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Burr & Co.
Burr & Company, 1880s-1916; New York, New York
Associated Firms
Detroit Electric Car Co.

Little is known of the history of this New York City coachbuilder that was founded to build luxury carriages by Richard Ogden Burr sometime in the 1880s.

Burr & Co. was one of the many Manhattan firms that made the transition from carriages to automobiles although they did not survive the teens. Their factory was located at the southern edge of New York’s automobile row, originally at 1704 Broadway between 53rd and 54th Sts., and later on at 209 W 48th St. (NW corner of Broadway & 48th ).

Burr experimented with automobile bodies as early as 1897 when they built the body for Henry W. Struss’s 4-cylinder Struss automobile. Burr was listed as a manufacturer of automobiles in the 1901 Hiscox directory, but it’s doubtful that complete vehicles were ever produced.

George H. Woodfield, one of the less-well known designers of the classic era apprenticed at Burr while attending Andrew F. Johnson’s school for carriage draftsmen at the Mechanic’s Institute in Manhattan. After graduation, he was hired as the firm’s body engineer and designer. However Burr was a small family-owned shop, and he eventually left to work for the New Haven Carriage Co., a much larger concern.  

Burr specialized in bespoke bodies for European chassis and constructed bodies for such New York City notables as Isidor Straus and Diamond Jim Brady.

Burr & Co first exhibited at the 1911 New York Imported Auto Salon where they showed a dark green limousine body with gold striping on a 50 hp Benz limousine. They were also listed as exhibitors at the 1912 and 1913 Salons as well.

December 1, 1912 issue of Power Wagon:


“Emerson Brooks, who has for some time, during its formative stages, been prominent in the affairs of the Remington Truck Company of New York City, has retired from active management of the company and returned to his former field of automobile and carriage body building. Mr. Brooks has purchased an interest in Burr & Company, the well known body builders at Amsterdam avenue and 75th street, New York, and will devote his energy to the sales and repair departments. He will not, however, sever his connection with the Remington company and the Manly Drive Company, but will retain his office as a director in both. Mr. Brooks is well known as former treasurer of the Automobile Club of America, and for 20 years was vice president of J. M. Quinby & Co., the Newark body builders.”

The firm went out of business in 1916 and Richard Ogden Burr became the sales manager of the Detroit Electric Car Co. of New York.

© 2004 Mark Theobald - with special thanks to Vincent Rodriguez







Walter Seeley - George H. Woodfield: Auto Body Designer  - Antique Automobile March-April 1975

Gardner Dexter Hiscox - Horseless Vehicles, Automobiles, Motor Cycles operated by steam, hydro-carbon, electric and pneumatic motors (N.W. Henley & Co., 1901)

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

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