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Lang Body Company
Lang Body Co., 1917-1935, Cleveland, Ohio
Associated Builders
Rauch & Lang

The Lang Body Company was a medium-sized Cleveland, Ohio coachbuilder who constructed small series of Lafayette, Lincoln, Peerless and Stutz production automobile bodies from the late teens into the early twenties. They also offered their own line of aftermarket bodies for Dodge, and when the nation’s automobile body-building became concentrated in Detroit, Lang switched to manufacturing motor coach bodies for regional bus companies on various chassis which included ACF-Motors, Fageol, G.M.C., Graham, International, Mack, Pierce-Arrow, Safeway Six-Wheel, Studebaker, Twin-Coach, Will, White and Yellow Coach.

Its founder, Charles E.J. Lang, is better known as being a founding partner of the Rauch and Lang Carriage Company, whose successor, Baker, Rauch & Lang, produced one of the nation’s most popular early electric cars, the Baker.

Charles E.J. Lang (b. July 14, 1858-d. June 14, 1941) was born in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio on July 14, 1858 to Joseph and Caroline (Greiner) Lang. Joseph Lang was born in Germany in 1832 and emigrated to the United States in 1855. He resided in Galena, Illinois for a short time, eventually relocating to Cleveland in 1856 where he established one of Cleveland’s best-known watering holes, the Market Saloon, which was located at 86 Lorain St.

Charles E.J. Lang was educated in the public schools of the west side and after completing his education in 1875 worked for a number of firms as a bookkeeper for Geib & Herrman, the successor to Herrman & Pfarr. On January 8, 1878 he accepted a position with Charles Rauch as a bookkeeper in his carriage manufacturing business. On May 17, 1883, Charles was married to Katherine E. Schweitzer, the daughter of Fred and Katherine Schweitzer, of Cleveland and to the blessed union was born two boys; Carl (died at 10 yo.) and Elmer J. (b.1884-d.1964) Lang. In 1885 Lang purchased a quarter interest in the firm, the new partnership being operated in the style of Rauch & Lang.

On the incorporation of the business for $75,000 (one source says $100,000) under the name of the Rauch &Lang Carriage Company in 1888, its board included Charles Rauch, Charles E.J. Lang, Henry Heideloff, Herman Kroll and John Kreifer. Rauch was elected president, and Lang, secretary-treasurer. Rauch and Lang collected $1800 salary, the other board members, $1000. A four-story factory was leased at the corner of Pearl Rd. (now West 25th St.) and McLean Sts. for $1650 per year.

By 1890, Lang had become the firm’s vice-president and a second 4-story building was leased adjacent to the Pearl Rd manufactory. Joseph Rothgery, their very first employee, was now in charge of the finishing department and was on hand whenever a Rauch & Lang carriage was delivered locally. The Ireland, Mather and Hanna families rode in Rauch & Lang carriages, as did most of   the region’s leading citizens. They specialized in Broughams, Victorias, Stanhopes, opera busses and doctors wagons which sold for between $500 and $2000.

In 1894 Rauch & Lang posted a profit of $40,000, and introduced a new line of light delivery vehicles that proved to be very popular. In 1903, their Cleveland wareroom became a dealership for the new Buffalo Electric automobile, and within two years, they were manufacturing their own electric vehicles which had been road tested by Joseph Rothgery, who had just celebrated his 50th anniversary with the firm. Initially only a Stanhope was available, but by the end of 1905, a number of coupes and depot wagons had been manufactured, 50 vehicles in all. After his graduation from Cleveland’s West High School in 1904, Charles’ son, Elmer J. Lang, went to work for his father’s firm, with which he was associated with as sales manager until 1916 when he began business on his own account.

Many of the Rauch & Lang Electric’s non-coachbuilt components were sourced from Cleveland’s Hertner Electric Co. and following a $175,000 recapitalization, Hertner Electric became part of Rauch & Lang in 1907.

Charles E.J. Lang’s in-laws were associated with the Lakewood Realty Co., whose president, Charles. L.K. Wieber, provided much of Rauch & Lang’s new capital. Wieber became the firm’s new vice-president, and the rest of the officers were given a substantial increase in salary at the same time. John H. Hertner, the founder of Hertner Electric Co., and his chief engineer, D.C. Cunningham, were put in charge of the electric vehicle division and from that point on all of the automobile’s components were manufactured in-house.

By 1908, they were producing 500 vehicles annually, and had back-orders for 300 more. Consequently, a mechanical engineer was brought in to see what could be done to increase capacity. A year later, the firm was recapitalized to the tune of $1,000,000 and Charles L.F. Wieber was given the title of general manager and a salary of $10,000. A new 340,000 sq. ft. factory was built, and the firm bought an interest in the Motz Clincher Tire and Rubber Co. to insure an adequate supply of tires.

In 1911, the Rauch and Lang Electric was voted the most popular car in San Francisco and Minneapolis and a year later, worm drive was introduced. A Rauch & Lang advertisement penned by Albert Lasker of the Lord & Thomas Advertising Agency stated:

"Again has the Rauch and Lang electric asserted its premiership as Society's chosen car. The success of the new worm drive has been immediate.

“This new feature means continued leadership in driving quality ­just as the beautiful body lines, rich finish and ultra refinement in every detail have always marked supremacy of Rauch and Lang construction. They are enthusiastic because the Rauch and Lang Straight Type Worm Drive (top mounted), which is superior to all others, means a greater than ever all 'round efficiency, a silence that is manifest, a power economy hitherto unknown and a driving simplicity that appeals to the most timid women. The Rauch and Lang is the highest priced automobile on the market. Its value is readily apparent to those who seek in a car artistic and mechanical perfection."

Later that year they were sued by their cross-town rivals, the Baker Electric Vehicle Co., for infringing upon Baker’s patented drivetrain.

In 1912, 356,000 passenger cars were produced in the United States, and towards the end of the year, Charles Rauch, the founding father of Rauch & Lang, passed away. On November 26, 1912, the board of directors elected Charles C.F. Wieber president and general manager of the Rauch and Lang Carriage Company. Charles E.J. Lang became vice-president-treasurer and F. W. Treadway the firm’s new secretary.

