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Car Making Pioneers

Kanter Auto Restoration

Henry Ford

Henry Ford

One of America’s foremost industrialists, Henry Ford revolutionized assembly-line
modes of production for the automobile.

1000509261001_1105772679001_bio-top250-henryford-carforthepeople

Resource:

Henry Ford. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 11:59, Jul 02, 2014,
from http://www.biography.com/people/henry-ford-9298747.


Synopsis

Born on July 30, 1863, near Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford created the Ford Model T car in 1908 and went on to develop the assembly line mode of production, which revolutionized the industry. As a result, Ford sold millions of cars and became a world-famous company head. The company lost its market dominance but had a lasting impact on other technological development and U.S. infrastructure.

Early Life

Famed automobile manufacturer Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863, on his family’s farm in Wayne County, near Dearborn, Michigan. When Ford was 13 years old, his father gifted him a pocket watch, which the young boy promptly took apart and reassembled. Friends and neighbors were impressed, and requested that he fix their timepieces too.

Unsatistfied with farm work, Ford left home the following year, at the age of 16, to take an apprenticeship as a machinist in Detroit. In the years that followed, he would learn to skillfully operate and service steam engines, and would also study bookkeeping.

Early Career

In 1888, Ford married Clara Ala Bryant and briefly returned to farming to support his wife and son, Edsel. But three years later, he was hired as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. In 1893, his natural talents earned him a promotion to chief engineer.

All the while, Ford developed his plans for a horseless carriage, and in 1896, he constructed his first model, the Ford Quadricycle. Within the same year, he attended a meeting with Edison executives and found himself presenting his automobile plans to Thomas Edison. The lighting genius encouraged Ford to build a second, better model.

Ford Motor Company

After a few trials building cars and companies, in 1903, Henry Ford established the Ford Motor Company. Ford introduced the Model T in October of 1908, and for several years, the company posted 100 percent gains.

However, more than for his profits, Ford became renowned for his revolutionary vision: the manufacture of an inexpensive automobile made by skilled workers who earn steady wages.

In 1914, he sponsored the development of the moving assembly line technique of mass production. Simultaneously, he introduced the $5-per-day wage ($110 in 2011) as a method of keeping the best workers loyal to his company. Simple to drive and cheap to repair, half of all cars in America in 1918 were Model T’s.

Philosophy, Philanthropy

From a social perspective, Henry Ford’s was marked by seemingly contradictory viewpoints. In business, Ford offered profit sharing to select employees who stayed with the company for six months and, most important, who conducted their lives in a respectable manner. Unfortunately Ford was also known for his public anti-semitic views which rightfully have tarnished his reputation.

The company’s “Social Department” looked into an employee’s drinking, gambling and otherwise uncouth activities to determine eligibility for participation. Ford was also an ardent pacifist and opposed World War I, even funding a peace ship to Europe. Later, in 1936, Ford and his family established the Ford Foundation to provide ongoing grants for research, education and development.

Henry Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 7, 1947, at the age of 83, near his Dearborn estate, Fair Lane. Ford, considered one of America’s leading businessmen, is credited today for helping to build America’s economy during the nation’s vulnerable early years. His legacy will live on for decades to come.


 

henry ford

My Life & Work – An Autobiography of Henry Ford Paperback

This book is the original autobiographical work by Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company. In this book, Ford details how he got into business, the strategies that he used to become a wealthy and successful businessman, and what others can do by learning from the examples he has outlined.

This book should be read by small business owners, business students and those interested in the history of the automobile. Henry Ford will take you through a journey of history, business and lessons to be learned from which he used to develop his financial empire.

Henry Ford Inventor of Automobile Assembly Line

Henry Ford Inventor of Automobile Assembly Line


History of the Model T Ford


 

Walter P Chrysler

Walter Chrysler


Resource:  Wikipedia

 

Early life

Chrysler was born in Wamego, Kansas, the son of Anna Maria (née Breymann) and Henry Chrysler. He grew up in Ellis, Kansas. His father was born in Chatham, Ontario in 1850 and immigrated to the United States after 1858. A Freemason, Chrysler began his career as a machinist and railroad mechanic. He took correspondence courses from International Correspondence Schools in Scranton, Pennsylvania, earning a mechanical degree from the correspondence program.

Ancestry

Walter Chrysler’s father, Henry (Hank) Chrysler, was a Canadian-American of German and Dutch ancestry. He was an American Civil War veteran who was a locomotive engineer for the Kansas Pacific Railway and its successor, the Union Pacific Railroad. Walter’s mother was born in Rocheport, Missouri, and was also of German ancestry. Walter Chrysler was not especially interested in his remote ancestors; his collaborative author Boyden Sparkes says that one genealogical researcher reported “that he had a sea-going Dutchman among his forebears; one Captain Jan Gerritsen Van Dalsen”, but that “as to that, Walter Chrysler made it plain to me he was in accord with Jimmy Durante: ‘Ancestors? I got millions of ’em!’.” However, he thought enough of genealogy to include in his autobiography that his father, Hank Chrysler, “Canadian born, had been brought from Chatham, Ontario, to Kansas City when he was only five or six. His forebears had founded Chatham; the family stock was German; eight generations back of me there had come to America one who spelled his name Greisler, a German Palatine. He was one of a group of Protestants who had left their German homeland in the Rhine Valley, gone to the Netherlands, thence to England and embarked, finally, from Plymouth for New York.”

