Brass Era car

Brass Era car

1905 Jackson Model C
A Royal Tourist model US Army vehicle, circa 1906. The vehicle was the conveyance of General Frederick Funston (leftmost figure in the back seat).
A 1911 K-R-I-T advertisement
A Stanley Steamer racecar in 1903; in 1906, a similar Stanley Rocket set the world land speed record at 205.5 km/h (127.6 mi/h) at Daytona Beach Road Course.

The automotive Brass Era was an early period of automotive manufacturing, named for the prominent brass fittings used during this time for such things as lights and radiators. It is generally considered to encompass 1896 through 1915. In Britain it is often expressed as extending from the Veteran era (pre-1904), into the Edwardian era, until about World War I. The term "Brass-era automobile" is a retronym for "horseless carriage", the original name for such vehicles, which is still in use today. It was followed by what many European enthusiasts call the Vintage era.

Within the 20 years that make up this era, the various experimental designs and alternative power systems would be marginalised. Although the modern touring car had been invented earlier, it was not until Panhard et Levassor's Système Panhard was widely licensed and adopted that recognisable and standardised automobiles were created. This system specified front-engined, rear-wheel drive internal combustion engined cars with a sliding gear transmission. Traditional coach-style vehicles were only gradually abandoned, and buckboard high wheelers extisted along with the more advanced runabouts, tonneaus and other more expensive closed bodies through much of the era.

By 1900, steam car development had advanced, and they were among the fastest road vehicles in that period.[1] Electric cars also held a market share throughout the era.

Throughout this era, development of [3] Leaf springs were widely used for suspension, though many other systems were still in use, with angle steel taking over from armored wood as the frame (vehicle) material of choice. Transmissions and throttle controls were widely adopted, allowing a variety of cruising speeds, though vehicles generally still had discrete speed settings, rather than the infinitely variable system familiar in cars of later eras. Safety glass also made its debut, patented by John Wood in England in 1905.[4] (It would not become standard equipment until 1926, on a Rickenbacker.)[4]

Between 1907 and 1912 in the United States, the [7]


  • Lists of Brass-era manufacturers 1
    • Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly magazine's list of U.S. automakers as of 1904 1.1
    • Fred H. Colvin's list of U.S. automakers as of 1917 1.2
    • Other makes not mentioned above 1.3
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5

Lists of Brass-era manufacturers

Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly magazine's list of U.S. automakers as of 1904

In January, 1904, Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly magazine catalogued the entire range of automobiles available to the mass market in the United States. This list included:

Fred H. Colvin's list of U.S. automakers as of 1917

Fred H. Colvin, who covered the American automotive industry for many years as a journalist and editor of trade journals, wrote in his memoir (1947) about his experiences:[8]

I have already indicated how the early "craze" for horseless carriages caused automobile plants to spring up like mushroom growths all over the country, just as hundreds of locomotive plants had sprung up in the early days of railroading. In both instances, however, the great majority faded out of the picture once the industry had become firmly established. As late as 1917, there were 127 different makes of American automobiles on the market, as compared with little more than a dozen in 1947 [i.e. at the time of this writing]. For the sake of the completeness of the present record, and in order to aid future scholars and research workers, I should like to give the list of American automobiles current thirty years ago [i.e., 1917]:
Davis, Detroiter, Dispatch, Dixie Flyer, Doble, Dodge, Dorris, Dort, Drexel, Elcar, Elgin, Emerson, Empire, Enger, Fiat, Ford, Fostoria, Franklin, F.R.P., Glide, Grant, Hackett, H.A.L., Halladay, Harroun, Harvard, Haynes, Hollier, Hudson, Hupmobile, Inter-State, Jackson, Jeffery, Jordan, King, Kissel, Kline, Laurel, Lenox, Lexington, Liberty, Locomobile, Lozier, Luverne, Madison, Maibohm, Majestic, Marion-Handley, Marmon, Maxwell, McFarlan, Mecca, Mercer, Metz, Mitchell, Moline-Knight, Monarch, Monitor, Monroe, Moon, Morse, Murray, National, Nelson, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Owen, Packard, Paige, Partin-Palmer, Paterson, Pathfinder, Peerless, Pierce-Arrow, Pilot, Premier, Princess, Pullman, Regal, Republic, Reo, Richmond, Roamer, Ross, Saxon, Scripps-Booth, Spaulding, Simplex, Singer, Standard, Stanley Steamer, Stearns-Knight, Stephens, Stewart, Studebaker, Stutz, Sun, Velie, Westcott, White, Willys-Knight, Winton, and Yale.
A great many more names, including Brush, Duryea, Alco, Speedwell, and Waverly, had already disappeared from the scene by 1917.

Other makes not mentioned above

See also


  1. ^ "Stanley steamers amongst fastest road vehicles around 1906–1911". Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  2. ^ a b Csere 1988, p. 61.
  3. ^ Georgano 1985, p. 27.
  4. ^ a b c Csere 1988, p. 62.
  5. ^ Georgano 1985, p. 65
  6. ^ Csere 1988, p. 63.
  7. ^ Georgano 1985.
  8. ^ Colvin 1947, pp. 124–125.


  • . Ralph Flanders. Available as a reprint from Lindsay Publications (ISBN 978-0-917914-86-7). Foreword by  
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External links

  • Cars of Canada
  • Devil-Wagon Days, by Dorothy V. Walters, the Wisconsin Magazine of History Vol. 30, September 1946, pp. 69–77
  • Frontenac Motors (mostly Model T)
  • Hispano-Suiza photos
  • Horseless Carriage Gazette
  • Vintage Auto Parts (has a brass section)