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Tops and Trimmings: 1921

Tops and Trimmings: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "McCaully's garage." Note the bakery-delivery bread box next door. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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A photo of the Apex Twin-Frame chassis is below, but it does not appear to be anything especially rigid. The lack of cross members spanning the outer chassis rails, where most of the body and load weight would be carried, would in fact seem to make this frame less structurally sound than a conventional truck chassis with well placed cross members. Photo from the 1920 Chilton Automobile Directory, page 23.

Hamilton Motors Company

The company started out in 1914 as the Alter Motor Car Company in Plymouth, Michigan. Some websites claim that it is linked to the earlier Alter Car that was made by the Cincinnati Motors and Manufacturing Company, but there doesn't seem to be any physical evidence for that, and the Cincinnati firm did not go out of business until its founder died in early 1916.

The Plymouth based Alter Motor Car Company is said to have produced about 1000 vehicles (only one of which still exists) before the company dissolved in 1917 to allow the formation of the Hamilton Motors Company. The new firm relocated across the state to Grand Haven, where its said that they built just one car. They reorganized again and in late 1917, under the name Panhard Motor Company, began building trucks that featured the twin-frame. A blurb from a later press release explained: "The feature in its construction is a sub-frame of channel steel bolted to the main frame, thus giving the truck the trade name of 'twin frame.'"

1919 Panhard

In September of 1919, after the Panhard et Levassor vehicle company in France complained of trademark infringement, the Grand Haven company revived the Hamilton Motors Company name and began marketing the truck as the Apex (not connected with Apex Motors of Ypsilanti). In May of 1920 the company made a $1,000,000 stock issue for factory expansion, and when Adolf Pricken, a New York real estate investor, promised to subscribe the entire issue, he was made president. By the end of summer the company was producing only a few vehicles a month and production was suspended in September, 1920. In early November Pricken was arrested for grand larceny involving stock fraud connected to a separate warehouse venture. Even though the charges were dropped in July of 1922 due to lack of jurisdiction (and the fact that restitution had been made to any disgruntled investors), the promised stock subscription was not completed and Hamilton Motors/Apex was out of business. At least one Apex truck survives in the Tri-Cities Historical Museum collection in Grand Haven.

Apex Twin Frame

Apex Twin Frame.

Benjamin F. McCaully

Washington Post, February 3, 1901.

Behind High-Steppers

“Horseless vehicles are multiplying fast enough in Washington,” said B.F. McCaully, the well-known whip, last week, “but they are not crowding the thoroughbred to the curb by any means. Good horses and good traps are as valuable now as they ever were. They combine life and action with a certain dignity of appearance that are inseparable to the lover of a stylish turnout. In proof of this, I might say there are more highgrade turnouts in Washington to-day than ever before.”

Washington Post, August 1, 1926.

Appoints New Manager

B.F. McCaully To Be in Charge of Stoneleigh Garage.

Stoneleigh Garage, 1630 L street northwest, has just appointed B.F. McCaully, manager. Ben McCaully has long been identified with local transportation problems. For more than half a century, from 1874 until a few years ago he was in the livery business, transferring to the garage business when it was seen that the automobile was destined to replace the horse. Well known to Washingtonians, he furnished carriages for four inaugurations, and had carriage privileges of all the large hotels, including the old Arlington, Shoreham, Willard and Riggs house. He furnished many a “turnout” for noted men, including James G. Blaine and Mark Hanna, as well as for diplomats, senators and representatives in Congress.

Washington Post, April 1, 1937.

B.F. McCaully Funeral Rites Set Tommorow

Was Retired Garage Owner and Formerly Sold Blooded Horses.

Funeral services for Benjamin Franklin McCaully, 81, who died yesterday after a two-weeks' illness, will be held at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Chambers undertaking parlors. Fourteenth and Chapin streets northwest. The Rev. W.M. Michael, chaplain of the Stansbury Masonic Lodge, of which Mr. McCaully was a member, will officiate.

Born in Lebanon, Pa., Mr. McCaully came to Washington as a young man and entered the livery business. As a driver of fancy horses and rigs he won many prizes in the horse show rings of those days.

As a dealer he furnished many horses for the diplomatic set. He later entered the garage business. He retired several years ago.

He was an active member of the Society of Natives, and one of its vice presidents.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Annie S. McCaully; a son, William H. McCaully, of Winnetka, Ill.; two daughters, Mrs. James H. Collins, of Hollywood, Calif., and Mrs. H.M. Krarup, of Washington and a granddaughter Vita Krarup.

Free air!

No such thing as free air in my town. All the stations have a "Please deposit 50 cents" air station that takes ten minutes to inflate a tire!

It's been a while

since I had my Carbon burned, probably due to have it done.

That's odd

Does anyone have any information about the "Apex Twin Frame Truck" mentioned on that sign? I've never heard of anything with twin frames.

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