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George J. Mercer
George J. Mercer (b. February 1869 - d. Nov. 23, 1952)
Associated Firms
Model Body Corp., Klein & Mercer

The Model Body Corporation was a small Detroit-based body manufacturer that specialized in the production of sample automobile bodies for Detroit automobile manufacturers who couldn’t afford to have their own prototyping departments. They provided services similar to those provided by Creative Industries and ASC in more recent times.

The creative force behind the operation was George J. Mercer (b. Feb., 1869-d. Nov. 23, 1952), one of the most talented body engineers an designers of his day.

George John Mercer was born in England in February of 1869 to George and Emily (Newman) Mercer. In 1876 the Mercer family emigrated to the United States, locating in Eastern Pennsylvania where young George was attended the local schools. He was apprenticed to a carriage builder who sent him to New York City to attend the CBNA’s (Carriage Builder’s National Association) Technical School for Carriage Draftsmen and Mechanics, graduating in 1893.

He worked for a number of years as a draftsman and designer in several of Manhattan’s largest shops, becoming well acquainted with Jacob H. Klein, The Hub’s resident technical editor / carriage designer / draftsman. Published from 1858-1919, ‘The Hub’ was the nation’s earliest and longest running monthly trade publication for carriage builders. It was succeeded by ‘The Automotive Manufacturer’ in 1919.

George J. Mercer and Annie Alma Cowper were married in Manhattan on October 27, 1897, their marriage certificate lists George’s parents as George and Emily (Newman) Mercer; Alma’s as Fred L. and Flora (Donyles) Cowper. The 1900 US Census lists the couple at 439 West 99th Street,21st Ward, Borough of Manhattan, his birthdate February, 1869 in Pennsylvania, his occupation, carriage maker. Alma’s birthdate is given as September 1866, in England, her emigration year as 1886.

Most of Mercer’s employers are currently undocumented, however it is known that he served as chief body designer for the H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Company, of Syracuse, N.Y., from 1905-1908. The December 1907 issue of The Hub included the following tidbit:

“Carriage Draftsman Honored

“George J. Mercer, a draftsman favorably known to the carriage trade, but for the last two years chief body designer for the H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Company, of Syracuse, N.Y., will sail on December 14th for London, Eng., his native home. Mr. Mercer is on vacation and shortly before leaving Syracuse he was surprised by about seventy-five of his friends and fellow-employees, who presented him with a solid gold watch in remembrance of the esteem in which he was held. Mr. Mercer will, upon his return, continue in the service of the well-known automobile manufacturers.”

Mercer resigned from Franklin in 1909 to form his own body design studio in partnership with his old friend Jacob H. Klein - his position at Franklin being assumed by William H. Emond (whose biography is also included on this site). The 1910 US Census lists Mercer’s home address as 442 W. 180th Street, Manhattan as follows:

“George J. Mercer (b.1875, immigrated from England in 1876), his wife Alma, (b. 1872, immigrated from England in 1890) his occupation, designer of automobiles"

The two friends (Jacob H. Klein and George J. Mercer) were both graduates of the CBNA’s (Carriage Builder’s National Association) Technical School for Carriage Draftsmen and Mechanics, and were active in its Alumni Association which was formed in 1904. At that time the Alumni Association’s officers included: Andrew F. Johnson, president; Walter C. Yelton, vice-president; Jacob H. Klein, secretary and treasurer, and George J. Mercer, historian.

To the best of my knowledge Klein & Mercer was the nation’s first free-lance automotive design firm. The pair’s Columbus Circle office was located in the heart of New York’s automobile row at 1777 Broadway, New York, NY, one block north of A.T. Demarest’s new 9-story manufactory.

Mercer’s partner, Jacob H. Klein, was born in Weehawken, Union Township, Hudson County, New Jersey, in May 1870 to Matthias (b. in Germany) and Elisabeth (b. in Switzerland) Klein. He was named after his uncle, Jacob Klein, who worked as a blacksmith and introduced him to the carriage trade.

The 1870 US Census taken June 21st, 1870 – states he was 1/12 months old at the time. His father, Matthias, 34-yo born in Prussia, was a grocer, and his mother Elizabeth, 23-yo was born in Switzerland

Living in the same house was his uncle Jacob (28-yo, b. in Prussia), a blacksmith, his aunt Joan (24-yo, born in New Jersey) and their daughter Anna M. Klein, 2-yo, born in New Jersey.

The 1900 US Census lists Jacob H. Klein’s home address as 1020 Eleventh Street, Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey, his occupation, draughtsman. States he was born in New Jersey in May, 1870 to two German immigrants, as was his wife Elizabeth (b. May 1872). The couple had two children; Raymond L.(b.1900) and Marie E. Klein (b.1905) and their listing in the 1930 US Census lists their home address as 1124 5th Ave., North Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey with Jacob’s listed occupation as draftsman, automobile bodies.

The July 7, 1909 issue of the Horseless Age contained a brief item on the new firm:

“Klein & Mercer have established themselves as expert body draftsmen at 1777 Broadway and will prepare drawings for automobile bodies for both commercial and pleasure vehicles.”

Both partners had spent many years honing their skills in the drafting departments of Manhattan’s finest carriage builders, and were occasional guest lecturers at Andrew F. Johnson’s carriage drafting classes.

Klein & Mercer’s central location put them in walking distance of most of Manhattan’s high class automobile distributors. The pair could meet with a prospective client at the distributor’s showroom and have a sketch ready within 24 hours. Upon approval, the required body drafts would then be completed within a couple of days, after which they would be delivered to a metropolitan New York coachbuilder of the customer’s choosing.

Klein & Mercer were not the only freelance body designers in Manhattan at that time. George W. Cole, George P. Harvey, Leon Rubay and J. Franklin deCausse offered similar services during the teens, which ultimately led to the establishment of the world-famous LeBaron Carrossiers in 1920.

After a number of years, Klein left the partnership, which was continued by his junior partner, George J. Mercer. The sign on his door read ‘Automobile Body Architecture’, and he advertised his services in the leading trades of the day. One listing from 1916 follows:

“Body Designers

“GEORGE J. MERCER - Body Designer and Draughtsman. Special Designs and Shop Drawings of Pleasure and Commercial Automobile Bodies. 1789 BROADWAY, New York, NY.”

Mercer remained in Manhattan until 1918 when he relocated to Detroit to become a consultant for the Saxon Motor Car Company. Mercer continued to freelance, and maintained a separate office in the Stormfeltz-Lovely Bldg, 7310 Woodward Ave. at Grand Boulevard, Detroit. When he wasn’t busy designing automobile bodies, Mercer spent his spare time writing about them.

Between 1910 and 1942 Mercer published well over 1,000 articles in the nation’s automotive trade magazines, and wrote 3 definitive technical books; Motor Body Engineering (1928), Motor Body Designing Problems (1931), and Motor Body Blue Print Technology (1933). He was a frequent contributor to The Automobile (aka Automotive Industries), SAE Journal, Autobody, Autobody Trimmer & Painter, Autobody & the Conditioned Car, Automobile Trade Journal, Motor Body, Paint and Trim, etc.

Mercer joined the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1915 and was active in the organization for the next three decades, many of which were spent as head of the SAE’s Standards Committee. He also kept in touch with his former friends from the CBNA’s Technical School, as a director of the Andrew F. Johnson Society (aka The Johnson Club), and served as president of the Alumni Association of the Technical School for Automobile Body Designers and Engineers.

In addition to his automotive body work, Mercer ventured into other automotive-related activities and designed a brake testing machine for the Bendix-Cowdry Brake Testing Company in 1933.

After his retirement in 1942, Mercer was instrumental in acquiring Andrew F. Johnson’s massive reference library for the Detroit Public Library’s Automotive History Collection. Also included was Mercer’s personal collection of manuscripts, letters, photographs, engineering drawings, etc., of carriages, automobiles, trucks and other vehicles.

The 1920 US Census lists him at 42 Winder St., (b. 1870 in Pennsylvania) district 6, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, occupation Automobile Designer.

While Mercer continues to be well-known as a body engineer, he should also be given credit for helping to found the nation’s first prototype and experimental coachwork facility, the Model Body Corporation.

Founded in 1919 with a capitalization of $60,000 by Gustav L. Gast, Andrew Sauter, G. Lester French, and George J. Mercer, the Model Body Corp. was located in a small shop at 3261 Bellevue Ave., Detroit, Michigan. The firm’s officer were as follows Gustav L. Gast, pres.; Andrew Sauter, vice-president; G. Lester French, treasurer, and George J. Mercer, secretary and general manager. The firm’s listing in the 1920-22 Detroit Directory follows:

“Model Body Corp. – 3261 Bellevue av. Inc. ’19, Cap. $60,000. G.L. Gast, Pres.; Andrew Sutton*, V-Pres; C. Lester French, Sec-Treas.”

(* should be Andrew Sauter)

Gustav Louis Gast (b.1868 in Germany, emigrated in 1888) was president of the Detroit Furniture Mfg. Co., 803-809 Bellevue Ave., Detroit (1903 directory lists him as V-Pres. and general mgr. of same.)

Like Mercer, Andrew Sauter (b.1885 in Germany emigrated in 1909), was a well-known automobile body builder, engineer and draftsman (1920 US Census, body builder, auto factory)(1930 US Census Body Engineer, auto factory) ( 1940 Census, draftsman, auto plant).

The firm’s secretary-treasurer, Charles Lester French (b.1895 in Detroit), had no experience in the field, his expertise was accountancy, and prior to founding Model Body Corp., he occupied a position as bookkeeper in the Dime Savings Bank. His father, George S. French was vice-president of the Houghton & French Ice & Coal Company, Detroit.

A biography of French includes a mention of Model Body Corp.:

“This company does its own designing and makes open and enclosed bodies, sample bodies, and also hoods. The bodies contain trays and other automobile equipment and the firm has already established a high reputation for its model bodies.”

In 1922 the Model Body Corp. was recapitalized (to $110,000) and relocated to a much larger facility at 7201 Six Mile Rd., which allowed them to produce small runs of special bodies if requested, the May 1922 issue of issue of The Automobile (Automotive Industries) reporting:

“Model Body Increases Its Capital to $110,000

“DETROIT, May 1 — The Model Body Corp. has increased its capital stock to $110,000, and is issuing $50,000 in cumulative 7 per cent preferred stock at $40, which will be non-redeemable and fully participating with the $60,000 common stock. The company will double its present factory space and make several important additions. Model Body has been specializing in custom body work, ambulance bodies and bus work, but is planning to undertake production for several important passenger car companies. The officers of the company are G.L. Gast, president; Andrew Sauter, vice-president; G. Lester French, treasurer, and George J. Mercer, secretary and general manager.

The firm’s entry in the 1923-24 Detroit Directories being:

“Model Body Corp. – 7201 Six Mile Rd. E. Inc. ’19, Cap. $110,000. Claude B. Talbot, Pres.; G.L. Gast, V-Pres.; C. Lester French, Treas.”

Claude B. Talbot (b.1886 in New York) was prominent in the Detroit lumber business, owning the C.B. Talbot Trustee Co., a large wholesale lumber house. He was also involved in finance serving as Pres. of the Standard Discount Corp. and V-pres., Peoples Mortgage Corp.

As the firm specialized in the production of sample automobile bodies for Detroit automobile manufacturers very few of their projects were discussed in the trades, one notable exception being a flexible closed body system developed by Kenneth L. Childs.

For a number of year Childs was the Manhattan representative of the Standard Textile Products Co., a Youngstown, Ohio holding company that operated oil cloth mills in Akron, O., Newark, N.J., Athenia, N.J., Montrose, N.Y., Astoria, L.I., Norristown, Pa., Columbus, Ga, and Mobile, Al.

Apparently Childs had been experimenting with fabric-covered bodies in his spare time, first with California-topped touring cars in 1919 then later with closed coachwork. Childs believed that fabric would eventually replace sheet metal as it offered lighter weight and less upkeep, for less money.

Unlike Charles Weymann’s Flexible Body System, whose wood framework was specially constructed using moveable metal plates, Childs’ system utilized standard composite body wood framing, substituting a padded nitrite coated fabric in place of the standard sheet metal skin.

Childs organized the Fabric Body Corporation, 12-244 GM Bldg., Detroit, in early 1923 hoping to sell licenses for fabric bodies constructed using Meritas cloth, a product comparable to Zapon and Rexine and manufactured by Standard Textile Products Co. at its Columbus, Georgia mill.

Unlike Charles Weymann’s Flexible Body System, whose wood framework was specially constructed using moveable metal plates, Childs’ system utilized standard composite body wood framing, substituting a padded nitrite coated fabric in place of the standard sheet metal skin.

George J. Mercer thought the system held promise, and presented a paper on the subject before a gathering of SAE engineers held during the 1923 New York Automobile Show, the February, 1923 issue of Bus Transportation reporting:

“Engineers Meet at New York Show

“George Mercer, Model Body Corporation, Detroit, announced a new type of closed body. This consists of the conventional hardwood frame with galvanized wire netting tacked across it. Next is a covering of three-ply buckram and outside a new fabric known as Meritas, and developed by the Standard Textile Products Company. It is said that this panel construction, which replaced metal panels weighing about 11 lbs. per square foot, itself weighs less than ½ lb. per square foot. The outside material, or Meritas, is black and shiny and resembles leather in appearance. It is claimed for this that dust, grease and mud will not mar the surface, and that it will not expand or contract under variations in temperature. In case of damage it is an easy matter to substitute a new prefinished panel.”

Mercer surmised:

"Childs isn't an automotive man but he's drawn on his background for a new body of outstanding originality."

Coincidentally The Fabric Body Corp. and George J. Mercer’s offices were both located in Detroit’s Stormfeltz Lovely Bldg. during the late Twenties.

Childs took to the road in 1923 with a fabric-bodied Packard built for him by the Model Body Corp.

The Packard was an eyeful. Every square inch of its body was covered with Meritas cloth - even the fenders, although humdrum pressed steel was suggested for these appendages on production cars. Childs took the car all over the country during the Twenties, exhibiting it at motor shows to prove the durability of its construction. Not everyone was impressed, of course. Thomas Litle, chief engineer for the Marmon Motor Car Company, thought it was "dull and drab" without mentioning the body by name.

The June 1924 issue of The Automotive Manufacturer included a 2-page article by Childs:

“Lower Cost and Weight Chief Fabric Body Advantages”

Large scale production of Child’s Meritas bodies were announced in the trades during 1924 and 1925:

Louisville, Kentucky’s Mengel Body Company took out a Childs license to build Meritas-covered sedan bodies for Ford Model T chassis that were offered through select Ford dealers. Pictures show a number of the bodies under construction in the Mengel plant.

The Henney Motor Co. of Freeport, Illinois offered Meritas-covered bodies as an option on its 1924-1925 lineup of professional cars, and surviving photographs reveal a number of the ‘baloney-skinned’ vehicles were constructed (the term being coined by Henney’s paint-shop foreman, R. D. Ditzler, who was not a fan.)

Pacific Factory magazine announced that a local firm, the Meritas Fabric Body Corporation, was planning on constructing fabric bodies in Los Angeles:

“Auto Plant, Los Angeles, Calif.

“Meritas Fabric Body Corporation will erect a plant at Macy street and Mission Road for manufacture of coupe body for light cars.”

The April 1925 issue of The Automotive Manufacturer announced that the Fabric Body Corp. had purchased the Selden Truck Co., and was planning to construct fabric-covered buses at its Rochester, New York plant:

“Fabric Body Buys Selden Company for $450,000

“Large-scale production of fabric bus bodies will be carried on at the Selden Truck plant in Rochester by the Fabric Body Corporation, of Detroit, which on March 16 purchased the Selden Truck Company for $450,000.”

The Fabric Body Co. sold production licenses to the Haynes-Ionia, Merrimac, Sedan Body and E. J. Thompson companies who produced a number of one-off custom bodies for display at the 1923-1925 automobile shows and salons on Auburn, Apperson, Chrysler, Dodge Bros., Hudson, Lincoln, Marmon and Moon chassis.In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Brooks Steam Motors Ltd. produced a few fabric-covered highway buses and cars, announcing that for 1925 “The new Meritas Fabric Body is standard in Brooks cars.”

Ultimately the fabric-covered composite body failed due to the amount of hand-labor involved. Hayes-Ionia’s Roy F. Anderson stating:

"While fabric construction does eliminate two difficult-to-control areas in body production, metal working and painting, experience in lots of five hundred suggests there can be considerable trouble with this construction as well as any other… Hand labor has been the obstacle in the production of fabric bodies, perhaps due to orders which haven't been large enough to warrant special equipment and tools."

Few Meritas covered bodies were constructed after 1925, and the Fabric Body Corp. had withdrawn from business by 1928.

Apparently the Model Body Corp. had hoped to manufacture some of their own fabric bus bodies, the October 29, 1924 issue of The Automobile (Automotive Industries) reporting:

“Thompson Made Head of Model Body Corp., Company Is Reorganized, New Capital Secured and Expansion Planned, amounting to $110,000

“The Model Body Corp., 7201 East Six-Mile Road, Detroit, has been reorganized and additional capital put into the business for expansion. The production of passenger car bodies will be continued, but in the future the company will also specialize in bus and commercial bodies. Walter F. Thompson has been elected president and general manager of the company to succeed G. L. Gast, who becomes vice-president. George Mercer and C. Lester French continue as secretary and treasurer respectively.”

Model Body Corp.’s listing in the 1925-26 Detroit Directories follow:

“Model Body Corp. – 7201 Six Mile Rd. E. Inc. ’19, Cap. $110,000. Walter F. Thompson, Pres.; G.L. Gast, V-Pres.; George J. Mercer, Sec. Treas.”

