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George S. Jephson Co.; Jephson, Scott Body Co.
George S. Jephson Co., 1915-1921; Jephson, Scott Body Co. (aka Jephson-Scott Body Co.) 1921-1923; East Orange, New Jersey
Associated Builders
J.M. Quinby & Co. (II) 1923-1929

The George S. Jephson Co. was organized in 1915 by George S. Jephson and John K. Scott to take over the assets of the failed J.M. Quinby & Co. of Newark, New Jersey. The two principles of the firm were longtime Quinby employees and George's father, John H. Jephson, had worked alongside the founder of the firm, James Moses Quinby, and acquired a share in it upon his 1874 passing.

At that time (1874) the original firm dating back to 1834 was dissolved and reorganized with Quinby's son, James Milnor Quinby at the helm.

James Milnor Quinby was born on March 27, 1850, at Newark, N. J., and after a course of study at the carriage building institute at Konigsberg, Germany returned to the country were he assisted his father at the family's manufactory. He was married on November 6, 1872 to Mary Veronica, daughter of Jeremiah Darby and Ann (Gilligan) Casey. To the blessed union were born four children:

James M. Quinby (b. Aug 5, 1873-d. Feb. 5 ,1847)
Gerald Quinby (b. Feb. 15, 1875-d.Mar. 15, 1875)
William O'Gorman Quinby (b. Mar. 14, 1877-d.????)
Anna Wright Quinby (b.Mar. 10, 1882-d.????)

Two partners, Isaac S. Ayres and John H. Jephson, joined Quinby's son in the new enterprise which continued in the style of his father. The junior Quinby inherited much of his father's business foresight and persevering energy, and all three partners were identified with the old firm in one capacity or another for years with the capable Mr. Ayres taking charge of the firm's drafting department.

The firm manufactured every description of vehicles, from a light road wagon to a Clarence, coach, or landaulet, and none but the most skilled workmen were employed. Quinby's carriages were distributed throughout the country and the firm maintained a Manhattan sales office for over a half century. The 1860 New York City directory list the firm at 620 Broadway, the 1880 directory, 6 East 23d Street.

At the time of the 1874 reorganization the working force at their Newark factory numbered 100, their weekly wages averaging $1,365. Sales for the year were a pegged at $130,000.

After a short illness James Milnor Quinby retired to his home at 24 Elm St., Newark, finally passing away on May 21, 1892. His son, William O'Gorman Quinby embarked upon a career as a physician and elected not to enter the family's business. Upon the death of the junior Quinby, the firm was reorganized, with control of the firm being assumed by Newark’s Ogden family. William W. Ogden became Quinby’s president and his brother Henry, vice-president and treasurer.

Walter C. Yelton served as Quinby’s chief draftsman and superintendent through the transition from carriage-building to automobile body building. At the age of fifteen Yelton moved from his native Kentucky to Oneida, New York, where he apprenticed at the shops of J. L. Spencer & Co. Subsequent positions were held with R. M. Bingham, in Rome, New York, the Oneida Carriage Works, in Oneida, New York and the Cortland Wagon Co. in Cortland, New York. In 1893 he attended the Andrew F. Johnson Technical School and went to work for Quinby in July of 1895. Yelton remained Quinby’s chief designer until he left to work for John B. Judkins Co. in 1916.

Another noted Quinby delineator was Emerson Brooks, who joined the firm soon after Yelton. Brooks was also an early automotive enthusiast and was an early member of the Automobile Club of America – the predecessor of the modern-day AAA. Quinby sponsored the talented Brooks went he studied design in Europe during 1902 and he would later form the New York coachbuilding firm of Brooks-Ostruk Co. in 1917 with Demarest’s chief designer, Paul Ostruk.

In 1915, the George S. Jephson Company was incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey by Messrs. George S. Jephson, John K. Scott, Harry H. Lockwood and John Robertson, for the manufacture of high grade motor car bodies, with its factory located at No. 504 Central Avenue, (now an Auto Zone) East Orange, New Jersey.

