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1903 Hays, Austin Depot, Pioneer Town Museum - Cedaredge, CO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 38° 53.857 W 107° 55.607
13S E 246176 N 4309487
Quick Description: 1903 Hayes; early electric car!
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 7/5/2015 1:46:03 PM
Waymark Code: WMP5K5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 0

Long Description:
"Hector Jay Hayes was born in 1869 to Nathan B. and Mary A. (Olmstead) Hayes, on the family’s North Plains farm which was located in Ionia County, Michigan. His dad owned a lumber mill and was also involved in a number of local business including the Hayes-Spaulding Hardware Store in Ionia and the Hayes-Olmstead Bank in Muir. Hector attended both the Michigan Agricultural College in East Lansing and Cleary Business College in Ypsilanti, Michigan and worked for his father in the family’s lumber business.

Hector disliked his Christian name, preferring the more businesslike H. Jay Hayes. When cycling fever swept through the country after the introduction of the safety bicycle, H. Jay went to work for the Clipper Bicycle Co. becoming the firm’s Cleveland, Ohio representative. It was in this position that he became acquainted with Henry F. Eastman, a Cleveland inventor and early automobilist.

The pair built a three-wheeled electric motor car in 1897-98, that had a body made entirely of metal. Hayes and Eastman patented the design and formed the Eastman Automobile Company in 1898. The battery used in Eastman Electro-Cycle was a prototype made by Cleveland’s Willard Storage Battery Co., and enabled the vehicle to travel about twelve miles per charge.

Hayes later recalled: “We spent several weeks in Detroit, Michigan, during our organization period and visited the Edison Electric Company on Willis Avenue, to have the battery recharged, and Henry Ford was employed there and would connect the wires onto the battery in the automobile and we would visit while the battery was being charged. He later told me he was working on his first automobile in the basement of the Edison Company during the time we were in Detroit.” Ford and Hayes became friends, and various Hayes firms supplied fenders for Ford’s Model T during the teens and twenties.

However, the electric storage battery technology was in its infancy and had yet become practical so a steam power plant was substituted on the production vehicle, which had now grown an additional wheel and two springs to better support the heavier steam apparatus.

The firm was incorporated in West Virginia, and the manufacture of the Eastman Steamer commenced in 1900 with H. Jay Hayes as manager. According to the Motor Age its steel body was "made of sheet steel backed by an asbestos covering which retains the heat and muffles any possible noise, making a practically indestructible body which will not crack or warp and which admits of a high finish that can be baked on the same as in finishing bicycles, making it also possible to re-enamel in new colors in a few hours, while in ordinary carriage painting a number of days are necessary to secure a good finish".

In 1900, Hayes drove an Eastman Steamer from Detroit to Grand Rapids, a 5-day trip of 105 miles, becoming the first person to drive an automobile across the state of Michigan. He exhibited the car at the 1900 Chicago Automobile Show where their all-metal body was the center of interest. Hayes experience in the bicycle industry taught him that interest equaled sales, so in May of 1901 he convinced Eastman to sell the firm to Cleveland resident A.M. Benson, who reorganized it as the Benson Automobile Co. Benson opened a new Cleveland factory and built approximately a dozen Bensons – all equipped with Eastman metal bodies – before it closed later in the year.

Things went much better for Eastman and Hayes who reorganized as the Eastman Metallic Body Co. and became the nation’s first all-metal automobile body builders. However, it wasn’t long for this world and went bankrupt in 1902.

Hayes realized that Detroit was becoming the center of the nation’s auto industry, and on speculation built an all-metal replica of the curved-dash Oldsmobile to show to Ransom E. Olds. Olds liked what he saw, but didn’t feel that the a metal body was necessary, however he admired the effort put forth by Hayes and offered him a contract to build metal fenders for the car.

Based on the order, capital was obtained from a Detroit resident named Mr. Wilson, and in 1903 the Wilson-Hayes Mfg. Co. leased a downtown Detroit factory at 750 Bellevue Ave to fulfill the contract with Oldsmobile. A display ad in a 1916 issue of Motor Age indicates that the firm was still in business at that address, and still producing automobile bodies and sub assemblies.

It was at this point that the business affairs of H. Jay Hayes became complicated. Apparently whenever an existing plant could no longer keep up with demand, rather than add an additional factory to the existing concern, he would just start another company, all of which were conveniently located adjacent to the automobile manufacturers they supplied. This would happen time and time again over the next 15 years, and Hayes name would appear both on the board of directors and in the title of at least 12 separate companies. As to why he did this, or how he kept track of all of his holdings, that remains a mystery.