Walter F. Thompson (b.1874 in Conn.) was formerly a body engineer with J.C. Widman & Co., Detroit, his listing in the 1921 Detroit Directory follows:

“Walter F. Thompson, supt. J.C. Widman & Co. h. 2553 Lothrop av.”

G.I. McClure and H.M. Will were both Detroit-based lumber executives and the Model Body Corp. The factory was located in a small industrial park located at 7201 Six Mile Rd.

Bus body production is doubted and its listing in the 1926 SAE Directory no longer lists George J. Mercer as being involved with the firm:

“Model Body Corp. (Auto bodies) Plant, 7201 E. Six-Mile Road Detroit, Mich. Pres., W.F. Thompson; V.Pres., G.I. McClure; Sec., H. M. Will; Asst. Gen. Mgr., A. Kalinen; Pur. Agt. Norman Guinett.”

The Model Body Corp. last directory listing was in the 1926 Detroit Directory and it’s assumed they withdrew from business sometime during 1926. In 1927 their factory became the home of the Thos. V. Heston Lumber Co, a wholesale supplier of Hardwood — Cypress — B & B Yellow Pine — Sugar Pine — Mahogany and White Pine Pattern Lumber Yard and Mill.

The facility at 7201 Six Mile (now E. McNichols Rd.) remains an industrial park, it entry being located to the right of the old two-story brick Michigan Tool Co. (now Pacific Motors) plant at 7171 E. McNichols Rd. The buildings used by Model Body Corp. still exist and are currently occupied by the General Hardwood Company Lumber Yard and Mill.

George J. Mercer died in Detroit, Wayne County Michigan on November 23, 1952 at the age of 85; his death certificate states he was born in England in 1867 to George and Emily (Newman) Mercer.

© 2013 Mark Theobald for

The following few articles make up a miniscule part of George J. Mercer’s monumental body of work:

Article #1 is from the March 13, 1913, issue of The Automobile:

“Frameless Glass Windows for Automobiles

“By George J. Mercer Body Designer

“The use of frameless glass windows on closed bodies is growing rapidly in favor. At the last Importers' Salon, held in New York, at the Astor Hotel, Jan. 2nd to 11th, there were twenty-two bodies having frameless glass while sixteen had windows with wooden frames.

“There are, however, two very noticeable drawbacks connected with the newer method. One of these is the increased liability of breaking the glass, and the other is the letting in of water when it rains or when the car is washed. The letting in of water is not due to a mistake or fault, but is the accompaniment of one of the methods used in operating the glass.

“Fig. 1, A, a cross section through the body of a limousine, shows the door pillar with the glass suspended by the lift strap. This window is of the frameless glass type and as illustrated the glass travels in a straight groove extending from top to bottom of the pillar, being supported at all times by the strap. The metal channel in which the lower edge of the glass rests and to which the strap is attached, is continuous across the whole width of the glass between the pillars. This channel always remains below the top of the bar and out of sight. The necessary clearance, however, to enable the glass to pass by the back face of the bar without touching, is sufficient to enable the water to enter. Where this method is employed, provision is made at the bottom of the door and body for drainage, and it the construction of the body is practically all metal no great inconvenience is experienced.

“In some of the best bodies made this method is used with apparently satisfactory results. The two strong features in its favor are the safety with which the glass can be operated without breaking, and the opportunity that it presents of utilizing a mechanically operated lifting device. The disadvantage of this method is that it permits the entrance of water in the glass pockets with a consequent deteriorating effect on the wood framing of the body.

В and B1, Fig. 1, illustrate another method of operating the frameless glass window. Two positions are shown and the section of the body illustrated is the same as at A. These two illustrations show a method employed to overcome the tendency of the glass breaking when raised and lowered, and at the same time keep out the water. В shows the glass raised and the entrance of water effectively barred, while B1 shows the glass dropped to its lowest position in the pocket.

“Fig. 2, an enlarged view of the door bar at B, Fig. 1, better illustrates the glass in raised position. The wood channel in which the glass moves up and down, is not one continuous piece, but is parted and is put in the pillar in two pieces. The lower half is stationary in the pillar and the top and terminates at A. The upper half of the channel is fastened with one wood screw at the top, in the center. With this screw as the pivot point the lower end of the channel moves in the arc of the circle from С to D and carries the glass with it. This channel terminates at the lower end at BB. A cross section showing the dimensions of the channel is given at El. At the rear of the glass the channel has a downward extension so as to support the glass when the pull comes on the strap. Across the lower edge of the glass is the metal channel K. The glass rests in this channel, being first protected by a rubber channel that fits over the glass and in turn fits into the metal groove. This metal channel К is very strong, so as not to bend when the strap is drawn tight. At the front the metal terminates in a lip or hook that slips over the fence iron on the door bar, thereby forming a watertight contact that prevents any leakage of water into the body. On the inner side the channel is flat and to the center are fastened lugs that provide attachment for the lifting strap. The position of the glass as illustrated is with the opening closed, when the glass is supported by the metal lip of the bottom channel hooking over the fence iron. In order to facilitate an easy movement forward of the channel containing the glass, a strong spring G, fitted with a roller at the end, is pocketed in the side of the groove and presses constantly against the channel.

“When it is desired to lower the glass, it is first lifted slightly by the strap and then lowered, the two springs LL guiding it into the groove of the lower channel that commences at A. When in its lowered position the top of the glass is even with the top of the fence iron and the springs LL perform the duty of holding the glass rigid and prevent rattling.

Fig.1—Sections showing two methods of fitting
Fig. 2—Watertight method of supporting window”

Article #2 is from the May 15, 1913 issue of The Automobile:

“Design for Streamline Runabout Body Body for Edwards-Knight 25; Has Hood and Cowl in Continuous Line—Large Locker Space Provided

“By George J. Mercer

“Sole Of Feet

“A runabout body design possessing lines that suggest power and speed is shown in the accompanying scale drawings. The chassis to which the suggested design is applied is the Edwards-Knight 25-horsepower model, which has a four-cylinder motor with a bore and stroke of 4 by 5.5 inches, and worm drive. The wheelbase is 120 Inches, and wire wheels, 36 by 4.5 inches with Q. D. rims, are fitted. The frame is of the double-drop type which permits the low body position in relation to the hood that is clearly brought out in the side view, Fig. 2.

“It will be seen that the type of body shown adapts well to the chassis, producing a robust and harmonious appearance. The upward slope of the hood permits of the cowl being a continued straight line and the minimum of wind resistance is thus obtained. This effect is also enhanced by the slanted top of the radiator.

“The application of wind-cutting surfaces is the keynote of body designing today. Every inch of flat surface eliminated from the front of the car means a considerable saving of power besides having the additional merit of improving the appearance.

“The introduction of this feature in body design will be noticed in Fig. 2, and the same idea is carried out in connection with the sides, as shown in the plan. Fig. 3. Flat or obstructing surfaces are avoided by blending the sides of the body into the hood. The body lines are thus continuous in both sides and top, producing a smooth streamline effect.

“The sizes of all doors are indicated in the drawings. At the front of the entrance doors there are two good-sized flutings on each side of the body for ventilating, in addition to which there is a ventilating device at the base of the windshield This ventilator is in the form of a half circle of metal with the ends closed. The lower side is always open, while at the front, there is a door, running the entire length of the opening, that is hinged at the top and is operated by two wing nuts. This door can be opened to any extent desired, and the semi-circular shield serves to deflect the wind under the cowl and away from the faces of the occupants.

“This windshield is a new feature used in conjunction with runabouts. The frame that holds the glass extends along the bottom and part way up the sides, the top edge being glass only and free from any obstruction to a clear vision. This windshield as a unit can be swung to any angle, or lowered to lay flat on the cowl The frame that holds the glass is of wood and is strengthened considerably by the metal that forms the hinge. The ventilating device is integral with the windshield and moves with it.

“A commodious locker compartment is provided at the rear. This locker space, the large size of which can be readily-noticed by comparison with the pair of suit cases shown in dotted line in Fig. 2, is subdivided, and loading and unloading is by means of three hinged doors, one on the top and one on each side These doors are made watertight by having copings projecting from the body .25 inch, over which the edges of the doors fit

Provision is also made for carrying two spare wheels, the body being flattened off at a suitable angle to receive them. The panel on the body at this point is depressed to receive the projecting hub of the wheel. The fastenings are on the gasoline tank and on the body.

For the construction of this body wide sheets of metal are required. The cowl is one piece, forming the two sides and the top and from the dash to the front of the door. The narrow sheet under the door is separate, and is butted between the front and rear sheets. The rear sheet extends from the rear of the door to the back end of the chassis. It is cut off on line with the flat formed for carrying the spare wheels and is then continued up to midway of the top, where it joins the corresponding sheet from the opposite side. This joint is a carefully made butt and the two ends are flush riveted on the outside. On the under side is the customary reinforcing strip that crosses the joint and through which the rivets pass. This joint is not a very long one as the door or lid .occupies the greater part of the distance from the seat line to the tire space. After riveting, the joint is carefully wiped with aluminum solder.

“The size of the one sheet for the cowl is 74 inches by 18 inches, and for the two rear sheets 70 inches by 53 inches each. All are of aluminum 16 gauge. Aluminum is the most suitable metal for these sheets as considerable hand work is necessary and the extra cost of aluminum over steel is infinitesimal as compared with the added cost of working up steel for the purpose. On the flat sheet at the rear, however, 22 gauge steel can be used to advantage. The joint of this flat sheet with the side panels is covered with a molding.

“On the sides the small doors are cut out of the flat stock, and, as mentioned before, the door openings, both of the side and the top, are reinforced by copings that serve to shut off the entrance of water. The framing inside is of wood, with the necessary iron braces at the entrance doors and under the back end to support the spare wheels. The divisions in the luggage compartment will help in making the top rigid.

“This body presents comfortable accommodation for two people, and in order to give a clearer impression of the body proportions relative to the passenger, the figure of a driver 6 feet tall is outlined in Fig. 2.

“With regard to painting, although this body is odd in its outline, nothing of the loud in colors should be used. The best combination is the dark blue so much in evidence as the body color with black moldings and fine hair line striping of lighter blue, together with black leather and black and nickel mountings.

“The appointments on a car with this type of body are generally very simple, pockets on the doors being the only part of the trimming of any importance. The horn is placed under the hood and the electric side and headlights and the fenders are standard equipment.

Fig.1-Front view, showing low position and compact form of body design
Fig. 2 - Side elevation to scale of suggested runabout design adapted to chassis of Edwards-Knight 25
Fig. 3 - Plan showing continuous streamlines of body exterior.
Fig. 4 -Rear view”

Article #3 is from the June 5, 1913 issue of The Automobile:

“Runabout Body Design for Paige-Detroit; Spare Tires Carried in Concealed Storage Space at Rear -
Body Doors Oppositely Hinged for Ventilation of Interior

“By George J. Mercer

“There are three conspicuous essentials to consider in body designing today. These are : First, the proportioning of the body so that the comfort of the passengers is well provided for; second, the elimination as far as possible of flat external surface that would result in loss of power against the wind; and third, the provision of adequate storage space for extra parts being carried on the car.

“The first two of these essentials has received careful consideration at the hands of the designers and the results are used as talking points of considerable weight by automobile salesmen. With regard to the third consideration, the provision of storage space, however, this does not seem to have been given the attention that the subject apparently deserves. Even when the space is ample the important feature of accessibility is often ignored or insufficiently considered.

“One matter that is receiving more attention than formerly is the disposal of the spare tires, though there is still much to be desired in the way these articles are cared for. The storage of tires inside the body has not met with the favor that it was anticipated would be the case.

“A runabout body design with an interior compartment for the tires is the subject of this article, and the body is shown mounted on the medium-sized Paige-Detroit chassis, having left-side drive, ii6-inch wheelbase, 34 by 4-inch tires, body space back of the dash of approximately 91.5 inches and a rating of 36 horsepower.

“This car is especially adapted for rear storage, as the gasoline tank is provided for at the front. This tank, of approximately 14-gallon capacity, is standard equipment and is indicated by dotted lines in Fig. 2. Taking the rear compartment first, this is long enough to take nicely the two tires that are considered necessary spare equipment for touring. Since the gasoline tank is provided for in front under the hood, all the space at the rear is available for carrying the tires and for luggage. In this case, the tires being 34 inches in diameter it is an easy matter to provide sufficient space. At the rear is a door large enough for the entrance of the tires. This door is hinged at the top, and at the sides and along the bottom and is made watertight by having a flanged lip, that extends inward from the inside of the door. When closed this lip enters a recess packed with either rubber or felt. At the top the hinge is continuous and keeps out the water. Fasteners are placed at each of the lower corners and in the center a hasp and padlock is fitted.

“The tires are set on a tray that slides on rollers. To remove the tires, the door is first held open in the upright position, and the tray rolled out as indicated by dotted lines on Fig. a. At the back end a hinged leg, forming part of the tray equipment, is dropped down for a support, while at the front the tray rests on the slider. The inside space of the tires is utilized by a drum that serves the double purpose of keeping the tires in position on the tray and also acting as luggage space for small articles. At each rear corner of the tray is a small triangular box that can be used for small tools. This box thus utilizes the space at the corners not occupied by the tires. Its shape and position is indicated on the plan view, Fig. 3.

“Above the tire compartment the space is utilized for carrying miscellaneous articles of luggage. This is sufficient for one large or two small suit cases and have room besides. The floor dividing the upper and lower compartments is one sheet of metal and waterproof and there is suitable drainage, so that in case of water leaking into the top compartment it will not be carried into the lower compartment and do damage. An idea of the storage space that this upper compartment provides can be obtained by reference to the side elevation Fig. 2 in which a suit case 18 inches by 8 inches by 30 inches is indicated. The door on top is made watertight.

“The body interior has ample seating space for two people. A generous thickness is allowed for in the trimming, and there is a small locker space under the seat. The gasoline tank under the cowl is not directly connected with the metal of the body; air space is allowed all around. The filling plug is directly under the cap on the cowl.

The electric dash lamps are placed flush with the dash and the horn is placed under the hood.

“One of the novelties used on this design is the Auster windshield. This shield is of canvas that is unrolled from a spring roller and held in position by the two side arms as shown on Fig. 2. On Fig. 3 the shield is shown folded and the arms are turned down. When in use the angle of the shield can be made at will and as the material is very light it can be folded away very easily. This type of shield has most of the advantages of the glass shield without its greater weight.

“The ventilation of the body is by means of the doors entirely, that on the left side being hinged opposite to the right door. By leaving both doors slightly open and as the openings are in opposite direction a cross circulation of air is obtained.

“The standard equipment is utilized throughout, including the front and rear fenders. The color specification for this design cannot be improved over that of the stock car. Standard blue and striping and black leather are as good and lasting in results as can be desired. The quality of the material should be of the best for hair, springs and leather if comfort is to be had after the car has seen service.

Fig. 1 - Front view, showing position of gasoline filler in top of dash cowl.
Fig. 2 - Side elevation to scale of suggested runabout design adapted to chassis of Paige-Detroit 36
Fig. 3 - Plan view and rear elevation of suggested runabout body for Paige-Detroit chassis.”

Article #4 is from the July 8, 1915 issue of The Automobile:

“Trends in Touring Body Designs; Three Typical Designs on Different Wheelbases Illustrated—Other Necessary Body Details

“By George J. Mercer

“The touring body still retains its place as the most popular of body types for general purposes, it is used in larger quantities than other models because it comes nearer meeting all the requirements of an every-man's car and when made in quantities it can be produced at a moderate price and yet have the smart appearance of the to-order body.

The criticism of the open body is that it does not afford the protection from dust that the all-weather or closed body does, especially is this true of the occupants of the rear seat, who are subjected to the dust raised by the air currents or eddies set in motion by the irregular body side lines. The general adoption of the flush-side, streamline, torpedo body has minimized this trouble and the top serves as a shield both in its up and down positions.

“Developing the Body

“The name touring body is now applied in this country to the torpedo model, the older form of touring model has entirely disappeared, it survived for a time in a modified form by having the fore doors added, but is now seldom seen. The progressive steps in body development have been accompanied by very material changes in the car itself: The engine hoods are now part of the body line; the running boards and frame are lower; the dash lamps have nearly disappeared; the radiator lines have been modified; the running board shield has a blended surface from the board to the body line, the guards have easy lines and the removal of the gasoline tank from under the front seat, permits of the seat cushions being placed nearer the floor, and left drive with center control affords a better line from the body width to the hood.

“The body has been amplified also by better windshield's, many of which are slanted back to overcome wind pressure; the tops are mostly the one-man type, that do not require supporting irons on the front seat. The attachment for holding down the top have been improved as well as the place for attaching the side curtains. During the past year, there has been placed on the market, a method of inclosing the body for winter use with removable side windows that can be attached to any car, making it nearly as comfortable as a closed body.

“The public interest in style is in the present and near-future modes and the three illustrations herewith, illustrate the most modern of the conventional types, the illustrations show three bodies of different size and design and on chassis of different length of wheelbase. Two of the controlling features in a body design are the capacity required in the body and the space provided on the chassis. Of the various dimensions required to show the chassis space, the most important is that from the back of the dash to the center of the rear wheel. The wheelbase of a car is misleading when applied with reference to body space, because two cars may have the same wheelbase, and if one is a six-cylinder and the other a four, the engine hood of one will be longer than the other and consequently the front wheel of one will be further forward of the dash not less than 6 in. than the other, and the body space of a six will be 6 in. or more inches shorter than a four and yet have the same wheelbase. This is indicated on the designs.

