The Lang Body Company was a medium-sized
coachbuilder who constructed small series of Lafayette, Lincoln,
Stutz production automobile bodies from the late teens into the early
offered their own line of aftermarket bodies for Dodge, and when the
automobile body-building became concentrated in Detroit, Lang switched
manufacturing motor coach bodies for regional bus companies on various
which included ACF-Motors, Fageol, G.M.C., Graham, International, Mack,
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
Baker, Rauch & Lang, produced one of the nation’s most popular
electric cars, the Baker.
Charles E.J. Lang (b. July 14, 1858-d. June 14,
1941) was born in Cleveland,
County, Ohio on July 14, 1858 to Joseph and Caroline (Greiner)
Joseph Lang was born in Germany in 1832 and emigrated to the United
1855. He resided in Galena, Illinois for a short time, eventually
Cleveland in 1856 where he established one of Cleveland’s best-known
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
a number of firms as a bookkeeper for Geib & Herrman, the successor
& Pfarr. On January 8, 1878 he accepted a position with Charles
Rauch as a
bookkeeper in his carriage manufacturing business. On May 17, 1883,
married to Katherine E. Schweitzer, the daughter of Fred and Katherine
Schweitzer, of Cleveland and to the blessed union was born two boys;
at 10 yo.) and Elmer J. (b.1884-d.1964) Lang. In 1885 Lang purchased a
interest in the firm, the new partnership being operated in the style
On the incorporation of the business for
$75,000 (one source
says $100,000) under the name of the Rauch &Lang Carriage
1888, its board included Charles Rauch, Charles E.J. Lang, Henry
Herman Kroll and John Kreifer. Rauch was elected president, and Lang,
secretary-treasurer. Rauch and Lang collected $1800 salary, the other
members, $1000. A four-story factory was leased at the corner of Pearl
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
Rothgery, their very first employee, was now in charge of the finishing
department and was on hand whenever a Rauch & Lang carriage was
locally. The Ireland, Mather and Hanna families rode in Rauch &
carriages, as did most of the region’s leading citizens.
specialized in Broughams, Victorias, Stanhopes, opera busses and
which sold for between $500 and $2000.
In 1894 Rauch & Lang posted a profit of
introduced a new line of light delivery vehicles that proved to be very
popular. In 1903, their Cleveland wareroom became a dealership for the
Buffalo Electric automobile, and within two years, they were
their own electric vehicles which had been road tested by Joseph
had just celebrated his 50th anniversary with the firm. Initially only
Stanhope was available, but by the end of 1905, a number of coupes and
wagons had been manufactured, 50 vehicles in all. After his graduation
West High School in 1904, Charles’ son, Elmer J. Lang, went to work for
father’s firm, with which he was associated with as sales manager until
when he began business on his own account.
Many of the Rauch & Lang Electric’s
components were sourced from Cleveland’s Hertner Electric Co. and
$175,000 recapitalization, Hertner Electric became part of Rauch &
Charles E.J. Lang’s in-laws were associated
Lakewood Realty Co., whose president, Charles. L.K. Wieber, provided
Rauch & Lang’s new capital. Wieber became the firm’s new
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
engineer, D.C. Cunningham, were put in charge of the electric vehicle
and from that point on all of the automobile’s components were
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
title of general manager and a salary of $10,000. A new 340,000 sq. ft.
was built, and the firm bought an interest in the Motz Clincher Tire
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
introduced. A Rauch & Lang advertisement penned by Albert Lasker of
Lord & Thomas Advertising Agency stated:
"Again has the Rauch and Lang electric
premiership as Society's chosen car. The success of the new worm drive
“This new feature means continued leadership
quality just as the beautiful body lines, rich finish and ultra
every detail have always marked supremacy of Rauch and Lang
are enthusiastic because the Rauch and Lang Straight Type Worm Drive
mounted), which is superior to all others, means a greater than ever
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
the highest priced automobile on the market. Its value is readily
those who seek in a car artistic and mechanical perfection."
