Some times I come across a series of articles that seem to tell a story. These articles appeared in the Lawrence KS and area newspapers, and tell the story of a new Ford dealer. Through news articles and advertising, he will dispose of Models K, N, R, S and T.
I first found J. W. Chadwick moving his machine shop in Lawrence KS to a new location, May 1906:
Next, a January 1907 article announcing J. W. Chadwick has a contract to sell Ford automobiles. I found this interesting because Ford Motor Company sales policy for 1907 specified agents must take one Model K for every ten Model N cars. This article seems to verify that, as Mr. Chadwick takes ten runabouts and one touring (Model K) car with his first Ford order. We'll see how this works out.......
Meanwhile, J. W. Chadwick runs a classified to sell a used Oldsmobile touring car in February, 1907. I don't know if he took this car in trade, is selling a personal vehicle, or something else:
In late April, J. W. takes a customer to Kansas City to pick up a new touring car. It appears he has sold his "mandatory" Model K:
The next sale reported in a local newspaper is for another Model K. This article tells us the car is gray:
Later the same month, Mrs. Chadwick is reported to purchase a Ford runabout:
A few weeks later, in July, the story of another first time buyer gets a Ford runabout:
And another runabout sale. This time to a repeat buyer, a Doctor, who had a Ford, sold it to go back to his horse and buggy, and then returned to buy Ford again, a Model R:
This article tell us a bit about the the trip from Kansas City with Dr. Anderson's Model R, and that the car has some improvements (?) from the last Model R Mr. Chadwick sold:
A few days later, J. W. is credited with another Model K sale. This time, a red touring car, to an experienced car buyer:
It appears our new Ford agent is off to a great start. Lawrence, home of Kansas University, at this point is a town of about 11,000 people, just west of Kansas City. Later (or tomorrow), local car numbers, as Mr. Chadwick continues to sell Ford's in the Lawrence area.
I hope anyone reading this enjoys a slice of early Ford sales history,
August 6th, 1907, the sale of another Model R:
A new sign for Mr. Chadwick's agency:
The first Model S sold by the agency. We also learn this is the 18th Ford sold. We already know at least three Model K are included in the eighteen cars mentioned. Now we are able to look at the commissions earned.
With 18 Fords sold so far in 1907, let's use an average price (Model N cost $600, Model R $700 and the new Model S about $650), of $650. Commission on 15 Models NRS (10%) should equal about $975. The commission on three Model K (20%) would equal about $1700 ($2800 x 3 x 20%).
Although we don't know the overhead, it appears the agency has received about $2700, or in today's dollars, about $68,000.
A Cigar concern buys a Ford runabout:
So at least three Ford sixes were sold? I wonder how many more four cylinder cars he had sold and needed to order?
I, for one, enjoy this stuff. Thank you Rob.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Fascinating reading, and definitely worth recording and saving.
Thanks guys. Wayne, the count so far (according to the Aug 30 article), with at least three Model K included at this point, is 15 NRS and 3 Model K sold by the Agency. With three Model K sales the agency has taken in more gross revenue from K sales than NRS sales.
One more Model K does appear in Lawrence in 1907, a roadster:
However the owner is only visiting another Model K owner. The K roadster owner, Charles (C. C.) Meade, is the Ford Kansas City Branch manager. The following article about him appeared in the "Ford Times", vol. 1, #4, June 1908 (courtesy THF, all rights apply):
Thanks for putting the articles in one location. It gives us a much more complete story. Note the Aug 1, 1907 article that discussed how Dr. Anderson’s Model R had improvements over the previous Model R Runabout that had been delivered about 3 weeks earlier. Looking at Trent’s “A Finder’s Guide to the Model N, R, & S Engineering Documents Collection” which catalogs the Factory Drawings located at the Benson Ford Archives for the 1906-1908 N, R, S, and SR cars, it shows that the Factory Drawing for the rear axle radius rods and the rear axle spring perch (the part the radius rod fit into and that holds the rear spring) was updated on Jun 6, 1907 and Jun 7, 1907 respectively. That might (or might not) be one of the parts that he was discussing.
A couple of very minor corrections, the Model R Runabout was priced at $750 [see the last page of: http://www.mtfca.com/books/1907.htm ] and the Model S Runabout was priced at $700 [see last page of: http://www.mtfca.com/books/1908.htm ] You are correct the Model N which was initially introduced at $500 with the 2-1/2 inch, double tube clincher tires [ ref: http://www.mtfca.com/books/1906.htm last page before the Model F [$550 if you wanted the 28 x 3 clincher tires (ref provided is requested – I don’t have time to locate it this morning) ] was priced at $600 in 1907 – 08 [see the last page of the first two references]. But your illustration still remains valid that the 3 Model K sales provided substantially more income to the dealer than the sales of the 15 four cylinder runabouts.
I also looked at Trent’s Early Ford Database to see if the Agent “Lawrence Street Motor Car” was listed. Unfortunately that Agent must be in the approximately 75-78 % of the missing ledgers rather than the 22 – 25% of the found ledgers. But the ledges still show that the Aug delivery of the Model S Runabout would have been during the first month they were shipped. Aug 12, 1907 was the earliest date listed for a Model S to be shipped.
