FANDOM


The automotive Brass Era is the first period of automotive manufacturing, named for the prominent brass fittings used during this time for such things as lights and radiators. It extends from the first commercial automobiles marketed in the 1890s 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.

OverviewEdit

Such very old vehicles present special challenges to today's collectors. Replacement parts must nearly always be handmade and basic documentation such as wiring diagrams and specification sheets are often nonexistent. The huge variety of companies and technologies represented during this formative period is also a complicating factor—it has been estimated that there were well over 1,000 manufacturers in the U.S. alone.

Nevertheless, an active collector community exists for these vehicles, which when well restored can be extremely valuable. The very, very rare original-condition survivor can be even more so.

The early Ford Model T is an example of a Brass Era car for the mass market, and the early European Hispano-Suiza models are fairly typical of expensive models of the time.

The gold-tone trim which is occasionally added to modern luxury sedans is a reference back to autodom's great Age of Brass.

ExamplesEdit

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

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 the following manufacturers:

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

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[1]:

"[…] 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]:[ ¶ ]
"Abbott-Detroit, Allen, American-Six, Anderson, Apperson, Arbenz, Auburn, Austin, Bell, Biddle, Brewster, Bour-Davis, Briscoe, Buick, Cadillac, Cameron, Case, Chalmers, Chandler, Chevrolet, Cole, Crow-Elkhart, Daniels, 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 aboveEdit

See also Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Colvin 1947:124-125.


External linksEdit

Template:Automobile history eras

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.