Later that year they were sued by their
the Baker Electric Vehicle Co., for infringing upon Baker’s patented
In 1912, 356,000 passenger cars were
produced in the United
States, and towards the end of the year, Charles Rauch, the founding
Rauch & Lang, passed away. On November 26, 1912, the board of
elected Charles C.F. Wieber president and general manager of the Rauch
Carriage Company. Charles E.J. Lang became vice-president-treasurer and
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
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
transmission. They also introduced the dual control coach, a
$3200 electric sedan that could be driven from either the front seat,
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:
ideas today, you are certain to come to the conclusion, sooner or
an enclosed automobile like the Rauch & Lang Electric combines all
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
share of the burgeoning automobile marketplace had fallen
dramatically. Despite their earlier lawsuit, Cleveland’s two electric
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;
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.
Rollin C. White, two of the owners of the White Motor Co., were early
in Baker, and as such were represented on the new Baker, Rauch &
board of directors.
The June 10, 1915 issue of Motor Age
“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
of Cleveland, are merged and will henceforth operate as one concern
under the firm name of Baker R. & L. Co. Agencies of
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
C. L. F. Wieber, president of the Rauch & Lang Co.; first
vice-president, F. R. White, vice-president and general manager Baker
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,
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
& Lang concern adds to its present capital stock of
another $1,500,000, of which $750,000 is 7 per cent preferred and the
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
It soon became apparent that the days of the
electric car were
numbered and despite both firm’s previous success, a decision was made
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
vehicle. Baker concentrated his efforts on the electric vehicle, Entz
electromagnetic transmission, a device that used a magnetic field to
propeller or driveshaft. By varying the intensity of the field, a
go faster or slower without using a clutch. Baker purchased the rights
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
It was decided that Baker, Rauch & Lang
the Owen Magnetic in Cleveland, so in December of 1915, they absorbed
& Co. and relocated it to Cleveland. Raymond M. Owen became a
vice-president of Baker, Rauch & Lang and was placed in charge of
the Owen Magnetic whose drivetrains were built in the former West 83rd
Baker plant, the coachwork in the former Rauch & Lang
The new vehicle attracted the attention of
Electric Company, and in 1916 they contributed $2,500,000 to the
increased Baker, Rauch & Lang’s capitalization to $5,000,000. In
General Electric was given exclusive contracts for the vehicle’s
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 &
coachwork was amongst the finest available, and the attractive cars
styling similar to that of the finest European chassis. The cars were
from $3100 to $5700 and were owned by many celebrities including:
Caruso, John McCormack, Arthur Brisbane and Anthony Joseph Drexel
Comedian, Tonight Show host, and serious
collector, Jay Leno, owns a 1917 Owen Magnetic and wrote about it in
Popular Mechanics column of August 13, 2002: “The engine's only job is
the magnetic field, which then turns the generator, which runs the rear
It's not a hybrid, it's driven by a conventional engine. It was an
transmission 30 years ahead of its time.”
Baker, Rauch & Lang built most of the
coachwork, however in 1916-1917 a small series of open sports tourers
built by Holbrook that featured distinctive flat-topped and angled
Unfortunately the impending war forced
Baker, Rauch &
Lang to abandon full production of the vehicle and much of their
geared up to manufacture electric tractors, trucks and bomb-handling
for the US Armed Forces. Baker had experimented with electric
prior to the merger and following the Armistice, Baker, Rauch &
industrial trucks and tractors were placed on the market and
the firm’s most popular product.
On January 13, 1919, Charles C.F. Wieber was
of the board of directors and Frederick R. White was named president.
Bartlett was named a vice-president and general manager. Notably absent
the reorganized board was Charles E.J. Lang and Raymond M. Owen, the
The February 1917 issue of Accessory and
announced that E.J. Lang had resigned as sales manager of Baker, R.
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.,
incorporated under the laws of Ohio for the purpose of manufacturing,
selling and otherwise dealing in automobile and Aeroplane bodies and
parts and accessories of all kinds and doing all things incident or
thereto. The authorized capital stock is $300,000. Chas. E.J. Lang,
and treasurer, was one of the founders of The Rauch & Lang Carriage
manufacturers of the Rauch and Lang carriages and electric automobiles.
