Abbreviations: DEW = Detroit Engine Works.  WMC = Wadsworth Manufacturing Co.  DMCSC = Detroit Motor Car Supply Co.  CEC = Columbia Engine Co.  MSBC = Michigan Steel Boat Co.  DBC = Detroit Boat Co.  SMPC = Standard Motor Parts Co.    CPMC = Caille Perfection Motor Co.  MEC = Middleditch Engine Co.  BGEC = Bessemer Gas Engine Co.  T&MC = Termaat & Monahan Co.   PIW = Petoskey Iron Works.
    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Updated: 12-07-2014)  All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.
      

    My fascination with the Detroit two cycle engines started when my Dad traded a old International Harvester LB stationary farm engine for a Detroit engine around the 1990 time period. At the time I don't believe Dad new that he had traded for one of the very first low pressure fuel injected engines invented in the early 1900's. After spending some time studying the engine and figuring out how the fuel system operated the engine was then completely restored. I remember the first time I seen the little engine run I knew I wanted one. I had never seen a two cycle engine that would start so easy run so good and was not loud and noisy. It would idle down and run as slow as a four cycle engine and you could even reverse the direction the engine is running with out stopping the engine. Changing the direction is done by slowing the engine to a very slow idle turning the ignition off and quickly advancing the timing then turning the ignition back on. This made the engine kick back in the opposite direction in which it would keep running if you quickly moved the timing lever back to neutral or top dead center.
    
Some time between 1997 and 1998 I came across a 3hp Detroit that was for sale at our local antique engine swap meet. It was missing a few parts but I did not hesitate in purchasing the engine. This is when I first started collecting literature on DEW. Over the next few years I became more fascinated with the Detroit Engines and the companies history. Little did I know that I would end up researching and learning about many other companies in order to put some of the pieces of this puzzle together. Also researching information on marine engines which at the time I had very little interest in. There were so many un-answered questions about these engines and the companies that manufactured them. I guess that is what has kept my interest over the years.  I now own four Detroit Engines, A 3hp single cylinder stationary, 2hp single cylinder marine, 18hp two cylinder stationary and a 2.5hp hopper cooled stationary engine.  As the years have passed by I have become even more obsessed with learning more about Detroit Engine Works and its related companies. On this website you will find original literature and photos along with information that I have figured out from reading literature studying engines and photos.  Most of the information has been gathered from original literature and should be fairly accurate. As time goes by I'm sure that more information will surface on Detroit Engine Works and it's related companies. 

   Most people are not aware of these old gas engines and the roll that they played in our great nation here in USA and all over the world. On this website you will read about and see photos of some of the very early gas engines that were in some cases developed before the first gas powered automobiles. Gas powered Marine engines were being used all over the world in every size boat you could imagine.  The stationary engines were used to power farm machinery such as corn grinders, water pumps, saw mills, cream separators, washing machines, light plants, concrete mixers, hoist, tractors, Etc..   I have added the paragraph below to this history page because I feel that most people may not be aware that it was the early Detroit marine & stationary engine companies and their employees that manufactured them who opened the doors for the Detroit automobile industry.  Below is a quote from a book named Motormen & Yachting by author Michael M. Dixon.

"The marine gas engine business may not be recognized as a great industry when compared to the automobile. However, as late as 1910, Gas Engine magazine observed that while much attention was being given to impressive numbers of automobiles being produced, the largely invisible gasoline marine engine still out numbered automobile engines in use by a factor of two to one. It was the impressive number of marine gas engines that prepared a generation of mechanics to establish Detroit's automobile industry."   

March 1909 Popular Mechanics Advertisement.

      Detroit Engine Works offices and factories were located on East Jefferson Ave in Wayne County Detroit, Michigan northwest of the Detroit river . Addresses on original literature & phone books indicate that Wadsworth Mfg Co. had multiple properties and buildings ranging in a span of five blocks between Mt. Elliot Street and Canton Street on the north side. South side properties and buildings span two blocks between Mt. Elliot St. and Meldrum Street. Later around 1915 time period Wadsworth Mfg. purchased land in the area of East Jefferson, Conner Creek & Kercheval Street. All these areas were excellent locations for the factories because ore and coal for the foundry could be shipped in by way of boat on the Detroit river or the railroad. The railroad was very close to the factories which made it great for shipping. DEW factories on Jefferson Avenue were owned and operated by the Wadsworth Mfg Co. who manufactured and sold carriage goods and hardware and eventually manufactured auto bodies, auto tops, auto parts and was located in the same facilities. Wadsworth was supplying car bodies to many of Detroit ’s automakers including Ford and Wadsworth’s three neighbors, Hudson, Maxwell & Chalmers. Wadsworth Mfg Co. operated multiple businesses on the side DEW, DMCSC, DBC, CEC, MSBC. were some of the firms that operated out of these same factories.  Wadsworth Manufacturing and Detroit Engine Works owned and operated their own foundry and is believed to be one of the largest manufactures of engines and pleasure boats in the early 1900's. DEW had distributorships in London England located at 94 Hatton Garden and another office & warehouse about 15 miles away at Holborn. The Holborn office & warehouse was advertised as the Columbia Engine Company with their main offices located at 1273-1285 East Jefferson Ave.  Detroit, Michigan. Very little is known about the London dealerships.  

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    All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.

Photo taken sometime between 1906-1914

Photo above is of the older Wadsworth Mfg. Co. show room at 1256 East Jefferson Ave. located on the south side of Jefferson Ave. across the street from their newer factory and closer to the Detroit river. The four story building to the left of the show room was also part of the Wadsworth factory. The steel rails in the road were for electric street cars. Click on the photo to enlarge and notice the boats, engine and coach bodies that are on display through the plate glass windows. Sign on the side of the building shows the direction of the Morgan & Wright Tire Co. behind the show room. Originally from Chicago, the Morgan & Wright Bicycle Tire Co., moved to Detroit to in 1906 and built it's 900,000 sq ft complex on a portion of the former Old's Motor Works parcel, east of the Wadsworth plant.

 

Below is 1914 advertisement for Detroit Boat company advertising their famous show window on Jefferson Ave. New street address for the Wadsworth Mfg. Co. show room now would be 6656 East Jefferson Ave. The old Morgan & Wright Tire Co. was sold to US. Tire Co. in 1914 and then later became Uniroyal Tire Co.. In 1980 Uniroyal announced it would be closing down the riverfront plant. Later that year the City of Detroit purchased the Uniroyal plant and land in hope of developing the river front property. The Uniroyal buildings were completely demolished in 1985. Today the still vacant land offers a clear view of the river and Belle Isle. The city of Detroit is currently in the process of building a river walk all the way from Mt. Elliott St. to Grand Blvd.- Belle Isle bridge.


DBC advertisement from the Detroiter Magazine,  Volume  5 & 6, 1914.
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H. Scherer & Co. establishes the Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. 1904.

   Hugo Scherer (b.1859-d.1923), a major stockholder in the Wadsworth Manufacturing Co., was the person most responsible for the firm’s entry into manufacturing automobile bodies. Scherer was born in October 9, 1859, in Detroit, Michigan to Augusta and John Conrad Scherer, two German immigrants from the state of Hessen. In 1851 the elder Scherer (sometimes misspelled as Shearer), who was a physician, established an apothecary in downtown Detroit at 39 Michigan Ave East., near the old county office building. Hugo obtained his early education in the public schools of Detroit and after graduation went to Europe where he spent six years at University. Upon his return to the states, Scherer went to work in his father’s drug store, eventually taking charge of the business, which he inherited upon the death of his father. Hugo’s younger brother, Otto Scherer (b.1865) decided to pursue a career in medicine and after a lengthy course of study became a prominent Detroit physician. By 1879 Scherer’s pharmacy had relocated to 280-284 E. Jefferson Ave. The firm’s spacious new quarters allowed them to get into the hardware and carriage goods business, which by the mid 1880s had become their specialty. By 1887, the renamed firm, H. Scherer & Company, was the city’s main source of wholesale carriage hardware and had begun the manufacture of their own line of carriage dashboards. Subsequent directories list the firm as a manufacturer and distributor of carriage drop forging, hardware and trimming material. The carriage business must have been profitable as Scherer had enough capital to purchase other firms as evidenced by the following 1905 news item:

  “H. Scherer & Co., Detroit, Mich., have purchased the building and stock of the defunct James & Mayer Carriage Works, Lawrenceburg , Ind., for $27,000.”

  Hugo also owned a mansion at 745 E. Jefferson Ave. and in 1898 commissioned Detroit architect Louis Kemper to design and build him a magnificent summer residence at Grosse Pointe Farm, the summer home of his friend Frederick E. Wadsworth. An early automobilist, Scherer was a founding member of the Detroit Automobile Club, which was formed in 1902. Although they shared the same name, Detroit’s Hugo Scherer was not directly related to the infamous Mexican bankers, Hugo Scherer Sr. & Hugo Scherer Jr. of Mexico City . As the automobile came of age, H. Scherer & Co. discovered that the very same items were needed by Detroit’s automobile industry. A 1904 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal reported that: “H. Scherer & Co., of Detroit, Michigan., makers of bodies, etc., have incorporated under a new style and had planed on confining the business entirely to the automobile. Their new company was called the Detroit Motor Car Supply Company and the office and factory was located at 1256 Jefferson Avenue . They are putting up a large building, 80 x 1000 feet, and will make wood and metal bodies, tops, eye protectors, lap robes and clothing.”


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DMCSC new cinder block building was constructed between Bellevue Street and Concord Street at the corner of Jefferson Ave. and Bellevue Street. current address would be 6601 East Jefferson Ave. were there is now a Wendy's hamburger fast food business. (Jefferson Ave. was re-numbered in 1921). 

  It has been stated that a very old building that is currently located at 6533 East Jefferson Ave. is the old Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. building and that it is still in use today as an apartment building called (The Lofts at Rivertown). This is a false statement. The building located at 6533 East Jefferson is not the old Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. building. It is the old Frederick Stearns & Company building built in 1899. Photos exist of this building Circa 1910-1915 and yes it is currently an apartment building called (The Lofts at Rivertown).