In its March, 1917 issue, The Hub announced the withdrawal from business of J. M. Quinby & Co., one of the nation's most respected custom body builders:

"The J.M. Quinby & Co., Newark, N.J., one of the oldest carriage and automobile body builders in this country, has decided to retired from the business after a period of 80 years of high-grade carriage and body building."

A subsequent news item reported that the large Quinby factory in Newark was on the market for $400,000 and a July 2, 1917 auction disposed of what remained of the firm’s equipment and inventory.

John K. Scott, son of John K. and Phoebe (Clark) Scott, was born in Newark, New Jersey, his father a machinist. He was educated in the city public schools, and upon arriving at a suitable age, became an apprentice in the Newark plant of James M. Quinby & Company, carriage manufacturers. He remained with that company through all the changes from carriage to automobile body building until 1915, when they discontinued business.

From its inception the company enjoyed a most successful career and was compelled by a constant increase of business to seek the larger quarters at Nos. 24-34 Sterling Street, East Orange.

1918 Industrial Directory of New Jersey:

"Jephson, George S., Co., automobile bodies; employ 12 persons."

Jephson is recorded as the builder of a couple of bodies for the Porter Car, which was manufactured in very small numbers between 1919-1922. A list of Porter chassis numbers included below indicates two were built for E.P. Prentice

"116-This car had what was termed as a 'sport body' by Jephson and had been sold to a Mr. and Mrs. Prentice. This may have been one of the E.P. Prentice cars, as the late Mr. Prentice was noted for his interest and ownership of many makes of fine automobiles. Porter No. 116 was colored blue.

"117-Termed a 'runabout' with coachwork by Jephson, this car was probably identical to the "sport body" as seen in No. 116. It was painted grey and was either personally owned by Mr. Smith or used by him as a distributor's car for demonstration purposes."

Following George S. Jephson's retirement, John K. Scott was elected president of the company and under his management the company prospered to such a degree that after driving their plant to maximum production, business during the year 1920 was turned away to the amount of $1,000,000.

This led to reorganization and expansion, the old company being succeeded by the Jephson, Scott Body Company, Inc., John K. Scott, president, with a capable and efficient board of directors, including Frederick H. Croselraire, manager of the R. H. Platinum Company, and member of the National Contest Committee of the Automobile Association of America; August Linde, secretary-treasurer of the Linde-Griffith Company, contractors; Robert M. Hillas, vice-president of the Whiting Motor Car Company, and Fred G. Stickel, Jr., judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Essex county.

The reorganization was covered in the March, 1921 issue of Iron Age:

"The George S. Jephson Co., 24 Sterling Street, East Orange, NJ, manufacturer of automobile bodies, has filed notice of dissolution under State laws. The business will be taken over by the Jephson, Scott Body Co. and operated at the same location. This latter company recently awarded contract for a two and three-story addition, 57 x 58 ft., to cost about $70,000. John K. Scott is one of the heads of the new company"

In late 1922 a substantial interest in the firm was acquired by the organizers of the Crane-Simplex Co. The latter firm was incorporated in New York on September 20, 1922 for the purpose of resuming production of the famed Simplex automobile, whose manufacture had been suspended in 1917 so that the Company's plant might be devoted to the construction of Hispano-Suiza aeroplane engines for the Entente Powers (aka Allied) War effort.

The December, 1922 issue of The Automotive Manufacturer included the following news item relating to organization of Crane-Simplex:

"Crane-Simplex Co., Inc., 115 Broadway, New York, recently organized, has acquired the property and equipment of the Simplex Automobile Co., New Brunswick, N. J., from the Mercer Motors, Inc., Trenton, and will resume the manufacture of the Simplex car in a plant at Long Island City, where a building will be equipped and placed in operation early in January. The New Brunswick plant was used for the manufacture of Hispano-Suiza airplane motors during the war, when production of the Simplex automobile was discontinued, and will not be utilized by the new organization at the present time. L. R. Ayers is president of the new company; John B. Bawden, jr., for the past 10 years associated with the Mercer organization, is vice president and general manager: Harvey B. Clark and Frederick H. Brand, identified with the former Simplex company, are treasurer and assistant treasurer, respectively."

