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The Automotor Automobile & The Automotor Co.

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The Automotor Co.
Springfield, MA

The manufacturers of this American Automobile started out as The Springfield Cornice Works, a light structural steel fabricator located in Springfield, Massachusetts. This company was owned by Arthur P. Smith and his younger brother Hinsdale Smith. Hinsdale Smith had taken an early interest in automobiles. He designed and patented a number of automobile transmissions and gasoline engines.

By the late 1896, the Smith's began building a very few experimental American Automobiles with the Smith engine, transmission and chain drive. They were fitted with a wooden body built by the New Haven Carriage Co. Engineer Charles H Martin joined the Smith's in 1898 and by 1900, their first vehicle, the Meteor, was ready for production.

Martin and Hinsdale Smith then formed The Automotor Co. to build the Automotor which was powered by the Smith engine and transmission and a single chain. The Automotor Co. was a subsidiary of the Springfield Cornice Works who made the Aluminum bodies for the Automotor. Only a few $850.00 Automotor Runabout automobiles were built between 1900 and 1901 by The Automotor Co. The Automotor Company exhibited a typical French style machine.

1903 Automotor Touring Car
1903 Automotor Touring Car

The 1903 Automotor Touring Car was equipped with a four cylinder vertical engine that developed 18 horsepower. The transmission had three speeds forward and one reverse. Power is transmitted from the speed gear through a universally jointed shaft to a bevel gear drive on the rear axle. The Automotor had a vertical motor mounted under the hood, had a long wheelbase, 30 inch x 3 1/2 inch artillery wood wheels and a metal body. Two independent brakes were provided. The aluminum body had an angle iron frame and divided seats in front. The 18 horsepower Automotor touring car was listed at $3000.00. The price includes acetylene headlights, oil side lights and horn. A 12 horsepower Automotor had a 2 cylinder vertical motor, which is oiled from a pump on the front hoard. It had two forward speeds, besides the reverse. 30 inch x 4 1/2 inch Diamond detachable tires. Price is $2500.

1903 Automotor Co. Advertisement
1903 Automotor Co. Advertisement

By 1904 sales of the Motorcar were gloomy. However, the aluminum body work created for the Motorcar at the Springfield Cornice Works was innovative and highly regarded. The brothers decided to concentrate on that aspect of the business. Aluminum and sheet steel bodies were built to order for local auto manufacturers such as Locomobile, Moyea, Orson, Pope-Hartford, Sampson, Stanley and Stevens-Duryea.

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