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  Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. was listed as exhibitors at the annual ALAM New York Automobile Show, held at Madison Square Gardens from January 12 to 19, 1907. The previous year’s New York automobile Show was covered in the Jan 25, 1906 issue of The Automobile which included the following description of their booth:

"Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. - A large exhibit of automobile clothing for all weathers, automobile accessories and supplies, was made. Particularly seasonable were the robes and weatherproof coats shown. This concern manufactures automobile bodies, tops, tire cases, clothing, caps, storm aprons, dash clocks, wind screens and other automobile accessories. The company claims to be the largest manufacturer of automobile bodies in the United States, and had in the Armory an exhibit of several up-to-date styles of coupe, landaulet and limousine bodies. A special runabout top, complete with side curtains, storm front and body irons, appealed particularly to the users of small cars."  

During the mid-teens Wadsworth Manufacturing offered a very successful "Full Vision Sedan Top" for Model T Touring Cars, a lined and insulated top very similar to the all-weather convertible tops offered by the Springfield Metal Body Co. and others. In later years Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. was listed as a manufacturer of commercial bodies for Fords, but they were also were manufacturing and distributing two cycle stationary and marine gasoline engines called "SANDOW". The engines looked very similar to the DEW engines but did have some differences. Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. advertised that there engines were not sold to jobbers, dealers or agents. (Direct plan of selling, No middle man, straight from factory to user). Savings was passed on to the user.

1913 stationary farm engines.

The success of Hugo Scherer’s various business interests can also be attributed to his friend and business partner, Frederick Elliott Wadsworth (1868-1927). Wadsworth was born in Durham , Middlesex County, Connecticut to James W. Wadsworth, a member of one of Connecticut’s most prominent families. After a public education Frederick attended university after which he made his home in Detroit, Michigan . Wadsworth and Scherer organize the Detroit Engine Works in the early 1900's and Wadsworth was instrumental in the formation of the National Can Company, serving on the firm’s board of directors for a number of years.  Surprisingly, National Can’s Detroit plant produced auto parts in addition to tin cans. Located at 2566 East Grand Blvd. The firm produced ‘Mayo’ and ‘National’ brand radiators under the Mayo patents as well as other stamped, sheet-metal auto parts. National’s radiator business was eventually purchased by the McCord Radiator & Mfg. Co. Wadsworth’s experience in metal stamping proved helpful when he and Scherer got into the boat and auto body building business and Wadsworth’s deep pockets helped finance the pair’s business ventures, which included the following: Columbia Engine Company, Detroit Boat Company, Detroit Engine Works, Detroit Forging Company, Detroit Motor Car Supply Company, Michigan Steel Boat Company, St. Clair-Athol Rubber Company and the Thrall Motor Company.  

Detroit Engine Works, Detroit Motor Car Supply Co., Columbia Engine Co. and Thrall Motor Co. manufactured 2-cycle marine and stationary engines rated between 2- and 50-hp. Also offered by Detroit was a range of light kerosene-powered 6-to 18 hp Wadsworth farm tractors.  
Detroit Forging specialized in drop-forged automobile parts, specifically convertible top hardware. St. Clair-Athol Rubber Co. manufactured rubber coated automobile fabrics that were also used in convertible tops. Michigan Steel Boat Co. and Detroit Boat Co. manufactured boats which more often than not were powered by engines manufactured by the Detroit Engine Works.  

   Not surprisingly, all of the above firms were located either in the same factory or same vicinity of East Jefferson Ave, all were operated under the auspices of the Wadsworth Mfg Co.  Wadsworth Mfg Co. was also known for manufacturing automobile bodies, tops, and accessories for Detroit’s automakers, many of whom were also conveniently located along East Jefferson Ave. The Wadsworth factory was located adjacent to a siding of the Detroit Terminal Railway, which later on enabled them to get large contracts with the Ford Motor Co.

  Scherer and Wadsworth organized the Detroit Engine Works in order to manufacture two-cycle engines for marine and agricultural use. The firm later produced a large number of products including light tractors, stationary engines, reverse gears and various other machined, drop-forged and cast-metal products.

  Scherer and Wadsworth marketed their engines under the Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. (Sandow), Detroit Engine Works and Columbia Engine Co. trade names.  As early as 1902 the Detroit Engine Works was using 1256 East Jefferson Ave. , Detroit, as their main address however numerous addresses were used most of which indicated the same group of structures around the East Jefferson Ave. area (1036, 1236, 1242, 1250, 1252, 1256, 1263, 1271, 1273, 1287, 1314, 1315, 1375).  Bellevue Ave. address (24, 66, 115, 171, 187, 213,  417, 361, 373, 420, 445). Also one address listed at 24 Beaufait Ave. Detroit.  Just as it does today, Bellevue ran alongside the west side of the new (built in 1905) factory/office building located on the north side of East Jefferson. The firm continued to use the older factory located across the street on the south side of East Jefferson until it moved to Conners Creek.

  Located at 2700 E. Jefferson Ave. , just across the street from Wadsworth’s new plant in the Conner's Creek area was the main factory of the Chalmers Motors Co. Starting in 1917 Chalmers leased a portion of their facility to the Maxwell Motor Company for an initial five year contract.

  Scherer and Wadsworth were also partners in real estate. In 1903 they constructed a neighborhood of frame cottages in the summer resort of Grosse Pointe which became known as the ‘Cabbage Patch’. In 1916 Scherer formed the Hugo Scherer Land Co. to manage his various real estate holdings which included the Scherer Block ( 280-284 East Jefferson Ave. ) and a large commercial structure located at 936-944 Woodward Ave. Scherer and Wadsworth’s early business ventures shared the same downtown Detroit address - 280-284 Jefferson Ave (East) - as Scherer’s carriage supply firm. The pair’s second recorded business venture, the Michigan Steel Boat Company, was incorporated on December 27, 1901 with Hugo Scherer, president; and Frederick E. Wadsworth, secretary-treasurer.

Detroit Engine Works pioneered the use of two-cycle engines for marine and stationary power use.  Sources indicate that DEW started out as a marine engine manufacturing firm that eventually produced stationary gasoline-kerosene engines, traction engines and reverse gears and many other products. One style of engine that DEW produced was very unique due to being one of the first low pressure fuel injected engines invented back in the early 1900's. Manufactured sometime around 1907. This fuel injected engine was DEW's most popular engines produced due to the fact that it was designed to run on a multiple types of fuels. Gasoline, Kerosene (Coal Oil), Alcohol, Naptha, Distillate and no change in equipment was necessary to change from one fuel to another unless you wanted to run natural or artificial gas then a regulator adapter could be purchased. DEW advertisements claimed that their engines could start and run on most all fuels and in any climate including 40 degrees below zero temperatures. A 1910 advertisement in Popular Mechanics magazine stated that 35,000 Detroit engines are in use all over the country and giving the best and cheapest power ever known.

  
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DEW two cycle single cylinder two flywheel vertical stationary engines (tank cooled) were built in size's  2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 horse power.  The two cylinder two cycle two flywheel vertical stationary engines (tank cooled) were built in sizes 12, 18 and 20 horse power.  All of the two cycle two flywheel stationary engines were sold with the low pressure fuel injection systems. Carburetors and mixers were not advertised for the stationary engines. In the first few years of production original DEW catalogs advertise their governed stationary engines only up to 8 horse power in size. However they advertise non-governing engines in sizes 2,3,3.5-4,5-6,7-8,10,12-14,18-20 horsepower. Most of the Non-governing engines were single flywheel marine engines that came mounted on a wooden base with a pulley between two pillow blocks. 

1915 Detroit Engine Works Stationary farm engine price list.

Horse Power

2.5 hp 4 hp 6 hp 8 hp 12 hp 18 hp
Price for 1915 $110.00 $165.00 $220.00 $319.00 $572.00 $1,000.00


DEW also sold Single cylinder four cycle hopper cooled horizontal stationary engines in sizes  1.5, 2, 3, 4.5, 6, 8 horse power. These four cycle stationary engines appear to have been manufactured by the Nelson Brothers corporation and tagged with DEW name tags. Some of these engines had (Detroit Engine Works, Detroit, Michigan) cast in large raised letters on top of the water hopper.  

       Research shows that DEW, DMCSC & Columbia marine engines were offered in many different configurations over the years. An assortment of carburetors and mixers were manufactured by different companies, DEW, Schebler, Lunkenheimer,  Essex, Krice, Planhard, Williams are just a few that are known to have been used.  Ben J. Middleditch  manufactured the first fuel injection systems that were used on some of these marine engines. Then DEW manufactured three different styles of fuel feeder-injectors in the proceeding years after. Two or three different styles of timing controllers were offered. A few different versions of condenser exhaust manifolds were produced.  Flywheels with different configurations and different number and sizes of holes were produced.

 The DEW marine engines were offered in a range of different sizes depending on what year the engine was made. The 1910 single cylinder 2 cycle models were manufactured in standard sizes of 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5-6, 7-8 hp and a single cylinder heavy duty 8-hp engine. The 1910 two cylinder two cycle models were offered in standard sizes 9-10, 12, 15-hp and heavy duty 20-hp or you could get their 20-hp special which was made for speed boats.  The 1910 Four cylinder four cycle marine engines were built in sizes 20-25, 40-50 horse power and could be purchased with a reversible gear box and a Briggs and Stratton distributing system. See DEW marine literature section for the difference in standard, heavy duty and special engines.  All the marine engines came with a five year guarantee and the option of fresh water or salt water fittings. The price sheet below is from around 1913 time period as you can see DEW now offered more marine engine sizes in single cylinder and two cylinder. Notice the small sizes they offered the two cylinder engines 4.5, 6, 8-hp.

 
                                                                                                  
       

A  large selection of generators and pumps were also available from DEW, sold by themselves or as a package unit with the engine. DEW entered the tractor business, building the Wadsworth tractor for several years.  They also sold Power Machinery Accessories and supplies. Their catalog listed just about every kind of accessory you would ever want for a stationary engine, over 50 pages of items. It is not known how many of these items DEW actually manufactured. 
 

  
All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.

