Baily & Bowne (and its successor, Bowne
& Bowne) was
a small Utica, New York commercial body builder that manufactured small
of truck bodies for businesses and municipalities located in and around
York State's Oneida and Herkimer Counties. The firm was rarely
mentioned in either
the national trades or the local newspapers, although a pair of
portable salesrooms manufactured for the Union Fork & Hoe Co. of
OH (and Frankfort, NY) in 1935 were used in various advertisements by
International Harvester Corp., the manufacturer of the chassis (1935
International D-15). Like most of its
competitors, it survived the Depression doing collision work, remaining
business into the late 1950s.
At the time of the firm's founding in
January of 1898, its
two principals, Albert E. Bailey and Edward J. Bowne, had a combined 40
of experience in the trade.
Albert Elmer Bailey was born in Utica,
Oneida County, New
York of February 2, 1862 to Charles Henry and Mary J. (Peek) Bailey.
father and grandfather were natives of Whitesboro, the former born on
of April, 1827, in what was called the Pratt Settlement. Samuel Bailey,
paternal grandfather of Albert E. Bailey, born in 1794, was an
occupation, while Charles Henry Bailey was engaged in the foundry
paternal great-grandfather, Stephen Bailey, was born in Connecticut in
and served in the Revolutionary War, while on the maternal side of the
the great-grandfather was a native of Holland, who had early settled in
Saratoga County, New York where Albert's mother, Mary J. (Peek) Bailey
Albert's father, Charles, moved to Utica in
the early 1850s where
he was engaged in the blacksmith and foundry business. Young Albert
the public schools of Utica, graduating from the Utica Free Academy in
1880 US Census lists Albert's occupation as 'bookkeeper', his father's
'moulding foreman'. A 1925 biography states "He has spent all but ten
years of his life in Utica and enjoys a wide and favorable acquaintance
but his activities during those ten years (1880s-1890s) are currently
He first appears in the 1894 Utica directory
which lists him
as "mgr." Also listed is his wife, Ella M. (Parker, b. 1861 in
Missouri) Bailey and it is assumed he was employed at C.H. Childs
manufactory, where he was working when he formed Bailey & Bowne in
1897. The 1896 Utica directory lists him as "supt."
Far more is known about the working
experience of his
partner, Edward J. Bowne.
Edward J. Bowne was born in April of 1856 in
Otsego County, NY, to the offspring of one of the county's early
was apprenticed to a vehicle builder and when he reached his majority
carriage painting as his profession. The 1876-1879 Utica, New York
list him as a 'carriage painter', his residence being 90 John St.,
just two blocks away from the carriage works of Chas. H. Childs &
well-known Utica builder who is covered elsewhere in this encyclopedia.
He subsequently went into partnership with a
blacksmith named John F. Atkinson, in the style of Bowne &
electing to locate their business in Rome, New York, another Oneida
canal town. Their listing in the
1883-1889 Rome directories under carriage and wagon manufacturers
"Bowne & Atkinson (Edward J. Bowne and
Atkinson) man'fr wagons, 310-312 S. James St. (factory), 145 Whitesboro
John F. Atkinson, born on Aug.18, 1860 in
Canada to William and Janet Atkinson and trained as a blacksmith,
the US in 1881 with his wife Mary Anne Massie (married Aug. 22 Aug 1883
Campbellford, Ontario, Canada).
The October 2, 1885 issue of the Roman
Citizen announced the
partners had won several prizes at the Oneida County Fair:
"Conclusion of the Oneida County Fair.
"The Oneida county fair concluded last
afternoon. Altogether, the fair was a gratifying success. Following is
of the premium list:
"Single carriage, Bowne & Atkinson
Carriage Works 2d; two horse carriage, Oneida Carriage Works 1st;
pleasure wagon and
market wagon, Fitch
Gear Company 1st; farm wagon, George W. Mickle 1st, McDonald &
2d; wagon gear.
Fitch Gear Company 1st, Bowne & Atkinson 2d; horse power fire
Company 1st; farm tell, same; double and single harness Edward Barnard
harness, J. M.
