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ACF Motors, ACF-Brill, CCF-Brill
American Car & Foundry, 1909-1955; ACF Idustries, 1955-present; American Car & Foundry Motors, 1926-1932; Detroit, Michigan; American Car & Foundry Motors, 1932-1944; Berwick, Pennsylvania; ACF-Brill Corp. div. of Consolidated Vultee, 1944-1954, Nashville, Tennessee; Canadian Car & Foundry-Brill (CCF-Brill), 1944-1954; Fort Edward, Ontario, Canada
Associated Builders
Fageol, Twin Coach, J.G. Brill, Kulhman

Formed in 1899, the American Car & Foundry Company was one of the numerous ‘trusts’ formed at the turn of the century - in effect an association that shored up its members through economies of scale by combining their supply, manufacturing, sales and marketing into one cohesive unit. At the time of its formation American Car and Foundry Company (or the ‘Car Trust’ as it was popularly known) owned no factories or inventory, and was solely a holding company that controlled the majority of the capital stock of the firms in which it was associated. Its goal was to control the manufacture of railroad rolling stock by eliminating their competition through association, friendly acquisition, hostile takeover or putting them out of business.

All perfectly legal, providing they strictly adhered to the guidelines established by the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was designed to prohibit certain anticompetitive practices that jeopardized the well-being of the public. The goal of the three part legislations was to prevent restraints of free competition in business and commercial transactions which tended to restrict production, raise prices, or otherwise control the market to the detriment of purchasers or consumers of goods and services.

Section 1: “Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal.”

Section 2: “Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony”

Section 3 simply extended the provisions of Section 1 to U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The Clayton Act of 1914 added certain practices to the list of impermissible activities, which was followed two decades later by the even stricter Robinson-Pattman Act of 1936 which eliminated price discrimination against equally-situated distributors.

The formation of the firm was announced to the country in the February 7, 1899 issue of the Chicago Tribune:

“Car Companies Combine

“Detroit, Mich., Feb. 7.—It is positively known that eight big car companies scattered over the United States have been combined under the name of the American Car & Foundry company.

“The new company is incorporated under the laws of New Jersey with a capital of $60,000,000. The companies beside the Michigan-Peninsular of this city entering the consolidation are as follows: Jackson & Woodin Manufacturing company, Berwick, Pa.; Missouri Car & Foundry company, St. Louis; Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing company, Jeffersonville, Ind.; Union Car company, Buffalo; St. Charles Car company, St. Charles, Mo.; Wells & French company, Chicago; Terre Haute Car Manufacturing company, Terre Haute, Ind.”

Further details emerged in the February 8, 1899 issue of the Boston Daily Globe:

“The American Car & Foundry company with an authorized capital of $30,000,000 7 percent non-cumulative preferred stock and $30,000,000 common stock, has been formed to take over the following firms and corporations engaged in the manufacture of freight and passenger cars:

“Michigan Peninsular Car company, Detroit, Mich., Jackson & Woodin manufacturing company, Berwick, Penn.; Missouri Car & Foundry company; Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing company. Union Car company, Buffalo, N.Y.; St. Charles Car company, St. Charles, Mo; Wells & French company, Chicago; Terre Haute Car & Manufacturing company, Terre Haute, Ind.

“These companies have an annual capacity of 86,500 freight cars, 500 coaches, 820,000 wheels, 125,000 tons castings, 30,000 tons pipe and 90,000 tons bar iron.

“It is estimated that the net profits of the company on a business to the extent of 70 percent of the capacity of the plants would produce $4,000,000 annually. It is proposed to begin payment of dividends June 1—1 3/4 percent on preferred stock and 1 1/4 percent on the common stock. The cash assets of the constituent companies to be covered into the treasury of the new company exceed $5,000,000.

“The Pullman and Barney & Smith companies have not joined the combination, but it is expected that they will eventually join.”

The Michigan-Peninsular Car Company was the largest ACF holding, and like ACF had been formed through an 1892 consolidation. Originally capitalized at $8,000,000, the firm was headed by General Russell A. Alger and included the former assets of the Michigan Car Company, the Peninsular Car Company, the Detroit Car Wheel Company, the Michigan Forge & Iron Company and the Detroit Pipe & Foundry Company (and possibly the Baugh Steam Forge Co. as well.) At the time of its joining ACF Peninsular employed 9,000 and enjoyed sales of $28 million per annum.

The news rocked the nation’s producers of railroad rolling stock and within the next few weeks five additional firms joined ACF. The March 8, 1899 issue of the Logansport Reporter reported on the acquisition of the Indiana Car & Foundry:

“Sold to the Car Trust

“Indianapolis, Ind., March, 8.—It is reported that the Indiana Car & Foundry company has been sold to the American Car & Foundry company, commonly known as the car trust, for $175,000 and will soon be absorbed by that company.”

The June 8, 1902 issue of the New York Times reported that the Pressed Steel Car Co. of Pittsburgh, Penn. was rumored to be in talks with ACF, but ultimately declined to join the association.

The American Car and Foundry Company was formally organized as a New Jersey Corporation on March 17, 1899 and headquarters established in New York City. Thirteen railroad rolling stock manufacturers were now associated with the holding company and between them they controlled just over fifty percent of the market. During the previous year, the 13 associated firms had accounted for 53% of all freight cars built outside the railroads’ own shops.

The 13 firms were as follows:

 1) Buffalo Car Mfg. Co. of Buffalo, NY - founded in 1890 - its predecessor, Buffalo Car Co., founded in 1872, purchased the Niagara Car Wheel Co. in 1890, reorganizing as the Buffalo Car Mfg. Co. It also had a close association with the Union Car Co. of Depew – although Buffalo and Union were owned and operated independently until the ACF takeover.
  2) Niagara Car Wheel Co., offices in Buffalo, NY – founded in 1880s - merged with Buffalo Car Co. in 1890
  3) Union Car Co., Depew, NY – founded in 1893
  4) Ensign Mfg. Co. of Huntington, WV – founded in 1879
  5) Jackson & Woodin Mfg. Co. of Berwick, Penn. – founded in 1861
  6) Michigan-Peninsular Car Co., Detroit, Mich. - founded in 1892 - included the former assets of the Michigan Car Co., the Peninsular Car Co., the Detroit Car Wheel Co., the Michigan Forge & Iron Co., and the Detroit Pipe & Foundry Co. (and possibly the Baugh Steam Forge Co. as well.)
  7) Minerva Car Works, Minerva, Ohio – founded in 1882
  8) Missouri Car & Foundry Co., St Louis, Mo – founded in 1876 (includes the Madison Car Co., Madison Ill. - founded in 1890 – an associated firm that was taken over by Missouri Car & Foundry in late 1897)
  9) Murray, Dougal & Co., Milton, Penn. – founded in 1864
10) Ohio Falls Car Mfg. Co., Jeffersonville, Ind. – founded in 1876
11) St. Charles Car Mfg. Co., St. Charles Mo. - founded in 1873
12) Terre Haute Car & Mfg. Co., Terre Haute, Ind. – founded in 1880s
13) Wells & French Co., Chicago Ill. – founded in 1869

American Car and Foundry Company's initial slate of officers and directors were:

Officers: Wm. McMillan, Chairman of board and Treas.; W.K. Bixby, Pres.; W.J. McBride, Gen. Mgr.; S.S. De Lano, Comptroller; J.M. Buick, F.F. Webber, Sec., St. Louis. Mo.; F.H. Eaton, 1st Vice-Pres.; W.P. Coleman, 2d Vice-Pres., New York N.Y.; E.F. Carry, 3d Vice-Pres., Chicago, Ill. General Office, St. Louis, Mo. General Eastern Office, New York. N.Y.