                                                                                                                                           

Research shows that DEW, DMCSC, CEC, DBC, MSBC, TMC were conglomerates that were owned and / or operated by the Wadsworth Manufacturing Co. and in the later years paricially operated by the Standard Motor Parts Co. with exception of the Thrall Motor Co.. At this time I do not have any proof that Caille Engine Co., Middleditch Engine Co., Bessemer Engine Co., American Engine Co., Arthur Colton Co., Petoskey Iron Works or any other engine company was part of this particular Detroit conglomerate. Although it is very possible that designs, parts, castings, etc.. were being sold or traded between the companies.


Addresses & information found on original literature.

Detroit Engine Works
1236 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan. (Marine Advert).
1242 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.
(Marine Advert).
1395 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1905 Marine Advert Recreation Mag Vol 24 Page 56).
1287 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1906 Marine
Advert Chautauquan Mag Vol 47).
1251 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1906 Marine
Advert Pacific Monthly Mag Vol 15).
1263 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1907 Marine
Advert).
1375 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1907 Marine
Advert).
1271 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (May 1907 Marine
Advert Pop Mechanics).
1263 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1908 Marine
Advert Sports & Recreation Mag Vol 4 Page 70).
171 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1909
Advert).
1271 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (March 1909 Marine
Advert Pop Mechanics).
1314 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1909 Marine Engine
Advert McBride's Magazine).
24 Beaufait  Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (Jan 1911 Marine Reverse Gear Advert Pop Mechanics).
40 Meldrum Ave. Detroit, Michigan.
(Jan 1911 Marine Advert).
373 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1911 Stationary Engine Advert Bee Culture Mag).
115 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1911 Advert).
213 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1910 Stationary Engine Advert Pop Mechanics Vol 14 Page 132).
213 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1911 Advert).
1271 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.
(May 1911 Marine Advert).
1250-1280 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1911
Advert).
1319 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1912 Marine Engine
Advert Scribners Mag Vol 51).
116 Concord Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (August 1913 Stationary Engine Advert Farm Journal Vol 37 Page 454).
1256-1500 Jefferson Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (Jan 02,1913 Letter).
1036 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (Oct 1913 Tractor
Advert Farm Journal Vol 37 Page 550).
187 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1913
Advert).
361 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1913
Advert).
271 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (March 1914 Stationary Advert New England Mag Vol 51 Page 247).
66 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (April 15, 1915).
373 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (March 15, 1915 Stationary Engine Advert).
1415 Jefferson Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (April 15, 1915 Marine Advert).
1250 Jefferson Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1915 Phone book).
24 Bellevue Ave  Detroit, Michigan.  (Marine
Advert).
115 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (Dec 12, 1916).
420 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1916
Advert).
445 Bellevue Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1916
Advert).
Corner of Jefferson & Bellevue Ave Detroit, Michigan. (Advert).
Kercheval & Conners Creek Detroit, Michigan. (1918 Phone book).
1723 Jefferson Ave.  Detroit, Michigan.  (1920 Rudder Marine Directory Trade List of Ship building).
94 Hatton Garden, London, E.C. England. Head Office and Works Detroit, Michigan, USA. (Brass Engine Tag).
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DEW (Gear Dept) Manager Feb-08, 1910
J. B. Dovocau.
DEW Sales Manager Jan-28, 1911,
H. M. Fletcher.
DEW General Sales Manager Oct-27, 1911,
E. J. Ellis.
DEW Sales Manager Jan-02, 1912,
H. M. Fletcher.
DEW (Marine Dept) Sales Manager 1913, E. H. Marlow.
DEW General Sales Manager Jan-07, 1916, Fred W. Elliot.
DEW General Sales Manager Feb-17, 1916,
Fred W. Elliot.

Wadsworth Manufacturing Co.
280-284 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1903 Advert).
1256 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1903
Advert).
1252-1270 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1905
Advert).
1526 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1915
Advert).
1245 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1915 Auto
Advert).
1256 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan. (Auto bodies) (1915 Phone book).
1267 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (June 15, 1916 Auto
Advert).
Jefferson & Conners Creek Detroit, Michigan. (Factory) (1915 Phone book).

Kercheval & Conners Creek Detroit, Michigan. (1918 Phone book).

Detroit Motor Car Supply Co. (Sandow).
Corner of Bellevue & Iron Street Detroit, Michigan. (Advert).
2 Canton Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (May 1910 Sandow Stationary Advert Vol 14 Page 131).
Bellevue & Iron Streets Detroit, Michigan. (March-25-1911 letter).
2 Canton Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (May 1911 Advert).
2 Mt. Elliott St., Detroit, Michigan.  (Jan 1911 Pop Mechanics Marine Engine
Advert).
1258 Jefferson Ave  Detroit, Michigan.  (Dec-02-1912 letter).
1258 Jefferson Ave  Detroit, Michigan.  (Dec-14-1912 letter).
1258 Jefferson Ave  Detroit, Michigan.  (Dec-23-1912 letter).
1258 Jefferson Ave  Detroit, Michigan.  (Dec-30-1912 letter).
70 Canton Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (1912
Advert).
1258 Jefferson Ave  Detroit, Michigan.  (Jan-13-1913 Envelope).
88 Canton Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (1913
Advert).
4 Canton Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (April 1915
Advert Hunter-Trader-Trapper, Sandow Stationary Engine).
1250 Jefferson Ave  Detroit, Michigan.  (1915 Phone book).
72 Helen Ave, Detroit, Michigan. (1915 Advert, American Exporter Vol 77, pg 8).
136 Canton Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (1916
Advert).
Kercheval & Conners Creek  Detroit, Michigan.  (1918 Phone book).
5 Helen Ave, Detroit, Michigan. (Marine Advert).

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DMCSC Sales Manager Dec-02-1912, John Shoadley.



Columbia Engine Co.
5 MT. Elliott Ave. Detroit, Michigan. (July 1912 Pop Mechanics advert).
17 Fuller St. Detroit, Michigan. (Dec 1911 Stationary Engine Adv ert Pop Mechanics).
Jefferson & Bellevue Avenues Detroit, Michigan.(August 1911 Marine Advert).
Jefferson Ave. East at Bellevue, Detroit, Michigan.  (Feb 24, 1912 Letter).
1273-1285 Jefferson Ave. East Detroit, Michigan.  (Feb 24, 1912 Letter).
Holborn, London, E. C. England.  (Feb 24, 1912 Letter).
547 Bellevue Ave Detroit, Michigan. (Oct-1915 Pop-Mechanics Magazine Advert).
1275 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.  (1915 Phone Book).
1256 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1918 Phone Book).

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CEC General Sales Manager Feb-24-1912,
E. J. Ellis.

 


Michigan Steel Boat Co.

102 Mill St. Kalamazoo, Michigan. (Jan-June 1901 Advert, Recreation Magazine Vol-14).
280-284 Jefferson Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (1903 Advert).
1252-1270 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1905 Advert).
1300 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1906 Advert).
1334 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1908 Advert).
1252 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1909 Advert).
156 Bellevue Ave  Detroit, Michigan. (May 1911 Rowboat Advert).
1271 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1911 Advert).
1273 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1911 Advert).
1347 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1913 Advert).
1250 Jefferson Ave  Detroit, Michigan. (1915 Phone book).
1401 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (19?? R.G.Dun's Review).
1415 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan. (1905 Advert).
Kercheval & Conners Creek  Detroit, Michigan. (1918 Phone book).
Dubois & Guoin  Detroit, Michigan.  (1918 Phone book).
Corner of Kercheval Ave & Conner Creek  Detroit, Michigan. (1919 Advert).

 

Detroit Boat Co.
Bellevue Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1907 Speed Powered Canoe Advert).
26 
Bellevue Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1907 Speed Powered Canoe Advert).
1252 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1909 Advert).
156 
Bellevue Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (May 1911 Canoe Advert).
1100 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (May 1911 Advert).
72 
Bellevue Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1912 Canoe Advert).
1122 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1912Advert).
1151 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1912 Advert).
1154 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1912 Advert).
1117 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1915 Advert).
1250 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (1915 Phone Book).
1147 Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan.  (Jan-1915 Blue Bird Advert).
Kercheval & Conners Creek Detroit, Michigan. (1918 Phone book).
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DBC general sales manager, March-15-1912, M. A. Randall.
DBC general sales manager, 1911, M. H. Rockwell.



Standard Motor Parts Co.
584-590 Franklin Street  Detroit, Michigan. (Advert)
584-590 Franklin Street  Detroit, Michigan. (1915 Phone book).
584-590 Franklin Street  Detroit, Michigan. (1918 Phone book).



United States Tire Co.
245 Jefferson Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (1915 Phone book).
245 Jefferson
Ave, Detroit, Michigan.  (1918 Phone book).



Caille Perfection Motor Co.
1334 Second Ave Detroit, Michigan. (Advert)
1338 Second Ave Detroit, Michigan. (Advert)
1213 Caille Street Detroit, Michigan. (Advert)
102 Caille Street Detroit Michigan. (Advert)


Middleditch Engine Co.
105 Meldrum Ave. Detroit, Michigan. (Dec 1911 Engine Advert Pop Mechanics).

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The sketch below is of the DEW Factory's on Jefferson Ave Detroit, Michigan. which included WMC, DBC, MSBC and CEC. In this sketch DEW manufacturing facilities appear to be very large. One of the DEW advertisements claims their factories covered eight acres of land another later ad claims fourteen acres. It is not known just how accurate the pictures below are.  Artist sometimes exaggerate these pictures for advertising. The street below with the rail car tracks in the middle is Jefferson Ave. in the background you can see the Detroit River. Building on the far left is the same building shown in the picture below this one.


   

The factory below was built around the 1905 time period and located at the corner of 1256 East Jefferson Ave. & Bellevue Ave. on the north side of the street.  New address 6601 East Jefferson Ave. (Addresses were re-numbered in 1921).



All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.

Abbreviations: DEW = Detroit Engine Works.  WMC = Wadsworth Manufacturing Co.  DMCSC = Detroit Motor Car Supply Co.  CEC = Columbia Engine Co.  MSBC = Michigan Steel Boat Co.  DBC = Detroit Boat Co.  SMPC = Standard Motor Parts Co.    CPMC = Caille Perfection Motor Co.  MEC = Middleditch Engine Co.  BGEC = Bessemer Gas Engine Co.  TMC = Thrall Motor Co.   T&MC = Termaat & Monahan Co.  AEC = American Engine Co.  PIW = Petoskey Iron Works.                   Updated 03-08- 2009

Principals of the DEW in 1903 were Hugo Scherer as president and Frederick E. Wadsworth as secretary and treasurer.  