Lang was also president of the Pioneer Life Insurance Co. of America, a St. Louis, Missouri-based subsidiary of the Universal Life Insurance Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, of which he was a director.

The October 23, 1913, issue of the Automobile announced that Rauch and Lang had introduced a radically new drive principle,­ the bevel gear transmission. They also introduced the dual control coach, a five-passenger, $3200 electric sedan that could be driven from either the front seat, the rear seat, or both, a safety switch deactivated the forward controls if the revolving front seat was in any position other than forward.

A period Rauch & Lang ad boasted:

"Whatever your ideas today, you are certain to come to the conclusion, sooner or later, that an enclosed automobile like the Rauch & Lang Electric combines all the desirable features and eliminates all the well-known annoyances and much of the expense incident to gasoline cars."

The introduction of Charles Kettering’s self-starter in 1912 marked the beginning of the end for the electric automobile and by 1915 their share of the burgeoning automobile marketplace had fallen dramatically. Despite their earlier lawsuit, Cleveland’s two electric vehicle manufacturers decided to merge, hoping that by streamlining their engineering and manufacturing operations, they might survive.

On June 10, 1915, the Automobile announced the merger, and the resulting firm, the Baker, Rauch & Lang Co. was capitalized for $2,500,000. The officers were: Charles C.F. Wieber, president; Frederick R. White, first vice-president; Charles E. J. Lang, second vice-president; R. C. Norton, treasurer; G. H. Kelly, secretary; F. W. Treadway, counsel. Fred R. White and Rollin C. White, two of the owners of the White Motor Co., were early investors in Baker, and as such were represented on the new Baker, Rauch & Lang Co.’s board of directors.

The June 10, 1915 issue of Motor Age reported:

“Electric Vehicle Makers Combine; Baker and Rauch & Lang Interests Are Merged

“CLEVELAND, June 7—Effective today, the Baker Motor Vehicle Co. and the Rauch & Lang Carriage Co., both manufacturers of electric vehicles of Cleveland, are merged and will henceforth operate as one concern under the firm name of Baker R. & L. Co. Agencies of the two companies are to be combined in all cities. Inventories and appraisals are being made, but for all practical purposes, the business of the two companies is to be conducted as one from this date forward.

“The officers of the newly-organized company are: President, C. L. F. Wieber, president of the Rauch & Lang Co.; first vice-president, F. R. White, vice-president and general manager Baker company; second vice-president, Charles E.J. Lang, vice-president and treasurer, Rauch-Lang company; treasurer, Charles E.J. Lang, vice-president and treasurer Rauch-Lang company; treasurer, R. C. Norton, treasurer Baker company; secretary, G. H. Kelley, secretary Baker company; counsel, F. W. Treadway, secretary Rauch-Lang company.

“In order to bring about the merger, the Rauch & Lang concern adds to its present capital stock of $1,000,000 another $1,500,000, of which $750,000 is 7 per cent preferred and the balance common. The capital stock of Baker is $600,000. It is not stated whether or not the name of the cars will be changed in any way to conform to the new company name.”

It soon became apparent that the days of the electric car were numbered and despite both firm’s previous success, a decision was made to look for additional products to produce in their large Cleveland factories.

As early as 1902, Walter C. Baker and Justus B. Entz were independently searching for methods to simplify the operation of the motor vehicle. Baker concentrated his efforts on the electric vehicle, Entz on the electromagnetic transmission, a device that used a magnetic field to drive a propeller or driveshaft. By varying the intensity of the field, a vehicle could go faster or slower without using a clutch. Baker purchased the rights to the Entz patents in 1912, and licensed them to R.M. Owen & Company, the producer of the Owen Magnetic, a gasoline-engined car that utilized an Entz transmission.

It was decided that Baker, Rauch & Lang would produce the Owen Magnetic in Cleveland, so in December of 1915, they absorbed R.M. Owen & Co. and relocated it to Cleveland. Raymond M. Owen became a vice-president of Baker, Rauch & Lang and was placed in charge of sales for the Owen Magnetic whose drivetrains were built in the former West 83rd Street Baker plant, the coachwork in the former Rauch & Lang facilities.

The new vehicle attracted the attention of the General Electric Company, and in 1916 they contributed $2,500,000 to the venture which increased Baker, Rauch & Lang’s capitalization to $5,000,000. In return, General Electric was given exclusive contracts for the vehicle’s electrical components and got three seats on their board of directors.  

The Owen Magnetic proved popular and was available in nine versions, four on a 29hp 125-inch wheelbase and five on a 34hp 136-inch wheelbase – all powered by a six-cylinder gasoline motor. Rauch & Lang’s coachwork was amongst the finest available, and the attractive cars featured styling similar to that of the finest European chassis. The cars were priced from $3100 to $5700 and were owned by many celebrities including: Enrico Caruso, John McCormack, Arthur Brisbane and Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle.  

Comedian, Tonight Show host, and serious automotive collector, Jay Leno, owns a 1917 Owen Magnetic and wrote about it in his Popular Mechanics column of August 13, 2002: “The engine's only job is to turn the magnetic field, which then turns the generator, which runs the rear wheels. It's not a hybrid, it's driven by a conventional engine. It was an automatic transmission 30 years ahead of its time.”

Baker, Rauch & Lang built most of the Owen-Magnetic’s coachwork, however in 1916-1917 a small series of open sports tourers were built by Holbrook that featured distinctive flat-topped and angled front and rear fenders.

Unfortunately the impending war forced Baker, Rauch & Lang to abandon full production of the vehicle and much of their workforce geared up to manufacture electric tractors, trucks and bomb-handling equipment for the US Armed Forces. Baker had experimented with electric industrial trucks prior to the merger and following the Armistice, Baker, Rauch & Lang’s indus­trial trucks and tractors were placed on the market and eventually became the firm’s most popular product.