Other researchers have since traced his ancestors in more detail. Karin Holl’s monograph on the subject traces the family tree to a Johann Philipp Kreissler, born in 1672, who left Germany for America in 1709. Chrysler’s ancestors came from the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Guntersblum.

Railroad career

Chrysler apprenticed in the railroad shops at Ellis as a machinist and railroad mechanic. He then spent a period of years roaming the west, working for various railroads as a roundhouse mechanic with a reputation of being good at valve-setting jobs. Some of his moves were due to restlessness and a too-quick temper, but his roaming was also a way to become more well-rounded in his railroad knowledge. He worked his way up through positions such as foreman, superintendent, division master mechanic, and general master mechanic.

From 1905-1906, Chrysler worked for the Fort Worth and Denver Railway in Childress in West Texas. He later lived and worked in Oelwein, Iowa, at the main shops of the Chicago Great Western where there is a small park dedicated to him.

The pinnacle of his railroading career came at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he became works manager of the Allegheny locomotive erecting shops of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). While working in Pittsburgh, Chrysler lived in the town of Bellevue, the first town outside of Pittsburgh on the north side of the Ohio River.

Automotive career

Chrysler’s automotive career began in 1911 when he received a summons to meet with James J. Storrow, a banker who was a director of ALCO and also an executive at General Motors. Storrow asked him if he had given any thought to automobile manufacture. Chrysler had been an auto enthusiast for over 5 years by then, and was very interested. Storrow arranged a meeting with Charles W. Nash, then president of the Buick Motor Company, who was looking for a smart production chief. Chrysler, who had resigned from many railroading jobs over the years, made his final resignation from railroading to become works manager (in charge of production) at Buick in Flint, Michigan.[10] He found many ways to reduce the costs of production, such as putting an end to finishing automobile undercarriages with the same luxurious quality of finish that the body warranted.

In 1916, William C. Durant, who founded General Motors in 1908, had retaken GM from bankers who had taken over the company. Chrysler, who was closely tied to the bankers, submitted his resignation to Durant, then based in New York City.

Durant took the first train to Flint to make an attempt to keep Chrysler at the helm of Buick. Durant made the then-unheard of salary offer of US$10,000 (US$165,000 in today’s dollars) a month for 3 years, with a US$500,000 bonus at the end of each year, or US$500,000 in stock. Additionally, Chrysler would report directly to Durant, and would have full run of Buick without interference from anyone.

Apparently in shock, Chrysler asked Durant to repeat the offer, which he did. Chrysler immediately accepted.

Chrysler ran Buick successfully for several more years. Not long after his three year contract was up, he resigned from his job as president of Buick in 1919. He did not agree with Durant’s vision for the future of General Motors. Durant paid Chrysler US$10 million for his GM stock. Chrysler had started at Buick in 1911 for US$6,000 a year, and left one of the richest men in America.

Chrysler was then hired to attempt a turnaround by bankers who foresaw the loss of their investment in Willys-Overland Motor Company in Toledo, Ohio. He demanded, and got, a salary of US$1 million a year for 2 years, an astonishing amount at that time. When Chrysler left Willys in 1921 after an unsuccessful attempt to wrest control from John Willys, he acquired a controlling interest in the ailing Maxwell Motor Company. Chrysler phased out Maxwell and absorbed it into his new firm, the Chrysler Corporation, in Detroit, Michigan, in 1925. In addition to his namesake car company, Plymouth and DeSoto marques were created, and in 1928 Chrysler purchased Dodge. The same year he financed the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York City, which was completed in 1930. Chrysler was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1928.

In 1923, Chrysler purchased a twelve-acre waterfront estate at Kings Point on Long Island, New York from Henri Willis Bendel and renamed it “Forker House.” In December 1941, the property was sold to the U.S. government’s War Shipping Department and became known as Wiley Hall as part of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.[13] He also built a country estate in Warrenton, Virginia, in what is referred to as the Virginia horse country and home to the Warrenton Hunt. In 1934, he purchased and undertook a major restoration of the famous Fauquier White Sulphur Springs Company resort and spa in Warrenton. Sold in 1953, the property was developed as a country club, which it remains today.

On the estate he inherited, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. established North Wales Stud for the purpose of breeding Thoroughbred horses. Chrysler, Jr. was part of a syndicate that included friend Alfred G. Vanderbilt II who in 1940 acquired the 1935 English Triple Crown winner Bahram from the Aga Khan III. Bahram stood at stud at Vanderbilt’s Sagamore Farm in Maryland then was brought to Chrysler’s North Wales Stud.