In 1911 Hugo Scherer was president of the firm with Frederick E. Wadsworth as secretary and treasurer. Scherer and Wadsworth also owned and managed the DMCS, TMC, and CEC. Both Scherer and Wadsworth were also the principals of the DBC which was located at the same facility and manufactured launches and canoes.

Detroit Engine Works, Detroit Motor Car Supply Co., Columbia Engine Co., Michigan Steel Boat Co., Detroit Boat Co., Caille Perfection Motor Co.,  Middleditch Engine Co. and Bessemer two cycle engines are all pretty similar. All of the companies were located in Detroit, Michigan with exception of Bessemer who bought out Middleditch Engine Co. 

Below are a few photos of the engine tags that were used on Detroit Engine Works engines and some of the related engines.

  Detroit_Tag03.jpg (43377 bytes)Ziggy06.jpg (78183 bytes)PeterDMCtag.jpg (39466 bytes)DEWMarine_tag_17.jpg (7001 bytes)DEW_Marine_09_JC.Davis.JPG (70747 bytes)Michigan_Steel_Boat_Co._tag.JPG (53813 bytes)

      Sandow_2_Danny_Shields.JPG (247011 bytes) SandowMarine05.jpg (48120 bytes) Sandow_2.5_William_Schaller_06.JPG (325564 bytes) Caille_Jim_McCracken10.JPG (156065 bytes) MichiganSteelBoat03.jpg (19532 bytes) Bessemer2hp03.JPG (26479 bytes)
All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.

An original Columbia marine engine catalog illustrating their line of engines actually shows two or three pictures of their engines with Detroit Engine Works name tags attached to the cylinder.  Original literature clearly illustrates that Detroit Engine Works manufactured two cycle engines for Columbia Engine Company, Detroit Motor Car Supply Company, Michigan Steel Boat Company and Detroit Boat Company.


 

It is said that Benjamin J. Middleditch designed the two cycle explosion engine with its fuel injection system that made Detroit Engine Works and its related companies so popular back in the early 1900's.  As of May 26, 2006  research has been done on patents listed under the Middleditch name from 1879 through 1925 and only one patent has been found (0577739) issued to Benjamin J. Middleditch and Edward J. Frost and it was for a mechanism that regulates natural gas. At this point it does not appear that Middleditch designed this two cycle explosion engine and its fuel injection system. If he did design the fuel injection system then he did not get a patent under his name. However it is very possible that Ben J. Middleditch could have been one of the main driving forces behind the two cycle Detroit engine and its unique fuel injection system.

December 05, 2006, Through research I have discovered that there is a very good possibility that Ben. J. Middleditch either owned or had a license for the patent writes to patent #
(840,178)  for the universal fuel feeder that Middleditch Engine Co. and Bessemer Engine Co. used on their two cycle engines. The patent was originally submitted May 25, 1905 by Daniel M. Tuttle and patented on January 1st 1907.  Photos of a early model Bessemer two cycle engine have surfaced with embossed patent dates.  See 1915 infringement lawsuit below for the whole story.

Benjamin Middleditch was born in 1859 in Amherstburg, Ontario Canada. Ben and his British born wife, Lucy H. Middleditch moved to Detroit in 1880 and started their own general machine shop business.

Ben Middleditch became very popular in Detroit as a engineer and manufacturer of machinery and engines. He also bought and sold real estate on the side and made a substantial sum of money doing so. Ben and Lucy Middleditch had two son's who were well educated with college degrees and also attended the military. Lieutenant George O. Middleditch born in Detroit, Michigan on November 20, 1894. George was a pilot for the Royal Flying Corps 44th training Squadron. One day while testing a new plane something went wrong and the plane did a nose dive and crashed. Lieutenant George O. Middleditch died on March 12, 1918. The second son, Leigh B. Middleditch was a second Lieutenant in the field Artillery and was killed in a air battle over the trenches in France.

Phillip Middleditch (Older brother of Benjamin Middleditch) was born in Amherstburg, Canada in 1856. Phillip was the proprietor of a company Petoskey Iron Works located at 315 State Street Petoskey, Michigan. City directories show PIW in the Petoskey area around the 1906-1910 time period. PIW's sold marine engines that looked very close to the marine engines that Detroit Engine Works produced. Benjamin Middleditch helped his older brother design and manufacture the company's first engines. This was a very small company that was only in business for a few years.  PIW was also a sales agent for the Alamo Engine Co. The Petoskey Iron Works business was sold around the 1911 time period and the manufacturing of the Petoskey two cycle marine engines ceased. New owners continued in business as a repair shop and agent for Alamo engines. Phillip Middleditch died in 1914.

  By 1910 Benjamin Middleditch was manufacturing and selling his own design stationary and marine two cycle engines that looked very similar in design to the DEW engines. The engines brass tag was embossed with the Middleditch Engine Company name.  MEC only manufactured these two cycle stationary & marine engines for a few years. In 1913 Bessemer Gas Engine Co. purchased the Middleditch Engine Co. of Detroit Michigan including its stock of engines, patterns, jigs, and patents. BGEC continued producing the two cycle engines with their own brass Bessemer Engine Co. name tags into the 1920's. BGEC also designed and manufactured a hopper cooled and air cooled version of the stationary style engines.  Benjamin J. Middleditch died May 22, 1916 at the age of 57.

Patent # 926,892 shows that John Peterson & Frederick O. Peterson designed the two cycle explosion engine with its fuel injection system. Although their patent was applied for on February 24, 1908 and patent issued on July 06, 1909 we know that their design and engine was already being produced by DEW at least a couple of years before the patents were issued. There is a original DEW catalog with a 1907 date showing the two cycle explosion engine with its fuel injection system. It is not known if John Peterson and Frederick O. Peterson were employed by DEW or MEC  Ben J. Middleditch manufactured this fuel injection system for DEW.  DEW also manufactured two cycle marine engines with a regular float type carburetors and mixer type carburetors before and after the fuel injection system was manufactured.

DEW engineers eventually designed and manufactured their own fuel injection system. The one piece fuel feeder-Injector patent was applied for on January 7, 1911  was designed by Frederick Barthel.  Patented May 14, 1912 (patent #1,026,425). Frederick Barthel,  born: 1866, Died: 1922, Grave: Forest Lawn Cemetery Detroit, Wayne county,  Michigan. Wife: Ida Bowman.  

There were three styles of this one piece fuel feeder/Injector produced.  See Identifying engines & parts section on the main menu for photos & info on the three different styles.
                         

Source:
Steam Magazine Volume 11 & 12 January 1913.
Patents: University of Central Florida Library.

                                                                                                                                                                                    
                                                        
                                             

1915 Lawsuit

The information in the paragraphs below were found in a 1915 original Bessemer two cycle engine catalog.  I thought that this information might be of interest to other engine collectors.

            In a description of the Bessemer Universal Fuel Feeder this is what was found.

"“We own the original basic patents on this fuel feeder, and if any one else, either in a catalog, in a letter or personally attempts to make you believe otherwise, you can put them down immediately as impostors who, if they will deceive you on such an important matter as this would not hesitate to deceive in any way necessary to gain their purpose."”

"“At the present time there are two other engine manufacturers using devices which are clearly infringements of our Universal Fuel Feeder."”

"“We are now prosecuting the larger of these two concerns for infringement and as soon as this case is over we will take up the other, and in every case where we find it necessary we will defend our rights and property and that of our customers, to the full extent of the law."”

"We have no intention whatever of taking recourse against the innocent purchasers of these infringements and consequently we do not issue the usual "warning" to that effect, but when considering the purchase of an engine it might be well to take the fact into consideration that, if possible, We intend to stop any and all infringements of our rights, and that if you buy an engine that is clearly such and we shortly thereafter stop the manufacture of it by law, the guilty firm would undoubtedly go out of business altogether or else take up the manufacture of a new type engine, in which case you would be forever unable to secure repairs for your engine in case of accident."

"This device is one of the many things which puts the Bessemer Kerosene Engine in the lead, makes it a more expensive engine to build and consequently renders it impossible for us to compete with the cheap four cycle gasoline engines which are being turned out by the million and are made only to sell."

I first read about this infringement of the Bessemer Universal fuel feeder a few years back when I was on a antique engine forum on the internet. A gentlemen named Arnie Fero from Pittsburg PA had posted the information and said it was a quote out of Bessemer two cycle engine catalog he had.  I really wanted to get a copy of this Bessemer catalog and see if there was any more information on this subject and try to figure out who it was that was infringing on their patents. I knew that it probably involved Detroit Engine Works.  The problem was Arnie's information had been posted in March of 2001 and I was now reading it in 2004.  Another year went by and one night I was bidding on a Bessemer engine catalog on Ebay through the internet. I won the bid and just a few minutes or so after the auction I received a email from a fellow engine collector who was also bidding on the catalog but had lost the bid and wanted to know if it would be possible if he could purchase a copy of the catalog.  I noticed his name was Arnie Fero, so ask if he was the gentlemen that posted the Bessemer fuel feeder infringement information on the antique engine forum a few years back. He indeed was the same gentlemen. So we worked up a trade and sent each other copies of our catalogs. I never did find any more information about this fuel feeder infringement until one day in 2006  I was going through some old digital photos I had collected over the years and I found a few photos of a very early Bessemer two cycle engine, one photo was a close up of some embossing on the engine inspection plate (The Bessemer, Grove City, PA). Another photo of the crank case showed embossed (Patended, January 1st 1907). After seeing the photos I thought this might be the answer I have been looking for.  I went to the US patent website and searched through patents until I narrowed down where the January 1st 1907 patents started and ended. This took a little time and once I got this info there were still thousands of patents to be searched. So I got a friend of mine to help me search. After about a week or so we finished looking through all the patents for January 1st 1907 and found only one engine patent, # (840,178) by Daniel M. Tuttle, for January 1st 1907  and it did not look exactly like a Bessemer or Middleditch two cycle engine to me. I lost interest after this because I could not figure out what was going on. Why couldn't I find this patent? About six months later I was looking through some of my old literature and paper work and I come across a copy of this same patent that I printed out back when we originally found it. I looked at the patent again and this time I read all the pages and looked over the drawing closer. This was the same basic fuel injection design being used it was just drawn a little different. I knew that this was indeed the patent that Bessemer sold their engines under and probably the original patent for the low pressure fuel feeder for which the rights were originally owned by Daniel M. Tuttle. It appears that Ben. J. Middleditch may have acquired the rights to this patent at some point.  I have no hard evidence of this but the fact remains that the design of this low pressure fuel injected engine seem to follow Ben J. Middleditch from factory to factory no matter what company he worked for.

