Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Imperial Wheel Company Had Many Faces

This view from around 1938 is overlooking the Buick site. This shows the Imperial factory circled. This is from Chevrolet 1911-1960 with this photo supplied by Kevin Kirbitz.
This is from the 50th anniversary book put out by Buick in 1953. This view is looking north-east across the Pere Marquette main line tracks and Shows the location of the Flint Varnish Works in relation to the Imperial factory on Hamilton Avenue and St John Street which today is called James P. Cole Blvd. The Imperial factory was built between 1900-1901.
'Notice the  buggy wheel used as an ornamental feature at the top'. These were used on all three false fronts of this building. Imperial made wheels for many different wagon builders and also (later) many car builders, including making the wheels for the first Buick automobile built in Flint over on west Kearsly Street. The springs for the first Buick's (for many years) came from across the street and half a block south at the Armstrong Spring Works.
Just a view inside the Imperial factory.
Here is Imperial shown in 1910. This view is facing north-west across the intersection of Hamilton and St. John. That is the Flint Axle Works shown in the foreground.
A close up of the photo below. 
Testing Buick's on Hamilton Avenue before Buick had their own test track.
Postcard non color as shown below.

A Pesha photo.
Postcard by Baker and Son.
A tinted postcard in which the color plate has shifted.
Nice colored postcard.
First Chevrolet (1912) then Monroe (incorporated August 1, 1914) takes over. This was During Durant’s time after he lost control of General Motors. Chevrolet’s were built there starting in 1912 when Durant was making his comeback after losing control of General Motors. Monroe would take over In 1914 making this factory  the first in Flint to use a moving assembly line, patterned after the Ford plant in  Detroit. Read the article below the Monroe photo.  Monroe  linkCoachbuilt
 Wearing it’s Chevrolet face.
A full view of Imperial wearing it’s Chevrolet face.
Monroe car company takes over.
A closeup of the photo below.
This was Chevrolet #2 after the move from Detroit.

Buick takes over.

Enlarge for easier reading.

Look below (After 1916) to see the exact location.

An un-retouched version of the next photo from "The Factory Behind The Car" which is shown below. 

'Buick takes over'. This north-east view after Buick took over is the same as the one shown  above this one labeled as “The Parts and Service Department” which was meant for the general public. The version  here is  from the Buick publication “The Factory Behind The Car” and was  meant for the public and has had the “Road Apples” (from the horses) removed from Hamilton Avenue.

Shown here is a photo of the partial east front wall of factory #18. That is St John Street (James P. Cole Blvd. now) heading north-east. At this time the factory is #18.  

Facing south showing the rear towards Imperials powerhouseThe number assigned to the three main areas by Imperial Wheel Co. were 47, 48 and 49. Buick called them #18, #21 and #22 eventually just calling this factory #18. The power plant with the smoke stacks was numbered #46.

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