Chrysler turned 61 in the spring of 1936 and decided to step down from an active role in the day-to-day business of the company. Two years later, Della died at the age of 58 and Walter, devastated at the loss of his childhood sweetheart, suffered a stroke. His previously robust health never recovered from this, and he succumbed to a cerebral hemorrhage in August 1940 at Forker House. He was buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.

Resource copyright information:


The above text and any photo images are from Wikipedia®. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of theWikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.


 

 

Life and Times of Chrysler

Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius (Automotive History and Personalities) Paperback

Walter P. Chrysler was a man who loved machines, an accomplished mechanic who also had highly developed managerial skills derived from half a lifetime on the railroads, and whose success came from his deep understanding of engineering and his total commitment to the quality of his vehicles.

Here, Vincent Curcio presents a richly detailed account of one of the most important men in American automotive history, based on full access to both Chrysler Corporation and Chrysler family historical records.

Curcio traces Chrysler’s rise from a locomotive wiper in a Kansas roundhouse to his rescue of the Maxwell-Chalmers car company, which led to the successful development of the 1924 Chrysler–the world’s first modern car–and the formation of Chrysler Corporation in 1925. Chrysler was quite different from the other auto giants–a colorful and expansive man deeply involved in the design of his cars, he established his headquarters in New York City and built the world’s most famous art deco structure, the fabled Chrysler Building. Because of his emphasis on quality at popular prices, the company weathered the Great Depression with flying colors and remained profitable right up to Chrysler’s death in 1940.

The definitive portrait, Chrysler is a must read for all car enthusiasts and for everyone interested in the story of a giant of industry.

 


louischevrolet

Louis Chevrolet


Resource:  Wikipedia*


Chevrolet

Louis-Joseph Chevrolet (December 25, 1878 – June 6, 1941) was a Swiss-born American race car driver of French descent, founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, and a founder in 1916 of the Frontenac Motor Corporation, which made racing parts for Ford’s Model T.

Biography

The second child of Joseph-Félicien and Marie-Anne Angéline, née Mahon, Louis Chevrolet was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchâtel, a center of watchmaking in northwestern Switzerland. In 1886, Chevrolet’s family left Switzerland to live in Beaune, in the Côte-d’Or département of France. There, as a young man, Louis developed his mechanical skills and interest in bicycle racing.

220px-Louis_Chevrolet_in_Buick_ca_1900

Louis Chevrolet in a Buick he designed, circa 1900.

Chevrolet worked for the Roblin mechanics shop from 1895 to 1899. He then went to Paris, where he worked for a short time before emigrating to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1900 to work as a mechanic. The following year, he moved to New York City, where he worked briefly for a fellow Swiss immigrant’s engineering company, then moved to the Brooklyn operations of the French car manufacturer de Dion-Bouton.

In 1905 he married Suzanne Treyvoux; the couple had two sons. In the same year, he was hired by FIAT as a racing car driver and a year later became employed by a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania company developing a revolutionary front-wheel-drive racing car. His racing career continued as he drove for Buick, becoming a friend and associate of Buick owner William C. Durant, founder of General Motors. He raced at the Giants Despair Hillclimb in 1909.

With little in the way of formal education, Chevrolet learned car design while working for Buick and started designing his own engine for a new car in 1909. He built an overhead valve six-cylinder engine in his own machine shop on Grand River Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan.

Chevrolet Car Company

On November 3, 1911, Chevrolet co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Car Company with Durant and investment partners William Little (maker of the Little automobile) and Dr. Edwin R. Campbell, son-in-law of Durant and friend of Samuel McLaughlin of the McLaughlin Car Company of Canada Ltd. The company was established in Detroit. One story tells the choosing of the company’s logo as a modified Swiss cross, to honor Chevrolet’s homeland.  Another story tells of the Chevrolet logo as a design taken from the wallpaper of a Paris hotel room that Louis once stayed in.

Chevrolet had differences with Durant over the car’s design, and in 1915 sold Durant his share in the company and started McLaughlin’s Company in Canada building Chevrolets. By 1916 the trading of Chevrolet stock for GM Holding stock enabled Durant to repurchase a controlling stake in General Motors, and by 1917 the Chevrolet company that Louis had co-founded was merged as a company into General Motors after the outstanding Chevrolet stocks were purchased from McLaughlin in 1918. The McLaughlin Car Company then merged with his Chevrolet Motor Company of Canada Ltd. to become General Motors of Canada Ltd. in 1918, prior to the incorporation of the General Motors Corporation in the U.S. when General Motors Company of New Jersey dissolved.

220px-American_Motors_Corporation_advert_in_Horseless_Age_v44_n4_1918-05-15_p7

Frontenac and American car companies
In 1916, Louis Chevrolet and his brothers founded the Frontenac Motor Corporation to make racing parts for Ford Model Ts.