Daniel M.Tuttle, Middleditch, Bessemer fuel feeder patent # (840,178) January  01, 1907.

John Peterson & Frederick O. Peterson, DEW fuel feeder patent # (926,892) July 06, 1909.

Frederick Barthel, DEW second fuel feeder patent # (1,026,425)  May 14, 1912.

The two later patents above are very simular to the same basic original patent with improvements being made with each design. This is probably where the infringement problems came to play. DEW and DMCS could have been the two companies BGEC were talking about infringing on their patents

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June 16, 2011

Source:   Iron Age Magazine Volume 90 page 1149,  November 14, 1912.

"The Bessemer Gas Engine Company, Grove City, Pa. has purchased the gas engine business of the Middleditch Engine Company, Detroit, Michigan, including its stock of engines, patterns, jigs and patents. In addition it has bought the patents of John Peterson and Frederick O. Peterson, covering the Universal fuel feed, which enables small engines to operate successfully on kerosene, naptha and low grade distillates. The Bessemer gas Engine Company has felt the need for some time of a line of small engines to make its line more complete, and this purchase gives it a full range of gas engines from 2 to 350 hp."

Detroit Engine works and its related engine companies were still manufacturing engines and fuel feeders under Frederick Barthel's patent # 1,026,425 up until about the 1919 time period.  This may have been why the law suit was filed by Bessemer.

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Source:

A
merican Gas Engines since 1872 (C.H.Wendal)

1912,1913,1915 original Detroit Engine Works letterheads.

Patents: University of Central Florida Library.

Original company literature 1907 through 1917.

1915 original Bessemer engine catalog.
(Donated by Arnie Fero).

US Patent Office website.

University Of Central Florida computer patent search program and microfiche.


Research done by: (John C. Davis), Davis Antiques & Scale Models.

                                                                                                                                                                     

Wadsworth builds "Flying Fish" Hydro-Aeroplane. 

In 1911 Wadsworth, built a Hydro-Aeroplane named the Flying Fish which debuted at the New York Boat Show. The unusual vehicle was designed to skim on top of the water at speeds up to 65mph, with the ‘skipper-pilot’ seated in a wicker chair at the rear of its canoe-like hull. The Flying Fish was successfully tested on the ice of Lake St. Clair but no further development occurred.

Detroit Stove Works.

The Detroit Stove Works was located one block to the east at 1320-1360 E. Jefferson Ave. and in late 1909 the Hupp Motor Car Co. moved into a new facility built on the former Olds grounds at 1300-1320 E Jefferson Ave. (at Concord). When Hupp relocated to larger facilities at Milwaukee and Mt. Elliott Aves in 1912, the King Motor Car Co took over Hupp’s Jefferson Ave factory.

Located to the west of the Wadsworth factory at 1210 E Jefferson Ave., was the national headquarters of the Stove Mounters Union of North America. During the late 19th century Detroit was the stove manufacturing capital of the US and three of the nations largest manufacturers; the Detroit Stove Works, Michigan Stove Works and Peninsular Iron Co. were located along E. Jefferson Ave.

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Detroit Engine Works sells plant to United States Tire Co. 1915.  

By 1915 the firm had grown to include these managers and officers: Hugo Scherer, President; Frederick E. Wadsworth, Secretary and Treasurer; H. E. Cronenweth, General Manager; W. C. Rowling, Purchasing Agent; and A. M. Ratigan, Advertising Manager.

  Detroit Engine Works sales flyer shown below states: 

“Our plant has been sold to the United States Tire Co. and our new plant is not yet ready so that we can carry in stock only a limited amount of engines and machinery for a few months and rather than pay this storage we are going to sell the majority of our stock.”

The Original Wadsworth plant at 1252-1270 E Jefferson was purchased by the United States Rubber Co. (manufactured the United States Tire), as was the former Hupmobile/King plant at 1300-24 E. Jefferson (at Concord).
                                                   


All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.

Originally from Chicago, the Morgan & Wright Bicycle Tire Co., moved to Detroit to take advantage of its burgeoning automobile industry. Its first Detroit plant was erected on a portion of the former Old Motor Works parcel, east of the Wadsworth plant. Completed in October of 1906, several of Detroit’s Automobile Shows were held inside the 900,000 sq ft complex.

Wadsworth Manufacturing Co.'s  New Factory built 1915.

Morgan & Wright was purchased by the United States Rubber Company in 1914. US Rubber wished to expand the existing plant and made a generous offer for the original Wadsworth Manufacturing Co. complex. With the proceeds Scherer and Wadsworth purchased a large undeveloped plot on Jefferson Ave. 3 miles east of the current facility in the area known as Conners Creek. The Sibley Lumber Company and the Inside Inn Hotel was located just across the street. Detroit Engine Works, Detroit Motor Car Supply Co., Columbia Engine Co. were still manufacturing engines at this time and Michigan Steel Boat Co., Detroit Boat Co. also continued to manufacture boats.


All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.

 Located on the north side of East Jefferson Ave. and Conners Street the new facility featured a railroad siding connected to the Detroit Terminal Railway, which gave them direct access to Ford Motor Co.’s Highland Park and River Rouge assembly plants. Plans were drawn up by Detroit architect Albert Kahn and construction of the new modern facility - which was bordered by Kercheval Street to the north and Corey Place to the west - commenced in 1915. The new factory had 700,000 square feet of floor space. In June of that year the firm reported that they had spent $30,000 on new construction at the Conners Creek factory. The photo above shows the Wadsworth Mfg Co.'s new six story factory as it was being built in 1915. The new address as listed today would be 12262 Kercheval Street Detroit, Michigan. This is the same basic location as the Kercheval Chrysler plant.

June 10th, 1915 issue of the Iron Age magazine reported that Frederick E. Wadsworth, secretary and treasure of the Michigan Steel Boat Company, the Detroit Engine Works and Detroit Motor Car Supply Company, has purchased property 300 x 1200 ft, in the Fairview factory district, Grand Rapids, Michigan as the site for a new factory. It is understood that the construction of a four-story factory 240 x 260 ft, will be started at once. The building is to be used by a new company in the manufacture of motor car bodies.

It is not known if this factory was ever built in the Grand Rapids area. No information or addresses have surfaced at this time.

   By late 1918 Wadsworth’s new Conners Creek plant was running at full capacity. With an authorized capitalization of $1,000,000 the company’s officers at the time were as follows: Frederick E. Wadsworth, president; Henry E. Bodman, vice president; Herbert E. Cronenweth, secretary and treasurer. The firms various activities were listed in the Chilton Directory as follows:
 
    “Wadsworth Manufacturing Company, Kercheval avenue and Connor's Creek, Detroit, Mich. Sedan and closed automobile bodies, automobile parts; automobile painting and trimming. Cable address, "Motorcar," Detroit .”

  A May 17th 1918 inspection of the Wadsworth plant by the State of Michigan Dept of Labor gave the following statistics. Wadsworth employed a total of 1,125 persons of which 951 were male, 174 female, and 4 were under the age of 16.

  Wadsworth’s new Vice-president, Henry E. Bodman, was closely associated with both Packard and Ford and it is believed he represented the automakers interest who at that time owned a substantial portion of Wadsworth Manufacturing’s stock.

  Henry E. Bodman was born in Toledo, Ohio on Aug. 8, 1874 and admitted to the Michigan bar in 1897. By 1918 he had become chief attorney for the Packard Motor Car Co. and would soon become one of the Ford Motor Co.’s lead attorneys. He later served as Henry and Edsel Ford’s personal attorney and in 1927 founded the Detroit law firm, Bodman LLP, which remains one of Detroit’s largest firms. During World war II Bodman served his country as chief counsel for the Automotive Council for War Production. Bodman also served on the board of directors of a number of Detroit-based firms among them the Guardian Detroit Bank, Provident Loan Co., Detroit City Gas Co. etc. During the mid-to-late Twenties he served as chairman of the Guardian Trust Co.  

Prior to his marriage to Mannering, Wadsworth purchased an estate in Irvington on the Hudson river in New York and in 1916 announced that he intended to live in New York permanently and was putting his Grosse Pointe estate on the market.

  Scherer remained friends with Frederick E. Wadsworth and continued to operate H. Scherer & Co., Detroit Forging and St. Clair-Athol Rubber from his offices at 280-274 E Jefferson.

  Shortly before his death Scherer stated he had decided to retire from active business and place the affairs of H. Scherer & Co. in the hands of his trusted staff, which included Clemons H. Davis (Manager), Hugo Miller (Secretary-Treasurer), and Lovell E. Kraus. All three men hade been led by Scherer to believe that they would be compensated beyond their salary if they remained with the company after Scherer’s retirement.

  Unfortunately, those wishes were not noted in his will and when Scherer passed away in November, 1923, the firm passed to his wife - Clara Schmidt Scherer – and two daughters, Marion Scherer Livingstone & Dorothy Scherer Higbie.

  Consequently Davis, Miller and Kraus sued the estate and after a 4-month long court battle the firm of Davis, Kraus & Miller was formed and the assets of H. Scherer & Co. were transferred to the new corporation in exchange for all of its stock consisting of $250,000 of preferred which was issued to Scherer’s widow and two daughters, and $250,000 of common, which was issued to Davis, Miller and Kraus.

  Davis, Kraus & Miller relocated into leased quarters at 442 E. Jefferson and continued to supply Detroit’s auto industry with textiles and trimming materials into the early thirties.

