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The Pratt-Elkhart Automobiles & The Elkhart Carriage and Harness Mfg. Co.

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Pratt-Elkhart
Elkhart Carriage and Harness Mfg. Co.
Elkhart, Indiana
1909-1915

Prior to 1908 the Pratts, Fred B. Pratt (father), William B. Pratt (son) and George B. Pratt (son) manufactured horse dawned Elkhart Carriages, Elkhart Buggies and Elkhart Harnesses. From 1906 to 1908 the Elkhart Carriage and Harness Mfg. Co. produced a motor buggy and motor wagons with much success.

By 1906 Fred Pratt retired and the Pratt Brothers ventured into the automobile manufacturing business. The Pratt Bros. had taken several steps prior to 1906 in preparation for their first American Automobile, The Pratt-Elkhart.

Over the years the Elkhart Carriage and Harness Manufacturing Company became one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of carriages, buggies and harnesses. They were experienced manufacturers, plus experienced in material procurement, engineering, accounting, selling and advertising. But most important of all they had a large factory and the skilled people to build not only carriages but automobiles.

From 1906 to 1908 they first motorized some of the Elkhart buggies into self propelled vehicles and then wagons called The Pratt. Sales of motorized buggies and wagons were very successful in 1908. By 1909 and 1910 the Pratt Bros. transitioned from the motor buggy to a line of shaft driven cars that were something half way between a buggy and an automobile. In 1910 they began production of their first American Automobile called the Pratt-Elkhart.

Pratt-Elkhart Model F with 40 Horsepower
1910 Pratt-Elkhart Model T Touring Car

Advertising described the first Pratt-Elkhart automobiles as a 30 to 35 horsepower car with 117 inch wheelbase in three body styles. A four door touring car is shown above and a two door roadster on the right. In addition a car described as a baby tonneau was also produced in 1910. All three were known as the Pratt-Elkhart "30".

Pratt-Elkhart Model F with 40 Horsepower
Pratt-Elkhart Model F with 40 Horsepower

The advertising above describes a 1911 Model F fore-door (four-door), now rated at 40 horsepower, which was essentially the Model T touring car with a left front door added. The right front door was blocked by the transmission shift lever and not functional. This Pratt-Elkhart automobile sold for $1800.00. The 40 horsepower Pratt-Elkharts were known as a Pratt-Elkhart "40".

The "Brass Era" was coming to an end by 1912 so all Pratt-Elkhart models were redesigned and production increased. In 1912 a model O touring car and a model P roadster was developed with 30 horsepower engines. The Pratt-Elkhart automobile was technically an assembled car. Which means they could offer the latest and greatest major product developments and improvements. One example was changing from brass to nickel plated headlight buckets. Another example was the self starter developed by the Prest-O-Lite Company. Both were a way for Pratt-Elkhart to stay competitive.

In 1913 the Pratt Brothers added a larger automobile called a Pratt-Elkhart "50" touring car and a roadster. Both had 50 horsepower engines and equipped with a self starter making the Pratt-Elkhart "50" easy for women to drive. That same year a huge 60 horsepower 421 cubic inch six cylinder Buda engine was installed in a 134 inch wheelbase chassis and called a Pratt-Sixty. The 1914 Pratt-Elkhart's sported smoother more flowing lines and the Pratt-Elkhart "50" was the best of all Pratt Automobiles.

However, things were about to change because in spite of its continued popularity the Pratt-Elkhart's were becoming outdated due to its right hand drive and long stroke but reliable engine. What the Elkhart Carriage and Harness Mfg. Co. had in mind began to develop in November of 1914. That was when a completely new series of cars called the Elcar would be added to the Pratt line.

1911 Pratt-Elkhart Catalog Cover
1911 Pratt-Elkhart Catalog Cover

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    1911 Pratt-Elkhart Roadster
    1911 Pratt-Elkhart Roadster


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