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Bristol Engineering Co.
Bristol Engineering Co., (aka Rockwell Cab) 1910-1912; Bristol, Connecticut
Associated Builders
Wycoff, Church & Partridge; Yellow Cab Co.

The May 1909 issue of the Commercial Vehicle announced the formation of W.C.P Taxicab Company:


"Superior Service to Be Established on May 1 by Wyckoff, Church & Partridge, a Leading Concern in the Pleasure Car Trade in New York City—Rockwell Cabs to Be Used

"Of the many developments in the taxicab field announced during the past month in many parts of the country, the most important is the announcement of the plans of the recently organized W. C. P. Taxicab Co., of New York City.

"Beginning May 1, this company is to operate a service the garage of the well-known automobile dealers Wyckoff, Church & Partridge, at Broadway and Twenty-sixth street 11 cabs, built by the Bristol Engineering Co., of Bristol. will be id it is asserts seventy-five on the streets on or about 1 September.

"The cabs will be with special of the usual type, painted orange yellow and trimmed in black and having hoods over the driver as well as leather tops, running gear will also be yellow. On the and on each door will appear the W.C.P. crescent monogram. The drivers are to be in uniform consisting of long double-breasted top blue-gray with black collar and cuff bands edged in orange, and black cap trimmed with orange cord embroidered orange crescent monogram.

"An important point in which the new cabs will differ from the majority of taxicabs now operating in New York is that the taximeter instruments to be fitted to them will be driven from the front wheels instead of the rear wheels. This is the method that is considered to be fairest to the patrons of the service, and it is one that is likely soon to be made compulsory by ordinance in New York, Chicago, Washington and Boston. It is probable that Jones taximeters will be fitted to the first seventy-five cabs put in operation, but the Bristol Engineering Company is at work on a meter of its own which it hopes to have in readiness to be applied to the subsequent cabs to be delivered to the W. C. P. Taxicab Co.

"Drivers are to be selected men picked from the large list of chauffeurs compiled by Wyckoff, Church & Partridge during the years in which they have conducted a large motor car agency and retail business in New York.

"In an endeavor to give the public an unexcelled service and to eliminate so far as possible all causes for complaint and dissatisfaction, the company has already taken steps to provide cab users with blank forms and return post cards, inviting criticism and comments.

"The rates to be charged will conform to the tariff adopted this spring by the New York Taxicab Co., and the new Taxi-Service Co., of New York; that is, 50 cents for the first half mile or fraction and 10 cents for each subsequent quarter mile. These rates are considerably less than the legal cab rates that have prevailed for years during the regime of the horse cab, which is $1 per mile or fraction thereof.

"Organization of the W. C. P. Taxicab Co. developed out of the efforts of C. F. Wyckoff and E. S. Partridge, of Wyckoff, Church & Partridge, and A. R. Rockwell, F. E. Moscovics and DeWitt Page, of the Bristol Engineering Co.—men who are directly responsible for the design and construction of the Rockwell cabs. An 'interesting working arrangement has been decided upon, whereby the executive work in connection with the service, such as direction of the affairs of the company, correspondence, making of contracts, receipt of telephone calls and all clerical work, will be taken care of by the Wyckoff, Church & Partridge interests, while the operating end will be managed by the interests representing the Bristol Engineering Co., which has leased the basement of the garage at Broadway and Fifty-sixth street, and will assume charge of hiring and paying the drivers, furnish all supplies and generally be responsible for the rolling stock and garage.

"There is ample room in the basement of the model garage and sales building erected three years ago by Wyckoff, Church & Partridge, for the accommodation of the seventy-five cabs it is expected to have in operation before fall, as the space now devoted to "dead" storage will be given up to this purpose and the storage and charging of electric vehicles will be discontinued. Later, as the taxicab business develops, additional space can be devoted to it either by confining the storage of private motor cars to owners of Stearns cars alone (which the concern sells) or by the addition of two more stories at the top of the present building, whose foundations and lower walls were built with the expectation of ultimately running the building up to a height of eight stories.

"The Rockwell cab, which was brought out last winter and was exhibited at the Grand Central Palace show, shows evidence of good designing and superior workmanship. It embodies the usual up-to-date characteristic? of the landaulet type of vehicle used for taxicab purposes but departs in a number of important respects from conventional lines. The engine, for example, has four cylinders cast in one block with valves all on one side and with bore of 3-1/2 inches and stroke of 4 1/4 inches. It is rated at 18-20 horsepower. Ignition is by Bosch high tension magneto with fixed spark; lubrication by gear driven pump taking oil from a reservoir in the base of the engine; and cooling by geared centrifugal pump. The steering wheel is on the left, where the driver can see better to avoid passing vehicles, and the change speed levers and hand brake are in the center of the floor board at the driver's right. They rise directly from the top of the gear box, in which is housed a three-speed transmission system with special interlocking gears, whose shafts are mounted on New Departure ball bearings especially designed to take end thrust. A three-plate floating ring clutch of special design and mounted on ball bearings is employed.

"The front axle is very heavy in design, to withstand all shocks, and the hubs are provided with ball bearings. The rear axle is of the full floating type with ball bearings designed to take end thrust. A double set of brakes —internal and external—operate on the rear wheel hubs The chassis frame is of extra heavy pressed steel channels, the dash cast aluminum and the running board; stamped steel. The vehicle has a wheelbase of 106 inches, tread of 53 inches and the wheels are fitted with 32 by 4-inch pneumatics. The turning radius permit! the machine to be turned around in a 5o-foot street. Accessibility of the various parts was a point especially aimed at in designing the cab, and it is claimed that the power plant can be removed in twenty minutes."

The Bristol Engineering Company was a subsidiary of the New Departure Mfg. Co., a firm founded by Albert R. Rockwell just after the run of the century in Bristol, Connecticut. In April of 1912 another Rockwell-controlled firm, the Connecticut Cab Co., assumed control of the W.C.P. Taxi Co., reorganizing it as the Yellow Taxicab Co., historically the first firm to use the "Yellow Cab" moniker in Manhattan.

© 2004 Mark Theobald -






A Bibliography of the History and Life of Utica - Utica Manufacture and Industry: Willoughby Company pp187

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