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The Holsman Automobile & The Holsman Automobile Co.

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The Holsman Automobile Co.
Chicago, IL

The Holsman was built by Chicago architect Henry K. Holsman from 1902 to 1911. This American Automobile was the first High Wheeler built in the United States. It was also the first automobile with a reverse.

Appearance of the Holsman did not change much over the years. It remained a simple light weight buggy styled vehicle with high wheels.

1902 Holsman Motor Carriage
1902 Holsman Motor Carriage

By 1907 Henry K. Holsman's design motivated other American Automobile manufacturers to produce a High Wheeler. The High Wheeler market developed very slowly with the Holsman in the lead. The Holsman had low operating cost and could go almost anywhere including the muddy rutted back roads of America.

1908 Holsman Motor Carriage
1908 Holsman Motor Carriage

In this 1908 Holsman advertisement claimed that the Holsman was the "Oldest Motor-Buggy Makers In America"! The Holsman ability to go anywhere attributed to its slogan - "High Wheels Travel All Roads Because - All Roads Are Made To Be Traveled By High Wheels."

1909 Holsman High Wheel Runabout
1909 Holsman High Wheel Runabout

The 1909 Holsman was equipped with a air cooled horizontal opposed 2 cylinder four cycle engine that developed 10 horsepower. The engine was mounted under the seat. Ignition is by jump spark from a double coil and dry batteries. Steering is by tiller and the throttle is adjusted by twisting the end of the steering handle. In 1910 a model K used a 2 cylinder 12 horsepower engine and a model M used a 4 cylinder 26 horsepower engine.

Patented May 5, 1908 Holsman
Patented May 5, 1908 Holsman

Early Holsman's used a unique rope drive (see item 35 above) that was light and very effective. A rope loop connected a small pulley (see item 34 above), one on each side of the engine. The rope loop was then attached to a larger pulley (see item 36 above) one on each rear wheel. Later models used a wrapped chain cable that was an improvement over the rope loop.

A Holsman model 3, 4 and 5 was a two passenger Runabout, model 6 and 11 was a Surrey and model 7 and 8 were classified as a Touring Runabout. The Holsman model 14 was a delivery wagon and the rare model 15 was a Gentleman's closed Coupe.

Restored 1907 Holsman Model 3 Runabout
Restored 1907 Holsman Model 3 Runabout

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