“These illustrations serve both to show the design and to carry the dimensions in figures of the most essential sizes on all views, and all three designs have the up-to-date feature of having the top line of the seat inconspicuous. The seat cushions are closer to the floor than formerly, and to have the proper height for the seat back and still maintain the low-looking body, the cushions are tilted toward the rear so that the sitting position is partly a reclining one.

“Three Typical Designs

“The three designs are shown respectively on chassis with 122-, 132- and 142-in. wheelbases and the seating capacity is for four passengers on one, five on the second and six on the third.

“One design has central doors, one has staggered doors and the large body has four doors.

Fig. 1 is the four-passenger body, 122-in. wheelbase chassis, having 32-in. wheels and the gasoline tank placed under the cowl. There are two doors that are placed centrally, one on each side, and the passage to the front seats is by the aisle between them. The front seat is built in from the body side top line and this line is unbroken from the cowl to the rear, terminating in the graduated upward back seat line.

“The top edge of the body is rounded over from the outside with about 1-in. radius and the metal panel is fastened to the inner edge of the wood framing, the joining being covered by the trimming, which latter does not appear noticeably above the body line.

“The making of the body shell has become increasingly difficult for the custom builder as the styles have advanced and the accomplished, successful acetylene welding of aluminum panels has come at a time when it is very much needed, where the quantity of bodies to be produced are of sufficient number to warrant the expense of forming the shape in molds or dies, so that steel can be used for the panels, the process of manufacture is simplified.

“Features in Design

“On the design here illustrated, the front of the body, from the door line forward, including the two sides and the cowl will be made in three pieces, for sake of economy in material and handling. The joints where the panels meet can be successfully welded so that the surface will be perfect for painting and have the strength of a single sheet of metal. The rear panel can be either in one or two pieces and the doors are made without moldings to cover the joints. The entire absence of moldings is one of the characteristics of modern body designing, the influence exerted by the desire to have the unbroken surface for stream line effect has been the principle reason, and, also builders for years have endeavored to have the same outward appearance to a metal body, that a wood panel body presents.

“Aluminum or steel may be used for panels according to the facilities of the builder for shaping the metals.

“The sides of this body are low, 22 in. only, and the cowl is 1% in. higher than the rear of the body. The cushions are low and the room in front of the seats is long to compensate. The doors are 21 in. wide and open toward the rear. The steering wheel is well back from the dash and low and the distance from the dash to the center of the rear wheel is 88 in. The body space is 12% in. more or 100% in. There is a foot rest for the rear seat as shown on the plan and all the essential dimensions including the tilt of the windshield are indicated. The shield is in two pieces, the lower part shown inclined inwardly to ventilate.

“Five-Passenger Design

“Fig. 2, shows a five-passenger body mounted on a 132-in. chassis, with 34-in. wheels and the gasoline tank at the rear. The distance from the dash to center of rear wheels is 92 in. and the body space 13 in. more or 105 in. The required dimensions are registered on the two views and are self explanatory.

“This design differs from the previous one in that the rear seat is wide enough for three persons and the hinged armrest, folds into the trimming at the back of the seat when not in use and when down, and forms a partition, dividing the seat into two places. Another difference is the style of top, which is a Victoria. The windshield at the rear of the front seat, is high enough to meet the top edge of the front bow of the top and so prevent the wind entering. It carries two celluloid lights and for stormy weather there is an extension, indicated by dotted lines, that is fastened with buttons to the front of the top and to the top of the front windshield. When not needed it is folded away.

“The Victoria top adds a pleasing look and when used in conjunction with the shield, as illustrated, the drag effect due to wind pressure is minimized. To obtain satisfactory working results in raising and lowering the top, the covering should be some other material than leather. Leather looks by far the richest, but better knockabout results are obtained with a more flexible goods. Kaki looks well, it does not show the dust and will not crease. The shield can be covered with the same material, and the extension roof and the slip covers can be the same.

“The shield is made to be stationary, and is oval shape steel rod. The frame and method of covering are identical with the practice used on carriage dashes. The two studs at the bottom engage the socket irons that project from the back of the seat, and nuts on the under side keep same in place. The celluloid lights are stitched in the same as on the top curtains.

“The sides of the body are a trifle higher than Fig. 1, and the increased body width, makes the seating proportions very generous when used for four passengers, but there is ample room for the five when required. The description of the construction is generally applicable for both bodies. The doors are without moldings and the top edge of body side is rounded, the front door opens toward the front and the rear door toward the rear, all hinges and handles being concealed.

“A Six-Passenger Body

“Fig. 3, is a six-passenger body mounted on a 142-in. wheel-base chassis having 36-in. wheels, gasoline tank at the rear, and the distance from dash to center of rear wheel being 95 in. The body space is 15 in. more or a total of 110 in.

“This design has in common with Figs. 1 and 2, doors without moldings and the top edge of body rounded as well as the graduated top line. This line blends into the cowl forming the top of the front seat back. The body sides are higher than Figs. 1 and 2, and under the cowl at the rear, the extra seats are folded when not in use. They are shown in dotted lines in this position, as well as in the position for use. Above the space required for stowing the seats, there is room for small lockers, opening outward in the tonneau.

The dimensions amply located on the two views, show without further description the capacity and size of the body. The doors are four in number and the front line is curved to avoid the bent line of the cowl as it meets the side line of the body. They are made without moldings and open in opposite directions, this is optional, as all doors can open toward the rear if desired.

“Upholstery Features

“The plan views show two trimming designs. Figs. 1 and 2 have a long pipe caught with buttons and Fig. 3 is a design with the Turkish or arm chair upholstery. This latter is the newest style and makes a pleasing looking car and is made thick so that it is very comfortable. The leather for this trimming design must be very pliable and the straps serve the same purpose as the buttons on Figs. 1 and 2. Design 3 has also the advantage of being easily kept clean. Leather is still the most preferable material used for open body trimming, some motor cloth is used and on cheap cars the imitation leather is finding favor and is being used more than formerly.

“The principle change made in trimming these styles of bodies, has been the doing away with the roll of trimming that appeared above the side line of the body and seat, in some cases it appears slightly above, but on the majority of new cars it has been lowered out of sight.

“The appointments include the regulation cigar lighter and ash tray and clock, and there are pockets of the doors and robe rail and foot rests, the robe rails are mostly the flexible kind made of a strap and fastened to the rear of the front seat, and the Auster windshield at the rear of the front seat is used more than formerly.

“Door handles on this type of body are all inside, and the hinges are both the concealed and the outside curved hinge, linoleum is the best material for floor covering for the toe and foot boards and running boards and leather bound carpet in the tonneau. The top material is either Burbank or Pantasote and the Victoria top goods should be kaki or bur- bank, preferably kaki. The extra tires are carried at the rear on most cars and the preponderance of color designs are dark shades and blue predominating.

“These illustrations are intended to serve the purpose of presenting the design of each model, amplified by dimensions in figures and the description above given is intended to supplement the above two thoughts up to this point only.

Fig 1.—Four-passenger body on a 122-in. wheelbase chassis with 32-in. wheels. Two centrally placed doors are used with the front seat built in from the body side top line.
Fig.2—A five-passenger body on a 132-in. wheelbase chassis with 34-in. wheels. In this design the rear seat is wide enough for three persons and the hinged armrest folds into the trimming when not in use.
Fig.3—Six-passenger body mounted on a chassis of 142-in. wheelbase with 36-in. wheel. This is a four door body and the front line is curved to avoid the bent line of the cowl as it meets the side line of the body.”

Article #5 is from the November 25, 1915, issue of The Automobile:

“Two Demountable Top Designs Entirely New Type of Body May Evolve from Present Closed Car Development—Types for Apperson Runabout and Chalmers Touring Car Chassis

“By George J. Mercer

“The demountable top fitted to touring and runabout bodies is becoming increasingly popular each year, and the coming winter bids fair to outrival in numbers the total output of the past seasons.

“The quality of the work and the designing both show improvement, which is no doubt due to the large number of good builders giving their attention to these matters. The demountable top has arrived at the stage where it is accepted as a staple article of manufacture that the public must have. Unquestionably the largest number used will be the type that can be sold complete and assembled on the body, for $75 to $160 as it is for cheapness that the top has come into existence and the majority of buyers are those who expect to economize.

“A great range of possibilities is open to the body builder when converting the open body into a closed one. Some use the regular four-bow or the one-man top that is already on the car and simply add side glasses with a framework to hold them in place. In a few designs this addition is made in such a way that the top can be folded down by simply taking out the glass frames. In the majority, however, the entire framework has to be removed in order to fold the top, and this is done only at the beginning and end of the season. There is a considerable increase in the number of car manufacturers who provide a demountable top as regular equipment, and the number will increase in the near future. Eventually a new body design will evolve out of the present efforts.

“Novel Body May Evolve

“A very good business is being done by individual builders who specialize in converting the bodies in use into closed cars, and this affords a field for all the ingenuity that is latent in the body mechanic. The average body design is stereotyped before the public becomes familiar with it, and the body builder simply makes a copy, taking another body as a model. But supplying the demountable top is a free-for- all race, and it will be strange if in the near future a distinctively novel body is not brought out, that will be as distinctive as was the flush-side body type.

“The standard forms of collapsible bodies of the better class, such as the landaulet and the cabriolet, have the distinctive look desired by the buyer who can afford the price, but the full leather top lacks the adaptability that the knockabout car owner needs. A fine carriage body is like a pair of shoes to many people; it only becomes comfortable about the time it is nearly worn out. The rough and ready demountable body, that does not involve the expenditure of much additional money, has the right seasoning to make it popular with a large number of car owners.

“All Bodies Easily Converted

“There are many manufacturers who are prepared to furnish tops for the standard makes of cars at short notice. They are equipped with forms that correspond with the bodies, and they only require the car, first long enough to check up the measurements, and then later on to assemble the top. All the modern bodies are easily converted, because the trimming roll at the top of the seats does not extend appreciably beyond the body line and the top line of the body is of such a shape that the assembling of the upper framework is not difficult. The worst feature is the adjustment of the hinges, that is, provided hinges are used on the upper part, as most touring doors are made to drop downward when open,

and do not swing horizontally. A great deal of ingenuity has been used to overcome this, some builders making a complete new door that replaces the old one, others placing one long hinge at the top, which projects sufficiently to enable the upper part to swing true with the lower section, but the majority, especially the lower priced designs, do not attempt to have the hinges line; each section has a movement of its own and there is a finger projecting down on the inside of the upper section which engages in a slotted plate on the lower one, this finger traveling in the elongated slide and keeping the two parts in unison when opening and closing, the finger and slot compensating for the different lines of travel. A similar arrangement is made for the lock, the handles in the upper part operating the lock below.

“An Apperson Runabout

“Fig. 1 shows the Apperson four-passenger runabout with demountable top added and Fig. 2 shows the body without it. To make this top as illustrated, the bow top and the windshield are first taken off and the lower ash rail forming the support for the side glasses is fitted to the shape of the body top line; the rail is cut, part being attached to the door and part to the body and the cut must be made a little back of the door line in order that the part on the door will clear when opening. The jutting out of the added piece beyond the door panel enforces this cut being offset. The side rail continues around the back, the back part not being so deep, and uprights are framed behind the side glass and at each side of the back light; the latter is a separate frame and is screwed to the posts and toprail. The toprail is framed to the posts and the front pillars and the roof is formed with bows, sawed to form the shape of the roof corners, the front pillars are connected at the bottom by a bar that fits close to the cowl panel and the whole front is fastened by irons that engage in the sockets formerly used for supporting the windshield.

“Framework Is Light

“All the framework is light except the front pillars, and these must be wide to fill the space from the door to the windshield supports. The side glass frames are wood, 11/16 in. thick, and they are held in place at the bottom by resting over a bead, in the manner illustrated in Fig. 7, section X-X, the wood frame being grooved to do the same duty as the metal frame in the illustration. This bead keeps the rain from entering and at the top the glass frame rests in a rabbet in the toprail, the rabbet being open toward the inside. There are two limousine window fasteners for each frame, to remove or place the glass frames in position and the fasteners are screwed back until the frame tilts sufficiently to allow it to be lifted over the bead at the bottom. On the rear, the vertical edge of the door glass frame and the one directly back of the door, tee molding is fastened to cover the openings between the frames and at the rear of the third side frame; a rabbet in the post covers the opening, while at the front the pillar has a regular door rabbet. There is no framing between the front and rear side pillars and, when desired, all the side can be open, the four frames can be stored under the seat and the door glass frame is made to be turned down inside the door. The hinges for turning this frame down are placed inside with the centers on line with the bottom of the frame. When up, it is held stationary by two set screws that, passing through plates on the inside of the door top frame, engage in lugs projecting from the under edge of the frame that enter slotted plates on the top face of the framework.

“Original Hinges Used

“This glass frame forms the upper part of the door, it strikes against rubber bumpers on the toprail rabbet when closed and there are no other turning hinges used than originally are on the job. It projects back of the door line at the rear enough to line up with the line of cut in the framing, and at the front of it is back of the door line enough to give door bevel, so that it will clear when the door is opened and the frame is down. Also the hinge on the frame is long enough so that space is left between the frame and door to permit free operation of the link connecting the door handle in the framework to the handle of the lock.

“The front windshield is in two parts; the upper is a visor and the lower swings inward for ventilation; the back light is square cornered and 13 in. high by 24 in. long is the maximum size, though it can be as much smaller as desired, the glass in this being stationary.

“The roof can be all metal covered, or metal can be used to form the rounded corners and canvas or top cloth of any waterproof variety stretched over this and fastened under the moldings. The back panel will be metal also, while the lower side framing and front pillars will be painted wood.

“Attaching the framework to the body in a manner that will leave few or no blemishes when the top is removed requires careful planning. Advantage is taken of the regular body top irons on the job to do most of the work of fastening as there are always four and sometimes more. In this case, the forward ones are quite long, and a cap is shown covering this. Diagrams C, D and E, Fig. 3, show how the supports are used; D is the gooseneck on the body, E is an eye bolt that slips over D and the end engages in a hole in plate С which is fastened to the upper framework. When assembling, the top is down until the four bolts E enter the plates С and the nut is tightened until С rests on the shoulder of the bolt. These bolts take care of the rear, of the top, and the trimming is left loose at these points so that the nuts can be turned up from the inside.

“Forward of these supports, and on the doors, A and B, Fig. 4, are used. Вis a lag screw with the head cut off, drilled and tapped to receive a 12-24 machine screw, and a sufficient number of the screws В are set in the top framing of the body and door, the top of the bolt coming flush with the finish molding.

“The upper framing is carefully fitted to the body line, the holes in the bolts B located and the framing is bored and countersunk for the screws A. When the framing is very deep A and B will not suffice and, in addition, angle irons are used with one leg screwed to the under side of the framing and the other extending down inside the body. Screws are put through the trimming into the body frame and finish screws are put in all screw holes when the top is removed, this being also done with the screws B.

“On a Chalmers Touring Car Chassis

“Fig. 5 is a large seven-passenger touring body mounted on a Chalmers 132-in. wheelbase chassis and the top is modeled from the lines of the Brewster sedan. The door for this job is the same as for a closed body; it is in one with the top and the glass is made to drop into pillar slides and entirely disappear. The forward triangular glass is flat and stationary, pointing in toward the front, in order to follow the side sweep of the body as indicated on the miniature plan view, Fig. 6. This view also clearly indicates the shape of the windshield glass.

“The other four glasses on each side are held in place at the bottom as indicated by the diagram X-X, Fig. 7. The glasses are metal bound at the top and slide in a groove in the wood toprail, while limousine fasteners keep them tight. They are placed in position by sliding in from the doorway, the posts at the front and rear of the door being made with an outer and inner member, the space between allowing the glass frame to enter. When not required, these four side glasses are taken out and stored under the seat, or one can be taken out to give extra ventilation and the companion glass can be pushed forward or back to control the air currents. As before mentioned, the door glass drops and is guided by a lift strap. This glass is frameless. The front windshield has the vision, the lower part is stationary, the ventilator in the cowl compensates for a moving lower windshield and there is also a ventilator in the roof. The back light is stationary.

“Framing Up the Top

“The method of framing up this top is identical with that described for Fig. 1. The line of separation of top and body is on line Y-Y, Fig. 5, a tee molding covers the joint, and the side glass frames are provided with a lip that meshes with its companion glass frame. This keeps out the wind and rain where the two frames join in the middle to form the sides at the back and front of the door. The same method of fastening is also used for top and body as shown in Fig. 1, and the door, being made for the purpose, has the lock handle in line to operate the lock without connecting links. The back panel is sheet aluminum in one piece from side window to side window; the roof can be of the same, or the round of the roof can be formed of metal as far up on the roof as where the radius of the corner starts, and then canvas or waterproof top material can be either drawn over the whole roof from side to side and fastened under the drip moldings, or the metal corners can be finished to paint and the roof cloth can form the center deck of the roof, being fastened under moldings running from back to front along the inner edges of the metal forming the corners.

“The popular color for painting for the Brewster sedan is the color generally called battleship gray, and the finish is dull, while the part that here is designated as the demountable roof, would all be finished dull painted inside with no trimming of any description showing above the waist line, or the line that corresponds with the top of the seat back trimming, when painted inside. All the woodwork, such as the bows, etc., is nicely rounded and the framing shows very light in size. For Fig. 1, a suggestion for trimming that is commonly used is to cover the seats and backs, which are of leather, with slip linings and line the top with a similar material, this making a uniform appearance inside the body which is not too expensive.

“These two designs are drawn to scale and there is sufficient information conveyed to enable the top maker to duplicate them full size. The cost of making a top from either of these illustrations will vary from $250 to $400.

