Novelty Carriage Works - 1889-1983 - Spokane, Washington

    History of Novelty Carriage Works, Spokane, Wa.  Circa 1889-1983.

By John Eickhof

Founded just after the great fire of 1889,  Myron Kulp  (also known as ‘Novelty Jack’) established the Novelty Carriage Works at 713 Front Ave. in Spokane, Washington. Novelty (NCW) turned out many products including wagons, carriages, hacks, (Cabs) van, and delivery rigs.  NCW became famous for quality and durability of it’s products (Stockman’s News, 1900). Myron was succeeded in his business by his son Roy M. Kulp in 1929. He returned to operate the company in 1943 following his son’s death presumably in WWII. Mr. Kulp had about a dozen men in employ, and sometimes upwards of twenty-five.  “He manufactures vehicles of every description from the ordinary wagon to the finest carriage, and he uses the Kelly-Springfield rubber tires” (Western Progress Magazine, 1902). The company converted to school bus production in the late 1940s and fitted their school bus bodies to various manufactured chassis / drive trains including Dodge trucks, according to various advertisements.

 The 1950 Dodge Power Wagon I have with a Novelty body is presumed to be a one of a kind, and was apparently made under a contract between Novelty and the Fairchild A.F.B. near Spokane. The researcher from the Spokane public library identified the photo I provided and reflected that it resembled a bus she used to see around Fairchild AFB in the late 1950s. The company was moved to E6615 Main in the 1960s. Myron Kulp passed  away Oct. 24th, 1961 at the age of 95 (Spokane Chronicle, Oct. 25, 1961). The NCW was continued in operation by his right hand man Robert E. Halstead as vice president, and his wife Pearl L. Halstead as president. They continued operation as school bus manufacturers and fitters until 1983. The Novelty Carriage Works was one of Spokane’s longest running businesses.

I will be continuing to research this company. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

John Eickhof,

Novelty built a school bus body for the US Airforce built on a on a 1950 Dodge Power Wagon chassis that's currently owned by Eickof.


Built buses using stretched (to 157")Chevrolet Suburbans. A 1951 version is known to exist.



For more information please read:

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

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Tad Burness - American Truck Spotter's Guide, 1920-1970

Tad Burness - American Truck & Bus Spotter's Guide, 1920-1985

Robert M Roll - American trucking: A seventy-five year odyssey

David Jacobs - American Trucks: A photographic essay of American Trucks and Trucking

David Jacobs - American Trucks: More Colour Photographs of Truck & Trucking

John Gunnell - American Work Trucks: A Pictorial History of Commercial Trucks 1900-1994

George W. Green - Special-Use Vehicles: An Illustrated History of Unconventional Cars and Trucks

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

Ronald G. Adams - 100 Years of Semi Trucks

Stan Holtzman - Big Rigs: The Complete History of the American Semi Truck

Stan Holtzman & Jeremy Harris Lipschultz - Classic American Semi Trucks

Stan Holtzman - Semi Truck Color History

Donald F. Wood - American Beer Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Beverage Trucks: Photo Archive

Donald F. Wood - Commercial Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Delivery Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Dump Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Gas & Oil Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Logging Trucks 1915 Through 1970: Photo Archive

Donald F. Wood - New Car Carriers 1910-1998 Photo Album

Donald F. Wood - RVs & Campers 1900-2000: An Illustrated History

Donald F. Wood - Wreckers and Tow Trucks

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road - Impressive International Trucks 1907-1947

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road - Keen Kenworth Trucks - 1915-1955

Richard J. Copello - American Car Haulers

Niels Jansen - Pictorial History of American Trucks

John B. Montville - Refuse Trucks: Photo Archive

Bill Rhodes - Circus and Carnival Trucks 1941-2000: Photo Archive

Howard L. Applegate - Coca-Cola: Its Vehicles in Photographs 1930 Through 1969: Photo Archive

James T. Lenzke & Karen E. O'Brien - Standard Catalog of American Light-Duty Trucks: 1896-2000

James K. Wagner - Ford Trucks since 1905

Don Bunn - Dodge Trucks

Fred Crismon - International Trucks

Don Bunn - Encyclopedia of Chevrolet Trucks

Ed Strauss & Karen Strauss - The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses

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

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Donald F. Wood - American Buses

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Susan Meikle Mandell - A Historical Survey of Transit Buses in the United States

David Jacobs - American Buses, Greyhound, Trailways and Urban Transportation

William A. Luke & Linda L. Metler - Highway Buses of the 20th Century: A Photo Gallery 

William A. Luke & Brian Grams - Buses of Motorcoach Industries 1932-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Greyhound Buses 1914-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Prevost Buses 1924-2002 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Flxible Intercity Buses 1924-1970 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Buses of ACF Photo Archive (including ACF-Brill & CCF-Brill)

William A. Luke - Trailways Buses 1936-2001 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Fageol & Twin Coach Buses 1922-1956 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Yellow Coach Buses 1923 Through 1943: Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Trolley Buses: 1913 Through 2001 Photo Archive

Harvey Eckart - Mack Buses: 1900 Through 1960 Photo Archive

Brian Grams & Andrew Gold - GM Intercity Coaches 1944-1980 Photo Archive

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

John McKane - Flxible Transit Buses: 1953 Through 1995 Photo Archive

Bill Vossler - Cars, Trucks and Buses Made by Tractor Companies

Lyndon W Rowe - Municipal buses of the 1960s

Edward S. Kaminsky - American Car & Foundry Company 1899-1999

Dylan Frautschi - Greyhound in Postcards: Buses, Depots and Post Houses


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