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Wadsworth Mfg Co. transfers DEW, DMCSC,DBC,MSBC,CEC
 to Standard Motor Parts Co. 1918-1920.

DEW, DMCSC, DBC, CEC & MSBC  All were ran as a side issue by the WMC, Which was primarily in another line of business. (manufacturers of auto bodies, auto tops and auto parts). As consequence the service on the repair parts became badly demoralized, and to protect the engine owners radical changes had to be made. Wadsworth management decided to transfer these companies to the Standard Motor Parts Company.  It is not known if these companies were sold or if Standard Motor Parts Co. was just paid to manage them and/or the parts and service departments. Located at 584-590 Franklin St , Detroit, Standard Motor Parts specialized in providing service and spare parts to owners of bankrupt, orphaned and obsolete automobile, tractor and small engine manufacturers. Originally located in Kalamazoo, the firm was founded by Edwin J. Dayton who relocated the firm to Detroit in the early teens. The firm prospered, eventually establishing service depots in Syracuse, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, Lebanon, Muncie, Newcastle, Indiana, Chicago and Illinois.  

DEW, DMCSC, DBC, CEC, MSBC went out of business shortly after the transfer around 1919-1920 time period.  This is the same time period that Wadsworth Manufacturing Co. was succeeded by the American Motor Body Company. Also in this time period is when the Wadsworth factory auto workers union went on strike and then the suspicious fire that totally destroyed the factory.

           
          (click to enlarge)                                                                 (click to enlarge)

All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.


Address & info listed for Standard Motor Parts Co. in the 1918 City directory, E. J. Dayton, Pres. and Treas.; W. S. Grant, Sec. 
Mfrs. of Auto Parts. 584-590 Franklin.

Sources:

Original Standard Motor Parts Company, Detroit, Michigan mail out flyer from 1917 period.   (Donated by David Clark from Missouri Ozarks ).

Info own company management and address for Standard Motor Parts Co. donated by:
Scott M. Peters, Collections Historian Michigan Historical Museum.
1918 Detroit City Directory, published by R. L. Polk & Company page 1647.

www.1847usa.com  (US Stamps) used to date Standard Motor Parts Co. flyer.

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Letter from Ford Motor Co.

  A letter from the Ford Motor Co. archives, General Letter No. 347 dated Feb 20, 1919, mentions problems associated with Wadsworth’s sedan bodies:

    ”FROM: Ford Motor Company, Detroit Office

    February 20, 1919

    General Letter No. 347

    INSTRUMENT BOARD

   

”One length of board is being furnished for sedans, both Wadsworth and Fisher made, and as the Wadsworth body is somewhat wider between pillars at instrument board section than the Fisher body, it becomes necessary for various reasons that one length be furnished for both jobs and when branch receives same it will be in order to cut off ends of the board to fit Fisher body if Fisher bodies are being received. After cutting the boards to size, see that the imitation leather is again placed over ends of boards in a workmanlike manner. Instruments will be shipped to branch from main plant with instrument boards until the body manufacturers can bring the instrument boards through to fit their respective bodies, after which they will ship bodies with the instruments and wiring fastened thereto so that same can be fastened to dash assembly in accordance with diagrams which you have at this time. Coupe bodies are now going forward with the instrument board in position.”  
 

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The June 23, 1910 issue of the Automobile reported:

    “Detroit June 2, 1910 – Two new automobile companies have been formed here during the past week. They are the Hupp-Yeates Electric car Company, $100,000 capital, which will build a new type electric and a concern headed by Hugo Scherer and F.E. Wadsworth of Michigan Steel Boat Company which will have a capitalization of $250,000 and which will build a small car of more horsepower, about 100-inch wheelbase, to weigh under 1,900 lbs. This car will sell for under $1,000.”

The partner’s car was to be called the Tom Thumb, and was named after Peter Cooper’s diminutive steam locomotive that ushered in the railroad age in 1830. Another news item relating to the Tom Thumb followed:

    “This building at the corner of Bellevue street, is for Hugo Scherer and F.E. Wadsworth, who have formed a new company to build a low-priced car.” However, there is no evidence the vehicle ever made it past the prototype stage, and even the existence of a prototype is doubted.

_________________________________________________________

Frederick E. Wadsworth was a founding member of the Detroit Aero Club, and created a small scandal in 1911 when he divorced his current wife and married a famous British actress.

The actress, Mary Mannering (b.1876 d.1953) was born in London where she studied for the stage under Hermann Vezin. She made her debut at Manchester in 1892 under her own name of Florence Friend. In 1896 New York theatrical producer Daniel Frohman brought her to New York where she changed her name to Mary Mannering, the maiden name of her father's mother. Her first star billing came at Buffalo, NY in 1900 when she appeared in ‘Janice Meredith’ in the title role. For the next ten years she starred in various productions; White Roses (New York, 1901); The Truants (Washington, 1909); The Independent Miss Gower (Chicago, 1909); A Man's World and The Garden of Allah (New York, 1910).

After her 1911 marriage to Wadsworth, Mannering retired from the stage, and devoted her life to assisting her husband in civic and business affairs. In 1912 she was credited with building nineteen cottages for working men and their families on the former Wadsworth estate in Gross Pointe Farms. By the late teens she was listed as Vice-president of the Michigan Boat Works. Later in Life she was interviewed by Good Housekeeping, who published her interview in an article titled The Home, The Stage and the Woman.

Source:
  
An Online Encyclopedia of American Coachbuilders & Coachbuilding.
http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/w/wadsworth/wadsworth.htm

  _______________________________________________________________________________________


Wadsworth Strike April 18, 1919 & Fire August 1, 1919 cost millions.

  Wadsworth was plagued by a number of strikes initiated by the fledgling United Automobile, Aircraft & Vehicle Workers Union (UAAVW, predecessor to the AWU or Auto Workers Union) in April and May of 1919. The initial strike was covered by the Associated Press who reported the following on April 18, 1919:

    “Will Institute Six Dollar Day Wage In Detroit Firm

    “Detroit, Mich., April- 18.—Six dollars a day minimum wage and a 47 hour week will be instituted by the Wadsworth Mfg Co. on Monday, according to Frederick E. Wadsworth, president of the corporation which make automobile accessories. The company has been in controversy with some 2,500 of its employees who went on strike Wednesday and according to labor leaders at the plant this announcement is the result of the workers' demands for more pay and less work.”

The April strike of some 1,500 workers (the 2,500 quoted in the paper was highly inflated), about 90% of whom were in the union, was precipitated by the company's desire to dictate who should be elected to the workers' committees.

Under strict orders from Ford’s representatives, Wadsworth management refused to meet with the committee, and presented the ‘Six-Dollar Wage’ statement to placate the public.

Not only did this strike constrain Ford’s output during a period of potentially booming sales, but Ford was worried about the UAAVW getting a foothold in his own plants.

Wadsworth management brought in idle Ford employees for strike-breakers and advertised for help all over the country.

Fed up with the labor unions interference, in mid-July 1919 Henry Ford began installing his own body-building equipment into Building B of Ford’s Eagle Shipbuilding plant.

Although the local Board of Commerce tried to assist Wadsworth/Ford in its efforts to break the strike, negotiations ended when the Wadsworth plant was totally destroyed by a ‘suspicious’ fire on the night of Friday, August 1, 1919.

Fire in Detroit does over a million in damage.

The International News Service reported:

“Detroit, Michigan, Aug. 2.—Damage estimated at more than $1,000,000 was caused last night when the Wadsworth Manufacturing plant, in the east end of this city, was almost entirely destroyed by fire and other business houses slightly damaged. The fire is thought to have been caused by combustion, and originated in the paint shop of the Wadsworth company. The Sibley Lumber company suffered $100,000 loss and the Inside Inn hotel was totally destroyed.

On Saturday, the Detroit News included a photo of the fire and the following short article:

    “August 02, 1919 Detroit - Minutes after the first alarm was given, the plant of the Wadsworth Manufacturing Co. was in flames. The photograph, taken from Jefferson Avenue, shows the extent of the destruction.  The roof caved in quickly, flames reflecting from a background of dense smoke illuminating the sky. Three explosions helped demolish the structure and hurled burning timbers to nearby factories which took fire, among them the Maxwell Chalmers plant. A high wind aided in spreading the flames. A falling wall struck two fire engines, wrecking them.”


                                                           
 Copy of news paper photo of August 02,1919
 
Wadsworth Mfg Co. located at East Jefferson Ave. & Kercheval St. (Conner Creek area).
(click to enlarge) 


The two photos below were donated by T.K. Sand,  who created a website called (Before My Time) about the ancestry and extended family of her four grandparents. Among the photos kept by T.K's grandparents were the two below. Her grandparents lived in the 1000 block of Jefferson Ave. in 1919. The photos are believed to be of the Wadsworth factory after the August 01, 1919 fire.  If anyone has information about these photos or the fire please contact me.   
mazak@rocketmail.com


(click to enlarge)


(click to enlarge)

Below T.K. Sands combined the unidentified photo with the Detroit News paper clipping 
of the actual Wadsworth factory fire so a comparison could be made between the two buildings.
                                

(click to enlarge)

After the Wadsworth factory fire a 1919 issue of Safety Engineering Magazine stated that the No. 6 building was 6 stories in height and divided into 3 sections by 12 inch single fire doors operated by fusible links. The building was filled with highly flammable contents and had automatic sprinklers fed from a 50,000 gallon water tank up above the roof on a tower. The fire occurred on one of the upper floors and spread through the wall openings in the different sections, the result being the opening of a large number of sprinklers that without doubt the water in the sprinkler tank was quickly exhausted, after which the fire had it's own way, and the final loss was about $1,250.000. The reason the sprinkler system failed was because the 12 inch fire doors were not fully automatic and sufficient enough. If these doors had automatically closed the fire would not have spread so quickly and more then likely would have allowed the sprinkler system to put out the fire.

In December of that same year (1919) the Wadsworth home at Grosse Pointe Farms was burned. No information on what caused the fire. The house was rebuilt and remodeled only to be destroyed again from a fire two years later (Aug 19, 1921) when the house was struck by lightning during a thunder storm. House valued at $150,000. The Wadsworth family were at their summer home in Nantucket Massachusetts each time the two fires occurred. 