An article in a December 1922 issue of The Automobile, included the following mention of the two firm's (Crane-Simplex & Jephson, Scott) relationship:

"The Crane-Simplex Co. of New York, Inc., with a factory in Long Island City and executive headquarters at 115 Broadway, has purchased from the Mercer Motors Co. the plant and assets of the old Simplex Automobile Co. …

"In addition, the new company controls the Jephson-Scott body plant at East Orange, NJ, formerly Quinby, and if a customer wishes it a Jephson-Scott body will be fitted, although that is not compulsory."

Although the Crane-Simplex was a magnificent car, the chassis was little-changed from its pre-War ancestor and proved to be a financial disaster. Production was halted during 1923 and the directors of Jephson, Scott put the firm's plant and assets on the market. An interested buyer was located in the form of Richard H. Long, a wealthy New England shoe manufacturer who had gotten into the automobile body business in 1917 when he purchased the Framingham factory of the Bela Body Co.

In 1921 Long introduced the Bay State automobile, a reasonably successful mid-priced car that was produced from 1922 to 1924. The firm produced the assembled vehicle from its headquarters in Framingham as well as a recently constructed factory located nearby in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Long's automobile business was reorganized a number of times starting in 1923, and one of the resulting firms, the R.H. Long Motors Co., was headquartered in Newark at 252 Central Avenue, less than a mile away from the Jephson-Scott body works. He saw the purchase of the plant as an economical way to place full custom bodies on the Bay State chassis.

Although J.M. Quinby & Co. had withdrawn from business in 1915, the firm's principle owners, William and Henry Ogden, elected to hold onto the name when they auctioned off the firm's assets in 1917. Ernest Kay, Quinby's former treasurer, negotiated a deal with the Ogdens whereby he and Richard H. Long would license the name for their new business.

In April 1923 the pair reorganized Jephson-Scott as the J.M. Quinby & Co. To finance the new enterprise, the pair formed the Long, Kay & Company, a brokerage house whose sole business was the sales of shares in the “new” J.M Quinby & Co. Inc. for which they raised $200,000 through a sale of preferred stock. Although it would be illegal today, the pair pocketed $40 for every $85 they placed in the Quinby coffers, a practice that was common in the years before the strict regulations that were made necessary by the stock market crash of ’29.

The reorganized J.M. Quinby & Co. Inc. prospered for a short period, but within the year its business took a turn for the worse and Long took over as president to protect his investment. He reduced the workforce and by the end of 1925 its outlook had greatly improved. By that time the Bay State had been out of production for almost two years, however Long found a booming business in the commercial body field, in particular building bus bodies for New Jersey's public transit system.

Unfortunately the firm’s output never exceeded 25% of capacity and dividends were never paid out to its shareholders, so in 1926 they took Long and Kay to court over the matter.

"Proceeding by Thomas Schroeck and others against J.M. Quinby & Co., formerly known as the Jephson, Scott Body Company, Inc., and another, for mandamus."

The judge found that no wrongdoing had been committed and rejected the shareholders’ petition. The firm lasted for a couple more years but didn’t survive the decade, going out of business for good in 1929.

By that time Long had established a successful Cadillac dealership back in Framingham, which remains in business today as the Long auto Group, a multi-franchise, multi-location General Motors dealer group that covers most of Eastern Massachusetts.

© 2004 Mark Theobald -







Moodys Manual of Railroads & Corporation Securities; pub. 1923

David Lawrence Pierson - History of the Oranges to 1921; Vol. III, Pub. 1922

David Lawrence Pierson - History of the Oranges to 1921; Vol. IV, Pub. 1922

William F. Ford - The industrial interests of Newark, N. J., pub 1874

Anna Emmeline Quinby - Lewis & Co.'s Genealogical History of New Jersey, pub. 1910

Frank John Urquhart - A History of the city of Newark, New Jersey Vol. II, pub 1913

William H. Shaw - History of Essex and Hudson counties, New Jersey, Volume 1, pub 1884

Henry Cole Quinby - Genealogical history of the Quinby (Quimby) family in England and America pub 1915

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

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