November 08, 2017


Woods Motor Vehicle Co. (1899-1916)

Chicago, Illinois

This is a Woods Electric nameplate/serial plate (c1905)  newatlas
Size: Unknown 

The Woods Motor Vehicle Company was established in 1899 in Chicago and obtained the rights to the electric vehicle patents of Charles E Woods in order to compete with the Electric Vehicle Company of New York. However, the company was in receivership in 1901 after building some electric delivery wagons and a fleet of hansom cabs operating in Chicago but only one or two passenger cars.

The company was reorganized in late 1902 and electric car production began more seriously. Most Woods Electric cars looked like other electric cars but in 1903 a rear-entrance tonneau was introduced which looked more like a gasoline car with the batteries mounted under a hood at the front.

Production facilities were greatly expanded in 1905 to over 500 cars a year plus cabs and commercial vehicles. From 1905 to 1907 gasoline and gas-electric cars were offered as well as electrics but after 1907 only electric vehicles were produced. Production peaked in 1912 with 1,306 units and then reduced each year as the popularity of electric vehicles began to fall. Production of the Woods Electric ceased in 1916.

The company introduced a new gas-electric called the Woods Dual Power in 1916 (see Woods Dual Power). 


The Woods Electric did not carry a radiator emblem but did display the "Woods" name on a small nameplate/serial plate attached to the body of the vehicle, see example shown above at the top of this post. This Woods Electric nameplate/serial plate is rare.

The "Woods" name was also shown on the hubcaps, see examples shown below:

This shows the hubcap seen on a Woods Electric (c1905)  newatlas

This is the Woods Electric hubcap shown below:

This is a Woods Electric hubcap (dates unknown)    dkc

The following shows a different, possibly later Woods Electric hubcap emblem:

This is a Woods Electric hubcap (c1910)    mjs
Size: 40mm diameter (hub emblem)

The "Woods" name was also shown on the step plate in early Woods Electric vehicles, see example below:

This is a Woods Electric step plate (1906)    kam

The following photo shows the front of a restored 1905 Woods Electric Queen Victoria Brougham with the "Woods Motor Vehicle Company" name displayed but I cannot confirm that this was used on the original vehicle in 1905.

Restored Woods Electric Brougham (1905)  newatlas

I cannot confirm, whether the gasoline or gas-electric models made by Woods Electric between 1905 and 1907 had radiator emblems, although this is unlikely. If you have details of any emblems used on these vehicles, please let me know, so that this post can be updated.

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