April 15, 2019


Ward Leonard Electric Co. (1901-1903)

Bronxville, New York

This is a Knickerbocker nameplate (c1903)      mjs
Size: 89mm wide 28mm high

The first car produced by the Ward Leonard Electric Company was a 3-1/2 hp runabout initially called the Century Tourist, but its name was changed to Knickerbocker a few months later. The second car, called the Knickerbocker from the start, was a 5 hp car available in runabout or tonneau styles.  The Knickerbocker was powered by a single-cylinder De Dion engine and had shaft drive and wheel steering, both advanced and modern features at the time.

Four Knickerbocker cars took part in the Long Island Endurance Contest of 1902. Three of the Knickerbockers completed the course splendidly, two of them with perfect scores. The Knickerbocker was also successful in the New York to Boston reliability run in 1902, thus providing good publicity. 

In 1903 Knickerbocker cars were offered with single- and two-cylinder engines, as well as a 24 hp four-cylinder model. But the Ward Leonard Electric Company suffered difficulties in obtaining materials for manufacture of the Knickerbocker and production ceased at the end of 1903.


The Knickerbocker did not carry an emblem but did display a small brass nameplate, see example above at the top of this post. This Knickerbocker nameplate is very rare.

The Knickerbocker hubcaps may also have displayed the Knickerbocker name but I cannot confirm this.

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