Source:


Detroit News paper, Detroit public Library.
Research done by: John Davis, Davis Antiques & Scale Models.
T.K. Sand :  (Before My Time) two photos from T.K. Sand grandparents.
1919 Safety Engineering Magazine.

                                                                                                                                                                                  

By early 1920, Wadsworth had rebuilt the factory and sedan bodies were once again being shipped to Ford. However, Ford had contracted with other firms during the lengthy fire-induced shutdown, so the unwelcome additional capacity was used to construct production bodies for other Detroit manufacturers such as Gray, Hudson, Maxwell and Chalmers.

  Although the firm had transferred its marine, stationary farm engine and parts service to Standard Motor Parts Co., Michigan Steel Boat Company continued to be listed in the Detroit directories at the Corner of Kercheval Ave & Conner Creek, the same locations as Wadsworth Manufacturing. At that time Michigan Steel Boat’s officers were as follows: Frederick E. Wadsworth, president; Mary M. Wadsworth, vice-president; H.E. Cronenweth, treasurer.

  For many years Herbert E. Cronenweth, (b.1884) was associated with the management of Scherer and Wadsworth’s various enterprises. When Wadsworth Manufacturing was dissolved in 1920, Cronenweth headed to Los Angeles where he became involved in the oil and real estate business heading the Acme Petroleum, L-Her Oil and Land, and L-Her Realty Co.

American Motor Body Co. purchases Wadsworth Mfg Co. Nov of 1920.

American Motor Body Co. had no connection with the Buffalo, New York firm, American Body Co., although the former firm is often referred to in error as American Body or American Body Manufacturing.

The American Motor Body Co. was created by the American Can Company as a Delaware Corporation on February 18, 1918. The purpose of its founding was the eventual take over of the plants and assets of two firms, the Wadsworth Manufacturing Company of Detroit, Michigan and the Hale & Kilburn Corp. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Wadsworth’s president, Frederick E. Wadsworth, had been previously involved with American Can Company’s competitor, the National Can Company. Surprisingly both firms’ Detroit branches produced stamped automotive products in addition to tin cans. At the time of the sale, Wadsworth Manufacturing was supplying closed automobile bodes to the Ford Motor Co. and other Detroit automakers.

American Can’s Detroit plant was located at 1400-1500 Trombly St. , (the same facility sometimes used 6234-6290 Russell St. as its address), National Can’s plant was located at 2566 E Grand Blvd.

At that time Hale & Kilburn was controlled by J.P. Morgan & Co. interests and like Wadsworth , was involved in producing automobile bodies. American Can’s president, Frederick S. Wheeler, hoped the two related business would give his firm a foothold in the emerging all-metal automobile body building business.

Hale & Kilburn’s president, Joseph A. Bower, spearheaded a re-organization of the firm during 1917 in hopes of attracting a buyer. When the project was finalized in January, 1918, he was rewarded with a promotion to vice-president of the J.P. Morgan’s Liberty National Bank of New York .

The American Motor Body plant in Detroit ran along the north side of Jefferson Ave, with its northern border running along the south side of Kercheval St/Ave. it was commonly known as the Kercheval plant. Both Jefferson and Kercheval were re-numbered by the City of Detroit in 1921, which gave the plant a new address; 12262 Kercheval Ave, Detroit, Michigan.

On September of 1920 the stockholders of the Wadsworth Mfg. Co. accepted a plan whereby, that company would be taken over by the American Motor Body Corporation. The $1,000,000+ merger, included the plant and assets of the Hale & Kilburn Corp. of Philadelphia .

The transaction was finalized on November 17, 1920 when the assets of Wadsworth were conveyed, subject to all liabilities to the American Motor Body Co. with the shareholders of Wadsworth Mfg. Co. receiving in exchange a portion of the capital stock of the American Motor Body Co. (American Can Co.), secured by a first mortgage on the Wadsworth plant located at Kercheval and Conners Creek, Detroit. A similar arrangement was made with the Hale & Kilburn shareholders in Philadelphia.

The Bankers Trust Company was appointed the transfer agent for Class "A" stock of the American Motor Body Company.

July 1, 1923 the American Motor Body Corporation, under the direction and control of Charles M. Schwab, succeeded the American Motor Body Company.

September 4, 1925 the purchase of the Detroit plant of the American Motor Body Corporation by the Chrysler Corporation was announced by Walter P Chrysler, Chrysler’s chairman and President. According to the press release.

 

 

Frederick Wadsworth’s Obituary.

Wadsworth’s Obituary from the March 28, 1927 New York Times, follows:

FREDERICK WADSWORTH PALM BEACH 

 

Special to the New York Times

PALM BEACH Florida, March 27, - Frederick Elliott Wadsworth, retired automobile body manufacturer of Detroit City and Irvington-On-Hudson, died today at his winter home on Clarke Avenue here of a paralytic stroke. He was 58 years old. Stricken a week ago, his physicians said there was no hope and advised Mrs. Wadsworth to notify relatives of the sickness.

Besides Mrs. Wadsworth, Mrs. Stanley Robinson of Pasadena, Cal., a daughter; Horace Wadsworth, a son, and Mrs. Frederick George of Grand Rapids, a sister, were with MR. Wadsworth when he died.

Mrs. Wadsworth was formerly Mary Mannering, the actress.

Mr. Wadsworth was a son of James W. Wadsworth of Durham Conn. He was formerly Secretary and General Manager of the Michigan Steel Boat Company of Detroit.

Mr. Wadsworth married Mary Mannering, former wife of James K. Hackett, in this city on Jun 1, 1911. Mr. Wadsworth’s first wife was Luella Peck, niece of former United States Senator Burrows of Michigan.

The Retired Detroit Manufacturer Was the Husband of Mary Mannering, the Actress.

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Michigan Steel Boat Company


The Michigan Steel Boat Company was originally located at 102 Mill Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan and owned and operated by C.G. Bullard and his brother, organized in the late 1800's. By the end of 1901 Frederick E. Wadsworth purchased the company and moved it to Detroit located at 1250 East Jefferson Ave. incorporated on December 27, 1901, in Detroit, Wayne County. Principals of the firm in 1903 were Hugo Scherer as president and Frederick E. Wadsworth as secretary and treasurer.
Original literature and phone books show multiple addresses for MSBC on Jefferson Ave. 1250,1252-1270, 1300,1273,1347 and then in 1918,1919 listed at Kercheval & Conners Creek and Dubois & Guoin in Detroit. A MSBC advertisement in a Recreation Magazine of 1901 has the address listed at 102 Mill Street Kalamazoo, Michigan.

MSBC shared the Detroit plant and management with Detroit Motor Car Supply Company and several marine engine and boat manufacturers such as Detroit Engine Works, Columbia Engine Company, Detroit Boat Company.  

The firm marketed boats under the Michigan Steel Boat Co. and Detroit Boat Co. brands, and were likely also resold and marketed by third parties under other brand names. Period advertisements stated that Michigan Steel Boat Co. and Detroit Boat Co. manufactured 64 different styles of boats ranging in size from 14 to 35 feet.280-284 Jefferson Ave, 

 

Michigan Steel Boat Co.. purchases the old Detroit United Railway car barns.

Detroit Free Press, Sep 27, 1905 head lines read:
 

"Detroit Boast the largest boat plant in the world"  

"Detroit will have the largest boat-building plant in the world. The Michigan Steel Boat Company yesterday bought out the old Detroit United Railway car barns property on Jefferson avenue from Olds Motor Works. About 700 men will be employed in building steel and wooden boats and canoes. The new owners (Frederick Wadsworth & Hugo Scherer) will take immediate possession of the property and will begin moving into its new quarters this morning. A considerable portion of the machinery formerly used by the Olds people has been bought by the boat company and this will be utilized in the extended operations which will be undertaken. 
     Stock is on hand with which to build wooden canoes. About 2,000 will be turned out for the 1906 season. The Detroit corporation recently bought out W. L. Luke & Co. of Oldtown, me and the business will be moved to Detroit. Mr. Luke was formerly super-intendent of the Old town Canoe Co. and he has come to Detroit to take charge of this branch of the company's work. Another branch of industry will be the construction of wooden launches of which 2,000 will be undertaken. The plan is to build these at a popular price and put them on the market. Steel boats to the number of 5,000 will also be constructed. The old and new property will have a total of 5,000 square feet of covered floor space. The Michigan Steel Boat Co. has for some time been manufacturing Automobile bodies and a force of 300 men was employed in this work this year turning out forty-five a day. This branch of industry will be carried on to a greater extent in the new quarters"

___________________________________  

      Surviving advertisements indicate that Scherer and Wadsworth had been leasing space next to the former Olds Motor Works plant as early as 1902.  Although the Olds firm was originally located in Lansing, Michigan, Ransom E. Olds was prompted to relocate to Detroit in 1899 and a new factory was erected at 1308-1318 E. Jefferson Ave. , production commencing in 1900. When a the new factory burned down on March 9, 1901, the Lansing, Michigan’s Businessmen’s Association offered the firm a parcel of land in Lansing ten times the size of the Jefferson Ave facility, prompting a return to Lansing.

Above is a scan of a page from the old Sanborn fire insurance map that shows one of the Detroit factories owned by Wadsworth Mfg. Co. and MSBC at 1275-1285 East Jefferson Ave. between Bellevue Ave. and Concord Ave. The automobile factory was Wadsworth Mfg. Co., Michigan Steel Boat Co., Detroit Motor Car Supply Co.

The November 10, 1905
Splashes and Splurges column, Motor Boat Magazine (Vol.  2, No. 21), included the following new item:

Detroit, Mich.--The Michigan Steel Boat Company has bought the old Detroit United Railway car barns property on Jefferson avenue from the Olds Motor Works, and will employ about seven hundred men in building steel and wooden boats and canoes. 

A 1905 description of the property called it “the largest steel boat building establishment in the state.” The plant covered a space of 1,200 X 100 feet with seven separate buildings. The main factory and office building was a two-story high cement block structure, complete with show rooms. All buildings had automatic fire extinguishers and a private telephone system. Motive power for the plant was electricity, furnished by the company’s own private generating plant. The company in its new location appears to have gotten off to a good start as it reported that 1,200 boats were built in 1905. 
 

