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Tricoach Corp. (aka Tri-Coach)
Tricoach Corp., 1936-1938; Pacific-Tricoach divison of Pacific Car & Foundry, 1938-1946; Tricoach Co., 1946-1958; Seattle, Washington
Associated Firms
Heisers Inc., Pacific Car & Foundry, Kenworth, Superior Body

Although they're unknown today, at one time Tricoach's founders, George W. Yost (b. Oct. 13, 1890 – d. Jan. 21, 1967) and brothers Richard B. and Robert L. Newell, were major players in the Pacific northwest's  transportation industry. The firm's name was derived from an unusual Ford-based semi-trailer motor coach that Yost designed in the early 1930s. After experiencing some success in the design and manufacture of intercity motor coaches, Tricoach Corp. was acquired by Pacific Car & Foundry. Seven years later, the principals left Pacific Car, establishing their own motor coach marketing firm, utilizing the same name.

George Washington Yost, Tricoach's controlling partner, was born in Osborn, Kansas on October 13, 1890 to Allen Martin and Amanda Catherine (Roth) Yost. In the mid 1890s Allen M. Yost relocated his family to Edmonds, Washington, where he established his own lumber and shingle mill. The 1900 US Census lists the family in Edmonds, Snohomish County, Washington, his occupation being ‘Shingle & Lumber Mfg.’ George's siblings included Daniel M. (b.1877 – wks. in Shingle Mill), Joseph S. (b.1880), John E. (b.1882 – wks. in shingle mill), Carrie J. (b.1884), Elsie R. (b.1886), Jacob R. (b.1888). Edward L. (b.1889) and Samuel A.(b. 1893) Yost.

Allen C. Yost service on the Edmonds city council and in 1903 served as Mayor for one term. In 1908 he founded the Yost Auto Co., Edmond’s earliest auto garage, which later became the local Ford and Buick distributor. The 1910 US Census list Allan M. Yost’s occupation as ‘own plant’ of a ‘Motor Works’ and his son George W. is listed as ‘book keeper’ of said ‘Motor Works.’ At that time George W. and his two brothers, Jacob R. and Samuel A. Yost worked for their father's garage which constructed a brand new stucco showroom and service center at the corner of Dayton St. and 5th Ave. in 1913. As part of their duties the Yost boys would often drive new Ford automobiles from the Seattle assembly plant back to Edmonds.

On March 6, 1915 George W. Yost married Juanita ’Nita’ Bacon, and to the blessed union were born three children; Wanda (b.1920), Nona (b.1926) and Rita (b.1930) Yost. Yost was inducted into the US Army on August 4, 1918 and was honorably discharged on April 5, 1919.

The 1920 US Census continues to list George W. Yost as ‘bookkeeper’ at the ‘Yost Garage.’ The Yost brothers’ salary at the time was fixed at $250 per month. In 1915 Allen M. Yost had established the Yost Auto Co. stages, a small surface transit operation founded in by the  Ellington Bros. in 1913,serving Edmond, Richmond Beach and Seattle. George W. served as the Stage line’s manager, and in 1928 it merged with the Suburban Transit System, whose offices were located in Seattle at No. 310 Central Terminal Building. The 1930 and 1940 US Census lists his occupation as ‘manager’ of a ‘transportation line’.

As the Yost family owned a Ford dealership their stage line had easy access to Ford equipment, which was often used to transport passengers over the routes serviced by the Yost Auto Co. George W. Yost’s experience in the automobile and surface transport business made him somewhat of an authority on what type of equipment was most in demand and in late 1932 designed the Tri-coach for use by the Suburban Transportation System. Yost applied for a US Patent for the novel design on January 30, 1933, and the request was granted on July 3, 1934 at which time he was issued US Patent No.1964778 for a 'vehicle'. The patent can be found in appendix 2.

Constructed by Heisers, Inc., the original 'Tri-Coach' utilized a 98" short-wheelbase 1 1-2-ton 4-cylinder Ford cowl and chassis, with the 'fifth wheel' suspension mounted about 18 inches forward of the power axle. The driver's seat was inside of the passenger coach. The Tri-coach prototype was featured in a 1932 Standard Oil Bulletin:

“A Bus Conceived in Seattle

“Now in the service of the Suburban Transportation System, which operates busses between Edmonds, Richmond Beach, Lake Forest Park, Des Moines, Lake Burien, and Seattle, is a new type of motor-coach developed by that company, whose manager, George W. Yost, conceived it. As the accompanying illustrations show, it is of the truck-and-trailer type. Because of its comparatively light weight (7700 pounds), a four-cylinder Ford motor serves to give it ample speed and power.

“The truck is a standard Ford truck having a shortened wheel-base, its rear axle equipped with double wheels. Upon it is mounted a fifth-wheel, which supports the forward end of the passenger body, or trailer, in turn support toward the rear by a wide trailer axle that is equipped with brakes and dual rear wheels.

“Of the numerous advantages claimed for this motor-vehicle, our correspondent notes the following: its design permits a reduction in height; the elimination of all machinery from under the passenger section makes it possible to have a bus but one step off the ground, the low center of gravity thereby- achieved resulting in easier riding and reduced side-sway, as compared with busses having greater clearance. Also, it is asserted, there is an elimination of body twists, which is accomplished by the three-point suspension. This bus can complete a turn in a fifty-foot circle. The coach body, which is steam-heated, is of steel and aluminum, constructed by Heisers, Inc., of Seattle. Castings for the fifth wheel were manufactured by the Western Gear Works, also of Seattle, and the truck chassis was adapted to this special use by the Yost Auto Company, local Ford dealers. The weight and cost of this Seattle creation are asserted to be about half that of other busses of equal carrying capacity. It was planned and built with the idea of producing a bus that will render satisfactory service with a reduction of cost in operation. If, after an extended try-out in actual service, it meets the expectations of the designer and operators, others like it may replace those that constitute the present fleet of the Suburban Transportation System.

“It is operated exclusively on Standard Oil products, and its ten wheels, not including the fifth, appear to be a sweet potential market for Atlas tires.”

The Tri-coach was not the first trailer-bus of its type, back in 1929 aviator Glenn H. Curtiss had designed and constructed a series of nearly identical 5th wheel trailer buses that were put into service by the Transportation Co., Dallas, Texas and the Miami Beach Transportation Co. in Miami, Florida. In 1934 the Highland Body Co. of Cincinatti, Ohio offered their own take on the semi-trailer bus called the 'Highland Acticulated Coach' using equipment supplied by Trailmobile.

Yost’s Ford semi-trailer coach was also featured in the ‘What’s New In The Bus Market’ section of the February 1933 issue of Bus Transportation:

“Look! A Semi Trailer Coach

“Powered by a Standard four-cylinder Ford Truck which was shortened to a 98” wheelbase, a semi-trailer bus is being operated experimentally in service on the lines of the Suburban Transportation System, Seattle, Wash., George W. Yost, general manager of this organization is the inventor of this new type of coach and the body firm, Heisers, Inc., are the creators of this special all-metal body. The semi-trailer seats 26 passengers with full standing headroom for 20 more.”

In 1934 an improved Tri-Coach powered by a flathead Ford V-8 was put into operation. The bus was featured on a circa 1934-35 Ford postcard advertising it as a V-8 Semi-Trailer Coach. The back of the postcard stated it had seating for twenty-six with room for twenty standees:

“A wide choice of Body Types and Equipment adopt the Ford to ANY use... Ford V-8 costs 4 1/4 cents a mile... average fleet cost 9 1/4 cents a mile.”

Yost's semi-trailer coach proved so successful that by the end of the year the Suburban Transportation System elected to replace its conventional motor coaches with Tri-Coaches, acquiring 3 more in 1935, 3 more in 1936, and 4 more in 1937.

It's possible that Portland, Oregon's Wentworth & Irwin may have constructed a few examples under license based on surviving pictures, one of which depicts a Tri-coach in service of the Vancouver-based British Columbia Electric Railway and another that shows a Suburban Transportation System unit with a Wentwin logo in the corner of the photo.