“Elmer J. Lang, son of Chas. E. J. Lang, is
and general manager. John H. Price is secretary and L. L. Williams, who
factory manager and consulting engineer, has long been associated with
Peerless Motor Car Co. as designer and production expert. One of the
departments that the Lang Body Co. will have will be the truck body
The company has purchased 5 acres on W. 106th St.
and have started to erect the first unit, a three story
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
“Lang to Build Bodies
“CLEVELAND, Dec. 27—The Lang Body
completing its building and expects to start production by Feb. 1. The
unit, a three-story, L-shaped building of mill construction and the dry
practically finished. The work is about thirty days behind schedule due
unusual weather conditions.
“The company now has in stock lumber,
aluminum and steel for
the manufacture of commercial and passenger car bodies. The plant
acres of land on the switch of the New York Central near West 106th
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
and later vice-president and director in the consolidation of the Rauch
& Lang Carriage Co., and the Baker Co.; vice-president
general manager, Elmer J. Lang; secretary, John H. Price. L.
Williams, formerly with the body department of the Peerless Motor Car
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,
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
of commercial bodies of any style or description, and is also in a
manufacture closed car bodies of aluminum or steel. It occupies 5
has an option of 6 more acres of land immediately adjoining. The
President and treasurer, Charles E.J. Lang, formerly
vice-president and treasurer of the Rauch & Lang Carriage
and later vice-president and director In the new consolidation of the
& Lang Carriage Co. and the Baker Co.; vice-president and
manager, Elmer J. Lang; secretary, John H. Price.
“L. L. Williams, with the body department of
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
marketed as either Raulang or Baker-Raulang products although they
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
the former Matheson automobile plant. A couple hundred more Owen
completed in Pennsylvania before the firm when bankrupt in 1921. Much
1920 and 1921 output was sent to England re-badged as the Crown Ensign
Crown Magnetic). Crown was the name of the British importer Crown
also manufactured the British Ensign. Total Owen Magnetic production
from 1915 to
1921 was approximately 975 vehicles, of which only a handful
The Lang Body Co. was listed as a ‘builder
of ordnance truck
bodies’ for the US Military and also provided some non-automotive items
the February 27, 1919 issue of The Automobile / Automotive Industries
“The Lang Body Co. made boxes for
machine gun and trays for ammunition. This concern also mounted and
reconnaissance and machine gun trucks and did the camouflaging work on
In its field supply service the US Army
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
Five of every
ordnance trucks were used for hauling ammunition for which
bodies were designed and constructed by third parties. A few were
equipped with special bodies
carrying machine guns and trench mortars while others were
designed for use as field repair shops at which emergency repairs to
artillery could be made and other field ordnance could be reconditioned.
The ordnance truck program was a large one.
expertise in the designs of specialized truck
ordnance trucks were sent to the American European Forces (A.E.F.)
before the Armistice.
The Ordnance Department also supplied staff
and reconnaissance cars to the A. E. F. These, although they had the
of passenger automobiles, were in reality trucks. The observation car
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
special cars were produced ahead of the armistice, and over 500 of the
ordered were shipped to France.
In all, some 30,000 f.w.d. ordnance trucks
and nearly half of them were delivered to the Army before the
plan followed by the Ordnance Department was to order chassis only from
truck builders and procure the specially designed bodies from concerns
to build them. The companies named below were the ordnance truck
*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
American Car & Foundry Company, Berwick,
J. G. Brill Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Hale & Kilburn Corporation,
Dunbar Manufacturing Company, Chicago,
Pullman Company, Pullman, Illinois.
Kuhlman Car Company, Cleveland, Ohio.
C. R. Wilson Body Company, Detroit, Michigan.
Insley Manufacturing Company, Indianapolis,
Lang Body Company, Cleveland, Ohio.
Heil Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Variety Manufacturing Company, Indianapolis,
J. E. Bolles Iron & Wire Company,
At the start of the First World War Lang
railroad siding and storage building in order to procure a military
for the construction of 1,500 motor bodies for ordnance trucks.
