Michigan Hearse & Carriage Co. - Michigan Hearse and Motor Company - MHC - 1913-1921 - Grand Rapids, Michigan


    Michigan funeral cars were built on an assembled chassis using a six-cylinder Continental engine with power directed to the wheels via worm-drive.

Michigan built both horse-drawn and motorized funeral cars, ambulances and casket wagons. Their first "Auto Hearse" appeared in 1913 and featured an elaborate carved-body mounted on a light truck frame. For 1914 Michigan offered coaches on a heavy-duty White chassis in addition to their own assembled six-cylinder offerings which included a regular six and a new light-six chassis made to compete dollar for dollar with Meteor. In 1916 they introduced a six-cylinder 29hp model 1220 limousine that was designed as a pall-bearers' limousine or a formal limousine.

Michigan continued to offer funeral coaches with a 45hp Continental six-cylinder engine on their own assembled worm-drive chassis in 1917. Their catalog included their new limousine-style arched top coaches as well as more traditional flat-topped carved-paneled funeral vehicles. During the summer of 1917 Michigan announced a new MHC passenger car and MHC factory to build it, but this was probably just a scheme to market their pall-bearers' limousine as a regular automobile, and no MHC cars are known to have been built.

For 1918 Michigan was marketing their limousine-style coaches as a four-in-one all-purpose vehicle. This combination pallbearer's coach, mourner's car, children's hearse and ambulance was still built on their 45hp assembled chassis. For 1919 Michigan added a 12-column hearse to their lineup, a style that up until now had been championed by Sayers & Scovill exclusively. The 12-column "Michigan Six" carved-panel hearse continued into 1921, the major difference being the addition of disc wheels, which Michigan included on their entire range of vehicles. The subtley-carved hearse was gaining favor with the industry and Michigan offered one in a choice of colors, traditional black, three-tone gray, or silver-bronze.

In 1921 Michigan exhibited a magnificent coach which featured a solid mahogany interior. Its light gray exterior featured beautiful arched leaded stained-glass windows between the 12 columns. They named their chapel on wheels "The Gothic" but it proved to be their swan song as the firm went out of business later in the year, a victim of the post-war depression of 1921-1922. 

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MICHIGAN (US) 1915-1921

Michigan Hearse & Carriage Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Michigan was a straightforward hearse on an assembled chassis with 6-cylinder Continental engine and worm drive. The 1921 range included an ornate 'Gothic' model with stained glass windows. MCS

Michigan Hearse & Motor Company (Grand Rapids) 1916 patent #1,251,163 motor hearse - Michigan Hearse and Motor Co., Grand Rapids, Mich

 

    For more information please read:

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional Car Society)

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Carriage Museum of America - Horse-Drawn Funeral Vehicles: 19th Century Funerals

Carriage Museum of America -  Horse Drawn - Military, Civilian, Veterinary - Ambulances

Gunter-Michael Koch - Bestattungswagen im Wandel der Zeit

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Ambulances 1900-1979: Photo Archive

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M. P. McCall - The American Ambulance 1900-2002

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

Thomas A. McPherson - Eureka: The Eureka Company: a complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Superior: The complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Flxible: The Complete History

Thomas A. McPherson - Miller-Meteor: The Complete History

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

Hearses - Automobile Quarterly Vol 36 No 3

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Automobile Manufacturers Worldwide Registry

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

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

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999

 



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