Directors.—Wm. McMillan, W.K. Bixby, W.J. McBride, S.S. De Lano, St. Louis, Mo.; F.H. Eaton, George Coppell, Louis T. Haggin, F. E. Cauda, Wm. M. Hager, New York, N. Y.; E.F. Carry, Chicago, Ill.; E.H. Russell, George Hargreaves, Detroit, Mich.; L.J. Cox, Terre Haute, Ind.; J.L. Smyser, Louisville, C.R. Woodin, Berwick, Penn.; W. N. McMillan, London, England.

The merger was the brainstorm of W. K. Bixby (b.1857-d.1931), president of the Missouri Car & Foundry Co.

William Keeney Bixby was born on January 2, 1857 in Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan to Alonzo and Emma Louise (Keeney) Bixby, after a public education he embarked upon a multifaceted early business career. His first position was as a newsman for an Adrian newspaper after which he relocated to Detroit, taking a position as an apprentice bank clerk, where he became intimately acquainted with the world of banking and finance.

Bixby began his railway career in 1870 as a night watchman and baggage man for the International & Great Northern Railroad at Palestine, Texas. He was soon promoted to the post of general baggage agent in San Antonio, where he attracted the attention of H. M. Hoxie, president of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Impressed by Bixby’s diligence and intelligence, Hoxie brought him to St. Louis to work for the railroad, where he quickly earned several promotions, which culminated in his appointment as chief stationery buyer. After several years he took a position as lumber buyer for the Missouri Car & Foundry Co. of St. Louis and during the next decade his business acumen resulted in his appointment as the firm’s treasurer, vice-president, general manager and finally president.

As head of Missouri Car & Foundry, Bixby engineered a consolidation with the Michigan-Peninsular Car Company of Detroit, then added 12 other independent car builders to become the American Car & Foundry Company, of which he was the first President, serving from 1899 to 1901 at which time he became chairman of the board of directors.

A 1903 listing provides the names of ACF's officers and directors at the time:

OFFICERS: W. K. Bixby, Chairman of the Board; F. H. Eaton, President; W. J. McBride, First Vice-President and General Manager; E. F. Carry, Second Vice-President; W. C. Dickerman, Third Vice-President; D. A. Bixby, Secretary; S. S. De Lano, Treasurer; J. M. Buick, Auditor.

DIRECTORS: W. K. Bixby, W. J. McBride, S. S. De Lano, J. M. Buick, Thos. H. West, Adolphus Busch, St. Louis; F. H. Eaton, Gerald. L. Hoyt, J. B. Haggin, W. H. Woodin, W. G. Oakman, H. R. Duval, New York; E. F. Carry, Chicago; Geo. H. Russel, Detroit; J. L. Smyser, Louisville, Ky.; W. M. Hager, Roselle, N. J.; W. N. McMillan, London, England.

Bixby retired in 1905 at the age of 48. During his tenure as president/chairman five additional companies were added to the ACF portfolio:

14) Bloomsburg Car Manufacturing Co. of Bloomsburg, PA formed in 1863
15) Jackson & Sharp Co. of Wilmington, DE – founded in 1863
16) Common-Sense Bolster Co. of Chicago, IL – founded in 1898
17) Indiana Car & Foundry/Indianapolis Car Co. –Indianapolis, Ind. - founded in 1895
18) Southern Car & Foundry of Memphis, Tenn. – founded in 1899

I won’t go into any great detail about the first quarter-century of the American Car and Foundry Company as their activities were solely devoted to the construction of ships, rail cars, inter-urbans and trolleys. A related firm, the American Car and Foundry Export Co. - a $500,000 company organized on Aug. 13, 1913 - was organized to handle the firm's expanding business in the Caribbean and South and Central America.

As the largest constructor of railroad rolling stock in America, ACF took the lead in the adoption of the all-steel railroad car which by the early 1920s had almost completely supplanted the wooden rail cars first constructed by the firm in 1899.

Frederick H. Eaton became president of American Car & Foundry following Bixby’s appointement as chairman, and remained as president until his untimely death in early 1916 at the age of 54. His obituary was carried in the January 19, 1916 issue of the New York Times:

“Frederick H. Eaton Dead; Head of American Car and Foundry Company Had Large Interests.

“Frederick Heber Eaton, President of the American Car and Foundry Company, and actively identified with a number of other important corporations, died yesterday at his home, 182 West Fifty-eighth Street. He was born in Berwick, Penn., and was in his 54th year. Mr. Eaton was a son of the late Ralph H. Eaton and Mrs. Eliza Knapp Dickerman Eaton and received his education in the public schools of his hometown.

“In 1880 he became engaged in manufacturing and in 1902 was elected President and a Director of the American Car and Foundry Company. In addition to his manufacturing interests, he was a trustee of the Mutual Life Insurance Company; a Director of the Columbia Trust Company; the Seaboard National Bank; the Hale & Kilburn Company of Susquehanna, Penn.; the Bloomsburg & Berwick Railroad, of which he was also vice-president; the Hoyt & Woodin Manufacturing Company; the Sligo & Eastern Railway; the American Agricultural Chemical Company; The American Beet Sugar Company; and the National Surety Company.

“In 1881 he married C. Elizabeth Furman of Bloomsburg, who with their daughter, Mrs. Mae Eaton Crispin, survives him.”

Easton was succeeded by William H. Woodin, the former president of Jackson & Woodin Mfg. Co. of Berwick, Penn. At the time ACF’s officers and directors were as follows:

Officers: W.H. Woodin, Pres.; W.C. Dickerman, Vice-Pres., New York. N.Y.; J.M. Buick, Vice-Pres., St. Louis, Mo.; Clarence Price, Vice-Pres., New York, N.Y.; Herbert W. Wolff, Vice-Pres., Chicago, Ill.; Wm. M. Hager, Asst. to Pres.; H.C. Wick, Sec; S.S. De Lano, Treas., New York, N.Y.; N.A. Doyle, Aud., St. Louis, Mo.; Charles J. Hardy, Gen. Counsel, New York, N.Y. Principal office, 24-3 Washington St., Jersey City, N.J. Offices, 105 Broadway, New York, N.Y., Lincoln Trust Bldg., St. Louis, Mo., and Chicago, Ill.

Directors: J.M. Buick, Thomas H. West, St. Louis, Mo.; Gerald Hoyt, Wm. H. Woodin, W.G. Oakman, H.R. Duval, A.B. Hepburn, S.S. De Lano, Wm. M. Hager, Hanson R. Duval, Charles J. Hardy, New York, N.Y.; C.R. Woodin, Berwick, Pa.; W.N. McMillan, London, Eng.

William Hartman Woodin was born on May 27, 1868 in Berwick, Columbia County, Pennsylvania to Clemuel Ricketts and Mary Louise (Dickerman) Woodin. He was privately educated at New York’s Latin Woodbridge Schools after which he attended Columbia University’s School of Mines. He married Anne Jessup on October 9, 1889 and took a job with Jackson & Woodin, his father’s rail car manufacturing business. He became its general superintendent in 1892, vice-president in 1895, and president in 1899. His union with Anne was bless with four children; Mary, Anne Jessup, William Hartman jr.; and Elizabeth Foster Woodin.

While serving as ACF president Woodin served as an officer and/or director of numerous transportation-related firms. He served as president of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) during 1925-1926 and again during 1927-1929; chairman of the Montreal Locomotive Works, Railway Steel Co. and Brill Corp., a director of the Remington Arms Co., the Cuba Railroad Co., and Compañia Cubana (another Cuban railroad operator); as well as a trustee of the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, Lafayette College and the American Surety Co.

Early on ACF’s directors saw opportunities in related fields and in 1922 purchased their first auto-related business, St. Louis, Mo.’s Carter Carburetor Corporation. At its peak Carter, which was founded in 1909 by Will Carter, furnished carburetors for 25% of the nation’s automobiles.