Due to pressure from larger motor coach manufacturers the Washington State Legislature passed a new traffic code in 1937 which made it illegal to carry passengers for hire in a trailer in the State.

Suburban Transportation System fought the new legislation, claiming its Tri-Coaches were not 'trailer buses', however they agreed not to build any more Tri-Coaches and the 12 coaches currently in service were 'grandfathered in' and remained in use into the early 1940s.

It was through his dealings with Heisers Inc. that Yost became acquainted with his future business partner Richard B. Newell, who was working as Heiser's body designer and engineer. His father, George W. Newell, was also well-known to Yost, as the senior Newell ran the North Coast Transportation Co., Seattle's largest interurban rail and bus service. The senior Newell was also the co-originator of the deck-and-a-half motor coach, a unique style that found favor with west coast operators a full two decades prior to the debut of the 1954-1956 Greyhound Scenicruiser.

The Newell deck-and-a-half motor coach was the brainchild of George W. Newell (b. June 4, 1868 - d. May 8, 1948) and Edwin M. Swift (b. Jan. 13, 1867 - d. Jul 29, 1948). Newell served as superintendent of the Seattle Street Railway after which he became manager of the Seattle-based North Coast Lines and North Coast Transportation Co. of which Swift was chief mechanic/engineer.

Edwin Merritt Swift (b. Jan. 13, 1867 in Missouri - d. Jul 29, 1948) the son of Albert and Ann J. (Ray) Swift. Siblings included Lillie, Ida L, Frank E., and Nina R. Swift. He grew up in Brownsdale, Mower County, Minnesota and his older brother Frank worked for the Minneapolis and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad while Edwin worked for the Seattle & Everett Traction Co. On September 4, 1901 Edwin married Jessie Mary Evelyn Casseday and to the blessed union were born two children: Evelyn Merrit (b.1904-d.1990) and Frank (b.1906-d.1919) Swift. The 1910 US Census lists his occupation as ‘barn foreman’ for ‘street car co.’, the 1920 census lists him as ‘mechanic’ for ‘Interurban Railway,’ and the 1930 census lists him as ‘master mechanic’ for ‘Stage and Interurban Railway.’

George Washington Newell was born on June 4, 1868 at Clark's Harbour, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada to Lewis Z. and Lucinda (Kenny) Newell. After a public education, which ended with the sixth grade, he assisted his father in the family business. In 1890 he married Lasuva ‘Laura’ Jane Smith (b. Nov. 1869), the newlyweds emigrating to the United States where he had taken a position as a gripman with the Seattle Street Railway. To the blessed union was born 5 children: Georgianna L. & Caroline W. (aka Georgie and Kate; twins b. January 1892), Robert L. (b. August 1898 in Mass.), Laura E. (b.1902 in Mass.), and Richard B. (b. Sept. 10, 1906 in Wash. - d. Jan 1, 1981) Newell.

The 1892 Washington State and Territorial Census lists George and his bride, their newborn twins Georgie & Kate, and his mother Lucinda as residents of Seattle (7th Ward), King County, Washington.

Sometime prior to 1898 George W. Newell took a position with the street railway of Medford, Massachusetts. The 1900 US Census lists the Newell family in Medford (2nd Ward), Middlesex County, Massachusetts, his occupation ‘car starter’ with ‘electric railroad’.

Newell returned to Seattle in 1903, first taking a position as a car inspector and in 1905 as superintendent with the Seattle Electric Co., the city’s oldest street railway operator, having been formed in 1888. In 1907 Newell took a position as superintendent with the Everett Interurban Railway, which was managed by Boston-based Stone & Webster. The 1910 US Census lists the Newell family back in Seattle (13th Ward), his occupation being ‘superintendent’ of a ‘Street Railway’.

Founded in 1905 by Fred E. Sander, the Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway Co. was a reorganization of the Seattle-Tacoma Railway and Everett and Interurban Railway Co.’s which dated to the early 1890s. Between 1905 and 1908 a controlling interest in Sander’s rail operations were purchased by Boston-based Stone and Webster*, who reorganized it as the Seattle-Everett Traction Co. in 1909.

(*Founded in 1890 by two electrical engineers, Charles Stone and Edwin Webster, Stone & Webster, 147 Milk St., Boston, Mass., were a well-known electrical consulting firm that specialized in the construction, acquisition and management of electric - and later nuclear - utilities.)

One year later the Seattle-Everett Traction Co. became a subsidiary of the Stone & Webster-controlled Puget Sound Traction Light and Power Company which in 1912 was renamed the Pacific Northwest Traction Co. In 1930 Stone & Webster’s Seattle operations were reorganized as the North Coast Transportation Co.

The 1920 US Census lists the Newell family in the northern Seattle suburb of Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, George’s occupation being ‘manager’ of an ‘electric railway’. His daughter Kate is also listed as working for an electric railway as an ‘office girl’. The two Newell boys, Robert L. and Richard L., were attending the University of Washington at the time.

In 1928 Richard L. Newell joined his father after working as a draftsman with the Hall-Scott Motor Car Co., the SAE Journal reporting:

“Richard L. Newell has relinquished his position as draftsman for the Hall-Scott Motor Car Co., of Berkeley, Calif., and is now a body draftsman with the North Coast Transportation Co., of Seattle, Wash.”

The prototype Newell-Swift deck-and-a-half coach was constructed at the North Coast Lines shop in Everett on a drop-frame Fageol bus chassis powered by a 6-cylinder Hall-Scott engine. The coach proved popular when it entered service in 1927 and additional examples were constructed using Yellow Truck & Coach, Fageol and Kenworth chassis, albeit in the Seattle shops of Heisers Inc. The design was continually improved and a number of individuals made contributions to the project, foremost among them being Newell’s two sons, Richard B. and Robert L. Newell, and Harry W. Musiel, Heisers’ chief engineer.

Strictly speaking, The Newell-Swift coach was not the first deck-a-and-a-half constructed, that distinction goes to Dwight E. Austin’s Pierce-Arrow Pickwick Parlor-Buffet observation coaches, which first hit the road in 1925. Austin, a talented Los Angeles-based engineer, designed a number of similarly-configured ‘observation coaches’ for the Pickwick Lines during the late 1920s although his main claim to fame were the double-decked Pickwick Night Coaches which plied the western seaboard during the early 1930s. For more information on Austin, take a look at his biography which is located here.

Swift and Newell made their patent application for a ‘passenger coach’ on September 17, 1925, and on August 17, 1926 were awarded US Patent No. 1596212.  The patent is located in appendix 1.

Although Pickwick had already placed Austin’s deck-and-a-half coach in service by the time of Newell & Swift’s patent application, Austin didn’t apply for a patent on his ‘automobile stage body’ until May 7, 1927 and wasn’t awarded his patent (US. Patent No. 1902607) until March 21, 1933. As Newell and Swift were the first to receive a patent, all deck-and-a-half coaches from that point on were referred to as Newell-type or Newell-Swift motor coaches.

Newell-type coaches destined for East Coast operators were constructed by the *American Car & Foundry Company’s Twin Coach subsidiary in Kent, Ohio using coachwork supplied by Lang and Kuhlman in Cleveland, Ohio, the April 23, 1927 issue of Automotive Industries reporting:

“The American Car & Foundry Co. has recently added a new body model to its 230 in. wheelbase mechanical drive chassis line. This model, designated as a Newell type, while frequently found out West, has not until now been introduced in the East. The body has seating capacity for 29 passengers and is characterized by a raised observation section at the rear. Beneath this is a baggage compartment of about 85 cu. ft. capacity, occupying about one-third of the floor space of the coach. Entrance to the observation section is through the front part of the coach, a stairway being provided between the rear seats of the lower deck. This model is adapted chiefly for long cross-country runs.”

(*At the time Pacific Car & Foundry was a subsidiary of A.C.F.)

The Newell-Type A.C.F. coach debuted at the 1927 convention of the Motor Bus Division American Automobile Association/National Association of Motor Bus Operators, held June 18, 19 and 20, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois.

