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Formal Thursday: 1903

Formal Thursday: 1903

November 1903. "General office, Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Co., Detroit." At left: Henry Leland, founder of both the Cadillac and Lincoln motor car brands. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Photographic Co. View full size.


On Shorpy:
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Coal Gas

That hanging gas lamp burned gas generated from coal, and the fumes from burning coal gas are toxic. Double hung windows allowed the fumes to escape the room by lowering the top window and raising a lower window. In the summer, having windows open from the top and bottom help move warmer air out of the room by natural convection. I went to schools old enough to have window poles to pull down the upper windows. In grade seven I was using a window pole to close a top window, and it slipped and broke the window. I was punished by the teacher with a swift kick to the rear. Those were the days!

High ceilings

Does anyone know why old office buildings (and often old stores and houses too) had such high ceilings? Seems like a lot of space being wasted.

[Two reasons: in the summer, hotter air rises above the workspace and can circulate out via transom windows and, in the case of double-hung sash windows, through the upper panel when lowered; and as seen here, tall windows, which usually provided the main - and free - illumination. -tterrace]

OK, but wouldn't that also make them much harder to heat in the winter?

Job Interview

...and if you stand on your tiptoes, can you reach our clock to wind it?

This desk

has to place in the top three messy desks we've seen in the vintage offices on Shorpy. That being said I'm sure he could locate whatever he needed in a matter of seconds.

Some More Leland History

Cadillac Motors was originally the Henry Ford Company. Henry Ford was the Chief Engineer and was supposed to deliver a lightweight, mid priced car as the first company product. When Henry Ford began spending time developing racing vehicles and slipped timing on delivery of the new car designs, the investors in the company hired Henry Leland to be the Chief Engineer. They gave Henry Ford $800, his name to the company and his racing car designs to leave the company. It was at that point that they renamed the company Cadillac. [For fun, check out pictures of the first 1903 Cadillac and the first 1903 Model A Ford - very similar]. Henry Leland eventually left Cadillac and started the Lincoln Motor company which Henry Ford bought from him in 1922. Some people have hinted that this might have been "payback" but I believe it was done at the urging of Edsel Ford who wanted something more to sell to the public than the simple and cheap Model T's.

No corner office

Unlike today's execs, Leland looks to be a hands-on manager, with his desk right in the middle of the action.

A creative type ...

Mr. Leland was definitely a 'messy desk' kind of guy.

I Want That Lamp

Having restored a gas lamppost in the front yard of our house, I have a new found appreciation for gaslight. I would pay a considerable sum of money for that hanging gas lamp. What a conversation piece it it was still working.

A wild guess

Based on the position of the sun I would guess this was taken on a Thursday, November 12th 1903, probably around 4:05 PM.

This is just a guess however, I could be completely wrong.


Several of the gentlemen in this photo look so young. Maybe it's a sign of my age. The one sitting down talking with Leland is trying to look dapper with his pinky ring but I can't take my eyes off those skis...I mean feet. Lot of cows died for his shoes.

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