Hoosiers in New York -1910

Let's go back to Christmas Day, 1910. The article contained in attachment NYautoNews122510 was published on that glorious occasion by the Indianapolis News. The article focuses on the participation of Indianapolis manufacturers in the two New York trade shows of the day. The reason for the two rival shows was the Selden Patent controversy. One show was for companies compliant with the American Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM), and the other for the American Motorcar Manufacturer's Association (AMCMA), a group who protested Selden's intellectual property claims.

The article opens by sharing the work of Indianapolis automobile manufactures to prepare to display at the show organized by the AMCMA. This was scheduled to use the Grand Central Palace beginning New Year's Eve. As an aside, other sources reported that the American Automobile Association (AAA) was using the gathering to host a breakout session of auto executives already in attendance for the show.
Premier Motor Manufacturing Company was sending five of their 1910 models, including a chassis to facilitate detailed technical discussions. Among the Premier executives were President H.O. Smith, Executive Engineer George Weidely (the designer of Carl Fisher's notorious 1905 Vanderbilt Cup racer), R.W. Macy and Ray McNamara, who was a test driver and drove Premiers in competition. Company representatives at their Boston and Philadelphia agencies also planned to join those from the headquarters.
Nordyke & Marmon was also attending, with Howard Marmon, his brother Walter, and executive H.H. Rice shared the duties of representing the corporation. A duplicate of the Marmon exhibit had been placed in the Indianapolis showrooms at the intersection of Meridian and New York Streets. The cars were a touring car, a suburban four-passenger car, a "snappy" roadster and, like Premier, a stripped down chassis.
J.J. Cole, the president of Cole Motorcar Company, and Charles Crawford led the company's New York delegation. For display, they were shipping in a "torpedo" roadster (an emerging body style that put driver and passengers more inside than on top of the vehicle), a touring car, and a "polished" chassis. Cole was one of the new companies formed in 1909 and this was their first New York Auto Show.
The National Motor Vehicle Company was represented by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Co-Founder Arthur C. Newby, who is reported to be the company's president at the time. Accompanying him were George M. Dickson, J.M. Clarke, W.G. Wall, T.C. Whitcomb, James J. Hunt, and the company's star race driver, Johnny Aitken. The cars they planned to display were a National "40" toy tonneau, a National "40" two-passenger speedway model, and a chassis. They also planned to display a large showcase of trophies the race team had won.
Another newcomer to the New York show was the Empire Automobile Company. Their Models A and B were to be shown along with an assortment of auto parts. R.H. Hassler and J.G. Wood represented the company.
Meanwhile, planned for the week after the Grand Central Palace exhibition, the ALAM members prepared for their show at Madison Square Garden. There is a reference to a compromise on the Selden patent that would eliminate the need or motivation for separate auto shows going forward.
The Waverley Company of Indianapolis is the first of the firms mentioned with plans to display. Their plans called for one of the largest exhibits at the show. The cars they planned to show were a closed inside brougham, a two-passenger coupe gentleman's Stanhope, a Victoria and a gentleman's runabout. Also, plans called for the Waverley driving system to be shown, which included gears and the engine - complete with nickel-plated controller and battery in operation. W.C. Johnson, R.A. Potts, T.W. Eigner, J.C. Henderson, and H.H. Rice were tapped as factory representatives.
The Marion Motor Car Company planned to display three of its cars. These were a touring car, town car, and a roadster. Harry Stutz, who served as chief engineer at the time, was joined by Edward Sourbier as well as salesmen to man their booth.
The Willys-Overland Company's exhibit had Overland Models 41, 42, and 43 from their Indianapolis plant on hand. These were grouped with the Model 38, which was built at their Toledo factory. Will H. Brown and C.H. Wallerich represented the firm.
The next item in this article discussed the publication of a handbook titled, "Leading American Cars," an official publication of the American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association. It provided detailed specifications of all 1910 models made by members of the association. The article says the book was a great reference for a variety of data. Contact information, such as names and addresses of members and the management committees. Car models were categorized by price, specifically cars less than $1,000, those at $1,000 to $1,499, $1,500 to $1,999, $2,000 to $2,499, $2,500 to $2,999, $3,000 to $3,999 and those over $4,000.
The book was reported to be 85 pages in length. It revealed that there were 27 models selling under $1,000, 33 models from $1,000 to $2,499, 29 from $2,500 to $2,999, 24 from $3,000 to $3,999, and 29 priced at $4,000 or more. There were also 86 types of cars designed for business or industrial use. These were delivery vehicles, light and heavy trucks, ambulances, patrol wagons, sightseeing coaches and more.
Next up, there is a small item noting that three clergymen had applied for contracts to sell Parry Automobile Company vehicles. The article suggests this was an endorsement of the Parry product as the company had only been established a few months prior. The clergymen were based in Indiana, Kansas, and Texas.
Founder David M. Parry had evolved his auto company from an earlier entry into personal transportation with wooden cart business. Unfortunately for the clergymen, their applications were denied as the territories they sought had, in all three cases, been assigned.
The final item in this article concerns plans by the Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Company to expand factory operations into Detroit. They already had plants at Tarrytown, New York, Newcastle, Indiana, and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Company Executives Benjamin Briscoe, Alex McLeod, and R.K. Davis were all from Detroit and advocated for the Motor City.
Attachment NYautoNews122909 contains a December 29, 1909, Indianapolis News article published just two days before the first of the New York auto shows (the AMCMA show at the Grand Palace) was set to commence. It proclaimed the Indiana delegation of auto company representatives to one of the largest of any state. Fifty representatives were expected from just the Indianapolis auto factories. That did not include those representing other automotive-related manufacturers or accessory firms.
It's important that you understand that part of the magic of this amazing, historic event is that it opened Friday evening, December 31 - New Year's Eve! The privileged upper echelon of the industry literally rang in the new year of 1910 at the show that symbolized tremendous promise.
A plan called for a private tour of the exhibition for engineers and "critics," earlier that day before doors were opened to the public. The show was to continue through January 7, but did was not open Sunday, January 2.
This item closes with some interesting statistics about the industry.

