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Driggs Taxicab
Driggs Ordnance & Manufacturing Corp., New Haven, Connecticut
Associated Firms

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July 8, 1922 issue of Automobile Topics:

“Diamond Cab Allied With Gray and Ace

“Frank L. Klingensmith and Associates Prominent in New Taxicab Project – Senator Owen Is President – Operating Company Formed In New York.

“With the formation of its first operating company in New York City, more of the details regarding the Diamond Taxicab Company Co. become known. This is the company with which Frank L. Klingensmith and others closely associated with him in the Gray and Ace car and Guy engine projects, are identified. An option has been secured on a plant near Ypsilanti, Mich., the home of the Ace and Guy enterprises, and deliveries are expected in New York within two or three weeks at the rate of ten taxicabs a day.

“Senator Robert L. Owen of Oklahoma, is president of the Diamond Taxicab Co., the manufacturing company, and is also a director of the Guy Disc Valve Motor Corp. He and the following constitute the board of directors: Klingensmith, president of the Gray Motor Corp., and identified with the Apex Motor Corp.; Harry T. Hanover, president of the Apex company and a Guy director; O. D. Heavenrich, former engineer with Detroit Pressed Steel Co., and now secretary and director of the Guy company; Fred H. Lewis, president of Lewis Spring & Axle Co.; and Frank F. Beall, vice-president and general manager of the Gray corporation and a Guy director. Capitalization consists of $500,000 eight per cent cumulative preferred and 100,000 shares of no-par common stock.

“Nat D. Jacoby, president of the Black & White Cab Co., New York city, is the accredited originator of the whole Diamond project. While he is not given any official title, it is stated that he is the ‘guiding genius’ in both the manufacturing and New York operating companies.

“The operating company in New York City is to be known as the Diamond Taxicab Co., Inc. It has contracted for an initial unit of 250 cabs and announces that it will operate its cabs at the lowest tariff of any city in the country. Its plans include model garages with club rooms, swimming pool, billiard rooms and like accommodations for the comfort of its chauffeurs.

“William T. Hawley, vice-president of the Minneapolis & St. Paul Railroad, is president of the New York operating company; Stephen Peabody, Jr., of Stephen Peabody & Co., is secretary; H.M. Gaylord, vice-president of Julius Kessler Co. is treasurer. The directorate includes these officers and the following: R. R. Moore, president of Commercial Trust Co. and former city chamberlain; and Brigadier General S.T. Hines, former chief of the transport service, U. S. A.

“The Diamond cab itself will sell for less than $2,000; possibly between $1,900 and $1,950. This price includes a town body with collapsible top, 31” x 4” cord tires, disc wheels and one spare wheel and tire, lights, battery, magneto, generator, Stewart-Warner hand horn and tools. The body is wide and low with little glass. It is made with removable panels for quick replacement in case of accident. Upholstery is also removable, permitting washing out every morning in a few minutes’ time. The cab is powered by a four-cylinder Herschell-Spillman engine.”

August 12, 1922 Automobile Topics:


“Nat Jacoby Assumes Full Charge — Gray Officials Disclaim Active Part—Holding Company Being Formed—Cab Seen as Revolutionizing Business.

“Whereas it was at first understood that interests affiliated with the Gray and Ace enterprises were connected with the Diamond taxicab project, recently disclosed, these now disclaim the allegation. Furthermore, the week brings forth the intelligence that an entirely new program, including the formation of a parent, or holding company as yet unnamed, is under way and nearing completion. In its new guise, the taxicab project centers around Nat D. Jacoby, president and general manager of the Black & White Cab Co., New York, who heretofore was described as the ‘guiding genius’ in both the manufacturing and operating companies.

“It appears that Jacoby has purchased the first sample cab (which for purpose of identification is referred to as the Diamond, although a new name is to be adopted) also blue prints and manufacturing rights. He assumes full charge of the management of the manufacturing and operating ends of the business.

“Within the next ten days it is expected that details of the new parent company will be completed. This company is being formed to operate taxicabs, motor buses and trackless trolleys; in fact will cover the whole field of motor passenger transportation. It will organize eventually in every city of size in the country, subsidiary operating companies. Organization of the holding company and underwriting is being directed by Prichitt & Co., 60 Broadway, New York, investment brokers.

“The first of these companies, the Diamond Taxicab Co. Inc., operating in New York city, stands as recorded in these columns of July 8, with the executive personnel given at that time. This Company expects to have its first cab on the streets of New York within ten days.

“It now develops that the taxicab is to be assembled in the plant of the Driggs Ordnance Co. at New Haven, Conn. Parts will be made outside, of course, on special specifications.

