Alphabetical Index|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z


quicklinks|buses|cars|customs|designers|fire apparatus|limos|pro-cars|taxis|trailers|trucks|woodies

Beesing & Hunter; Buffalo Carriage Top Co.; Buffalo Auto Body & Trimming Co.; Bison Trimming Co.
Beesing & Hunter, 1897-1899; Buffalo Carriage Top Co., 1899-1905; Buffalo Auto Body & Trimming Co. 1905-1911; Bison Trimming Co. 1911-1924; Buffalo, New York
Associated Firms
Niagara Top Co. 1886-1897

Buffalo Auto Body & Trimming was an early automobile body builder founded by brothers Louis C. and William F. Beesing and John A. Hislop – all noted Buffalo, New York carriage builders – in 1905.

The firm’s president and general manager, Louis C. Beesing, was born in February of 1859 in New York to two German-born immigrants. After a public education Beesing embarked upon a business career, the 1880 US Census lists him as bookkeeper in Yates, Town of Lyndonville, Orleans County, New York.

Beesing later worked as a shipping Clerk for the well-known Buffalo printers, W. Geis & Co., his listing in the 1886 Buffalo Directory being:

“Louis C. Beesing; shipping clerk, W. Geis & Co. (Lithographers, Swan & Center Sts.) b. 145 Ellicott.”

In the early 1890s Beesing took a position as bookkeeper with the Niagara Top Company, the 1893 Buffalo Directory listing him as follows:

“Louis C. Beesing; bookkeeper Niagara Top Co.”

The April 18, 1890 issue of the Buffalo Morning Express announced the formation of the firm:

“A Niagara Top Company.

“The certificate of incorporation of the Niagara Top Company was filed with the County Clerk yesterday. The company is formed for the manufacture and sale of carriages and other vehicles and the different parts composing them. The capital stock is $20,000. The trustees for the first year are Silas H. Cummings, Stephen D. Hunter, and William S. Scott. The business of the company will be carried on in Buffalo.”

A surviving 36pp catalog dated 1890 indicates the firm was a “wholesale manufacturer and distributor of buggy tops, wagon bodies, springs, seats, etc.”

A 36 pp brochure distributed at the 1895 Atlanta Exposition entitled ‘The City Of Buffalo’ describes the firm as follows:


“A unique and thriving industry of Buffalo is that of the Niagara Top Company, the business of which has grown to very important proportions since its organization in 1886. This enterprising company is producing a large and excellent line of carriage appurtenances, including tops, cushions, dashes and backs, and is shipping large quantities all over the United States, to Australia, and other foreign markets, where "the N. T. Co.'s " goods have justly earned a splendid reputation. The business of the company is in the hands of practical and experienced men. To its other lines has recently been added bicycles of superior make, which, however, are being sold at very reasonable prices.”

Niagara Top’s line of bicycles were sold under the ‘Bee’(1895-1896) and ‘Bishop’ (1897) trade names.

The May 19, 1897 issue of the Lockport Daily Journal reported on the firm’s bankruptcy:

“Manufacturing Company's Failure.

“BUFFALO, May 19. — The plant of the Niagara Top company at Black Rock was seized and closed up by the sheriff. Executions aggregating $12,600 were filed for levy with the sheriff. The concern employed a large number of men.”

The firm’s assets were purchased by L. C. Beesing & D. Hunter and reorganized as Beesing & Hunter, its principal’s listings in the Buffalo Directory follow:

“Louis C. Beesing (B. Hunter Beesing); Beesing & Hunter, Dewitt cor. Bradley
“D. Hunter & Steven D. Hunter, carriage builders, Dewitt cor. Bradley
“Beesing & Hunter (L. C. Beesing & D. Hunter) Niagara Top Co., Dewitt cor. Bradley”

Beesing & Hunter was short-lived and in 1899 Beesing formed a new enterprise, the Buffalo Carriage Top Co., with his younger brother William F. Beesing, who had previously worked for the Empire State Wagon Co. Located in a small factory located at 671 Swan St., the Buffalo Carriage Top exhibited at the 1899 CNBA convention, the Automotive Manufacturer reporting:

“Buffalo Carriage Top Co., Buffalo, N. Y., exhibited a line of carriage tops and trimmings. Represented by L. C. Beesing.“

1898 NY Factory Inspections lists the firm’s 671 Swan Street plant with 6 male and 3 female employees

1901 NY Factory Inspections lists the firm’s 671 Swan Street plant with 2 male and 2 female employees.

Coincidentally 671 Swan Street was located across the street from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Soap Co.’s administration building (680 Swan St.) and only two blocks away from the Buffalo Body Corp.’s plant (824 Seneca St.).

