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Frantz Carriage Body Mfg. Co., Frantz Body Mfg. Co., Frantz Body Co.
Frantz Carriage & Wagon Co., 1888-1893; Frantz Carriage Body Manufacturing Company, 1893-1898; New Berlin, Ohio; Frantz Body Manufacturing Co., 1898-1910; (aka Frantz Body Co.): Akron, Ohio
Associated Builders

Frank X. (aka Francis) Frantz (b.1855-d.1910) founded the Frantz Carriage Body Manufacturing Company in New Berlin, Ohio in association with Charles A. Kolp who served as the firm’s president.

Frank Xavier Frantz was born on August 9, 1855 in Stark County, Ohio to Joseph and Madeleina M. (Faivre) Frantz. The 1870 US Census lists him as a farm laborer in Eden, Seneca County, Ohio.

He married Jennie???? and to the blessed union was born three children; Alita M (b.1883); Edward L. (b. Nov. 23, 1883) and Corinne H. (b.1893) Frantz. F.X. remarried later in life, his second wife, born in 1870, was named Rose.

He later removed himself to *New Berlin, Ohio where he opened a carriage wareroom, selling products manufactured by third parties on Prospect Ave. He’s listed in the 1891 American Carriage Directory as Frank Frantz, carriage dealer, New Berlin, Ohio.

(*New Berlin, Ohio was renamed North Canton, Ohio in 1918)

He branched out into the manufacture of seats and carriage bodies, exhibiting at the 1895 CBNA (Carriage Builder’s National Association) Convention which was held at Gray’s Armory, Cleveland, Ohio, from October 14-18, 1895. He was listed in the directory under ‘Vehicles in White, Bodies and Carriage Wood Works’. The November 1895 edition of the Hub provided the following description of their exhibit:

“F. X. Frantz, manufacturer of fine carriage bodies, New Berlin, O., displayed a line of two and four-passenger bodies and buggy seats. They evidenced good taste in designing and skillful workmanship.”

New Berlin born-businessman Charles A. Kolp made an early investment in the firm and in 1898 spearheaded a relocation to Akron, Ohio, which was located 15 miles north of New Berlin. The reorganized firm was incorporated in the State of Ohio on October 19, 1898, it’s listing in the 1899 Akron business directory follows:

“Frantz Body Mfg. Co., The, C.A. Kolp pres.; F.X. Frantz, sec. and gen. mgr.; J.T. Diehm, treas.; mfrs of vehicle bodies, cor. Stanton ave. and Getz.”

They were also listed as exhibitors at the 1899 CBNA convention (Oct. 25-26, 1899) in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Frantz’s son Edward L. Frantz joined the firm in 1900 as bookkeeper following a two-year stint in business college. Soon afterwards Frantz began the production of automobile bodies, a number of which were featured in the automobile trades of the day.

The March 1902 issue of The Automobile Review reported on the firm’s exhibit at the recent 1902 Chicago Automobile Show:

“Frantz Body Mfg. Co., Akron, O. Two styles of automobile bodies of these well-known makers are shown. This company state that they build 200 different varieties of automobile bodies.”

A picture and description of a new Frantz tonneau appeared in the September 1, 1902 issue of the same publication (The Automobile Review):

“A New American Tonneau

“The tonneau body met with a rapid introduction on this side of the water. It is essentially an automobile creation devised in France to be readily accessible from the extreme rear of the vehicle, to bring the two seats as closely together as possible, to permit of the passengers in it facing one another and to better overcome the dust nuisance - although this latter point is a question. The detachable tonneau body in the engraving - with bent tonneau seat corners for comfort - is the latest style, its dimensions being; length, 8 feet 6 inches by 34 inches; outside distance between seat and dash, 26 inches; from front of dash to front, 30 inches; front seats, 17 x 18 inches deep; inside tonneau seats, 30 x 16 inches deep; inside width of rear door, 15 1/2 inches; height of side panels, 17 inches. When it is detached it leaves a well-proportioned two-seater with nice luggage platform. An extra seat can be made from rear tonneau door. The body has individual or double front seat. These bodies are manufactured by The Frantz Body Mfg. Company Akron Ohio.”