“A series of developments progressing for some time at the Berkeley, Calif., and Detroit plants of the A. C. F. culminated in the production of a new 38-passenger Newell type bus and a revamping of the ‘Metropolitan’ type.

“The power plant is a Hall-Scott having a 5-in. bore and 6-in. stroke. It develops a maximum of 175 horsepower at 2,000 r. p. m., a moderate speed as present engines go. The clutch is a double-plate unit used in conjunction with a specially designed three speed forward gearset. Two independent sets of brakes are provided, the service brakes being air operated on all four wheels. Large dimension springs which are practically flat under load are used. Rear springs are 64 x 5 in. while those in front 43 x 3 ½. To insure full control of front springs both Gruss air springs and Houdaille double-acting hydraulic shock absorbers are used.

“Series 175 is furnished either in 264-in. or 240-in. wheelbase. At present only the Newell type body is being built, but other parlor bodies shortly will be available. Another California design at the show was the Pickwick ‘Nitecoach.’ This vehicle has a number of modifications over the original model announced a year ago. Most of these, however, are along lines that make for greater passenger comfort; fundamentally the design is unchanged.

“The present unit has sleeping capacity for 28, as against 26 in the former model. An important contribution to easy riding is a new spring design in which two main leaves are double-shackled at each end. The entire coach is of duralumin, with the exception of side pillars and main lower frame channels which are pressed steel.”

The Motor Transport Section of the August 27, 1927 issue of Railway Age provided a detailed description of A.C.F.’s Newell-type coach:

“A.C.F. Observation Parlor Coach

“In the ordinary type of coach with all of the passengers seated in one compartment, it is natural for the first people in the coach to select the seats near the operator because of the better view of the countryside through the window. When the coach is full, it often happens that the passengers going a short distance which tends to delay the discharging and loading of passengers. In order to help eliminate this situation the American Car & Foundry Motor Company, 30 Church street, New York, has recently placed on the market the Newell observation parlor coach with a seating capacity for 29 passengers, exclusive of the driver — 12 passengers in the lower compartment and 17 in the observation compartment. With this seating arrangement the passengers going a long distance take seats in the observation compartment, while the short-haul passengers will find seats in the compartment nearest the exit. The coach is arranged for one- man operation using the right front door for both entrance and exit.

“The Model C4 body is carried on the Model 508-25 chassis that has a wheelbase of 230 in. The body and chassis are built of materials and to the rigid specifications commonly used for the construction of A.C.F. Motor coach equipment. The body framing is constructed of white ash reinforced with steel angles and plates which make for a rigid body. The cowl consists of a pressed steel frame, welded and riveted together. A heavy ribbed aluminum casting is bolted in to obtain the proper body curves. All window panels are made of No. 20 gage pressed steel and all other lower panels with No. 16 gage aluminum. The roof is of the ‘soft’ type free from rumbles. The yellow pine floor is covered with 3/16 in. gray cork filled linoleum laid on cement. “The interior lighting consists of four dome lights in the lower ceiling and six in the observation compartment ceiling. All dome lights are 21 c.p. with frosted diffusing lenses. There is one ventilator in the lower compartment and two in the observation compartment roof. Exhaust from the engine may be diverted for heating purposes by a suitable valve through 1 ¾ in seamless steel tubing extending above both sides of the body under the outer seats in both the lower and observation compartments and across the observation compartment under the transverse seat at the rear.

“The space under the observation compartment is used for carrying luggage and express matter. This space is clean, dry and easily accessible. The total space is 140 cu. ft. or nearly 5 cu. ft. per passenger. The floor area is 53 sq. ft., or 1.8 sq. ft. per passenger. A double door having a clear opening 28 in. high by 33 in. wide is located on the right side to the rear of the wheel housing. Ahead of the wheel housing on the right and left side is a single door 23 in. high by 19 in. wide.”

A group of 15 Newell-type coaches were mentioned in the ‘Orders for Equipment’ column of the September 24, 1927 issue of Railway Age:

“The New England Transportation Company has ordered from the American Car & Foundry Motor Company 15 Newell type deck-and-a-half parlor coaches.“

The September 24, 1927 issue of Railway Age provided further information on the order:

“Line with a Bus Route

“The New England Transportation Company, highway subsidiary of the New York, New Haven & Hartford, begins the operation of observation parlor buses between New York and Boston on October 1. The route followed - via Stamford, Conn., New Haven and New London and Providence, R.I. - parallels the railroad’s main line between the two terminals. The highway coaches used in the service are the 'Newell' type, with the rear portion elevated to give maximum observation facilities to all passengers. Two schedules, one day and one night, are operated. The fare is $6.50 for the day trip and $5 at night, whereas a railroad ticket costs $8.26. Mileage is 240 as compared with 229 by rail.”

In 1928 George Newell’s son Richard B., joined his father after working as a draftsman with the Hall-Scott Motor Car Co., the SAE Journal reporting:

“Richard B. Newell has relinquished his position as draftsman for the Hall-Scott Motor Car Co., of Berkeley, Calif., and is now a body draftsman with the North Coast Transportation Co., of Seattle, Wash.“

In 1930 Richard B. Newell went to work for North Coast Line’s body supplier, Heisers Inc., as a ‘body designer’, Motor Freight and Commercial Transportation reporting:

“Richard Newell has left the employ of the Pacific Northwest Traction Company, Seattle, Wash., which controls the North Coast Transportation Company to become body designer with Heisers, Inc., body builders for large equipment. This company has built the bodies for the fifteen new coaches which the North Coast Transportation Company is placing in operation this summer.”

The 1930 US Census lists the Newell family in the northern Seattle suburb of Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, George’s occupation being ‘general manager’ of the ‘North Coast Bus Line’. His daughter Kate is also listed as a ‘clerk’ for a ‘Power & Light’ utility, also included was his wife Laura’s mother, Caroline Smith. Robert L and Richard B. are no longer listed with their parents, Robert’s listing gives his occupation as ‘musician’ in an ‘orchestra’, Richard’s as ‘civil engineer’ for a ‘bus building co.’

During the 1920s most inter-city motor coaches were constructed using a sturdy screwed & glued wooden framework, covered by a sheet steel or aluminum sheating. Dwight Austin pioneered the use of semi-moncoque* metal-framed coaches a construction that Heisers adapted for its Newell coaches in 1930. One of the firm's first unit-bodied deck-and-a-half coaches was pictured in the December 1930 issue of Autobody with the following caption:

“All-Metal Frame for Newell-Type Observation Coach

“All-steel frame of a 30-passenger intercity coach of the Newell type, built by Heiser's Inc., of Seattle, for the North Coast Transportation Co.”

(*Semi-monocoque - or unitized-body - refers to a passenger vehicle constructed without a chassis, its components and passenger compartment being constructed using box sections, bulkheads and tubes to provide most of the strength of the vehicle, with the exterior panels adding relatively little to the overall strength or stiffness.)

On September 12, 1931, Richard B. Newell married Julia Gertrude Smith (b. 1909 in Iowa), a 1931 graduate of Washington State University. The 1930-1935 Seattle directories list Richard B. Newell, designing engineer, Heisers Inc., and his father George Newell, mgr. North Coast Lines and North Coast Transportation Co., r. New Washington Hotel. While working for Heisers Richard B. Newell contributed to the design, engineering and construction of two distinct series of Newell-type observation coaches for the North Coast Lines. The first consisted of the two semi-monocoque all-metal coaches mentioned above that debute in the inter of 1931-32; the second were their noticeably streamlined replacements, the KHO-33 which were constructed in three variations from late 1934 into 1938.

