from Page 1
A follow-up advertisement appeared in the
Journal’s October 8, 1927 issue:
“Versare Interprets the Convention's
Message, Meeting the
requirements of better transportation in the great majority of American
“Comfort - Capacity - A ‘happy medium’
“The VERSARE Six-Wheel Rail Unit:
1. Weighs only 13,500 lbs.
2. Built entirely of Duralumin and light
3. Four wheel, single motor automotive type
drive bogey in
rear. Two wheel automotive type single motor drive axle in front.
Versare Equalizer — floating ease in riding.
4. All body sections interchangeable with
standard replacement units. Drive truck and motors removable complete
in half an
5. High speed with safety.
6. Maximum passenger capacity with
exceptional comfort. 32 seated, 32 standing.
7. Silent operation.
8. Westinghouse Standard Motors, control and
safety air brake equipment. Internal band brakes.
9. Highest quality standard equipment
“The Versare Six-Wheel Highway Unit:
1. No chassis.
2. Duralumin rigid truss construction in
accordance with railroad practice.
3. Body maintenance practically eliminated.
4. Unit Power Plant mounted at rear. Quickly
removable without crane.
5. Radiator and fan units separate from
power plant. Easily removed from side of body.
6. No engine heat, oil or gas fumes can
7. Body built of interchangeable units
identical with those of the eight-wheel vehicle.
8. Versare Hercules - Westinghouse gas
electric drive. Two 33-hp. vehicle traction type motors.
9. Turning circle of 56 feet.
10. Electric brake. Westinghouse air service
brakes and mechanical emergency brake.
11. Versare Patented Equalizer at rear drive
axles — floating ease in riding.
“Details of VERSARE design that form the
basis of a NEW standard in operating economy.
“How Versare engineers have practically
eliminated body maintenance.
“At least one installation of Versare
has completed between 125 and 150 thousand miles of service with
body maintenance of any kind.
“Transportation men will agree that this is
a record. How has it been accomplished?
“Briefly, Versare engineers have developed
and perfected an
entirely new method of body building based on the girder-like truss
construction well-known to railway designers. Both the rail and highway
are built of standard interchangeable sections under this plan, and by
use of the most recent developments in light-weight Duralumin alloys it
been possible to use sections of generous proportions while drastically
reducing the total weight of the structure.
“Versare Units in service immediately strike
the observer as
being perfectly rigid. The usual rattles and squeaks do not develop.
and doors operate smoothly and quietly after years of running. There
indeed, practically no depreciation as at present understood, and even
the vehicle is finally written off the books, the Duralumin commands an
excellent scrap price.
“VERSARE CORPORATION Albany, N. Y.”
The prototype entered testing during the
summer of 1927 and
the first production coach was delivered to the Grand Rapids Railway
Grand Rapids, Michigan in November of 1927 (although it’s unknown if
further coaches were ordered by the firm).
The December, 1927 issue of the Electric
reported that the new coach had been developed by the Grand Rapids
president, Louis J. DeLamarter, and Versare over a two-year period,
the fact was curiously never mentioned by Versare.
The following full-page Versare Corp.
in the May 5, 1928 issue of the Electric Railway Journal:
“The successful performance of Versare
Highway Units under
practically every operating condition in New York, Boston, Montreal,
elsewhere evidences the sound engineering and fine construction
in these Units.
“They enable electric railway companies and
subsidiaries to tap
territories and maintain schedules in crowded city traffic and
stretches of interurban highways.
convenience, comfort and safety are important factors
in holding the good will of the traveling public and increasing
patronage. All space is utilized with ample capacity for 37 seated
passengers and 37 standees. Seats are wide and comfortable.
Features that appeal to passengers are absence of engine fumes,
noise, wide doors, low steps, unobstructed view, convenient
push-buttons, separate entrance and exit doors, and various other
refinements, add to the appeal.
“The Versare Six-Wheel Highway Unit makes
efficient use of the
tinv ving, comfort-providing 'circulating load.'
“The rear cross seat above engine. Notice
that this is normal and comfortable in height. Orasti insulation,
against noise, heat, and fumes, precludes any trouble from
“Side view of Versare frame, showing
construction, extruded side posts, and wheel housings. This
entire fabric is of Duralumin and Aluminum. Rear view of Versare
engine mounting and heavy channels affording protection at corners.
