Many new forum members won't recall, or weren't visiting back when I frequently posted early Ford stories and information based on period newspaper and magazine articles. This is one of those.
A few years ago, I came across this article in "The Automobile" magazine's letters to the editor, appearing in the January 31, 1907 issue. A gentleman, F. F. Miler, of Akron Ohio, inquired about six cylinder vs. four cylinder engines, and because the Ford Six (Model K) was the six he was familiar with, if the two speed planetary transmission was adequate for a six cylinder car:
At the time, I didn't pursue the story. However, I decided to try to track down Mr. Miller (there are a lot of F. F. Miller's, then as well as now....). I was curious, did he buy a six cylinder or four cylinder car? Had he owned a car before? Could it be that he did indeed by a Ford Six?
This is what I found...........
As it turns out, Mr. Frank F. Miller was a young mechanical engineer and lifelong resident of Akron. His story picks up with his marriage in 1902:
His father, J. W. Miller, was superintendent of the family owned business, "Star Drilling Machine Company" of Akron. In 1902 23 year old Frank marries a prominent Akron family girl.
It also turns out that Frank and his father are involved in another business, one of the first automobile dealerships in Akron:
As it turns out, the Miller's even have the distinction of having the first civil process against a motor vehicle when the Sheriff attaches a vehicle shipped to them over a dispute with the supplier:
In August, 1903, Andy Auble moves his Oldsmobile dealership from a nearby town to Akron. Andy has sold Olds since 1901:
By October 1903, the Miller's and Auble join forces, creating the Akron Automobile Garage:
As of February 1904, partners Frank and Andy are selling numerous makes of cars, including National, Olds, Pierce, Franklin and Waverly:
By this point, my guess is, Frank F. Miller knows cars.
more to follow.....
I wonder what a "People's Phone" was.
Rob, We wait with great expectations for "The rest of the story"!!!
Noteworthy to me is how wordy they were in their writing styles back then.
Thanks Keith.... Gil, this is what I suspected, but had to check. It looks as if "Peoples Telephone" was one of what must have been many local phone providers. I think many of us forget electric and gas utilities and telephone service existed in many towns and cities prior to the turn of the last century. In this case, Peoples Phone has over 100 customers in Akron by 1900:
And who would have thought? Telephones and cameras mentioned in the same story (no, not camera-phones... ):
Now, back to the story......
Don, you mean the articles, or me....?
One thing I constantly have to remind myself of, newspapers and to a lesser extent magazines were the only form of mass media. Over half the U.S. population still lived in rural locations, and there was no radio, TV, or other access to information and entertainment other than print. As a result, I think news stories relied more on flair, writing and story telling ability instead of just the details.... Just my guess...
Continuing, as of July 1903, Akron is home of 46 automobiles, mostly gas, according to this article:
April and May 1904 advertising reveals several makes of new and used vehicles are available from the dealership now including Pope, Waverly, National, Olds, Franklin and Pierce:
In July of 1904, Frank Miller "retires" from the dealership and Andy Auble takes over:
Next, Auble makes a name for himself nationally in the automobile industry......
Keep this coming.A bright spotcin a dreary day here.
In October 1904, Akron has more than doubled auto registrations since July of 1903, with 98 cars, and Andy Auble wants number 100:
Meanwhile, Frank Miller's household registrants increase by one:
In late 1906, the national media follow the winter trip of a famous Oldsmobile dubbed "Mudlark." Andy Auble is one of the crew that fought snow, sleet and mud as the car travelled from New York City to Daytona:
This is about the same time Frank Miller is researching Six vs. four cylinder cars. Auble has added Winton to the cars he sells, although he'S now nationally affiliated with Oldsmobile:
Andy Auble's reputation grows and he is a candidate to drive an Olds on the 1907 Glidden Tour:
While he isn't selected for the 07 tour, Auble does drive to a perfect score in 1908:
Auble's team of two Peerless and his Olds complete the 08 Glidden with perfect scores. However the trophy is awarded to the Pierce team because the are all the same make.
During the summer of 1907, Andy adds another marquee, the new Craig Toledo:
The news clip says Auble has one of the Craig's in Akron. One article said only 8 Craig's were completed before the company went out of business:
Which brings us to the original question, what did Frank Miller buy for his young family? Did the wealthy engineer and former dealership owner buy a four or six cylinder car? Maybe a new Winton or Olds from his former partner?