On March 31, 1924 ACF purchased their first West Coast manufacturer, the Pacific Car & Foundry Co. of Seattle, Washington – a firm created by the merger of the Seattle Car Manufacturing Company and Twohy Brothers (Portland, Oregon), two manufacturers of rolling stock formed after the turn of the century. Now known as PACCAR, Pacific Car & Foundry Co. survives to this day manufacturing medium and heavy-duty trucks under the DAF, Kenworth and Peterbilt brand names.

As the sales of interurbans and streetcars started to decline in the early 1920s ACF's directors became interested in acquiring stock in the motor coach manufacturing industry. They joined together with one of their chief competitors, the J.G. Brill Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a scheme to acquire control of the Hall-Scott Motor Car Co. and the Fageol companies of California and Ohio in order to obtain an integrated bus manufacturing business.

On May 5, 1924 Samuel M. Curwen, president of the J.G. Brill Company, convinced its board of directors to commit to a $100,000 investment in Fageol, purchasing 1,000 shares of Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio common and 1,400 shares of Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio preferred. The purchase was suggested by Day & Zimmermann, a Philadelphia-based engineering consultancy that had also made an investment in the firm - believing their designs superior to competing firms. Brill also purchased a significantly smaller amount of White Motor Co. stock at about the same time as their Kulhman subsidiary already supplied the firm with motor-bus coachwork.

The investment was not Brill’s first involvement with the automobile industry. In 1904 they constructed 10 furniture lorries for a New York customer and since that time Brill and its subsidiaries (in particular Kulhman) had constructed small numbers of van and bus bodies for their numerous rail transportation customers.

Curwen stated that he 'had been in touch with what Mr. Fageol had been doing for over two years and … felt that the Fageol bus was attracting more favorable comment...than any other at this time.'

In August of 1924 Hall-Scott and Fageol of California had given a bankers' syndicate a one-year option to purchase their assets or a controlling interest in their stock. No action was taken and on August 8, 1925 the option expired.

ACF President William H. Woodin had been thinking along the same lines as Curwen and when he learned that Fageol and Hall-Scott’s shares were about to be available, came up with a complicated scheme to acquire a controlling interest in the two firms.

On May 5, 1925 J.G. Brill Co. acquired a controlling interest in the Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio which put it in a significantly better bargaining position with ACF’s Woodin, who wanted to buy all of Fageol’s operations.

Woodin and Curwen discussed the matter during June of 1925 and a plan was consummated whereby American Car & Foundry and Brill would combine their assets and put a deal together where they would control both Hall-Scott and the California and Ohio branches of Fageol. The complex transaction would result in the end of Brill’s autonomy but Curwen believed the resulting scheme was not only in the Brill Company’s best interest, but was in the best interests of its stockholders as well.

A surprising number of Fageol buses and bus chassis were delivered to Australian rail and surface transport operators due to the efforts of Fageol’s sales manager J.H. Fort. The arrival of the first Safety Bus to the continent was announced in the December 3, 1924 issue of the Adelaide Register:

“Luxurious Fageol Bus To Be Landed on Friday.

“The attention of the public is being forced more and more on to the question of motor transport, and as the private motor car has been greatly improved and developed during the past few years, so is the public motor bus being developed. On Tuesday the writer was informed by the South Australian agent for Republic and Fageol trucks, (Mr. F. B. Frinsdorf) that there would arrive in Adelaide by the Melbourne express on Thursday morning, the American representative of the Fageol truck (Mr. J. H. Fort) whose mission was to place that vehicle on the South Australian market. The first Fageol production to arrive in this State would be landed at Port Adelaide by the steamer Echuca on Friday morning, after which it would be assembled in readiness for a run to Victor Harbour. The heads of various public utilities and others would be invited to make the trip. This vehicle is described as being most luxurious in its appointments, with seating accommodation for 32 passengers, a speed of 60 miles an hour, Westinghouse brakes, Hall-Scott motor, and double springing, so that the bus rides equally comfortably with three as with 30 passengers. The bus is a single-decker, and it is stated that the manufacturers offer a reward of 10,000 dollars to anyone who can capsize it! Mr. Frinsdorf states that shipments of Republic trucks are due to reach Port Adelaide, in January."

An article in the August 23, 1925 Oakland Tribune providing additional details of his lengthy sales trip:


“Large Oakland Company Reports Sale to Australian Railways of Fleets of Busses, Parlor Cars, Chassis

“The Oakland, California, plant of the Fageol Motors Company is completing several additions and improvements to its already extensive plant. A two-story handsome brick administration building is being completed this week, which will give the executives, office force and engineering department much larger and commodious quarters. The present administration wing of the main building will be changed over into a production department, with offices for the factory superintendent. A recent survey shows that:

“The production of the Fageol Safety Coaches, both four and six cylinders, and also Fageol compound motor trucks in five capacities is increased practically every month, and as compared to last year, is an increase of over 100 per cent.

“The greatly increased production makes it necessary to employ a large crew of men and Fageol is recognized as being one of Oakland's foremost home industries.

“The California plant has produced and shipped over 150 complete coaches to the Kent, Ohio, plant to far this year to help out the demands made on the eastern factory, notwithstanding that the production at both the Kent, Ohio, chassis and body plants is being steadily increased.


“J.H. Fort, secretary and sales manager of the California company, has just returned from an eight months trip to Australia. Fort reports wonderful possibilities in that commonwealth for modern motor busses, especially Fageol safety coaches and he succeeded in selling the first all-American modern motor coach complete with body, ever seen in the commonwealth, a fleet of six-cylinder parlor cars to the South Australian Railways, a fleet of street car chassis to the Brisbane Tramway Trust, Queensland a number of chassis to independent operators in Sydney and other parts of New South Wales and also a fleet of Frisco double-deck busses to a large independent operator of Sydney. The first long distance bus run with modern equipment, has gone into service between Sydney and the new federal capital, 150 miles distant, with Fageol six-cylinder parlor cars, equipped with Westinghouse airbrakes. This equipment is attracting a great deal of attention throughout the commonwealth and is the beginning of an evolution in motor bus equipment there.

“They have consistently turned out a machine of such efficiency and durability that the last four years has witnessed a steady increase in press business from $1,200,000 to approximately $5,000,000. With the company firmly established in the field and with an increasing demand for motor busses, the continued growth of the Fageol company seems assured.

“The prosperous financial condition of the Fageol company is reflected in its securities listed on the San Francisco Stock Exchange, leading the field of industrial stock for the past several weeks.

“It is interesting to note that this company, which originated on the Pacific coast, has now assumed International proportion in that its products have been shipped to a number of foreign countries and recently created quite a sensation in London. An English motor Journal of recent issue devoted several pages to a full description of the Fageol debut In London, and it claims it as the acme of the luxurious highway transport.”

As the ink was drying on the aforementioned newspaper article a simple stock transaction resulted in the purchase of a considerable portion of Hall-Scott Motor Car Company stock by Brill and A.C.F., which was the first step in Curwen and Woodin’s four step plan.

On August 29, 1925 the directors of the American Car and Foundry Co. and J.G. Brill Co. agreed to purchase with their own cash reserves 667 shares of stock of Hall-Scott Motor Car Co. Out of a total of 1,000 shares outstanding (worth approximately $4 million), American Car and Foundry purchase 556 shares and J.G. Brill, 111 shares – the remaining 333 shares remained in the hand of third parties which included Hall-Scott’s directors and executives, of which a handful were directly connected with the Fageol Motors Co.

The remaining stock was held by various third parties, who were offered a substantial amount of money (or stock in ACF) for their shares earlier in the month. As the deadline approached an overwhelming majority of the shareholders approved of the swap and on August 29, 1925 A.C.F. and Brill were able to acquire approximately 66% of Hall-Scott’s shares. American Car & Foundry spent approximately $2.5 million J.G. Brill contributed about a half million ($500,000).