The latter series, all of which were constructed for North Coach Lines, featured the same streamlined all-metal semi-monocoque deck-and-a-half passenger compartment behind the driver, the only difference being their layout. Most examples featured a streamliend front end and an amidships-mounted Hall-Scott Petral 6-cylinder engine residing below the upper deck. These were built in two series - the 600 series featured a radiator mounted behind a grill at the front of the coach while the 700 series were equipped without a grill, the engine drawing its air from air intakes and radiators located in the lower side panels of the coach adjacent to the amidships-mounted Hall-Scott 6-cylinder. The side panel-mounted cooling system was developed and patented by Kenworth engineer John G. Holstrom, who included a nice side view of the KHO-33 coach on the application. Supposedly two (2) 600 series (front-cooled) were constructed and ten (10) 700 series (side-cooled), the latter in two different lengths and wheelbases. Most all remained in use through the Second World War, two of which were photographed dropping off passengers at Camp Harmony, a Japanese Interment Camp located in Puyallup, Washington. A third variation deleted the central-mounted Hall Scott in favor of a conventional front-mounted Hall-Scott with its requisite grill, radiator, hood, cowl and front fenders. Several were built, with surviving pictures having been identified as being fitted with either Kenworth or A.C.F. front-end badging and sheet metal. The drivetrain, steering and suspension components for all of the coaches were engineered and assembled by Kenworth. The coachwork was constructed over a four-year period first by Heisers, Inc. (1934-1936), then by Pacific Car & Foundry who completed the last three coaches during 1937 and 1938 at their plant in Renton, Washington.  The latter coaches are sometimes referred to as being constructed by the Pacific-Tricoach division of Pacific Car & Foundry, however the design and engineering were completed at Heisers. Fortunately one 700 series coach survives, albeit unrestored, and in rather shabby condition, in the collection of the Washington State Railroads Historical Society, which is currently headquartered in Pasco, Washington.

The streamlined North Coast Lines deck-and-a-half coaches were introduced to the trade in the June 1934 issue of Metropolitan:

“The Bus Goes Modern

“Streamlined Observation Deck Bus of the North Coast Transportation Company

“Lighter-Weight, Low Floor Height, Pancake Engine Under Chassis, an Streamlining In New Observation Coach

“In the far Northwest where the deck-and-a-half or observation deck bus has been developed to a high degree of perfection, the North Coast Transportation Company has placed in service a coach of this type which has undergone radical changes in design and equipment.

“Approaching the new coach from the front reveals that the customary hood has disappeared in the dash which slopes back in streamline effect into the general design of the body. This is made possible by the use of a Hall-Scott, 180 h.p. ‘Pancake’ motor which is slung low under the middle of the Kenworth chassis. The driver through this arrangement sits at the extreme front of the coach, permitting maximum passenger capacity. Due to the elimination of the chassis frame, the coach is 16 in. lower than the standard deck-and-a-half coaches, and it is approximately 3,000 lbs. lighter, although the body is of all-steel construction. Another interesting feature is the fact that its maximum height is the same as the average single deck coach and, while it is no longer from tip to tip than the average coach, it accommodates 32 passengers and carries a much greater load of baggage and express largely because of its streamline design and location of the engine beneath the chassis. Extra baggage and express space is made available in the streamline tail of the coach and along the right side.

“Another advantage of the low height is that there is only one step which is but 13 in. above the ground. This feature afford greater comfort and convenience to passengers in boarding and leaving the coach which is especially appreciated by elderly persons and children. The coach is 32 ft. long and 96 in. wide, but it has 4 in. more width inside than the coaches formerly using the drop type window. This additional space is gained through the use of metal sash and a raised type window in the lower section which permits thinner body walls. In the upper portion of the coach, the forward one-third of the window is made to slide, while the rear two-thirds is stationary. This innovation permits the occupant of each seat to choose whatever ventilation desired without creating a draft for anyone else.

“In winter the coach will be heated by steam generated in a special boiler arrangement from the exhaust, which is under perfect control at all times from the driver’s seat where an air valve regulates it operation.

“Air Clutch and Electro-Pneumatic Gear Shift

“Another innovation of the bus is the air clutch and an electro-pneumatic gear shift recently developed by E.M. Swift, superintendent of equipment of the North Coast Transportation Company, which is considered one of the greatest advances in mechanical control. Worked entirely by air and electricity, the gears are shifted silently and instantly. The gear shift lever is located on the dash, and consists of a small rod the size of a lead pencil. This is set by the operator merely with the flick of his finger, and does not act until the clutch pedal is operated. The entire mechanical control is contained in a small steel box about 4 in. square which is foolproof and accident-proof.

“It is not an untried experiment as the new control has been in satisfactory operation for several months on another coach operated by this company. Driver fatigue has been greatly lessened by the use of this control.

“The color scheme of the exterior is black and aluminum, harmonizing with the red, black and white insignia of the company. Seats are upholstered in blue and beige mohair of excellent quality, and are equipped with super comfortable head rests. Other equipment of interest on the new coach includes non-shatterable wind shields, fan type roof ventilators, and individual pillar lamps with mirrors. The new vehicle was built by Heiser’s, Inc., whose engineers worked closely with the North Coast Company designing the coach.”

An article on the KHO series coaches also appeared in the June 1934 issue of Bus Transportation:

“Streamline 21-passenger coaches of this type are being built to specifications developed by Washington Motor Coach System.

“Two of the largest companies in the Northwest have developed streamline equipment, built to their own specifications, which incorporates several new features and is the last word in bus equipment in the Northwest territory. These are the heavy duty, streamlined, Newell-Swift type coach, of 32-passenger capacity, developed for the North Coast Transportation Company, and the lighter 220 series streamline coaches of 21 passenger capacity developed for Washington Motor Coach System.

“Specifications of the North Coach job include: length 32 ft.; width, 96 in.; height 104 1/2 in., this being 16 1/2 in. lower than the previous observation deck and a half type; seating capacity. 32 passengers, 11 downstairs and 21 in upper section; weight 17,000 lb., which is 3,000 lb. lighter than some types of conventional buses of similar capacity. George Newell, general manager, and E.M. Swift, superintendent of equipment, created the new design, the streamlining being among the most radical yet adopted on equipment of this size. A Hall-Scott 180 hp. 'pancake' engine furnishes power and is slung low under the body, about 8 ft. forward of the rear axle. Kenworth Motor Truck Corporation assembled the propulsion units and Heiser, Inc., constructed the body, which is of light steel. An innovation in the front section of the upper compartment is sliding windows which permit the occupant of each seat to enjoy a private breeze without annoying anyone else. An air-clutch and an electro-pneumatic gear shift are new developments. Worked entirely by air and electricity, the gears are shifted silently and instantly through a gear shift lever located on the dash, consisting of a small rod the size of a lead pencil. This is set by the operator merely with the flick of his finger, and does not act until the clutch pedal is operated. The entire mechanical control is contained in a small steel box about 4 in. square and it is said to be fool proof and accident proof.

“A bus of this type, on a recent test run, demonstrated a 20 per cent saving in gasoline consumption as compared with old-style buses of similar capacity. Streamlining and a lower center of gravity provide a smooth ride.

“Major specifications of the 220 series developed for Washington Motor Coach Systems are: Chassis, Model 701 White. Wheelbase-197 in. Engine, Model 8-A-high compression heads. Transmission-constant mesh helical gear third, with constant mesh helical gear overdrive. Rear Axle-standard White, ratio 5.88 to 1. Tires, 7.50-20, duals in the rear. Electrical systems-Leece-Neville 12 volt, heavy duty generator and dual coils and condensers. Gas system-Two 45 gal. tanks with dual fuel pumps. Brakes, four wheel hydraulic.

“The body is of all steel construction streamlined. Double seats are reclining, on 36 in. centers, allowing maximum leg room. Upholstery is in mohair, with head rests. There is a center seat arm that can be raised entirely out of the way between the two seat backs. Windows are of the raise type fitted for double windows for winter use. Body is completely insulated to eliminate noises and exclude cold. Two large Tropic Aire heaters are used, one front and one rear. A baggage compartment is provided in rear for large or heavy pieces of express or baggage in addition to large suitcases.”