Fig. 1 - Center - Apperson four passenger runabout with suggested design of top added.
Fig. 2 – Upper Left -The same body with ordinary type of top.
Fig. 3 - C, D and E showing how the supports are used in attaching the framework to the body.
Fig. 4 -A and В -showing how the screws used are made to Insure their tops coming flush with the finished molding In securing the framework to the body.
Fig. 5 - A demountable top for a seven-passenger Chalmers touring car.
Fig. 6 - Miniature plan view of this construction, showing how the forward triangular glass Is flat and stationary to follow the side sweep of the body toward the front.
Fig. 7 -X-X -showing how the four glasses on each side of the top are held In place at the bottom. The glasses are metal bound at the top and slide in a groove In the wood top rail, limousine fasteners keeping them tight.
Fig. 8 Y-Y -showing the line of separation of top and body. A tee molding covers the joint and the glass side frames are provided with a lip that meshes with its companion glass frame, keeping out the wind and rain.”

Article #6 is from the January 20, 1916 issue of The Automobile:

“1916 Body Design Is Uniform; Best of Last Year Is Now Average.
Form, Color and Comfort All Improved at Both Palace and Astor Shows

“By G. J. Mercer

“In the Palace and Astor Hotel shows just concluded, present in the body designs displayed, a more uniformly worked out plan to develop the streamline effect, than in previous years. This is particularly noticeable in the fore part of the car, and in both shows, with the exception of a negligible number, the line from the radiator to the body both on the sides and the top, presents a graduated surface, so that viewed from a distance, in many cases it is difficult to determine just where the engine hood ends and the body proper commences.

“The Palace exhibition outshone all previous years in color combinations, there were very good combinations shown on a runabout in yellow and black, also a canary and black coupe, a red runabout with pearl grey wire wheels and black moldings; a touring body had cream and brown with Spanish leather. There was a dark grey sedan and a very pleasing grey and black sedan; a dark grey limousine, a coffee and black touring body, a wine colored coupe, a green and black touring body, a wisteria sedan, a white and grey limousine and a white and black limousine. These are a few of the best combinations, most were in good taste, only a few violated the rules and had combinations that made a glare in place of a pleasant sensation.

“In the Astor show the color combinations were less conspicuous than at the Palace, grey or white and black, and yellow and black were used, but not extensively, and the trimmings were suitable to match the car colors; in one Armstrong closed body, and in one Holbrook open body, a soft undressed leather trimming was used; the majority had the regulation cloth goods with dark leather for the front seats.

“In the following not all the good things at the shows have been enumerated, nor have all the commendable designs been illustrated, but to the best of the writer's ability, those things that are of interest to the greatest number have been given prominence. Both shows serve their separate purpose and as long as one is not a duplicate of the other there will be room for both, one the manufacturers' exhibit of standard make, and the other special designs particularly in bodies, for those that are desirous to have automobiles custom made.

“Smoother Bodies at Palace

“Returning to the consideration of body shapes as noticed at the Palace show the first point is that the sides of the bodies have a smoother surface, due to the absence of moldings. This is true even of the doors, where the customary tee molding has been replaced by allowing the panel sheet to extend and cover the door openings. The top line of most of the touring bodies and runabouts and the driving compartment of closed bodies show rounded edges and on these closed bodies the overlap panel in which moldings are not used to join the upper and lower panels, was the rule and not the exception, also the seat trimming roll does not show above the body line, or if it does, it is very much reduced in size over former years.

“There are fewer slanting windshields than was to be expected, considering the general desire to eliminate wind resisting surfaces, but there are more shields placed on top of the cowl panel and forward of the rear edge of the cowl and there are fewer cowls having the extreme upward tilt to the top line, near the shield seating.

“Touring Body Holds Position

“The touring body still holds its own as the most representative member of the automobile family, and the type with a second cowl, not only shows a large increase in numbers, but the effect of its popularity is proved by the desire to imitate it, by minimizing the height of the driving seat back, and in some cases, rounding it to give the appearance of half a cowl. This tends to give the bodies a lower appearance and the elimination of the trimming rolls helps to accomplish this end. In reality the bodies are lower, measured at the seat back, but the sides are slightly higher; 24 to 25 in. is the average side panel height. The aisle between the driving seat also shows gain in numbers and in some cases the second cowl itself is divided.

“The disappearing seat, despite the fact it is not so roomy as the older form of side seat, has proved to be the only style that is acceptable on both open and closed bodies, and the most popular is the one that folds into the back of the driving seat.

“The four-passenger clover leaf runabout is the new idea this year. Last year there was one three-passenger body, and while, now, the majority on exhibition were only comfortable seating for three, there were two, the rear seat of which could accommodate two adults and one of these bodies was 42 in. wide on the cushion by 24½  in. from trimming or rear seat to panel of front seat.

“One expected to gee quite a number of good looking designs of demountable tops fitted to touring and runabout bodies, the demountable top has been featured so much in automobile advertising of late, that naturally we looked for a better showing than there is. The Kissel, which is one of a very select few that look like jobs, showed one car with the inside stripped of its trimming, showing the method of attaching and detaching the upper section so it could be readily understood. The other tops exhibited have the effect of marring the general clean look of the body by the excessive width of the framing pillars, which only proves that to make a successful demountable top, it must be made with the body as part of the original design and not added as an afterthought.

“The permanent-roof body shows increased numbers over last year. The regular Springfield body is on a number of cars and there is an adaptation of the Springfield idea on two others. Pierce had a body of this type in which the pillars fold down inside and are fitted with an automatic hinged arm for holding them in their respective positions. The only full collapsible all-weather body was exhibited by the Springfield Metal Body Co.

“Few Innovations

“The Palace show from a body point of view, had practically no features that were innovations, the average this year was virtually the duplicate of the best in the show last year and many of those that excelled last year, had the same exhibit this time. The Palace average was very good in finish, design and workmanship and novelties were conspicuous by their absence. There were fewer closed bodies in proportion to the total exhibit than formerly, but town cars, which have never been very numerous at this exhibit, were about the same in number and are of better design than formerly, but there is one feature in which this show outdid all its former records, and that is in colors. Hardly an exhibit but had its white or white and black, or yellow and black, or grey, or some other light color, and the striping of the hood and wheels was louder and more prominent than ever.

“The word streamline has become the synonym for the latest in body design and is used indiscriminately for every body that shows a tapered line from the radiator to the cowl. Truthfully speaking the only bodies that approach the true streamline effect are the runabouts. To understand this, imagine a shape exactly like an egg placed on wheels, the large end toward the front, as the egg moves forward separating the air, the pressure of the atmosphere is increased by the displacement, and as the air currents pass along the sides, due to the egg moving forward, they meet easily and without clashing at the tapered rear end, and no revolving eddies or air currents are set up to disturb the road dust as the body passes forward. No body design in the near future is going to be built along these ideal lines, except the before- mentioned runabouts, no real necessity exists to disproportion the rear end of a limousine or a touring body to make it egg-shaped and there is also the item of additional cost of construction. The fore part of the body that breasts the wind, is the part that has a commercial value, and eliminating the flat surfaces at the front and on the sides is the real money saver. Summing up the above logic, the writer suggests that "fore-streamline" would be a more applicable term to use, as it would cover all that we are trying to accomplish in body designing at the present time, that is, giving the front of the car the minimum of resistance.

“A new style body by Bender and Robinson on a Singer chassis at the Astor show

“Figs. 1 and 2 show the plan view of the hood and cowl of two touring bodies at the Palace, Fig. 1 is the newest design and there is a taper of approximately 6 in., each side in the length of the hood. The body line continues from this without a ripple, to the widest part, this being a fine example of a fore-streamline. Of stock cars the Mercer is one of the best of this class. Fig. 2 is an example of one of the more conservative makes of cars, it marks a slower growth and lacks the bold straight appearance that characterizes Fig. 1. The top line of the hood has the same appearance on most cars as the side line of Fig. 1, from radiator to dash, the average raise is 2 to 3 in., the radiators are similar to last year, those with the slightly rounded edges predominating.

“Figs. 3 to 8 are sketches of Palace show bodies.

“Fig. 3 is an example of the lowered driving seat back rounded over like half a cowl, on this particular body the back below the cowl had two compartments that are used to stow away the top curtains.

“Fig. 4 shows a runabout deck cover supported in the open position by arms that travel in slides at the bottom and drop into pockets at the slide end when raised.

“Fig. 5 shows the rear seat of a runabout and the method of locking the lid in position to form the back, it shows a cheap way to make a seat in a small rear compartment and still be able to raise the lid when the top of the car is down.

“Kissel All Year Is Sound Job

“Fig. 6 is a diagram of the interior of the Kissel demountable top body, A shows the lock that fastens the upper part of the door to keep it from rattling, it engages in a plate in the body pillar and is operated by B, this lock is operated by the inside or outside handle and the push rod moves up and raises A and when the handle is released A drops into its place in the pillar, the push rod rests in the lock A and disengages itself when the top section of the body is lifted off; C shows the attaching lugs; the bolts used to fasten these are always accessible, being covered by flaps in the trimming.

“Fig. 7 is a four-passenger runabout adapted from the clover-leaf idea the plan view shows the seating arrangement and the second cowl is divided by a passage way.

“Fig. 8 is the outline of a town car body on the Owen Magnetic, there is only one door for the driver on the right side, the glass space at the front is unusually large and has rounded top corners, the driving compartment is joined to the body by a second cowl; this body was one of the best designs exhibited.

“Low Appearance Favored

“The coefficient of streamline in body nomenclature is low looking and the effort to produce this effect has replaced 36-in. tires with 34 and 32 sizes, the running board has come nearer the ground and a little additional kick up to the chassis frame sends it down forward of the rear wheel. The double drop to the frame has not had many converts. Pierce did this in place of reducing the tire size. The optical effect of raising the hood and cowl helps to make the touring and runabout look lower, but the greatest gain has been in lowering the seats, since the gasoline tank has been placed at the rear. The driving seat has been lowered 3 in. on touring and about 6 in. on runabouts and the slant of the cushions is about 2% in., so that on touring bodies the driver actually is about 5% in. lower when seated than formerly. The seats have been moved farther back to allow the extra leg room required when seated low and the steering wheel has been lowered and the column lengthened to accommodate the seat, in many bodies the driving seat is now made adjustable, because the driver sitting more straight out than formerly, it is not practical to expect men of different heights to accommodate themselves in the same sitting space. At present this is only done on touring and sedan bodies where the aisle between the seats makes the driving seat a free agent. On closed bodies, such as limousines, etc., the driving seat is much the same as formerly, on account of the necessity of having the door to the body as large as possible, and the driver is placed as far forward as freedom of movement and the proper room to sit will permit.

“Cushion Height Decreasing

“The average height of the front and back seat cushions from the floor at the front of the cushion is 15 in. on touring bodies with an average slant of 2% to 3 in. This applies to the rear seat in closed bodies also. There are a few touring bodies in which the rear seat cushion is only 12 in. up, but this is a height that no woman can either sit down on or get up from comfortably. The average height inside from floor to under roof in closed bodies is 55 in. One body at the Salon had only 50 in. height and there are several that are only 53 in. Years ago 58 in. was considered the proper height and from present indications 54 in. will be the average height for all stock bodies. The average height of the seat back on touring bodies is 15 in. for the front and 18 in. for the rear.

“The instrument boards on nearly all the cars seen at the Palace are similar designs to last year, and though arranging the indicators in this manner gives the car a machine-like look, there is a disadvantage and expense when the bodies are changed, and there was more than one comment that this is a thing that is being overdone and should be made less prominent. One body at the Astor Hotel had the clock and speedometer at the rear of the driving seat and the balance of the indicators on the dash just above the toe boards, this left the cowl free and clean-looking and one felt that it would be easy to enter this body and not bump the shins, although the seat was very low. It is safe to predict that a year hence will see a change in the location and appearance of this feature.

“One Person Tops Universal

“At the Palace one-person tops were used exclusively, a few touring bodies had victoria top, there were more wire wheels used than last year and the dash lamp was only noticed on two makes of cars, the extra shoes or tires were carried in nearly every case at the rear and there were more guards of the crown type than ever. Fig. 9 shows the Chalmers front and rear guards and the cross-section shows the shape of the top line. The trimming material of the touring and runabout bodies is mostly leather, a few have the imitation and a few Spanish leather with fancy colors. Only one body in the show had the Turkish style of trimming, all the rest had either the straight pipe with few buttons or the older form of pipe and point.

“The electrics from a casual glance appeared like the display of last year, except that there was less conspicuous trimming used inside and more color used in the outside painting.

“The closed bodies were modest in design, no job had the full rounded or extreme dip to the roof line, there was a tendency to flatter roof shapes, two bodies had chauffeur lights, nearly all had the double vision windshield and regulators were used on the windows almost exclusively. Several had fancy trimming combinations and some had the broad black and white striped trimming, this was nearly always accompanied by white and black painting on the body and chassis. The coupelet designs were identical with last year and the coupes were all large and had the extension window forward of the door, and room for four inside.

“At the Salon there was enough new in body construction to satisfy the exacting and the curious as well as those who are really interested in watching progress. The new bodies were practically all closed ones this year as against previous years when open bodies represented the bulk of the innovations.

“The exhibits of Brewster, Healey, Locke, Bender & Robinson and the foreign bodies of Barker & Co., as well as the bodies of the Fleetwood Metal Body Co. and Hayes & Miller Co. all came in for their share of notice. Fig. 10 is a semi- touring body, Healey and Holbrook showing some of this type. The top is fully collapsible and the ease with which one man can operate it was demonstrated at stated intervals on the Healey body at the Locomobile exhibit. At the rear pillar are landau springs to assist in carrying the weight while lowering and raising. The front pillars fold down, and the manner in which the top part collapses is indicated in the diagram plan view; the top is of leather and is lined inside in light grey cloth. The body makes an attractive design, having the advantage of being easily converted into a closed, and open car, or the sides can be entirely opened after the manner of the well understood permanent roof bodies. Fig. 11 is also a Healey production, and has one of the two new folding seats at the shows; the method of operation is clearly depicted in the drawing. Its advantage is that it is folded away horizontally, and the pocket to receive it will not be high enough to prevent the glass in the front division from dropping its full length, as is the case when the ordinary type is let into the partition.

“V Windshield Types

“Fig. 12 is a V-type windshield Sedan exhibited on the White, it is painted in white and black, and the trimming corresponds; the roof is leather covered and it makes a very neat, compact body that is not too extreme to suit the taste of refined people. There was another V windshield body shown by Holbrook that was larger, and another, the Bender & Robinson exhibit on the Singer, this body being very low, as indicated in the drawing. It can be opened (permanent roof fashion) and the roof is entirely of glass, to enable the occupants to get light from above. This job was the most extreme design at the show, it was finished in good taste, both outside and in, and the right balance altogether gave the body a racy, but not an overdone appearance; for its class it hit the mark and did not shoot beyond.

“Figs. 14 and 16 are two drawings of the Fleetwood Metal Body Co. cabriolet on the Lancia. Fig. 14 is the complete design and Fig. 16 shows the operation of folding the top down. The cabriolet is coming into its own as a town car, and while it will never be generally used, it has a class that appeals to the discriminating. This body is painted in yellow, red and black, the top is leather and the trimming light cloth, while the driving seat is black leather. The Barker cabriolet is operated in practically the same way as the diagram for the Fleetwood, but the leather quarter is cut semicircular to allow the leather to part at the front when the top is thrown back, while the Fleetwood uses a loose flap that is fastened, when up, by glove fasteners. Barker had two cabriolets, one large and one small and both on Rolls Royce chassis. Fleetwood had a touring body on the Lancia that attracted attention on account of painting, this being a green color in which the brush marks are plainly left just as the paint had been spread. The makers use a special paint that does not need either dryers or varnish; it is applied with the brush and not rubbed smooth; in use, however, it wears smooth and gives the dull finish that has the most durable wearing qualities.

“Fig. 16 is the outline of a Locke body on the Lancia. For five passengers, four on the seats facing forward and the fifth on the side seat placed practically on the floor, the occupant sitting across the car. This body came in for much favorable comment, on account of its light appearance and general air of tastefulness in finish and design. The doors are offset as indicated in the drawing, and there is no instrument board used; the clock and speedometer are placed at the rear of the driving seat and the other indicators on the dash board, this giving the cowl a very light and airy look compared with the majority of the bodies at the Palace show with their ponderous boards under the cowl. The paint was green and inside finish grey cloth, the top of the driving seat was especially good where it joined the side body line. Dome bicycle guards were used and steps in place of the running board.

“Fig. 17 is the Hayes & Miller runabout on the Lancia, this job, while not absolutely new in design, being well received by the observing public and it merits all the favorable comment that was passed upon it.

“Fig. 18 is another Bender & Robinson creation. It was tastefully painted and trimmed and was one of the few that approached a true streamline in its entire contour. It strongly resembles their larger body.

Fig. 1 and 2, showing plan views of two bodies with contrasting cowl taper
Fig. 3—Example of lowered back driving seat
Fig. 4—Example of runabout deck
Fig. 5—Example of rear seat of a runabout
Fig. 6—Diagram of Kissel "All Year" body
Fig. 7—Side and plan views of a good four-passenger roadster.
Fig. 8—A well-proportioned town car.
Fig. 9—Proportions of Chalmers
Fig. 10—Healey Holbrook folding top semi-touring car
Fig. 17, top left—Hayes and Miller runabout. V fronted limousine on White chassis
Fig. 12, top right—Fleetwood Metal Body Co. cabriolet.
Fig. 16, right center—Locke body on Lancia chassis.
Fig. 15, lower right— Details of top of Hayes and Miller runabout
Fig. 18—Bender and Robinson of advanced streamline form with concealing top and folding rear seat.”