Step two occurred on Aug. 31, 1925 when the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio purchased the plant and inventories of the Fageol Motors Company of Cal. located at Kent, Ohio. The Fageol Motors Company of Ohio agreed to pay a minimum royalty of $75,000 per year and a maximum of $300,000 per year for 10 years or until a total of $3,000,000 has been paid to the Fageol Motors Co. of Cal. The Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio also obtained the exclusive rights to the distribution of Fageol products east of the Rocky Mountains.

The September 1, 1925 issue of the Oakland Tribune reported on the transaction as follows:

“Giant Motor Merger To Form Here

“Battle for Control of Fageol Company in Oakland Has Caused Jump of $15 Per Share on Wall Street

“Buying of Stock Seen As Move In Formation of Great Industry in Eastbay and Expansions on Large Scale

“A merger of giant industries, affecting millions of dollars invested in Oakland and foreshadowing future expansions was forecast today in the New York stock market which turned its eyes upon Oakland as the focal point for a battle for control of the Fageol Motor Company of Oakland.

“Fageol common stock jumped to $15 per share today.

“The battle for Fageol, following close upon the heels of the purchase of the Hall-Scott Motor Company of Oakland by the American Car & Foundry Company, is asserted to be another move in the formation of a gigantic industry centered in Oakland with millions invested and with future expansion on a large scale.


“The price of the Hall-Scott company at its recent purchase was between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000, half in cash and the other half in stock of the American Car & Foundry company. As the Fageol company used many Hall-Scott motors and had close business connections with that concern and were practically inter-dependent, it is asserted that the control of the Hall-Scott was but a prelude to the control of the other, making one great concern.

“That there is intense rivalry for participation in Oakland industry is shown in the feverish movements in the New York stock market where it is asserted that both the American Car & Foundry company and the J.G. Brill company of Philadelphia, have clashed in competition for the control of Oakland’s motor bus plant.

“The entrance of the Brill company into the field, it is prophesized, may boost the securities of the Oakland concern even higher.


“The Brill company is known to have made an offer for the Fageol holdings about eight days ago, but was refused. New York dispatches intimate that this concern may have gone into the market to gather in the 20,000 loose shares said to be available, thus precipitating the battle.

“Pending final reports, it is admitted that control of the company may have passed in the fluctuations of the buying, but this is denied by many.

“The battle for the control of Fageol, it is admitted, is a logical sequel to the Hall-Scott purchase, and there are rumors that other vehicular industries, outside the biggest auto corporations, may be involved.

“The actual purchase price of Fageol, it is admitted, would be several hundred thousand dollars, and observers assert that possibly a giant merger may be under way, involving more than $10,000,000 in Oakland industries.”

Step three of the ACF-Brill takeover commenced on September 29, 1925 when J.G. Brill’s board of directors authorized President Samuel M. Curwen to form a holding company with American Car & Foundry Co. whose purpose was to acquire a controlling interest in Hall-Scott, the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio, and the corporately unrelated Fageol Motors Company in Oakland. A maximum amount was set at $1.5 million which included the previous $500,000 already spent on Hall-Scott shares one month earlier.

In the midst of the ongoing corporate negotiations with ACF and Brill, the Fageol brothers lost their beloved father, John. A small obituary was included in the October 21, 1925 issue of the Oakland Tribune:

“FAGEOL — in St. Helena, California. October 20, 1925. John J. Fageol, husband of Mary M. Fageol and father of Rollle B.,William B., Frank R., and Claud H. Fageol and Hazel Fageol Martin, and brother of Fred Fageol, Mrs. Mary Jamison, and Mrs. Lena Wilson. A native of Illinois, aged 70 years, 11 months, 5 days.

“Funeral services at the chapel of the California Crematory, 4499 Piedmont avenue, Oakland, Thursday, October 23, 1925, at 2:45 o'clock p. m. Remains at the chapel of Grant D. Miller, 2372 E. 14th street, Oakland, until 1:30 o'clock p. m., Thursday."

On October 15, 1925 a majority of outstanding preferred and common stockholders of The Fageol Motors Company, of Ohio, accepted an offer by J.G. Brill Co. to exchange their holdings for stock in a new corporation to be organized at a later date. However the sale or exchange of the stock of the corporately unrelated, but similarly-named firm in Oakland was another matter entirely. The November 20, 1925 issue of the Oakland Tribune provided details of the proposed takeover of the Fageol’s Oakland operation:


“Stockholders of Fageol Motors will receive in a day or so details of the plan worked out by American Car and Foundry and J.G. Brill & Company to merge Fageol into a new company which it is reported will yield stockholders $14 a share of the new securities for each share of common stock. The plan approval of two-thirds of the stockholders, but it is believed this will be forthcoming. A new company, Fageol-Hall-Scott Motor Company will be formed. It is planned, with capitalization of 100,000 shares of $100 par value preferred stock and 300,000 shares of no par value common, but which it is expected will have a market value of $50 a share.

“Stockholders of the present Fageol Company will receive, it is understood, the full par value of $10 on the common and in addition will be given an additional amount of approximately $4 a share for the surplus of the company, which is being determined by an auditor at present.

“The stockholders will receive one new share of $50 common for each five shares of $10 common now held and one new share of $100 preferred for each twenty-five shares of common held. This makes the common worth $14 in the exchange. The preferred stockholders will receive one new share of preferred for each ten shares now held at the closing. In the event the proposal is not ratified, the company will receive a royalty from the Fageol Motor Company of Ohio on each bus the new company manufactures inasmuch as the Fageol of Ohio has ratified the deal, final approval having been given yesterday.”

Although President Louis H. Bill and most officers and directors of the California branch of Fageol supported the deal, many Oakland-based shareholders were reluctant to relinquish control of the firm, and the deal was not accepted by the required two-thirds majority. Consequently, Fageol Motors Co. did not take part in the ACF-Brill merger/takeover and remained unaffected by the goings-on of the similarly-named firm in the east as did its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Fageol Motor Sales Co.

However ACF & Brill were able to acquire 90% of the Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio’s shares and on December 23, 1925 step three was completed and the American Car and Foundry Motors Company (ACF Motors) was incorporated in the state of Delaware. Although the new firm did not own any property, it controlled, through stock ownership, the Hall-Scott Motor Car Co. and the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio.

At a meeting of its board of directors on December 31, 1925 resolutions were passed approving the acquisition by the American Car and Foundry Motors Company of the entire capital stock of the Hall-Scott Motor Car Company and The Fageol Motors Company from their respective stockholders in exchange for the issuance to the latter of preferred and common stock of the American Car and Foundry Motors Company.

The fourth, and final step of the ACF-Brill takeover took place on January 26, 1926 when a Delaware holding company named the Brill Corporation was formed for the purpose of acquiring the entire stock of the American Car & Foundry Motors Co., and the J.G. Brill Company.

Brill Corp.’s American Car & Foundry Motors Co. subsidiary owned 100% of Hall-Scott Motor Car Co. and 90% of Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio. ItsJ.G. Brill Co. subsidiary owned 100% of the American Car Co.; the Kuhlman Car Co.; the Wason Mfg. Co; and Cie J.G. Brill.

The January 6, 1926 issue of the Oakland Tribune explained the recent transactions to their interested readers:

“Hall and Fageol Made Officials of New Concern

“New York, Jan. 6. — (AP) — The American Car and Foundry Motors Company, which recently was organized to take over control of the Hall-Scott Motor Car Company of Berkeley and the Fageol Motor Companv of Oakland and Fageol Motors Company of Kent, Ohio, today announced that W.H. Woodin has been named chairman of the board of directors and C.S. Hall, president.

“Colonel E.J. Hall, one of the co-designers of the Liberty Aeroplane engine, and head of the Hall-Scott Company, was made a vice-president together with Horace Hager, W.L. Stancliffe, G.R. Scanlon and F.R. Fageol. H.C. Wick is secretary and S.A. Mallette, treasurer.

