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Thomas B. Jeffery Company:
The Thomas B. Jeffery Company was
manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin from
1902 - 1916.
The company manufactured the Rambler and Jeffery
Thomas Buckland Jeffery
1845 – 1910
was an inventor of the clincher tire/rim and manufacturer
of bicycles and early automobiles, founder of
the Rambler brand.
Jeffery was an inventor and bicycle manufacturer
his partner, R. Philip Gormully, who built and
sold Rambler bicycles through his company,
Gormully & Jeffery Mfg. Co., in Chicago from
1878 to 1900.
By 1900, Gormully & Jeffery
was the country's 2nd-largest
bicycle maker and Jeffery had gained fame for developing,
among other things, the clincher rim that enabled pneumatic
tires to be used.
Dunlop's pneumatic tires were very similar to garden hoses
and frequently were shed from the rim.
Jeffery came up with an improved tire, held on the rim by
a wire embedded in the rubber of the tire, and the wire
could be tightened onto the rim.
He got a patent on the ancestor of all clincher tires in 1882.
In 1897, he
built the first Rambler motor car.
Jeffery sold his bicycle manufacturer Gormully &
Manufacturing Company and founded the
Thomas B. Jeffery Company.
He used the G&J money to buy the old Sterling Bicycle
factory in Kenosha, Wi., where he set up shop to
manufacture automobiles on a large scale.
Charles T. Jeffery's (Thomas'
son) experimental prototypes
of 1901 (Models A & B) used 2 extreme
steering wheels and front-mounted engines.
By the time Charles was ready for production in 1902,
his father had talked him out of these wild dreams
and convinced him to stick with tillers and engines
under the seat.
From 1902 until
1908, Jeffery produced bigger, more
His cars were built on assembly lines.
He was the second manufacturer to have them,
Ransom Olds was the first.
First year production was
about 1,500 vehicles making
Jeffery the 2nd-largest car maker behind
Jeffery more than doubled this number.
One reason may have been because he went to the
steering wheel before 1904.
Jeffery died in 1910
while on vacation in Italy, and after
his death, Charles T. Jeffery changed the automotive
branding from Rambler to Jeffery in the founder's honor.
Sales peaked in 1914
with 13,513 cars.
In 1916, Jeffery's family sold the company to
Charles W. Nash,
who renamed the company Nash Motors and greatly expanded
The Rambler was an
automobile brand name
the Thomas B. Jeffery Company between 1900 and 1914.
The Rambler had early
innovations such as a
steering wheel, ( See Steering
(as opposed to a tiller) but it was decided that such
features were too advanced for the motoring public
of the day, so the first production Ramblers
Rambler innovated various
design features and was the first
to equip cars with a spare wheel-and-tire assembly.
This allowed the driver, when experiencing flat tires to
exchange the spare wheel & tire for the flat one.
During 1903, Rambler standardized on the
and moved the driver's position to the left
hand side of the vehicle.
Then by its successor, Nash Motors from 1950 to 1954,
and finally by Nash's successor, American Motors
Corporation from 1954 to 1969 in the U.S.
It was often nicknamed the
"Kenosha Cadillac" after its place