Article #7 is from the June, 1922 issue of Machinery pp 803-806:

“Materials Used in Making Body Panels and Types of Presses Employed

“By George J. Mercer

“Sheet steel has come to be used almost entirely during the last twelve years for the panels of automobile bodies wherever quantity production methods are followed. Aluminum is the one other metal used for panels.

“It is more expensive than steel, but as it is lighter and more ductile, it finds favor where weight is a consideration or where much hand labor is employed in forming the panel. It was these qualities that made aluminum acceptable as the first substitute for wood when automobile bodies made according to carriage practice no longer withstood the severe service to which they were subjected.

“Early Use of Sheet Aluminum and Steel

“The use of aluminum in the early period increased rapidly throughout the trade, and this demand, together with the needs of other industries, severely taxed the sources from which aluminum was obtained. Consequently, body builders made a practice of ordering their supplies one year in advance, but regardless of this foresight, they frequently had to buy for immediate needs from jobbers who cornered the available supply and charged bonus prices. The unsatisfactory market conditions regarding aluminum compelled the large users to try to find a substitute. A return to wood was not to be thought of and steel was the only other available substitute that could be purchased at a satisfactory price.

“Two serious problems faced the pioneer advocates of steel panels: First, there were no large mechanical double-action presses suitable tor the work, because similar requirements had never been put up to press builders. Second, with the sheet steel then available it was necessary to heat the metal prior to drawing and forming, in order to prevent it from tearing. Previous work approaching the character of body stampings had been done with dies under a hammer. The metal was also heated in this work, which caused it to scale. After such an operation, the scale had to be removed and the part pickled, and much hand labor was involved in finishing and polishing.

“The impracticability of continuing under such handicaps resulted in the gradual development of the improved machines and material of the present time. For a short period after power presses were developed for this work, sheet steel was pressed while hot. Present-day accomplishments in any modern stamping plant, such as the cold-drawing of wheel housings from No. 22 U. S. standard gage steel to a depth of 6 or 8 inches in a double-action press, would have been incredible.

“Quality and Amount of Sheet Steel Used

“The steel used is graded according to the character of the work, and is broadly classed as "automobile body stock." It is a basic deep-drawing stock, pickled, annealed, and refined by cold-rolling so that no roughness or pores will develop on the surface in a drawing operation. This last specification is of the greatest importance because any roughness of the steel will show through the paint. Of course, roughness may be removed by hand-filing, but this represents an additional cost which should be avoided, if possible.

“The steel most used for panels is No. 22 U. S. standard gage which is approximately 1/32 inch thick and weighs about 1 1/4 pounds per square foot. Other steels used, but to a limited extent, are Nos. 20 and 18 U.S. standard gage. The amount of steel necessary for a closed body of the sedan type having a wooden frame and steel panels averages 140 pounds. An open body of the phaeton type requires about 100 pounds. The number of pleasure cars that were built in 1921 approximated 1,500,000 and provided two-thirds of this output had phaeton bodies, this would represent a requirement of 50,000 tons of panel stock. The cost of building a sample phaeton body without painting or trimming, averages $400. In quantities of a thousand and over the same body can be produced at a cost ranging from $35 to $70, the metal work in labor and material in each case representing approximately one-third the cost.

“The foregoing figures broadly outline the extent of the automobile body industry. The efficiency of its manufacturing methods depends to a large extent on suitable press equipment for drawing, forming, and flanging the metal in a manner that will leave its surface smooth and true. Hand operations in assembling and finishing are thus reduced to the minimum cost. In the following, some of the methods used in body panel manufacture will be described. The accompanying illustrations were obtained at the plants of the Michigan Stamping Co. and the Clayton & Lambert Mfg. Co., the different examples of press work shown being performed on machines manufactured by the E. W. Bliss Company of Brooklyn, N. Y.

“The large dies necessary for this work presented a difficult problem at first, as their size and irregular shape made them expensive due to the amount of hand labor involved in making them. The dies are cast, and instead of being filed by hand and ground as formerly, they may now be finished by employing a die-sinking machine. In Fig. 1, a machine built by the Keller Mechanical Engraving Co. is shown finishing the male die of a roadster rear-side panel. This machine is especially designed for handling large forming, stamping, and forging dies.

“A master or model above the work and a small roller which registers on the master are utilized to guide the milling cutter on the work. The master can be made either of wood or plaster. As the tracer is moved over the surface of the master, the cutter is moved correspondingly on the casting, with the result that is produced is a facsimile of the master. The tracer touches the master but lightly, so that the surface does not become defaced. However, the tool is held rigidly at every point no matter how slightly indicated by its guide. This machine is electrically controlled through push-buttons. The work can be moved horizontally and vertically, while the cutter has an adjustment for depth. In some instances a two-thirds saving in die cost has been accomplished by using this equipment.

“After the die has been taken from the die-sinking machine, it is hand-filed, as shown in Fig. 2. The final matching of the male and female die members of a pair is performed in the die imprinting machine shown in Fig. 3. This is a machine of recent design which considerably facilitates this work. It affords convenient positions for working on the die, and imprints are easily made. The dies are not taken from this machine until all fitting is completed and they are ready to be set in a press for production. Without such a machine the usual practice has been to hold a press out of production for this work, the imprints being made in the same manner by making a blue mark on one member, then registering the high spots, taking the die out of the press to be filed and finally putting it back for another imprint. Such a method is tedious and laborious, as well as expensive.

“The press equipment for making body parts ranges from the large double-crank, double-action toggle drawing press down to the small bench press used in punching nail holes. A typical line of presses of various sizes, all of which are used in panel production, is shown in the heading illustration. The presses used for the major operations are of two types classed as single-action and double-action presses, respectively. Both of these types are of the double-crank style, as often the width of the die bed permits using two dies. Thus blanking and finishing operations can be performed at one downward stroke of the press. In Fig. 7 a large single-action press is shown supplied with two dies, the one at the left being used for blanking and that at the right for flanging.

“Single-action presses are used for shallow drawing and forming and for flanging and trimming. They are made in sizes having a crankshaft diameter of from 6 to 10 inches and a die bed usually of from 84 to 124 inches in width, although sometimes the die-bed width is in excess of the latter dimension. When presses of this design are used for forming and drawing, it is necessary to provide additional equipment for holding the metal under pressure. This may consist of spring drawing attachments or pneumatic die cushions. These devices increase the capacity of a single-action press by enabling it to perform, to a limited extent, the same work as a double-action machine. Figs. 4 and 5 show double-crank, single-action presses equipped with spring drawing attachments. The tools in Fig. 5 simultaneously trim and flange the outside of a sedan body part and blank out and flange the window opening. The operation in Fig. 4 consists of forming body pillar casings, two of these being produced from one blank and separated in a subsequent trimming operation.

“The double-crank, double-action toggle drawing press is used for all the difficult deep drawing and stretching operations on such work as cowls, wheel housings, mudguards and tonneau backs. Presses of this type are constructed with an inner and outer slide, and the working tools consist of three members, a lower die, a blank-holder, and a punch. The lower die is fastened to the die bed, the blank-holder to the outer slide, and the punch to the inner or drawing slide. The drawing slide is operated direct from the crankshaft, and therefore has a continuous uniform motion. The blank-holder slide is operated through the toggle mechanism which gives the slide a dwell to hold the sheet-metal blank under sufficient pressure to prevent it from wrinkling or buckling as the punch draws it into the lower die. The amount and distribution of the pressure on the blank means success or failure in deep drawing operations; therefore, blank-holder slides are provided with adjustments so that the pressure may be regulated. The majority of presses of this type have a 9-inch crankshaft which exerts a working pressure of approximately 375 tons. The width of the die bed varies from 86 to 120 inches. There are also some presses with 7- or 8-inch crankshafts, used for door panels, aprons, and other small pieces.

“Fig. 6 shows a double-crank toggle drawing press with a 9-inch crankshaft being used to produce wheel housings, and Fig. 8 shows a machine of the same style performing an operation on mud guards. In the latter illustration the operation of pressing a double rear guard has just been completed. Figs. 9 and 10 illustrate two operations on a one-piece cowl. The presses employed are of the same type as those shown in Figs. 6 and 8.

“In conclusion, the writer would like to call attention to the warning voiced by those with a varied press experience; that Is, when buying a power press, especially if it is to be used for drawing operations, select one with reserve power above the actual requirements.

“A double-crank toggle drawing press with a 10-inch crankshaft is more economical in the long run for doing the work that a 9-inch crankshaft machine is normally intended for, than a press of the latter size would be. The reserve power of the 10-inch press will give an additional factor of safety and avoid mishaps and breakdowns. A press is subjected to unusual stresses, and the larger machine, having an excess of strength, will not be injured by the overload and consequently will always be ready for continuous production.”

Article #8 is from a 1920 SAE Paper “Trend Of Automotive Body Design”

“The Trend Of Automotive Body Design

“By George J Mercer (.S.A.E.—Consulting body engineer, Saxon Motor Car Co., Detroit)

“The author presents the practical side of the body designer's work and refers to him as being between the office and the shop, the one who stands in the way of the impatient man that wants action without preparation. The development of the body designer and body designing is reviewed and the position and duties of the designer are stated at some length. The design factors are considered in detail and the making and utilization of wax models are described, followed by a lengthy consideration of curved-surface bodies, wood body frames, style and body types. The fittings and minor design details are discussed and future designs predicted from present indications.

“The author explains the body designing business in detail to refute the suspicion that the working methods of body designers are different from those employed by the other members of an engineering force because body designing is different and distinct from the other branches of motor-car engineering work.

“A man who spends his days with inanimate things does not acquire the art of speech, yet his knowledge of the subject is first hand. So, when he does talk, some of the things he says are sure to have a practical value based upon experience. My contention has been that the workman does not talk often enough. Therefore, to be logical in my theory, I will present the practical side of the body designer's work and such theories as my experience will allow me to suggest as to the probable trend of automobile body design.

“The designer is the man between the office and the shop. He stands in the way of the impatient man who wants action without preparation. The salesman cannot close his contract until the designer gives him a sketch, and the shop cannot go ahead until the production drawings and specifications are made. The designer works overtime when the factory is slack, getting out new design sketches to solicit trade, and then works overtime to get the shop started on the job, but with all his many vicissitudes he is more humanely situated in the large production shops today than at any time previous. There, he has ample assistance; the work is divided so that men become specialists to some extent and it has finally become established that until the drawings are entirely finished there can be no progress made in the factory. It is recognized that to work out the theory of a design in the drafting room will take one man's time only and waste no material, but that to do this in the shop will take several men's time and entail the loss of parts that may be completed before possible errors are discovered. The time and money spent on preparatory work in modern body shops today would hardly be credited by old timers, but this cost when divided among 1000 to 5000 bodies is relatively small.

“The functions of the designer in motor-body shops are similar to those of his earlier prototype in the horse-carriage business and most present-day designers received their training in that school. The same fundamental methods are used in designing, except that they have been elaborated in proportion to the greater volume of business and the need for intensive designing to take care of quantity production. In some respects there is greater latitude. For instance, we are not tied down to weight considerations as with the horse carriages. They were made to relieve and help the horse, in both weight and suspension. The almost total elimination of the question of weight was necessary because the stresses and strains on a body are so much greater for motor use that added weight was necessary to get the required strength. It is only a question of time however when the weight of a motor-vehicle body will be almost as important as it was in a carriage.

“In the early days of carriage-body designing, the draftsman was not such an important factor as at a later period. In the beginning, each artisan felt a personal responsibility in having his part an artistic creation, and in addition above criticism as a piece of mechanical work. Carriage-body makers-have told me that formerly it was customary, when the body was finished and had received the first coat of lead, to have it returned to the body shop while drying so that the man who made it could have the satisfaction of showing his friends what a good piece of workmanship he was capable of turning out. I know of two successful carriage builders who determined the size of a piece of wood or steel for special jobs by simply feeling them. One of these men made a national reputation as a sulky builder and his judgment was wonderfully accurate in determining the sizes of stock on racing sulkies and sleighs. He seldom used a rule; he was guided entirely by his eye and by the feel of the piece of stock in his hand.

“At the advent of the automobile, the carriage trade had settled methods of work. The conservative element of that time thought the world was racing to its doom because of the introduction of the coach. The early workers with the automobile were pioneers and enthusiasts. It was the beginning of big business. The coach builder was wedded to his customs and his apathy placed him on the outside of the circle for a time, but the trade could not do without him altogether. The making of a good body design requires a long period of preparation. It is more than the making of mechanical drawings; it is just the right blending of curved surfaces and properly proportioned dimensions of height and width, which makes it a branch of designing distinct in itself.

“Development Of Body Designing

“Body designing has passed through two distinct periods. Since its alliance with the motor-car industry, it is now in its third. The first period was chaotic, through no one's fault in particular. A newer and larger era was in process of development for the body designer and he needed readjustment to fit him for the new life. At about the period that we call the beginning of the motorcar business, the carriage trade was in a fairly prosperous condition and the designing department was a part of every well-established shop. The draftsman was provided with adequate facilities to do his work. In nearly every large city in Europe and also in New York there had been established trade schools, in some cases supported entirely by the trade. These schools had day and evening classes where the young men connected with the industry could learn the art of designing at a very nominal cost.

“The greatest inefficiency in the trade, however, was that in the shop the time allowed for working out the design and the shop drawings was too brief to permit of detailing the drawing or working out the development of the curved surfaces, except in the simplest and crudest manner. This condition existed because the business was almost wholly single-order specially-built work. Each job was slightly different from the others and the price of the product did not warrant more than the smallest amount of experimental work. Many of the shops where good up to date carriages were built depended entirely upon the foreman of the body shop for the making of these drawing in his spare moments. He was expected to supervise the construction of the work in the wood and blacksmith shops and the assembling, to order the stock for all departments and make the drawings to produce from 50 to 200 jobs per year. He accomplished this by making one working draft do for several jobs, with alterations, and at the end of the year his drawings were no longer records, being so crossed with lines that he himself could not read them. The bad feature of this was that a man so situated became out of touch with the trend of the trade through his intense application and complicated methods. Soon feeling his inefficiency, in self-protection he kept secret as much knowledge of the business as he could.

“This condition caused the second period, when the motorcar manufacturer began to build his own motor bodies, but this soon passed and today we are in the third period. The two interested parties have benefited by their mistakes and are content to work in unison. Body builders have demonstrated that they are able to rise to the occasion and immense shops, independent of the motor-car manufacturer except that they depend upon him for their trade, are operated and produce the required number of bodies daily to meet an equal output of cars.

“The Designer's Position And Duties

“My theory of the body designer's position is that he must be free to act and his authority as to the advisability of accepting changes in his designs must be unquestioned. He should be allowed to make up his models with only such general instructions as the character of the body requires. He must then combine the methods of the past with those of the present. He must build in his mind and create, fancy free, an artistic conception. This must then be tied down, on paper, to the modern method of developing it for production. The range of possibilities before the designer today is wonderfully enlarged over that of any previous time. The present- day body designer has all of the experience of the past to draw upon for inspiration and the advantage of modern methods plus time and money.

“His duties consist of first making the sketch. This is a matter requiring careful thought, because he must be sure that he can build the job later and have it a duplicate of his miniature drawing. He may be called upon for suggestions as to the painting, trimming specifications and appointments. He should at least be in a position to furnish these. The designing of the radiator shape, the engine hood, lamp supports, tire carriers and fenders is part of his work, because all these essentials are correlative with the body design and make or mar the general harmony of the plan as a whole. After the design has been accepted in miniature form, the next operation is to make the drawings for the shop. This is the real test of the designer's ability. The working drawings must carry the effect or characteristics of the small drawings, but they will be different, however carefully the small drawings may have been made. It will be found in every case, when the actual conditions under which the body is to be mounted and made are encountered, that some of the measurements and lines shown on the small design must be changed. This confirms what I mentioned before. The designer must have latitude enough to feel that it is within his province to make such alterations as his best judgment dictates, provided the general effect of the original conception is still carried through. In laying out new effects he must decide as to the shop methods and capacity to as great an extent as is possible. If he is carrying something new to the shop, undoubtedly he will meet with opposition. To overcome this he must be well grounded and confident in his own mind, through his experimental and research efforts, that what he has laid down on paper will be a success. Also, he must be able to demonstrate the practicability of his plans by clean-cut reasoning, so that he will have the working accord of the shop. The best results are obtainable only when the shop has confidence in the engineering department. This is an easy matter to adjust. It is simply the logical outcome of honest work and honest painstaking effort.

“Design Factors

“The design of the motor-car body, like that of every other commercial article, is based upon some man's thought of what the public needs. Bodies are broadly divided into two classes, the quantity or commercial and the built-to-order, or special job, so-called. From the viewpoint of profit, the special job is a bugaboo of the trade. With practically very little additional effort on the part of the management and some extra work of detailing the drawings for production, a shop can be set for the entire season; but the body end of the motorcar business will always have this condition to contend with to a greater extent than does the balance of the car. The discriminating buyer is the same now as always. It is human nature to wish to have something a little different or more distinctive than that possessed by others; therefore, in the competition to sell, the salesman will force conditions requiring some change in the stock car. That which is most readily accomplished and which is the thing asked for is difference in body styles and, although the salesman may make himself objectionable by disturbing the stock design, he is in reality promoting healthy growth.

