with tiller steering, 36-inch wheels with pneumatic tires, and a single headlight.

Waverley exhibited one Stanhope, four dos-a-dos, and one delivery wagon at the New York Auto Show in May 1899. This line-up showed that its factory was—at that time—manufacturing in quantities for a variety of needs. All the cars—except for one dos-a-dos—were sold and delivered after the show.

Waverley offered several other models like the piano box runabout and an open road wagon. About 2,000 vehicles were sold by 1903. Waverley then built the first coupe body ever constructed for an electric vehicle. The popularity of this type of closed car was so great that all the electric manufacturers soon devoted their attention to closed passenger cars. The demand for coupes, broughams, and limousines steadily increased, to the neglect of the smaller open cars. By 1909, the Silent Waverley Electrics used a “noiseless” shaft drive from the traction motor to the rear wheels.

The 1911 Model 81 Brougham’s interior was finished in broadcloth, broad lace and “Goat Morocco” leather. It used either solid or pneumatic tires with side-lever steering and ran on Exide, Waverley, and Edison batteries. Standard luxuries included a flower vase, two vanity cases with watch and salt bottles, a match safe and cigar holder, and an umbrella holder. In 1912, Waverley offered the first front-drive electric.

The 40-page 1914 catalog gave copious descriptions of six models including the Roadster Coupe that rode on a 104-inch wheelbase and looked like a conventional gasoline roadster with a long hood and a false radiator. The four-passenger Brougham was offered in three versions: front-drive, rear-drive, and front-and-rear-drive. To help promote sales, the company published “A day with a Silent Waverley.” This pamphlet charted the day of a fictitious woman as she rolled up the miles in the Silent Waverley traveling from the office, school, shopping, and other engagements. She could travel, according to the pamphlet, without the fussing and fuming of gasoline autos.

Most electrics, though almost noiseless, were annoyingly slow (5-25 m.p.h.) and their batteries needed recharging after a few hours of use. Suitable for densely populated areas, electrics were seldom seen in the open country because of their limited traveling range (up to 75 miles). Although later Waverley’s furnished a range between charges sufficient for about two day’s use, the popularity of electric cars began to wane. Waverley electrics were no longer produced after 1916.

For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.

Indiana’s place in automotive history

Indiana once vied for Michigan’s title as the automotive titan of the United States. It was at a time when the names of automobiles like Duesenberg, Stutz and Cord brought worldwide acclaim to the Hoosier state. Indiana’s contributions to automotive history have been numerous. Tilt steering, cruise control and hydraulic brakes are just three examples of the innovations created by Indiana automotive pioneers. Yet the innovators themselves have become nearly forgotten–overlooked as we take their inventions increasing for granted as part of the standard equipment on today’s models.

Indiana’s automotive innovation began with Elwood Haynes’ kitchen experiment on an internal combustion engine in the fall of 1893. Haynes’ research and development led to the demonstration of his “Pioneer” automobile along Pumpkivine Pike, outside Kokomo, on July 4, 1894. Haynes and two passengers traveled at a speed of seven miles an hour and drove about one and one-half miles further into the country. He then turned the auto around, and ran the four miles into town without making a single stop.

1894 Haynes Pioneer
Elwood Haynes in the 1894 Pioneer
Copyright Elwood Haynes Museum

“I remember as the “little machine” made its way along the streets we were met by a “bevy” of girls mounted on wheels.,” Haynes noted. “I shall never forget the expression on their faces as they wheeled aside, separating like a flock of swans and gazing wonder-eyed at the uncouth and utterly unexpected “little machine.”

In 1898 the Haynes-Apperson Company was incorporated and auto production was on its way in Indiana.

By the late 1800s Indiana’s plentiful supply of lumber had also lured several industries into its borders, including the makers of carriages and wagons. The automobile industry in the early 1900s was a natural offspring of carriage manufacturers, which could provide not just parts but the skilled labor as well. Five Indiana manufacturers entered commercial automobile production in the late 1890s.

1902 Studebaker Stanhope
1902 Studebaker Stanhope

By 1900, The Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company was one of the few firms in the country with annual production exceeding 100 units. In the 1900s, 74 different models were introduced by Indiana manufacturers. These models range from A to Z, with names like Auburn, Cole, InterState, Lambert, Marmon, Maxwell, National, Overland, Premier, Richmond, Studebaker, Waverly, and Zimmerman.