“The cab itself, as described by Jacoby, offers radical changes over conventional taxicabs of today. These, as he sees it, will revolutionize the taxi business to the combined benefit of operators and public.

“Briefly, the whole idea of the new taxicab is to effect economies that will reduce the fare without diminishing the operator’s profits. In fact, so confident of his development is Jacoby that he sponsors the statement that his cab will ultimately enable operators to charge 10 cents a mile against the 30 and 40 cents now charged fairly uniformly throughout the Country.

“In the first place, the engine of the new cab is termed the lightest ever used in taxicabs, with the excess horsepower of the conventional engine eliminated. Throughout the entire cab weight is being reduced, commensurate with the requirements of a two-passenger load.

“Out of his experience as one of the Country’s largest taxi operators, Jacoby states that 90 per cent of the taxicab ‘fares’ include not more than two passengers. His argument is that the conventional cab designed and built for five-passenger loads entails excessive operating costs which can be cut in half, or even more, with a two-passenger capacity cab. The economies of his 2,250-pound cab over a conventional 3,600-pound five-passenger job are obvious, assuming that none of the other vital factors are sacrificed iii attaining the light weight. A saving in weight is also being effected through the body, which is landaulet type.”

October 5, 1922 Automotive Industries:

“Diamond Cab Built by Driggs Company

“Contract Given to Produce Vehicles—Expected Production of 2,000 Within Year

“NEW YORK, Oct. 2 — Driggs Ordnance & Manufacturing Corp., with a plant at New Haven, Conn., whose connection with the automobile industry has been featured by the production of the Driggs passenger car, has contracted with the Diamond Taxicab Co. of New York to produce the vehicles which this new concern will put into operation. It is expected that 2000 taxicabs will be turned out inside the next year.

“Inasmuch as the Diamond Company has announced that it will furnish transportation at 20 cents a mile, Driggs has been called upon to produce a light vehicle that will give from 20 to 25 miles to the gallon in the way of fuel consumption and capable of economical operation.

“Engine Like Driggs

“The Diamond taxicab is powered with the same four cylinder engine that is used in the Driggs passenger car, an L head type with block cast cylinders 2% x 4%. The chassis, however, has been especially designed to meet the demands of taxicab operation. The wheelbase is 108 ½ in., with the frame pressed steel and 2 in. alloy steel springs. The front axle is a drop forged I-beam section of 40-50 point carbon steel, and the rear axle, of Driggs design, is of the three-quarter floating type. Cooling is thermo syphon and lubrication pump and splash. The carburetor is a Zenith and the ignition American Bosch. The weight of the chassis is 1,400 lb. and the taxicab complete weighs 2,200 lb.

“The body is made of 22 gauge steel and is a landaulet of peculiar design, to meet taxicab conditions. One of the features is a removable panel in the rear which permits of replacement of that part in case of collision damage without forcing the cab to go to the repair shop. The official colors of the Diamond cabs are to be blue and white.

“Price $1,950 in New York

“The Diamond Taxicab Co., for which this vehicle is being built, will sell it to the individual taxicab operator for $1,950, delivered in New York City. If desired this will be sold on time payments, one third down and the balance paid in daily installments, which are taken out of each day's receipts as reported by the driver. It is the intention of the Diamond company to extend its operations to other large cities.

“The financing of the Diamond company is being handled by James L. Moore of Hayes, St. John & Moore. The offering is 25,000 shares of first preferred 8 per cent cumulative stock at $10 a share and 25,000 shares of common at $5 a share. For each share of preferred stock subscribed at $10, one share of common will be allotted at $5 per share.

“Officers of the company are: President, William P. Hawley, vice-president of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad; treasurer, H. M. Gaylord, vice-president, Julius Kessler Co., New York City and secretary, Stephen Peabody, president, Stephen Peabody & Co., New York City. They, with General F. T. Hines, formerly chief of the transportation service of the War Department, United States Army, and R. R. Moore, president of the Commercial Trust Co., New York, constitute the board of directors.”

October 26, 1922 issue of Automotive Industries:

“Contract Between Driggs and Diamond Cab Voided

“New York, Oct. 23. – Deciding to do the marketing of its product itself, the Driggs Ordnance & Manufacturing Corp. announces the annulment of its contract with the Diamond Taxicab Co. which called for the manufacture of taxicabs to equip the fleets to be put out by the Diamond company. This has resulted in the formation of the Driggs Taxicab Corp. which will manufacture taxicabs in the plant of the Driggs Ordnance Corporation at New Haven. It is planned to turn out 1000 cabs the first year.