Again, thank you for putting the articles together to provide a much more complete story.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Thank you for adding to the conversation. I find it remarkable when local stories such as the Model R changes correlate with known Ford archival information.
This leads into the next article. In December 1907 the Lawrence newspaper printed the following list of registered auto owners in Lawrence KS:
In addition to the three Model K Mr. Chadwick sold, one of the cars registered to George Chambers is a 1906 Model K. This means at least 17 registered are Model NRS (sales of NRS climbed to 17 by this time, and Mr. Chambers other car is a Model N.
Bottom line, ten percent of the registered cars in Lawrence KS by the end of 1907 are Model K, and over fifty percent of the cars in Lawrence are Fords.
George Chambers 1906 Model K purchase:
It''s amazing how much detailed info about peoples lives and purchases was printed in the local newspaper back then
It's great for us history buffs 100 years later, though.
Nowadays maybe some of it would be known through Facebook, but not in the local paper (if there still is any..)
Yes, today, how many of us would report to the newspaper about things such as car purchases? Your reference to Facebook (social media) makes a good point. In 1907, the only social networking (and any other communication other than verbal) was through newspaper and magazine. No Internet, TV or even radio.
For anyone who wonders why I didn't begin this thread as OT (Off Topic), we will get to the Model T era with this dealership.....
An article I missed earlier (I'm trying to post these chronologically). Another Model R was sold in 1907, and two additional Model R owners are identified:
I notice there have been various trips to Kansas City where the travelers return in a new car.
This might lead one to believe that "Everything's up to date in Kansas City"!
I love that buying a new car made headlines "back in the day"! Just goes to show how exciting the times were back then, at least in regards to transportation. Or, maybe just the lack of anything to print? Nice posts, Rob.
Opening up the new year, W. J. sells another Model K:
Evidently the agency didn't keep inventory, and picked up cars at the nearby Kansas City branch office.
In April 1908 the first red Model S Roadster is sold by the Lawrence Street Motor Co:
Why did Ford not offer a touring in model's NRS? Bud.
If I had an address in Lawrence I would go take a picture of the building. I tried to search the car companys name and came up blank.
Thanks for your work Rob. Very nice
Since Ford shipped cars by rail I wonder if Lawrence, Kansas even had a railroad and that's why Chadwick had to go to Kansas City to get the cars. The one newspaper article say there were 4 six cylinder cars but you only refer to 3. Is it because it could be another brand and not Ford?
Several people made comments about how the newspapers wrote about minor items like car sales but I can tell you my younger brother lived in a very small town about 30 years ago and the local paper would print articles on the social page about who was having a tea party and on the farm page about a farmers pig giving birth and who in town just had a baby.
Dennis, Lawrence did/does have a RR station. A quite old station. Surely would have been there in the early 1900's. Perhaps I need to find out if there is a station preservation group for the station and see if they have info. I guess I could go talk to the city clerks office for past business info.
Bud, I've wondered the same thing for some time (why no N touring). As early as 1906 HF says his goal is to build a light inexpensive touring car.
I also think Ford kept the K touring through 1908 to avoid being a runabout only company, but those are just my opinions.
Denny, the first "K" was bought by G. Chambers in June 1906 before Chadwick was in business.
I suspect the cars were owned by the KC branch and Chadwick did not have the funds to buy and hold inventory (my guess).
More to follow.....
From my iPhone
Ford did sell touring cars on The NRS chassis - in England. One of them is preserved there. There were a few (experimental?) tourings seen in the Detroit area too, but the last one was seen on a scrap yard in 1936, I think. A recreation has later been made. Can't link with the cell phone, but there has been earlier discussions on the forum about those cars. Maybe the NRS chassis was considered too weak by Ford for five adults on the american roads of 1906-08?
Cecil Church researched and built a "Model S touring" that was featured in the Ford Times in 1976. That car is in a private collection now. Ford also shows two preT cars sold on the 1908 audit.
On another thread I'll throw two articles up with pre Oct 1 1908 20 hp cars.
Could Chadwick have operated a branch store for the Kansas City dealer acting as their agent? If Chadwaick was selling all those cars then why wouldn't the Kansas City dealer open a branch in Lawerence and take all of Chadwicks sales? Or did Ford only ship to large dealers and make the smaller ones pick up the cars from the larger dealers?
Ford paid the branches a higher commission, so a branch may have operated on the difference, although I don't know if they did. I think Ford had a pretty sophisticated branch and dealer network, so the branches appear to have provided dealer support.
Maybe Trent or Hap will weigh in....
Below is the from the 1907 Model K Ford sales Brochure:
Note it has 318 - 320 E 11th St., Kansas City listed as a Retail Branch Store at the bottom of the page.
I suspect, but I do not have the documentation yet, to back up my guess, that just as the local dealers obtained their Model Ts in 1918 from the closest Ford Branch they also obtained their Fords in 1907 from the closest branch. But in 1918 they often assembled cars at the branch but in 1907 -- they probably only stored completely assembled cars and parts.