On January 13, 1919, Charles C.F. Wieber was made chairman of the board of directors and Frederick R. White was named president. E. J. Bartlett was named a vice-president and general manager. Notably absent from the reorganized board was Charles E.J. Lang and Raymond M. Owen, the firm’s two vice-presidents.

The February 1917 issue of Accessory and Garage Journal announced that E.J. Lang had resigned as sales manager of Baker, R. & L., to form his own automobile body manufacturing operation:

“E.J. Lang, sales manager of the Baker, R. & L. Co., has resigned and will engage in the manufacture of automobile bodies. Mr. Lang is a son of Charles E.J. Lang, founder of the Rauch & Lang Carriage Co.”

The November 15, 1917 issue of the Commercial Car Journal announced the formal organization of the Lang Body Co.:

“Lang Body Incorporates

“The Lang Body Co., 640 Garfield Bldg., Cleveland, is incorporated under the laws of Ohio for the purpose of manufacturing, buying, selling and otherwise dealing in automobile and Aeroplane bodies and automobile parts and accessories of all kinds and doing all things incident or necessary thereto. The authorized capital stock is $300,000. Chas. E.J. Lang, president and treasurer, was one of the founders of The Rauch & Lang Carriage Co., manufacturers of the Rauch and Lang carriages and electric automobiles.

“Elmer J. Lang, son of Chas. E. J. Lang, is vice-president and general manager. John H. Price is secretary and L. L. Williams, who is factory manager and consulting engineer, has long been associated with the Peerless Motor Car Co. as designer and production expert. One of the biggest departments that the Lang Body Co. will have will be the truck body department. The company has purchased 5 acres on W. 106th St. and have started to erect the first unit, a three story building and dry kiln over 50,000 square ft.

“Chas E.J. Lang, president and treasurer; Elmer J. Lang, vice-president and general manager; John H. Price, secretary.”

The January 3, 1918 issue of The Automobile / Automotive Industries was the first to announce the formation of the Lang Body Company to the automobile trade:

“Lang to Build Bodies

“CLEVELAND, Dec. 27—The Lang Body Co. is completing its building and expects to start production by Feb. 1. The first unit, a three-story, L-shaped building of mill construction and the dry kiln is practically finished. The work is about thirty days behind schedule due to unusual weather conditions.

“The company now has in stock lumber, aluminum and steel for the manufacture of commercial and passenger car bodies. The plant occupies five acres of land on the switch of the New York Central near West 106th Street and has an option on five adjoining acres. The officers of the company are: President and treasurer, Charles E.J. Lang, formerly vice-president and treasurer of the Rauch & Lang Carriage Co., and later vice-president and director in the consolidation of the Rauch & Lang Carriage Co., and the Baker Co.; vice-president and general manager, Elmer J. Lang; secretary, John H. Price. L. L. Williams, formerly with the body department of the Peerless Motor Car Co., is engaged in similar work in the Lang company.”

The January 10, 1918 edition of Motor Age announced the firm was hoping to commence production in February:

“Lang Body In Production Soon

“The Lang Body Co., Cleveland, Ohio, manufacturer of passenger car and truck bodies, is completing its building and expects to be in production by Feb. 1. The company now has in stock lumber for the manufacture of commercial bodies of any style or description, and is also in a position to manufacture closed car bodies of aluminum or steel. It occupies 5 acres, and has an option of 6 more acres of land immediately adjoining. The personnel is: President and treasurer, Charles E.J. Lang, formerly vice-president and treasurer of the Rauch & Lang Carriage Co., and later vice-president and director In the new consolidation of the Rauch & Lang Carriage Co. and the Baker Co.; vice-president and general manager, Elmer J. Lang; secretary, John H. Price.

“L. L. Williams, with the body department of the Peerless Motor Car Co. for nine years, is engaged in similar work in the Lang company.”

Although the legal name of Lang’s former firm continued to be Baker, Rauch & Lang Co., following Lang’s departure their products were marketed as either Raulang or Baker-Raulang products although they wouldn’t change their legal name until 1937.

In exchange for his stock, Owen had been given the rights to manufacture the Owen-Magnetic on his own and relocated to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where he made an arrangement with Frank Matheson to build them in the former Matheson automobile plant. A couple hundred more Owen Magnetics were completed in Pennsylvania before the firm when bankrupt in 1921. Much of Owen's 1920 and 1921 output was sent to England re-badged as the Crown Ensign (aka Crown Magnetic). Crown was the name of the British importer Crown Limited who also manufactured the British Ensign. Total Owen Magnetic production from 1915 to 1921 was approximately 975 vehicles, of which only a handful survive.

The Lang Body Co. was listed as a ‘builder of ordnance truck bodies’ for the US Military and also provided some non-automotive items as well, the February 27, 1919 issue of The Automobile / Automotive Industries reporting:

“The Lang Body Co. made boxes for the Browning machine gun and trays for ammunition. This concern also mounted and crated the reconnaissance and machine gun trucks and did the camouflaging work on these trucks.”

In its field supply service the US Army needed automotive vehicles of three distinct types - caterpillars for the battle front, standard commercial-type motor trucks  for the good roads of the back zones, and four-wheel-drive trucks (f.w.d.) for the intermediate area, the ground in which the goaing could be difficult.

Five of every six ordnance trucks were used for hauling ammunition for which special bodies were designed and constructed by third parties. A few were equipped with special bodies for carrying machine guns and trench mortars while others were designed for use as field repair shops at which emergency repairs to the artillery could be made and other field ordnance could be reconditioned.

The ordnance truck program was a large one. requiring much expertise in  the designs of specialized truck bodies. Over 9,000 special-bodied ordnance trucks were sent to the American European Forces (A.E.F.) before the Armistice.

The Ordnance Department also supplied staff observation cars and reconnaissance cars to the A. E. F. These, although they had the appearance of passenger automobiles, were in reality trucks. The observation car consisted of a touring car body mounted on a 1-ton White truck chassis. The reconnaissance car body was mounted on a Commerce truck chassis. Most of these special cars were produced ahead of the armistice, and over 500 of the 2,250 ordered were shipped to France.

