Moon Bros. Carriage Co. - Joseph W. Moon Buggy Co. - 1882-1929 - St. Louis, Missouri
|Joseph was one of five brothers
of an Ohio farming family each of whom at age twenty-one was given the same
stake- a horse, a saddle, and a bridle to make their own way into the world.
He came to St. Louis and set up a buggy business. While at a carragemakers'
convention in 1902, he first became aware of the potential of the automobile
industry. It took him approximate. 3 years to decide to make his first car.
Unlike most buggy makers of the time which just motorized their buggies to
start with. He came out with his first car in 1905, which was designed by
Louis P. Mooers, formerly of Peerless. The first car was a five-passenger
touring with 30/35 hp Rutenber engine, three-speed sliding gear transmission
and shaft drive. This "The Ideal American Car" as the Moon was called, was
introduced as a $3000.00 automobile. Louis P. Mooers was only Moon's Chief
Engineer for about 3 years. Production of the 1906 model had been 45 cars.
In 1908 the Moon Company also sold their four-cylinder 25 hp Moon to Hol-Tan
of New York. These cars were shipped to New York and then were, cloaked with
a new standard coachwork or special bodies by Locke, Quinby and Demarest.
These Hol-Tan cars sold for $3,000.00, but these Hol-Tan cars were produced
for only one year. By the year 1910 the price of a new moon was reduced to
$1500.00 and $2000.00. In 1913 they produced some 1540 units and this was
the first year for the six-cylinder engine to arrive. In 1916 all Moons were
six-cylinder cars, this continued for more than a decade. Most Moon
powerplants were L-head Continentals, although for the exported model (6-42)
the ohv Falls engine was used. In 1919 Joseph W. Moon died, so his
son-in-law Stewart Macdonald took over the presidency. The Moon was a fine,
well-built car boasting such refinements by the Twenties as demountable rims
on detachable wheels, balloon tires (introduced in 1923), Lockhead hydraulic
brakes (which followed in 1924). The company's peek production year was in
1925, of approximately 13,000 cars built. Also, the Diana was introduced in
this year and was part of the total production. When the Diana was phased
out in 1928 the Moon Aerotype 8-80 model took her place. Along with the
production of the Aerotype 6-72 production only reached just 3,000 cars.
Clearly the Moon Company was in trouble. Also, in the year 1928 a new
president C. W. Burst was appointed which replaced Steward MacDonald. The
Moon Company decided to drop the Moon name and in January 1929 a brand new
straight-eight named Windsor was produced. By April that name was given to
all cars produced by the company. The firm was also producing a cottonpicker
built under contract from the American Cottonpicker Corporation. The firm
decided to build another car called the Ruxton. Archie Andrews was a canny
promoter behind the Ruxton. He inveigled and insinuated himself into control
of the firm. The Moon old guard barricaded themselves in the factory, but
the regime broke in and took over. That was the end of the Moon Company. The
Ruxton and Windsor did not survive 1930. It took 2 decades to untangle the
affairs of the Moon Company. Meanwhile the Moon factory, which was appraised
at $1,250,000, was sold during the early thirties for only $72,000 cash to
the Cupples Company for the production of matches.
Moon Bros. established their business in the year 1882 and are doing a large
John C. Moon & Joseph W. Moon father - Alva Moon
1905 - Moon Motor Company begins manufacturing automobiles for the 1906 model year. The company is owned by carriage-maker Joseph W. Moon
The Moon Model A was a ½-tonner with a four-cylinder engine, capable of 35 mph. This used a three-speed gearbox, shaft drive and had wheelbase of 8 feet, 6 inches. The Model B was a 1 ½-tonner with chain drive, however. With an enclosed van body, the Model B was priced at $1900 and four other body types were available. For 1915 and 1916, only the Model B was built and among others, this was available with a bus body. These models of trucks did not use passenger car chassis built under this same name.
Joseph W. Moon was born in 1850 in Ohio. In 1871, Moon left the homestead becoming a traveling photographer. In 1875 he became a salesman for a large eastern buggy manufacturer and by 1882 had moved to St. Louis Missouri determined to open a carriage factory. With his younger brother John Corydon Moon, he opened the Moon Brothers Buggy (Carriage) Company. By 1888, the firm was manufacturing over 5,000 wagons and carriages per year.
In 1893, Joseph sold his half of the firm to his brother and opened up his own firm, the Joseph W. Moon Buggy Company. In 1902 While at a Detroit carriagemakers' convention, he decided to proceed with the manufacture of an automobile. By 1905 he had devoted a potion of his factory to the new vehicle's development.
Originally called the Hercules, it had a Roi de Belges body, and was debuted at the January 1906 NY Auto Show, renamed as the Moon Model A.
Moon continued to build carriages alongside the new Moon automobile through 1916, incorporating the Moon Motor Car Company in 1907.
Moon was an early adopter (1907)of the aluminum composite body and pioneered an aluminum-coated steel automobile body from 1908-1909, stating that the aluminum coacting insures permanent retention of the paint and finishing varnish. However by 1910, they turned to the cheaper steel composite body construction.
As business grew, Moon was forced to order bodies from poutside sources such as the Convertible Automobile body Corp., Murray and Pullman.
They pioneered the dual-cowl touring (or phaeton) in 1916 and were one of the few firms who offered fabric covered body made using the Childs System in the mid-1920s.
Moon died in 1919 and control of the firm passed to his son-in-law, Stewart McDonald even though his two sons, Earl Joseph and Stanley Alva were active in the firm.
|For more information please read:
Curt McConnell - Great Cars Of The Great Plains
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