Saturday, August 14, 2021

The Cadillac

The first gasoline automobile to ply the streets of Detroit was a lightweight horseless carriage with cow-tail (tiller) steering, built by Charles Brady King and German immigrant, Oliver Barthel. While at Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, he saw the self-propelled carriage designed and built by Gottlieb Daimler, inspiring him to begin designing his own car in Detroit. He test drove the first self-propelled carriage along Woodward Avenue and reached speeds up to five miles per hour.

That event occurred March 6, 1896 when that first "car" puttered down Woodward Avenue in Detroit with King at the tiller and (engineer) Barthel seated at his side.

King lacked the resources to refine his experimental vehicle into a production car and at the same time with their experience of the gasoline-powered car, he and Oliver Barthel was invited to give an opinion on the chances of survival of Henry Ford's first, modest venture into building automobiles.

Around the same time Henry Martyn Leland an American machinist, inventor and engineer, who was VP and general manager of the Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company, a budding tool and die manufacturer, convinced Ford's investors that there was a future in horseless carriages, provided they could be powered by a reliable motor ...and Leland had one.
His robust little single cylinder engine would soon be proving its mettle in the fledgling motor works of Ransom Eli Olds. Ransom Olds refused to accept the more powerful engine because it would have required radical changes in his car’s design, thus prompting Leland to go into automobile business for himself Leland’s Cadillac, the first mass-produced car with truly interchangeable parts. Later that year, the Detroit Automobile Company was founded.

Saved from bankruptcy two years later (1901) by Henry Leland, the Detroit Automobile Company was renamed the Cadillac Automobile Company, in August 1902.

The name Cadillac was selected in honor of Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a French explorer who founded the city of Detroit, a small French trading post at the confluence of lakes Erie and St. Clair on July 24, 1701.

Oliver Barthel was kept on by Leland although credit for the earliest Cadillac automobiles went to another engineer by the name of Alanson P. Brush.

During September 1902, production began on the first Cadillac automobile, the Model A one cylinder. The first Cadillac was completed on October 17, 1902.
During the first year of production of 1903-1904, the Cadillac Automobile Company built and shipped 1,895 finished vehicles to the American consumers. By 1904, all Cadillac vehicle power plant mechanisms were manufactured by Leland & Faulconer. In late 1904, the Cadillac Automobile Company and Leland & Faulconer merged to form the Cadillac Motor Car Company. CEO was Henry M. Leland.

In 1910, Cadillac became a division of General Motors, and during that year, the closed body was introduced as standard equipment. Traditionally, Cadillac’s have been large, elegantly styled, and luxuriously furnished vehicles with state-of-the-art features. It became the high-priced luxury line in the GM family of automobiles.
The Cadillac

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