Throwback Thursday: The Model Gas Engine Company in the John Martin Smith Collection

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

Today, let’s take a look at the Model Gas Engine Company, a DeKalb County engine and automobile company from the early 1900s.


Although it was likely in business at the end of the 19th century, the Model Gas Engine Company wasn’t officially incorporated until October 11, 1900, one month before it moved from Garrett to Auburn. The company built engines—at least three a day—which ranged between one and one-hundred horsepower. Some were made for vehicles, but they also produced stationary engines, which powered pumps and generators.


A recession in 1904 caused the company to file for bankruptcy, but the assets were quickly picked up by a young man named Edward A. Myers, who incorporated the company as the Model Gas Engine Works on August 6, 1904. The company still offered engines, but it had also started producing automobiles (their first was built in 1903.)


Model cars featured bodies that were hinged at the back of the car. The body, seats and all, could then be tipped up for access to the engine and other parts. These cars did fairly well, and the company soon found itself in the odd position of being in competition with its own customers, other automobile manufactures who installed Model engines, clutches, and transmissions in their own cars.

In 1906, Model ended up moving its operations to Peru, Indiana. The Auburn Commercial Club purchased their buildings on South Main and Ensley and leased them to the Auburn Automobile Company. To learn more about the county’s automotive industry, check out our previous posts on McIntyre automobiles, the Eckhart Carriage Company, and the Zimmerman Mfg. Co.


About Jenny

I am the Associate Director of Eckhart Public Library. My office is in the Administrative Annex, but I can often be found roaming the Eckhart Public Library Campus, performing acts of librarianship in every department! I love to read and learn about history. I'm also a huge fan of movies, TV and pop culture in general, and I love to read books of all types. Currently, I'm working my way around the romance section, with some historical fiction and graphic novels thrown in for variety! But you never know what I'm going to pick up next.
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One Response to Throwback Thursday: The Model Gas Engine Company in the John Martin Smith Collection

  1. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: The Auburn Automobile Company | Charlie Chat

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