In 1901 the firm relocated to larger quarters located 1 mile due east at *58-60 Carroll Street, its listing in the 1902-1903 Buffalo Directories being:

“Buffalo Carriage Top Co., (L.C. & W.F. Beesing) 58-60 Carroll
“Louis C. Beesing; manager Buffalo Carriage Top Co., 58-60 Carroll
“William F. Beesing; Buffalo Carriage Top Co., 58-60 Carroll

(*Pierce-Arrow fans may recognize 58-60 Carroll St. as the current address of the Buffalo Transportation / Pierce-Arrow Museum.)

The Beesings reorganized the Buffalo Carriage Top Co. in mid-1905, taking in long-time Buffalo carriage builder John A. Hislop as a partner, the October 12, 1905 issue of The Motor Way reporting:


“Louis C. Beesing, William F. Beesing and John A. Hislop have incorporated the Buffalo Automobile Body & Trimming Company, the purpose of which is to make all kinds of trimmings and bodies for automobiles. The capital of the company is $25,000.”

John A. Hislop (b. April, 1862 in Canada, emigrated in 1883), and his younger brother Alexander Hislop (b. March 1864 in Canada, emigrated in 1890) were skilled woodworkers who had worked for many of Buffalo’s best-known vehicle builders.

The firm’s listing in the 1906 Buffalo directory follows:

“Buffalo Auto Body & Trimming Co. - Manufacturers of Automobile and Carriage Bodies, Seats, Tops Cushions: also all kinds of Automobile and Carriage Upholstering. 338 & 340 Ellicott St.”

They were also listed in the 1908 Motor Cyclopedia as follows:

“L. C. Beesing — Pres. and Mgr. Buffalo Auto Body & Trimming Co., 338-340 Ellicott St., Buffalo, N. Y.

“Cap. $25,000. Est. 1897. L. C. Beesing. Pres. and Mgr.; J. A. Hislop, Sec. and Head of Woodwork Dept.; Jacob Miller, Treas. and Head of Trimming Dept.“

Their 1909 listing included additional information:

“Buffalo Auto Body & Trimming Co. — 338-40 Ellicott St., Buffalo, N. Y. Mfrs. bodies. upholstering and tops. Est. 1897. Cap. $25.000. L. C. Beesing. Pres, Treas. and Mgr.; William H. Flynn, Secy.; J. A. Hislop, sec, and head of Woodwork Dept.”

In 1911 a group of Buffalo investors purchased the firm, at which time John A. Hislop took a position as woodworking instructor in the Buffalo City Schools.

The August 1911 issue of The Carriage Monthly announced the formation of the United States Woodworking Company:

“The United States Woodworking Co.

The United States Woodworking Co., capital stock, $100,000, Buffalo, N. Y., have taken over the business of the Buffalo Auto Body and Trimming Co., The Buffalo Carriage Top Co. and The Ellicott Woodworking Co. The new company expects to continue the same lines carried by the old companies with the exception of building auto bodies. They will build auto and carriage tops, do the upholstering as heretofore and continue making furniture. The business will be continued on a more extensive scale. W. K. Dumar, formerly in charge of the trimming department of The Willoughby Co., Utica, N. Y., has charge of the carriage and auto departments which have been recently enlarged.”

The November 1911 issue of Packages announced some bad news for the recently organized firm:

“Buffalo, N.Y. – Fired damaged factory of the United States Woodworking Co., successors to the Buffalo Auto Body & trimming Co., 108 Terrace.”

The May 27, 1911 issue of Automobile Topics announced that the Beesing Bros. had subsequently formed a new firm:

“Buffalo, N. Y.—Bison Trimming Company, with $10,000 capital. Incorporators: Louis C. Beesing, Henry C. Michael and Jacob Miller. To manufacture automobile tops, trimmings, etc.”

Louis C. Beesing served as President and William F. Beesing as Secretary, their factory being located at 1185 Jefferson Street, Buffalo.

On January 4, 1917 Louis C. Beesing passed away at the age of 61 years, his share in the firm being inherited by his widow, Elizabeth. Bison Trimming’s listing in the 1923 Buffalo Directory follows:

“Bison Trimming Co. (Elizabeth A. Beesing -widow of Louis C. - William F. Beesing); Auto Tops, 1185 Jefferson Street.”

© 2013 Mark Theobald for








Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

Submit Pictures or Information

Original sources of information are given when available. Additional pictures, information and corrections are most welcome.

Click Here to submit pictures or information


quicklinks|buses|cars|customs|designers|fire apparatus|limos|pro-cars|taxis|trailers|trucks|woodies

© 2004-2014, Inc.|books|disclaimer|index|privacy