Also in 1916, an American Motors Corporation (apparently unrelated to the more famous later corporation of the same name) was formed in Newark, New Jersey, with Louis Chevrolet as vice president and chief engineer. By 1918 it was producing cars in a plant at Plainfield, New Jersey. In 1923 it merged with the Bessemer Motor Truck Company of Pennsylvania into Bessemer-American Motors Corporation, which lasted less than a year before merging with the Winther and Northway companies into Amalgamated Motors. The latter company apparently ceased soon after.

Auto racing

By the mid-1910s, Louis Chevrolet had shifted into the racing car industry, partnering with Howard E. Blood of Allegan, Michigan, to create the Cornelian racing car, which he used to place 20th in the 1915 Indianapolis 500 automobile race. In 1916, he and younger brothers Gaston and Arthur Chevrolet started Frontenac Motor Corporation, designing and producing a line of racing cars. They became well known for, among other things, their Fronty-Ford racers.

Louis drove in the Indianapolis 500 four times, with a best finish of 7th in 1919. Arthur competed twice, and Gaston won the race in 1920 in one of their Frontenacs, going on to win the 1920 AAA National Championship.

 *Resource copyright information:


The above text and any photo images are from Wikipedia®. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of theWikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.


 

 

General Motors

William C. Durant: GM’s Genius [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Alef

Biographical profile of William Crapo Durant, legendary automobile pioneer who founded General Motors. GM’s current financial crisis is nothing new for America’s largest automobile company. It happened twice in its early years while GM was under Durant’s leadership. Durant was one of the largest manufacturers of wagons and carriages when he decided to acquire a failing automobile manufacturer, the Buick Motor Company. A deft salesman with the Midas touch, Durant soon had Buick sales soaring. In 1908 he placed Buick,Oldsmobile, Oakland Car Company and Cadillac into his newly formed General Motors, but he amassed so much debt the company’s bankers rebelled and forced him out.

Undaunted, Durant formed another car company, Chevrolet, and in a case of the minnow swallowing the whale, arranged for Chevrolet to acquire GM. Back at the helm Durant pressed for rapid growth and again found himself mired in too much debt. The story of this master salesman and automotive visionary involves triumphs and failures, but all accomplished with panache and verve. Award-winning author and syndicated columnist Daniel Alef, who has written more than 300 biographical profiles of America’s greatest tycoons, brings out the story of Durant’s remarkable life of ups, downs and achievements. [2,594-word Titans of Fortune article]

Charles Nash

Charles Nash: From Buick to Rambler and Ambassador [Kindle Edition]

Biographical profile of Charles W. Nash, a dirt-poor farm boy who overcame abandonment by his parents, indentured servitude for a farmer and became one of America’s most successful and accomplished automobile pioneers. Although he died in the tony city of Beverly Hills after amassing a fortune, he never ventured far from his roots, describing himself as “the most common cuss that lived,” and noting that he was proud of belonging to the “common people.” One thing is certain, Nash was not a common person; he ascended to the presidency of General Motors because of his unique vision, perseverance, creativity, courage and innate understanding of human nature. B.C. Forbes described Nash as “a very practical authority on what makes for success.” Award-winning author Daniel Alef tells the Nash story and his rise to the pinnacle of the automobile industry. [2,904-word Titans of Fortune article]

chevrolet

Zora Arkus-Duntov -The Legend Behind Corvette (Chevrolet) [Hardcover]

Jerry Burton

 Zora Arkus-Duntov: The Legend Behind Corvette
tells the story of how a gifted engineer brought up by Russian Revolutionary parents became the guiding force behind the legendary American sports car, and in the process attained the elite status of American legend himself. Author Jerry Burton, founding editor and current editorial director of Corvette Quarterly, has worked with many of Zora’s friends and colleagues, as well as his widow Elfi, to write the first major biography of Zora Arkus-Duntov. Burton has illustrated his book with hundreds of unpublished photos, blueprints, and archival documents.This book puts Duntov in the perspective needed to understand his achievements as a Russian-Jewish immigrant fighting to make his mark at General Motors.

 

Car Making Pioneers

Kanter Auto Restoration

Henry Ford

Henry Ford

One of America’s foremost industrialists, Henry Ford revolutionized assembly-line
modes of production for the automobile.

1000509261001_1105772679001_bio-top250-henryford-carforthepeople

Resource:

Henry Ford. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 11:59, Jul 02, 2014,
from http://www.biography.com/people/henry-ford-9298747.


Synopsis

Born on July 30, 1863, near Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford created the Ford Model T car in 1908 and went on to develop the assembly line mode of production, which revolutionized the industry. As a result, Ford sold millions of cars and became a world-famous company head. The company lost its market dominance but had a lasting impact on other technological development and U.S. infrastructure.

Early Life

Famed automobile manufacturer Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863, on his family’s farm in Wayne County, near Dearborn, Michigan. When Ford was 13 years old, his father gifted him a pocket watch, which the young boy promptly took apart and reassembled. Friends and neighbors were impressed, and requested that he fix their timepieces too.

Unsatisfied with farm work, Ford left home the following year, at the age of 16, to take an apprenticeship as a machinist in Detroit. In the years that followed, he would learn to skillfully operate and service steam engines, and would also study bookkeeping.

Early Career

In 1888, Ford married Clara Ala Bryant and briefly returned to farming to support his wife and son, Edsel. But three years later, he was hired as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. In 1893, his natural talents earned him a promotion to chief engineer.

All the while, Ford developed his plans for a horseless carriage, and in 1896, he constructed his first model, the Ford Quadricycle. Within the same year, he attended a meeting with Edison executives and found himself presenting his automobile plans to Thomas Edison. The lighting genius encouraged Ford to build a second, better model.

Ford Motor Company

After a few trials building cars and companies, in 1903, Henry Ford established the Ford Motor Company. Ford introduced the Model T in October of 1908, and for several years, the company posted 100 percent gains.

However, more than for his profits, Ford became renowned for his revolutionary vision: the manufacture of an inexpensive automobile made by skilled workers who earn steady wages.

In 1914, he sponsored the development of the moving assembly line technique of mass production. Simultaneously, he introduced the $5-per-day wage ($110 in 2011) as a method of keeping the best workers loyal to his company. Simple to drive and cheap to repair, half of all cars in America in 1918 were Model T’s.

Philosophy, Philanthropy

From a social perspective, Henry Ford’s was marked by seemingly contradictory viewpoints. In business, Ford offered profit sharing to select employees who stayed with the company for six months and, most important, who conducted their lives in a respectable manner. Unfortunately Ford was also known for his public anti-Semitic views which rightfully have tarnished his reputation.

The company’s “Social Department” looked into an employee’s drinking, gambling and otherwise uncouth activities to determine eligibility for participation. Ford was also an ardent pacifist and opposed World War I, even funding a peace ship to Europe. Later, in 1936, Ford and his family established the Ford Foundation to provide ongoing grants for research, education and development.

Henry Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 7, 1947, at the age of 83, near his Dearborn estate, Fair Lane. Ford, considered one of America’s leading businessmen, is credited today for helping to build America’s economy during the nation’s vulnerable early years. His legacy will live on for decades to come.


 

henry ford

My Life & Work – An Autobiography of Henry Ford Paperback

This book is the original autobiographical work by Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company. In this book, Ford details how he got into business, the strategies that he used to become a wealthy and successful businessman, and what others can do by learning from the examples he has outlined.

This book should be read by small business owners, business students and those interested in the history of the automobile. Henry Ford will take you through a journey of history, business and lessons to be learned from which he used to develop his financial empire.

Henry Ford Inventor of Automobile Assembly Line

Henry Ford Inventor of Automobile Assembly Line


History of the Model T Ford


 

Walter P Chrysler

Walter Chrysler


Resource: Wikipedia

 

Early life

Chrysler was born in Wamego, Kansas, the son of Anna Maria (née Breymann) and Henry Chrysler. He grew up in Ellis, Kansas. His father was born in Chatham, Ontario in 1850 and immigrated to the United States after 1858. A Freemason, Chrysler began his career as a machinist and railroad mechanic. He took correspondence courses from International Correspondence Schools in Scranton, Pennsylvania, earning a mechanical degree from the correspondence program.

Ancestry

Walter Chrysler’s father, Henry (Hank) Chrysler, was a Canadian-American of German and Dutch ancestry. He was an American Civil War veteran who was a locomotive engineer for the Kansas Pacific Railway and its successor, the Union Pacific Railroad. Walter’s mother was born in Rocheport, Missouri, and was also of German ancestry. Walter Chrysler was not especially interested in his remote ancestors; his collaborative author Boyden Sparkes says that one genealogical researcher reported “that he had a sea-going Dutchman among his forebears; one Captain Jan Gerritsen Van Dalsen”, but that “as to that, Walter Chrysler made it plain to me he was in accord with Jimmy Durante: ‘Ancestors? I got millions of ’em!’.” However, he thought enough of genealogy to include in his autobiography that his father, Hank Chrysler, “Canadian born, had been brought from Chatham, Ontario, to Kansas City when he was only five or six. His forebears had founded Chatham; the family stock was German; eight generations back of me there had come to America one who spelled his name Greisler, a German Palatine. He was one of a group of Protestants who had left their German homeland in the Rhine Valley, gone to the Netherlands, thence to England and embarked, finally, from Plymouth for New York.”

Other researchers have since traced his ancestors in more detail. Karin Holl’s monograph on the subject traces the family tree to a Johann Philipp Kreissler, born in 1672, who left Germany for America in 1709. Chrysler’s ancestors came from the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Guntersblum.

