A museum in Ft Benton, MT (the head of steamship navigation on the Missouri River prior to the advent of the Railroads) had this very poor photo and asked if anyone could ID it. Sorry it is going downhill - I rotated it several times prior to posting.
1904-05 Oldsmobile,the other model from the curved dash.
French Front single cylinder Oldsmobile. Not as common as the curved dash but more elegant looking,
Not an Oldsmobile.
The car shown has full-eliptic springs.
The early Oldsmobiles - curve dash and french front - had only two sets of springs - one long set on each side of the car.
Also, the trunk is too long and the angle is too gentle.
Not a Buggyabout,but earlier. This is going to be a toughie.
I visited more with the museum and they have a high quality photo that they will get to me. Thanks so much so far - this photo does not show much.
A 1904 or so Rambler?
Tough indeed! This car was built in that hectic early phase of the industry when every inventor, mechanic, blacksmith, engineer, investor and shyster was attempting to build a machine and get it out there. Over 100 U.S. makers were producing Automobiles in that era and probably more than half of them used this general runabout design (Ford, Cadillac, Autocar, Model, Rambler, Oldsmobile, St. Louis, Buick, etc, ect..)
A better picture would be nice, but ya works with what ya got...
This should help!
It's not sprung like a curve dash or french front (hood is also too long for french front and no exposed brass radiator).
Trying to figure out model and year but having a tough time.
Sure looks like an Oldsmobile insignia on the side of the body
May be a REO
KEN in Texas
Wrong springs for an Olds, Insignia be damned!
Beside, Stalin didnt drive an Oldsmobile......
I googled 1905 Olds and according to the internet, they made at least two models in 1905, the curved dash (with buggy springs) and anther model with the other springs. I also looked at old Oldsmobile insignias and there is one very close to the one on the side of this car. Others tell me that is a crank hole. I had to resize the above photo to post it, but looking at image before I resized it, it looks even more like the insignia. I will email anyone the uncut version if that helps. Thanks so much.
I had some time to look further and found "Outright Oldsmobile". If you look at that, and select the early year range, there is a green 1905 Model N that is shown from the opposite side. However, the insignia is very discernable, located on the opposite side in the same position as my photo. I think that we are close.
The early non-curve dash Oldsmobiles are typically referred to as "French Front" - they basically have the same suspension as the curve dash (one long main leaf on the right and left side with additional leaves at each corner and a traverse spring over the front axle) not the fully elliptical springs as shown in the photo.
(Message edited by Erik_johnson on May 30, 2018)
Every Model N Olds I've run across has the longitudinal springs.
Sent the latest picture to a CDO owner friend. He says NOT Olds.
He also said that emblem is way off for an Olds,and since the starting crank was likely chain reduction, that is the crank hole.
No,he's not positive what it is.
He further stated if he were 67 instead of 87,he'd recognize it immediately.
note the difference in suspensions, fenders, radiator and even drivers!
But that logo is definitely Oldsmobile!
Obviously put there to confuse folks a century or more into the future.......
Okay,I'm taking another shot. In the 1905 section of the big Crestline book on Oldsmobiles,it shows a car with full elliptical springs. But if you read the caption,it's Ransom Eli Olds after he left Olds in one of his new brand of autos called the REO which was his initials. So this subject car could be a REO with an Olds emblem on it,the same emblem Olds used on the radiator shells into the 20's. In either case it should have rear brake drums and not have take-a-part rims. Added later?
Chain Drive, Does that help? Scott
I blew the idea of this being a prototype/engineering testbed past my guy that is knowledgeable in many things Oldsmobile.
Subject to additional research, he feels that is as good an answer as any.
But,that begs the question of what is all the crazy background scenery about?
It could very likely be a prototype car. The Curved Dash Prototypes had the full eleptical springs. The production cars of 1901 had the full-length side springs. The early Olds engine crank handle was on the right side of the car. The flywheel showing on bottom looks correct for an Olds.
Jim - the background is the block house of the old Ft. Benton actual fort. The town was settled in 1846 as one of the earliest western towns and was the head of transportation on the Missouri River. Steamboats could come as far as Ft Benton where they were unloaded and cargo went by wagon from there. The steamboat travel pretty much ended after the railroads came, but two early 1900's bridges on the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers were built with lifts that never operated.
A closer look.
About the only things that are the same is the insignia below the seat and both of the driver's stiff-armed death-grip on the steering wheels!
We've really got some good posts this morning, thanks guys!
Body is not similar per multiple features, the seat for instance. Was Olds using demountable wheels for roadsters? Looks like the steering gear is a different set-up. Centerline of the flywheel looks to be centered under the seat on the mystery car. Would be interesting to know how old the car is in this photo. Missing bonnet on the right side headlamp suggests this has seen some wear.
1905 Oldsmobile Queen B?
Is it my eyes or ? But the insignia's look different to me...
