February 19, 2021

MICHIGAN (1)

Michigan Automobile Co. Ltd. (1902-1905)
Michigan Automobile Co, (1905-1908)
Kalamazoo, Michigan 


This is a Michigan dash emblem (1903)    gcm

The Blood brothers operated the Kalamazoo Cycle Company but had taken an interest in gasoline powered automobiles for some years and had produced the first Kalamazoo-built car in early 1902. This was a simple quadricycle cart powered by a 3.3 hp air-cooled De Dion Bouton engine. In October 1902, the Blood brothers completed their second light automobile, which was a motorized version of their "carry-cycle". The Blood brothers built and sold about a hundred of these three passenger "carry-cycle" cars. 

The success of the Blood built "carry-cycle" car attracted the attention of Frank D. and Charles D. Fuller, who put an investment proposal to the Blood brothers that resulted in the formation of the Michigan Automobile Company Limited in December 1902. The plan was to produce the "carry-cycle" but by the time a large factory had been acquired in February 1903, the Blood brothers had designed and built their third vehicle, a runabout, called the Blood, which was also advertised by the Michigan Automobile Company as the Michigan Model A.   

The Michigan Model A was refined and production began in the late spring of 1903. However, there was a disagreement between the Bloods and the Fullers, and sometime before the start of the 1904 production run, the Blood brothers left and by March 1904 had established the Blood Brothers Automobile and Machine Company. 

Before the departure of the Blood brothers, a new, larger two-cylinder 12 hp had been developed and was designated as the Michigan Model D and some production was made. After the departure of the Blood brothers, the design was further developed by the Michigan Automobile Company and production began in June 1904. The new Michigan Model D was available as a four-passenger model with rear-entrance tonneau or as a two-passenger runabout. The 1904 Model D was a fine car and was well received but production was limited to thirty units.

In November 1904, The Michigan Automobile Company introduced the larger 1905 Michigan Model D and the Model E both with front hoods, although the engine remained under the seat. The Model D was available as a five-passenger touring, runabout or special doctor's runabout. The slightly larger Michigan Model E was available in the same styles as the model D and as a side-entrance tonneau.

The Michigan models for 1906 and 1907 appeared much the same as the 1905 models and, sometime in 1907, a decision was made to cease automobile manufacture due to poor profitability and, in January 1908, it was announced that henceforth the company would concentrate on the manufacture of transmissions.  

Emblems

The Michigan Model A was originally finished in either red or black with crimson wheels, elaborate striping, floral designs, and a "coat of arms" on the dash, see restored example shown below:

Michigan Model A (1903)     gcm 

The repainted Michigan Automobile Company "coat of arms" emblem on the dash is shown above at the top of this post. The original "coat of arms" may have been in the form of a colored decal but I cannot confirm this.

The Michigan Model A also displayed the "Michigan" name on painted brass sill plates, see example shown below:

Michigan Model A sill plate (1903)    gcm

The following illustration shows a 1904 Michigan Model D, which has what appears to be another "coat of arms" displayed on the side of the body under the driver's seat. However, the detailed design of this "emblem"cannot be seen. 

Michigan Model D (1904)    dol

The Michigan Model A and the 1904 Michigan Model D  also displayed the "Michigan Automobile Co. Ltd." name on a small metal nameplate attached to the body of the car, probably on the inside of the dash or under the driver's seat, see reproduction example shown below. Original Michigan nameplates are very rare.

This is a Michigan maker's nameplate (1903-1904)   ms


From 1905, the Michigan was given a false hood and radiator but did not carry an emblem, see Michigan Model E advertisement shown below:

Michigan Model E advertisement (1905)  eBay

The Michigan cars produced after the change of name to the "Michigan Automobile Co." are believed to have displayed the name on small brass nameplates similar to that shown earlier above. Original Michigan nameplates are very rare.






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