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The Frayer-Miller Automobile & The Oscar Lear Automobile Co.

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The Oscar Lear Automobile Co.
Columbus, Ohio & Springfield, Ohio

The Oscar Lear Automobile Company's principle owner was Oscar Lear who formerly sold typewriters and bicycles in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In 1901 Oscar Lear created an experimental American Automobile with an air cooled engine in Columbus, Ohio. Lee A. Frayer and William J. Miller also from Columbus began to design an air cooled engine the next years.

In 1903 Lear, Frayer and Miller created the Buckeye Motor Company and began designing an engine combining the best features of both the Lear engine and Frayer-Miller engine.

1905 Frayer-Miller Touring Car
1905 Frayer-Miller Touring Car

In 1904 they reorganized into The Oscar Lear Automobile Co. and produced a four cylinder Touring Car with a side entrance and removable tonneau known as the Frayer-Miller. The Frayer-Miller was a light, strong and speedy automobile selling for $2,500.00.

The four cylinder Frayer-Miller engine developed 24 horsepower. It featured air cooling via a rotary supercharger which forced air through aluminum jackets surrounding the cylinders. This engine single handedly solved the air cooling automobile problem. It had no pump, no radiator, no water tank and no piping. The transmission was of the sliding gear type with three speeds forward and reverse.

1905 Frayer-Miller Air Cooled Engine
1905 Frayer-Miller Air Cooled Engine

In 1905 the Frayer-Miller automobile entered the 24 hour race in Columbus, Ohio according to The Oscar Lear Automobile Co. advertisement below. A striped down Frayer-Miller was driven by Lee Frayer 728 miles in 16 hours. It never completed the race due to an accident. However the Frayer-Miller averaged 2 hours and 10 minutes per 100 miles. The advertisement below claimed that the Frayer-Miller was a "perfect air cooled car, light, powerful, fast and sturdy enough to stand continous hard work".

1905 Frayer-Miller Race Car
1905 Frayer-Miller Race Car

Restored 1908 Frayer-Miller Touring Car
Restored 1908 Frayer-Miller Touring Car

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