December 26, 2016


St. Louis Motor Carriage Co. (1899-1905)

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis Motor Car Co. (1905-1907)

Peoria, Illinois

This decal is displayed on the side of a restored 1904 St. Louis carriage (1904)   cccm
Size: c60mm

The St. Louis Motor Carriage Company was established by George Dorris and John L. French in 1898. George Dorris was the chief engineer. The company was successful from the start with production numbers of 130 cars built by 1900, 250 cars for 1902 to 1903, 230 cars in 1904 and 300 cars in 1905. The first St. Louis carriages were single-cylinder and two-cylinder tiller-steered, chain-driven vehicles. A 10 hp single-cylinder delivery van and a 25 hp two-cylinder bus were offered in 1901 only. Steering wheels appeared in 1902 and a 35 hp four-cylinder touring car model was introduced. Early St. Louis Carriage Company cars were advertised using the slogan "Rigs that Run".

The company was reorganized in 1905 as the St. Louis Motor Car Company and moved to a large new manufacturing plant in Peoria, Illinois. All Peoria built cars were four-cylinder shaft driven cars. But, George Dorris decided to remain in St. Louis and went on to build his own car called the Dorris (see Dorris). This was a serious blow to the St. Louis company. By mid-1907 the company was in serious financial trouble and it was all over by December of that year.


Early St. Louis Motor Carriage Company cars did not have radiators and the emblem was in the form of a colored decal with the slogan "Rigs That Run" displayed on the side of the body, as shown above at the top of this post.

The St. Louis Carriage Company name was also displayed on the sill plate, as shown in the very rare example below.

This is a sill plate used on early St. Louis cars (c1903-1905)   mjs
Size: 290mm wide 45mm high

From 1905, the St. Louis did have a radiator, which was used to display a brass St. Louis script, see example below. Original St. Louis radiator scripts are very rare.

This is a St. Louis radiator script (c1906)   sam
Size: 360mm wide

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