In all, some 30,000 f.w.d. ordnance trucks were ordered, and nearly half of them were delivered to the Army before the armistice. The plan followed by the Ordnance Department was to order chassis only from the truck builders and procure the specially designed bodies from concerns equipped to build them. The companies named below were the ordnance truck builders:

*The ordnance trucks are not to be confused with the standardized truck of the Quartermaster Service.

Nash Motors Co., Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Four-Wheel-Drive Auto Company, Clintonville, Wisconsin.
Mitchell Motor Car Company, Racine, Wisconsin.
Premier Motor Corporation, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Kissel Motor Car Company, Hartford, Wisconsin.
Hudson Motor Car Company, Detroit, Michigan.
National Motor Car Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Paige Motor Car Company, Detroit, Michigan.
Commerce Motor Car Corporation, Detroit, Michigan.
White Company, Cleveland, Ohio.
Dodge Motor Car Company, Detroit, Michigan.

The builders of ordnance truck bodies were as follows:

American Car & Foundry Company, Berwick, Pennsylvania.
J. G. Brill Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Hale & Kilburn Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Dunbar Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Illinois.
Pullman Company, Pullman, Illinois.
Kuhlman Car Company, Cleveland, Ohio.
C. R. Wilson Body Company, Detroit, Michigan.
Insley Manufacturing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lang Body Company, Cleveland, Ohio.
Heil Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Variety Manufacturing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
J. E. Bolles Iron & Wire Company, Detroit, Michigan.

At the start of the First World War Lang constructed a railroad siding and storage building in order to procure a military contract for the construction of 1,500 motor bodies for ordnance trucks. Ultimately the deal fell through and the firm amassed a charge of $35,768.48 for construction of the siding and the building.

Their story was typical of many other body builders who had done business with the government - they got paid for the Browning machine gun boxes and amunition trays, but not for the canceled 1,500 body contract for which they had spent $35,768.37 to procure.

Just as today, the US Government was reluctant to pay contractors for a cancelled contract. Lang's only recourse was to file a claim with the War Dept. Claims Board of Contract Adjustment who ultimately ruled in their favor, a portion of the ruling follows:

“The Board finds the followings facts:

“1. The E. J. Lang Body Co. claims it erected a building on its own land at the request of Maj. T. W. Carlisle, head of the motor equipment and procurement section of the Government, for which it paid $32,265.48, and that it built additional railroad tracks and switches connecting with said building, for which it paid $3,502.89, making a total of $35,768.37 which it expended. It states the railroad tracks are of no value to it, but it offers $14,000 for the building, so that the balance asked by the claimant is $21,768.37.

“2. The claimant's president, E. J. Lang, testified that in July, 1918, he was asked by Maj. T. W. Carlisle if he would take a contract for mounting, camouflaging, and crating 1,500 motor bodies, and he replied claimant's facilities were not sufficient to store parts necessary for the work.

“3. E. J. Lang then began negotiations with Maj. T. W. Carlisle with a view to erecting a building of a type recommended by the Government. It appears that Maj. Carlisle authorized the claimant to erect the building, and agreed that $15,000 of the cost should be amortized from an additional charge of $15,000 the claimant was to be allowed on the proposed contract for the said work on 1,500 motor bodies.

“Mr. Lang testified: 'The contract never came through, but we went ahead and finished the building.'

“Maj. Carlisle testified: 'After talking with Charrington, I definitely told Lang to go ahead with his building and to write me a letter specifically stating in his price of so much per body there was to be a $5 charge included and another $5 charge in another, making a total charge of $15,000.'

“On August 5, 1918, the claimant wrote Maj. T. W. Carlisle:

"2. As discussed with you at the time the writer was in Washington, it was necessary to construct an extra storage building of a capacity to handle the abnormal shipments of bodies from Hale and Kilbourne and the Wilson Body Company, and we agreed that part of this expense was to be absorbed by the additional charge of $5 more on our price. If you decide that we shall crate these cars there will also be an additional charge of $5.

"3. It is also understood that on the additional work this company shall receive from the Government, amendments which have been added in our letter of to-day, must also be added to our contract."

It was understood by Lang that construction of the siding and storage building would enable the firm to receive an increased volume of business from the War Department, which in turn would result in an increased profit. Although the entire cost of the siding was borne by the Lang Co., the War Department’s representative, US Army Maj. T.W. Carlisle, offered to pay $15,000 towards the construction of the storage building, which ultimately cost $32,265.48. When presented with the bill the Army refused to reimburse Lang, who filed an objection with the Board of Contract Adjustment at the end of the War. The board found that the “agreement was made by an officer acting under the authority of the Secretary of War, within the provisions of the Dent Act” and authorized payment of the $115,000 promised.

The Business Notes column of the December 1, 1921 issue of Motor Age:

“Stutz Motor Car Co., of Indianapolis, has released its entire production of enclosed bodies to the Lang Body Co., of this city, and the work will extend over a period of some months.”

The 1922 edition of Moody’s Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities included the firm as follows:

“LANG BODY CO. (THE).—Inc. Aug 18, 1919, in Del., and acquired, for a consideration of 15,000 shares Com. stock, the entire business and assets of a former company of the same name incorporated in Ohio. Manufacturers of automobile bodies, parts and accessories. Plant, located in Cleveland, Ohio, on 6 acres of land on West 106th St., between Madison and Lorain Aves., has an annual capacity of about $4,000,000.

“Capital Stock.—Authorized and outstanding, 20,000 shares of Com. of no par value, and $1,000,000 7% cum. Pfd., par $100. Of the stock, 15,000 shares Com. were issued in exchange for the business and assets of the predecessor company. Transfer Agent and Registrar: The Guardian Savings & Trust Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Pfd. stock was first publicly offered ($1,000,000) in Oct, 1919, at par and accrued dividend, carrying a bonus of one share of Com. for every two shares of Pfd. subscribed for. Dividends on Pfd. payable quarterly, J, A, J & O 1; none on Com.