Childs 1st, buggy wagon, Bowne & Atkinson 1st."
In 1890 the partnership was dissolved with
the Rome facilities and Bowne moving to Utica to take a position with
Childs as a carriage painter, the 1891-1896 Utica directories listing
residence as 761 Genesee St.
Atkinson ultimately purchased the carriage
works of David D.
Williams at 116-118 John St., Rome, which also operated a repository
room at 121-125 W. Front St., and by 1910 was operating it in the style
Atkinson. His business operated as a blacksmith shop, builder repairer
dealer in carriages and sleighs into the teens transitioning into a
Rome automobile sales and repair business which survived until his
death on March
The January, 1898 issue of The Hub reveals
that Bowne and Albert
E. Bailey, who were both working for Chas. H. Childs & Co., had
form their own firm:
"Chas. H. Childs & Co.'s carriage
factory at the
corner of Whitesboro and Wiley sts., Utica, NY, will be sold about Jan.
1 to E.A.
Bailey and Edward Bowne who have been employed as its superintendents.
factory has done a good business since it was started five years ago
will be continued in its present location."
Although the article is unclear Bailey and
Bowne did not
take over the carriage business of Chas. H. Childs & Co. The small
located at Whitesboro and Wiley Sts. was no longer being used, and
continued to manufacture carriages into 1909 at their main facility,
located at 12-18 Lafayette St., Utica.
Bailey & Bowne's inaugural directory
carriage and wagon manufacturers) appeared in the 1899 Utica city
"Bailey & Bowne (Albert E. Bailey and
Bowne) wagonmakers, cor. Wiley and Whitesboro."
They were also visited by New York State,
Industrial Directory of the State of NY lists the firm as a mfr. of
and sleighs whose 12 employees worked 59 hrs. per week. The 1902
of the State of NY lists the firm as a mfr. of wagons whose 15
60 hrs. per week.
Their listing in the 1904 Utica directory
"Bailey & Bowne (Albert E. Bailey and
Bowne) wagonmakers and harness mfrs., cor. Wiley and Whitesboro – home
They were listed in the 1909 Motor
Cyclopedia as a
manufacturer of automobile tops and the 1909 Utica directory listed
in addition to wagons and sleighs:
"Bailey & Bowne (Albert E. Bailey and
Bowne) wagons, sleighs and automobiles, cor. Wiley and W'boro."
Their first mention in a trade publication
appeared in the February
1909 issue of the Hub, which mentioned the factory suffered a small
January 4, 1909:
"The wagon factory of Bailey & Bowne,
Utica, NY, was
slightly damaged by fire on Jan 4."
The factory was conveniently located across
the street from
Station No. 4 of the Utica Fire Dept., and the blaze was extinguished
any major damage took place.
One piece of early Bailey & Bowne fire
apparatus is mentioned in the September 14, 1910, issue of The Clinton
"The John Osborn Hose Company has had
equipment a new hose wagon, which was received on Monday. It was made
by the Bailey & Bowne Company of Utica and is a very handsome and
substantial vehicle. It will carry 600 feet of hose besides other
is rigged to be drawn by either men or horses. It is equipped with two
fire extinguishers. The wagon cost about $125."
The February 1, 1912 issue of the Automobile
included the following mention of the firm as a charter member of the
Auto Trades Association:
"UTICA DEALERS ORGANIZE.
"The dealers in Utica, N. Y., have
the Utica Auto Trades Association with the following
President, H. D. Gouse; vice president, A. A. Ledermann; secretary, W.
Carroll; treasurer, A. H. Westcott.
"The following firms are represented in
Crist Motor Car Company, Utica Motor Car Company, Ebann &
Company, Bailey & Bowne, Ford Sales
Company, Westcott Garage Company, Decker Garage Company, Crim Bronner,
Square Garage Company, H. A. House, Central Auto Supply
Company, Utica Cycle Company and Utica Auto Supply
The May 29, 1913 issue of the Municipal
Journal included a
detailed description of a Fire Chief's Car that Bailey & Bowne had
outfitted for the City of Utica:
"Purchase Chief’s Car for Fire Station.
