"There were 20 entrepreneurial car manufacturers in the Mahoning Valley during the early 1800s," according to Michael Yost. He is the Packard Museum's historian and plans to publish a book about early automobile organizations. He is researching local libraries, old newspapers, club magazines and the Standard Catalog of American Cars, and he'd like help from the public.
Yost, of Cortland, is a past president and former chairman of the National Packard Museum's board. He restored a Packard formerly owned by the late Ted Hurt, a local historian. Charles Ohlin, director of museum operations, also contributed to this column.
The following organizations operated in the Valley from 1899 to 1926. Yost hopes local people may be able to provide him with information or leads regarding these endeavors. Some former managers from succeeding companies may still live in the area.
New York and Ohio Co. (1899-1900) evolved into the Ohio Automobile Co. (1900-1902) and then the Packard Automobile Company, producing in Warren until 1903. (Warren Packard, father of J.W. and W.D. Packard, owned a hardware store next to the Mahoning Building in Warren.) The car company moved to Detroit in 1904. Morgan and Williams, which occupied the site where the SCOPE Senior Center is currently located, furnished car bodies.
Pendleton Manufacturing and Trumbull Mfg. (1899-1905) built seven cars in Warren.
Ohio Universal Truck Co. (1911) is thought to have had capital stock of $200,000. No vehicles were built in Warren.
Halladay Motor Corp. (1905-1922) built 771 cars in Warren, Attica and Newark, Ohio. The number built in each city is not known.
Hitchcock Motor Car Co. (1907-1908) is thought to have had $20,000 in capital stock. One car was built in Warren.
Valley Automobile Co. of Warren (1908-?) is thought to have registered eight vehicles with four-cylinder, air-cooled rotary engines.
Standard Motor Co. (1913-1915) built trucks in Warren.
Supreme Motor Corp. built demonstration vehicles between 1918 and 1921. The factory was sold to Colonial Motors.
Colonial Motors Corp. built one vehicle in 1922. The Warren factory was sold to Sterling Knight Automobile Co.
Sterling Knight Automobile Co. produced cars in Cleveland from 1920-1922 prior to moving to Warren in 1923. Between 1924 and 1925, 374 cars were built in Warren.
Phillips Custom Body Co. of Warren, located near the corner of West Market Street and Austin, furnished bodies. Phillips was a well-known body builder for other automobiles such as Pierce Arrow. The company closed in 1926 because of financial concerns. Sterling Knight Factor, the last carmaker in Warren, was located where Van Huffel Tube was later located.
Taylor Automobile of Niles invented a motor carriage in 1899.
Booth-Crouch Manufacturing Co. (1895) of Youngstown built an experimental car sold to Dr. Crouch. Regular production was from 1902-1904.
Mahoning Motor Car Co. was also known as the Youngstown Carriage and Wagon Co. W.P. Williamson owned it with capital stock of $25,000. Autos were produced.
Wick Co. (1902-1903) of Youngstown built an auto in New Brighton, Pa., to Dr. Crouch's specifications.
Fredonia of Youngstown was started by Col. Henry B. Wick. An experimental unit was built by Smyser Co. of NYC for $8,000 in 1903. There was no local car production. "Had Packard accepted Wick's offer to buy, Packard might still be here today," Ohlin said.
Falcon Co. (1905) of Youngstown, managed by Walter Flynn, built one car with a promise to build a factory but couldn't get financing.
Drury-Wells (1912) of Youngstown had capital investment of $10,000. It is not known that a vehicle was produced.
Glenwood Motor Car Co. (1922) of Youngstown had $5,000,000 corporate backing. 15 acres were purchased, but no factory or vehicle was produced.
The Warren Tribune Chronicle (March 24, 1924) said: "With the Sterling Knight Co. making autos here in Warren and Philips Custom Body Co. now ready to make bodies, the wedge will be felt in the auto industry."
Now it's Lordstown's turn.
Not all the organizations that assembled cars completed one for sale. Yost is interested in those that tried, as well.
If you have information about early cars and trucks built in the Mahoning Valley, Yost would appreciate hearing from you. Contact him at the museum at 1899 Mahoning Ave., Warren, by phone at 330-270-1330 or email at email@example.com