“Preferred Stock Provisions.—Pfd. stock has preference as to assets as well as dividends and is subject to redemption at 105 and accrued dividends on any dividend date on thirty days' notice. Pfd. stock has no voting power except in relation to creation or increase of additional Pfd. stock or mortgaging the company's property, unless the corporation shall have defaulted in payment of eight quarterly dividends thereon, in which event and during the continuance of such default Pfd. stock becomes entitled to one vote per share.


Net earnings Total income Interest charges Inventory shrinkage Other charges Surplus for year
1920 94,076 104,961 6,968 77,188 7,308 13,480
1921 (d)138,101 (d)135,621 22,635
85,454 (d)243,710

(d) indicates a deficit or loss

General Balance Sheet, December 31, 1921

Assets 1921 1920
Liabilities 1921 1920
Real estate, equipment 767,274 767,608
Capital Stock 802,500 953,400
Less depreciation 149,871 93,426
Notes payable 269,643 255,240
Total 617,403 674,182
Accounts payable 43,029 224,083
Inventories 363,213 677,075
Accrued interest 4,456 0
Cash 36,204 18,143
Reserve for taxes 12,183 7,062
Bills & Accts receivable 54,992 32,503
Deferred items 1,040 1,410
Current Assets 169,527 230,158
Advances on contracts 38,201 0
Organization expense 16,444 45,666
Reserve for contingencies 75,000 0
Prepaid items 9,026 5,232
Profit and loss 20,757 241,764
Total 1,266,809 1,682,959
Total 20,757 241,764

“Directors: Chas.E.J. Lang. Elmer J. Lang, S.W. Whitmore, Wm. Dreger, Cleveland, O.; J.C. Hipp, E.A. Noll, E.I. Heihnsohn, K.J. Dawson, Lakewood. O.; E.E. Quirk, Akron, O.

“Annual Meeting, second Tuesday after Feb 10.

“General Office, 3088 West 106th St., Cleveland, Ohio.”

The May 11, 1922 issue of The Automobile / Automotive Industries announced that:Lang received a contract to supply closed bodies to Lincoln

“Lang Body Co. Gets New Lincoln Order; First Award Since Ford Became Identified With Car Company

“CLEVELAND, May 9—The most striking increase in factory pay rolls since the first of the year has come about in the automobile and automobile parts and accessories factories of the city, according to the statement of the Labor Relations Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.

“The number of employees in the automobile factories surveyed has increased 79 per cent in the last four months.

“For the first time this year the report shows that the number of employees in the 100 corporations, including automobile factories and those in other industries, is greater than it was at any time in the year 1920.

“In the automobile industry the number of employees in the factories surveyed, and there are eighteen of them, was 9972 persons on April 29 as compared to 5568 last December and to 10,310, the largest number in the year 1921.

“For the first time in many months the Lang Body Co. is operating at practically capacity. Orders have been received in increased numbers each month since the first of the year.

“A contract has been obtained by this company to build closed body types for the Lincoln Motor Car Co. The firm has been making Peerless closed bodies for some months and will get into production as soon as possible on the Lincoln contract. Shipments are to start Sept. 1. The new order will run indefinitely. The Lang company built bodies for the Lelands, but this is the first order obtained since Henry Ford became identified with the Lincoln organization.”

The September 22, 1922 issue of Automobile Topics reveals Lang was getting into the aftermarket body business:


“Four-Passenger Dodge Brothers Job Leads to Greater Output — Builds Special Train of Assembly — Plans 20 Bodies Daily In Next Few Months.

“From its introduction of fine body practice into the field of quantity built automobiles, the Lang Body Co., Cleveland, has experienced a reaction of such proportions as to call for a larger production schedule. The cause is the four-passenger coupe body for Dodge Brothers chassis, which was originated by E.J. Lang, general manager of the Company, and tried out in its first retail market by W. Pitt Barnes, Dodge Brothers dealer in Cleveland. First pictured to the trade in these columns under date of May 27 and presented quietly here and there among other dealers since that time, the body has met with a reception which has held out promise of successful further manufacture and exploitation.

“Already normally busy on its programs for a number of customers in the trade whose body requirements call for fine design and quality~ manufacture, the Lang company is building up within its adequate plant what is to all practical purposes a special train of manufacture and assembly for this featured product. From the seasoning of the wood which goes into the framework to the installation of cushions, which are made in the plant, and including the next to final coat of finishing varnish, the whole process is to be carried on exactly as Lang has done over a long period of years for cars selling at several times the price at which dealers are offering this vehicle.

“The schedule calls for twenty bodies daily, and the company's materials requirements have been figured in quantities which promise to extend this schedule over a considerable portion of the next few months. This, of course, is to be in addition to the manufacturing schedules on larger bodies of other varieties for lines which the Company has served almost since its inception. These contracts, it is declared with emphasis, are to be handled exactly as has always been Lang policy, and it may be said that extensions of this side of the business are now under consideration.

“Though this is the first time the Iang company has dealt directly with the retail automobile trade as a quantity manufacturer, it is by no means the beginning on the part of those who direct the business of close study into the requirements of the dealer. The Lang Body Co., as such, has been in existence since 1917. It was formed at that time by Charles E.J. Lang, who was then vice-president of the old Ranch & Lang organization. He is president and treasurer of the Company that now bears his name, and it is his studies of the market, together with those of his son, E.J. Lang, that led the firm into its present undertaking.

“Briefly it is the Lang idea, that the closed body end of the automobile business is still in its early stages of development. In the one direction this is producing the body of frankly utilitarian purpose, so built and so offered at a price that encourages quick acceptance. In another, and no less definite direction there is the finely designed and built closed body to serve a market that is able and willing to pay the necessarily higher price for a product that appeals to its taste.”

As evidenced above early on, Lang received several large orders for closed Peerless, Stutz and Lincoln production bodies, but from 1924 on, they specialized in motor coach bodies for regional manufacturers and surface transportation operators. Lang is known to have constructed transit and intercity motor coach bodies on Pierce-Arrow, Fageol Motors Co. of Ohio, Mack, International, White, Pierce-Arrow, Twin-Coach, Will, Yellow Coach, and ACF-Motors bus chassis. One large parlor car funeral coach was constructed by the firm on a Pierce-Arrow Model Z bus chassis, but the further construction of professional vehicles is doubted.