"Utica, N. Y. — A new automobile for the
use of fire
chiefs has been placed in the station. The machine is a Cadillac, 40
horse-power, with an engine capable of drawing it 60 miles an hour. The
is painted a pretty red and is fitted in an elegant manner. On the
the mud guards, are two powerful electric searchlights, while a third
on the dashboard. Lanterns are also placed in standards at the front
The drive is a right hand one and it has an electric self-starter. On
of the hood is the word “Chief” in neat letters, while on each side of
front seat are the letters U. F. D. in monogram. The machine carries
Child's hand fire extinguishers, an axe, crowbar and tool box.
Goodyear tires are fitted to the wheels, and two extra ones are
fastened at the
rear in case of emergency. The car is a four-cylinder and will carry
persons. A large electric gong is attached to the side nearest the
seat. The body of the car was designed by Thomas V. Church,
Public Safety, and was built from his design
by Bailey & Bowne."
The 1913 Industrial Directory of the State
of NY lists the
firm as a mfr. of auto bodies and wagons with 20 employees.
1915 Chilton's Directory lists the firm as a
automobile tops and wooden automobile bodies.
His 1918 draft registration lists Norman as
supt. Bailey &
Edward Bowne's son Norman spearheaded a move
automobile sales and for several years after the First World War the
listed as authorized distributors of Paterson and Dixie Flyer
The June 22, 1926 issue of the Utica Daily
the June 1, 1926 dissolution of the partnership with Norman L. Bowne
over Bailey's half of the business, which was continued in the style of
& Bowne. The 1926-1929 Utica directories listed both firm's names,
"Baily & Bowne (see Bowne & Bowne)
"Bowne & Bowne (Edward J. Bowne &
Bowne) repairing, 801-803 Whitesboro St."
A paid insertion in the August 11, 1927
issue of the Utica
Daily Press follows:
"Bowne & Bowne Make Truck and Van
"Shapes and Sizes to Meet Needs of Patrons
"The body building and automobile repair
shop of Bowne
& Bowne, Whitesboro and Wiley Sts., reports exceptionally brisk
recent weeks, especially in the commercial body building department.
trucks and van bodies have been turned out, the patrons including large
corporations and business houses which need bodies of special types and
the best in quality and workmanship.
The various repair departments have also
been busy. The Bowne
& Bowne establishment is one of the oldest and best equipped
repair shops in Central New York, and they often accomplish surprising
in transforming wrecked and smashed cars into serviceable machines.
doors, fenders, springs and axles are repaired and decks are renewed
recovered; running boards, linoleum and slip covers are replaced and
upholstering in all the branches is taken care of, as well as painting
"In the painting department they are well
prepared to give
good service to patrons and all types of paint, varnish and lacquer
giving the old car the appearance of freshness so much appreciated in
1930 census list both father and sons as
'general auto shop'.
1932-1938 Utica directories:
"Bowne & Bowne (Norman L. Bowne) gen
801-803 Whitesboro cor Wiley."
"Bowne & Bowne (Norman L. Bowne) auto
801-803 Whitesboro cor Wiley."
1935 International Trail:
"Sales representatives of the Union Fork
& Hoe Co.
are also spending less time in thumbing the catalog and more in showing
the actual products with the result that sales have tripled by men
with these travelling showrooms. The Union Fork & Hoe Co. units are
D-15 Internationals with special bodies. They contain a complete
current items in the line of farm and garden tolls neatly and
arranged for exhibiting. The bodies of the two units recently purchased
identical, and they were built by Bowne & Bowne of Utica,
Exhibits are contained in cabinets, drawers, and racks on both sides of
center aisle. The inner surfaces of the rear doors arc also utilized
display purposes. Glass -covered doors and display cabinets contain
that come into view when the doors are opened."
1935 International Harvester Press Photo
"Salesman delivering farm and garden goods
Wolff-Kubly & Hirsig Hardware store, 21 South Pinckney Street on
Madison capitol square, with an International D-15 truck. The truck was
by Union Fork and Hoe Company, and was equipped with a special body
Bowne & Bowne of Utica, New York. The Wisconsin State Capitol
reflected in the glass above the storefront."
