W.D. Rogers Son & Co. - 1846-1920s -  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


   

Automobile bodies from 1894 - known to have made a few hearse and motor hearse bodies as well.

Wm. D. Rogers July 16, 1819 - d. January 3, 1885

Charles J. Rogers - d. January 14th 1911

Also known as William D. Rogers & Co.; William, Gregg & D. Rogers Co. (error); W.D. Rogers Son & Co. Wm. D. Rogers Co.

Eugene Everhart a partner from 1894

One of the nation's largest and most prominent carriage builders of the mid to late 19th century, they made quite a few bodies for automobiles before their demise in 192x.

When some of the earliest European manufacturers of automobiles decided to open up a market for the new vehicles in this country, they naturally turned first to the Rogers establishment with an offer of the Philadelphia representation. A satisfactory arrangement was made, and as early as 1894 the concern began its experience in building automobile bodies, making the first limousine and the first touring car bodies turned out in Philadelphia. The limousine was built for George D. Weidener and the touring car for George W. Elkins, two of Philadelphia's most prominent citizens.

In automobile construction, the late Charles J. Rogers and his associates maintained the high reputation for fine coach work that had been acquired by the founder of the establishment, Wm. D. Rogers. His wide experience in all matters relating to carriage building, combined with. his characteristic kindliness and good nature, made him a much valued member of the local vehicle manufacturers' association He was one of the most active men in that association, and it was seldom that any matter of importance came up for discussion that he did not take the floor during the debate. Very few members were more regular in their attendance at the meetings or did more to enhance their interest than Charles J. Rogers, and the Carriage and Wagon Builders' Association of Philadelphia will not soon recover from the loss occasioned by his departure.

xxxx

Today, after sixty-one years, the same class of patrons goes to William D. Rogers' Son & Co. for artistic carriage and automobile work, and they get it, because the firm has kept up with the march of progress. When the automobile became an established fact, they shaped their business so as to accommodate auto body work, and applied their knowledge and skill to the new line with eminently satisfactory results. They have always "kept up with the procession,"' yet ever holding fast to the old-fashioned principle of making a thing well at any cost. It is proverbial that a job has never left the Rogers shop unless the firm themselves were satisfied with it, and a job pleases the critical eyes of these long-experienced makers, it is pretty apt to be a good job even down to the last detail that would never be, detected by the lay eye.

That the firm of William D. Rogers' Son & Co., with all the success that has come to them, still continue to grow and expand is again evident in the recent occupation of their splendid new five-story home on the corner of Thirteenth and Cherry Streets, Philadelphia, where everything that is modern in carriage-making machinery and appliances has been provided. To the experienced carriage builder, the equipment of this big building is most interesting, as showing the modern methods employed in handling and building carriage and automobile work. Upon the great elevator in the rear of the building, the largest motor car may be hoisted like a toy to the fifth floor. The convenient arrangement and great capacity of this elevator system is a phase of modern factory equipment that small shops can only dream of.

On the fifth floor is located the paint shop (a spacious, splendidly lighted room), where the chassis and running gear are painted. On this floor is also located the varnish room, equally well equipped and lighted. On the fourth floor can be found the body paint shop, where experienced hands convert the unattractive unpainted bodies of motor cars and carriages into things of beauty. The trimming shop occupies the third floor, and it is in this department that the bodies of motor cars are mounted on the chassis after painting.

There is always plenty of work to occupy the skilled hands that are employed in this department. The wood and blacksmith shops are located on the second floor, and here the bodies of the fine Rogers carriages and motor cars are built. Carriage wheels are also made on this floor, and over in the left front end of the building is the designing and drafting room, one of the most interesting features of all. William D. Rogers' Son & Co. have always excelled in the designing and drafting of their work. In this room are designed all the broughams, coaches, landaus, touring cars and limousines, comparing fully with the latest Paris styles. Those patrons who desire individuality and wish to have their own ideas carried out, may have their motor car bodies designed to suit their own tastes, and finished throughout with the best made cloths, leathers and laces that money and skill can produce. Men who know thoroughly their business and fell a joy in their work are the only employees of the Rogers shop, and is not that, after all, the secret of success?

LATE CHARLES J. ROGERS - Carriage Monthly February 1911 page 16.

Charles J. Rogers, president and general manager of William D. Rogers' Son & Co., Thirteenth and Cherry Streets, Philadelphia died after a short illness on Saturday, January 14th. The deceases was the son of William D. Rogers, founder of the above named concern, and a carriage builder whose fame was spread throughout the United States and Europe.

Charles J. Rogers was fifty-four years of age on January 5th last February, 1911. He was born in Philadelphia and received his early education in the schools of that city. Upon the death of his father in 1885, he began an active business career in the conduct of the well-known house of William D. Rogers. In 1894 Eugene Everhart joined with Mr. Rogers as partner, the firm thus formed continuing until May, 1899, when the present company was organized.

