Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!
The ACD Festival is this week, so let’s go back to the Auburn Automobile Company’s roots: the Eckhart Carriage Company.
DeKalb County was well-suited to buggy-making in the 1800s. Materials like oak and hickory wood were abundant; the train tracks crisscrossing the county ensured quick and easy shipment of supplies; and there were plenty of craftsmen looking to improve the buggy, including a wagonmakers’ apprentice named Charles Eckhart.
Charles Eckhart founded the Eckhart Carriage Company in 1874, the same year he built his first buggy—in his father-in-law’s parlor. In 1875, he constructed his own shop, and set about learning all he could about the carriage business. According to John Martin Smith, “Eckhart was his own chief mechanic expert, woodworker, painter, and trimmer for many years.”
In 1896, Charles gave his sons control of the business, which was now turning out 35-40 vehicles a day. Company expansion continued, including an extension called the Auburn Automobile Company, incorporated in 1903, which continued on even after the carriage company dissolved in 1918.