Ultimately the deal fell
and the firm amassed a charge of $35,768.48 for construction of the
Their story was typical of many other body
builders who had done business with the government - they got paid for
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
motor equipment and procurement section of the Government, for which it
$32,265.48, and that it built additional railroad tracks and switches
with said building, for which it paid $3,502.89, making a total of
which it expended. It states the railroad tracks are of no value to it,
offers $14,000 for the building, so that the balance asked by the
“2. The claimant's president, E. J.
Lang, testified that in July, 1918, he was asked by Maj. T. W.
he would take a contract for mounting, camouflaging, and crating 1,500
bodies, and he replied claimant's facilities were not sufficient to
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
Government. It appears that Maj. Carlisle authorized the claimant to
building, and agreed that $15,000 of the cost should be amortized from
additional charge of $15,000 the claimant was to be allowed on the
contract for the said work on 1,500 motor bodies.
“Mr. Lang testified: 'The contract never
but we went ahead and finished the building.'
“Maj. Carlisle testified: 'After talking
Charrington, I definitely told Lang to go ahead with his building and
me a letter specifically stating in his price of so much per body there
be a $5 charge included and another $5 charge in another, making a
“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
to handle the abnormal shipments of bodies from Hale and Kilbourne and
Wilson Body Company, and we agreed that part of this expense was to be
by the additional charge of $5 more on our price. If you decide that we
crate these cars there will also be an additional charge of $5.
"3. It is also understood that on the
this company shall receive from the Government, amendments which have
added in our letter of to-day, must also be added to our contract."
Lang that construction of the siding and storage building would enable
to receive an increased volume of business from the War Department,
turn would result in an increased profit. Although the entire cost of
siding was borne by the Lang Co., the War Department’s representative,
Maj. T.W. Carlisle, offered to pay $15,000 towards the construction of
storage building, which ultimately cost $32,265.48. When presented with
bill the Army refused to reimburse Lang, who filed an objection with
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
of War, within the provisions of the Dent Act” and authorized payment
The Business Notes column of the December 1,
1921 issue of
“Stutz Motor Car Co., of Indianapolis, has
entire production of enclosed bodies to the Lang Body Co., of this
the work will extend over a period of some months.”
The 1922 edition of Moody’s Manual of
Corporation Securities included the firm as follows:
“LANG BODY CO. (THE).—Inc. Aug 18, 1919, in
acquired, for a consideration of 15,000 shares Com. stock, the entire
and assets of a former company of the same name incorporated in Ohio.
Manufacturers of automobile bodies, parts and accessories. Plant,
Cleveland, Ohio, on 6 acres of land on West 106th St., between Madison
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
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
Cleveland, Ohio. Pfd. stock was first publicly offered ($1,000,000) in
1919, at par and accrued dividend, carrying a bonus of one share of
every two shares of Pfd. subscribed for. Dividends on Pfd. payable
J, A, J & O 1; none on Com.
“Preferred Stock Provisions.—Pfd.
preference as to assets as well as dividends and is subject to
105 and accrued dividends on any dividend date on thirty days' notice.
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
thereon, in which event and during the continuance of such default Pfd.
becomes entitled to one vote per share.
“INCOME ACCOUNT, YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31.
||Surplus for year
(d) indicates a deficit or loss
General Balance Sheet, December 31, 1921
|Reserve for taxes
|Profit and loss
Lang. Elmer J. Lang, S.W.
Whitmore, Wm. Dreger, Cleveland, O.; J.C. Hipp, E.A. Noll, E.I.
Dawson, Lakewood. O.; E.E. Quirk, Akron, O.
“Annual Meeting, second Tuesday after Feb 10.
“General Office, 3088 West 106th St.,
The May 11, 1922 issue of The Automobile /
Industries announced that:Lang received a contract to supply closed
bodies to Lincoln
“Lang Body Co. Gets New Lincoln Order;
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
automobile parts and accessories factories of the city, according to
statement of the Labor Relations Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.