In a 1904 handbook of autos,it shows some Olds cars that are not a match,but it shows a light delivery that has identical fenders and no visable rear brake drums. However it does not have full elliptical springs. I'm going to have to stay with my original thought that it is an Oldsmobile anyway.
sure glad i left this one alone.ha,ha. charley
Is the man in the photo?
This is for Jim. The square building on the left is the blockhouse and the car is in front of that in 1904 or 1905. The input is great and thanks.
I think its this guy...
Naturally, I couldnt find a left side view, nor an example of "The Western Tool Works", or "Gale" insignia, but I think the overall look of the mystery car to this is pretty close................?
Dale, that looks really close!
Kurt,thank you very much for elaborating on the background.
Dale,if that isn't a Gale,I'll always say it 'oughtabee'.
Apparently, the only photograph ever take of the left side of a Gale is Kurts!
Here is a clearer view of the right side which shows that "Oldsmogale" insignia a little better- at least enough to compare it with the one on the other side as in Kurts original picture.
and here is a link to the " Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal-1906" where I stole that picture from!
ok!! after seeing the long lever on the right side,gale it is. charley
You guys are GREAT!
Once the Gale was identified the Fort Benton museum did some research and found this from the Ft Benton Press, November 14, 1906:
"John C. Sullivan received a new Gale runabout automobile today from Galesburg, Ill., and gave it a test run this afternoon. It is a handsome machine, and is guaranteed to make a speed equal to the best of them. "
Proof Positive and Many Thanks from the museum.
Great detective work Dale! This one was sure a puzzler. Image sharpened a little.
Thanks for the clearer picture! I couldnt figure out how to capture just that bit from the website, so I took a photograph with my camera of the screen (a literal "screen shot"!). Yours is much better!
That is the icing on the cake that the museum was able to track the auto down through the local paper to the owner and to link an actual name to him as well!
We all took an old photograph of an unknown machine with its anonymous owner and worked it out until we had identified the automobile's make and from there you and the museum staff were able to rescue the mans name from being forgotten too.
Thats how history is supposed to be done!
Its a good thing that automobiles were still such a curiosity at that made the paper, and you were kind enough to post it here or this little bit of local history would have been lost forever.
Now I wonder if Mr. Sullivan has any relatives still living in the area, and do they have any idea what their ancestor was tooling around Fort Benton in over a century ago?
(I am also relieved he wasnt Stalin...)
Kurt, Thanks for the posting.
By reading the ad we can see that the Gale also had a Planetery transmission with 2 forward speeds and one reverse just like the T and for Rob the "K".
Planetery transmission cost more to make but way stronger than anything else out there.l
And with the poor oil,s back then would live much longer.
The Gale may have been made only in 1906. In 1957 a Model A Gale was owned by one H. L. Schoff as listed in the 1957 Register of Antique Automobiles.
He was probably Harry L. Schoff and may have been from the state of New York.
from the internet:
Western Tool Works was a pioneering brass era automobile manufacturer in Galesburg, Illinois. The company made Gale automobiles from 1904 to 1910. Early Gale runabouts were notable for having bodywork hinged at the rear of the car that could be lifted to ease access to the engine, essentially making the entire body the hood.
In 1905 Western produced the Gale Model A runabout for sale at US$500. This was less expensive than the high-volume Oldsmobile Runabout at US$650, the 2-seat Ford Model C "Doctor's Car" at US$850, or the Holsman high wheeler, but more expensive than the Black at $375, and the Success at US$250.
The Model A came standard with a 5 in × 6 in (130 mm × 150 mm) water-cooled engine mounted beneath the tilting body, chain drive, 34 in (860 mm) elliptic springs, 28 in × 3 in (71.1 cm × 7.6 cm) spoke wheels with tube tires, and repair kit.
The same year, Western offered the US$650 Gale Model B. Its water-cooled engine, springs, wheels, and tires had the same dimensions as those of the Model A, and it also had chain drive and a repair kit. It offered available leather buggy top, clincher tires, horn, and brass headlights.
Gales are listed (at least on paper) as being made from 1904-1910, but after 1907 they appear to have morphed into a "Gale- Robson" and after 1909 they were just called Robsons.
Naturally, there is a picture of a "1909 Robson" online, credited to the E.P. Robson Manufacturing Co., also in Galesburg, Ill., but it is that same right side view of the 1906 Gale posted above.
I couldnt find any record after 1911 for their automobiles, but Western Tool, who made the Gale, is still listed as an implement manufacturer.
I thought I was posting the ad for a gale AND NOT PAGE. SORRY.
Just a thought. That insignia still bothers me, but I am sure that it just looks like an insignia. However, in the era of "put together" cars is it possible that Oldsmobile supplied bodies for other cars? We know Ford used Wadsworth and Fisher for its center doors, and many other suppliers for different parts. As Western Tool Works sounds somewhat like a mechanical manufacturer, could they have picked up bodies elsewhere? We have all seen the "Body by Fisher" tags, which were about the size of whatever is on the sides of the Gales.