In early 1925 Better Buses magazine reported that:

“In order to meet increasing demand from bus operators for deluxe motor equipment, the Mack Company placed its initial order of the year for 135 bodies of the Sedan and Parlor Car types. This order which calls for 110 Parlor Car and 25 Sedan bodies, was portioned to the Lang Body Company of Cleveland and the E.J. Thompson Company of Pittsburgh.”

Lang placed a series of attractive display ads in Better Buses and the Electric Railway Journal starting in 1924, transcriptions of which follow. The first is from the January 9, 1926 issue of Electric Railway Journal:


“New aluminum 21-passenger special street car type body, for Studebaker, mounted on chassis. Body price, $2,150, plus tax. For particulars write LANG BODY CO., 3088 W. 106th St., Cleveland. Ohio.”

February 13, 1926 Electric Railway Journal:

“Novelties Incorporated in Design of Bus Bodies

“SEVERAL new features have been incorporated in the design of bus bodies recently built by the Lang
Body Company. These will be mounted on International Harvester chassis and will be used in Florida.
Particular attention has been paid to details affecting the width.

“As anything which overhangs or projects from the side of the bus body adds to the effective width, the Lang company has designed a door handle which springs back flush with the side of the bus when not in use. When the handle is used it is raised and turned in the ordinary manner, but when released it immediately springs back close to the body. This handle is shown in one of the accompanying illustrations.

“A grab handle has been placed conveniently alongside the entrance door, as shown in another of the accompanying illustrations. Its presence is a convenience for boarding and alighting passengers, and its location inside the body removes any temptation for the passenger to try to hold on while the bus is in motion. Placing the handle inside also tends to keep down the width.

“An intermediate step between the ground and the floor of the bus is arranged in a well. This well is deeply rounded, allowing plenty of space for the step. A step light has been placed at one side and is operated automatically. The entrance door is made airtight by the use of rubber hose. This acts as a yielding washer when the door is shut.

“Another new feature of this design is a wind deflector, which has been developed as the result of an idea secured from a bus driver. This driver was in the habit of sticking a piece of cardboard about 4 or 5 in. wide in the crack of the door at his left, bending the cardboard to such a position that when the wind blew in through the open front window it hit the cardboard and was deflected toward him. In warm weather this was a great relief. The wind deflector which has been installed on this body is of heavy plate glass, securely set in a polished nickel frame. The frame is attached to the side of the body at the driver's left, as shown in an accompanying illustration. It swings to any angle right or left, so that the driver may adjust it to derive the full effects of the breeze coming in at the front of the vehicle."

April 3, 1926 issue of Electric Railway Journal:

“William C Naegel, for many years with the Kuhlman Car Company, Cleveland, Ohio, has joined the Lang Body Company, Cleveland, Ohio in a sales and engineering capacity and for special development work. The Lang Body Company builds and develops bus bodies both in parlor cars and street car type of equipment. While with the Kuhlman company and its subsidiaries Mr. Naegel had charge of engineering, building and designing bus bodies.”

July 10,1926 Electric Railway Journal:

“There is nothing so luxurious as a privilege – except a luxurious Lang

“And Lang Bodies, by their beauty of line and luxurious appointments, create a private car atmosphere that suggests to many riders the wisdom of taking a bus rather than taking their own car through traffic.

“Create new passengers

“This rider is as comfortable as though she were in her own sedan. She is one of thousands who are filling Lang Bodies; attracted first by beauty of design and won over as a steady patron because of the many characteristic points of refinement that contribute to comfort and safety.


August 7, 1926 Electric Railway Journal:


“The LANG BODY COMPANY maintains a complete Service Department on repairing and refinishing of bus bodies. This special department is of ample size so that a complete bus can be driven to our plant and completely refinished. We will repair everything except the mechanical parts of the chassis.

“Speedy and accurate work is assured. For further information and estimates write Service Department,

“The Lang Body Company, Cleveland. Ohio”

December 18, 1926 Electric Railway Journal:

“One of the many Lang Bodies used by the Broadway Sightseeing Company , New York City.

“There is never a hint of crowding in Lang Bodies. Where additional capacity is wanted, Lang provides individual adequate folding seats. Luxurious appointments, that sense of ease which comes from roominess, and a wide range of vision combine to attract and hold an ever-increasing patronage which is constantly seeking the ultimate in riding comfort."

January 1927 issue of the Electric Railway journal:

“Lang Craftsmen are graduates both of the old and the new schools. Out of their experience they have built into the modern motor coach the friendly goodwill, which won steady patronage for the stages of a past generation.

“Lang Bodies Create New Passengers

“The entrance to a bus is the first impression that the passenger receives, ... it is also the last to be carried away. A low step, a deep, draught-proof well, doors even a little wider than necessary, and a step spotlight, ... such carefully planned details as these build patronage by leaving the right impression on passengers.

“People who ride once in a Lang Body invariably 'ask for more.'

“Operators of buses with bodies by Lang know that this passenger attractiveness will last through years of grueling service.


Another display ad in the Feb 12, 1927 issue of the Electric Railway Journal:

“The Sterling Mark, on Bus Bodies

“Sterling quality is always associated with Lang Bodies. It is inherent in the materials — the seasoned skeleton of the frame, the metal covering, the plate glass, the leather for the seats. It is built in the construction — the careful fitting of joints, the reinforcing, the manufacture and assembly of all parts. It is evident in the painting — the quality of the hardware, the study given to the perfection of every detail.

“The Sterling Mark on bus bodies is found on Lang — put there by the work of long experienced craftsmen in body building.


Lang spokesman Frank Weitz presented a raiod talk in late 1926 that was transcribed in the December 25, 1926 edition of the Electric Railway Journal:

“Buses on the Air

“Frank Weitz of Lang Body Company Gives a Radio Talk on Development of the Bus Industry

“Bus Transportation was the subject of a ten-minute radio talk which was broadcasted from station WHK at Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday evening, Dec. 9, by Frank Weitz, head of the research and experimental department of the Lang Body Company. It was one of the first occasions, if not the pioneer, that this subject had been brought to the attention of the public in such a fashion. Significant was the fact that Mr. Weitz, in tracing the history and development of the bus industry, made it very clear that it is in the field of co-ordinated transportation that the bus has found its greatest sphere of usefulness.