“The number of employees in the automobile
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
those in other industries, is greater than it was at any time in the
“In the automobile industry the number of
employees in the
factories surveyed, and there are eighteen of them, was 9972 persons on
29 as compared to 5568 last December and to 10,310, the largest number
“For the first time in many months
Body Co. is operating at practically capacity. Orders have been
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
Peerless closed bodies for some months and will get into production as
possible on the Lincoln contract. Shipments are to start Sept. 1. The
will run indefinitely. The Lang company built bodies for the Lelands,
is the first order obtained since Henry Ford became identified with the
The September 22, 1922 issue of Automobile
Topics reveals Lang was getting into the aftermarket body business:
“LANG GOES INTO LARGE PRODUCTION
“Four-Passenger Dodge Brothers Job Leads to
Output — Builds Special Train of Assembly — Plans 20 Bodies Daily In
“From its introduction of fine body practice
into the field
of quantity built automobiles, the Lang Body Co., Cleveland,
experienced a reaction of such proportions as to call for a larger
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.
Barnes, Dodge Brothers dealer in Cleveland. First pictured to the trade
these columns under date of May 27 and presented quietly here and there
other dealers since that time, the body has met with a reception which
out promise of successful further manufacture and exploitation.
“Already normally busy on its programs for a
customers in the trade whose body requirements call for fine design and
quality~ manufacture, the Lang company is building up within
adequate plant what is to all practical purposes a special train of
and assembly for this featured product. From the seasoning of the wood
goes into the framework to the installation of cushions, which are made
plant, and including the next to final coat of finishing varnish, the
process is to be carried on exactly as Lang has done over a
period of years for cars selling at several times the price at which
are offering this vehicle.
“The schedule calls for twenty bodies daily,
company's materials requirements have been figured in quantities which
to extend this schedule over a considerable portion of the next few
This, of course, is to be in addition to the manufacturing schedules on
bodies of other varieties for lines which the Company has served almost
its inception. These contracts, it is declared with emphasis, are to be
exactly as has always been Lang policy, and it may be said
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
study into the requirements of the dealer. The Lang Body Co., as
been in existence since 1917. It was formed at that time
by Charles E.J. Lang, who was then vice-president
old Ranch & Lang organization. He is president and
the Company that now bears his name, and it is his studies of the
together with those of his son, E.J. Lang, that led the
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
acceptance. In another, and no less definite direction there is the
designed and built closed body to serve a market that is able and
pay the necessarily higher price for a product that appeals to its
As evidenced above early on, Lang received
several large orders
Peerless, Stutz and Lincoln production bodies, but from 1924 on, they
motor coach bodies for regional manufacturers
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
of professional vehicles is doubted.
In early 1925 Better Buses magazine reported
“In order to meet increasing demand from bus
deluxe motor equipment, the Mack Company placed its initial order of
for 135 bodies of the Sedan and Parlor Car types. This order which
110 Parlor Car and 25 Sedan bodies, was portioned to the Lang Body
Cleveland and the E.J. Thompson Company of Pittsburgh.”
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
“LANG BUS BODY
“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.
February 13, 1926 Electric Railway
“Novelties Incorporated in Design of
“SEVERAL new features have been incorporated in the design of bus
recently built by the Lang
Body Company. These will be mounted on International Harvester
will be used in Florida.
Particular attention has been paid to details affecting the
“As anything which overhangs or projects from the side of the bus
adds to the effective width, the Lang company has designed a
door handle which springs back flush
side of the bus when not in use. When the handle is used it is
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
presence is a convenience for boarding and alighting passengers,
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
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
airtight by the use of rubber hose. This acts as a yielding washer
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.
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
such a position that when the wind blew in through the open
window it hit the cardboard and was deflected toward him. In
weather this was a great relief. The wind deflector which has been
installed on this body is of heavy plate glass, securely set
polished nickel frame. The frame is attached to the side of the
the driver's left, as shown in an accompanying illustration. It
any angle right or left, so that the driver may adjust it to
the full effects of the breeze coming in at the front of the
April 3, 1926 issue of Electric Railway
“William C Naegel, for many years with the
Company, Cleveland, Ohio, has joined the Lang Body Company, Cleveland,
a sales and engineering capacity and for special development work. The
Body Company builds and develops bus bodies both in parlor cars and
type of equipment. While with the Kuhlman company and its subsidiaries
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
“And Lang Bodies, by their beauty of line
and luxurious appointments,
create a private car atmosphere that suggests to many riders the wisdom
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
of design and won over as a steady patron because of the many
points of refinement that contribute to comfort and safety.