The design of the Kenworth KHO-33 was not patented although it is believed to have been a collaboration between North Coast Trasnportation's George W. Newell and Edwin M. Swift, Heisers' Richard B. Newell (George's son), and Kenworth's John G. Holstrom - hence the Kenworth prefix in the nomenclature. The only patents issued in relation to the project went to Edwin M. Swift and John G. Holstrom. Swift applied for a patent on its electropneumatic gearshift on March 22, 1934 , for which he was awarded US. Patent No. 2035678 on March 31, 1936, assigning a one half interest to George Newell.  Holstrom was awarded a patent for the vehicle’s engine cooling system: US Patent No. 2165795, radiation of heat from centermounted horizontal engines, filed on March 7, 1938, issued to John G. Holstrom on July 11, 1939 and assigned to Kenworth Motor Truck Corp. Holstrom's patent application included a nice side view of a KHO-33 coach.

The June 29, 1934 edition of the Chehalis (Wash.) Bee-Nugget included a picture of a  KHO-33 with the following caption:

“Streamline design is the dominant factor in 1934 transportation construction and this is reflected in the six new stages now being built and placed in service by the North Coast Lines operating between Vancouver, B.C. and Portland, Ore. and connecting with the Greyhound Lines, the Union Pacific Stages and the Washington Motor Coach System for all California and eastern points.

“These new stream line stages were designed and built in Seattle. They have 32 plus upholstered chairs with linen covered head rests, individual lamps; window drapes and improved ventilating and heating facilities. They are powered by Hall-Scott 175 horsepower horizontal motors mounted mid-stage; have air brakes, air clutch and electro pneumatic gear shifts. Construction is such that there is ample enclosed space for baggage of all passengers, and express which is also handled.”

The November 22, 1935 edition of the Chehalis (Wash.) Bee-Nugget states that North Coast Lines had placed two Kenworth KHOs in service on its Vancouver to Portland run:

“New Stage On Display

“With the same spirit of progressiveness, which automotive concerns throughout the country have show in placing their new models on the market, North Coast Lines have just completed two of the 1936 design stages for their run between Vancouver B.B. and Portland. One of these cars was in Chehalis last week and many persons had the opportunity of inspection.

“The bodies are streamline in design painted black and silver top and silver stripe on which are painted in red the names of various cities throughout the United States which are reached by North Coast Lines and their connections, the Greyhound Lines, Union Pacific Stages and Washington Motor Coach System. The streamline front of the car has no radiators and is painted black and silver extending across from below the windshield, and curved to a point at the lower front. The car seats 32 passengers. The interior is finished in gray and is comfortably furnished with blue plus covered chairs with white linen head rests, individual lamps, steam heat, ventilating fans, etc.

“The power plant is the horizontal or ‘pancake’ type motor developing 135 horsepower mounted mid-stage in a separate compartment just forward of the large baggage and express compartments at the rear of the car and under the upper deck near the rear.”.

As construction of the massive, complex and expensive Kenworth-Heiser streamliners dragged on in the shops of Heisers Inc., an extraordinary strain was placed upon its meager finances and in late 1935 Hesiers, Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection.

As it happens Pacific Car & Foundry's Paul Pigott was eager to get into the bus building business and in March of 1936 he agreed to purchase Heisers, Inc.'s bus-building assets and intellectual property for $23,000. The deal made it the largest manufacturer of motor coaches in the Pacific northwest. It also gave Pigott all of the the parts, tooling and engineering drawings needed to complete the remaining KHO coaches then under construction for the North Coast Lines. The acquisition was annocuned to its shareholders in their 1936 annula report which stated:“The field for the manufacture and sale of motor coaches seems to be enlarging...”

When Heiser's had become insolvent, it executed an assignment of its assets for the benefit of creditors to the Seattle Association of Credit Men. Pacific Car's purchase was from the credit association. The contract provided that the association was to realize 50 percent of the profits from Pacific Car's new motor coach division until the end of 1939.

Pacific Car put its new motor coach division in a disused facility at its Renton, Washington plant, and commenced construction of the remaining Kenworth-Heiser KHO motorcoaches using a number of former Heisers employees. They also did a brisk business in school bus bodies, most of which were built on chassis supplied by their Seattle neighbor, Kenworth.

For many years Kenworth's composite truck cabs had been supplied by Heisers, and after the bankruptcy the truckmaker organized its own cab department using a number of former Heisers craftsmen.

Richard B. Newell, Heisers’ body designer at the time of the bankruptcy, did not move to Pacific Car, electing to establish his own coachworks in association with George W. Yost, manager of Seattle’s Suburban Transportation System, and his brother Robert L. Newell, who had been selling bus and truck bodies throughout the Pacific Northwest for Portland, Oregon’s , Wentworth & Irwin.

Tricoach Corp.’s authorized capital was $50,000, composed of 1,000 shares of $50.00 par value stock. Yost, the principal shareholder, held 150 shares, while the Newell brothers held 5 shares each. Robert Newell served as president and sales manager; Richard, vice-president, treasurer and chief engineer; and Yost, secretary. The firm leased a factory located at the corner of Roy and  6th Ave. North (703-705 6th Ave. N., aka 570 Roy St.) which is currently the home of the Ruins party house.

Although it was legislated out of existence in its home state the firm constructed a small number of Yost's patented Tri-coach semi-trailer units for the B.C. Electric Railway of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Central Canadian Greyhound Lines listed a few conventional Kenworth-chassised Tricoach-bodied coaches in their late 1930s roster, most of which had been purchased used from Alberta's Trans Continental Coach and Midland Bus Lines Ltd., their original purchasers

Tricoach's most popular units were their convertible top sightseeing coaches, which were used by tour operators in Washington, Oregon and even Alaska - the Fairbanks-Valdez Bus Line used two 21-passenger 1937 Ford chassised, steel bodied  Tricoach sightseeing buses on a summer-only run from Fairbanks to Valdez. Similar coaches were constructed on Kenworth chassis, one of which survives today. The latter coach wasone of five that transported guests from Seattle's Olympic Hotel and Tacoma's Winthrop Hotel to Mount Rainier from 1937 to 1962. A fleet of 10 Kenworth-Tricoach transit buses equipped with 6-cylinder Leyland Diesel engines were sold to New Westminster, a southern suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia in 1938.

For the next two years Tricoach competed effectively against their giant cross-town rival. Although North Coast Transportation was headed by the Newell brothers' father, he split his contracts for new equipment between both firms - if he needed 6 buses, 3 would come from Tricoach and three from Pacific Car & Foundry. While Tricoach was able to deliver their coaches and make a profit, Pacific Car did not, and this enfuriated Paul Pigott to no end.When news broke that the City of Seattle was planning to replace its existing trolley lines with Diesel buses and trolley coaches, Pacific Car & Foundry's Paul Pigott arranged a meeting with the Newell brothers, to see if they were interested in coming to work for him.

On August 8,1938 Pigott offered the Newell brothers a potentially lucrative opportunity to join Pacific Car and Foundry Co. as managers of a new bus-building subsidiary, Pacific-Tricoach, which would supercede the former Heisers bus-building operations in Renton.

Tricoach's board - essentially Yost and his wife - and shareholders approved the deal, which stipulated that they (the Yosts and the Newell bros.) could not compete against Pacific Car in the bus-building business for the next seven and a half years (the deal expired in 1945). The creation of the Pacific-Tricoach division of Pacific Car & Foundry Co. was announced in the 1939 issue of the SAE Journal:

“Richard L. Newell, formerly chief engineer of the Tricoach Corp., Seattle, Wash., is now chief engineer of the Pacific-Tricoach Division of the Pacific Car & Foundry.”

The Newells whould be in charge of the division which used Tricoach's exisiting equipment which was leased from the Yosts. The brothers started at a monthly salary of $250 a month, plus a share of the division's profits. Pacific Car's only obligation was to supply them with financing and facilities, it was left to the Newells to turn that profit.

With it's Pacific-Tricoach brand school buses and Kenworth-Heiser intercity coaches Pacific Car & Foundry enjoyed a near-monopoly in the Pacific Northwest bus-building field, his only competitor being Portland, Oregon's Wentworth & Irwin. Despite that fact Pacific-Tricoach failed to ear a profit during its first two years in business, but a large order received in late 1939 put the firm into the black. The contract was the result of a $10.2 million dollar Federal loan awarded to the City of Seattle to pay off its loans to Stone & Webster and to help finance an all-new fleet of diesel buses and trackless trolleys.