Kurt, Actually, Oldsmobile themselves bought the bodies for their early cars from an outside supplier. If I recall correctly,They got many of the Curved Dash bodies from Wilson, the same company that provided most of the bodies to Ford in the 1903 through 1906 years. Wilson provided bodies for dozens of early automobile marques, and continued to supply some bodies to Ford well into the early '10s model Ts. There were hundreds of carriage building companies all around the country (and the world) building horse-drawn carriages before the horseless carriage became more than an oddity. As the automobile became more prevalent, Many carriage building companies themselves began producing automobiles. Many dozens more simply switched designs to building bodies for other companies to use on their automobiles. It became a very lucrative business for many of them.
If you would like to spend a few hours on the subject? Check out coachbuilt.com .
That emblem on the side puzzled me from the beginning. I KNEW it looked like the Oldsmobile emblem, yet I also KNEW the car was not an Oldsmobile for reasons already given by others (size/shape of front hood, wrong suspension).
I also knew that at some point, some years ago, I had seen pictures of another early car that had an emblem almost the same as the Oldsmobile emblem, and placed almost exactly how Oldsmobile placed theirs on their cars. I know I saw it in one of the few thousand magazines I have, but did not have the time to look through them. If I can find a bit of time in the next few days? I would still like to look and find it. Since others here were so very good about identifying the car (you guys are all really wonderful!), at least now I can use the indexes to begin my looking.
I would think it's an Oldsmobile as well. There was a man one year at the brass and nickle show one year at the local car museum who had a 1904 olds with the same spring set up.
here is picture of a 1905 Gale that is in my garage if it helps to determine what it is.
Right side.... always the right side....
well first off, there seems to be only three of these around. two are in the Galesburg Illinois area and this one in the Seattle area. I will post pictures of the car before restoration to give you a idea of what's under the body. it is a one cylinder with a 5 inch bore and 6 inch stroke. two speed planetary transmission with the brake on the trans.under the hood is the water/fuel tank and the radiator hangs down in front of the axle.
That is a wonderful little runabout! Thank You for posting a picture of what is probably one of the very few, if not the only one left.
A few questions:
Does your car have the insignia/emblem on the left side? Or maybe you have a manual or some other literature that may show it? If so, could you post a photograph of that?
Also, could you confirm that these cars actually DO have a left side?
What is the history of your Gale, if known? (your not too far from Ft. Benton....)
you were posting while I was writing!
I looked in my HCCA Gazette index last night. Only three photos of Gale automobiles were listed, all in early issues. One, a picture of a 1906 touring, was in a jumble of other cars and showed no good details.
The best picture was in the June 1951 issue at the bottom of page 27. It is a good picture of a 1904 runabout then owned by a S. M. Snyder of Metamora, Ill. The picture does not show any detail of the body emblem. So the picture I remember seeing must have been in one of the other thousand magazines I have. The picture does clearly show that the car did in fact have a left side.
Sorry but I believe you guys are all wrong. It is a 1905 Mitchell two cylinder 12 horsepower car. The long hood gives it away along with its four springs rather than two. I found it in the Floyd Clymer book dated 1950 and titles " Treasury of early American Automobiles 1879-1925" on page 36. Sorry my scanner is broken. That long hood covers a vertically positioned two cylinder engine with a four speed gear box with a single lever sliding gear shift.
I searched the internet for French front Oldsmobile's and none had kicked up rear fenders as the Mitchell had and their hoods were shorter and stopped at the front axle because it only had a gas tank under its hood. The Olds engine was down in the frame unlike the Mitchell with its engine up front under that long hood which reached to the front of the wheels as seen in the blue picture turned sideways. The badge is confusing because the Mitchell badge is in the same place but is a shield with a horizontal ellipse with the name Mitchell in it. I believe that the car is a Mitchell because of the extended length of its hood. I could not find a single picture of any one cylinder Olds with four elliptical springs. They all had the single spring running between the front and rear axles in one solid piece and mounted to the frame one the middle as in the picture below. Now lets find out why that car has an Olds badge without the ellipse they were always mounted on..
ok!! the hood is not the same. i am from mo. show me the pics of the mitchell some body!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!charley
Dale those are later cars you showed. The 1905 ad for the Mitchell is for a 1904 with the hood reaching to the front wheels with the headlights that could be used as bumpers is on page 36 of the book I mentioned above and also in Floyd Climber's paperback scrap book dated 1944 on page 44. Many old ad's sometimes used pictures of former models of cars because they printed the ad's before the cars were ready for shipping.
There are absolutely no pictures of an "early" Olds with four elliptical springs running fore and aft.
I agree- its NOT an Olds, but....