Railroad career

Chrysler apprenticed in the railroad shops at Ellis as a machinist and railroad mechanic. He then spent a period of years roaming the west, working for various railroads as a roundhouse mechanic with a reputation of being good at valve-setting jobs. Some of his moves were due to restlessness and a too-quick temper, but his roaming was also a way to become more well-rounded in his railroad knowledge. He worked his way up through positions such as foreman, superintendent, division master mechanic, and general master mechanic.

From 1905-1906, Chrysler worked for the Fort Worth and Denver Railway in Childress in West Texas. He later lived and worked in Oelwein, Iowa, at the main shops of the Chicago Great Western where there is a small park dedicated to him.

The pinnacle of his railroading career came at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he became works manager of the Allegheny locomotive erecting shops of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). While working in Pittsburgh, Chrysler lived in the town of Bellevue, the first town outside of Pittsburgh on the north side of the Ohio River.

Automotive career

Chrysler’s automotive career began in 1911 when he received a summons to meet with James J. Storrow, a banker who was a director of ALCO and also an executive at General Motors. Storrow asked him if he had given any thought to automobile manufacture. Chrysler had been an auto enthusiast for over 5 years by then, and was very interested. Storrow arranged a meeting with Charles W. Nash, then president of the Buick Motor Company, who was looking for a smart production chief. Chrysler, who had resigned from many railroading jobs over the years, made his final resignation from railroading to become works manager (in charge of production) at Buick in Flint, Michigan.[10] He found many ways to reduce the costs of production, such as putting an end to finishing automobile undercarriages with the same luxurious quality of finish that the body warranted.

In 1916, William C. Durant, who founded General Motors in 1908, had retaken GM from bankers who had taken over the company. Chrysler, who was closely tied to the bankers, submitted his resignation to Durant, then based in New York City.

Durant took the first train to Flint to make an attempt to keep Chrysler at the helm of Buick. Durant made the then-unheard of salary offer of US$10,000 (US$165,000 in today’s dollars) a month for 3 years, with a US$500,000 bonus at the end of each year, or US$500,000 in stock. Additionally, Chrysler would report directly to Durant, and would have full run of Buick without interference from anyone.

Apparently in shock, Chrysler asked Durant to repeat the offer, which he did. Chrysler immediately accepted.

Chrysler ran Buick successfully for several more years. Not long after his three year contract was up, he resigned from his job as president of Buick in 1919. He did not agree with Durant’s vision for the future of General Motors. Durant paid Chrysler US$10 million for his GM stock. Chrysler had started at Buick in 1911 for US$6,000 a year, and left one of the richest men in America.

Chrysler was then hired to attempt a turnaround by bankers who foresaw the loss of their investment in Willys-Overland Motor Company in Toledo, Ohio. He demanded, and got, a salary of US$1 million a year for 2 years, an astonishing amount at that time. When Chrysler left Willys in 1921 after an unsuccessful attempt to wrest control from John Willys, he acquired a controlling interest in the ailing Maxwell Motor Company. Chrysler phased out Maxwell and absorbed it into his new firm, the Chrysler Corporation, in Detroit, Michigan, in 1925. In addition to his namesake car company, Plymouth and DeSoto marques were created, and in 1928 Chrysler purchased Dodge. The same year he financed the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York City, which was completed in 1930. Chrysler was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1928.

In 1923, Chrysler purchased a twelve-acre waterfront estate at Kings Point on Long Island, New York from Henri Willis Bendel and renamed it “Forker House.” In December 1941, the property was sold to the U.S. government’s War Shipping Department and became known as Wiley Hall as part of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.[13] He also built a country estate in Warrenton, Virginia, in what is referred to as the Virginia horse country and home to the Warrenton Hunt. In 1934, he purchased and undertook a major restoration of the famous Fauquier White Sulphur Springs Company resort and spa in Warrenton. Sold in 1953, the property was developed as a country club, which it remains today.

On the estate he inherited, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. established North Wales Stud for the purpose of breeding Thoroughbred horses. Chrysler, Jr. was part of a syndicate that included friend Alfred G. Vanderbilt II who in 1940 acquired the 1935 English Triple Crown winner Bahram from the Aga Khan III. Bahram stood at stud at Vanderbilt’s Sagamore Farm in Maryland then was brought to Chrysler’s North Wales Stud.

Chrysler turned 61 in the spring of 1936 and decided to step down from an active role in the day-to-day business of the company. Two years later, Della died at the age of 58 and Walter, devastated at the loss of his childhood sweetheart, suffered a stroke. His previously robust health never recovered from this, and he succumbed to a cerebral hemorrhage in August 1940 at Forker House. He was buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.

Resource copyright information:


The above text and any photo images are from Wikipedia®. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of theWikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.


