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British Industrial History

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Stevens-Duryea was an American manufacturer of automobiles in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts between 1901 and 1915 and from 1919 to 1927.

1898 The company was founded after a falling out between J. Frank Duryea and his brother Charles.

1900 Frank set up the Hampden Automobile and Launch Company (Springfield), while Charles joined J. Stevens Arms and Tool Co, who were about to start developing cars; they took over the factory of steam car and bicycle maker Overman, sharing the premises for several months.

1901 Stevens-Duryea's first product was a two-cylinder, 5 hp Runabout that sold for $1,200 in 1901. No production numbers are known for 1901 but the firm produced 61 cars in 1902 and 483 in 1903. (A 1903 example can be seen at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI). This was imported to Britain by Joseph Baker and Sons but did not succeed here; in the U.S.A. it survived several years.

1902 A U.K. agency was established: the Duryea Co of Coventry.

By 1904 the runabout, a tube chassis 6 h.p. flat twin buggy runabout victoria, was called the Model L. It had a flat-mounted water-cooled straight twin, situated amidships of the car, four speed gearbox (three forward, one reverse), wire wheels, full-elliptic springs, and tiller steering. Weighing 1300 lb (590 kg), it sold at US$1,300.

1905 The Model L was joined by the US$2,500 Model R, an aluminium-bodied, five-seat, 20hp four with three-speed gearbox and live axle.

1906 The model line grew, adding a US$2400 runabout and a US$3,300 limousine. There was also the new Big Six, with a 9.6 litre six cylinder motor, seven-seater tulipwood body, weighing 2,900 lb, at US$5,000.

1907 both the L and R were dropped, and Stevens-Duryea focused on sixes. Yet the company was hampered by the shortage of skilled labour; only some fifty units were sold in 1904, and maximum production did not exceed 100 a year.

1909 Description of manufacturing methods at the works [1]

1915 The Model D was the company's last new design, an 80hp 472ci (7,740cc) six. Duryea sold out; production stopped in 1915 because of financial problems and the plant was sold to Westinghouse.

1919 Several former employees bought the name and goodwill and in 1919 restarted production of the D as the Model E, at US$9,500.

1923 This did not improve the company's prospects; it was purchased by Ray Owen (of Owen Magnetic) in 1923 to produce gas and electric cars under the Rauch and Lang brand.

1924 After this venture failed in 1924 (though inventory continued to be sold into 1927), coachbuilding continued there, supplying the likes of Stanley and Ruxton.

Early Registrations

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Machinery, Oct 1909, p.86ff.