“A selling organization is being perfected to handle this product. It will be known as the Driggs Taxicab Sales Co., with E. E. Garrison in charge of sales. Its headquarters will be in New York, probably at 19 West 44th Street, the present location of the Driggs Ordnance & Manufacturing Corp.

“The Driggs taxicab will sell at $1,950 f.o.b. New York, and the selling plan will be based on time payments to the drivers direct.”

October 28, 1922 edition of Automobile Topics:

“New Elcar Taxicab Is Landaulet Type

“To meet the demand of taxicab service in cities where taxis are used largely for sight-seeing trips the Elkhart Carriage & Motor Car Co. has designed a landaulet body for its Elcar six cylinder taxicab chassis. The top is readily lowered giving the cab a distinctive appearance. For theatre parties the generous interior room and comfort make the cab ideal. The Elkhart company has been building coaches for fifty years.”

November 4, 1922 Automotive Industries:


“Ordnance Manufacturer Decides to Make and Sell Cabs for Own Account—Col. Garrison Heads Sales Company - Diamond Plans Remain Unchanged.

“Driggs Ordnance & Mfg. Co. is to make and sell taxicabs on its own account. The decision is an outgrowth of negotiations whereby the concern was to build the new Diamond taxicab, as noted some weeks ago. Accordingly two new companies have been formed, closely allied with the Ordnance company, which is also manufacturer of the Driggs car.

“As the line-up now stands, the Driggs Taxicab Corp. will build in the New Haven, Conn., plant of the Driggs Ordnance & Mfg. Co., the Driggs taxicab, which will be sold by the Driggs Taxicab Sales Co., Inc., New York. Plans of the Diamond taxicab company, behind which is the guiding hand of Nat Iacoby, president of the Black & White Cab Co., New York, are to be carried out as originally reported.

“Directing the sales of the newly organized Driggs Taxicab Sales Co., Inc., and prominent in its organization, is Col. Elisha E. Garrison of the New York engineering and auditing firm of Garrison & Co. The Driggs cab is to have a power plant similar to that used in the car of that name and a special taxicab chassis. Cabs are expected through the plant in about three weeks.

“In response to an inquiry regarding the present status of the Diamond taxicab plans, an authoritative source in close touch with that project gave AUTOMOBILE TOPICS the following statement:

“‘The design of the taxicab which was to be adopted by the Diamond Cab Co. was decided upon two or three months ago, yes, even a year ago. The contract for manufacture of the cabs was allotted to two or three manufacturers, among them the Driggs Ordnance & Mfg. Co. That company proposed the adoption of a new Driggs engine which is claimed to give 30 miles to the gallon of gasoline.

“‘In respect to the adoption of this motor, some of the manufacturers were reluctant to use some other power plant. Apparently, then, seeing that their motor was not to be adopted at once, Driggs has decided to make its own taxicabs.

“‘Original plans of the Diamond company are merely held in abeyance, pending negotiations regarding the installation of the Driggs motor. So far as the Diamond taxicab plan is concerned, Diamond gave them the blue prints and plans and worked with them in building the Diamond cab - a pioneer in light weight cabs. Design and construction all started with Diamond.’”

Unhappy with Driggs’ decision to market their own line of taxicabs, the Diamond Taxicab Co. of New York, elected to take their business elsewhere, selecting the Elcar Motor Co., which was already producing taxicabs for an associated Diamond organization in Chicago. A photograph of the A.M. Graffis-designed Elcar Landaulet taxicab appeared in the November 14, 1922 issue of Motor Age with the following caption:

“New Elcar Landaulet Taxi - This new Elcar Landaulet is a special job designed for the taxicab business in New York City.”

The pictured vehicle was the very same design that Elcar produced for Diamond, with news of their contract being announced in the December 14, 1922 Motor Age:

“Elcar Makes Diamond Cabs

“ELKHART, Ind. Dec. 11 - Contracts have been signed by the Elcar Motor Co. of this city and the Diamond Taxicab Co. of New York City under which the local concern will build the vehicles which will be operated by the New York organization. The Diamond company's initial order is for 1000 taxicabs of the landaulet type and it is expected that the first shipment of five carloads will go east within a week. The cab is the creation of A.M. Graffis, the Elcar engineer, and the feature of it is an adjustable top which can be quickly lowered without interfering with protection from wind and dust from any angle. After the New York installation, the Diamond company plans to invade other big centers like Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore.”

The 1,000 unit contract with Diamond called for the delivery of 100 cabs per month, which made it the largest operator of Elcar taxicabs, with Chicago second. The rest of the firm’s output during the year went to smaller operators in Buffalo, Long Island City and St Louis.







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

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