Michigan Steel Boat Company may have been the manufacturer of the “White Flyer” rowboats for Sears, Roebuck & Company in 1908. The boat was shipped direct from “our factory at Detroit, Mich.” and retailed at $27.50, including one pair of oars and oarlocks. A rudder cost an extra $1.75. The “White Flyer” was a 14-foot square stern steel clinker rowboat of “Apollo” steel construction, with horizontal plates. Sears advertised that the “bow, stern and seats of this boat are made of cypress, the gunwales are of oak, all finely finished in natural oak.” The boat came equipped with patented steel airtight chambers at either end for additional buoyancy. The hull was painted with white pegamoid, and imported waterproof paint, the same as that used by the United States Navy. The catalogue No. 6K8700 “White Flyer” was 14 feet in length; 43-1/2" beam amidship, and 14" in depth amidship, with the height of the bow being 22" and the height of the stern being 24". The boat weighed about 150 pounds and when crated weighed about 200 pounds.

Michigan Steel Boat Co. did retag some of the engines that were used in their boats with their own tag (See tag below). The patent number (681,363) on their tag is to the design of the boat not the engine. No mention of horse power or any other engine information is given although serial numbers were stamped on some of the tags. You cannot see the serial number in this photo but it is lightly stamped in the lower left corner.  Also shown is the Detroit Engine Works Marine engine tag. Michigan Steel Boat Company designed and manufactured steel boats and DEW, DMCSC & CEC supplied most of the engines that were installed in their boats. Other brand name engines were also being installed in the Michigan Steel Boats such as Termaat & Monahan engines which were being rebadged with Michigan Steel Boat Co. name tags.  Steel launch hulls were also being furnished by the Michigan Steel Boat Company, complete, without the engine, to those who desire to install engines of their own choice. These launch hulls were complete with woodwork, gasoline tank, engine bed, rudder, post, yoke and shoe, but did not include engine, engine fittings, shaft, propeller or stuffing box.  

The advertisement above talks about the fact that MSBC boats are equipped with the wonderful Detroit engine, guaranteed for five years, any horse power 2 to 50. Fewest moving parts of any engine made. Anyone can run it. 

Patents from inventors-engineers that worked for Michigan Steel Boat Co.  711469, 711471, 711472 ,730874, 963098.

 Michigan_Steel_Boat_Co._tag.JPG (53813 bytes)  DEW_Marine_09_JC.Davis.JPG (70747 bytes)

By 1915 the firm had grown to include these managers and officers: Hugo Scherer, President; Frederick E. Wadsworth, Secretary and Treasurer; H. E. Cronenweth, General Manager; W. C. Rowling, Purchasing Agent; and A. M. Ratigan, Advertising Manager. The company manufactured “Boats, Motor Boats, Row Boats, Canoes” The address and phone were listed as 1526 Jefferson Ave., Tels. East 406-407-408.

M.S.B.C. manufactures Furniture 1906


The Michigan Artisan reported in their June 10th 1906 news paper that the Michigan Steel Boat Company of Detroit was about to engage in making knock down furniture. 


Beeson’s Marine Directory 1908

Many pleasure boats building:

 

The past winter and during the spring every builder of pleasure vessels has been and is being kept very busy…The Michigan Steel Boat Company, one of the largest builders of small pleasure vessels in the country, have been running to their full capacity all of the past winter on work that was delivered this spring.  This company is now experimenting on a new type of motor boat 35 feet long to take the place of their regular 30-foot launch, of which they constructed so many in the past….


M.S.B.C. 1910 Catalog.

A  Michigan Steel Boat Co. catalog of 1910 states that their company manufactures over 30,000 boats annually.  

 


M.S.B.C. Moves to Conners Creek 1916.

By 1916 Michigan Steel Boat Company had moved its office and factory to the corner of Kercheval Avenue and East Jefferson Ave. (Conners Creek area), and was still associated with The Wadsworth Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of auto bodies, auto tops and auto parts. Frederick E. Wadsworth was president of the firm, Mary M. Wadsworth, vice-president and H. E. Cronenweth, treasurer.

M.S.B.C. out of business Dec 8, 1920.

December 8, 1920, Michigan Steel Boat Company filed a notice of dissolution. The reason; the firm’s plant and headquarters had just been purchased by the American Motor Body Company.

Sources:

Detroit Free Press (1858 - 1922); Sept 27, 1905.


Beeson, Harvey C.  Beeson’s Marine Directory of the Northwestern Lakes, 1908  (Chicago, IL:  Harvey C. Beeson, 1908.)  p. 157.


Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1903-1904 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1903.) pp. 674, 1810.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1905-1906 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1905.) pp. 842, 1973.

State of Michigan. Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. Twenty-third Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics (Lansing, MI: Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, 1906.) pp. 373, 375.

Penton Publishing Co. The American Boating Directory--1906 (Cleveland, OH: Penton Publishing Co., 1906.) pp. 10, 351.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1907-1908 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1907.) pp. 783, 2330.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1909-1910 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1909.) pp. 669, 2318.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Detroit City Directory, 1909 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1909.) pp. 1548, 2825.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1911-1912 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1911.) pp. 662, 2167.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1913-1914 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1913.) pp. 575, 1839.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1915 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1915.) pp. 575, 1852.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1919-1920 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1919.) pp. 578, 685, 1941.

Rudder Publishing Co., The. The Rudder Marine Directory (New York: The Rudder Publishing Co., 1920.) p. 216.

Earley, Helen Jones and James R. Walkinshaw. Setting the Pace: Oldsmobile=s First Hundred Years (Lansing, MI: Oldsmobile Division of General Motors, 1996.) p. 51.

Schroeder, Joseph J., Jr. Sears, Roebuck & Co. 1908 Catalogue No. 117 The Great Price Maker (Northfield, IL: DBI Books, Inc., 1971.) p. 756.

Michigan State Archives, RG 61-11, Abstracts of Reports of Corporations, Lot 3, Vol. 4 (1903-1909). p. 340.

Michigan State Archives, RG 61-11, Abstracts of Reports of Corporations, Lot 3, Vol. 5 (1910-1914.) p. 378.

Fisher, Robert D. (ed.) Marvyn Scudder Manual of Extinct or Obsolete Companies, Vol. III, 1930 (New York: Marvyn Scudder Manual of Extinct or Obsolete Companies, Inc., 1930.) p. 944.

University of Michigan Library & Burton Historical Collection.   Photos.

Research for Michigan Steel Boat Co. done by:

Scott M. Peters,
Collections Historian Michigan Historical Museum.

John C. Davis, Davis Antiques & Scale Models.



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All literature & photo's copyrighted & protected by worldwide copyright laws.


Detroit Boat Company was a boat building firm located in Detroit, Michigan (Wayne County) that used mostly Detroit Engine Works engines as a power source for their boats.  Frederick E. Wadsworth was manager of the firm, which built launches and canoes. Their main office and factory was located at 1250-1500 Jefferson Ave, East.  Next door to the Michigan Steel Boat Company, of which Wadsworth was secretary and treasurer. By 1909, Hugo Scherer was president of the firm, and Wadsworth was secretary. By 1915 Wadsworth was listed as secretary-treasurer. Detroit Boat Company should not be confused with Detroit Boat Works two different companies. Detroit Boat Works was a much older company that started out using steam engines in their boats.

Hugo Scherer was also president of the H. Scherer & Co., which sold carriage goods. The Detroit Boat Company shared its management and facilities with the Michigan Steel Boat Company.

About 1907-1908 the company began selling knock-down boat frames, as advertised in Scientific American.

Recreation Magazine of January 1906

Stated that the Detroit Boat Co. of Detroit, Michigan purchased the factory recently vacated by the Olds Motor Works, makers of Oldsmobile's, upon the removal of that concern to Lansing. This gives the boat company a factory floor space of four acres, enabling it to turn out an unlimited stock of canoes, boats, launches, etc. Address 1280 Jefferson Ave. Detroit, Michigan.

 

 

Beeson’s Marine Directory 1908

Many pleasure boats building:

The past winter and during the spring every builder of pleasure vessels has been and is being kept very busy…The Detroit Boat Co. have built and are now delivering over 150 launches on orders received during the past six months….

 

By 1911 the company claimed to have sold their products to over 20,000 customers, and advertised itself as the “Largest Producers of Pleasure Crafts in the World.”  Their factory had eight acres of floor space. They manufactured 64 different styles of boats that ranged in size from 14 to 35 feet in length and were equipped with Detroit Engine Works engines of two to fifty horsepower. Three different paddle style canoes were offered as were three different engine powered styles. See DBC literature section for more information.


 

Sources:

Beeson, Harvey C.  Beeson’s Marine Directory of the Northwestern Lakes, 1908  (Chicago, IL:  Harvey C. Beeson, 1908.)  p. 157.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1907-1908 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1907.) pp. 666, 2329.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1909-1910 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1909.) pp. 560, 2318.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Detroit City Directory, 1909 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1909.) pp. 856, 1858, 2102, 2825.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1911-1912 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1911.) pp. 543, 2167.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1913-1914 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1913.) pp. 469, 1839.

Polk, R. L. & Co. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1915 (Detroit, MI: R. L. Polk & Co., 1915.) pp. 461, 1852.

Detroit Boat Company. The “Detroit” Boat represents the highest quality service and best design of any priced boat (Detroit, MI: Detroit Boat Company, 1911?) Library of Michigan, Rare Book Collection.

Research for Detroit Boat Co. Done by: 
Scott M. Peters, Collections Historian Michigan Historical Museum and John C. Davis, of  Davis Antiques & Scale Models.

Detroit Boat Co. Advertisement Literature donated By:
Richard Durgee  Delray Beach, Florida and  John C. Davis.  St. Cloud, Florida.

                                                                       
© 1998-2010  John C. Davis.


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If you have any information on Detroit Engine Works or related company's history or engines and would like to contribute to this website please e-mail me.    John Davis  E-mail:   mazak@rocketmail.com
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