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Duryea Motor Wagon Company

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Template:List of Duryea Motor Wagon Company ModelsThe Duryea Motor Wagon Company, established in 1895, was the first American firm to build gasoline automobiles.

Founded by Charles Duryea and his brother J. Frank Duryea, they operated the one-cylinder "Ladies Phaeton" chassis on September 21, 1893 at Springfield, Massachusetts. It is considered the first successful gas-engine vehicle built in the U.S. In 1895 a second Duryea driven by J. Frank Duryea won the Chicago Times-Herald race in Chicago on a snowy Thanksgiving day. He travelled 54 miles at an average 7.5 mph, marking the first U.S. auto race in which any entrants finished.

An early Duryea advertisement explains to incredulous readers that the vehicle "actually operated under its own propulsion."

The brothers went their separate ways by the end of the century. J. Frank helped produce the Stevens-Duryea while Charles produced Duryea vehicles as late as 1917.

Although Charles did discuss with his brother J. Frank the building of the First American automobile. J. Frank was the actual builder. He did correspond with his brother Charles regarding what did and didn't work in the design. Charles had left Springfield in 1892 before construction began. This was documented in the Selden Patent trial transcripts of testimony by Charles. But in the end most of what Charles designed didn't work and had to redesigned by his brother J. Frank during construction. Until Charles died in 1938 he tried to take credit away from his brother as the builder of the First American automobile. Charles's family, mainly his son Merle continued this crusade for many years to follow. Keith Korbut Founding Member Duryea Transportation Society Springfield, MA

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