August 07, 2022


Waltham Manufacturing Co. (1899-1907)

Waltham, Massachusetts

This is an Orient Motor Buckboard maker's nameplate (c1903)     mjs
Size: 76mm wide 25mm high

The Waltham Manufacturing Company was set up in 1893 by Charles Herman Metz for the production of the Orient bicycle. The first Orient car was an electric introduced in 1899 but was not put into production. After making some tricycles and quadracycles called Autogo, the first gasoline-powered Orient car, a single-cylinder 8 hp runabout, was introduced in 1902. Metz had departed in 1901 after disagreements with his financial backers and went on to produce motorcycles, including the Marsh-Metz built by the American Motor Company (see Marsh-Metz), before he returned in 1908 to build his Metz car (see Metz).

The Orient Buckboard was introduced in 1903 and was advertised as "The Cheapest Automobile in the World". The Orient Buckboard had a 4 hp single-cylinder engine and provided speeds of up to 30mph. It had tiller-steering, a wooden platform and no springs until about 1906. Four-cylinder touring Orient automobiles appeared in 1905.

The Waltham Manufacturing Company used the names Orient and Waltham interchangeably, and occasionally used the name Waltham-Orient, but after 1907 all cars from the company were called Waltham (see Waltham).


The Orient bicycles and motorcycles produced by the Waltham Manufacturing Company carried elaborate emblems fitted to the head stock, see examples below:

This is an Orient bicycle emblem (c1902)    mjs
Size: 72mm wide (flat) 60mm high

This is an Orient motorcycle emblem (1903)     hsc

The Orient motorcycle emblem shown above depicts the Orient logo in the form of a shield with the word "Orient" placed across a diagonal and showing a crescent moon and a curved oriental sword.

The same logo was included in a colored decal displayed on the sides of the Orient Buckboard introduced in 1903, see original advertisement shown below:

This is an Orient Buckboard ad showing the decal on side of the body (1903)   ms

I do not have a good photo of an original Orient Buckboard decal but the photo below shows the decal after repainting:

This is a repainted version of the Orient Buckboard side decal (1903)    lccmlc

The same Orient Buckboard has the Orient name painted on the rear gasoline tank, see below. However, I cannot confirm if this is original.

Orient name painted on the gas tank (1903)     lccmlc

The Orient Buckboard also had a simple metal maker's nameplate attached to the wooden board under the seat front, see example above at the top of this post. This maker's nameplate is rare.

The Buckboard engine also had the Orient name embossed on the casing.

The small emblem shown below is believed to be from an early Orient vehicle but I have no further details and cannot confirm this. If you can identify this emblem, please let me know.

This is believed to be an early Orient emblem (date unknown)    mjs
Size: 51mm wide 19mm high

I am not aware of any other Orient emblems that may have been attached to the 4-cylinder Orient cars built between 1905 and 1907. However, some were called Waltham-Orient and displayed a large brass "Waltham Orient" script attached to the radiator core, see the following advertisement for 1906 Waltham Orient models:

This is a Waltham Orient advertisement for 1906 models (1905)    ms

This is a close up showing the radiator script    ms

It is possible that models designated "Orient" also carried a brass radiator script, but I cannot confirm this. If you have details of such a radiator script or any other Orient car emblems, please let me know in order to update this post.

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