“The J. G. Brill Company of Philadelphia, builders of municipal railway cars, through its interest in the Hall-Scott and Fageol Companies, is represented on the board of directors by …..”

“F.R. Fageol, noted bus designer and builder, is vice-president in charge of sales, with headquarters in New York.”

The February 10, 1926 issue of the Oakland Tribune announced that:

“Fageol Motors Had Good Year

“Gross sales of Fageol Motors in 1925 were $5,345,688, while profits before charges were $546,214, and net profit was $310,124, according to the report of President L. H. Bill at the annual meeting of stockholders yesterday afternoon. Charges included $111,988 for reserve; $65,848 for federal taxes, and $37,651 for dividends, including checks mailed this month. The surplus as of December 31 last was $511,142. President Bill said that the company's outlook for 1926 on the Pacific coast, Hawaii, Australia and Central America is promising. He reported that during the last year the company had placed three new models on the market.

“In its contract with American Car & Foundry Fageol will receive a minimum royalty amounting to $75,000 in 1926, it is reported. There were no changes in officers or directors.”

On March 22, 1926 the Associated Press announced that American Car & Foundry Motors was consolidating its bus-building operations in Detroit:

“Motor Co. Plant To Be In Detroit

“Huge Combine Will Have Central Factory in Eastern City

“(Associated Press Leased Wire)

“DETROIT, March 22. - The American Car and Foundry Motors Company, combining the resources and staff of the Fageol Motors Company of Kent, Ohio, and the Hall-Scott Motors Company of Berkeley, is a $24,000,000 development, will have its main plant for the manufacture of motor busses and motor coaches here, S.C. Sale, president, announced today.

“The American Car and Foundry plant, occupying 45 acres here, will begin operations at once, building up in 60 days to a schedule of 15 completed units dally.

“Col. E. J. Hall, collaborator with Col. Jesse G. Vincent in designing the Liberty motor, will be vice-president of engineering in charge of operations. F.R. Fageol will be vice-president in charge of sales with headquarters in New York.

“The J.G. Brill & Co. of Philadelphia, builders of municipal railway cars, through its interest in the Hall-Scott and Fageol companies, is represented in the new organization by its president, S.M. Curwen, who is director and member of the executive committee of the American Car & Foundry Motors Company.”

The news coincided with the placement of a full-page advertisement in the Detroit newspapers announcing the firm was commencing production of Fageol Safety Coaches in Detroit.

Apparently American Car & Foundry Motors continued their efforts to acquire the Oakland-based operations of Fageol Motors Co., the May 7, 1926 Associated Press newswire reporting:

“American Car Buys Fageol Motors, Said

“(Associated Press Leased Wire)

“New York, May 7.— Private dispatches received in Wall street from San Francisco state the sale of the Fageol Motor Company of California to American Car and Foundry again is reported as near completion. Directors of Fageol are understood to have approved an offer for exchange of stock, a decision on which is expected not later than May 10.”

Once again their efforts failed, the May 13, 1926 issue of the Oakland Tribune reporting:

“Fageol Motors common sold off 50 cents to $5.50 on strength of New York reports that American Car and Foundry had turned down its recent offer to sell or combine on a basis of $5.00 for Fageol. This would seem to have concluded the negotiations which have been under way for many months and which resulted in Fageol going from $3 to $15 a share during some exciting days last fall.”

Fageol announced a new entry in the light truck field in the August 15, 1926 issue of the Oakland Tribune:

“Oakland Firm Outs New Light Truck On Show

“Fog of mystery, which has completely surrounded a rumor recently current that the Fageol Motors Company would come forward with a new truck, has been suddenly lifted to disclose Fageol's entry into the light truck field.

“The Fageol ‘Flyer’, which is announced today and which is on display at the Fageol Motors Company salesrooms, East Twelfth street at Eighth Avenue, is a truck of one to two or more tons capacity and according to the announcement, marks a radical departure in light truck production in that it is characterized as being of ‘heavy duty design’.

“‘Heavy duty design’, in the words of T.L. Baumgartner, Fageol branch manager, means that the Flyer's, engineering is based upon that of Fageol trucks of greater tonnage, the basic thought underlying its conception being to produce a truck of unusual strength and stamina, according to Baumgartner.

“The great strength of the Flyer, as well as its other qualities, is evidenced by its specifications.

“It is powered by a Waukesha four cylinder motor having a-four inch bore and five inch stroke and is fitted with the popular Ricardo head, the English invention controlled exclusively by the Waukesha Motors Company. This head has as its feature a high turbulence combustion chamber which, it is claimed, increases engine power 15 to 20 per cent. Provision for atmospheric variations is made by a dynamic thermostat –controlled intake manifold which permits even motor operation under all condition.”

The October 31, 1926 issue of the Oakland Tribune announced Fageol’s a plan to construct trucks and buses in Australia:

“Fageol Motors Planning Plant in Australia

“Fageol Motors of Oakland now is conducting negotiations with Australian interests looking to the setting up of a plant in Australia for the manufactured of Fageol trucks and buses. Fageol proposes to retain 50 per cent common stock control in the new company, to furnish executive and technical experts at a charge of 10 per cent based on earnings, to distribute the preferred and half the common stock in Australia, and to grant rights for all Fageol patents, according to Dow Jones & Co.”

Fageol’s balance sheet for 1926 appeared in the March 21, 1927 issue of the Oakland Tribune which also announced a pending lawsuit with the Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio:

“Fageol Sales in 1926 Reported at $2,693,586

“Lawsuit to Collect $120,000 for Supplies Follows Sale of Ohio Plant

“Sales of Fageol Motors Company for 1926 are reported at $2,693,586 and net profit before dividend at $141,394, according to the annual report of President R. B. Bill.

“Aftermath of the sale of the Ohio Chassis plant at Kentfield, Ohio in 1925 to American Car and Foundry Company is a lawsuit for $120,000 against Fageol Motors Company of Ohio on alleged failure to pay for supplies delivered.A letter to stockholders today contains this account of trouble and of trade prospects generally.

“Our balance sheet shows that after paying our preferred dividends we have added to our surplus some $25,000. We have also set up a reserve of $50,000 for lawsuit. This $50.000 was really additional earningand should rightfully appear in….. We have been fortunate in our dealings with American Car and Foundry Motors Company who have refused to pay us for merchandise sold to the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio, to the amount of $120.000. We have been compelled to file a lawsuit against the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio to collect this amount, and for the purpose of prosecuting this suit we lm e set up this reserve of $50,000.

“The year 1925 was a difficult one for this company. Selling the Ohio bus plant left us with an overstock of merchandise, which has been reduced since then by nearly $500,000. However, there was some shrinkage and also we had to pay interest to carry this merchandise.

“In the meantime the truck business has undergone a change, in that the trade demands six-cylinder motors instead of four cylinders, and this has necessitated a new layout for each model of truck. Also, there is a decided demand here for six-wheel trucks for heavy duty service and we have developed a six-wheel truck of a ten-ton capacity. We have also added to our line of trucks a ton and a half model. We expect to resort at the next annual meeting that we have increased our sales of trucks from 322 in 1326 to 730 during 1927.”

ACF’s move from Kent, Ohio to Detroit, announced earlier in the year, coincided with Frank R. Fageol’s resignation as vice-president of sales at American Car & Foundry Motors Co., a move that was prompted by the firm’s refusal to build his latest coach, a twin-engine flat-floored transit coach he christened the ‘Twin Coach’. Construction of the 43-seat prototype ‘Twin Coach’ commenced in the Fageol Motors Co. plant in Oakland and Frank and William Fageol set about arranging for the purchase of the now-vacant Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio factory located at 789 Stow St., Kent, Ohio from ACF Motors.