When engine is
installed this channeling extends clear across the back behind the
“Particularly pleasing to the experienced
engineer is the rigid,
trussed girder construction of the Versare body. It follows the design
strongest modern bridges, securing utmost rigidity and
“The body framework is sectionalized. Should
damage occur entire
units are easily replaced without dismantling the rest of the
“The girders, angles and castings are made of
Duralumin - light, yet
enormously strong; comparable to finest steel; and so extensively used
in dirigibles. The side posts are of extruded Duralumin with
a tensile strength of 55,000 lbs. Panels, and housings are Aluminum.
“The 125 hp. gas-electric power unit is the
with quick pick-up, extraordinary hill climbing ability under full load
fast. The power equipment is in the rear, well protected and very
“Showing engine installed and manner in which
panel lifts up for
inspection or removal. The fact that Versare Highway Units have covered
miles without one dollar expense for body maintenance speaks volumes
Versare Unit construction.
Engine: Heavy duty 6 cylinder 25 hp.
Electrical Equipment: Versare-Westinghouse Type 177 generator; two
Versare-Westinghouse 33 hp.
vehicle type motors; Westinghouse standard vehicle control
Brakes: Westinghouse Air on four wheels. Mechanical hand brakes on two
for electric braking in emergency.
Axles: Versare-Eaton, both front and rear. Patented Versare
on rear truck.
Wheels: Van Type 728.
Body: Duralumin truss construction.
Doors: Front, 36 in. duplex outward folding. Rear, 29 in.
outward folding with or without Automatic Treadle control.
Length: #1 48 ft. overall. Wheel-base 180 in. #2 29 ft. 11 in.
wheelbase / 195 in.
Width: 8 ft. overall. Aisle width 21 in. at seat base. 24 in. at
Height: 9 ft. overall. Headroom 6 ft. 6 in.
Turning Circle: 56 ft. – 59 ft.
“We will gladly tell you more about this
vehicle on request.
Versare Corporation Albany, N. Y.
“Side view of rear truck showing the Versare
which distributes road shocks over four springs and achieves 'floating
ease in riding.
“Plan view of rear truck showing arrangement of
and their method of suspension in trunnions.
“Westinghouse power plant. Smooth, quiet and
more powerful to
give highway speed and snappy pickup. This is in position of mounting.
extreme accessibility of all vital parts.”
The May 16, 1928 editon of the Decatur Daily Review
included a description of one of the handful
of Versare eight-wheel buses that were delivered to Midwest operators:
“Shurtleff Girls Traveled In Big Eight Wheel
“The latest thing in motor bus
transportation, an eight
wheeled bus, thirty-five feet long, was used in bringing the Shurtleff
Girls' Glee club to Decatur for the performance, at the First Baptist
Monday night. The power is distributed equally between the front and
trucks, the rear wheels of each set transmitting the power. It is
four-wheel brakes, two brakes being on the rear front wheels and two on
rear wheels of the rear four. In turning, both front and rear wheels
using the principle embodied in street cars. Accommodations for thirty
are furnished by the huge vehicle, which, at the radiator cap, stands
than the top of an ordinary passenger car.”
Albany’s United Traction Company operated at
least 1 Versare
on its Western Avenue line and placed orders for three more, the
1928 issue of Electric Railway Journal reporting:
“The Capital Traction Company, controlled by
the United Traction
Company, Albany, N.Y., has applied to the Public Service Commission for
authority to issue notes for the purchase of three Versare Electric
for use in the operation of its Troy Bus Line.”
Other 6-wheeled Versares were purchased by
transportation companies in Queens, Montreal, Boston, Cleveland,
Salt Lake City and perhaps additional cities. Production of the firm’s
type is estimated to be somewhere around 50-60 coaches (I could
units using the resources available to me, not including the
advertisements touting reorders from Montreal and Boston (Keith Marvin
believes the number was closer
Apparently Grand Rapids was not the only
city working with
Versare, another ‘prototype’ was placed on the streets of Salt Lake
at about the same time as the Grand Rapids coach.