The carriage concern, of which the late Mr. Rogers was the head, has had an interesting history. It was founded in 1846 and began immediately to acquire a reputation for its work that increased until the name of Rogers was almost as well known in France, England and German vehicle circles as it was in America. When some of the earliest European manufacturers of automobiles decided to open up a market for the new vehicles in this country, they naturally turned first to the Rogers establishment with an offer of the Philadelphia representation. A satisfactory arrangement was made, and as early as 1894 the concern began its experience in building automobile bodies, making the first limousine and the first touring car bodies turned out in Philadelphia. The limousine was built for George D. Weidener and the touring car for George W. Elkins, two of Philadelphia's most prominent citizens.

In automobile construction, the late Mr. Rogers and his associates maintained the high reputation for fine coach work that had been acquired by the founder of the establishment. His wide experience in all matters relating to carriage building, combined with. his characteristic kindliness and good nature, made him a much valued member of the local vehicle manufacturers' association He was one of the most active men in that association, and it was seldom that any matter of importance came up for discussion that he did not take the floor during the debate. Very few members were more regular in their attendance at the meetings or did more to enhance their interest than Charles J. Rogers, and the Carriage and Wagon Builders' Association of Philadelphia will not soon recover from the loss occasioned by his departure.

The funeral was held on Tuesday, January 17th, from Mr. Rogers' late home, 1803 North Twenty?second Street, Philadelphia, being attended by many men prominent in the vehicle trade. The employees of the Rogers factory, as well as the members of the Carriage and Wagon Builders' Association, were in attendance at the funeral. Two of the pall?bearers were selected from the factory, two from the local association and two from among the vehicle accessory men.

Mr. Rogers is survived by his mother, Mrs. William D. Rogers, who has passed her eightieth birthday, and one sister, Mrs. Annie I. Rose, Philadelphia.

xxxx

Edward Comby, (born 1822, in Tonlouse, France) formerly draftsman for W. D. Rogers, Son & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was born in Toulouse, France, in 1822. He came to the United States in 1847, and was employed by George W. Watson, then conducting business at Thirteenth and Parrish streets, in that city. He filled this position until 1857, then went with Beckhaus & Allgeier, where he remained until 1865. His third change was to W. D. Rogers as body maker. In 1868 he was promoted to the position of draftsman and foreman in that establishment, remaining until 1893, when he retired.

Mr. Comby was widely recognized as an expert body maker, and stood high in the estimation of his fellow-craftsmen. He drew all his designs on the blackboard, and made all the working drafts for about 18 body makers, besides attending to the suspension of all the carriage work, much of which was specially ordered. Mr. Comby made many improvements in body construction, and all his drafts were clean and correct in every detail.

xxxxxxx

Frederick Fudala, (born 1850, Bela, Hungary) draftsman and foreman of construction for W. D. Rogers, Son & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was born in 1850, at Bela, Hungary. He started as an apprentice at twelve years of age, and completed his trade at eighteen years, in 1858, and started out in the world, His first experience was at Budapest, where he worked in the best shops in that city. From thence he went to Vienna. Austria; from there to Warsaw, Russia, and back to Munich, Germany, in 1876. After working awhile in Munich, he went to Paris, and, after remaining in Paris awhile, went to London, where he worked for one year for Slatterly & Son.

After learning the tricks of the trade in London, he returned to Paris, working for Desouches, Chandon and Binder Bros. until 1882, when he came to the United States. He located in Philadelphia, and worked for several well known builders. He then visited New Haven, and spent some time in the best carriage shops there, returning to Philadelphia in 1887. In 1891 he took the position of draftsman and foreman of construction with W. D. Rogers, Son & Co.

 

   

For more information please read:

http://www.carriagemuseumlibrary.org/rogers.htm

Horace Greeley - Great Industries of the United States

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

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Car

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Era

Beverly Rae Kimes - Packard: A History of the Motorcar and Company

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

Richard Burns Carson - The Olympian Cars

Raymond A. Katzell - The Splendid Stutz

Marc Ralston - Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - There Is No Mistaking a Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - Auburn, Reo, Franklin and Pierce-Arrow Versus Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln and Packard

Brooks T. Brierley - Magic Motors 1930

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

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

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

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

Thomas E. Bonsall - The Lincoln Motorcar: Sixty Years of Excellence

Fred Roe - Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection

Arthur W. Soutter - The American Rolls-Royce

John Webb De Campi - Rolls-Royce in America

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

Hugo Pfau - The Coachbult Packard

Griffith Borgeson - Cord: His Empire His Motor Cars

Don Butler - Auburn Cord Duesenberg

George H. Dammann - 90 Years of Ford

George H. Dammann & James K. Wagner - The Cars of Lincoln-Mercury

Thomas A. MacPherson - The Dodge Story

F. Donald Butler - Plymouth-Desoto Story

Fred Crismon - International Trucks

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Chrysler

Walter M.P. McCall - 80 Years of Cadillac LaSalle

Maurice D. Hendry - Cadillac, Standard of the World: The complete seventy-year history

George H. Dammann & James A. Wren - Packard

Dennis Casteele - The Cars of Oldsmobile

Terry B. Dunham & Lawrence R. Gustin - Buick: A Complete History

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Buick

George H. Dammann - 75 Years of Chevrolet

John Gunnell - Seventy-Five Years of Pontiac-Oakland

 



2004 Coachbuilt.com, Inc. | Index | Disclaimer | Privacy