Monday, December 15, 2008

Hamilton and Industrial

A panorama of the two photos below. This is sometime during the '20s. Original

The axle plant is on the left,then factory #01 with the main office at right.

The Industrial bank is on the left,with the Buick axle plant on the right.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

1935 Drive away

This photo shows Buick dealers and salesman from Ohio gathering for a Buick Drive away in 1935. This view is looking west from the roof of the main kitchen, building #43, built around 1920. They are standing under the overhead bridge #20 that brought engines to final assembly from factory #11/24 engine test. These are the new Buick Special's which put Buick back on the map. The factory in the background is #29 Toolmakers.  September 1935 news story concerning this rare gathering.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Buick Workers

This photo looks to be the same location as the photo of Mike's grand father shown in the previous post.

Some of the first Buick workers.

James Arthur Procunier

Mike stated,
I really enjoyed going through your Buick blog. It looks like you've put in a lot of work on it. I haven't spent much time in Flint, but my father was born there and grandfather raised there. I've attached a picture that I just came upon in my late grandfather's things. The hand written inscription on the back reads "Buick Motor Car Co. 1908 - Flint, Michigan". Can you identify where the picture was taken? My great-grandfather James Arthur Procunier is in 3rd row, 4th from right. GERRY REPLY'S You can see the saw-tooth windows in the roof when you look through the window panes. Also the pillars and window configuration would make this the west wall of factory #11. History tells us this building was built in 1909 so I tend to believe that the inscription on the back was added at a latter date. Either that or the date of construction of #11 is off, which I doubt. More research is required if Mikes photo is correctly dated. Thanks for this lost piece of history Mike. MIKE'S REPLY.  Wow... you should work for CSI. You're right, I didn't notice saw tooth windows until I really looked. The really telling thing is that the bench from my picture perfectly matches the bench in yours. It would make sense that the inscription might be off. They didn't move to Flint until at least 1908 and he was listed as a painter in the 1910 Census & assembler in the 1920 Census. I doubt if he would have been a painter at the engine plant.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Buick Motor Co.Engine Works

Dr. Hills The Man Who Bought The First Flint Buick

The first Buick sold to a customer.

Description on the above photograph.

Dr. Herbert H. Hills, was the first owner of a production Buick. The story goes that he was not the first on a list of persons waiting for a new Buick. He was placed ahead of others because he agreed to let this vehicle be used as a demonstrator model. Some believe this car was built using the chassis and engine used on the Flint to Detroit test run. An article in the Flint Daily Journal July 29th stated the test car had been shipped to Chicago. We will probably never know for certain which is true. It is also believed to be the car that Billy Durant drove around Genesee county during the summer of 1904. Years later Walter Marr stated that the engine from the test Buick was seen by him being used to pump water in Chicago. This could help substantiate the story that the original test car was sent to Chicago. The large lamp was needed for night time driving.                                                                   July 27th 1904
On this day in 1904, Dr. Herbert Hills of Flint, Michigan, purchased the first Buick automobile ever to be sold. Founder David Buick initially made his mark as an inventor and mechanic in the plumbing industry, but had sold out of his business in order to pursue building motor cars. Buick was a man with an innate gift for inventing and tinkering, but who cared little for financial matters. He reputedly was unable to sit still unless he was concentrating on some kind of mechanical problem. None of his contemporaries would have been surprised that his company eventually became more successful than he did. In 1902, after years of fiddling with an automobile design, Buick agreed to a partnership with the Briscoe Manufacturing Company, wherein Briscoe would write off Buick's debts while in turn establishing a $100,000 capitalization for Buick's car company. Buick ceded $99,700 of the company's stock to Briscoe until he repaid his standing debt of $3,500, at which point he could buy controlling interest in the stock. Still, Buick had yet to complete an automobile. When it became clear to Briscoe that Buick would neither be able to pay his debts nor complete his vehicle soon, they sold their interest in the company to the Flint Wagon Works for $10,000. Buick and his son were given stock, but their managerial roles shrunk. Finally, in July of 1904, the first Buick made its initial test run. During the test run, the Buick averaged 30mph on a trip around Flint, going so fast at one point that the driver "couldn't see the village six-mile-an-hour sign." Sixteen Buicks were sold in the next few months, but Flint Wagon Works remained troubled by the Buick venture. They had purchased the company in order to help the city of Flint adjust to a new economy of automobile production, but Buick was already heavily in debt to a number of Flint banks. At this point, David Buick owned only a small share of stock and held none of the business responsibilities, and the Wagon Works decided to bring in Flint whiz kid William Durant to turn the business around. Durant kept Buick on as a manager, a position he held with little impact until 1908. Durant turned Buick into a major player in the automotive industry before incorporating it into his General Motors project

Dr. Herbert Hills with his first Buick
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Link: Herbert Hills Bio.

