By David Humphrey
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — 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.
Through 1917, the Buckeye Manufacturing Company produced the Lambert with maximum production between the years of 1907 through 1910. It was during this time when the company built an average of 2,000 automobiles per year. In addition to producing automobiles, Lambert was responisible for the making of auto fire engines, gasoline engines, and steel-hoof farm tractors. After the United States reluctantly entered World War I, the Buckeye Manufacturing Company produced ammunition shells, caisson wheels, and military fire engines. When the war to end all wars came to a close in 1918, Lambert saw the writing on the wall and ceased with automobile production.
The successful businessman knew that automobiles would someday be mass produced by large manufacturers. The last automobile part produced by the Buckeye Manufacturing Company was in 1922. John Lambert died in 1950 at the age of ninety-two. Today, only four Lambert automobiles are known to exist.
From 1903 through 1904, Swedish born Henry Nyberg built automobiles in Chicago under the firm named the Nyberg-Waller Automobile Company. In 1910 Nyberg moved his company to Anderson where he purchased the Rider-Lewis Motor Company. Now known as the Nyberg Automobile Works, the company expanded when it began to assemble automobiles. Manufacturing of the Nyberg took a great deal of labor since the automobiles were hand made. The first Nyberg was completed on March 30,1911. Nyberg Automobile Works produced four models while in Anderson. A five and seven passenger Touring car, a Tourabout, and Roadster. The 60-horsepower Nyberg had electric starting and lighting with a 138-inch wheel base. Outfitted with a Rutember motor, Warner transmission, Schebler carburetors, and Remy magnetos, the Nyberg sold for $2,100.
A 40-horsepower model sold for $1,750. After operations ceased at Nyberg Automobile Works in 1914, Henry Nyberg relocated to Ontario, Canada, where he helped produce the Regal automobile. A Nyberg race car driven by Harry Endicott competed in the 1913 Indianapolis 500. Car number one qualified for 10th position in the field of 27 cars at a speed of 76.350 miles per hour. Endicott completed 23 laps and finished 21 out of 27 drivers in the race. He received no prize money at the third running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
The DeTamble Motors Company began operations in Anderson in 1908 and continued making automobiles until 1913. Edward S. DeTamble manufactured gasoline engines in Indianapolis in 1904 before relocating to Anderson four years later. The factory was located at 1200 E. 32nd St. and employed up to 600 people.
The first DeTamble, priced at $650, was a two-passenger Runabout that featured a two-cylinder, 16-horsepower engine. By 1909 the company was producing more powerful and larger cars. The newly designed DeTamble Runabout and Touring cars had four cylinder engines with the option of a 30, 36, or 40 horsepower. The following year the DeTamble Motors Company offered four new models for car buyers to choose from.
A Model G Roadster seated two people and sold for $1,000. The Model J was a four-door, five passenger car with a sale price of $1,200. A seven-passenger Model K four door was priced at $1,675. A 1910 DeTamble magazine ad read "Just the thing you are looking for. Combined high quality and moderate price! The kind of car you can be proud of."
Though all models of the DeTamble sold well the company's top seller was the 1912 Model G Roadster. The two passenger 36 horsepower Roadster sold for $1,000. As with the 1910 models the DeTamble Motors Company once again used magazine ads to market their product.
"The cars that look to cost twice the price and the cars that are asgood as they look."
The Anderson Carriage Manufacturing Company
Inventor George B. Wheelock manufactured his first horseless carriage at the Anderson Carriage Manufacturing Company in 1907. The design was that of a High Wheeler Buggy with 36 inch high solid tires and two-cylinder, 14-horsepower DeTamble engine.
Prices for the High Wheeler Buggy and a smaller model with the same design ranged from $500 to $650. The buggies were made for both rural and city use. The Model B Anderson Carriage of 1909 had a two cylinder, 12horsepower, four cycle motor. The solid rubber tires were enhanced with genuine leather trim. The two dash lamps, tail lamp, and horn were all made of brass. The fully equipped automobile sold for $525.
Though Wheelock held his own in the competitive market, the Anderson Carriage Manufacturing Company soon folded and was sold to E.L. Anderson of Union City, Indiana for $17,000 in 1910. But not before Wheelock produced an automobile known simply as the Anderson.
The Rider-Lewis Motor Car Company
The Rider-Lewis Motor Car Company began in Muncie in 1908 before moving to Anderson the following year. The company had 175 employees working under the management of George D. Rider and Ralph Lewis. By the summer of 1910 the company was producing 30 to 40 four-cylnder cars per week. However, only one year into operation, the Rider-Lewis Motor Car Company faced serious financial problems and was forced into receivership.
The company's financial losses were blamed on heavy losses due to a late start in the 1910 selling season and demands for payment from creditors. During the three years the company was in operation it produced the Rider-Lewis Four and the Excellent Six. Body types available included a five-passenger Touring Car, a two- passenger Roadster, a Limousine, and Tonneauette.
The Rider-Lewis Four sold for $1,000, while the luxurious Excellent Six had a price tag of $2,500. The company was sold to Henry Nyberg in 1911 who went on to produce the Nyberg automobile.