Charles Abresch Company
Automotive manufacturer of Milwaukee , Wisconsin , USA from 1890 to 1912.
The Charles Abresch Company was a carriage and wagon factory and an automotive, commercial vehicle and later as body manufacturers in Milwaukee ( Wisconsin , USA ). Brand names were Abresch and, for truck, Abresch-Cramer.
As early as 1871, Charles Abresch set up his own business and founded the Second Ward Carriage & Wagon Works, C. Abresh, proprietor . In 1884, the company was converted into a corporation. It grew into a market leader for brewery vehicles in the following years, was nationally active and exported to Mexico , the Philippines and Australia . In 1887 Charles's father Louis Abresch died. In 1889, Charles attempted to organize a company to control the US motor vehicle market. This failed, and ten years later the Electric Vehicle Company was in Hartford (Connecticut) , equipped with the Selden patent , in this position. In 1894, the Charles Abresch Company was capitalized at US $ 220,000 and employed over 800 employees.
In 1899, Abresch experimented with a drive set invented by WF Davis , which could later be attached to any horse-drawn vehicle and made this an "automobile". Such avant-trains found in the early days of motorization, a limited distribution. Twice, in 1898 and 1902, that factory burned down completely and was rebuilt by Charles Abresch. Labor struggles with strikes or lockouts are documented for 1900, 1910, 1911 and 1916. Abresch visited twice, in 1897 and 1906, his relatives in the old homeland. He organized his own truck production in 1910, which was abandoned shortly after his death.
Most recently, Charles Abresch served as the company president and chief financial officer in his company. early 1912, he fell ill. His condition worsened and he was treated at Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, and then at the Sacred Heart Sanitarium in Milwaukee. He was released home two weeks before his death on April 27, 1912.
The company was founded in 1871 by Charles Abresch as Second Ward Companyand as a craft business (wagon manufacturing) in the next few years so led. In 1884 it was reorganized as a Charles Abresch Company as a public company. Charles Abresch continued to lead, Andrew Hofherr , a cigar manufacturer, became Vice President, Harry P. Ellis became CFO and Secretary ; Plant Manager Abreschs cousin was Louis Fast Jr. won. The address for the work is 392 to 398 Fourth Street and 407 to 415 Poplar Street; it was later changed to 1242, 1246 and 1254 North Fourth Street.
The company held several patents, including a closed van with sliding doors for transporting harasses . He became a pillar of the company, which drove its vehicles throughout the United States and exported to Mexico . 1892 Abresch invested US $ 35,000 in the expansion of the plant.
Charles Abresch went public in the fall of 1889 with a plan to found a US $ 5 million-funded company to control automobile manufacturing in the US. This project failed because the financing did not materialize. In 1895, the notorious Selden patent became effective, giving the owners a monopoly on internal combustion road vehicles. After that Abresch seems to have put his plans back.
A change of name to Charles Abresch Company, Incorporated took place in 1893, but it is unclear whether the entry in the commercial register was made at that time or earlier and was now replenished. It was capitalized in 1894 with US $ 220,000 and employed over 800 employees. In this legal form the company had in the decades inventory.In 1891 Abresch wagons were delivered to Australia .
On April 13, 1898, the work, built only six years before, was hit by a devastating fire, which thankfully did not demand human lives. The fire broke out at 10 o'clock in the evening in the engine room of the building and was not extinguished at midnight. The extinguishing work was complicated by strong winds of up to 50 km / h. The largest part of the six-story brick building became a robbery of flames; in the neighborhood 20 families had to be evacuated. About incident was reported in the national press. The damage to the Abresch Company was initially estimated at $ 140,000, of which $ 50,000 was for building damage, $ 30,000 for the destroyed machines and $ 60,000 for the burned warehouse. A few days later, Charles Abresch was quoted as saying a bit lower numbers. He estimated the damage at about US $ 100,000.-, which was 80% insured. 100 employees temporarily lost their jobs until a new building was put into operation. This was immediately erected at the same place.
In the late 1890s, there were several approaches by Abresch to gain a foothold in motor vehicle construction. Over time, they overlapped, and in all of them an engineer named WF Davis seems to have played a role. This was an acknowledged expert on internal combustion engines and a co-founder of Davis Gasoline Engine Company in Waterloo ( Iowa ), which produced mainly stationary and marine engines. The company was registered in 1895 for the Chicago Times-Herald Contest , but could not participate in this officially first car race in the US, because the vehicle was not ready on time.
After Davis left the company, followed by a position with the newly established farm equipment manufacturers Jaimey Manufacturing Company in Ottumwa ( Wapello County , Iowa), 180 km south of Waterloo. He tried to go with a constructed by him automotive series, which apparently failed.