In 1904 Hayes started another firm called the Hayes Manufacturing Co. Hayes Mfg. Co. was a pioneer in stamped sheet-metal fenders, and would eventually go on to produce hoods, cowls, tool boxes and complete bodies in two separate metro-Detroit factories. Hayes is sometimes credited with the introduction of the crowned fender to the United States, which first appeared on some Hayes-built Ford Model T fenders in the mid-teens, however the design originated in Europe much earlier, most likely in Brussels, Belgium just after the turn of the century.

Unbeknownst to many, the Ford Motor Company relied upon outside suppliers for most of its coachwork during its first quarter century. It’s hard to determine who made Ford’s first automobile bodies but soon after the Model T was introduced the names of various Michigan-based sheet-metal, millwork and body-building firms begin to appear on Ford’s supplier list.

Initially most of the Model T’s bodies were supplied by Ford's existing auto body suppliers C.R. Wilson (1903) and Everitt Brothers (1908). O.J. Beaudette (1910), Kelsey-Herbert Co. (1910), American Body Co. (1911), Hayes Mfg. Co.(1911) Milburn Wagon Co. (1911), Fisher Body Co.(1912), and the Kahler Co. (1915). Wm. Gray & Sons supplied Henry Ford’s Windsor assembly plant with automobile bodies from 1906-1912. Regardless of their origin, all of the Model T’s bodies were interchangeable; however the individual parts in a body would not necessarily fit a similar-looking body if it was made by a different manufacturer.

Apparently things were going well for Mr. Hayes as another Hayes-controlled firm, the Hayes-Ionia Co., was formed in 1909 in Hayes’ hometown of Ionia, Michigan to produce automobile bodies and sheet-metal parts and sub-assemblies.

In 1915 Hayes presented a talk to the annual conference of the Society of Automobile Engineers detailing his experiments with the unitized body. Following a hum-drum history of the automobile body up until that time, Hayes asked his audience: "What do you think about the moot theory of combining the body and frame into one unit?"

After a short silence, Hayes presented a 15-minute dissertation on the virtues of unitized body construction explaining that by making a car smaller and lighter, it was possible to overcome the two main disadvantages of combined body and frame construction: excessive cost and body vibration.

Hayes then stunned the attendees by announcing that the following week, he would commence the manufacture of a new Vehicle called the Ruler Frameless which would feature a unitized body and chassis.

The low-slung Ruler actually appeared at the end of 1916, and was built by the Ruler Motor Car Co. of Aurora, Illinois. The 1917 model year touring and roadster were priced at a very affordable $595 and included a semi-monocoque construction.

The Ruler used a tubular triangular platform which housed the clutch, transmission and differential. This was connected to the body via a single ball-and-socket joint located at the center of the front cross-member and two points located above the rear springs. By disconnecting the ball at the front and the springs at the rear, either the body or the chassis could be removed in a matter of minutes.

Plans called for 3,000 examples, but unfortunately, the Ruler Motor Car Co, of Aurora, Illinois was out of business by the end of 1917 after producing only a handful of the unique automobiles.

However, Hayes other activities were going well as the Hayes-Ionia Co., formed in 1909, received a large contract from Chevrolet in 1917 and built a second plant 40 miles to the west, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

During the mid-twenties, the two Hayes-Ionia plants employed 3,000 producing over 120,000 bodies per year with a value of $30 million. The Ionia, Michigan plant covered eleven acres, with three hundred and fifty thousand square feet of floor space, while the Grand Rapids factory included over five hundred thousand square feet of manufacturing capacity. By the mid-twenties, their customers included Chevrolet, GEM, Maxwell, Oldsmobile, Paige, Reo, and Willys-Overland. A 350,000 sq. ft. Indianapolis, Indiana Hayes-Ionia plant was also established in the mid-twenties to supply Marmon with closed bodies. ... " (excerpted from (visit link) )

Pioneer Town Museum is open seasonally (during the summer), so do check their website for the correct hours (visit link) . There is an admission charge, but well worth the price ($5 in 2015).
Car make/model: Hayes

Interaction with car: no

Admission price: $5

Is the car an original?: yes

Viewing time: Not listed

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