“The special body is the ideal form of try-out in preparation for new models for the following season. The cost and the workability of the design in production will be the first consideration from the manufacturers' standpoint, but the selling feature will coerce him into giving the public what it wants. In fact, the benefits of a suitable body design are so well recognized from the salesman's point of view that they do not need to be emphasized. That the public demands distinct special-body designs is proved by the number of body shops in every city. Each of these shops makes from 25 to 500 special jobs each year. In part, these are bodies to replace those worn-out before the mechanical part of the car becomes unserviceable or those destroyed by accidents. An owner seldom wishes to replace a stock body from the manufacturer, and many times the stock body is sold for the price of scrap, so that the owner can have the kind of body that he fancies. Body designing in special- job shops is even now quite primitive when compared with large-production factories, as far as the drawing goes. The essential points, such as providing for clearance of the wheels at the rear fenders, door clearance at the fender when the door is open and proper seat-room back of the steering-wheel, are worked out for safety's sake; but the four views of the side, half back, front and top, are mere outline drawings according to the custom in each particular shop. The workman, however, in going from one shop to another, learns that the more the drawing is detailed, the quicker he can build the body. This is having the effect of improving the quality and adding to the amount of work that is put upon the shop drawings.

“Working drawings that are complete beyond criticism and that contain all the information needed are made only when the quantity of jobs made from one design will warrant the expense. In body drawing, dependence is placed upon the assembly, more than in any other form of engineering work. The working draft is an assembly drawing. It is made full size because the curved surfaces are not true radii. The patterns used for dressing the stock are made from the draft and are checked by laying on the penciled or inked lines, to which they must conform absolutely. The working drawing must be made with the greatest accuracy because the layout man, who takes the drawing after it leaves the table, scales the sizes of stock and dimensions. Very few dimensions are indicated by figures. The paper on which closed bodies are drawn is usually 62 in. wide and the usual length is 14 ft. Muslin-backed paper is best. This is wet and stretched tightly upon a drafting board; when dry it is as tight as a drum head. A base line is drawn the length of the paper about 2 in. up from the bottom; 10-in. squares are then plotted over the entire surface - of the sheet and put in with red ink. The reason for this is that any paper will change with changes in the weather. I have experienced a change of % in. in the length of a sheet, between wet and dry weather. By working from the 10-in. squares in taking length and height measurements, such variations are minimized. It has become common, recently, to make these drawings on a sheet of aluminum painted white. The lines are first put on with a pencil; when the drawing is finished these lines are inked in different colors for the different views, and the whole sheet is varnished. This method not only obviates the difficulty of paper shrinkage but is a preventative against cutting and tearing; also, changes can be made easily by simply scraping the paint off at any one place. The lines are thus removed and can be replaced as desired. Most draftsmen use a horizontal board for this work. The perpendicular board has the advantage of allowing the use of a more accurate method than that of the T-square and the base of the board for a guide line from which to work, but the flat board is still preferred by most draftsmen because it is more restful to work on and provides an easier position for detail work.

“The preliminary work in making a design is to make up a miniature drawing, generally on a scale of 1 in. = 1 ft. This can be either a simple pencil sketch or an ink tracing from which blueprints can be made. Sometimes it is followed by a color sketch. Color sketches are best where possible, as the true proportions of the body and its special features can be better emphasized. Draftsmen do not realize that persons not familiar with drawings cannot visualize the actual reality from simply seeing the lines on paper. It requires training to do this. To take care of this feature and also to make certain that the actual full-size job will be as satisfactory as the sketch, full-size wax models are made.

“The initial work on the working draft must be the work of one man and he must be the best man in the drafting room. Less competent help can be used after the general outline is determined. This help is generally limited to two, as they both must work on the same drafting board. The different views are put on the same sheet and some of the views overlap the others. To distinguish them different colored inks are used. Separate detail sheets are used only for the hardware and ironwork and for the die work. The wood framing is not detailed, but the layout man makes a pattern, and samples of the piece if it is curved; this work is assigned a number, just as if a detailed drawing had been made. It is the practice to make a specification sheet at the time the drawing is completed. This is generally lettered on tracing cloth and blueprints of it are made. This sheet carries information that cannot easily be put upon the drawing. It is divided into groups, under different letters or symbols for the different pieces forming these groups; numbers are used also with the symbol letters. The grouping is arranged so that all the component parts forming a manufacturing unit are under one symbol. These will include such parts as are to be purchased, such as locks and hinges for the doors. These will come under the symbol for doors, etc. The final assembly will be grouped under a major symbol, the minor symbols forming its component parts.

“The first work in laying out a body design is to determine the extreme dimensions of length, width and height. We must consider the foundation or chassis, the location of the rear wheel in its relation to the dash, the steering- wheel location and the shape of the dash, which is really the engine hood at this stage. These points having been located on the drawing, we then determine the desired seat positions according to these set points. The outer dimensions are governed by the thickness of the framing material and the trimming outside of the necessary interior sizes. Having settled upon the greatest width, which will be about in the middle of the body, we lay out two problematical curved lines. One is called the turn-under. The turn-under line indicates the amount that it is intended to narrow the body on each side, from the widest part in the middle toward the bottom. This line is perpendicular and is illustrated by the end-view of a door. The other line, called the side-sweep, is a horizontal line on the drawing and indicates the amount of gain that has been determined upon, from the widest part toward the back and front ends. This line is laid out at a height corresponding to the top of the doors, if for a closed body, and at the top edge of a touring body. These two lines, the turn-under, or perpendicular, and the side-sweep, or horizontal, are the major determining lines used to develop the remainder of the exterior surface of the body. The turn-under line of the rear plays some part, but has not the same importance as the first two. These lines are not true radii in any sense. They are true curves that are made up to pass through certain fixed points that vary with each different drawing, so that the same turn-under or side-sweep patterns are seldom used twice. Standing in the front or rear of a body and at the widest part, the line that defines the perpendicular of the side is the turn-under of the side. The line in the center of the back, as viewed from the side, has the same name. The view of the roof that will be obtained by looking from a high position is the side- sweep. In making the draft, the difficulties are not so much the- intricacies of the drawing as the tediousness of the work, which requires uninterrupted concentration. Because the work is full size, it constantly requires the draftsman to work from one end of the board to the other, as the different views are necessarily separated. The development of the different parts of the drawing is entirely an application of the rules of geometry to the major curved lines of the turn-under and side-sweep. It is necessarily a slow process, because of the size of the work. For instance, the rear corner and wheel-house line, taken from a working draft, show the appearance of the wood framing of the corner developed so that the layout man can accurately determine the size of stock needed. He can work to actual size and know that this apparently intricate piece of wood will, when finished and put in its place, carry the truly developed outside curved surface. Also, that it will give that pleasing appearance without waste of time, which occurs when these irregular pieces of stock are made by the cut-and- try method.

“The draft when completed is sent to the layout man. He makes the patterns, checks up the methods of framing, marks the numbers on the templates and specifies the number of pieces required. The layout man is always someone that has had real shop training in work that fits him for his duties. He is generally near the drafting room and is always available for advice during the time the work on the drawing is in progress. The layout man is the last bar that is let down before the manufacturing begins. The finished product is the collective effort of the designing and manufacturing departments. It is sometimes stated that good designing is simply the task of getting good work done in the manufacturing, but it is more than this. It is true that the success of the design depends upon its being properly built, and that is the reason the manufacturing end must be ever present in the designer's mind when either sketches or working drafts are being made.

“Wax Models

“This is accomplished by making a temporary working drawing quickly and accurately, putting on the paper only just enough to make sure that the body maker can go ahead. The body maker for this work must be a first-class mechanic. He sets up all the framing, the seat frames and body boards, and puts locks and hinges on the doors in the same manner as on any custom-built job. Between the framing, where ordinarily the metal panel is used for covering, he fastens wood strips that are about 1 in. wide by Vi in. thick and leaves spaces between that are of the same size. The strips are set back from the outer surface of the pillars and framing the same distance. The wax used is a composition prepared for the purpose. It is warmed and applied at about the consistency of thick putty and is shaped with a scraper, a very thin layer being put entirely over all the framing so that the surface is smooth. This is painted, the body is set on a chassis, the fenders are mounted and the radiator and the engine hood are installed. Sometimes the engine hood is faked in the same way as the body, cheap trimming and cushions are used and the whole has the appearance of a completed car. The advantage of this is that additional wax can be used and the shape remodeled as desired. When the design has been approved, the wax is removed, changes are made in the framing, if needed, the entire assembly is covered with metal panels and the result is a quickly- built experimental body.

“Regarding the wax model, I wish to dwell on the chances of overestimating present and unduly depreciating past practices. The body drafting room has been compelled to add to its forces and to use any help that could be profitably employed that was efficient in correctly developing curved surfaces. A real designer is something more than a man that is theoretically correct. There is a smug satisfaction that may be deceptive in having made a drawing that cannot be criticized, that is so perfect that all the pieces of stock fit together perfectly and in which no manufacturing mistakes can be detected. As a design it may lack character and artistic feeling. Also, the length of time spent on preparation has been so great that changes cannot be made without going back to the beginning to insure safety in production. The wax model may also serve a sinister purpose in that it is so easy to add wax to it. Someone in authority who has no designing experience may thus impose grotesque innovations simply with the idea of being different. This is probably the reason for some of the odd body designs that have been turned out in quantity production.

“Curved-Surface Bodies

“All passenger bodies are made with curved surfaces, the reason for this "being that more beautiful outlines are produced and these are more especially noticeable when painted. The varnished surface shows to immensely greater advantage when convex. Another reason for curved surfaces is to reduce weight. To be comfortable, the body must be wide and high enough in the middle and at the seats. Below and toward the ends less space is required and the most logical and most beautiful appearance will be obtained by decreasing the dimensions by the use of curved lines.

“The credit for creating a system of developing these curved surfaces of the sides, back and top, to produce an harmonious effect and be theoretically correct, belongs to the French. The horse carriage was known as the French rule of body designing, and Paris was the Mecca for many years for the young carriage draftsmen who wished to become proficient. DuPont was the proprietor of a trade journal called Le Guide de Carrossier. A young man who had worked in a carriage shop and later worked in a shipyard conceived the idea of applying geometry to carriage bodies, in a manner similar to that by which it was applied to shipbuilding. He suggested this to DuPont and, between DuPont and Brice Thomas, the system of body designing as it applies today was developed. Only in recent years has its use been extended. Previously, each designer absorbed just enough knowledge to qualify, and then trusted to his eye and training for the remainder. Today we make drawings that are actually as well as theoretically correct, regardless of the cost. Work can be begun in advance on the dies for forming the sheet-metal panels. Production is under control simply because our designing methods have been elaborated to take full advantage of the system laid out in the early days of the carriage business, but which was then prohibitive because of the cost. I have emphasized the fact that body builders use sane methods in making drawings today. The question might be asked why this was not done before. Engineering work in all its branches meant money from the beginning on preliminary layout plans; it could not have succeeded without it. I can only answer that the body-designing business, whether rightly or wrongly, took to itself some of the eccentricities that are the prerogatives of art, and custom has always permitted art to be illogical.

“Presumably, the idea animating all changes in design is to produce a betterment; all changes are not permanent in themselves but are mere stepping stones to further improvements. The manufacturing conditions also change and this will permit, as improvements in methods obtain, conducting quantity work that was not long before almost prohibitive. For instance, it was not possible to obtain the fine grade of smooth soft steel that we now have for panel stock a few years ago. Even for handmade bodies, steel is used to cover the wood framing around the windows in the same manner that aluminum was used a few years ago and which was thought marvelous then. Sheet aluminum can be welded now. This eliminates the use of multitudinous moldings to cover the joints. Also, it makes possible the use of narrow panels welded together to cover a large space, such as the roof of a covered body. Sheet steel is now welded on the job when several panels are put in place and fastened; the joints where the sheets meet are welded without destroying the wood framing directly underneath. The irregular surface where the weld is made is wiped with solder and, when painted, it is impossible to detect the joints. Improvements have been made in the hinges, the locks and folding seats, and gasoline tanks are set at the rear in place of being under the front seat; consequently, the whole job is made lower.

“Wood Body Frames

“In the construction of bodies of all types, it has been a surprise to many who predicted that the use of wood for framing would become obsolete, that the wood frame has remained and that its use seems in no way likely to become less. In some places, such as the rear extension of the runabout, wood is used only for the sill. Some few manufacturers make what they call an all-metal body for touring types and runabouts. More manufacturers would be willing to go into this if body styles were more permanent, but the cost of the tooling-up and the die work is greater. Many manufacturers have lost money trying out the all-metal job, only to find that the body so built was costing more than the one with the wood- frame construction. At present, no strong effort is being made to supplant present practice. Wood tends to eliminate the clanging or tinny sound when all-metal doors are slammed against metal posts. Also, wood must be used to some extent for a base upon which to nail the trimming. The wood that is used is not of the same character as was formerly used for carriages. Maple and other cheaper woods have replaced ash.

“The use of the Linderman machine, that grooves and glues narrow pieces of stock together, utilizes what in other days went to waste on account of being too narrow by adding other narrow pieces to build up a wide board or plank. This idea is not new. We have had laminated panels for years but, from experience, we have learned that laminated wood must be protected from the weather by gluing canvas over it and painting. The process here mentioned is the process of fitting framing pieces together with a dovetail. The machine does all the work of dovetailing, gluing and joining two pieces of stock together in one operation. The operation is continued on one side of the joined pieces and so on until the required width is obtained. This built-up plank is used for the sills and other framing parts that require wide stock. Criticism of this method of joining several widths of wood together cannot come under any adverse comment as to its durability. It is for many purposes stronger than solid-stock framing, in that the different pieces eliminate or minimize the disadvantages of the cross grain. By using different pieces of wood the average is virtually made equal to that of selected stock and, in practice, wood made up in this manner has given the very best results.

“Style And Body Types

“Style varies in different parts of the country. It originates in large cities or, if it does not originate there, the stamp of approval is there placed upon it. And thence it travels slowly to the extreme ends of the country. The changes in body designs are generally so rapid that, by the time they reach remote places, they are out-of-date in the centers. A few styles belong to localities, on account of their adaptability to the particular places. For instance, the town limousine, the limousine brougham and the cabriolet are sold only in the large cities; whereas the small two-passenger enclosed body; generally termed a coupe, is entirely out of the running as a sales proposition in large cities. It is essentially a country physician's car for all-year use and its sale is confined to usage of this character. These types that are not being used except for specific purposes do not come into consideration on the quantity production basis, their use being too limited for wholesale distribution.

“Sometimes body types will undergo changes in some particular part. They still have the same name but present a modified appearance. Changes often occur simply because makers feel that a change is about due and they wish to be leaders. This brings on a general stampede to break away from old lines. Some styles are not suitable for both long and short wheelbase chassis. One thing has been clearly demonstrated; a body style can undergo all forms of modifications and survive, but once it becomes passé, it is killed for all time. Very rarely has this been the fate of a meritorious design. The one exception was the demi-limousine. It would appear that this type will come back under another name and form, because what is designated as the California top is virtually an adaptation of this once proud member of the body family.

“We have witnessed a wonderful march onward from the primitive touring bodies with the open spaces between the seats to the up to date flush body with its slanting windshield and close-curtained top, in which the seat cushions are tipped down at the rear. The rear- seat cushion is more flexible than the front one and the rear-seat back is higher; the front-seat top is minimized to the limit to give a low appearance. We place the extra tires at the rear where weight is needed and tip their upper edge forward so that it has the proper load effect on the car. When tipped back it gives the effect of bouncing off and breaks the iron supports.

“One idea that the trade has consistently adhered to as most important has been to give a low appearance to the car. We have seen one objectionable point after another pruned off to attain this result. The modern touring car has about reached low-water mark in this respect. It has low wheels, a high kick-up of the frame at the rear, so as to drop the main foundation of the frame for the body down low, and a low raking steering- wheel. These three points, together with that of accentuating the length by having the body line blend continuously with the hood line from the radiator back, have together had a marvelous effect in bringing about the desired result. The touring car is the nearest approach to the universal of any body model. It compares in utility with the horse phaeton. It is not too heavy for general purposes and yet it is ready for expansive duties when called upon. Its low cost and durability make it popular and, while attempts to convert it into an all-year body by the addition of the demountable top have not been very successful on account of consequent poor appearance, it seems probable that some change of that character is about due. The regular touring top is now being used in its standing position almost entirely in the cities. It is folded by the majority of users only when touring in the country. It is not a folding top in the same sense as was the case a few years ago. Therefore, now that the public has become accustomed to the top as now used, it seems reasonable that some method of conversion into a quick-change closed job will result. This I think will be the future of this body type. We know that the Springfield solid-roof body with open sides was extremely popular for a time, and but for its mechanical defects would still be in existence. It was really something that the public wanted.

“All types of folding-top bodies have been losing out for several seasons. Possibly one of the reasons has been that this country has been the originator of its own designs to an increasing extent of late years. The landaulet and other folding-top bodies are essentially European; the example of the taxicab will serve. At first nothing else but a body that would open up was even considered. Today these ideas have all passed. The standing-top job is more durable, is cheaper to build, and does not become shabby so quickly; it is warmer and more rain-proof. The virtues of the folding top are that fine leather has a luxurious appearance when rightly applied in making the upper structure; it also has the advantage of being proof against developing sounds inside, as wood or metal will at times in a closed body. Its rich appearance makes it desirable for exclusive custom- built work, but, all things considered, the folding-top body is losing out on account of its lack of real worth as compared to that of the standing-top closed job.

“Concerning the Victoria top, this was adapted from the old horse-drawn park carriage. It is by far the daintiest thing that was ever added to a touring body. It is so attractive in appearance that it is and will be used at times, although it has several defects for motorcar work. If made to fall or be lowered, the window lights will be too small to be able to see at the rear, but if it is not made in this way, a large part of its beauty is sacrificed. It is a dust trap and the wind resistance that it offers is very great. One other form of top that did not survive was the disappearing top for open cars. This top folded into a pocket on the sides and rear of the body. It was not possible to make it look well when up, and it soon became obsolete because there was no real need of its continuance.

