April 11, 2024


Black Manufacturing Co. (1907-1910)

Chicago, Illinois

This is an original Black body side decal (1909)    nam

The Black Manufacturing Company initially offered their product under two names. The first Black was an 18 hp two-cylinder air-cooled, high wheeler buggy with chain-drive and solid rubber tires, available as a surrey or a delivery wagon. A more basic 14 hp two-cylinder, high wheeler runabout buggy was also available under the name of Chicago Motor Buggy.

The Black Manufacturing Company exhibited Black buggies at the Chicago Auto Show in December 1907 and then attended many auto shows in several nearby states throughout 1908 resulting in a large number of orders.

In 1909, the Black Manufacturing Company aimed to offer its customers a wider choice of vehicle by joining up with the newly formed Crow Motor Car Company to produce the 35/40 hp four-cylinder Black Crow. 25 hp and 35 hp Black-Crow models were built in 1910. The Black Manufacturing Company distributed and sold the Black-Crow and had a Black-Crow repository in Chicago. However, the Black Crow was built entirely at the Crow plant at Elkhart, Indiana and mostly marketed by Crow, which turned out to be bad for the Black, because, in 1910, Crow cancelled the contract with Black and continued to market the new car as the Crow (see Crow). 

The result was the end of the Black Manufacturing Company and the Black in 1910.


The Black displayed a named decal on the side of the body under the driver's seat, see example shown above at the top of this post. 

This body side decal was small and could not be seen from any distance, so was clearly not used for general publicity, see example photos below of a surviving but original Black buggy from 1908:

This is a Black buggy showing the small body side decal (1908)     hcg

Close up showing the body side decal (1908)    hcg

Original period photos of Black motor buggies shown in a 1909 Black catalog show no sign of any other emblems or scripts, see example photos shown below:

This is a Black motor buggy (1907)   dezosgarage

This is a Black motor buggy Model 20 (1908)  dezosgarage

However, Black motor buggies did display small brass nameplates attached to the side of the body under the driver's entrance, see clearer example below:

Black motor buggy Md 12 with body side nameplate (1908)

The following Black maker's nameplate was used for the earliest Black buggies. This Black nameplate is very rare.

This is a Black maker's nameplate (c1908)    mjs
Size: 103mm wide 52mm high

The following Black serial plate was mounted on the dash or under the driver's seat. This Black serial plate is rare.

This is a Black serial plate (c1909)    mjs
Size: 80mm wide 30mm high

The following photo of a surviving 1908 Black motor buggy Model 112 has a brass "Black" script mounted under the dash:

Black Model 112 showing dash script (1908)   bonhams

As shown earlier above, there is no evidence of a "Black" script on any of the many original period photos of Black motor buggies, so it is most likely that this brass script is not original but was added during restoration for decorative purposes.

I do not know, if there were different maker's nameplates and serial plates for the buggies sold under the name Chicago Motor Buggy. If you have details of such a nameplate, please let me know, in order to update this post.

The Black-Crow built in 1909 and 1910 was advertised with a script style logo, see example shown below:

This is a Black-Crow ad showing logo (1909)  ebay

The Black Manufacturing Company catalog for the Black-Crow for 1910 includes original photos of the Black-Crow in the shipping floor at the Elkhart factory and in the Chicago repository. In both cases all Black-crow cars display the "Black-Crow" name using brass radiator scripts, see example photo shown below:

Black-Crow cars with rad scripts (c1909)
indiana state library

The Black-Crow radiator script is more clearly seen in the following original period photo:

Black-Crow motor car showing Radiator script (c1910)  wiki

Original Black-Crow radiator scripts are very rare.

No comments:

Post a Comment