In collaboration with Paul H. Brehm, the Fageols formed the Twin Coach Co. in January of 1927 with Frank R. Fageol, president; William B. Fageol, vice-president and Paul H. Brehm, secretary-treasurer. Brehm’s father was a well-known Minneapolis truck distributor (Brehm-McMullen Co.) and Paul had served as manager of the Minneapolis Fageol Safety Coach office. Twin Coach’s formation was announced on April 14, 1927 via the Associated Press Newswire:

“Plans Kent Bus Concern

“Cleveland, O., April 14—(AP) Frank. R. Fageol, who established the Fageol Company in Kent, O., several years ago, which later was sold to the American Car and Foundry Company and moved to Detroit, plans to re-establish a bus company In Kent.”

The June 30, 1927 issue of the New York Times reported that lawsuit between the Oakland, Calif. and Kent, Ohio Fageol operations had been settled out of court:

“FAGEOL SUIT SETTLED; Action Against Ohio Company and American Car Canceled.

“The suit instituted by the Fageol Motors Company against the Fageol Motors Company of Ohio and the American Car and Foundry Motors Company has been cancelled and an amicable settlement has been effected by L.H. Bill, President of the Fageol Motors Company, it was announced yesterday. The statement adds that the amounts due the Fageol Motors Company, as well as past due royalties, are being paid, and that the company has allowed a satisfactory amount to take care of field service.

“The agreement between the Fageol Motors Company and the Ohio Company called for a minimum annual royalty of $75,000 and a maximum of $300,000, until such time as $3,000,000 in royalties had been paid to the parent company.

“For the last eight months negotiations have been underway with the American Car and Foundry Motors Company, which has acquired all the stock of the Ohio Company. The proposal of the purchasing company contemplated the exchange of the securities of the parent company for the securities of the American Car and Foundry Motors Company, no cash consideration being involved.”

On July 31, 1927, a little more than six months after the formation of the firm, the first prototype Twin Coach rolled out of the old Fageol Motors Co. factory in Oakland.Twenty-five orders were received in a short time and within the year the firm had delivered several hundred of the new vehicles.

The rest of the Twin Coach story is located on the Twin Coach page.

In 1928 Charles C. Pyle, the legendary sports promoter, agent and huckster, sponsored a coast-to-coast foot race with $48,500 in prizes to be awarded the top finishers, with the winner getting $25,000 of the total. Accompanying the 275 entrants was Pyle’s travelling P.T. Barnum-style sideshow from which Pyle hoped to make his profit. Pyle outlined his business plan as follows:

“It will be the greatest free show ever offered the American public. The runners will go through hundreds of towns, each of which will be assessed for advertising. Thousands will flock to these towns to see the runners. We'll sell them programs and tickets to our traveling side show.”

Pyle chose a luxuriously appointed double-deck Fageol Safety Coach for his travelling headquarters which was outfitted with a mobile broadcast studio to keep the public abreast of progress of the contestants. The coach was outfitted with reclining blue mohair chairs that converted into beds, a lavatory and shower, a kitchen with a sink, stove and refrigerator, and a mobile office with a collapsible table, writing desk, phonograph and radio set. The rear sleeping compartment was fitted with two double Pullman-style convertible seats that slept four. The open second-floor observation platform was fitted with a windscreen and transformable awning with seating for six as well and compartments that held the water and propane tank that fueled the on-board stove, refrigerator and water heater.

The March 1928 issue of Bus Age described the reportedly $25,000 coach, which was christened ‘America’ as a: “De Luxe Traveling Coach” with “complete transportation, sleeping, bathing, eating, and toilet facilities for fourteen people.” A second Twin Coach motor coach accompanied the first, upon which rode the numerous ‘race officials’ and ‘reporters’ that accompanied the runners who spent each night in a travelling tent city that accompanied the side-show caravan.

The side show component of Pyle’s ‘Bunion Derby’ failed to turn a profit and the ‘Most Stupendous Athletic Accomplishment in All History’ lost a reported $150,000.

In addition to rolling stock, ACF's Jackson & Sharp plant in Wilmington, Delaware produced boats for the navy, and after the war switched production to tugboats, schooners, yachts and cruisers, some of the latter being equipped with a pair of 150 h.p. Hall-Scott Invader inboard engines making 300 h.p. The firm’s standard ACF Cruiser-Runabout was available in 29’-38’ lengths while its yachts were produced in 38’, 46’ and 68’ lengths with bespoke multi-deck units up to 115 tons available on special order. The smaller 29’ cabin cruiser was the water-born equivalent of a Cadillac and priced accordingly at $2,000 and up (not including the engine). The firm's cusomt-built yachts were significantly more expensive and were priced in the $20,000-$50,000 range depending on size and equipment.

Known ACF yacht owners include; E. I. DuPont; Ellwood R. Kirby; Edward F. Hainke; Stephen H. Hunt; F.V. Deslodge, Sr.; Catherine Adkinson; Robert M. Maguire and C. S. Carroll. During the late 20s and early thirties they had an ‘ACF New York Marine Salon’ located at 217 W. 57th St., bet. 7th Ave. & Broadway.

September 26, 1931 New York Times:

“C.R. WOODIN, 86, RAIL PIONEER, DIES; Father of American Car and Foundry Head Was on Executive Board of Company. Well Known in Industry - Gained Wide Reputation in Early Life as President of Jackson & Woodin Firm.

“A native of Cambra, Luzurne County, Pa., he had been associated during most of his early life with the Jackson & Woodin Manufacturing Company, of which he was president from 1872 to 1894, when he resigned because of poor health.

“Although retiring from active management of the Jackson & Woodin Company, he retained his interest in it, and when it became one of the large plants of the American Car & Foundry Company, he became a member of the executive committee.

“He had been married for sixty-five years. His widow, who was Mary Louise Dickerman, and his son, William H. Woodin, are the only survivors.”

American Car & Foundry Motors was known for their well-built vehicles and they continued production of the proven Hall-Scott powered Fageol-based coaches into the early 1930s with catalog coachwork supplied by the Lang Body Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

The firm’s first under-floor transit coach, the ‘Metropolitan’ debuted in 1929 with a choice of traditional gasoline or hybrid gas-electric power which was joined by a smaller front-engined Hercules-engined transit coach in 1931.

Approximately 25 heavy-duty ACF trucks were produced between 1931-1932 based on a modified Safety Coach framed and equipped with a choice of Hall-Scott 160- or 175- h.p. engines.

Slow sales caused the relocation of bus-building activities from Detroit to ACF’s Berwick, Penn. facility in late 1932. Production of the decade-old Fageol-based coaches and trucks were discontinued as was the small Hercules-engined transit coach that debuted in 1931.

On March 3, 1933 the New York Times announced that ACF president William H. Woodin had been selected as Franklin D. Roosevelt's new Secretary of the Treasury:

“WOODIN RESIGNS BUSINESS POSTS; Quits as Head of American Car and Foundry to Enter Roosevelt's Cabinet. C.J. HARDY SUCCEEDS HIM Son of New Secretary of Treasury Elected a Director -- Stancliffe Also Joins Board.

“William H. Woodin, who is to be the new Secretary of the Treasury, resigned as president of the American Car and Foundry Company yesterday and severed his official connections with the other corporations with which he has been associated for many years, the company announced.

“At yesterday’s meeting of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Board of New York Mr. Woodin tendered his resignation from the board and it was accepted. As Secretary of the Treasury he will automatically become ex-officio member and chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

“Charles J. Hardy, who has served for twenty-five years as general counsel, director and member of the executive committee of the American Car & Foundry Company and is senior member of the law firm of Hardy, Stancliffe & Hardy, was elected to succeed Mr. Woodin as president of the car and foundry company and its affiliates. Mr. Woodin’s resignation, required by law for him to become Secretary of the Treasury, was accepted with regret by his associates.

“Mr. Hardy, the new president, praised ‘Mr. Woodin’s able management’ and said that as a result of it the company ‘is in position to cope with the many problems and the undeniable difficulties today facing all industrial concerns.’