The growth spurt between 1910 and 1920 separated the nation’s auto makers into two groups–the “mass-produced auto giants” and the “craftsmen.” Most of Indiana’s auto makers chose to be “craftsmen” and purchased automotive parts and assembled them by hand. Thus, these companies were small, and many became known for producing high-class and high-priced cars. Nearly every one of the Indiana cars that became well-known were in this category, includ¬ing names like Duesenberg, Cord, Stutz and Cole, appealing to the upper end of the consumer market.

Twenty Grand Duesenberg
Twenty Grand Duesenberg

The teens saw the introduction of another 69 Indiana models. Included in this group are Elcar, Empire, Jack Rabbit, Lexington, McIntyre, McFarlan, Monroe, Parry, ReVere, and Stutz.

Until about 1920, there seemed to enough demand for both the “mass-produced” and “high-quality” cars. However, a series of eco¬nomic factors at this time helped contribute to the decline of Hoosier auto making. Price slashing and an expansion-crazed environment trapped Indiana manufacturers in a philosophical battle with the Michigan titans. Hoosiers were ill-prepared for this kind of competition, and most wanted to remain craftsmen choosing to concen¬trate on “higher priced” vehicles instead of diversifying. Plus, the economic recession in the early 1920s added more financial burdens on the population, which became increasingly interested in the “mass-produced auto.”

Michigan had the financial backers willing to commit financial resources to give the state’s auto manufacturing the boost it needed. The Hoosier financial community generally proved to be of little assistance to its own local automobile industry.

Indiana in the twenties saw this decline to 22 models introduced. Among these were Blackhawk, Cord, Duesenberg, Elgin, Erskine, H.C.S., Lafayette, and Roosevelt.

1963-Avanti-Front
1963 Avanti
Copyright © 1962 Studebaker Corporation

Studebaker was the lone Hoosier survivor of the depression, continuing production for another 30 years, ending in December 1963.

Commercial production of the automobile in America began a little over 120 years ago, and America’s lifestyle has never been the same. Indiana automakers have made many contributions to that history. So, the next time you drive your car, you might wonder where you’d be without Indiana’s continuing automotive innovation and contributions.

For more information on Indiana cars & companies, follow this link.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Early Auto Advertising.

1905 Pope-Waverley ad
1905 Pope-Waverley ad

When looking at the advertising of automobiles in the first part of the twentieth century, one realizes that the medium quickly evolved to featuring gift buying. One early example from my collection is the wedding gift theme of a 1905 Pope-Waverley ad in Life Magazine. It suggested, “It’s quite the thing nowadays to present the bride with a Pope-Waverley Electric. No gift imaginable can make as lasting an impression or give the recipient more genuine pleasure and convenience. These superb carriages are ‘always ready,’ clean, noiseless, and simple to operate.” How about an electric car for a wedding present?

1929 Studebaker ad
1929 Studebaker ad

Studebaker’s December 7, 1929, Literary Digest ad is probably one of the highmarks for the decade. Three color illustrations told the story, “Give her the keys to happiness.” The main illustration is of a father and daughter looking fondly at their gift of keys to a Studebaker Eight to the mother. “Each year this gracious Christmas custom grows in favor…the presentation of the Keys to Happiness to one well beloved. An attractive gift case holds the shining keys for one of Studebaker’s smart new motor cars — an Eight by the Builder of Champions! One should remember that this ad was conceived before the October 1929 stock market crash which had cataclysmic effects for advertising. You can’t put a car under the Christmas tree, what about gift wrapping the keys?

1932 Studebaker ad
1932 Studebaker ad

In the mid 1930’s, Studebaker produced The Wheel magazines for the auto show seasons. On the cover of the 1932 edition, we see a chic woman wearing furs showing a President convertible roadster to an older woman seated in a Studebaker electric. Inside the magazine there are eight pages of color illustrations interspersed with 12 pages of copy and black and white photographs of the “Triumphant New Studebakers.” Auto shows are about future auto dreams, aren’t they?

These types of materials are part of the sales process in creating attention, interest, and desire in the prospective customer’s mind. Auto advertising over the years was a good barometer of the health of the economy and marketplace.

