Wheeler-Schebler Trophy

This image was first published in the July 3, 1909 Indianapolis Star and shows George Schebler standing next to the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy that he and Frank Wheeler donated as the big prize for the first auto race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August 1909. Schebler and Wheeler founded the Wheeler-Schebler Carburetor Company and it was the leading manufacturer of the devices at the time. Wheeler was also one of the four founders of the Speedway.
 
The $10,000 trophy was sterling silver and designed by Tiffany. Descriptions of the height of the masterpiece of silversmithing put its height at anywhere from seven to eight and a half feet. Regardless, as you can see from the photo it is huge (it still exists today). It was the traveling trophy for winning the premiere events of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's race meets in 1909 and 1910. The Trophy was retired briefly with the introduction of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, but reinstated in 1913 as the prize for the team leading at the 400-mile mark. As the deed stipulates that the trophy would be permanently awarded to the team winning it for three consecutive years, it was presented to driver turned entrant Harry Hartz when his Miller-Hartz cars won the award in 1930, 31 and 32. It was returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 1950's and stands proudly today at the Speedway's Museum.
 
The original caption to this photo read as follows:
 
"The finest trophy ever offered for any sporting event is now in this city, to be given during the automobile races to take place on the local speedway in August. It is the gift of the Wheeler & Schebler Carburetor Company, and is valued at about $10,000. It stands eight feet six inches high and contains $5,000 worth of silver. It is of Tiffany design, showing exquisite workmanship, being a dull finish sterling silver. It weighs 500 pounds. This handsome trophy will be exhibited in the show window of L.S. Ayres Company tomorrow and until Tuesday when it will be shipped to Detroit, Michigan to be displayed until after the Glidden Tour starts. It was received here from New York yesterday. The relative size of the cup is shown by the height of W.G. Schebler."

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