“Returning to the design of the touring-body model, we look for its increase as a five-passenger body rather than in the larger form. The small car is becoming increasingly popular today and the smaller body will naturally follow. There cannot be very many more innovations in changing the character of this design. The most needed and the most likely thing to receive the attention of the designer in regard to this body will be the change in the character of the top; the short wheel-base eliminated the second cowl.

The other type of open body is the runabout. This model has been mistreated to an extent that other designs have escaped. The tendency is for each manufacturer to make this design suitable to his own particular needs and prevailing style does not enter into this design to the same extent as in other models.

“Of the closed bodies, we have seen a strong sentiment in favor of the all-year car in this class. At present, we see the passing of the large-size bodies, some of which were like houses on wheels. The only healthy survivor is the sedan. It was the last innovation to appear and it now stands alone as the popular closed car. It had its beginning with the two doors opposite and located for easy entrance to the rear seat, and was equipped with a divided front seat. It was modified to have the doors diagonal, one at the front seat and one at the rear. The general plan now provides four doors and a solid front seat. Even the division making it a two-compartment body has been modified and requests to have the driving seat entirely closed off are seldom made, the single seat being sufficient for general purposes. The other types of popular closed bodies are the coupes and town car types. There are two divisions of the coupes; the small two-passenger car mentioned as being the physician's car, virtually the runabout of the closed bodies, and the four or three-passenger coup6. The latter is a short- coupled sedan, having two doors located at the front and an entrance to the rear seat by an aisle between the front seats. It is suitable for short-wheelbase cars and, when used on large chassis, a rear extension similar to that used on a runabout serves to cover the balance of the chassis frame. These three are the sum of quantity- manufactured closed bodies.

“The town cars are the cabriolet and the limousine broughams. These designs, as viewed from the stands at the automobile show, are similar to past models. In fact, at this time, when manufacturing is carried on under difficulties and there is a demand in excess of production, it cannot be expected that innovations in body styles will be predominant. Selling competition at present is not competitive enough to urge manufacturers to make radical changes. Not until we have European competition in its old form can we look forward to many body changes.

“In the past few years we have seen automobile manufacturers surrender practically all debatable points asked for by body builders. We have seen stock body models multiply until manufacturers have had twelve to fourteen body models, including the convertible types. But since the first years of the industry, we have never had so few stock models and so few radical body innovations as we have today. Viewed from the standpoint of business conditions, this is in no sense a detriment or misfortune; on the contrary, it is a decided advantage, because it enables manufacturers to produce better quality on account of having their efforts more concentrated. Conditions will not be much different until European competition begins in good earnest. When this does come about, we will feel an incentive that does not exist today.

“Moderate changes in exterior appearance are going on all the time. This can be illustrated by again calling attention to the sedan. This has continued as a slanting- front job now for over four years. It is an illustration of the feeling manufacturers have when a change is about due. Without any logical reason whatever, there is a strong tendency to shift to a straight-front body and, during the coming year, all new models will be made in this manner. I say there is no logical reason for this, but I will modify that by saying there is no reason for this change on large cars. Short-wheelbase cars must have a short steering-column to have room for four or five passengers. The slanting front takes up a considerable portion of the cowl length, and we are all striving to have this accentuated as much as possible in length to prevent a stubby appearance. But with or without the slanting windshield front, the sedan is a handsome design. It fills the requirements as an all-year car. In its present form of straight lines- it is not likely to undergo any change for a very long time to come, except that the front will be straight. The coupe is due to receive more attention from now on. The four-passenger coupe" is very little different from the sedan. It is not so roomy, but it has the advantage of being smaller, and that is a desirable consideration.

“The lines of both closed and open bodies are more uniformly straight; in fact, severe lines are the prevailing fashion. More moldings are used on closed bodies at present, because they accentuate the straight-line effect and permit a form of construction that looks lighter. On a short-wheelbase chassis, the long effect of having the lines continuous from the radiator to the back helps the low appearance by accentuating the length.

Town-car models have a limited selling area; therefore they do not come under the classification of quantity production as do the models first mentioned. They are made under conditions that call for more distinct styles and greater variation in design, because they are made by builders that specialize. Being made for the most discriminating buyers, there is an individuality about them that makes it good advertising for manufacturers to have them listed in their catalogs and they add an air of eclat to the trade. They serve the purpose of stimulating designing because, in these models particularly, the buyer can have his own conceptions reproduced and the distinction of individualism will remain his own for a longer period of time.

“Fittings And Design Details

“Automobile-body designing is a collective effort in which the man who makes the drawings, the men who are responsible for the mechanical part of the work and the purchaser all have their part. The magnitude of the automobile business continually attracts persons to whom the work is new, but whose previous training has been such that it enables them to break into the business at some point. These new men approach the business from entirely new angles and sometimes do worthy things. Any business that does not hold out attractions of this kind does not make progress. I say this because I know from experience the difficulties that many designers have in keeping up to date. I can illustrate my meaning by referring to the accessory manufacturers. New operatives are constantly giving their attention to the making of interior mountings, handles, lamps, etc. We can buy them economically today because the volume of business warrants interior mountings that a few years ago were not to be had except when made up specially, at an excessive cost.

“Trimming material is another item that in normal times of trade provides a wonderful variety of designs. The use of the word upholstery, as applied to the cloth used on a car, is wrong. Upholstery is a furniture term. Carriage builders say "trimming" in speaking of the material and of the "trimming design" in speaking of the manner in which it is cut and laid out in the body. Trimming designs are made entirely subject to the utility requirements. It is necessary to cut the material into pleats to make a suitable form of trimming that will stand up under hard usage. The pleats hold the under filling in place and the material is shaped so as to permit cleaning off the dust most easily. The design of the material can carry all the variety that is required. The mountings that comprise the remainder of the utility requirements of the interior part of the body are made mostly in lusterless finish, so as to have the entire view from within restful and in soft harmony. Body designing today is centered in avoiding violent contrasts. What is accepted will remain good form so long as it is the most suitable design for the purpose. We are striving for quiet elegance in all the parts and, when one part is changed, others that are correlated with it undergo changes also.

“The fender design on the closed body can be varied considerably in the form of the top sheet, but the shape in which it follows the wheels is now the best that we have ever approached. We cannot do better for appearance or utility purposes. On sport models and on specially designed touring cars the peak fender and the cycle shape are used, together with the step in place of the runboard, but they will be only for such types. Our standard runboard shield and fenders are the fruits of experience and they will remain.

Radiators look best when slightly narrower at the top than at the bottom, as viewed from the front. Rounded corners are used on account of being cheaper to manufacture, but the radius is minimized. The average height above the frame is 24 to 26 in. and the average width is 19 to 24 in. There is a decrease of about % in. on each side toward the top; some have more, but the amount named is a fair statement of what will look well.

“The present engine hoods are fairly well designed. In some, the mistake has been made of having the rear end out of balance by being too high as compared with the height at the radiator. When extreme, this makes it appear as if the car were plowing into the ground. A rise of 2 in. should be the maximum between the radiator and the dash, and it is better if this rise is made less for short hoods. The hood louvers are smaller and more numerous; made in this way they lose their conspicuous- ness and present a blended appearance. To get the desired streamline effect on the side of the body, from the radiator back, we are fortunately able to make a decided gain on each side between the radiator and the dash and do it successfully; no inharmonious effects result, even when this gain is extreme. In body lines, we have three points which we must conform to; two of these are arbitrary and sometimes the third becomes so. These are the width of the radiator, the width of the dash and, in an enclosed body, the necessary clearance for hand- room between the steering-wheel and the inside of the body framing. That is why, sometimes, and always when the dash is narrow, we have a bumpy appearance on the sides of the cowl between the dash and the front of the door, although this occurrence is less frequent than formerly.

“Designs Of The Future

“We cannot expect to see any change in the interior dimensions of the body. Closed bodies are at least 4 in. lower than they were a few years ago. A distance of 36 in. over the cushion, from the top before it is compressed to the underneath face of the roof, gives as low a body as is made usually; in fact, few bodies are made quite so low. The cushion should be 12 to 14 in. from the floor. This height is necessary because, even though the seat can be made like a divan, the difficulty of raising oneself to a standing from a sitting position requires considerable effort, especially for stout people. Therefore, the height inside the body cannot change. Low wheels are being used to get as much of this effect as can be gained. A two-passenger coupe, for example, could be smaller than it is now from back to front and still be all right for comfort but, as the height cannot be trifled with, it must have length to balance this or it will look like a stove pipe.

“It is human nature to think that present surroundings with which we are familiar and the era in which we live are preeminent over all past time and possibly a good part of the future, as far as development is concerned, although this is more convincing to those who make a close study of a subject than it is to those who are only casually informed; but even with due allowance for this weakness, it is safe to say that we have a better average in designing and better results, from combined artistic and utility points of view, than we have ever had previously in the motor-car business. Such a point of excellence has been reached that we will not see any radical changes or radical departures in the form of body designing.

“For the next two years we will continue our efforts along the same lines as at present, the keynote being to produce soft straight-line effects. By this I mean that we will not sacrifice the beautiful results that are obtained only by the aid of rounded corners, on the rear end of the body, in the desire to get straight lines. I believe this rounding will be minimized; we will use a smaller radius, but we will avoid that appearance of being just cut off that so often goes with a square rear corner. I am not saying that the square rear corner has not had a beautiful effect when rightly placed, but it must have the right setting; to use it, the body must not be too long. It is a corner that can be used daintily or harshly. With the form I have attempted to explain as being the prevailing type of commercial body, I believe the square window opening will also remain, that the roof will be straight and nearly flat and that the door lines will be square wherever practicable. It is a strange fact that rounded corners on window openings and door bottoms seem to add weight to the appearance. As we are concentrating on lightness in appearance as one of the cardinal principles in our efforts today, my predictions are based upon such deductions. Some lines, particularly the perpendicular line at the rear, are made in practice slightly exaggerated backward, so that they will have an upright appearance when the body is mounted on the chassis. This is one of the optical illusions that are allowed for in bodies.

“I have dwelt more upon the position that the designer bears to his surroundings and the nature of his work than the title of this paper would perhaps justify, but I have taken this occasion to explain the body-designing business because I have felt that suspicion was often directed against body designers in that they were thought to be keeping the major part of their work to themselves; in other words, that their methods of working were different from those employed by the other members of the engineering force. Body designing is different and distinct from the other branches of motor-car engineering work. It is difficult to learn because the one feature that makes it an attractive form of occupation is the ability to originate novelties in design, but this comes only after a long process of elimination, oftentimes of many designs, and then from working about until just the right combination is hit. Creative work like this necessarily cannot be communicated to another; therefore, the body designer seems always to be loading himself up with work that he cannot utilize help on, and the mystery that is at times blamed on the body designer is the result of the nature of his business. That the occupation survived and enlisted recruits to carry on the work has been an indication of the tenacity with which the work holds the enthusiasm and interest of those who take it up.

“The Discussion

“H. M. Crane:—Mr. Mercer's paper is one of the most complete explanations of the relation of design to production, and of the methods of body design, that I have ever heard. I was interested in his description of the horse-drawn sulky designers, who work by eye and by feeling. That same method is necessary in the automobile-body business today. It always has been necessary and is equally necessary in mechanical design. There has been no successful designer who did not have an eye for proportion. It cannot be accomplished by figures. Some feeling that one has is entirely superior to anything that can be figured on paper or with a slide-rule. That is true both in chassis and in engine design, but it is much more true in body design. The proportions of the body, if they are wrong, spoil the whole job. It makes no difference how good the painting is, or the trimming, or how handsome the chassis is; if the body is wrongly proportioned, it will never look well.

“The sedan has been the coming universal body for the last six years. The automobile is a passenger car. It is a means of transportation and must be so considered. The open touring body with the top up, more or less dilapidated side-curtains and a windshield that always leaks when there is a rain, is no solution of the problem of a proper means of all-weather transportation. The sedan is the transformation of the idea of a touring body with the top up, into a concrete example of a real all- weather design. My experience with it is that it provides everything that is desirable in the way of ventilation and unobstructed view in a car, except when touring in mountainous districts where, of course, the overhead view is obstructed. However, a very small proportion of cars is used that way. Another interesting thing about the sedan is the fact that it is an automobile design. There is very little left in it of the old horse-drawn carriage. The limousine, as we see it today, is still more or less like the brougham that was drawn by horses, but the sedan has superseded that, just as the touring-car chassis has superseded the old high-wheeled design. Another thing is that the sedan was developed and brought to its present beautiful proportions by the custom body builders. A number of sedan models were in existence in 1913 and 1914, when the question of producing such bodies in quantity was only being considered. Several of these designs have been copied very closely in recent production jobs.

“The consideration of size in bodies cannot be emphasized too strongly. The body is built to serve and accommodate human beings; human beings average a fairly standard size. Many failures in body design have been due to disregarding any consideration of the stature of human beings; for that reason they served no useful purpose. The battleships and cruisers of the Japanese Navy are designed to suit the average size of a Japanese, which is distinctly smaller than that of the European and American. For that reason, the head-room is less between decks, and all parts of the ship are similarly designed. That is exactly what must be done in the automobile body. I have felt for a long time that the appearance of the body has been given preference over provisions for actual comfort. From time to time I have ridden in cars built four or five years ago which were not within 3 to 5 in. as low as the present cars from the ground; there is no question that, on a long trip across country, one will become less tired in such a car than in a car of the present low type. On the other hand, one gets much less excitement, because the difference in the realization of speed is very noticeable. The high-hung car rides better; at 40 m.p.h. it feels very much like the very low cars do at 30 m.p.h., which is only natural. One is riding higher above the ground, and that decreases realization of the speed, so long as one is protected from the wind. It is also true, regarding the height of the body, that the present style of low body certainly looks well; on the other hand, it is difficult to get in and out of. We had a sample of that in types of design that utterly failed to hold in the Van den Plas bodies five or six years ago, in which a very sharp curved roof was used. It had a very snappy look, especially from in front, but, unfortunately, the driver could scarcely get in and out because the roof was so very low in front. For that reason, and also because it was too extreme, that body went out of fashion.

“In reference to the sharp-line design that is so much in evidence today, a few years ago everything was rounded. As a matter of fact, neither of these conditions alone is correct. Mr. Mercer has found it necessary, with the present tendency to sharp hood lines, to retain the rounded rear lines of the body. He is absolutely right. The car that I have been connected with has had a rounded and rather shapeless hood with no style to it; there was nothing to attract the eye. The body was square cornered at the back and had square sides; it had angles wherever they could be put to set off the rest of the job and make it look right. On the other hand, with the sharp-sided hood of the Rolls-Royce or the Packard, a square-cornered rear to a body gives just the reverse effect; it is too much of one thing. In other words, a job must be considered altogether and balanced between the various lines and the various types of design, if a satisfactory result is to be obtained.

The tilted cushion, at least to the extent that it has been carried in many cars, is not an improvement. It folds the unfortunate user up like a jack-knife, and was caused originally by bad riding. The cushion at the normal angle, such as in the passenger cars of railroads, was not sufficient to hold the passenger in place, and he found himself sprawling on the floor on rough pieces of road. On cars that really ride well, there is no necessity for the sharply-tilted cushion. The normal railroad angle is satisfactory to keep the passenger in a comfortable position, and it gives him more positions in which he can sit. With the tilted cushion he must sit back to be comfortable.

“W. S. Howard:—I changed from an open car to a closed car because I became tired of trying to put the curtains up in the rain, and of taking them down to see where I was going. The choice of a closed car should depend entirely upon its intended use. I selected a coupe mainly because for a given number of passengers a coupe provides more room, not only for the person at the steering-wheel but for the other passengers. This coupe had some features that were unsatisfactory, one being the corner post, which interfered with vision. I finally selected a coupe with a bent glass corner, which gave an unobstructed view. I have driven it about 21,000 miles and would not be without it for clear vision. I also approve of the vertical windshield; it gives fewer reflections than one set at an angle. Anyone accustomed to driving an open car will find that in a closed car there are little lights darting in, and that he must become accustomed to distinguishing between real and imaginary lights. The first coupe I had did not suit me because the rear window did not drop. They are not made that way now. I have one of satisfactory design. By manipulating the windshield I can hold a handkerchief in front of my face and it will hang vertically, or, I can hold a handkerchief above my head and it will blow out straight, showing that the air is blowing over my head. Closing the rear window causes a bad draft at the back of one's neck.

“The coupe has an advantage over the sedan in providing a greater amount of room. There is more room for four passengers in my car than in any sedan built. There is much more room between the steering-wheel and one's body. One need not double up, one's feet can be stretched out and the other passengers have more room. We carry four passengers and have a good spring seat in front. We have a table that is built in, and there is sufficient room for four people to sit around it. The coup6 has another advantage over the sedan when touring, because grips and suit-cases can be put in the rear compartment and, when in a strange garage or any other place, the car can be closed up and such baggage can be left there, taking only what is needed into the hotel.

“I made notes of improvements in that coupe body that might be made. The hardware, while it was the best that could be obtained, is still faulty in that after about 15,000 miles it becomes loose and rattles. To overcome this, I put spring washers back of all the operating handles and also back of the knobs. These spring washers will bend outward, so that they take up all lost motion and make the handles quiet. The silk curtains on the side doors should have protection over them to keep them from soiling when the doors are opened in wet weather. The doors should not have outside flanges, because, on a windy day, the wind will creep in under and blow in quite strongly. Even with large rubber bumpers, the door latches are inclined to get squeaky. By going in back of them and putting in a piece of felt saturated with grease, the noise will be reduced, and by putting a few spring washers under the handles, the result -is a quiet body. Nearly all cars have springs on the hood that are too weak. Most of the rattle comes from the hood, because the springs are not strong enough to overcome, the vibrations due to rough roads.