“In addition to the talk by Mr. Weitz, the Lang Body Company orchestra played a number of selections.

“Telegrams and letters from various sections of the country have been received by the sponsors of the program, commending both the orchestra and the speaker upon the excellence and interest of their respective contributions.

“First tracing the growth of the transportation industry in this country from its humble beginnings in the days of the stagecoach, Mr. Weitz pointed out the tremendous advances which have been realized in the relatively few years just past by electric and steam railways, and he indicated that the next decade will show even greater progress in modernization work.

“Bus Has Rapidly Fitted Itself Into Transportation Scheme

“The speaker next discussed the manner in which the bus has established its importance as an aid to flexibility in transportation service. Great as the development of the steam and electric roads has been, they have been unable to cope with the ever-increasing demands of our rapidly growing and spreading cities and towns. The enormous cost of trackage, right-of-way, power house equipment and other items incidental to the expansion of steam and electric roads have resulted in creating an imperative need of a more flexible form of transportation — a form of transportation that could at a reasonable cost reach those who have established homes in localities far removed from existing steam and electric lines.

“This need for a flexible and economical mode of transportation has been filled by the use of motor coaches or buses.

“In our modern city today street car service has been supplemented by motor bus or coach service and we reach with ease the most isolated and otherwise inaccessible parts of our suburban and outlying communities. Many independent bus operators reach out Into our more distant neighboring cities or towns and there has been developed a network of transportation lines which serve us for our every requirement.

“Those accustomed to riding in their own private cars, who have not as yet experienced the thrill and comfort of riding in the modern bus of today, will find quite a surprise in store for them. Those living in the city will find it convenient, comfortable and safe to use bus transportation; the hazard and responsibility of operating your own car and the annoyance of finding suitable parking space when shopping or attending the theater are eliminated. The suburbanite, when using the intercity bus with its comfortable, luxurious seating capacity, will find it is more convenient and more restful than using his own private car.

“Electric railways today are operating approximately 6,400 buses, which include both the city and intercity types. Motor bus transportation has invited and brought to it new patrons, among them the traveling salesman, who has noticeably increased his sales volume because the bus enables him to reach isolated points in a very short space of time. The motor bus takes him wherever he wants to go with the least possible inconvenience and loss of time.

“After citing a large number of steam railroads and electric railway properties which have entered the bus operating field on a comparatively large scale, Mr. Weitz concluded his remarks with a tribute to various manufacturers of bus equipment, as follows:

“'Among those who have been most prominently Identified in building bus transportation more efficiently, both from the standpoint of economy to the operator and safety to passengers, are such companies The International Harvester Company, American Car & Foundry Motors Company, Fageol Motor Car Company, Mack-International Motor Truck Corporation, Yellow Truck & Coach Manufacturing Company and the White Company. The Lang Body Company has been identified with all these companies in developing the highest possible type of bus body equipment.'


The firm's 1926 sales were discussed in the January 1927 issue of the Electric Railway Journal:

“Lang Body Company

“The first half of 1926 was very good, but a slowing down became apparent in August and has continued to date. If half of the projects now under way for expansion of bus transportation should be carried out 1927 should be a very busy year for all who are engaged in manufacturing bus equipment. E. J. Lang, Vice-President and Treasurer.”

During 1927 Elmer J. Lang wrote the following article which appeared in both Power Wagon and Railway Age:

“Rules for Maintaining Bus Bodies

“Paint, doors hinges, windows, body bolts, and other parts need constant care to preserve good appearance and operation

“By E.J. Lang; Vice-President and General Manager, The Lang Body Company, Cleveland, Ohio

“The body of the bus is created by able mechanics who take a keen interest and pride in the body they produced, building with the utmost accuracy and thorough workmanship. But even so they cannot build a body that will permanently resist the elements and the natural wear and tear it receives in operation.

“The care, maintenance and service of bodies is frequently most remote in the bus operator’s mind during the early operations of his bus equipment. His constant attention in the line of service has been to the chassis, the motor, etc., but rarely the body.

“Manufacturers of bus body equipment have found a great lack of understanding in regard to the car and service of bus body equipment. A few simple rules and regulations as to the care of bus bodies have been found of great use and importance to all bus operators. If these rules and regulations are followed, body troubles will be reduced to a minimum and longer life insured. Buses, like one’s own personal appearance and condition, mean everything in selling transportation.

“Use Same Care with Body as with Chassis

“To insure satisfactory performance of a motor passenger carrying vehicle, same care should be exercised in the upkeep of the body as is used on the chassis. Buses must operate under all road and weather conditions, regardless of whether these conditions are favorable to the longevity of the vehicle or not.

“The bus-riding public is rapidly being educated to demand the very best in travelling comfort, and is not tolerant of squeaks, rumbles and other annoyances, indicative of a bus that has not had proper care.

“Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the care of the finish of the body. A well-finished body cannot help but attract patronage. Needless to say, a body with a finish that has been ruined by neglect or carelessness cannot but repel. The observance of a few simple rules will add greatly to keeping a bus bright and glossy.


“Remove all dust and grit with a stream of water applied as nearly parallel to the sides of the body as possible. The water should never be applied at a high pressure, as this will enable the dust particles to mar the finish. Sponge and chamois must be kept scrupulously clean and free from grit. Avoid the use of all soaps and polishes; all are injurious to paint.

“As a polisher and a cleaner, use one part kerosene well mixed in three parts of water. This solution must be splashed on panels – never rubbed on – then washed off with a sponge, using plenty of clean water. Tar should be removed by applying pure lard over affected spots and allowing it to stand over night, cleaning the next morning with a kerosene and water solution by same method as that mentioned above.

“Bolts securing the body to the frame should be examined at least once a week and all slack taken up. This will eliminate most of the rattles and rumbles encountered in a heavy vehicle, and will also add materially to the useful life of the body.

