Mid-West Body & Manufacturing Co. 1943-present - Cummings Car & Coach 1925-1943 - Paris, Illinois - McGuire-Cummings 1870-1925 - Paris & Chicago Illinois
Mid-West Body & Manufacturing - Paris, Illinois
There is currently a Midwest Truck Equipment in Paris, Illinois that may or may not be the same firm. They are distributors of Knapheide bodies.
ad in 1953 Silver Book pp54-55
ad in 1954 Silver Book
ad 1963 GMC Truck Equipment Catalog pp69 for Midwest Farm Bodies.
A 1930 Paris city directory shows the firm operating as the Cummings Car & Coach Co., “Builders of Street Cars, Gas, Electric Busses and Snow Fighting Equipment.” Cummings quit building rail cars about that same time, but apparently continued to stock and supply parts until 1943. It was probably about that time [during the 2nd World War] that the factory became Midwest Body & Manufacturing Division [of McGuire-Cummings?], as it is so listed in a 1944 Paris city directory. During the war it manufactured bomb skids for the war effort.
Mc-Guire-Cummings may have had its beginnings as far back as 1870 in Chicago, having been founded by an Irishman named William McGuire, but probably not specifically as a car shop. McGuire’s first car building appears to have been the manufacture of power trucks for streetcars and inter-urbans in 1888, the very year in which Frank Sprague built the first fully successful electric streetcar line [in Richmond, VA]. It may therefore be the first firm in the United States to manufacture these essential components of trolley cars. McGuire rapidly expanded into the construction of complete cars as well as snowplows and sweepers. The McGuire snow sweeper was a patented design with an angular wooden body mounted high above the track on a rigid steel frame. An extra motor drove the broom(s) by means of a sprocket and chain. The sweeper also had extendable side plows to push the snow clear of the tracks. These side plows were folded back against the car sides when not in use. McGuire claimed their car was “guaranteed to remove eighteen inches of snow from any tramway track.” McGuire Manufacturing was reorganized 1 January 1904 as the McGuire-Cummings Manufacturing Company, with John J. Cummings as its President. John James Cummings (1875- ? ) was another Irishman, born in Illinois and educated at Armor Institute of Technology [now Illinois Institute of Technology]. Just how he came to be associated with the firm is unknown at this time, but he either was or later became a person of some prominence in Chicago. In the 1908 Paris city directory, John J. Cummings is listed as President of McGuire-Cummings. The firm’s offices are in Chicago. It manufactures cars, trucks and snow plows from a “branch factory” at Paris, IL. Although they are claimed to have built cars for steam railroads what McGuire-Cummings did do was build a great many of the heavy wood and steel “interurban” cars that traversed America during the first quarter of the twentieth century. Charlton says they “about reached the limit in wood for heavy interurban cars and then continued in steel.” Probably the most unusual cars built by McGuire-Cummings were three steel parlor-buffet-observation cars built for limited service on the Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern RR in 1915. This interurban line between Waterloo and Cedar rapids, IA, was constructed to steam railroad standards, and its operators tried to provide equivalent service in every way. McGuire-Cummings moved its main plant from Chicago to Paris, IL, in 1919, following the 1st World War. Although there is no evidence of any corporate reorganization, the 1921 Paris city directory lists the firm simply as the Mc-Guire-Cummings Company. On 31 October 1925, McGuire-Cummings was reorganized as the Cummings Car and Coach Company, operating from its plant at Paris, IL, but with offices at 111 W. Monroe Street in Chicago. The factory covered 25 acres, and produced street cars, passenger cars, city and interurban cars, sweepers, car trucks, gas and electric snow sweepers, snow plows, and gas and electric buses. Electric locomotives were constructed and shipped worldwide. In 1927, the factory reportedly had 100 employees at work, though 250 - 350 was considered “full-force.” Its payroll was in excess of $500,000, and it could produce 364 cars a year. That year it produced the world's first aluminum street car, built just like a steel car, but in cast aluminum. It was shown at the National Street Railway car convention in Cleveland, and was later put into service at Joliet, IL. A 1930 Paris city directory shows the firm operating as the Cummings Car & Coach Co., “Builders of Street Cars, Gas, Electric Busses and Snow Fighting Equipment.” Cummings quit building rail cars about that same time, but apparently continued to stock and supply parts until 1943. It was probably about that time [during the 2nd World War] that the factory became Midwest Body & Manufacturing Division [of McGuire-Cummings?], as it is so listed in a 1944 Paris city directory. During the war it manufactured bomb skids for the war effort.
Midwest Body & Manufacturing, Paris, Illinois – 1950s Silver Book
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