First Flint Buick

Follow for the tires used on the first Flint Buick Link: Google Books.

The Wolverine Citizen reports on the first Buick being built. Original paper with this story. Announcing the first Flint Buick in a race.

July 2, 1904 Wolverine Citizen.

This is the first completed, for sale, Flint built Buick in front of the Buick factory on west Kearsley st. Flint,Michigan. Marr is behind the wheel seated next to Tom Buick. In the rear is Charles Begole in the Bowler and James Whiting in the straw boater hat. It would be nice to speculate that the man with arms folded in the window of the factory is David Buick. Looking pleased at the scene before him.


James H. Whiting.

This reference to the Oren Stone family who were prominent in Flint during the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century shows the wife of Oren's son Dwight Stone. His wife is shown as being the daughter of  Andrew & Frances (Briscoe) Brow. She is most likely related to the Briscoe family in Detroit. David Buick and Benjamin Briscoe were in the early automobile business together in Detroit. It is not much of a stretch to make the connection of why Benjamin would be in Flint at the opportune time and hear about James Whiting looking to get into the auto business. This is from "The History Of Michigan" by: Charles Moore in 1915. This story seems to corroborate the story about how Benjamin Briscoe first heard about James Whiting wanting to get into the automobile business and eventually bringing  the Buick co. from Detroit to Flint. The story is related in the page below From Lawrence Gustin's 2nd edition of his fine book "David Buick's Marvelous Motor Car with assistance from historian Kevin Kirbitz.
- SeeView of Walter L. Marr and Thomas D. Buick posing in first Flint Buick car after its Flint-Detroit round trip in July, 1904. Horse-drawn cart and boy with bicycle in background. Printed on front: "Buick's chief engineer, Walter L. Marr (left), and Thomas D. Buick, son of founder David Dunbar Buick, in the first Flint Buick as it ended its successful Flint-Detroit round trip in July, 1904." Handwritten on back: "Buick, 1904". Is that a battery strapped on the tanks? Possible battery?  linkpage 109 Duntley battery

Saginaw and east First street after the return trip. A 1914 interview with Walter Marr. " This was the first real road test this car had been given and established a record at that time which is considered good even today by cars that have three times as much horsepower. We covered 115 miles in 217 minutes or a little better than 30 miles per hour. We came through Pontiac, Oxford and Lapeer, and the roads were deep in mud every mile of the way. I did the driving and Buick was kept busy wiping the mud off my goggles. "At one place, going down a hill, I saw a bump at a bridge too late to slow up. when I hit it, I threw on all the power and landed over it safely in the road. Buick was just taking a chew of tobacco, and a lump of mud as large as a baseball hit him square in the face, filling his mouth completely. We were plastered with mud from head to foot when we reached Flint, but the little car ran the distance without a skip. The last I heard of this Buick was in 1913, when I was in Chicago, and it was still running." .........I have read one report that stated the Buick needed an axle bearing replaced near Lapeer. So many different versions are presented in numerous books that I feel safer using the newspaper stories.

Original map link.

The Flint Daily Journal's account of the first test run of a new Buick. July 13, 1904. Bespattered with flying real estate from every county they had touched, but with the knowledge that they had made a "record", Tom Buick and W. L. Marr, of the Buick Motor Works, who left for Detroit on Saturday to give the first automobile turned out by that concern a trial on the road, returned to the city late yesterday afternoon. The test of the machine was eminently satisfactory, and, in fact, exceeded expectations. In spite of the muddy conditions of the roads the trip home was made in remarkable time of 3 hours and 37 minutes, or at the rate of a trifle less than a mile in 2 minutes, on the basis of the distance traversed as figured by the gentlemen in charge of the machine. Through a mistake they failed to take a right turn when near Lapeer and it was necessary for them to make an extra 15 miles. This increased the total distance of the run to nearly 115 miles as they passed through Pontiac, Orion, Oxford, Lapeer and Davison, not following the direct route. "The machine made the run without a skip." said Mr. Marr today, "and reached here in the best of condition. We took hills handily with our high speed gear and the machine sounded like a locomotive. It simply climbed. In one place we raced with an electric car and showed them the way. We went so fast at another time that we could not see the village 'six-mile-an-hour' sign." The machine used in making the trip is the $950 tonneau put out by the Buick company, and is equipped with a 12-horse power engine that can develop from 18 to 21 horse power on a pinch. It was provided with a "testing" body and was stripped of anything that would add unnecessary weight. Its long rakish looking body, covered with mud, gave it the appearance of a speeder and attracted much attention along the route of the run. Upon its return to the city the machine and its occupants, mud and all, were photographed by C. R. Quay.