“All parts of the heating unit underneath the body, such as heater pipes, flexible tubing and so forth, should be kept free from corrosion.

“The spring bumpers, especially in the rear of the body, are subjected to the most severe strain and vibration and if not kept properly tightened, will soon be found in bad condition. All joints in the bumpers should be well oiled. Rubber door silencers play an important part in the satisfactory performance of the body doors. Care should be taken that these rubbers are extended out from their container sufficiently to take up all vibration of the door when the vehicle is in motion.”

Starting in 1927 the Minneapolis-based Motor Transit Management Co., Greyhound’s direct predecessor, constructed approximately 400 motor coach chassis using chassis constructed by WMC (Wilcox Motor Co.) and it successor, Will. Most were equipped with bodies supplied by Eckland or Lang. The arrangement continued after Yellow Coach purchased a 30% interest in the firm during 1929. Coincidentally Yellow Coach was also a well-known customer of Lang, purchasing numerous transit and parlor coach bodies during the same period. Also popular were Lang’s high-headroom parlor coaches which appeared on numerous long- and short-wheelbase chassis after 1929.

A presentation by Lang's chief engineer, William C. Naegel, was mentioned in the May 12, 1928 issue of the Electric Railway Journal:

“S.A.E. Metropolitan Section

“EVOLUTION of bus design, from an engineering standpoint, will be the subject at the regular monthly meeting for May of the Metropolitan Section, Society of Automotive Engineers, to be held on May 17 at the Building Trades Club, New York, at 8 p.m. Two papers will be presented, one concerning chassis design and the other about body design. The former will be presented by George W. Smith, Jr., works manager of the White Company, and the latter by William C. Naegel, head of the engineering department of the Lang Body Company. A number of prominent engineers will present prepared discussions, and in addition, there will be open discussion from the floor. Carl W. Stocks, editor of Bus Transportation, is in charge of the meeting.”

Briggs Mfg., Lang Body Co., Mengel Body Co., and Weymann-American Body Co. all expressed an interest in manufacturing Glenn Curtiss’ Aerocar trailer but in the end only two firms would manufacture the Aerocar trailer; the Briggs-controlled Aerocar Co. of Detroit, Michigan and the Curtiss Aerocar Co. of Opa-Locka, Florida.

In July of 1927 a group of hostile Lang Body Co. stockholders headed by David C. Griesse brought an action (Griesse et al. v. Lang et al.) against Charles E.G. Lang, Elmer J. Lang and the rest of the firm’s officers charging them with gross negligence in the management of the firm.

The board of directors forced the resignations of Charles E.J. and Elmer J. Lang and in 1929 the firm was reorganized as a Delaware Corporation, under the same name. The senior Lang retired and his son went to work for ACF Motors as district representative covering Ohio and adjacent sections in West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.

Lang’s chief engineer, William C. Naegel, left and took a similar position with Cleveland’s Bender Body Co. Lang’s sales manager, W.C. Thompson, went to work for Art Rattan Works, Inc., in Oakland, California.

The firm soldiered on producing bodies for International and White for the next few years, but the Depression accomplished what mismanagement had not and the Lang Body Co. (Delaware Corp. version) declared bankruptcy at the end of 1935.

At that time Lang Body Co.’s assets included its factory building, a railroad switch and siding, and the five acres of land that made up the factory complex. The land and buildings were appraised in the bankruptcy proceedings on January 8, 1936, at $255,403. The bankrupt also had $10,497 in cash and other assets worth about $1,374.14. Its liabilities consisted of one obligation of approximately $40,000 and the real estate taxes due Cuyahoga County, Ohio, for the years 1931 to 1935.

The firm’s 3088 West 106th Street factory was divided up and later housed the Cleveland branch of Heil & Co., a well-known constructor of tank truck bodies, the National Traffic Appliance Co., the Curtis Condenser Corp., the Circo Products Co., a manufacturer of parts washing equipment, and J.T. Walsh, a manufacturer of pressure washers.

Charles E.J. Lang passed away on June 14, 1941 at the age of 82. Elmer J. Lang passed away in 1964 at the age of 79.

© 2013 Mark Theobald for

Lang Patents:

Design for a vehicle body - USD41038 - Grant - Filed Oct 15, 1910 - Issued Dec 13, 1910 to Charles E.J. Lang and Michael W. Gaffney assigned to Rauch & Lang Carriage Co.
Design for a vehicle body - USD41308 - Grant - Filed Oct 10, 1910 - Issued Apr 11, 1911 to Charles E.J. Lang assigned to Rauch & Lang Carriage Co.
Design for a vehicle body - USD41257 - Grant - Filed Oct 10, 1910 - Issued Mar 21, 1911 to Charles E.J. Lang and Michael W. Gaffney assigned to Rauch & Lang Carriage Co.
Design for a vehicle body - USD42186 - Grant - Filed Oct 5, 1911 - Issued Feb 20, 1912 to Charles E.J. Lang assigned to Rauch & Lang Carriage Co.
Design for a vehicle body - USD44536 - Grant - Filed Apr 7, 1913 - Issued Aug 19, 1913 to Charles E.J. Lang assigned to Rauch & Lang Carriage Co.







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

Burrows Brothers - The Book of Clevelanders, pub. 1914

Charles Rauch - The Necessity of Excellent Automobile Body Building, Cleveland Town Topics, February 19, 1910 issue

Ruth Franklin Sommerlad - Baker, Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum Library, unpublished manuscript dated March 11, 1964

Benedict Crowell & Robert Forrest Wilson - How America Went to War: The armies of industry, pub. 1921

The Book of Clevelanders: A Biographical Dictionary of Living Men of the City of Cleveland, pub. 1914

War Dept. Claims Board - Decisions of the War Department Board of Contract Adjustments – Volume 1, pub 1920

Tom Fisher - The Baker Motor Vehicle Company; The Rauch and Lang Carriage Company; The Baker R & L Company, Historic American Engineering Record, No. OH-11B, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, published 1970s

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