“THE LANG BODY COMPANY, CLEVELAND, OHIO.”
August 7, 1926 Electric Railway Journal:
“SERVICE TO THE INDUSTRY
“The LANG BODY COMPANY maintains a complete
on repairing and refinishing of bus bodies. This special department is
size so that a complete bus can be driven to our plant and completely
We will repair everything except the mechanical parts of the chassis.
“Speedy and accurate work is assured. For
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
Sightseeing Company , New York City.
“There is never a hint of crowding in Lang
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
and hold an ever-increasing patronage which is constantly seeking the
in riding comfort."
January 1927 issue
of the Electric
“Lang Craftsmen are graduates both of the
old and the new
schools. Out of their experience they have built into the modern motor
the friendly goodwill, which won steady patronage for the stages of a
“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
well, doors even a little wider than necessary, and a step spotlight,
such carefully planned details as these build patronage by leaving the
impression on passengers.
“People who ride once in a Lang Body
invariably 'ask for more.'
“Operators of buses with bodies by Lang know
passenger attractiveness will last through years of grueling service.
“THE LANG BODY COMPANY, CLEVELAND, OHIO.”
Another display ad in the Feb 12, 1927 issue
of the Electric
“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
covering, the plate glass, the leather for the seats. It is built in
construction — the careful fitting of joints, the reinforcing, the
and assembly of all parts. It is evident in the painting — the quality
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.
“THE LANG BODY COMPANY. CLEVELAND, OHIO”
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
talk which was broadcasted from station WHK at Cleveland, Ohio, on
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,
the pioneer, that this subject had been brought to the attention of the
in such a fashion. Significant was the fact that Mr. Weitz, in tracing
history and development of the bus industry, made it very clear that it
the field of co-ordinated transportation that the bus has found its
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
“First tracing the growth of the
transportation industry in
this country from its humble beginnings in the days of the stagecoach,
Weitz pointed out the tremendous advances which have been realized in
relatively few years just past by electric and steam railways, and he
that the next decade will show even greater progress in modernization
“Bus Has Rapidly Fitted Itself Into
“The speaker next discussed the manner in
which the bus has
established its importance as an aid to flexibility in transportation
as the development of the steam and electric roads has been, they have
unable to cope with the ever-increasing demands of our rapidly growing
spreading cities and towns. The enormous cost of trackage,
house equipment and other items incidental to the expansion of steam
electric roads have resulted in creating an imperative need of a more
form of transportation — a form of transportation that could at a
cost reach those who have established homes in localities far removed
existing steam and electric lines.
“This need for a flexible and economical
transportation has been filled by the use of motor coaches or buses.
“In our modern city today street car service
supplemented by motor bus or coach service and we reach with ease the
isolated and otherwise inaccessible parts of our suburban and outlying
communities. Many independent bus operators reach out Into our more
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
of today, will find quite a surprise in store for them. Those living in
city will find it convenient, comfortable and safe to use bus
the hazard and responsibility of operating your own car and the
finding suitable parking space when shopping or attending the theater
eliminated. The suburbanite, when using the intercity bus with its
luxurious seating capacity, will find it is more convenient and more
than using his own private car.
“Electric railways today are operating
buses, which include both the city and intercity types. Motor bus
transportation has invited and brought to it new patrons, among them
traveling salesman, who has noticeably increased his sales volume
bus enables him to reach isolated points in a very short space of time.
motor bus takes him wherever he wants to go with the least possible
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
various manufacturers of bus equipment, as follows:
“'Among those who have been most prominently
building bus transportation more efficiently, both from the standpoint
economy to the operator and safety to passengers, are such companies
International Harvester Company, American Car & Foundry Motors
Fageol Motor Car Company, Mack-International Motor Truck Corporation,
& Coach Manufacturing Company and the White Company. The Lang Body
has been identified with all these companies in developing the highest
type of bus body equipment.'