Something more is known about a highwheeler , which Davis also designed for the Charles Abresch Company . This vehicle was significantly larger than the runabout and designed as a brake for 7 people. He had a Davis twin-cylinder engine with water cooling and 10 HP power according to unknown measurement method. Power was transmitted by belts to the differentialmounted on the countershaft . Gears at both ends of this shaft were connected by drive chains with sprockets , which were in turn firmly mounted on each rear wheel. These turned around onefixed axis . The vehicle weighing 2,300 lb. av. (about 1040 kg) and should have reached 12 MPH (about 20 km / h). It seems that only one specimen was built as a prototype . A source suggests that this highwheeler could have originated around 1895.
In April 1900, the reported Automobile Revue ,that the Charles Abresch Company plans to start producing heavy trucks and beer trucks and later also produce passenger cars. There was probably such a production afterwards, but it was minimal. By contrast, the construction of horse-drawn commercial vehicles continued to be very successful. Abresch supplied the US Army with equine ambulances, apparently in war Spanish-American in 1898 was stationed in Cuba. Abreschexported his car as far as Manila ( Philippines )Milwaukee Journal noted on January 10, 1900. The contract for this government order on eight wagons of various design Abresch received against strong national competition; the rash was the quality of the ambulances.
In November 1899, Davis and Abresch again made headlines. The Milwaukee Journal enthusiastically reported on the 7th that Davis was preparing to set up a business in Milwaukee. Generously endowed with capital of US $ 1 million, motor vehicles should be made according to Davis designs. The luridly crafted article promised that it would make Milwaukee the center of automotive engineering in the US and was praised for the inventor, who had "eliminated all the obstacles that had hitherto stood in the way of general use of the horse-drawn carriage". The start of production at one of the "largest wagon companies in the city" was imminent; The vehicle will be presented to the public in December.
Davis "invention" was a drive set that could subsequently be attached to any horse-drawn vehicle, making it an "automobile". By definition, it's about an avant-train, and by no means a new invention. In the press at the time it was called the Automobile Motor . The said article in the Milwaukee Journalput in perspective wonders. She called a top speed of - hard to imagine - 50 MPH (80 km / h) and expected that the drive unit could produce so low that it would have become "affordable for everyone". In addition, the sheet made a very simple calculation: A car weighed therefore usually 1800 to 2400 lb. av. (about 820 to 1090 kg), Davis invention, however, only 75 (34 kg). However, the weight of the coach to be motorized was not taken into account. Typically, such a conversion of a coach from the exchange of the turntable and drawbaragainst another, which included axle, front wheels, the engine, the power transmission and the steering. Such a vehicle inevitably became heavier, not lighter, as a result of the conversion.
Just a day later, the Waterloo Daily Courier, a Davis hometown newspaper, opened the theme. The visibly euphoric sheet wrote on November 8 that Davis had founded a million-dollar corporation in Milwaukee for the manufacture and marketing of a motor vehicle. This invention is the best of its kind ever publicly presented. Davis had accepted the invitation of an "entrepreneurial" man to Milwaukee. What was meant was Charles Abresch.
These reports are almost an example of one of the reasons why the young automotive industry in the US was greeted with skepticism. The events that were announced did not materialize and most of the information was inaccurate. As we have seen, avant-trains were neither new nor promising. They were by no means cheap and a conversion was only worthwhile for high-priced vehicles. Their biggest disadvantage, however, was the inadequate steering. A stronger influence on the development of passenger cars is undetectable, and they disappeared as soon as the number of carriages and wagons eligible for conversion fell.
For WF Davis, the collaboration with Abresch ended shortly thereafter. The Abresch Cramer truck built by Abresch in 1910-1912 was built without his support. For the engine manufacturer Davis Manufacturing Company in Milwaukee there is no known connection. This company was led by Frank Davis and produced the Cyclecar Vixen from 1914 to 1916 . Although several American manufacturers have produced Davis-branded cars, I do not associate them with WF Davis and none was based in Milwaukee.
Already in October 1903, a new building was in operation, which was presented in the industry magazine National Bottlers Gazette . Accordingly, it was a four-storey brick building with stone foundation on a floor plan of 100 × 150 feet (about 30 × 46 meters). It was electrically lit and heated with hot air blower. The delivery warehouse for the finished cars on the ground floor had a cement floor. On the first floor were the building services, the wheel with electric welding and hydraulic presses, cutting and punching machines and 15 forging ovens, which were apparently already back in full operation.
On the second floor car and body construction were established. Their production apparently took place side by side; the division of space into a machine room on the south side and 24 workplaces on the north side at least suggest this. The third floor was reserved for the paint shop and painting. According to the report, the company placed special emphasis on high-quality paints and varnishes and careful execution by trained professionals.