And just as in 1918 when it was less expensive to ship the car from the branch by rail they did. Or if it was less expensive to pickup the car and drive it they did. And if shipping by water was less expensive that would have been used.
There is still so much more to discover. Anyone here from Kansas that could check out some things at the local library?
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Thank you Hap. A photo of the KC branch is shown above. I believe the branch was moved sometime around 1908 (memory?).
Also in the articles above, the KC manager (CC Meade) visits one of agent Chadwick's Model K customers in July 1907. Agent Chadwick is then credited with selling this same customer a Model S in early 1908, suggesting a high level of cooperation between the agent and branch manager.
Back to the story. We saw above that W.E. Spalding bought a Model S Roadster through Mr. Chadwick. This article appeared the following day telling more about the car. We also learn that Mr. Spalding had traded his Model K before buying the Model S:
A little digqging reveals the K was traded in November for a quarter (160 acres) of western Kansas land:
How would that swap compare today?
In january this year the average price per acre in Kansas was $4,500 according to this site: http://cjonline.com/news/business/2014-01-22/average-price-kansas-farmland-drops -year-over-year
That would give $720,000 for 160 acres while current Model K auction results are in the $200,000 region so I suppose Mr Spalding made a good trade for the future of his family while Mr Bale made a good trade for himself - he got some great fun transportation right there and then.
Ralph and Roger,
Kansas, like Most great plain states, has a wide range of agriculture purpose ground. From eastern Kansas, where some farmland and rainfall is as good as prime Iowa farmland, to western Kansas, where rocky land combined with minimal rainfall make it hard to grow enough grass to cover the ground.
Looking at 1907 classifieds, I found ground listed from $50 down to $10 per acre. Using the central Kansas listing below at $15 per acre would total $2400 (for 160 acres). My guess is closer to $10 per acre of value, and the car and ground probably traded at market value, but again, just a guess.
This ad is for ground in north central Kansas:
By expanding the search, it looks as though the fist shipment of Ford cars by Lawrence Street Motor Company did go directly to the Lawrence KS dealership. Apparently additional sales required the trips to the Ford Kansas City Branch for more cars:
Back on January 30, 1907 (second article on this thread) J. W. Chadwick announced he would receive eleven Fords. This article says twelve Fords arrived on March 2nd. It appears the cars were soon up and running. I suspect this was quite an event in this town of about 11,000 people.
As of 1908, we see the dealership selling the new Model S Runabout. On July 8th, the Lawrence Street Motor Company, and manager J. W. Chadwick ran this Ford ad. One thing I've noticed, no more Model K touring cars are advertised (this happens with all Ford Motor Company advertising that I've found).
The following day, Mr. Chadwick reports he has purchased a Model S Roadster and will hold it in stock:
In September, 1908, this advance ad for the new Model T runs:
In December 29th 1908, the dealership runs this ad, announcing order and upcoming receipt of twenty new Model T cars:
It looks as though what has been a hugely successful dealership is ready to transition to the new Model T.
J. W. Chadwick and the Lawrence St. Motor Car Co. begin the new year with Model T sales. As the article says at the end, "the Fords....are the most popular automobiles in town:"
A T runabout is reported sold in late March, 1909:
On the same day, an ad for the dealership:
I don't find any newspaper articles or advertising for the Agency for several months. The only thing I'm able to find is this clip:
It appears the agency manager, J. W. Chadwick, is now residing in Kansas City.
Then, a surprising development, the dealership is not only under new management, but now seems to be carrying Studebaker/EMF:
I wonder what happened?
Why would an agency quit selling Ford for another make? The city of Lawrence had many Fords, and I would think parts and service work alone would have been substantial for the Ford dealer.
And J. W. Chadwick seems to be out of the car business for good:
(Message edited by Rob on October 09, 2014)
Doing a google search I come up with only a warren ct in a new housing area. I will drive up to Lawrence to talk to the city clerk and or city engineering department. See if I can get a fix on a location. Thanks for the address. Lawrence back then could not have been very big. Go Jayhawks
I wondered if you were a Jayhawk fan? I noticed the dealership was in business selling Studebaker through 1916. I don't know if they moved store locations during that time. Also, by 1915 there is an advertisement by Chas. Baker selling Ford, but the ad I saw didn't list a location.
I'll post an early Ford story involving a Model K and Mount Oread later,
Ok, so far here is what I found with the help of Lawrence Mapping department, In 1913 Lawrence passed an ordnance changing many named streets to numbered streets. Warren street was changed to 9th. A possible location of the business is between New Hampshire and Massachusetts along W. 9th. downtown Lawrence. The mapper directed me to a museum in Lawrence which have archive maps. I will take a drive and check it out.
Along the address's of 9th and Mass and 9th and New Hamp there are parking lots, new buildings and such so the old building may no longer exist
As a quick side note, my great-grandmother was born in 1866 and died in 1962. I never remember her referring to our car as anything but "the machine."