In November of 1939 Pacific Car's Renton plant commenced construction on the Seattle Transit System's order for 102 Kenworth-based motor buses and 99 ACF-Brill-based trackless trolleys for the Seattle Transit System. Pacific-Tricoach won the contract to produce the vehicle’s coachwork and on April 28, 1940 the first batch of trolleybuses hit the streets, the last streetcar was retired, one year later on April 13, 1941.

The June 4, 1940 issue of the Fairbanks, Alaska Miner mentioned that the Northland Stages had ordered a Tricoach-bodied Dodge:

“New Dodge Trucks and Buses Arrive For Alaska Use

“Due in soon is a new 20-passenger Dodge bus for the Northland Stages… The bus has a Tricoach body mounted on a one-half-ton chassis, and is equipped with the latest type seats and other comforts for the passengers.”

The 1940 US Census continues to list George Newell in the northern Seattle suburb of Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, by this time the 74-yo inventor had retired. Robert L.’s occupation is listed as ‘Dept. Mgr.’ at an ‘Auto Bus Mfr.’ having married his wife Ora (b.1908) in 1930, the blessed union resulting in the birth of two children, Marjorie (b.1931) and Robert J. (b.1938) Newell. Richard B.’s occupation is listed as ‘mechanical engineer’ in the ‘transportation’ industry, the census also including his wife Julia G. and their two children, Richard (b.1933) and Sally Lynn (b.1938) Newell.

Pacific Car served as a subcontractor to Boeing in the buildup to the Second World War, constructing wing subassemblies for the B-17 and B-29 bombers. They also constructed dry docks and steel tugboats during the War at the Everett Pacific Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Other War contracts included ammunition cases, 6x6 trucks for tank retrieval, M-55 self-powered Howitzers and 926 Sherman tanks.

Flush with cash from their lucrative wartime projects, Pacific Car & Foundry acquired their Seattle neighbor, the Kenworth Motor Truck Co., in 1945 - an arrangement that proved beneficial for both parties.

The Newell brothers' contract with Pigott expired at the close of the war at which time they left the employ of Pacific Car and re-established themselves as the Tricoach Company, Inc., relocating to 2730 Fourth Ave. South, Seattle where they embarked upon the sales and distribution of Kenworth school and transit coaches.

In late 1946 the Newell brothers decided to get into the bus sales and distribution business, constructing a new $200,000 building at 2724-2730 4th Ave. South, Seattle designed by architect Max van House and constructed by W. G. Clark, contractors. The front two-story section of the building fronting on 4th Ave. served as an office and showroom while the back, covered by a series of bow trusses, contained bays for working on the buses. Signage included a streamlined Art Deco marquee over the main entryway, with the word ‘BUSES’ and a vertical blade sign above with the word ‘TRICOACH.’ The grand opening was announced in a 1947 issue of Western Trucking as follows:

“New Bus Distributor's Plant Opens

“The new $200,000 building of Tricoach Company, Inc., in Seattle, who were recently appointed distributors of Kenworth buses and trackless trolleys. The Tricoach Company, Incorporated, has opened its new, modernly equipped headquarters, built at a cost of approximately $200,000, at 2730 4th Ave, South, Seattle. Concurrently with Tricoach’s move to the new quarters, Kenworth Motor Truck Corporation announced that the Tricoach Company had been appointed distributors for Kenworth’s specially engineered buses and trackless trolleys in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Western Montana, Western Canada and Alaska.

“At the same time, officials of Pacific Car and Foundry Company of Renton, Washington, revealed that the Tricoach Company has been awarded the contract for the distribution of Pacific-Tricoach school bus bodies, which can be mounted on any make chassis. For most of its twelve years of business life in this area, the Tricoach Company has been closely associated with Pacific Car and Foundry Company.

“In addition to the distribution of buses and bus bodies, the firm is also offering complete facilities for renovating and repairing of all types of bus bodies, and the new building is well-equipped for this type of work. Headed by Robert L. Newell, president, and Richard B. Newell, vice-president and general manager, the Tricoach Company is staffed by key personnel who have been with the corporation since its founding. They include David Taylor, secretary; Walter Kolb, general superintendent; Evan Prichard, is in charge of engineering, and Phil Thompson, sales.”

In late 1948 Tricoach Co. became the Washington distributor for Lima, Ohio's Superior Coach, the October 31, 1948 issue of the Lima News (OH) reporting:

“Superior Adds 40th Distributor; Seattle Concern Latest On List

“Appointment of the Tricoach Co., 2730 Fourth-av, South, Seattle, Wash., as the Superior Coach Corp's. school and passenger bus distributor for Northwestern Washington, was announced Saturday by J. H. Shields, president of the Lima firm.

“The latest addition to Superior's growing distributor organization brings the total to 40 in the United States. There are six other organizations representing Superior in foreign countries. Of this number, 31 organizations are merchandisers of Superior products exclusively, while the other organizations distribute and sell other automotive or truck equipment. As many as 250 persons are employed by the 46 companies for the sale and service of Superior funeral coaches, ambulances, school buses and passenger buses.

“EACH DISTRIBUTOR is a recognized transportation authority in his state and as such, works closely with state school authorities in the furtherance of safe pupil transportation.

“Tricoach was organized in 1934 to manufacture motor coach bodies. In 1938 it merged with the Pacific Car Foundry Co. at Renton, Wash., to form the Pacific Tricoach division of the Pacific Car and Foundry Co. This merger continued until 1946.

“During the war this company built tank recovery units and wing spars for B-17's and B-29's. At the close of the war, the company relocated in Seattle as a distributor of competitive school and passenger buses until its affiliation with Superior this month.”

The 1948 Seattle directory lists Richard as vice-president of Tricoach Corp. and Air Metals Inc. and Robert L as president of Tricoach Corp and Air Metals Inc. Air Metals Inc.’ listing: R.L. Newell, pres.; R.B. Newell, v-pres.-treas.; W.L. Castle, v-pres.; D.P. Taylor, sec. – Mfrs., 2730 4th Ave S. (same address as Tricoach Corp.) The Newells and William L. Castle, a former Boeing metalworker, founded Air Metals Inc. to supply Boeing with tooling and metal components and subassemblies. Although their office was located at Tricoach, the Air Metal Inc. factory was located in Everett, Washington, at Paine Field.

In 1951 Tricoach relocated to a new structure located at 2401 Airport Way, Seattle, their main line being the distribution, sales and service of Superior school buses in the Pacific Northwest. Richad B. Newell (who started his career at Hall-Scott) left in the early 1950s, taking a position with Cummins as vice-president of its Seattle branch, Cummins Diesel Sales of Washington. In 1955 he became president of Cummins’ Alaskan distributor, Cummins Diesel Sales of Alaska, Inc., with headquarters on East 5th St., Anchorage, a branch in Ketchikan and an office in Seattle, Washington.

A 1955 issue of Western Construction announced that Tricoach had become the Washington state distributor of Heil tanks and truck equipment:

“Tricoach Handles Heil Equipment

“The Tricoach Company was recently appointed to handle the complete Heil line of equipment. At a new location at 3407 Airport Way, Seattle, Wash., Tricoach is headed by Pat Sullivan, manager.”

The new plant, located about 1/2 mile south of the Superior service center was located in a large industrial park which also housed the Seattle factory branch of the Buda Engine & Equipment Co.

A 1956 issue of Bus Transportation pictured a period photo of one of their dad's deck-and-a-half coaches reminding its readers that it pre-dated the mid-50s Scenic Cruisers by two-and-a-half decades:

“Looking Back: An Early Deck and a Half

“As a way of showing 'there's nothing new under the sun' here's the prototype of today's deck and a half bus. Termed then Newell coaches, after the inventor of the body style, George Newell, the buses featured lots of legroom and a fine view of the road. This particular bus body was mounted on a Fageol chassis… was operated, as the sign says, by the Pacific Northwest Traction Co. Newell, who worked for Northcoast Transportation Co., saw his design grew in popularity on the West Coast. The design got nowhere on a national basis until relatively recently.”