Automobile and commercial vehicle superstructures were introduced at the Charles Abresch Company at the turn of the century. The range evolved from occasional custom-made serial production for smaller vehicle manufacturers. The mass production is documented from 1903. In her already mentioned description of the new factory building, the National Bottlers Gazette mentions that Abresch received daily orders for automobile bodies; some orders included up to 500 units. 1903 11,235 automobiles were manufactured in the US. Small series for passenger car manufacturers are detectable for Fawick / Silent Sioux , Ford , Great Western, Kissel and Mitchell .
For Silent Sioux and its successor, Fawick Flyer , Abresch manufactured Touring bodies according to a method developed by Thomas L. Fawick , in which aluminum sheet was mounted on a wooden structure. Abresch was one of the first companies to use this later standard design. The process was complex and required a lot of expertise.Special bodies were manufactured until the 1930s on request.
In 1908 Abresch took over the representation of Kissel vehicles in Milwaukee. Interestingly business for may have been that this time respected manufacturer of medium and luxury class cars also produced commercial vehicles. With the sale of chassis and superstructures from a single source, the Charles Abresch Company was able to use their business contacts even more profitably.
In November 1914, the Automobile Trade Journal reported that the Greek government had ordered 50 Kissel chassis with Abresch out- patient bodies.
Bodywork for commercial vehicles
The expansion of the body department took place at the turn of the century approximately at the same time as the inclusion of car bodies. This business grew fast as customers switched from wagons to motor vehicles. This is also the reason for the inclusion of their own, described below, commercial vehicle production. These were geared to the needs of existing customers. The fact that increasingly standardized structures for breweries and bottlers were to be found underneath therefore is not surprising; also most of our own trucks were carved. wagons remained for a time in the offer, but are likely to have played no role in 1920
Abresch commercial vehicle bodies can be found next to the Abresch resp. Abresch-Cramer also on Atterbury , Diamond T , FWD , Kissel, Sterling and White chassis . Abresch was also a concessionaire for Hercules superstructures for light commercial vehicles. These bodies were delivered as CKD kits and assembled at Abresch . This supplemented our own heavy truck program. Such superstructures were popular and were offered by various regional manufacturers and often in collaboration with Ford branches.
Commercial vehicle manufacturing
1909 began own commercial vehicle production. The construction provided Robert Kremers , who called himself Cramer . He was an engineer from Milwaukee, who had studied in Europe and previously worked for Allis-Chalmers . At that time, Charles Abresch was the company's president and chief financial officer, cousin Louis Schneller vice president and general manager, and Edmund Paul secretary. Production began in 1909 and was soon outsourced to a new subsidiary. These vehicles were identical to the corresponding models of Abresch Cramer. There were three technically very similar series with payloads of 1 to 4 sh. tn. (900 to 3600 kg). A five-tonner is mentioned, but does not seem to have been built.
These commercial vehicles were bulky, water-cooled four-cylinder - four-stroke engines with T-head - valve control .
The power transmission took place by means of three-speed gearbox and shaft drive up to the countershaft in front of the rear axle. From the countershaft, the rear wheels were driven by chains .
The Abresch-Cramer Auto Truck Company was organized in early 1910 as a corporation . The company was a subsidiary of Charles Abresch Company and was founded to manufacture the Abresch-Cramer truck. It was funded with US $ 20,000.-. The board included Charles Abresch, Robert Crawley and Louis Schneller . "Robert Crawley" seems to be a misrepresentation of "Robert Cramer", who was also assigned as managing director. The company moved shortly afterwards its seat in the Stehling building at the Third and PoplarStreet in Milwaukee. It was just a few blocks away from the motherhouse.
The vehicles corresponded to the types produced so far in the parent company. The annual production was designed for 100 vehicles and should soon be doubled. Cramer had the ambition to become one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in the United States, but these plans could not be realized. Shortly after the death of Charles Abresch in 1912, his successor Louis Schneller completely abandoned commercial vehicle production and concentrated on bodywork.
The Prohibition in the United States was introduced 1919th For Abresch with its customer base largely consisting of breweries, so part of the lost business with commercial vehicles was compensated by occasional special bodies for passenger cars. A 1924 patent for a foldable device that made a roadster or coupe a pickup truck does not seem to have asserted itself. The device could be folded when not in use in the trunk.
As early as 1929, Abresch advertised repairs and repairs to automobiles, but especially new finishes with the new "weatherproof" DuPont Ducolacken.
In Wisconsin Prohibition was relaxed in 1926. From this state also went out the legislative initiative, with which it was abolished nationwide in December 1934.Abresch survived the difficult years of the Great Depression by downsizing. Mainly now vehicles were repaired.
After the Second World War , the company was named Auto Body Ltd. reorganized. In this form it remained until 1965. After losing the sidecar contract with Harley-Davidson, it changed hands several times , operating since 1980 as Bennett Coachworks . The company specializes in the construction of hot rods and the restoration of classic automobiles.