Chicago. [ca. 1910].  photographs plus advertising leaf removed from HARPER'S MAGAZINE issue. Includes album of modern reproductions of the photographs. Oblong pebbled morocco album, gilt title on front board. Boards rubbed and worn, corners bumped, spine perished. Photographs mounted on original linen, which is slightly curled. A few small chips to edges (no loss to images), occasional toning and spots to images. The photographs overall in near fine condition. Item #WRCAM55051
A handsome trade album of vehicles available from the White Motor Company (Cleveland, Ohio), which grew out of the White Sewing Machine Company into one of the largest truck, military, and heavy equipment manufacturers of the 20th century.
This album was created especially for W.J. Urquhart, the general manager of the Western sales department headquartered in Chicago (as reported in "The Horseless Age: The Automobile Trade Magazine," vol. 24, 1909, p.420). The album opens with a photograph of a Pabst beer truck and continues with a wide variety of passenger and commercial vehicles, most with the names of the companies painted on the sides. Among the commercial vehicles depicted are trucks operated by Marshall Field, Red Rock beverages, the Birmingham Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Pocahontas Coal, and B.F. Goodrich, and there are also images of an ambulance and a police car. A few of the images are detailed views of engines, transmissions, or other mechanical parts of the vehicles. Most of the photographs have a label on the reverse describing the vehicle or part, its price, and in some cases also including information on the purchaser. Several of the owners are local, but most are scattered across the country, Canada, and even Russia. A few photos depict the full fleet of a company's trucks lined up proudly in front of factories, warehouses, and storefronts. Despite the company's reputation, decades of mismanagement at higher levels forced the company to declare bankruptcy in 1980; White was bought by Volvo the following year.
Such early automobile trade albums are rare. "White Motor Corp." in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLEVELAND HISTORY (online) (Case Western Reserve University).