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Uhlenhaut Bros.
Uhlenhaut Brothers Wagon Co., 1889-1921; St. Louis, Missouri
Associated Builders

Uhlenhaut Brothers Wagon Co. was founded by two American-born brothers of German descent, William A.F. (Andrew Frederick) Uhlenhaut & Henry H. Uhlenhaut. Their father, Heinrich Hermann Uhlenhaut was born in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony (Germany) in 1806. Apprenticed to a carpenter he relocated to Oldenburg where he became a master carpenter, marrying a local girl named Elisabeth Swaine (b. 1821, Oldenburg, Lower Saxony). The pair saved up their money and emigrated to the United States sometime prior to 1858. They established a residence in Caseyville, Illinois, just 15 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, where Heinrich found steady employment as a carpenter and cabinetmaker. While in Caseyville the union was blessed with the birth of two children, Henry H. (b.1858/59) and Wilhelm A.F. (b. Nov. 5, 1860).

The president of the firm, Wilhelm (aka William) Andrew Frederick Uhlenhaut was born in Caseyville, St. Clair County, Illinois, on November 5, 1860. Educated in the Caseyville public schools through 1876, he was apprenticed to a number of southern Illinois carriage builders for the next two years, completing his apprenticeship at the Kimball Carriage Works, in St Louis, Missouri. He enrolled in that city's Herdicks Technical Carriage Drafting School in 1878 during which time he was employed by the Yeckel Carriage Co. as a body builder. He completed his course of study in 1882 by which time he had been hired as a foreman (1881) with Herman H. Bothe, a position he kept until forming his own firm in 1889.

An 1887 description of Bothe's operation follows:

"H.H. Bothe.—Manufacturer of Omnibuses, Street Cars, Express, Mail and Business Wagons New York Trucks, Etc.; 1317, 1319 and 1321 North Ninth street.— This large and prosperous manufacturing establishment has been successfully conducted since 1876 when it was started by Mr. Bothe. The extensive premises, 100x150 feet, occupied by the factory, which is two stories in height, are completely equipped with all necessary plant and machinery and give employment to a force of from fifty to sixty skilled and experienced workmen. Here are manufactured omnibuses, street cars, express, mail, stake, baggage, grocers', cracker, dry goods, delivery, beer and pleasure wagons, New York trucks, etc. Mr. Bothe manufactures all the wagons and does all the repairing for the Pacific Express Co., has large orders from the American Express Co., Chicago, and made the large vans for the Cruttwell Storage and Moving Co., and the New York Storage Warehouse and Furniture Company of this city. He makes all kinds of heavy work and in all his departments the vehicles turned out by him are acknowledged to be first-class in every respect, and never fail to give satisfaction to his customers. His trade is very large and extends West, North and South to all States and Territories."

Little is known about his older brother, Henry H. Uhlenhaut, who ran the firms smithworks and served as Secretary. Born in 1858/1859 in Caseyville, Illinois (d. June 5, 1944), the 1880 US Census lists his occupation as carriage blacksmith.

The two brothers established their partnership, Uhlenhaut Brothers, in 1889, incorporating it as Uhlenhaut Bros. Wagon Company in 1906. An 1890 inspection by the State of Missouri Bureau of Labor revealed that the brother's plant encompassed 7,500 sq. ft. and employed 18 hands. The report lists 45 carriage and wagon factories active in St. Louis at that time.

Municipal records indicate the firm sold two hauling wagons to the St. Louis Fire Dept. in July of 1896 at a total cost of $525 and also exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition where they were awarded a premium for a tea and coffee wagon. On May 5, 1903 William A.F. Uhlenhaut was awarded US Patent No. 727,498, for a "cabinet attachment for milk-wagons", originally filed on December 3, 1902.

The firm manufactured various wagons and truck bodies for the region's numerous fired departments, one of which was featured in the April 15, 1908 issue of the Horseless Age:

"St. Louis Salvage Corps' Motor Wagon.

"We show herewith a motor wagon recently placed in service by the Underwriters' Salvage Corps, of St. Louis. It is built on a 40 horse power Locomobile chassis, and the body was designed by John Glanville, chief of the Underwriters' Salvage Corps, and built by Uhlenhaut Brothers, wagon makers, of St. Louis. The car carries twenty-seven tarpaulins or covers; eight men, two sitting in the front seat, two on each side seat, and two in the rear. There are five covers carried in each compartment in the rear, five covers carried in each compartment on the side, and there are two covers used for seat cushions, one on each side seat. On each side is carried a 2 1/2 gallon Babcock chemical extinguisher. In the basket are carried eight squilgee rubbers complete with handles, two brooms and two shovels. Over the basket there are four 6 foot ladders. These ladders are so arranged that they can be extended to two 11 foot ladders, or to one 21 foot ladder. There are two lanterns carried on the car, one on each side, and there is a tail light back of the basket. The bell on the car weighs 35 pounds, and is operated by a strap attached to the clapper, the bell itself remaining stationary. The gasoline tank is filled through a deck plate immediately under the bell. The transmission is filled and the running brake is adjusted by taking the floor boards out of the covered box on either side. The floor board is removable on either side, which gives ready access to the entire transmission. All the iron work on the body is composed of hand forgings, and is not brass plated, but covered with regular brass sheeting and brazed together. The gasoline tank holds 10 gallons. The actual weight of the car with eight men is 6,650 pounds. Each of the twenty-seven covers weighs 40 pounds.

"One of the cuts shows a rear view with the three compartments open. It will be noticed that the covers rest on a board that operates on rollers, and there will also be seen a handle on this board, whereby five covers are pulled out at once."

A small item included in the October, 1915 issue of the Hub indicated they were well known for their patent milk cabinets and wagons:


"Better business than this time last year is reported by the Uhlenhaut Bros.' Wagon Co., automobile bodies and business wagon manufacturers, and according to an official of the company, indications are for big business in the future. The firm, which was organized in 1889 as a co-partnership and incorporated in 1906, does repairing, painting and trimming of automobiles and wagons as well as makes patent milk cabinets. At the time of incorporation, W. A. F. Uhlenhaut was elected president. Mr. Uhlenhaut, who has conducted the business since its establishment, also is manager.

"The Uhlenhaut Co. was awarded a premium for designing and building a wagon for a prominent local tea and coffee concern the World's Fair year. Several years ago the company built the largest bottle beer wagon then in St. Louis for a large brewery."

For a number of years William served as President of St Louis' Carriage and Wagon Builders' Club. The firm's listing in Ware Bros. 1921 Vehicle Year Book follows:

"Uhlenhaut Bros. Wagon Co. 1322-24 Merchant St. Wm. A.F, Uhlenhaut,. pres., treas., gen'l mgr. and pur. agt.; H.H. Uhlenhaut, sec."

By that time the brothers were ready to retire and their 1322-24 Merchant St. factory was purchased by Jenkin-Guerin Inc., a lubricant distributor that remains in business today. The original factory is gone, having been demolished to make way for the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

William A. F. Uhlenhaut died April 16, 1944 at the age of 83. His partner and older brother, Henry H. Uhlenhaut, followed him 6 weeks later on June 5, 1944, aged 85.

© 2004 Mark Theobald -






John W. Leonard - The Industries of Saint Louis, pub 1887

Albert Nelson Marquis – The Book of St Louisans, pub 1906

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G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

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