“THE LANG BODY COMPANY, CLEVELAND, OHIO”
The firm's 1926 sales were discussed in the
January 1927 issue of the Electric Railway
“Lang Body Company
“The first half of 1926 was very good, but a
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
busy year for all who are engaged in manufacturing bus equipment. E. J.
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
is created by able mechanics who take a keen interest and pride in the
they produced, building with the utmost accuracy and thorough
even so they cannot build a body that will permanently resist the
the natural wear and tear it receives in operation.
“The care, maintenance and service of bodies
most remote in the bus operator’s mind during the early operations of
equipment. His constant attention in the line of service has been to
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
great use and importance to all bus operators. If these rules and
are followed, body troubles will be reduced to a minimum and longer
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
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
regardless of whether these conditions are favorable to the longevity
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,
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
Needless to say, a body with a finish that has been ruined by neglect
carelessness cannot but repel. The observance of a few simple rules
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
applied at a high pressure, as this will enable the dust particles to
finish. Sponge and chamois must be kept scrupulously clean and free
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 –
rubbed on – then washed off with a sponge, using plenty of clean water.
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
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
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
“The spring bumpers, especially in the rear
of the body, are
subjected to the most severe strain and vibration and if not kept
tightened, will soon be found in bad condition. All joints in the
should be well oiled. Rubber door silencers play an important part in
performance of the body doors. Care should be taken that these rubbers
extended out from their container sufficiently to take up all vibration
door when the vehicle is in motion.”
Starting in 1927 the Minneapolis-based Motor
Co., Greyhound’s direct predecessor, constructed
approximately 400 motor coach chassis using
constructed by WMC (Wilcox Motor Co.) and it successor, Will. Most were
equipped with bodies supplied by Eckland or Lang. The arrangement
after Yellow Coach purchased a 30% interest in the firm during 1929.
Coincidentally Yellow Coach was also a well-known customer of Lang,
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
A presentation by Lang's chief engineer, William
C. Naegel, was mentioned in the May 12, 1928 issue of the Electric
“S.A.E. Metropolitan Section
“EVOLUTION of bus design, from an
will be the subject at the regular monthly meeting for May of the
Section, Society of Automotive Engineers, to be held on May 17 at the
Trades Club, New York, at 8 p.m. Two papers will be presented, one
chassis design and the other about body design. The former will be
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.
number of prominent engineers will present prepared discussions, and in
there will be open discussion from the floor. Carl W. Stocks, editor of
Transportation, is in charge of the meeting.”
Briggs Mfg., Lang Body Co., Mengel Body Co.,
Weymann-American Body Co. all expressed an interest in manufacturing
Curtiss’ Aerocar trailer but in the end only two firms would
Aerocar trailer; the Briggs-controlled Aerocar Co. of Detroit, Michigan
Curtiss Aerocar Co. of Opa-Locka, Florida.
In July of 1927 a group of hostile Lang Body
stockholders headed by David C. Griesse brought an action (Griesse et
Lang et al.) against Charles E.G. Lang, Elmer J. Lang and the rest of
firm’s officers charging them with gross negligence in the management
The board of directors forced the
resignations of Charles
E.J. and Elmer J. Lang and in 1929 the firm was reorganized as a
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
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
White for the next few years, but the Depression accomplished what
mismanagement had not and the Lang Body Co. (Delaware Corp. version)
bankruptcy at the end of 1935.
At that time Lang Body Co.’s assets included
building, a railroad switch and siding, and the five acres of land that
the factory complex. The land and buildings were appraised in the
proceedings on January 8, 1936, at $255,403. The bankrupt also had
cash and other assets worth about $1,374.14. Its liabilities consisted
obligation of approximately $40,000 and the real estate taxes due
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
of tank truck bodies, the National Traffic Appliance Co., the Curtis
Corp., the Circo Products Co., a manufacturer of parts washing
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
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
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
Design for a vehicle body - USD44536 - Grant - Filed Apr 7, 1913 -
Issued Aug 19, 1913 to Charles E.J. Lang assigned to Rauch & Lang