Gustav Schaefer Wagon Co. - Schaefer Body Co. - 1880-1977 - Cleveland, Ohio

    SCHAEFER BODY, INC., initially specializing in custom-made wagons and carriages, grew with the automotive industry, building auto and truck bodies and supplying related services. From its beginnings as Schaefer & Eckhardt in 1880, immigrant Gustav Schaefer, a skilled wagon-wheel maker, acquired $800 in working capital and organized the Gustav Schaefer Wagon Works on Lorain Ave. to produce wagon bodies. By 1913 the firm was also making automobile bodies and in 1917 it incorporated as the Gustav Schaefer Wagon Co. In the 1920s the company responded to the changing times by building commercial auto and truck bodies of all types and adding services such as wheel repairing and auto painting and trimming. The company name was shortened to the Schaefer Body Co. in 1926. After a fire destroyed the plant in 1927, the company, crippled by the Depression, went into receivership and had its assets sold at public auction in 1935. Financed with Cleveland capital, the company reorganized as the Schaefer Body, Inc., with Gustav's son, Henry, as president, and relocated to Superior Ave. on the east side.

By 1964 Schaefer had augmented its custom body work by repairing truck, trailer, and auto bodies and providing contract maintenance for fleets. It was also a major sales and service outlet for new equipment. Although new management tried to strengthen Schaefer Body's distribution and service operation in 1972, the company had a variety of problems and closed in 1977. All assets, including equipment and machinery, were liquidated.


Gustav Schaefer was a German-born wagon maker who came to Cleveland just after the Civil War. After work at stone quarrying, barrel making, and in various local wagon and carriage shops, he realized the dream of owning his own firm in 1880. Though he began by producing many different styles of horse- drawn vehicles he eventually specialized in heavy drays and wagons.


Schaefer built truck bodies, semi-trailers and farm wagons for Fordson Tractors.

An early (1917) builder of semi-trailers that could be attached to modified Model T chassis. Built totally-enclosed, insulated van, flareboard-side and flatbed trailers that could be pulled by Ford chassis and Fordson tractors.

May have been associated with a Cleveland Ford/Fordson dealer. 

Schaefer Wagon Company Building of 1914 is a designated Cleveland Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. - Architect: E.F. Gibbons.

Gustav Shaefer, a German immigrant who started out making barrel hoops for John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co., turned his carriage and wagon building business, begun in 1880, into the Schaefer Body Co,, a major automobile parts manufacturer, which was in business until 1977.


Advertised in 1920's HR Hooper Implement/Equip Sales Manual as supplier of Fordson Tractor equipment. Hooper was an equipment dealer in Youngstown, Ohio.

Catalog contains lots of literature along with many nice photos of various items several different companies had to offer for the Fordson Tractor (i.e. Plows, Trailers, Harrows, Cutters, Loaders, Hitches, Wheels, Air Compressors etc). Names include Oliver, Roderick Lean, American Seeding Machine Co., Stover Manufacturing & Engine Co., Swayne, Robinson & Co., Thomas Mfg. Co., Wood Brothers Thresher Co., Blue Ridge Mill Co., Dearborn Tractor Appliance Co., "Hi-Clearance" Manufacturing Co., A.B. Hulsebos, The Tractor Appliance Co., The Standard Tractor Control Co., Ersted Machinery Mfg. Co., The Buddie Equipment Co., Hertzler & Zook Co., Moorewood Saw Co., The Gustav Schaefer Wagon Co., Hesse Mfg. Co., J.L. Clark Manufacturing Co., Handy Governor Corp., Dallmann Machine & Mfg. Co., Safety Release Clevis Co., The Full-Crawler Co., The Hadfield-Penfield Steel Co., Kelsey Wheel Co., Inc., Whitehead & Kales Co., T.W. Meiklejohn Co., Lessmann Loader Mfg. Co., Miami Trailer Co., Oklahoma Engineering and Foundry Co., Owensboro Ditcher & Grader Co., Hughes & Curren Co., Guardian Lock Wheel Co., and Reed Manufacturing Co.



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


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