Years before General Motors served as the economic backbone of thecommunity, Anderson was the site of several automobile factories.
For over a decade, the Lambert Automobile Company made the Lambert automobile through the Buckeye Manufacturing Company. The company was located in the Evalyn Industrial Park near Third and Sycamore Street on the city's west side. The Lambert Automobile Company was spearheaded by John William Lambert of Ohio City, Ohio, who invented and designed the Buckeye engine in 1894.
That same year the company manufactured three stationary engines since there was no market for the Lambert automobile.It was during this time when the company was reorganized and incorporated with a capital stock of $100,000. Lambert was named president of the company, with his father and mother serving as vice-president and secretary and treasurer, respectively.
Prior to this invention, Lambert successfully tested and drove a three-wheeled,gasoline powered automobile that historians believe was the first of its kind. (The Duryea Brothers have been credited with producing America's first automoble in 1892).
Though Lambert's design was a mechanical success, marketing for the early day automobile was a failure. Priced at $550, no individual or company showed interest in Lambert's invention. Unfazed at what others said about his automobile, Lambert moved to Anderson where he started the Buckeye Manufacturing Company, that housed the Lambert Automobile Company.
In 1903, the Buckeye Manufacturing Company expanded after purchasing five acres of land near the 1800 block of Columbus Avenue. At a cost of $150,000, the newly built factory had over 300,000 square feet of floor space and employed up to 400 people. The factory maunfactured gasoline engines and pressed steel articles for Lambert's automobiles.
In 1906, Lambert produced the first automobile bearing his name. With this invention, Lambert became known as one of the more successful manufacturers of the automobile during this era. Most of Lambert's automobiles were chain driven rather than shaft driven. Though the company made its own bodies, the engines were often manufactured by independent motor builders. The outsourced motors were done by various manufacturers including Buda, Rutenber, Continental, Trebert, and Davis. The upholstery of the Lambert was of supreme quality with fifteen coats of paint used on the final body finish.