I love sharing these vignettes about early auto advertising from my collection. They demonstrate that the only thing new in advertising is the delivery medium. The message from earlier times holds true today.

For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.

Give her an Indiana-built car

When looking at the advertising of the broad range of Indiana-made automobiles during the first half of the 20th century, you see the evolution of automotive advertising during this time frame. One of the changes in print advertising was the enticement of women buyers.

1905 Pope-Waverley ad
1905 Pope-Waverley ad

Early automotive advertising focused on the product by touting features and reliability. Wedding gifts were the theme of a 1905 Pope-Waverley ad in Life Magazine. It suggested, “From the Groom to the Bride. It’s quite the thing nowadays to present the bride with a Pope-Waverley Electric. No gift imaginable can make as lasting an impression or give the recipient more genuine pleasure and convenience. These superb carriages are ‘always ready,’ clean, noiseless, and simple to operate.”

1929 Studebaker ad
1929 Studebaker ad

Studebaker’s December 7, 1929, Literary Digest ad is probably one of the high marks for the decade. Three-color illustrations told the story. “This Christmas – Give her the keys to happiness.” The main illustration is of a father and daughter looking fondly at their gift of keys to a Studebaker Eight to the mother. “Each year this gracious Christmas custom grows in favor…the presentation of the Keys to Happiness to one well beloved. An attractive gift case holds the shining keys for one of Studebaker’s smart new motor cars — an Eight by the Builder of Champions! One should remember that this ad was conceived before the October 1929 stock market crash, which had cataclysmic effects for advertising.

1934 Duesenberg ad
1934 Duesenberg ad

Duesenberg introduced its lifestyle advertisements during the mid-1930’s. One ad emphasized an almost full-page illustration of a women in a stylish riding habit and her hunting dogs with the tagline, “She drives a Duesenberg.” Another showed a women talking to her master gardener with five other gardeners working in the background on a palatial garden with the same tagline. The Duesenberg in question is inferred, it is not shown anywhere. These are probably the epitome of early automotive lifestyle advertising.

These materials are part of the sales process in creating attention, interest, and desire in the prospective customer’s mind. Early on, Indiana manufacturers sought to interest women in their products. Why not give the woman of the house an Indiana-built car for Christmas?

For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.

Automotive Advertising Slogans

One of the things I like about collecting automobilia is finding automotive advertising slogans. Here are some examples from Indiana-built automobiles.

1912 American Underslung ad
1912 American Underslung ad

Apperson 8 “The Eight with Eighty Less Parts”
American Simplex (later) Amplex “The valveless two-cycle car” and “The car that has no valves.”
American Underslung “A Car for Discriminating Buyers.”
Black Motor Buggy “Get There!”
Clark “A Car for Many Seasons”
Cole “There’s a touch of tomorrow in all that Cole does today.”
Duesenberg “The world’s finest motor car.”
Elcar “A well built car, tuned to the times.”
Elgin “Built like a watch” and “The car of the hour.”
Empire “The Little Aristocrat”
Haynes “The Birth of New Ideas”

1912 Inter-State ad
1912 Inter-State ad

Inter-State “The Automobile for Women”
International Scout “Wouldn’t you rather play hooky today…?”
LaFayette “You Have Always Known There Would Be Such a Car”
Lambert “Lambert, the father of friction drive.”
Lexington “Built to Stay Young”
Marion “Built to run and last for years.”
Marmon “The mechanical masterpiece” and “The Easiest Riding Car in the World.”
National Electric “Easy to Handle”

International Scout ad
International Scout ad

Overland “The Rig You Have Been Looking For”
Pathfinder “King of Twelves”
Pilot “The Car Ahead”
Pope-Waverley “The Always Ready Automobile”
ReVere “America’s Incomparable Car”
Sears Motor Buggy “A child could run it.”
Star “Low cost transportation.”
Studebaker “Vehicle makers for the world.” and “First by far with a postwar car”
Tincher “Guaranteed for three years.”
Union “In Union there is strength.”
Waverley Electric “No Dirt, No Odor, No Grease, No Bother.”

I believe some of these are rather clever, but I don’t know if some of the others would ever prompt me to take a look at their car. Do contemporary automakers do any better? What do you think?

For more information on Indiana-built automobiles follow this link.