 

 

Life and Times of Chrysler

Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius (Automotive History and Personalities) Paperback

Walter P. Chrysler was a man who loved machines, an accomplished mechanic who also had highly developed managerial skills derived from half a lifetime on the railroads, and whose success came from his deep understanding of engineering and his total commitment to the quality of his vehicles.

Here, Vincent Curcio presents a richly detailed account of one of the most important men in American automotive history, based on full access to both Chrysler Corporation and Chrysler family historical records.

Curcio traces Chrysler’s rise from a locomotive wiper in a Kansas roundhouse to his rescue of the Maxwell-Chalmers car company, which led to the successful development of the 1924 Chrysler–the world’s first modern car–and the formation of Chrysler Corporation in 1925. Chrysler was quite different from the other auto giants–a colorful and expansive man deeply involved in the design of his cars, he established his headquarters in New York City and built the world’s most famous art deco structure, the fabled Chrysler Building. Because of his emphasis on quality at popular prices, the company weathered the Great Depression with flying colors and remained profitable right up to Chrysler’s death in 1940.

The definitive portrait, Chrysler is a must read for all car enthusiasts and for everyone interested in the story of a giant of industry.

 


louischevrolet

Louis Chevrolet


Resource: Wikipedia*


Chevrolet

Louis-Joseph Chevrolet (December 25, 1878 – June 6, 1941) was a Swiss-born American race car driver of French descent, founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, and a founder in 1916 of the Frontenac Motor Corporation, which made racing parts for Ford’s Model T.

Biography

The second child of Joseph-Félicien and Marie-Anne Angéline, née Mahon, Louis Chevrolet was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchâtel, a center of watchmaking in northwestern Switzerland. In 1886, Chevrolet’s family left Switzerland to live in Beaune, in the Côte-d’Or département of France. There, as a young man, Louis developed his mechanical skills and interest in bicycle racing.

220px-Louis_Chevrolet_in_Buick_ca_1900

Louis Chevrolet in a Buick he designed, circa 1900.

Chevrolet worked for the Roblin mechanics shop from 1895 to 1899. He then went to Paris, where he worked for a short time before emigrating to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1900 to work as a mechanic. The following year, he moved to New York City, where he worked briefly for a fellow Swiss immigrant’s engineering company, then moved to the Brooklyn operations of the French car manufacturer de Dion-Bouton.

In 1905 he married Suzanne Treyvoux; the couple had two sons. In the same year, he was hired by FIAT as a racing car driver and a year later became employed by a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania company developing a revolutionary front-wheel-drive racing car. His racing career continued as he drove for Buick, becoming a friend and associate of Buick owner William C. Durant, founder of General Motors. He raced at the Giants Despair Hillclimb in 1909.

With little in the way of formal education, Chevrolet learned car design while working for Buick and started designing his own engine for a new car in 1909. He built an overhead valve six-cylinder engine in his own machine shop on Grand River Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan.

Chevrolet Car Company

On November 3, 1911, Chevrolet co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Car Company with Durant and investment partners William Little (maker of the Little automobile) and Dr. Edwin R. Campbell, son-in-law of Durant and friend of Samuel McLaughlin of the McLaughlin Car Company of Canada Ltd. The company was established in Detroit. One story tells the choosing of the company’s logo as a modified Swiss cross, to honor Chevrolet’s homeland. Another story tells of the Chevrolet logo as a design taken from the wallpaper of a Paris hotel room that Louis once stayed in.

Chevrolet had differences with Durant over the car’s design, and in 1915 sold Durant his share in the company and started McLaughlin’s Company in Canada building Chevrolets. By 1916 the trading of Chevrolet stock for GM Holding stock enabled Durant to repurchase a controlling stake in General Motors, and by 1917 the Chevrolet company that Louis had co-founded was merged as a company into General Motors after the outstanding Chevrolet stocks were purchased from McLaughlin in 1918. The McLaughlin Car Company then merged with his Chevrolet Motor Company of Canada Ltd. to become General Motors of Canada Ltd. in 1918, prior to the incorporation of the General Motors Corporation in the U.S. when General Motors Company of New Jersey dissolved.

220px-American_Motors_Corporation_advert_in_Horseless_Age_v44_n4_1918-05-15_p7

Frontenac and American car companies
In 1916, Louis Chevrolet and his brothers founded the Frontenac Motor Corporation to make racing parts for Ford Model Ts.

Also in 1916, an American Motors Corporation (apparently unrelated to the more famous later corporation of the same name) was formed in Newark, New Jersey, with Louis Chevrolet as vice president and chief engineer. By 1918 it was producing cars in a plant at Plainfield, New Jersey. In 1923 it merged with the Bessemer Motor Truck Company of Pennsylvania into Bessemer-American Motors Corporation, which lasted less than a year before merging with the Winther and Northway companies into Amalgamated Motors. The latter company apparently ceased soon after.