The Newell brothers retired after the passing of 75-year-old Robert L. Newell on June 1, 1974. His younger brother Richard B. Newell passed away on January 1, 1981 at the age of 74.

Tricoach Corp's plant at 703 6th Ave. is currently the home of The Ruins party house, and the Tricoach Co.'s plant at 2730 4th Ave., South is currently the home of Cabinets & Granite and a Budget Rent-A-Truck depot. Their third plant, 2401 Airport Way, is currently the home of Duke's Truck Rental.

© 2014 Mark Theobald for

Appendix 1:

In 1925 George Newell and Edwin M. Swift applied for a patent on a deck-and-a-half ‘passenger coach’ which became known as the Newell Coach. Both men were employees of the North Coast Transportation Company of Seattle, Washington. The patent application was filed on September 17, 1925 and the partners were awarded U.S. Patent No. 1596212 on August 17, 1926.

The text of the application as awarded follows:

“Passenger Coach

“Our invention relates to improvements in bodies for passenger coaches and the object of our invention is to provide a passenger coach having toward the front end the usual main passenger compartment and at the rear end, a passenger compartment that is elevated above said main compartment to afford a baggage compartment there below and to make possible the provision of an observation window or win shield at the front of said elevated rear compartment and above the level of the roof of said main compartment.

“Another object is to provide, in a passenger coach, an elevated smoking compartment that may be in open communication with the main compartment without permitting any substantial amount of smoke to enter the main compartment. Other and more specific objects will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.

“In the drawings Figure 1 is a view in side elevation of a passenger coach constructed in accordance with our invention. Fig. 2 is a view in longitudinal mid-section of the same. Figure 3 is a view in cross section of the same on a larger 7 scale substantially on broken line 33 of Fig. 2. Fig. 4 is a view in rear elevation of the coach.

“Like reference numerals designate like parts throughout the several views.

“This passenger coach is designed especially for use on motor busses but may be used on rail vehicles if desired.

“The extensive use of motor busses for transporting passengers has created a demand for passenger coaches or bodies for said busses that will afford a maximum seating capacity for passengers; that will afford the best possible observation facilities for the passengers; that will afford smoking compartment facilities and that will enable the bus driver to care for the baggage of the passengers.

“The problem of taking care of the baggage presents grave difficulties that are overcome in our present construction in such a manner as to add to, rather than detract from the desirable features of a passenger coach. Heretofore it has been customary to carry the baggage on the top or roof of the coach where it is difficult of access, is liable to fall off and tends to make the vehicle top heavy, or to carry such baggage in-boxes or receptacles secured to the rear of the coach body, which arrangement has proved to be 60 unsatisfactory for the reason that the receptacles are unsightly and are in the Way. The present invention obviates these difficulties and at the same time affords a very desirable passenger compartment which may be used as an observation or as a smoking compartment, or both, and which affords a view to the front of the vehicle through a window located above the top of the main passenger compartment.

“In the drawings 5 designates a vehicle body having a forward compartment 6 provided with a floor 7 and a roof 8 and having a rear compartment 10 located above said forward compartment and provided with a floor 11 and a roof 12 elevated above the respective floor and roof of the forward compartment 6.

“Seats 13 are provided along each side of each compartment to leave an aisle there between and steps 14 and 15 are provided in said aisle at the junction of said two compartments, the lower step 14 preferably being forward of the wall 16 that forms the rear end of the forward compartment and the upper steps 15 being recessed within the floor 11 of the rear compartment so that a person may step directly from said upper step into the aisle of the rear compartment or may step sidewise from said upper step onto the floor in front of the foremost seat at either side of the rear compartment.

“The floor 11 of the rear compartment is preferably elevated to a level approximately half way between the floor and roof of the forward compartment and the floor 7 of the forward compartment is allowed to extend to the rear end of the coach body thus forming between said two floors 7 and 11 a relatively large and spacious baggage compartment 17 to which access may be had through doors 18. The floor 7 is necessarily cut away to provide room for Wheel housings and for the necessary mechanical working parts of the truck chassis on which the coach body is mounted. I

“The roof 12 of the rear compartment is elevated above the roof 8 of the main compartment sufficient for clearance or head room for the passenger and sufficient to afford, at the forward end of said roof an observation window or windshield 20 through which the passengers in the seats of the rear compartment may obtain a clear view out over the roof to the front of the vehicle. Side windows 21 and rear windows 22 are also provided in the rear compartment 10. The front observation window is an important feature of the invention as it adds greatly to the enjoyment of the passengers by increasing their range of vision and making it possible .for them to see out in every direction.

“The elevation of the rear compartment floor 11 raises the eyes of the passengers who occupy the rear seats high enough so that they can readily see out of the front observation window 20.

“When the rear compartment is used for a smoking room the fact that it is higher than the forward compartment will ordinarily prevent any substantial amount of the smoke from entering the forward compartment thus obviating the necessity of separating, the two compartments by a partition as is ordinarily done thereby tending to lessen the weight and to economize on the cost of construction of the passenger coach. The windows 21 of the rear compartment are preferably arranged to' be lowered. and, if-desired, ventilators may be provided in the roof 12.

“The baggage compartment 17 is low and readily accessible and the weight of the baggage therein tends to lower the center of gravity of the truck body and offset the effect of elevating the passengers in the rear compartment.

“The foregoing description and accompanying drawings clearly disclose a preferred embodiment of our invention but it will be understood that this disclosure is merely illustrative and that such changes in the invention may be resorted to as are within the scope and spirit of the following claims.

“We claim 1 In a passenger coach, a body having a main passenger compartment located toward the forward end, and another passenger compartment located toward the rear end and communicating with said main compartment, the floor of said rear compartment being elevated substantially midway be passenger compartment, and said body having a baggage receptacle formed below said floor of said rear passenger compartment. 2. In a passenger coach body having a lower passenger compartment located toward the forward end and a higher pas- 6o tween the floor and ceiling of said main passenger compartment located toward the rear end, the floor of said rear compartment being in a plane substantially mid way between the floor and roof of said forward compartment.”

Appendix 2

Vehicle - US Patent No.1964778, Filed on Jan 30, 1933 issued to George W. Yost on July 3, 1934

VEHICLE Filed Jan. 30, 1933 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR GEORGE YOST. Patented July 3, 1934 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE 5 Claims.

“This invention relates to motor vehicles and it has reference more particularly to improvements in the construction of vehicles of the truck and trailer type whereby the truck and trailer 5 are united in a unit vehicle, and wherein the body structure of the trailing vehicle has a pivotal supporting connection, at its forward end, With the truck and is so arranged as to include within it the vehicle operator and all of the 1 operating control devices of the vehicle.

“It is the principal object of this invention to provide a vehicle of the above character that is especially designed as a passenger vehicle, or bus, wherein the driver, or operator, is located within the bus body and directly in contact with the passengers; it being understood, however, that the vehicle is not to be limited to use of a passenger carrying vehicle.

“It is also an object of the invention to provide a vehicle of the above stated type of construction which permits of an easy disconnection of the trailer body from the truck or power unit when it is desired to make a change of bodies.

“Another object of this invention is to provide a construction embodying a novel fifth wheel connection between the truck or power unit and the trailing body, which permits of sharp turning.

“It is also an object to support the driver’s seat from the truck frame so that, in turning, his position remains constant relative to the truck and the control devices.

“Another object of this invention is to provide a supporting trackway on which the driver’s seat M may travel during the turning operation. 35 Still other objects of the invention reside in the details of construction and combination of parts, especially with respect to the novel features of the pivotal connection between the trailer and truck, and the details of construction embodied in the forward end construction of the trailing vehicle.

“In accomplishing these and other objects of the invention, I have provided the improved de- P tails of construction, the preferred forms of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein Fig. 1 is a side view, partly in section, of a motor vehicle embodying the present invention, a part being broken away for better illustration.

“Fig. 2 is a top, or plan View, of the same, partly in section for better illustration.

“Fig. 3 is a sectional detail of a part of the seat and its supporting rail.

