We had a great time at the Society of Automotive Historians Automotive History Conference in Cleveland last week. This biennial conference draws people from around the world to celebrate our automotive heritage.
The first session on Friday presented by Carl F.W. Larson covered Charles J. Glidden’s 1904 transcontinental tour. This 3500-mile trek in a 1902 Napier proved quite interesting in the early days of motoring. Carla Rose Lesh PhD presented “American Women in the Early Automotive Era.”
Another group of presentations offered a glimpse at the growth of regional auto centers with Bernard J. Golias presenting “Cleveland: The Original Motor City,” Kyle Yarber sharing “From Cow Town to Car Town: The Sputter, Stalls and Ignition of Automobile Manufacturing in Kansas City,” and my featuring “Indianapolis: Rival for the Title of the Nation’s Auto Capital.”
Friday afternoon sessions included Robert Ebert’s “The Historic Electric Vehicle Industry: The Case of Baker, Rauch & Lang,” Jorgen Burdhardt’s “The Technical Development of Heavy Vehicles from Modified Passenger Cars to Special Purpose Built Trucks and Buses,” James Rubenstein’s “The Auto Industry in the Great Depression and the Great Recession,” and Per Ahlstorm’s “How the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company Pressed Cars and Industrial Structures into New Shapes.”
Featured Saturday morning were Arthur W. Jones’ “Universal Cars: The North American Motor Vehicle in World Markets,” Sinclair Powell’s “The American Automotive Industry: Independents versus the Giants 1898 – 1950,” Thomas Adamich’s “Wills Sainte Claire and Related Companies – The Creation of the Auto Factory Town,” and William B. Chamberlin’s “Automobile Evolution in an Age of Increasing Regulations.”
All of the presentations were interesting and covered diverse subjects. The presenters demonstrated the wide interests of automotive history.
On Saturday afternoon we embarked on the Cleveland Auto History Bus Tour with visits to the Templar Motors Company and the Western Reserve Historical Society / Crawford Auto – Aviation Museum with information about other auto sites along our route.
The Templar Motors Corporation operated from 1916 to 1924. The car’s tagline was “The Superfine Small Car.” Its name was derived from the crusades of the Middle Ages and its emblem was the Maltese cross. The Templar was stylish, sporting and thoroughly modern. The Templar facility has an excellent collection of representative cars, advertising, manufacturing patterns, and reference material. What a great look at this 1920’s era automobile.
The Western Reserve Historical Society / Crawford Auto – Aviation Museum does an outstanding job of telling the story of Cleveland’s automotive heritage. Some 88 cars were built in Cleveland’s city limits. The saga begins in 1896 with cars built by Winton and 1897 by Stearns followed by Baker electric cars in 1899, Peerless in 1900, and the popular Owen-Magnetic in 1915. The museum has excellent examples of these popular Cleveland-built cars and many others. The collection is well researched and presented.
The itinerary of the other sites along the tour included Winton Motor Carriage Company, Rubay Company, Baker Motor Vehicle Company, Owen Magnetic, White Motor Company, Ford Motor Company Cleveland Branch Assembly Plant, F. B. Stearns Company, Rauch & Lang Carriage Company.
My congratulations go out the Society of Automotive Historians and Arthur W. Jones for creating this Automotive History Conference. I urge you to attend the next Biennial Automotive History Conference in 2018.
For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.