Auto racing

By the mid-1910s, Louis Chevrolet had shifted into the racing car industry, partnering with Howard E. Blood of Allegan, Michigan, to create the Cornelian racing car, which he used to place 20th in the 1915 Indianapolis 500 automobile race. In 1916, he and younger brothers Gaston and Arthur Chevrolet started Frontenac Motor Corporation, designing and producing a line of racing cars. They became well known for, among other things, their Fronty-Ford racers.

Louis drove in the Indianapolis 500 four times, with a best finish of 7th in 1919. Arthur competed twice, and Gaston won the race in 1920 in one of their Frontenacs, going on to win the 1920 AAA National Championship.

*Resource copyright information:


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General Motors

William C. Durant: GM’s Genius [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Alef

Biographical profile of William Crapo Durant, legendary automobile pioneer who founded General Motors. GM’s current financial crisis is nothing new for America’s largest automobile company. It happened twice in its early years while GM was under Durant’s leadership. Durant was one of the largest manufacturers of wagons and carriages when he decided to acquire a failing automobile manufacturer, the Buick Motor Company. A deft salesman with the Midas touch, Durant soon had Buick sales soaring. In 1908 he placed Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland Car Company and Cadillac into his newly formed General Motors, but he amassed so much debt the company’s bankers rebelled and forced him out.

Undaunted, Durant formed another car company, Chevrolet, and in a case of the minnow swallowing the whale, arranged for Chevrolet to acquire GM. Back at the helm Durant pressed for rapid growth and again found himself mired in too much debt. The story of this master salesman and automotive visionary involves triumphs and failures, but all accomplished with panache and verve. Award-winning author and syndicated columnist Daniel Alef, who has written more than 300 biographical profiles of America’s greatest tycoons, brings out the story of Durant’s remarkable life of ups, downs and achievements. [2,594-word Titans of Fortune article]

Charles Nash

Charles Nash: From Buick to Rambler and Ambassador [Kindle Edition]

Biographical profile of Charles W. Nash, a dirt-poor farm boy who overcame abandonment by his parents, indentured servitude for a farmer and became one of America’s most successful and accomplished automobile pioneers. Although he died in the tony city of Beverly Hills after amassing a fortune, he never ventured far from his roots, describing himself as “the most common cuss that lived,” and noting that he was proud of belonging to the “common people.” One thing is certain, Nash was not a common person; he ascended to the presidency of General Motors because of his unique vision, perseverance, creativity, courage and innate understanding of human nature. B.C. Forbes described Nash as “a very practical authority on what makes for success.” Award-winning author Daniel Alef tells the Nash story and his rise to the pinnacle of the automobile industry. [2,904-word Titans of Fortune article]

chevrolet

Zora Arkus-Duntov -The Legend Behind Corvette (Chevrolet) [Hardcover]

Jerry Burton

Zora Arkus-Duntov: The Legend Behind Corvette
tells the story of how a gifted engineer brought up by Russian Revolutionary parents became the guiding force behind the legendary American sports car, and in the process attained the elite status of American legend himself. Author Jerry Burton, founding editor and current editorial director of Corvette Quarterly, has worked with many of Zora’s friends and colleagues, as well as his widow Elfi, to write the first major biography of Zora Arkus-Duntov. Burton has illustrated his book with hundreds of unpublished photos, blueprints, and archival documents. This book puts Duntov in the perspective needed to understand his achievements as a Russian-Jewish immigrant fighting to make his mark at General Motors.

 

Ford Model A

Ford Model A AutomobileThe original Ford Model A is the first car produced by Ford Motor Company, beginning production in 1903. Ernst Pfennig, a Chicago dentist, became the first owner of a Model A on July 23, 1903.  1,750 cars were made from 1903 through 1904. The Model A was replaced by the Ford Model C during 1904 with some sales overlap.

The car came as a two-seater runabout or four-seater tonneau model with an option to add a top. The horizontal-mounted flat-2, situated amidships of the car, produced 8 hp (6 kW). A planetary transmission was fitted with two forward speeds and reverse, a Ford signature later seen on the Ford Model T. The car weighed 1,240 lb (562 kg) and could reach a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h). It had a 72 inch (1.8 m) wheelbase and sold for a base price of US$750. Options included a rear tonneau with two seats and a rear door for $100, a rubber roof for $30 or a leather roof for $50. Band brakes were used on the rear wheels. However, it was $150 more than its most direct competitor, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, and so did not sell as well.

The company had spent almost its entire $28,000 initial investment funds with only $223.65 left in its bank account when the first Model A was sold. The success of this car model generated a profit for the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford’s first successful business.

Although Ford advertised the Model A as the “most reliable machine in the world”, it suffered from many problems common to vehicles of the era, including overheating and slipping transmission bands. The Model A was sold only in red by the factory, though some were later repainted in other colors.

Resource


Ford Model A (1903–04).  Wikipedia.org.  Retrieved July 28, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_A_(1903%E2%80%931904).  Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License