“Fig. 4 is a plan view of the power unit or truck, showing the fifth wheel assembly as applied thereto. 1

“Fig. 5 is a side and partial sectional detail of the fifth wheel mechanism.

“Fig. 6 is a cross section as on line 6-6 in i Fig. 5. Referring more in detail to the drawings The present vehicle, as illustrated best in Fig. 1, comprises a truck or power unit 1 and a trailer or passenger unit 2. The truck may comprise the usual automobile chassis, provided with front steering wheels 3, and rear driving wheels 4. The vehicle engine may be of the usual form and location as indicated at 5 in Fig. 1 and it is operatively connected by shaft 6 with the driving axle 7 of the wheels 4.

“The chassis of the truck 1 comprises the longitudinal, opposite side beams 88 and these are joined just forwardly of the rear wheels, by a pair of parallel, spaced beams 9 and 10, which, as seen best in Fig. 5, mount the fifth wheel mechanism 11 which connects the forward end of the trailer with the truck.

“This fifth Wheel mechanism consists of a circular base 12 formed with a peripheral base flange 13 through which bolts 14 are extended to attach it rigidly to a plate 15 that overlies and is rigidly fastened to the cross beams 910. This base is in the form of a vertically disposed cylinder, closed at its top end by an integral, horizontal wall 16 and is formed with a peripheral flange 17,'the outer top edge of which is beveled oil as at 18.

“A ring 19 is disposed about this base and revolves freely on the beveled portion and it is held against possible upward displacement by a ring 20 that 9'9 is fixed to its under side by bolts 21 tounderlie the flange 1'? of the base member.

“Mounted at diametrically opposite points of the ring 19, in the longitudinal direction or" the vehicle, are trunnions 24 and 24' on which a horizontally disposed yoke 25 of oval form is pivotally mounted. As seen best in Fig. 5, the yoke 25 has openings 26 there through for reception of the trunnions and in which bushings 27-27 are projected from opposite sides and these bushings are mounted on the trunnions, which are treaded at the rear 19. Nuts 28 are threaded onto the outer ends of the trunnions to retain the parts in assembled relation.

“At its opposite sides, the yoke is provided with laterally extending trunnions 3030 as seen in Fig. 6, on which pads 31-31' are rotatably mounted for the support thereon of the forward end of the trailer body.

“The trailer body, as seen best in Figs. 1 and 2, is designed for the carrying of passengers, and to accommodate it to this use it is set low to the ground. It may comprise the usual bus body construction, and be of any desired length. At its rear end this body is supported by wheels 34 on a cross axle 35. At its forward end the floor is stepped up to overlie the rear end of the truck chassis, and, at this end the frame structure of the bus includes two parallel floor supporting beams 36-36 which, as seen in Fig. 2, rest upon and are secured to the pads 31-31.

“With this arrangement, the trailer body is kept clear of the truck chassis, and by reason of the fifth wheel construction the truck may be turned at a right angle to the longitudinal direction of the trailer. Also, the trailer unit may pivot on the transversely aligned trunnions 30-30 and the yoke may likewise pivot on the longitudinally aligned trunnions 24-24. Thus, a universal connection is provided which eliminates any possibility of twist or strain on the two units by reason of operation over uneven surfaces or sharp turning.

“To provide for controlling operation of the vehicle from within the bus body, the various control devices, such as the steering column 40, gear shift lever 41 of the transmission mechanism, brake and clutch pedals 42 and 43 are extended upwardly through suitable openings provided therefor in the top plate 16 of the base 12. Also, there is a seat supporting arm 45 hingedly attached to the plate 16 and extended rearward, as seen in Fig. 1,. .where it is rigidly attached to the seat 46. This seat is provided with supporting rollers 47, as seen in Fig. 3, operable along an arcuate supporting rail 48 fixed to the floor of the trailer. Thus, the rail is curved about the axial line of the fifth wheel as a center, and when a turn is made, the seat simply travels along the rail to maintain its alinement with the truck and its proper relation with the various control devices. As is seen in Fig. 1, the floor 51 of the forward end of the trailer has an opening 52 coinciding with the base 15 for passage of the various control devices.

“With the vehicle so constructed, it is possible to utilize, with slight alteration, any standard truck as a power unit, and it is possible to apply bus bodies of various capacities to this power unit.

“A change of bus bodies is made by simply disconnecting at the fifth wheel mechanism.

“Having thus described my invention, what I claim as new therein and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

“1. A vehicle of the character described comprising a truck including propulsion and steering equipment, and a frame structure, a trailer body having wheel at its rear end and having its forward end overlying the truck frame, and a draft connection between the truck frame and trailer body comprising a base fixed to the truck frame, a ring fitted for rotation on the base about an upright axis, a yoke enclosing the ring and having pivotal supporting connection therewith at diametrically opposite sides of the ring, and trunnions on the yoke in an alinement at right angles to the alinement of the first pivots and pivotally supporting the overlying end of the trailer body, and controls for said propulsion and steering equipment mounted on said base within the ring and extended into the trailer body.

“2. A vehicle of the character described comprising a truck including propulsion and steering equipment and a frame structure, and a trailer body having wheels at its rear end and disposed with its forward end overlying the said frame structure, a fifth wheel connection between the truck and trailed body comprising a circular base member rigidly fixed upon the truck frame, a horizontally disposed ring rotatably fitted on the base, and having diametrically aligned trunnions extending therefrom toward front and rear ends of the truck, a yoke encircling the ring and pivotally attached to said trunnions, said yoke having trunnions extended from opposite sides thereof in alinement at right angles to the first trunnions and pads pivotally mounted on the yoke trunnions and mounting the overlying end of the trailer body and control means for the vehicle mounted on said circular base within the ring and extended into the trailer body and connected below the base to the propulsion and steering equipment.

“3. A vehicle of the character described comprising a truck including propulsion and steering equipment, a trailer body having wheels at its rear end and, a fifth wheel connection between the truck and trailer body at its forward end comprising a hollow upright base member fixed rigidly to the truck, a ring fixed on said base for rotative movement axially thereon, a yoke enclosing the ring and pivotally attached thereto at diametrically opposite sides, trunnions on the yoke transversely aligned relative to those on the ring, means supporting the trailer body from the latter trunnions, said trailer body having a floor opening registering with the said base member, and said truck having control devices mounted to extend into the trailer body through said hollow base and floor opening.

“4. A vehicle as in claim 3 having an operators seat within the truck body and having a supporting connection with said base through the floor opening.

“5. A vehicle of the character described comprising a truck including propulsion and steering equipment and a frame structure, a trailer body having wheels at its rear end and disposed with its forward end overlying said frame structure, a fifth wheel construction between the truck and trailer body comprising a circular hollow base member rigidly fixed upon the truck frame, a ring rotatably fitted on the base, means pivotally connecting the trailer body at its forward end to the ring, control devices for the truck extended into the trailer body through the hollow base member, a seat within the trailer body having a supporting beam hingedly attached to the base member and a supporting rail, on which the seat may travel, mounted in the trailer body and curved arcuately about the axis of the fifth wheel mechanism.”







The Kenworth Tradition, 1973, Seattle, the Kenworth Motor Truck Company.

Doug Siefkes - Kenworth: The First 75 Years, pub. 1998

Rice, Gini, Relics of the Road, Vol. II, Keen Kenworths, 1915-1955, 1971, Lake Grove OR, Truck Traks.

Bagley, Clarence B., History of King County, Vol. I, 1929, Chicago, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.

Pacific Northwest Traction Company--North Coast Lines, Interurbans Press Special No. No. 7, Vol. 7 No. 1, June, 1949, Los Angeles, Interurbans.

Walt Crowley - Routes: A Brief History of Public Transportation in Metropolitan Seattle, pub. 1993

Robert C. Wing - A Century of Service: The Puget Power Story, pub. 1987

Richard C. Berner - Seattle: 1921-1940, pub. 1992

Cheri Ryan, Kevin K. Stadler - Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway, pub. 2010

Ira L. Swett - Pacific Northwest Traction Company (North Coast Lines) Interurbans Special No. 7, pub. 1960

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