“‘It will be my primary object,’ Mr. Hardy continued, ‘to continue his wise program, conservative yet progressive, coordinating into the closest and most efficient union the many units of an organization, to the end that the company may take full and early advantage of every opportunity to serve the transport systems of this country and so to further the interests of its stockholders.’

“Together with his father, Mr. C.R. Woodin was one of the founders in 1899 of the American Car and Foundry Company and he had been its president since 1916. During the War he turned the company into a vast munitions plant, which supplied the government with mobile gun mounts, heavy gun forgings and rolling stock for the railroads.

“William C. Dickerman, president of the American Locomotive Company, was selected to succeed Mr. Woodin as member of the executive committee of the American Car and Foundry Company, the American Car and Foundry Export Company and the American Car and Foundry Securities Corporation. William H. Woodin Jr., was elected a director of the American Car and Foundry Company and subsidiaries and Noah A. Stancliffe was elected director to replace Oscar B. Cintas, who was recently appointed Cuban Ambassador to the United States.

“The chairmanship of the board of the American Locomotive Company, vacated by Mr. Woodin’s resignation, will not be filled, the company announced, and the position has been abolished. Mr. Hardy was elected a director of the executive committee to fill the vacancies created by Mr. Woodin’s retirement.”

Woodin was featured on the cover of the Mar. 20, 1933 issue of Time Magazine and a short item was contained within entitled:

“THE CABINET: Off Bottom.

“When the Press trooped in to see what manner of man this was that President Roosevelt had called from the Presidency of American Car & Foundry to run the Treasury at a moment of greatest national emergency, they found small William Hartman Woodin, his eyes as blue as his shirt and collar, his cupid mouth pursed in an easy little smile, sitting informally on the edge of his desk, swinging his legs. Piped a pert newshawk: "Mr. Secretary, you're in a pretty hot spot, aren't you?"

A lifelong Republican, Woodin became associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt while serving as a trustee for the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, and the two became close friends thereafter, with Woodin serving as an advisor on the soon-to-be President’s 1932 Election campaign. His tenure as Secretary of the Treasury was cut short when a serious throat infection prompted a leave of absence in November of 1933 and for much of his tenure, Under Secretary Dean Acheson served as Acting Secretary of the Treasury.

Although he spent the winter in Arizona, Woodin's condition failed to improve and he resigned his position as Secretary of the Treasury effective January 1, 1934 and passed away five months later on May 3, 1934.

American Car & Foundry Company's board of directors elected Charles J. Hardy, the senior member of the law firm of Hardy, Stancliffe & Hardy as Woodin's replacement. For the previous 25 years Hardy had served as general counsel, director and member of the executive committee of ACF.

When ACF Motors bus production resumed in 1933 a new line of conservatively styled under-floor Hall-Scott powered transit coaches debuted that served as the firm’s main lineup until a dramatically restyled-line was introduced in 1937. The new streamlined transit coaches were available with seating for 26, 31, 36, 41, or 45 passengers and an even more attractive line of intercity coaches were offered in 25, 29, or 37-passenger capacities. Production increased and the line remained unchanged into 1942 when the Berwick plant completely changed over to War production.

During the War American Car and Foundry became the nation’s largest producer of armor plate and its various subsidiaries produced tanks, trucks, aircraft subassemblies, artillery shells, armor plate, hospital cars and railroad cars for the US Government and its Allies.

During the buildup ACF’s Berwick plant was refitted to manufacture the M-1 Stuart tank for the United States government. On August 2, 1941, a celebration was held when the 1000th M-1 tank rolled off the assembly line and by war’s end had produced 15,000 M-1, M-3 and M-5 tanks.

Pacific Car & Foundry constructed M55 self-powered Howitzers and 1,300 M26A1 6x6 trucks – the tractor portion of the famous M25 heavy tank transporter - recovery vehicle that was affectionately known as the ‘Dragon Wagon’.

Although for all intents and purposes American Car & Foundry Motors and Brill had been operating as a cohesive unit for well over a decade, they were never consolidated although runmors began to appear in late 1940, the December 8, 1940 edition of the Oakland Tribune reporting:

“Amer. Car-Brill Merger Proposed

“NEW YORK, Dec. 7.—Stockholders of Brill Corporation and American Car & Foundry Motors Company have been called to a special meeting January 8 to act on a merger plan recommended by directors. Charles J. Hardy, president of each company, announced today. Brill Corporation will be the surviving concern, according to the plan.

“The proposal contemplates that Brill Corporation will become an operating company with manufacturing activities centered in Pennsylvania and, through its holding of Hall-Scott Motor Car Company stock, also a holding company.

“At present American Car & Foundry Motors Company controls Hall-Scott Motor and is in turn controlled by the Brill Corporation. American Car & Foundry Company owns about 65 per cent of the class B voting stock of the Brill Corporation.”

Charles J. Hardy resigned the presidency in April of 1944 and Frederick A. Stevenson, a 40-year employee of the firm, was elected president. One of Stevenson's first decisions was to combine the interests of ACF Motors and Brill, the merger being finalized that July, the July 16, 1944 Oakland Tribune reporting:

“A.C.F.-Brill Offer Stock

“Philadelphia, July 15. – (AP) – The A.C.F.-Brill Motors Company, N.Y., registered today with the Securities and Exchange Commission 280,138 shares of $2.50 par value common stock to be offered at $12.50 per share to warrant holders prior to 1950 and at $15 between 1950 and 1955.

“Warrants are to be issued to holders of ‘B’ stock of the Brill Corporation and to common stockholders of American Car and Foundry Motors Company.

“Merger Agreement

“The new company formed under a June 19 agreement between American Car & Foundry Motors Company and the Brill Corporation, owns no physical properties but is the sole stockholder of its operating companies – the F.G. Brill Company, Philadelphia; the A.C.F. Motors Company; Hall-Scott Motor Car Company, Berkeley, Calif., and the Fageol Motors Company, manufacturers of trolley coaches, steel metal pressings and engines.

“American Car and Foundry Company and a subsidiary, American Car and Foundry Investment Corporation, will own about 45 per cent of the common stock under the merger agreement, exclusive of the 280,138 shares registered for purchase on the exercise of warrants. American car and Foundry Investment will also he issued warrants for 178,072 shares of common stock under the merger agreement. A total of 1,250,000 shares are authorized to be issued.

Officers of the Firm:

“Officers of the company are Charles J. Hardy, New York, chairman of the board; Ronald L. Monroe, Philadelphia, president; Lester A. Blackford, New York, vice-president, and K. L. Oerter, Philadelphia, secretary and treasurer.”

In 1944 Canadian Car and Foundry, a similarly-named but unrelated firm entered into a licensing agreement with ACF-Brill to manufacture and distribute buses and trolley coaches of ACF-Brill design in Canada under the Canadian Car-Brill or CCF-Brill trade name. Between 1944 and 1954 Canadian Car and Foundry’s plant in Fort William, Ontario constructed 1,114 trolley busesand a couple of thousand buses under the agreement.

Although ACF's motor buses were highly regarded by it their users, they never got above fifth place in sales and at War's end, the newly-organized ACF-Brill  Motors Co. was put up for sale. Ripe with cash from massive wartime contracts, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. purchased all of American Car & Foundry's bus building divisions from A.C.F. in early 1946, the February 1, 1946 of the Altoona Mirror announcing:

“Consolidated Purchases Brill And Subsidiary

“NEW YORK, Feb. 1.—Consolidated Vultee Aircraft corporation, announced today it has purchased controlling interest in A.C.F.-Brill Motors company, Philadelphia, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hall-Scott Motor company, Berkeley, Calif., from the American Car and Foundry company for about $7,600,000 cash.

“Irving E. Babcock, chairman of Consolidated, said the purchase is part of a post-war diversification move by the company, one of the nation's largest producers of Aircraft.

“Consolidated will acquire from American Car 445,139 of the 962,378 common shares outstanding of A.C.F.-Brill, and 160,464 warrants of 280,044, outstanding. Each warrant carries the right to purchase one common share at $12.50 to Jan. 1, 1960, and $15 to Jan. 1, 1955.

“Babcock, who is expected to become chairman of Brill, has been engaged in motor truck and bus production for more than twenty-five years. Until a year ago, he was president of Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing company and a vice president of General Motors corporation.

“Ronald R. Monroe, president of Brill, will continue in that capacity, Babcock said.

“Brill is currently building two models of buses, one for city – and the other for inter-city operation.

“The company's backlog of unfilled orders is said to be more than $50,000,000. Plant facilities include 804,000 square feet of space on 29 acres of ground in Philadelphia.

“Brill has a license agreement with Canadian Car and Foundry company, whereby the latter produces Brill designs for the Canadian market. American Car and Foundry, in divesting itself of all interest in Brill, will not manufacture buses or trolley coaches for city operation, or buses, for inter-city operation, Babcock said.

“The Hall-Scott, company, at Berkeley, Calif., produces bus, marine and industrial engines. Babcock said surplus plant capacity of the aircraft company may be used to augment Brill's facilities.”

Consolidated Vultee was formed in 1943 by the merger of Vultee Aircraft and Consolidated Aircraft companies. Consolidated was best known for its B-24 Liberator heavy bomber and PBY Catalina flying boat. The Vultee Aircraft Co. was a former AVCO subsidiary named after Gerard F. Vultee that constructed the V-72 Vengeance and P-66 Vanguard aircraft during the early stages of the Second World War.

The February 2, 1946 issue of the Oakland provided details of the acquisition which directly affected the operations of the Hall-Scott Motor Car Co. in nearby Berkeley, Calif.:

“Hall-Scott Motor Car Company out in Berkeley which has built truck and marine engines for a good any years was sold to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation the other day for $7,500,000. The purchase price includes the controlling interest in the A.C.F.-Brill Motors Company of Philadelphia of which Hall-Scott is a subsidiary.

“Both the Berkeley and the Philadelphia companies were owned by the American Car and Foundry Company. A.C.F.-Brill is one of the largest United States manufacturers of motor busses, trolley coaches, and specialized engines.

“The purchase marks the first entrance by a major aircraft company into the field of automotive surface transportation. Consolidated, as so many of you guys know, built the now famous PBY ‘Cats’ which did such yeoman duty during the war. Consolidated-Vultee also built many other types of heavy aircraft for such duties as anti-sub patrol, training and reconnaissance, and Army and Navy bombardment craft. Somewhere in the group are the famous B-24 ‘Liberators’.

“It is expected that Vultee will begin producing buses along with other types of heavy equipment shortly.”

ACF's president, Frederick A. Stevenson, retired in May of 1947 and Charles J. Hardy, Jr., former executive vice-president of ACF, was elected president. Hardy’s father, Charles J. Hardy Sr., remained as ACF board chairman.

The sale to Consolidate Vultee ended ACF-Brill's involvement with American Car and Foundry and the motor coach manufacturer now answered to the directors of Consolidated Vultee. All former ACF motor coach assets were transferred to Consolidated-Vultee's 4-year-old Nashville, Tennesee facility and bus production commenced in late 1945.

At the end of the War General Motors couldn’t keep up with the demand for their highly-regarded diesel transit coaches to the benefit of the nation’s smaller bus manufacturers such as ACF-Brill. Large fleets of gasoline–powered ACF-Brill transit coaches were sold to a handful of East Coast operators who were desperate for product, one example being the Baltimore Transit Co. who ordered 162 ACF-Brill gasoline coaches in 1947.

A small number of Willys-badged 15-17 passenger coaches were constructed in the late 1940s using chassis supplied by Willys-Overland, but the underpowered coaches were not successful. For a short period of time ACF-Brill’s trolley coaches proved popular with municipalities seeking to replace worn-out streetcars and a few large orders were placed by surface transit operators in Boston, Chicago, East St. Louis, Houston and other smaller cities.

A few orders trickled in for ACF-Brill's line of intercity coaches, which had enjoyed moderate success before the war, but like their main competitor, Flxible, post war sales disappeared once it became known that new Diesel-equipped GM Silversides were available.

Once their diesel transit coach operations got up to speed, it was nearly impossible to compete with General Motors and by 1952 orders for new ACF-Brill transit coaches dried up completely. ACF-Brill tried to break into the school bus market with a line of Brill-badged purpose-built school buses, but sales were disappointing at best. Flxible managed to stay in business into the late 1950s but Consolidated-Vultee's directors shut down all bus production in 1954. The firm's Nashville plant remained in operation producing television cabinets and airplance components into 1959 when it was taken over by AVCO.

© 2013 Mark Theobald for







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Bernard S. Katz & C. Daniel Vencil - Biographical Dictionary of the United States Secretaries of the Treasury, pub. 1996

Robert Sobel - Biographical Directory of the Executive Branch, 1774-1989, pub. 1990

Sally Bixby Defty  - Passionate Pursuits: William Keeney Bixby - Industrialist, Collector, Philanthropist, Traveler, pub. 2012 

Kaminsky, Edward S. American Car & Foundry Company 1899-1999, pub. 1999

Jackson & Sharp Car Company and American Car & Foundry Company Records, 1884 - 1948, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

Anthony J. Bianculli -Trains and Technology: The American Railroad in the Nineteenth Century, Volume 2: Cars, pub. 2002

Steve Hoskins - A Look at the Legendary ACF-Brill Buses, Motor Coach Age, October, 1965 issue

John H. White, Jr. - The American Railroad Freight Car, pub. 1993

Charlton E. Harper - Railway Car Builders of the United States & Canada, pub. 1957

J.H. Battle - History of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania, pub. 1887

Eli Bail - Frank Fageol and his Twin Coach, Bus World, Spring 1988 issue.

Eli Bail - Fageol, Motor Coach Age, Nov.-Dec. 1991 issue

Frederick A. Usher - Fageol’s Folly: An Automobile Superlative, Automobile Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 1

Andris Kristopans - Chicago Part 2: Chicago Transit Authority Takes Over: 1947–1958, Motor Coach Age, April–June 2000 issue

Winfield Scott Downs - National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. XLIII, pub. 1967

Edward Kaminski - American Car and Foundry Company, pub.1999

William Luke - Buses of ACF, pub. 2003

William Wagner - Continental!: Its Motors and Its People, pub. 1983

Bryan Hill - Made in Kent; the Fageol Bros. & The Twin Coach Co. (DVD)

Fred Farley - The Lou Fageol Story,

Ayer, Robert L. Ayer - Kenworth, Motor Coach Age, Vol. 33, No. 8/9, Aug.-Sep. 1981 issue

189 F.2d 704: ACF-Brill Motors Co. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Argued April 5, 1951, US Court of Appeals Cases F.2d, volume 189, published 1952

Frank R. Fageol - Problems in the Development of the Motor-Coach Body and Chassis, SAE Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, pub. 1927

Jim Reisler - Cash and Carry: The Spectacular Rise and Hard Fall of C.C. Pyle, America's First Sports Agent, pub. 2009

Harold W. Pace & Mark R. Brinker - Vintage American Road Racing Cars: 1950-1970, pub. 2004

Geoff Williams - C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America, pub. 2007

Eugene T. Sawyer - History of Santa Clara County, California, with Biographical Sketches, pub. 1922

Joseph Tyrone Derry- Story of the Confederate States, pub. 1895

Press Reference Library - Notables of the West; Vol. II, International News Service, pub. 1915

Bill Vossler – Fageol Tractor History Begins In the Midwest, Polk’s Antique Tractor Magazine, May-June, 1996 issue

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