“R. McA. Lloyd :—Body designs are changing from one decade to another, not only because artists are studying them but because the requirements of the users and the available material are changing. I believe in the sedan type of body. It is the most ideal for all present purposes. It will not continue indefinitely, because new requirements will arise and other conditions of available material may change the designs again. -

There was a cab company in Paris twenty-five years ago, called the "Petit Voiture," which built the smallest possible cab; they made them as light as possible so that the smallest of horses could be used with these cabs. In that way, they were able to make money at the same rate of cab fare on which other companies were losing money. As gasoline is increasing in price and we are not certain of the future supply, it may be necessary to produce an automobile that will meet the needs of the people and that will not be so heavy. A car for everyday use does not require room enough for seven, when only one passenger is usually in it; and it may not be necessary to provide for comforts, such as ventilation and other things, which are all very nice but which add weight. We may have to produce something in the way of a very small body which would be more economical than the big sedan, and we may be forced to have the driver stay out in the weather, to save gasoline. The conditions of the fuel supply certainly will have some influence on the future of body design, because the weight of the body at present has great influence on the chassis and the power required to drive it. I think that while we can rest for a time on the improvements in design in the sedan, we must always look forward to the advancement which will become necessary in the future.

“Herbert Chase:—Regarding the matter of adapting aircraft practice to body construction, as far as fuselage construction is concerned, is it possible to utilize laminated wood construction to a considerable extent with a view to decreasing weight? Also, is it possible that in the future, in an effort to decrease weight, the body structure will be made so as to constitute the chassis frame, the body thus becoming the chassis frame and supporting without separate framework the engine and driving mechanism?

“George J. Mercer:—At present, bodies require so much strength because of the iron work in them and because the top must be built up and supported by pillars, that it is about as economical to use steel as to use the laminated wood construction. Laminated wood would save some weight and probably there will be a tendency to work toward that, but it appears that we will not consider it for several years.

“E. Favary:—There is a decided advantage in the tilted seat if a low-body effect is sought. Suppose the body floor is to be of a certain height for minimum road clearance, and that the seat is to be very low. It is natural that by tilting the seat more room for one's knees and legs can be obtained than if the seat were perfectly straight. This has been done in motorcycle and cyclecar bodies to obtain a low body and greater comfort. Would Mr. Mercer recommend this for automobile bodies?

“Mr. Mercer:—It is the practice at present to give less slant to the seats than formerly. Mr. Crane's view is perfectly correct; tilting was over-done, and obviated a good seat to rise from because the position is unnatural. The weight of the body is so far back that it is difficult to regain a standing position. Formerly, seats tilted about 2 ½ to 3 in. were common, but today stock bodies do not have more than a 1-in. tilt.

“H. C. Gibson:—The fundamentals of the automobile require a certain amount of strength for maintaining the structure and resisting road shocks. Using the illustration that Mr. Mercer gave of the structure of ships, it appears that it is a very short step from the use of two individual structures, such as the chassis and the body, each strong enough for its purpose, to the principle of the ship, which is in itself a house, a carrier, and a structure strong enough to withstand stresses brought about by the sea, these being far greater than those brought about by road effects. So it may be possible to take the present-day pressed-steel body structure, for that is what it amounts to, and arrange for hanging within it the parts necessary for the support of the driving and rolling mechanism.

“Mr. Mercer:—I referred in my paper to the fact that manufacturers would elaborate more on their structural formation. I also spoke of the all-metal body and said that more manufacturers would use it, provided that styles were more permanent. In answer to another question that I believe relates to the same thing, by the use of steel the body is so much more quickly painted and so much more quickly produced that it is pretty clear that we will not use laminated wood in the near future. Since laminated wood is made up of thin layers, the nature of the wood is killed. It has an absorbent quality that keeps on drawing in, and the painted finished surface is really never good. The time may come when some form of body will be originated, possibly an adaptation of the sedan, in which we can use some of the steel structure by running the chassis frame up, or at least a part of the chassis frame. The possibilities that it can be assembled in that way are very great, but not at present. Bodies are manufactured for sale at a profit, and a profit is being made as they are built at present.

“A. M. Wolf:—A framework into which the chassis units could be set, so to say, would not be a suitable solution. We must think of production, of the effect of such an assembly when we come to paint the body, when we install the engine and when we expect to finish each unit. If each unit is finished before being assembled, there will be much work to be repainted. But it is possible to combine a chassis frame with a body frame so that they can be independently mounted and one will reinforce the other. In that way the assembling would be distinct in each case, and there would be no interference.

"The necessary relation between the fenders, the splashers and the top, with the lines of the body, cannot be over-estimated; it even includes the wheels. Many present-day cars have disk wheels, cars probably mounted high above the ground, in which the whole effect is anything but pleasing. To have a car body and the other lines conform with the wheels, requires that thought be given to the whole car as a unit. So far as the engineer is concerned, aside from the body builder and the body draftsman, many of the present hoods have probably more louvers in them than are necessary. I believe that few cars have been tested to find out whether all these louvers are beneficial. I have seen cases where the fan is drawing in air through the foremost louvers instead of pulling it in through the radiator. This is tested easily by placing a piece of tissue paper at the front openings; very often the draft is into the hood, instead of out of the hood. In other words, we may be sacrificing fan efficiency, or the drawing of air through the radiator, for the sake of appearance.

“In regard to the construction of the frame itself, we have the exposure of the frame at the front and the rear. I believe the Packard company was one of the first to use a full apron extending down from the crown sheet of the fender to the side rail, in combination with a radiator apron or splash apron under the radiator, in such a way that the goose-necks of the frame and the springs are entirely covered. I believe that this has the most pleasing effect, although we still see cars that have these members exposed. The same thing applies to the rear end of the frame. The rear end of the frame is a thing that we have all neglected. We place the extra tires there, perhaps a trunk, and then dispose of all the things not desired in front or at the sides and put them at the rear. Several attempts have been made to cover the unsightly gasoline tank in the rear, by putting an apron over the top of the frame to hide it, or by making the rear cross member hide and support it. On the new National car, an apron similar to the front radiator apron is placed at the back of the frame, to come between the goose-neck and extending down from the body.

"There seems to be a tendency toward having a clean exterior for a car. We have done away with the extra tires at the side, and with the battery-box. The running- board has been cleaned up and there also is a tendency now to eliminate the running-board itself. This is best exemplified by the Cunningham car with the small steps. There are limitations to such a construction depending upon whether it is a custom-made job or a small car quantity proposition, but, from the customer's point of view, to attain the greatest elegance, the cleaner the exterior is the better it will appear. That will be, I believe, the future solution. The same argument applies to the rear of the car. One looks at a car that appears beautiful from the front or side, but from the rear not only do the ungainly goose-necks project but the tires are mounted at a very ugly angle; they seem apart from the car and to have no relation to it. The future car will have the extra tires out of sight, but how this is to be done is a problem. The displeasing effect of having the top drop into a container has been mentioned. The effect is probably not pleasing in a five or seven-passenger car, but it seems that in smaller cars, such as four passenger cars, with their narrower cushion width, a pocket could be provided for the top to drop into, and that the lines of the body most prominently visible can be kept in their proper relation.

"If either the curves or the straight lines are exaggerated, it causes trouble. With too many curves, there seems to be no character to the body; with too many straight lines, there is harshness. A suitable combination of the two is required to make the right body. I believe that bodies will never come down to what might be called a standard form, unless a utility car is developed. Bodies will vary more or less, as styles vary in other instances. We cannot lay down any one fundamental body. An automobile body is a work of art, and art cannot be standardized.

“Mr. Gibson:—The only objection that has been raised so far to a proposal that the chassis and body be combined is that it might be difficult to assemble. It has already been said that the body designer finds it difficult to sell his idea to the production manager. So far as assembling difficulties go, before cars were assembled the way they are, no one would have credited a manufacturer with the possibility of making a profit after the method of assembling. As to painting, with the very economical car suggested by Mr. Lloyd, it could be painted by dipping it. That may seem ridiculous, but I am only pointing out by this that there is no real difficulty if there is a real advantage in lightening and strengthening the car, and so reducing its cost and increasing its efficiency.

“Mr. Crane:—The door openings present one fundamental difficulty in realizing any great advantage from Mr. Gibson's idea. If we could have bodies built like some types of testing bodies, in which one steps over a rail about 2 ft. high to enter the car, there would be a very great possible advantage in combining the body and the frame. But, with the door openings cut clear down to the floor and with the light roofs essential to a closed car, there is almost no chance of adding to the strength by utilizing the body structure.

"As to plywood, what I have seen of it makes me think it the worst thing possible to use on a body. I have seen it used in a great many airplanes, and I have never seen one that has retained a smooth surface for any length of time. Plywood seems prone to go into waves. We know what that looks like when it is varnished; it is bad enough on a dull painting job. Plywood is slightly if any lighter than the wood panels that were used in the bodies built entirely of wood which, barring their cost, were undoubtedly the best bodies that were ever built, because of the unit structure of the completed assembly. The composite job of wood and steel has never been as good as the complete wooden job. That has been proved often in marine work. There is also the difficulty of maintaining in a really durable condition a body depending upon so much glue; and also there is the difficulty of stiffness. Many designers fail in automobile work, in both chassis and body work, because they plan simply to have a thing strong enough, when practically all the difficulty is to make things stiff enough. Much high-grade material has. been used in attempts to make things strong enough, when the requirement of stiffness was such that the lowest grade of material could have been used. We learned that in our experience with crankshafts. That is practically true in body work also, where glass windows must be used that will withstand doors being slammed by careless persons. In spite of all the care used in the design of some of the large bodies, one of the custom builders insisted on making the larger glasses in two sections, split in the middle to eliminate breaking. On the other hand, a very commendable improvement has been made in chassis construction, to take care of what the body builders formerly had to consider. The Cadillac chassis is a very good example of that. It is a very fine structure mechanically and in design. It preserves stiffness in every direction. By putting 50 lb. on the chassis, anything up to 200 lb. has been taken off the body for an equally durable result. The Marmon is another case where about all the available structure has been used in stiffening the job. We will undoubtedly progress in that direction, as the chassis designs become more stable and manufacturers are able to use more expensive tool equipment to accomplish the result which is so greatly to be desired.

“Mr. Mercer :—With regard to the present type of body and having the rear window in closed bodies opened, it has always seemed strange that something has not been devised to obviate the back-draft in a touring body. The reason that the rear windows on closed cars are not dropped is because the back-draft has a tendency to bring dust back into the car. Years ago all windows were dropped. This practice was abandoned because the dust will roll up as the car passes over the ground and will come inside. At the time that change was made the closed-type body was not so popular. It was more of the limousine type, where the driver is outside and the front window is not open. Having the front window open makes much difference, but even on touring bodies, particularly those having a windshield on the back of the front seat, the back draft is severe. Something needs to be done to control that wind, by carrying it out at the top or down at the bottom.”

What follows is a partial list of Mercer’s articles:

G.J. Mercer - Latest idea in body work. The Automobile, March 16, 1911
G.J. Mercer - Cadillac Coupé Design. The Automobile, October 24, 1912
G.J. Mercer - Coupé Design for 1912 Chalmers Chassis. The Automobile, November 7, 1912
G.J. Mercer - Roustabout and Coupé for 1912 Cole. The Automobile, November 14, 1912
G.J. Mercer - Hansom Type Coupé for E.M.F. Chassis. The Automobile, November 28, 1912
G.J. Mercer - A Limousine Body Designed for the Ford. The Automobile, July 17, 1913
G.J. Mercer - The Cabriolet: a new body type. The Automobile, September 25, 1913
G.J. Mercer - Marked Improvement in Body Design. The Automobile, Feb. 4, 1915
G.J. Mercer - Brief review of tendencies brought out at New York and Chicago shows. The Automobile, Feb. 4, 1915.
G.J. Mercer - Trends in Touring Body Designs: Three typical designs. The Automobile, July 8, 1915
G.J. Mercer - 1916 Body Design is Uniform, The Automobile, January 20, 1916
G.J. Mercer - Body design tendencies shown in the car model for 1918. The Automobile, September 13, 1917
G.J. Mercer - Better body engineering wanted. The Automobile, November 15, 1917
G.J. Mercer - Four passenger town car design. The Automobile, November 29, 1917
G.J. Mercer - Stock bodies' uniformly of good design. The Automobile, January 10, 1918
G.J. Mercer - Technical analysis of salon bodies The Automobile, January 17, 1918
G.J. Mercer - British cabriolet design. The Automobile, January 31, 1918
G.J. Mercer - Body details at the salon and the palace. The Automobile, February 21, 1918
G.J. Mercer - Closed body construction. The Automobile, March 14, 1918
G.J. Mercer - Staggered door sedan. The Automobile, April 11, 1918
G.J. Mercer - Analyzing body design at New York passenger car show. The Automobile, February 6, 1919
G.J. Mercer - Suggested touring sedan. The Automobile, April 10, 1919
G.J. Mercer - New design touring body top. The Automobile, May 29, 1919
G.J. Mercer - Growing popularity of sedan features body exhibit. The Automobile December 4, 1919
G.J. Mercer - Body features at the New York show, The Automobile, January 22, 1920
G.J. Mercer - Sedan body to meet the present day requirements. The Automobile, April 8, 1920
G.J. Mercer - Use and value of wood in building bodies. The Automobile, April 15, 1920
G.J. Mercer - Closed bodies for low-priced quantity output. The Automobile, July 8, 1920
G.J. Mercer - Design of the forward part of the automobile. The Automobile, July 22, 1920
G.J. Mercer - Trend of automobile body design. SAE Journal, September 1920
G.J. Mercer - Lincoln body designs show constructive thought. The Automobile December 2, 1920
G.J. Mercer - Conservative body lines predominated at New York salon. The Automobile, December 9, 1920
G.J. Mercer - Refinement, style and comfort aim in new body designs. The Automobile, December 30, 1920
G.J. Mercer - Passenger car bodies at the show. The Automobile, January 13, 1921
G.J. Mercer - Style in Automobile Bodies, SAE Journal, February 1921
G.J. Mercer - Refinements in body design to be seen on many 1921 models. The Automobile, March 24, 1921
G.J. Mercer - How current practice in body design differs from earlier practice. The Automobile April 14, 1921
G.J. Mercer - Discussion of “Style in automobile bodies”. SAE Journal, May 1921
G.J. Mercer - New method of automobile body suspension. The Automobile, June 16, 1921
G.J. Mercer - Patching body panels - a new and important service problem. The Automobile, August 18, 1921
G.J. Mercer - Substitutes for ash in automobile bodies. SAE Journal, September 1921
G.J. Mercer - Substitutes for ash in automobile bodies part II, SAE Journal, October 1921
G.J. Mercer - Motor Body Evolution in 25 Years, Automobile Trade Journal, April 1925
G.J. Mercer - Body Design Progress an Outgrowth of Improved Construction, The Automobile, August 6, 1927
G.J. Mercer - Body Problems Considered, SAE Journal, March, 1929
G.J. Mercer - Motor Body Sheet Steel Operations - Large draw and forming dies - their design and construction, Motor Body, Paint and Trim, September 1930

© 2004 Mark Theobald -






Article #1 Illustrations

Article #2 Illustrations

Article #3 Illustrations

Article #4 Illustrations

Article #5 Illustrations

Article #6 Illustrations

Article #7 Illustrations

Fig. 1, Machining a Large Die on an Automatic Die-sinking Machine

Fig. 2. Hand Filing a Die after removing it from Die-sinking Machine

Fig. 3. Matching the Male and Female Die Members of a Set in an Imprinting Machine

Fig. 4. Forming Two Body Pillar Casings together separated in a Subsequent Operation

Fig. 5 Trimming and finishing the Edges of a Sedan Body Part and blanking and flanging the Window

Fig. 6. Toggle Drawing Press with a 9-inch Crankshaft, making Wheel Housings

Fig. 7. Large Single-action Double-crank Press used for blanking and flanging a part at One Stroke

Fig. 8. Another Large-sized Toggle Drawing Press making Mud Guards

Fig. 9. Close-up View of an Operation on a One-piece Cowl

Fig. 10. Another View of an Operation on a Cowl

Patent #1

Patent #2


Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

George J. Mercer - “Trend Of Automotive Body Design” - Transactions of the Society of Automotive Engineers Inc. Part II Vol. XV, 1920 pp 573-604 – A paper presented at the 1920 semi-annual society meeting, pub 1922

George J. Mercer - Motor Body Engineering;: A Treatise On The Engineering of Modern Production Methods In The American Motor Body Industry (Ware Bros. Company - 1928)

George J. Mercer, Robert P. Williams - Motor Body Designing Problems, (Ware Bros. Company - 1931)

George J. Mercer - Supplement to Motor Body Designing Problems, (Ware Bros. Company - 1933)

George J. Mercer - Motor Body Blue Print Technology, (Ware Bros. Company – 1935)

George J. Mercer - Motor Body Engineering - 2nd edition (George J Mercer - 1947)

George J. Mercer and R.P. Williams - Motor Body Designing Problems, Ware Bros. 1931

Frederick E. Hoadley - Automobile Design Techniques and Design Modeling: the Men, the Methods, the Materials

Biographies of Prominent Carriage Draftsmen - Carriage Monthly, April 1904

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