Now it's "Both Phones". maybe now they have connections to two competing phone companies?
Pretty soon you will have to move to Detroit and get a job at the Benson Archives. You are getting quite good at finding old articles about automobiles.
Frank did choose the Ford Six (K). We know because of a 2,000 trip his family took to the east in July and August 1907.
What we typically would never know is, how did the car work out for the Millers? Did it compare with more expensive marquees? Often the wealthy traded cars every season or two, in part because technology and style changed so often.
In most cases we never know if there aren't articles about trips and events such as the one above.
Fortunately, with a little more research, we are able to learn a bit more about the tenure of the Miller's Ford Model K.....
Time to finish this off. I usually try to learn how long an owner kept their Ford "K" and of other cars they owned. In the case of Frank F. Miller, we learn both.
After not finding anything further with a name search, I decided to search for the sale of Model K's over the next several years, hoping to find a needle in a haystack (sale of Miller "K"). On March 29, 1912 I found this Model K for sale:
This was the only Ford six cylinder found in Akron newspaper classifieds. I then began searching the People Phone 8252 in 1912, leading me to this classified:
We know two months before the Model K for sale classified, someone with the same phone number was looking for domestic help, and the address was 950 W. Market. We have the phone number and address of the Model K owner. And that owner?
The Miller family owned their Model K from 1907 through March 1912.
As of 1915, Frank Miller is selling another six cylinder car:
During 1916, the Miller's take an auto trip east, similar to the trip they took with their Model K in 1907:
And we learn the Miller's owned a Hudson sedan by 1917:
If anyone has stuck in to the end, I hope you enjoyed this look at an early Akron Ohio motorist.......
Very much so! :-)
Excellent! Thank You.
A wonderful look it was! I find the fact he had the model K for basically five years at a time when automotive technology was changing so fast to be quite telling. 1912 was of course when many upscale cars adopted the self starter, and could that have been the primary reason he upgraded at that time?
Again, Rob, Thank You!
Hi Rob, Well, they don't really come out and say it, but obviously F.F.Miller owned, kept, drove on long trips and virtually had to prefer the 6 to the 4 cylinder powered cars, and that goes for the 2 speed planetary transmissions also.
I appreciate all the work you do to dispel any doubt on these topics and to set them straight for history.
This thread will make another good chapter for your book which we are eagerly awaiting....
Have you been able to follow the K to see if it exists today??
David, many Model K survived into the early to mid teens, and then disappeared. Unfortunately, without an engine number it's tough to know. Often, I at least know what dealership a Ford was purchased from, and then if it happens to be one of the 25% or so dealerships that Trent Boggess found the ledger info to, we have an idea.
Ford Motor Company was still printing a parts list book for the Model K in 1913. After that, I think the K's that survived were few and far between.
Another way to look at Ford model legacies is to see how many of that Model survive to today. For the Model B, rarest of the Ford models, 7 of the original 500 survive, or about 1.5 percent. For Model K, that number is 23 of 1,000, or 2.3 percent. A rule of thumb for early cars is 1 percent. If that is true, Fords have survived at a better rate than most marquees.
In my opinion, that better than average rate is for several reasons. Ford Motor Company supported their cars from the start, and I have articles stating that all models were supported with parts into 1915.
The Model T wasn't an aberration. Henry Ford, and his company, built, and supported their cars from the beginning. HF wanted to bring the best product and value to the consumer, and in the meantime, created his own market. Today we might call that genius. I happen to believe it was genius then.
Ford according to Rob.....
So much research and detective work, Rob, but what a fascinating result Your work is much appreciated by myself, and I believe also by so many readers of this Forum. Thanks again, Dane.
Thank you Dane. It's always a pleasure to research and share early Ford stories. I'm working on a thread about 1907 twenty-four hour races next. There were ten nationally sanctioned twenty-four hour races, and Ford set a record that stood until almost the end of the season, and was the only production Ford world speed record I've found until the late 1950's.
Seems like a timely subject for Ford enthusiasts 110 years later..... By winning the only 24 hour race it entered, and setting a world record, our lowly Ford was in elite company, with cars like the Lozier below that won one of the 24 hour events of 1907: