H.F. Borbein & Co. - Borbein Auto Co. - 1899-1919 - St. Louis, Missouri


H. F. Borbein and Company made axles, wheels, chassis, and bodies on Cass Avenue starting in 1899.

Produced an electric automobile called the Borbein in 1901-1903. Also produced their own gas-powered vehicles from 1904-1909.

Borbein, Henry F. president


BORBEIN-St. Louis, Mlssouri-(1900,1904-1909}-ln 1899 H.F. Borbein & Company began manufacturing solid steel axles and artillery wood wheels at the corner of Ninth and Clark in St. Louis. In 1900, when his quarters became cramped there, Henry Borbein moved to Cass Avenue - and within a year was crowded again, but without sufficient capital to make another move. During 1900 he had built an electric runabout and caught the "automotive bug." Consequently, early in 1901, he joined forces with the Brecht Butcher's Supply Company, which had decided to establish an automotive sideline. Borbein served as manager of the Brecht Automobile Company from 1901 until October 1903 when he had the wherewithal to buyout Brecht, immediately changing the name of the product from Brecht to Borbein and announcing that he stood ready "to fill all outstanding orders." Like the latter-day Brechts, Borbeins were sold in diverse states of un­dress. Motors, tanks and connections were never supplied, but the rest varied according to model. Borbein's No. 26, for example, was a large 130-inch steel­framed touring car chassis "furnished ready for power with one coat of lead paint, with or without upholstering." No doubt Borbein's product was bought by both the backyard do-it-yourselfer and unimaginative entrepreneurs who wanted to get into manufacture the easy way. Precisely how long Borbein remained in business selling these quasi-kit cars is not known. Although he was pressed for receivership in August 1907, H.F. Borbein was still advertising late in 1909. Thereafter he continued in the automobile parts manufacturing field, selling out to his son Alfred Borbein in 1919.



For more information please read:

Four Wheels, No Brakes: A History of the Early Development of the Automobile in St. Louis (1990 by Auto Review Publications - Florissant, Missouri)pp17-19, 51-53

North St. Louis Business Men's Association - Who's Who in North St. Louis (1925 - St. Louis: A. S. Werremeyer) pp204

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