  • Across the two shows, there were 325 exhibitors.
  • The estimated value of the exhibits was $1.1M.
  • The lowest price car on hand was $378, the highest a whopping $10K.
  • There were 72 America car exhibitors and 12 from foreign operations.
  • Among commercial vehicles, 17 manufacturers were represented.
  • The fastest America-made light car came from Maxwell.
  • The fastest foreign light car was Lancia.
  • The fastest American car overall was credited to National.
  • Fiat was fastest among all foreign entries.
  • The square footage of exhibition space: 72,000.

Attachment ParryCarNews011810 contains another Indianapolis News article, this one published January 18. It concerns the Parry Automobile Company, a new firm that did not elect to exhibit at either New York show. However, the article says the new company was "very much in evidence in and around New York City during the recent shows."
They had a display at their New York showroom in that grand city's automobile row. It is not entirely clear from the article, but it seems to say that champion driver George Robertson owned the dealership or was affiliated with it in some capacity. The car displayed was described as a double bucket roadster. It was painted "battleship gray" and fully equipped. It reportedly created a "favorable impression" in drives along the city streets.
Maxwell Parry, referred to as the secretary and advertising manager of the Parry Automobile Company, is quoted, saying, "I was very much pleased with the showing made by our car in New York. I am more than ever confident that our prospects for 1910 in regard to the sale of our five thousand car output are brighter than ever, and that this year will be the most prosperous in the history of the automobile industry."
Parry executives did wander the halls of the New York shows. They are identified as W.C. Teasdale, Jr., vice president, W.D. Oaks and W.H. Buderus also attended the show, and were reported to be "very much pleased with the general outlook."
Attachment RobertsonNews123009 contains an article that provides more detail on the relationship between George Robertson and Parry Automobile. Robertson is noted for having won the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup and setting American speed records at the Atlanta Speedway race meet in November. 
Details are not spelled out but Robertson had agreed to race Parry cars in some number of events during the coming season. He also agreed to "act as the Parry agent" in New York, where he lived. This is a reference to a dealership, he may have owned or lent his name to.
Some weeks later, on January 19, 1910, (attachment IMSNews011910) the Indianapolis News reported that Robertson visited the Parry Automobile Company in Indianapolis. He was given a tour of the plant to "inspect" cars in various stages of assembly. The report indicates that he was impressed with what he saw, particularly with the new Parry Roadster. He and his sales agency business partner H.C. Mergenthaler posed for pictures in the machine.
The Parry factory must have been reasonably substantial as it reportedly had 600 employees. The article indicates they produced an average of 18 cars a day. Robertson and Mergenthaler contracted for four cars. Robertson was confident that he would be selected to drive the famous Blitzen Benz, although I have no record of that happening because Barney Oldfield purchased the racer. There had been talk of a George Robertson - Lewis Strang match race. Robertson was to drive the Benz while Strang had his big Fiat. First, Robertson was getting ready for the upcoming Mardi Gras Speed Carnival where he was entered in a Simplex.
After visiting Parry, Robertson made his way out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He reportedly turned laps around the track and visited the aerodrome to sit in an airplane.
Another item in the article concerns the success of Premier Motor Company. Here G.A. (George) Weidely, identified as the superintendent of Premier, had just returned from the New York auto shows. He was a member of the manufacturer's contest committee as well as the rules committee. Weidely indicated that demand for his company's cars was stout. The City of Los Angeles had recently purchased a six-cylinder Premier ambulance.
In other news Indianapolis car dealer Conduitt Automobile Company, located on North Delaware Street, had reached an agreement to sell Velie "40" automobiles. This model was added to the offerings that had already been selling from Knox. This was Velie's first entry into the burgeoning Indianapolis market.
Fred I. Willis, president of another dealership, the Hearsey-Willis Company (and an officer of the Indianapolis Automobile Trade Association) was reported to be on his way to Detroit. His goal was to negotiate a consignment of 12 Hupmobiles for immediate delivery. The article also notes that Willis planned to call a meeting of the Indianapolis Automotive Trade Association for the upcoming Friday night. The agenda focused on the project work to produce the Indianapolis Auto Show in March.
A final note in the article concerned the Rainier Motor Company's East Coast tour of the $10,000 Gold Trophy their race team won at the most recent Atlanta race meet. The Rainer machine, in that case, won a 200-mile race, covering the distance in 173 minutes.

NYautoNews122510.pdf1.47 MB
NYautoNews122909.pdf484.93 KB
ParryCarNews011810.pdf173.76 KB
RobertsonNews123009.pdf436.67 KB
IMSNews011910.pdf758 KB