Older readers may remember the Nash-Rambler, the first compact car, that was popular in the 1950s. An ancestor of that car was the Rambler shown in the 1910 photo. Thomas B. Jeffrey manufactured Rambler bicycles from 1879 to 1900. In 1902, Jeffrey began building one-cylinder cars in his converted bicycle plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It became the second mass produced car after Oldsmobile and before Ford.
In 1919, Charles W. Nash left the presidency of General Motors and bought the Jeffrey Company and changed the name to Nash Motors. In the 1930s, the company employed over 4,000 assembly workers. In 1937, Nash merged with the Kelvinator Corporation, a maker of home appliances. Nash-Kelvinator merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company in 1954 to form the American Motors Corporation (AMC). George Romney became AMC’s president and general manager. Romney (father of Senator Mitt Romney) later served as governor of Michigan. AMC became the Jeep Eagle Company, and in 1987 it became part of Chrysler. Chrysler merged with the German Daimler company, and after several years of financial struggles, the Italian company Fiat took over Daimler-Chrysler. Along this circuitous path, many iconic automobile names like Rambler, Nash and Hudson were abandoned.
Shown nattily dressed in the photo are T. J. Barnard and family and Mr. and Mrs. F. E. Nyswanger. A note on the photo indicates they drove 8 miles in 50 minutes to the highest point in West Virginia’s Cheat Mountains.
Photo courtesy of the West Virginia University Regional History Center.
Sources: www.amcrc.com, www.motorcities.org, www.volocars.com