Walter Marr And Tom Buick the day they returned from the Flint to Detroit test run, beside the Buick factory. They left Flint July 9th 1904 on a Saturday and returned Tuesday the 12th. The total miles covered was 115. Total driving time was 3 hours 37 minutes. Wolverine Citizen announcement for the first Buick. Story about early accessories including the rubber cover for engine shown above.  Timken Axle.                                                                                                          

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Walter Marr Patents.

The certificate for the carburetor below.

One of several Walter Marr Patents.

The actual Flint Flyer with Marr in Center.

Wolverine Citizen story on the Flint Flyer's inaugural flight over the city.
Wolverine Citizen story on the Flint Flyer's inaugural flight over the city.
Certificate of patent on the Flint Flyer.
Patent drawing.
Flint Flyer patent drawing.

View of 1910 Flint Flyer airplane at the Atlanta Speedway, designed by Buick engineer Walter L. Marr and manufactured by the L.A.W. Aeroplane Company in Flint, Michigan. 


Marr Cyclecar

First Flint Buick

Marr Memorabilia.

Walter Marr,Buick's First Engineer

The 1904 Model B & Flint Wagon Works.

Walter Marr V12

Hamilton Avenue At Buick

First Flint Buick

Marr Memorabilia.

One of Walters patents for a carburetor.

This is the letter From David Buick that brought Walter Marr back to Buick for the third and final time. They both agreed upon a cooling off period in the future before Walter would leave again.They both supposedly had quite the tempers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

David Dunbar Buick The early years.

The red line shows the Flower Bros. foundry, where David Buick worked, extending the entire length of the Street  about 1889. Notice the address change between 1870 & 1887. This is now the site of General Motors World HeadquartersOriginal map.
May 11, 1870.  Original Link The Owasso American.  
This is 1894 and is a crop from the book "David Buick's Marvelous Motor Car". If you really want more photos and complete history buy the book by clicking on the following link. Amazon.
Click here for original.   This story is referring to Henry Ford's second job in a Detroit factory between December 1879 through August 1880. Link for 1947 news article David Buick worked at the same factory starting in 1869 and became a foreman in 1879, the year Henry started. It has been suggested that David Buick could have been Henry Ford's boss but that is just speculation but fun to think about. It is written that Henry was 16 when he hired in and that seems a bit young to me but at that time being "put out" at an early age was quite common, David Buick was put out at 11 years of age, I guess those were the days. David left the employ of the James Flower & Bros. Foundry in 1881. More on Ford's time with the Flower foundryStill more.   The Flower Brothers foundry was sold to the Sales Brothers in 1898. The Sales Bothers were dealers in heavy hardware.                                                                                       
  Census link: 1880 census.  1900 census. 1910 census California.  1910 census Michigan.
The red X shows David Buick's address in 1879. The Google map link is shown below. The red X is 207 e Montcalm on the corner of John R & east Montcalm. This corner lot is directly behind home plate at Comerica Park in Detroit. UPDATE:                                                                   On December 5, 2008 you posted the location of Davids home at 207 East Montcalm. After the address change that location would be 625 today. The location would be just east of St Antoine. Hastings is now the service drive.

Hope this helps!

Steve Huck
stevehuckss396 on all the forums.

I have attached my Google earth file. It's a work in progress but hundreds of locations have been verified. If your not interested or don't use Google Earth just delete it.

New      Address      Old

Montcalm E

200John R74
600St Antoine196

Thanks for your updated location Steve.
The 1880 Detroit directory.
      The 1879 Detroit directory.  Buick lives 207 e Montcalm 1887.  
Buick & Sherwood  Catalogue.