The November 1, 1902 issue of The Automobile Review included a picture and overview of a detachable tonneau body:

“The Frantz Detachable Tonneau Body Automobile body building is fast developing into a large branch of wood working business. The engraving is of the No. 300 detachable tonneau body with bent front and tonneau seat backs for perfect comfort built by the Frantz Body Manufacturing Company of Akron, Ohio. The regular body dimensions are: length, 72 inches; outside width, 34 inches; outside length from extreme front to front of seat, 26 inches; height of panel, 17 inches; front seat, 39 inches by 18 inches; inside back, 18 inches high; tonneau seats, 30 inches long by 16 inches deep; inside backs, 20 inches high; width of rear door, 15 1/2 inches. This body is designed for the motor under the front seat. The tonneau can be removed and then the opening made is covered with deck board after which a desirable two passenger rig remains. An extra seat can be provided with rear tonneau door as back if desired. The body is finished in the usual excellent Frantz style and is very pleasing to the eye.”

Earlier in the year the senior Frantz had got himself involved with the Sandusky Automobile Manufacturing Company, a dormant firm that had begun preparations for the manufacture of an automobile as early as 1900. Frantz relocated to Sandusky and revitalized the project, enticing a number of local businessmen to refinance the project and in July of 1902 the first Sandusky prototype appeared on the street of Sandusky, followed by several more, both gasoline- and electric-powered.

Unfortunately his body building business suffered during his prolonged absence and he was subsequently ousted from the firm bearing his name, the June 10, 1903 The Horseless Age reporting:

“The Frantz Body Company, Akron, Ohio, has been reorganized under the management of Mr. Loomis.”

Akron native Louis R. May became the body company’s secretary-treasurer and general manager. They remained in business producing wooden seats and automobile bodies for various regional manufacturers into at least 1910. Their listing in the 1908-1909 Motor Cyclopedia follows:

“Frantz Body Mfg. Co. – Cor. Stanton Ave. and Getz St., Akron, O. Mfrs. carriage and automobile bodies and seats. Est. 1898. Cap. $60,000. Jas. T. Diehin, Pres.; L. R. May, Treas, and Gen Mgr.”

Back in Sandusky little progress had been made in financing the continued production of the Sandusky and at the end of the year another group took over, reorganizing the operation as the Sandusky Automobile Company, which was capitalized at $150,000. The firm’s listing in the 1904 Sandusky directory follows:

“Sandusky Automobile Co., Jas. H. Hinde, president; Edward J. Cable, secretary; F.P. Zollinger, treasurer; J.S. Bennett, vice president; w.s. Camp south of L.S. & M.S. Railway.”

Frantz moved to Canton Ohio where he joined his old friend Charles A. Kolp, in the Lake View Land & Imp Co.

Frantz’s health began to fail and he moved in with his son Edward L. Frantz, who was the proprietor of the Cleveland Sand & Mineral Co., 1006 Garfield Bldg., Cleveland, Ohio. Frank X. Frantz passed away on June 7, 1910 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The November 26, 1914 issue of the Automobile reveals that the Frantz Body Co. was no longer in business:

“MILLER Rubber Adds

“The Miller Rubber Co., Akron, O., has let contracts for the erection of a two-story, 120 by 128-foot brick fireproof building, which will increase the present capacity to over 1,000 tires a day. Recently the company bought the plant adjoining its property, which was owned by the Frantz Body Works. This will be partly rebuilt and used as a shipping department, while temporarily it serves as a garage, until the 60 by 100-foot garage is completed. At the rear of the plant a three-story, 40 by 110-foot warehouse is being built, while an extension to the rubber drying room, 50 by 110 feet, is in course of construction. To take care of the additional factory space, which will total 272,905 square feet, or about 6 1-2 acres, a 2,000horsepower plant is being installed. Complete extensions are expected to be finished by January 1.”

© 2013 Mark Theobald for







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

Samuel Peter Orth - A History of Cleveland, Ohio: Biographical, Vol. III, pub. 1910

John H. Lehman - A Standard History of Stark County, Ohio, pub. 1916

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