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Historical Timeline 1900 - 1909

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Carl Breer builds his first car, powered by steam.

The National Cycle & Automobile Company of Hamilton, Ontario, takes over the Evans & Dodge firm and the E. C. Stearns Company of Toronto.  The Dodge Brothers and Frederick C. Haynes of the Stearns firm join National Cycle.

The Columbia gasoline car goes into production with an industry first – a front-mounted engine, rather than one mounted beneath the driver’s seat.  The Columbia also featured a steering wheel on the left side.  Columbia Automobile and the Electric Vehicle Company merge to form the Columbia & Electric Vehicle Company of Hartford, Connecticut.  The Elizabeth plant closes, ending production of the Riker.


The Dodge brothers move to Detroit, Michigan, and open a machine shop on Beaubien Street, making parts for the young auto industry.

Columbia & Electric Vehicle, renamed the Electric Vehicle Company, acquires the Selden patent and begins actions against numerous other auto manufacturers for patent infringement.


Walter P. Chrysler becomes General Foreman of the Colorado & Southern Railroad shops in Trinidad, Colorado.

The Dodge brothers secure a contract to produce 3,000 transmissions for the Olds Motor Works of Lansing, Michigan.

Jonathan Dixon Maxwell joins with Charles B. King and W. T. Barbour, engineers at Oldsmobile, to form the Northern Manufacturing Company of Detroit.  The first vehicle produced is named the Silent Northern.


Jonathan Maxwell resigns from Northern and joins the Briscoe brothers, Detroit sheet metal contractors.  The Briscoes also build thermo-syphon cooling systems for Oldsmobile and provide early backing for David Buick.

The Electric Vehicle Company joins with nine other auto builders to form the Licensed Automobile Manufacturer’s Association.  The group’s primary purpose is to protect the Selden patent.  All members pay royalties on the patent.

Albert A. Pope leaves the Electric Vehicle Company to begin building the Pope-Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut.  Later Pope will acquire the Toledo Steamer Company of Toledo, Ohio, which becomes the Pope-Toledo.  Pope then acquires the International Motor Company of Indianapolis, Indiana, producer of the Waverley Electric.  The car is renamed the Pope-Waverley.

The Dodge Brothers cancel their contract with Olds Motor Works and equip their plant to build engines, transmissions and steering and brake parts for Henry Ford – in return for a ten percent interest in the Ford Motor Company.


The Pope Company establishes the Pope-Tribune car in Hagerstown, Maryland and the Pope-Robinson in Hyde Park, Massachusetts.

Three other firms, independent of each other as well as the Columbia and Pope companies, are formed:  the Alden-Sampson Manufacturing Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; the Stoddard Manufacturing Company in Dayton, Ohio, and the Maxwell-Briscoe Company in Tarrytown, New York.

The Alden-Sampson company receives a contract to build the Moyea chassis and running gear for the Consolidated Motor Company of New York.  The bodies are built in Springfield, Massachusetts by the Springfield Metal Body Company.

The Stoddard-Dayton car is built by John Stoddard, son of Henry Stoddard, a Dayton paint and varnish manufacturer.


Alden-Sampson takes over the Consolidated Motor Company.  The Moyea becomes the Sampson.  By year’s end the car is replaced by the Sampson five-ton truck.

The Maxwell-Briscoe car is in production with shaft drive instead of the customary chain drive.

Roy D. Chapin and Howard E. Coffin leave their jobs at Oldsmobile; with backing from E. R. Thomas of Buffalo, New York, they form the Detroit-based E. R. Thomas-Detroit Company.

Walter P. Chrysler becomes General Foreman at the Fort Worth & Denver City Railroad shops in Childress, Texas.

Owen R. Skelton is hired as an engineer with Pope-Toledo.


Frank Briscoe provides backing for a light car designed by Alanson P. Brush.  The Detroit firm is called the Brush Motor Car Company and its product is noted for its one-cylinder engine, chain drive, wooden frame and wooden axles.  Another of Brush’s designs is built by Oakland (the former Pontiac Buggy Company), which in 1926 will introduce a companion car called the Pontiac.


Dual carburetors are introduced on the Columbia Four.

An economic recession brings about the downfall of the Pope empire.  The Overland Motor Company, under the new leadership of John North Willys, purchases the Pope-Toledo plant and moves his company there, forming the nucleus of the latter-day Jeep® manufacturing complex.

Owen Skelton becomes a transmission specialist with the Packard Motor Car Company.

Walter Chrysler becomes Superintendent of Shops for the Chicago Great Western Railroad in Oelwein, Iowa.


Talks between the Briscoe brothers and William C. Durant to form one large automobile company collapse.  The two groups go their separate ways, with Durant using Buick as a nucleus for the new General Motors Company and the Briscoes using Maxwell-Briscoe and Brush to form the United States Motor Company.

Columbia introduces Model XLVI, a vehicle using a four-cylinder gasoline engine to drive an electric generator to provide power to electric motors on each wheel.  It was not a success as a motor car, but General Motors and others later used the design principles on the first diesel-electric locomotives.

Hugh Chalmers is hired from National Cash Register to revive Thomas-Detroit; in mid-year the firm and the car are renamed Chalmers-Detroit.

Walter Chrysler attends the Chicago Auto Show and purchases a Locomobile.

Chrysler History - Walter P. Chrysler (pdf) Chrysler Corporation: The Official History by Charles K. Hyde


The Electric Vehicle Company becomes the Columbia Motor Car Company.

Howard Coffin and Roy Chapin design a new, lighter car with a six-cylinder engine and leave Chalmers-Detroit to establish the Hudson Motor Car Company, backed by – and named for -- Detroit retailer J. L. Hudson.

Stoddard-Dayton forms the Courier Car Company in Dayton.

Carl Breer and Fred Zeder begin employment at Allis-Chalmers.

Walter Chrysler becomes Works Superintendent at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania plant of the American Locomotive Company.​