Uhlenhaut Brothers Wagon Co. was founded by two American-born
brothers of German descent, William A.F. (Andrew Frederick) Uhlenhaut &
Henry H. Uhlenhaut. Their father, Heinrich Hermann Uhlenhaut was born in
Braunschweig, Lower Saxony (Germany) in 1806. Apprenticed to a carpenter he
relocated to Oldenburg where he became a master carpenter, marrying a local
girl named Elisabeth Swaine (b. 1821, Oldenburg, Lower Saxony). The pair
saved up their money and emigrated to the United States sometime prior to
1858. They established a residence in Caseyville, Illinois, just 15 miles
east of St. Louis, Missouri, where Heinrich found steady employment as a
carpenter and cabinetmaker. While in Caseyville the union was blessed with
the birth of two children, Henry H. (b.1858/59) and Wilhelm A.F. (b. Nov. 5,
The president of the firm, Wilhelm (aka William) Andrew Frederick
Uhlenhaut was born in Caseyville, St. Clair County, Illinois, on November 5,
1860. Educated in the Caseyville public schools through 1876, he was
apprenticed to a number of southern Illinois carriage builders for the next
two years, completing his apprenticeship at the Kimball Carriage Works, in
St Louis, Missouri. He enrolled in that city's Herdicks Technical Carriage
Drafting School in 1878 during which time he was employed by the Yeckel
Carriage Co. as a body builder. He completed his course of study in 1882 by
which time he had been hired as a foreman (1881) with Herman H. Bothe, a
position he kept until forming his own firm in 1889.
An 1887 description of Bothe's operation follows:
"H.H. Bothe.—Manufacturer of Omnibuses, Street Cars, Express, Mail and
Business Wagons New York Trucks, Etc.; 1317, 1319 and 1321 North Ninth
street.— This large and prosperous manufacturing establishment has been
successfully conducted since 1876 when it was started by Mr. Bothe. The
extensive premises, 100x150 feet, occupied by the factory, which is two
stories in height, are completely equipped with all necessary plant and
machinery and give employment to a force of from fifty to sixty skilled and
experienced workmen. Here are manufactured omnibuses, street cars, express,
mail, stake, baggage, grocers', cracker, dry goods, delivery, beer and
pleasure wagons, New York trucks, etc. Mr. Bothe manufactures all the wagons
and does all the repairing for the Pacific Express Co., has large orders
from the American Express Co., Chicago, and made the large vans for the
Cruttwell Storage and Moving Co., and the New York Storage Warehouse and
Furniture Company of this city. He makes all kinds of heavy work and in all
his departments the vehicles turned out by him are acknowledged to be
first-class in every respect, and never fail to give satisfaction to his
customers. His trade is very large and extends West, North and South to all
States and Territories."
Little is known about his older brother, Henry H. Uhlenhaut, who ran the
firms smithworks and served as Secretary. Born in 1858/1859 in Caseyville,
Illinois (d. June 5, 1944), the 1880 US Census lists his occupation as
The two brothers established their partnership, Uhlenhaut Brothers, in
1889, incorporating it as Uhlenhaut Bros. Wagon Company in 1906. An 1890
inspection by the State of Missouri Bureau of Labor revealed that the
brother's plant encompassed 7,500 sq. ft. and employed 18 hands. The report
lists 45 carriage and wagon factories active in St. Louis at that time.
Municipal records indicate the firm sold two hauling wagons to the St.
Louis Fire Dept. in July of 1896 at a total cost of $525 and also exhibited
at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition where they were awarded a premium for a tea
and coffee wagon. On May 5, 1903 William A.F. Uhlenhaut was awarded US
Patent No. 727,498, for a "cabinet attachment for milk-wagons", originally
filed on December 3, 1902.
The firm manufactured various wagons and truck bodies for the region's
numerous fired departments, one of which was featured in the April 15, 1908
issue of the Horseless Age:
"St. Louis Salvage Corps' Motor Wagon.
"We show herewith a motor wagon recently placed in service by the
Underwriters' Salvage Corps, of St. Louis. It is built on a 40 horse power
Locomobile chassis, and the body was designed by John Glanville, chief of
the Underwriters' Salvage Corps, and built by Uhlenhaut Brothers, wagon
makers, of St. Louis. The car carries twenty-seven tarpaulins or covers;
eight men, two sitting in the front seat, two on each side seat, and two in
the rear. There are five covers carried in each compartment in the rear,
five covers carried in each compartment on the side, and there are two
covers used for seat cushions, one on each side seat. On each side is
carried a 2 1/2 gallon Babcock chemical extinguisher. In the basket are
carried eight squilgee rubbers complete with handles, two brooms and two
shovels. Over the basket there are four 6 foot ladders. These ladders are so
arranged that they can be extended to two 11 foot ladders, or to one 21 foot
ladder. There are two lanterns carried on the car, one on each side, and
there is a tail light back of the basket. The bell on the car weighs 35
pounds, and is operated by a strap attached to the clapper, the bell itself
remaining stationary. The gasoline tank is filled through a deck plate
immediately under the bell. The transmission is filled and the running brake
is adjusted by taking the floor boards out of the covered box on either
side. The floor board is removable on either side, which gives ready access
to the entire transmission. All the iron work on the body is composed of
hand forgings, and is not brass plated, but covered with regular brass
sheeting and brazed together. The gasoline tank holds 10 gallons. The actual
weight of the car with eight men is 6,650 pounds. Each of the twenty-seven
covers weighs 40 pounds.
"One of the cuts shows a rear view with the three compartments open. It
will be noticed that the covers rest on a board that operates on rollers,
and there will also be seen a handle on this board, whereby five covers are
pulled out at once."
A small item included in the October, 1915 issue of the Hub indicated
they were well known for their patent milk cabinets and wagons:
"UHLENHAUT WAGON CO. REPORTS BETTER BUSINESS
"Better business than this time last year is reported by the Uhlenhaut
Bros.' Wagon Co., automobile bodies and business wagon manufacturers, and
according to an official of the company, indications are for big business in
the future. The firm, which was organized in 1889 as a co-partnership and
incorporated in 1906, does repairing, painting and trimming of automobiles
and wagons as well as makes patent milk cabinets. At the time of
incorporation, W. A. F. Uhlenhaut was elected president. Mr. Uhlenhaut, who
has conducted the business since its establishment, also is manager.
"The Uhlenhaut Co. was awarded a premium for designing and building a
wagon for a prominent local tea and coffee concern the World's Fair year.
Several years ago the company built the largest bottle beer wagon then in
St. Louis for a large brewery."
For a number of years William served as President of St Louis' Carriage
and Wagon Builders' Club. The firm's listing in Ware Bros. 1921 Vehicle Year
"Uhlenhaut Bros. Wagon Co. 1322-24 Merchant St. Wm. A.F, Uhlenhaut,.
pres., treas., gen'l mgr. and pur. agt.; H.H. Uhlenhaut, sec."
By that time the brothers were ready to retire and their 1322-24 Merchant
St. factory was purchased by Jenkin-Guerin Inc., a lubricant distributor
that remains in business today. The original factory is gone, having been
demolished to make way for the St. Louis Gateway Arch.
William A. F. Uhlenhaut died April 16, 1944 at the age of 83. His partner
and older brother, Henry H. Uhlenhaut, followed him 6 weeks later on June 5,
1944, aged 85.
© 2004 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com