1940 census lists Norman as "com. body
A paid insertion in a 1941 issue of the
Utica Daily Press
"Have Cars Repaired Now At Bowne &
"This midwinter season is an opportune
automobile repair work done. The car can be spared for a few days now
than at other seasons.. It will not take long to have bodies and
restored to good condition, dents taken out, windows tightened, glass
upholstery cleaned, wheel aligned, axles and frames straightened, and
operation completed with a new refinishing job.
"Equipped for Work
"The Bowne & Bowne repair shop,
Wiley Sts., a pioneer in automobile repairing, is equipped for all
classes of work and has expert mechanics in each department. Cars which
been driven over ice and snow probably have had a bumpy time of it.
bumps frequently force the wheels out of alignment, wear the tires
and make steering difficult. Axles and frames should be straightened by
Bear system cold process which does not weaken the metal or destroy its
and defective wheels should be made strong and sturdy.
"In the steering of an automobile, what
might be termed
'the geometry of wheels' has to be considered. Old fashioned
had wheels which leaned out at the top. This was done to make each
vertical to the high crowned road. The same, principle is followed in
car. The professionals call it 'camber.' The front wheels of a car are
to be 'toed-in' - turned in a little at the front - to the point where
tires do not side slip on the road as they travel along. Wheels a half
of alignment will drag the tires sideways 87 feet during each mile of
"Have Faults Corrected
"Often the front wheels of a car are
alignment. Repairmen who thoroughly understand the mechanics of wheels
be employed to correct faults.
"A checkup and detailed estimate by Bowne
will show that your car can be made safe and road worthy, as well as
appearance restored at reasonable cost."
The following paid insertion appeared in the
June 22, 1942 issue
of the Utica Daily Press:
"Bowne Firm Offers Quick Truck Repairs
"A large part of the country's
transportation is being
handled by trucks. These big, powerful machines, running in all
at all hours of the day and night, with sharply limited time schedules,
the services of a dependable repair shop where they are sure of prompt
service. The Bowne & Bowne shop, Whitesboro and Wiley, is bending
energy to serve this type of trade as its contribution to the success
war effort. The shop is well prepared to meet this demand with its
and adequate machinery for all types of wood and metal work, wheel
and alignment, glass replacement, upholstering and refinishing.
"The firm builds trucks and trailer bodies
Business firms often need a special type of body and some are used as
travelling offices and display rooms. Refrigerator bodies for
products and many other types are turned out. The firm does an artistic
lettering, reproducing trademarks and other special designs. A neat
painted truck is recognized as a big asset by successful business
"The Bowne shop, a pioneer in the
field, has long been noted for its skill in rebuilding wrecked cars.
This is a
first aid station for cars after an accident and no matter how bad the
it is best to get an estimate of a repair job before abandoning the car
junk. Many cars wrecked, battered or weatherworn after long usage can
their good appearance and serviceability restored at comparatively
This firm has the Bear equipment for straightening bent frames and
"Much precious rubber is wasted and tires
be replaced are needlessly worn out because of faulty wheel alignment.
these faults corrected if you want your tires to last through the
During the 1940s and 1950s Norman L. Bowne
president of the Central New York Harness Horse Racing Association and
sideline to his truck body business he manufactured small numbers of
jog carts and sulkies for harness racing
Bowne & Bowne was one of four North American firms known to
harness racing vehicles after the Second World War.
Normal L. Bowne retired in 1958 at which
time the former
C.H. Childs factory building was taken over by Whitesboro Collision
abandoned the property soon after at which time it was razed. The
remains vacant today and is located across the street from the old No.
firehouse which is currently the home of the Boscar Electric Co., a
electric sign manufacturer. Norman L. Bowne passed away on December 1,
the age of 78.
Theobald for Coachbuilt.com - with special thanks to Sharry and Lance
Whitney. Some pictures courtesy of Oneida County Historical Society.