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Chanslor & Lyon Top Co., Chas. W. Link Auto Tops, Chas. W. Link Inc.
Chanslor & Lyon Top Co., 1908-1921; Chas. W. Link Auto Tops, 1921-1923; Chas. W. Link Inc., 1923-1926; Los Angeles., California
 
Associated Firms
Chanslor & Lyon Motor Supply Co., 1904-1913; Chanslor & Lyon Co.; 1904-1985
     

Charles W. Link was born on November 27, 1873 in Ovid, Clinton County, Michigan to John W. and Jenny M. Link (one source lists his mother’s maiden name as ‘Mary Jane Batchelor’. His father was a carpenter by trade and when he wasn’t attending school, Charles learned the trade at his father’s side.

1880 US Census lists the family in Middlebury, Shiawassee County, Michigan

Once his apprenticeship was completed he took a position as a journeyman with the Gem Buggy Co., a Cincinnati, Ohio vehicle builder located in the northern suburb of Carthage.

In 1895 he married Myrtie (b. Dec. 1873 in Indiana). Soon after the Jewell Carriage Co. of Hamilton, Ohio purchased Link’s employer (Gem Buggy Co.) in 1898, they relocated their main facility from Hamilton to Carthage and Link retained his position as superintendent with the Jewell company.

1900 US Census lists Charles W. Link’s occupation as superintendent, Jewell Carriage Co., residence, 320 S. Main St., Carthage, Hamilton County, Ohio, spouse, Myrtie Link.

He remarried Sara W. – born December 30, 1885 in Bethlehem, Pa. – and to the blessed union was born a daughter, Georgina Link (b.1905).

March 7, 1909 Los Angeles Herald:

“CHANSLOR & LYON IN THEIR NEW PLACE; HANDSOME QUARTERS ARE ON SOUTH MAIN STREET

“Occupy the Equivalent of Four Store Rooms, Being a Double Store, and Two Floors Being Entirely Occupied

“By tomorrow morning the immense stock of the Chanslor & Lyon Motor Supply company will have been almost entirely moved from its old quarters to its new and very commodious building, almost directly opposite from the stand where they have done business so long. The work of moving the immense stock was not undertaken until after the close of business hours last, night, when the entire force of the company was put to work, each man In charge of the details of his particular department, and a vast portion of the stock was transferred to the new location and installed in an orderly manner before work WU discontinued for the night. This work will continue under the same high pressure until everything is in the new place, which will be some time tomorrow. The new location of this very popular firm is in the new building erected expressly for Chanslor & Lyon, at Nos. 945 and 947 South Main street. This is a two-story structure, so that the concern actually has four complete store rooms in which to carry on its growing business. A mezzanine floor has been added us a balcony to the main floor, reaching across the entire width of the two stores, this floor to be used as an extensive system of offices by the concern in. carrying out its larger policy of ‘going for business.’ This is but one of three stores conducted by the company, the other two being located at San Francisco and Seattle, respectively. The local concern will continue its manufacture of automobile tops on a still larger scale than ever before, a force of from fifteen to twenty men being engaged in this department at present.

“This department will be located on the second floor of the new building, dividing the space of that floor with the tire rooms, where hundreds of tires of all sizes will be kept in stock to feed the local trade and the trade of other branch concerns.”

February 10, 1910 issue of the Los Angeles Herald:

“Charles Link, superintendent of the top factory at Chanslor-Lyon Company, is just back from the Chicago (auto) show, where he imbibed all the new things for the benefit of his employers.”

1910 Chanslor & Lyon catalog:

“The majority of our customers are aware that for the past two seasons we have had in operation at Los Angeles a factory making Tops only. We have had a busy season and have manufactured a great many Tops, which in every case have proved very satisfactory to the trade, so we feel competent and are in a position to build Tops as ordered of as good material and price as any Eastern factory can. We build Tops exclusively for all the Peerless, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, E.M. F., Chalmers-Detroit, Buick, Franklin, Rambler, Thomas, Stearns, Columbia, Lozier, Locomobile and several other high grade cars on the Coast. They are constructed of steel bow sockets, japanned, or covered with patent leather. The bows are of second growth-ash, which insures strength and durability. The side, front and rear curtains are all fitted with celluloid lights, giving ample observation. The back stays are reinforced with straps, with neat hat rack in roof of top. When folded back they make a perfect dust shield and do not interfere in operation. Every line of these Tops is graceful, thus adding a finish to any car, as well as comfort in touring. Our workmen are experts in this line, and every Top is absolutely correct in construction and material before leaving factory. We make three grades, and the material used is mackintosh, rubber, artificial leather or Pantasote. All the stitching is carefully done and the small necessary finishing touches are added to make it pleasing to the eye.

“We also repair or re-cover TOPS, make new SIDE CURTAINS, STORM FRONTS, DUST HOODS and SEATCOVERS. Send in your specifications for any style or grade. In ordering, give us all the information possible about the car—name, model and year it was built, and if there has been a special body made that is not standard, write us for measurement blank.”

1910 US Census list Link as a supervisor at Chanslor & Lyon Motor Supply Co., Los Angeles (res. 2870 Roxbury, LA)

Jan 23, 1913 Motor World:

“Chanslor & Lyons Merge Their Interests

“The Chanslor & Lyon Motor Supply Co., one of the most extensive jobbing concerns on the Pacific Coast, has merged its various interests into what hereafter will be known as the Chanslor & Lyon Co. The change is in name only and does not in any way affect the personnel of the company whose headquarters as heretofore will remain in Los Angeles. The established branches will be continued in San Francisco, Fresno, Portland and Seattle.”

September 1, 1916 Motor West:

“CHANSLOR & LYON Quit Retail Field

“One of the most important announcements that has been made in the motor trade for a long time is that of  Chanslor & Lyon Co., in which they give notice of the discontinuance of the retail departments in their San Francisco and Los Angeles stores. This change is announced effective as of September 1st and after that date the company will devote their entire energies to wholesaling Lee Tires and other motor accessories of which they are Pacific Coast distributors. The company also operated stores in six other cities on the coast.

“To those in the trade this step has been anticipated for some time, as the enormous growth of Chanslor & Lyon’s wholesale business in the past few years has been little short of phenomenal. Starting in a small building on Main street some 12 years ago the firm of Chanslor & Lyon has grown from a very modest beginning until today they have large and pretentious establishments in eight of the leading cities on the coast and are termed the largest exclusive motor accessory supply house in the world. Each year their business has grown in size and the sales territory has been extended. From the start of the business it has been their aim to carry only lines of accessories that have been proven satisfactory and which are termed standard. Before stocking an accessory they have always made it a rule to give it a thorough try-out and it has been this policy that has largely built up their trade. They get out a catalog of some 200 pages which indicates the extent and completeness of their lines.

“The firm of Chanslor & Lyon is composed of Walter G. Chanslor and Phil H. Lyon, and in all the western motor world there are not two more prominent or better known men. The Los Angeles store occupies two floors of a large modern building at Twelfth and Grand Ave., and is in charge of Harry S. Mason as manager.

“Phil H. Lyon, when interviewed recently, said: ‘Naturally, we regret to give up the pleasant associations that we have had with the thousands of retail customers who have stood by us so loyally during the past years. I don't believe there is any firm in the United States that has a finer class of retail customers than those that deal with Chanslor & Lyon. We want them to know that we appreciate to the full limit not only every dollar’s worth of business that they have placed with us, but the friendship and hearty co-operation that they have given us. There is only one thing that compels us to discontinue the retail department and that is the fact that the growing necessities of our wholesale business makes it imperative. In this day and age it is almost impossible for any concern to do both a wholesale and a retail business and this fact we have discovered by experience. We have put it off as long as we could, but our wholesale business is growing so rapidly that we simply have to devote all our energies to that branch. If any of our old customers experience any difficulty in securing any of the lines that we represent from their local dealers, we will appreciate it very much if they will let us know.’

“The new order, which is effective September 1, applies not only to Los Angeles but to all the cities on the coast in which they are doing business.”

February 1917 issue of Westways:

“CHANSLOR & LYON HEADS MAKE S.F. PERMANENT HOMES

“Thousands of Southern California motorists will regret that business requirements have necessitated a change of residence on the part of P. H. Lyon to San Francisco. Mr. Lyon as one of the executive heads of Chanslor & Lyon Company, has lived in Los Angeles many years. Under his management the growth of the business has greatly increased and the chain of stores has been added to until now the Chanslor & Lyon Company is one of the largest distributors of automobile accessories in the United States.

“During the past year Chanslor & Lyon Company has gradually withdrawn from the retail distribution of goods and is now on a strictly wholesale basis. The first of the stores in which the change was made was the San Francisco branch where the new policy went into effect August 1st, 1916. On September 1st the Los Angeles store became exclusively wholesale and on January 1st of the present year the new policy was established in the remaining six stores of the Chanslor & Lyon chain. The exigencies of the new policy made it necessary that all the principal executive officers maintain permanent residences in San Francisco as being the most central location for the territory in which the Chanslor & Lyon Company operates. Mr. Chanslor has been in San Francisco for the past year or more. M.L. Lyon moved up to the Bay City January 22nd and his family will follow him in a very short time.

“Mr. P.H. Lyon, who for a number of years has been a member of the Tuft-Lyon Arms Company of Los Angeles has recently become a member of the Chanslor and Lyon Company and will serve as executive officer for the southern store with residence in Los Angeles. Harry Mason, who has been manager of the Los Angeles store for several years, continues in that position and will have general charge of the Chanslor & Lyon Company’s business in this locality. In commenting upon the new wholesale policy of his company, Mr. Mason said:

“‘The result of the new policy of Chanslor & Lyon Company has been most encouraging. Dealers everywhere are heartily in sympathy with the change and we have so systematized our southern business that we are able to give dealers better service in every way than ever before. The sales have increased greatly, not only in Southern California but also in Arizona, southern Nevada and western New Mexico, all of which territory is covered by the Los Angeles store.’”

Chanslor & Lyon Top Co., 1208 S. Grand Ave.; display ad in the April 1917 issue of Westways

Nov 1, 1919 Motor West

“CALIFORNIA TAILOR-MADE Auto TOP.

“The California tailor made automobile top has made its appearance in the East Strangely this top known to the trade all over the country as the California Top is known in California where it originated as the Craftsman Top It is a strikingly beautiful graceful top of the non-collapsible or rigid type as is shown by the accompanying illustration The frame work of the California top is made preferably of straight-grained hickory. The rigidity of the top is absolutely essential, and wrought iron braces and knee irons are used to hold the ribs in place.

“The outer covering of the top is preferably of some rich material harmonizing in color with the finish of the metal parts of the car. The material preferred in California consists of a strong cotton fabric base coated with a pyroxylin film. This material has the desired flexibility and vitality and retains its beauty after years of exposure to rain, sun and alkali dust. It is water-proof, grease-proof and stain-proof, is easily cleaned by brushing or washing with soap and water. Many owners of cars having the California tops have been so much pleased with their appearance that they have had the bodies of their machines covered with the same material used in the top itself.”

September 12, 1918 draft registration states Link had lost the use of his right eye “loss of right eye” and was disqualified for service. Lived at 1459 W. 47th St. Los Angeles at the time with his wife Sara W.

1921 Vehicle yearbook:

“Chanslor & Lyon Top Co. 1206-1208 S. Grand Ave (Wh) P. H. Lyon, W . G. Chanslor and Chas. W . Link, part.; Chas. W. Link, mgr.”

1921 Los Angeles Directory under Automobile Tops and Automobile Trimming and Painting:

“Chas. W. Link, Successor to Chanslor-Lyon Top Co., 1206-1208 S. Grand Ave. (see page 144).”

1922 listing in Chiltons:

“Chas. W. Link Auto Tops, 1208 S. Grand Ave.; Los Angeles, California

“Style “DeLuxe” Link, Chas. W., 1208 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, Cal.”

1923 Los Angeles Directory under Automobile Tops and Automobile Trimming and Painting:

“Chas. W. Link, Successor to Chanslor-Lyon Top Co., Auto Top Manufacturer, 1206-1208 S. Grand Ave., res. 1401 Sierra Bonita Ave (see page 137).”

1924 Los Angeles Directory under Automobile Tops and Automobile Trimming and Painting:

“Chas. W. Link Inc., 1501-1511 West Eighth”

1930 US Census lists Charles W. Link’s occupation as body engineer at Studebaker Corp., residence 1922 Portage Ave., South Bend, St Joseph County, Indiana - lived there from 1926-1933.

The 1940 US Census lists Charles W. Link’s occupation as automobile interior designer at an auto factory (unk), residence: 1520 Hampton Rd., Grosse Pointe Shores, Wayne County, Michigan since before 1935

March 31, 1985 Los Angeles Times:

“Cardis Corp., Beverly Hills, completed its acquisition of the assets and business of Chanslor & Lyon Co., a Brisbane, Calif.-based wholesale auto parts distributor, for $15.7 million in cash, stock and notes.”

©2014 Mark Theobald for Coachbuilt.com

Appendix 1 US Patents:

USD42330 – Design for an automobile top - ‎Filed Dec 26, 1911 - ‎Issued Mar 19, 1912 to Charles W. Link

USD42331 – Design for an automobile top - ‎Filed Dec 26, 1911 - ‎Issued Mar 19, 1912 to Charles W. Link

USD51680 – Design for an automobile top - ‎Filed Oct 30, 1917 - ‎Issued Jan 8, 1918 to Charles W. Link

USD51681 – Design for an automobile top - ‎Filed Oct 30, 1917 - ‎Issued Jan 8, 1918 to Charles W. Link

USD51887 – Design for an automobile top - ‎Filed Dec 10, 1917 - ‎Issued Mar 19, 1918 to Charles W. Link

USD51888 – Design for an automobile top - ‎Filed Dec 10, 1917 - ‎Issued Mar 19, 1918 to Charles W. Link

USD51889 – Design for an automobile top - ‎Filed Dec 10, 1917 - ‎Issued Mar 19, 1918 to Charles W. Link

USD52142 – Design for an automobile top - ‎Filed Feb 7, 1918 - ‎Issued Jul 2, 1918 to Charles W. Link

US1414534 - Adjustable wind and storm shield for vehicles - ‎Filed Apr 14, 1919 - ‎Issued May 2, 1922 to David E. Vanderveer ˝ interest to Charles W. Link

USRE16557 - Adjustable wind and storm shield for vehicles - ‎Filed Apr 14, 1919 - ‎Re-issued Feb 22, 1927 to David E. Vanderveer ˝ interest to Charles W. Link

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References

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

   
 
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