The largest user of Verare 6-wheeled coaches
was the Surface
Transportation Corp. of New York City who operated 28 Versare and
Versare/Cincinnati coaches in the Bronx, the sale was reported in the
& Finance section of the January 20, 1928 issue of the New
"SIX-WHEEL BUSES FOR BRONX LINES; Third
Announces Ninety-two of This Type Have Been Ordered. OUTLINES FULL
Than $1,000,000 to Be Spent for Vehicles for Use on New Routes, It Says.
“Following approval by the Board of Estimate
of the plans
and specifications for buses to be used in the Bronx by the Surface
Transportation Corporation, W.E. Huff. President of the Third Avenue
Company, of which the bus corporation is a subsidiary, announced
company’s plans for bus service under its franchise award.
“More than a million dollars, Mr. Huff said,
would be spent
for buses in the Bronx, four types of which will be used. Contracts
made with the Six-Wheel Company for twenty-six double-deck and
single-deck buses of the six-wheel type; with the Versare Corporation
twenty-eight six-wheel gas-electric single deck buses and with the
& Foundry Company for fourteen single-deck buses of the dual-wheel
The work of manufacturing these buses in underway and they will be
operation immediately after delivery.
“Mr. Huff said that equipment of a large
repair shop had
been started on company property on West Farms Road near East 172d
Operation will be out of two garages, one on the east side and one on
side of the Bronx. The east side garage, purchased recently, is at 173d
and West Farms Road.”
The contract with the Surface Transportation
Co. (Third Ave.
Railway subsidiary) dated October 31, 1927 states Versare Corp. was to
$302,820 for the 28 twenty-eight six-wheel gas-electric single deck
buses – a
per unit price of $10,815.
The Boston Elevated Railway Company
purchased 7 six-wheelers,
albeit with General Electric motors, in place of the Westinghouse units
by other operators, the May 8, 1928 issue of the New York Times
“Buses Ordered for Boston
“Orders for twenty-eight electric-driven
gasoline buses have been placed with the General Electric Company by
Elevated Railway Company. Ten of the buses will be built by the Twin
Company, of Kent, Ohio; eleven by the American Car and Foundry Motors
New York and seven by Versare Corporation of Albany, N. Y.”
The November 24, 1928 issue of Electric
states that the Boston Elevated Company had place an additional order
Versare 6-wheelers, although no number is given:
“Boston is about to increase the size of its
Versares. For a number of months the Boston Elevated Company has
fleet of Versare Gas-Electric Coaches. The performance of this fleet of
light-weight, large-capacity transportation units in handling peak
maintaining schedules and keeping maintenance costs down to bed rock
demonstrated clearly the advantages of Versare engineering. As a
Boston Elevated has ordered more Versares.
“Versares are distinctively an engineering
product. They utilize
every square foot of space to produce revenue. Their patented bridge
construction, with the use of Duralumin, makes possible large-capacity,
light-weight passenger-carrying vehicles, rigid and strong. No floor,
panels are necessary to give required strength.”
A 1928 issue of Bus Transportation states
the NETC of Boston ordered 5 Versare buses:
“New England Transportation
Company, Boston, Mass., subsidiary of the New York, New Haven &
Railroad, has purchased five intercity type Versare buses.”
Versare and its successor constructed 40
trolley coaches for the Utah Light and Traction Company of Salt Lake
Utah; the Louisville Railway Co. of Louisville, Kentucky, the Chicago
Lines of Chicago, Illinois, New Orleans Public Service Inc. of New
Louisana, and the United Traction Co. of Albany, New York.
Thanks to transportation historians Van C.
Wilkins and John
P. Hoschek we have good service history of the 11 Versare and 7
Versare/Cincinnati trolley coaches (electric only) purchased by the
& Traction Co. between 1928 and 1930. The quotes that follow are
Wilkins exhaustive article on UL&Tco that appeared in the January
issue of Motor Coach Age (Vol., No. 1).
After Fageol declined to modify their
trolley coach to meet
the requirements of Utah Light & Power, the firm turned to Versare,
were more than happy to fulfill the requirements which included:
“…placing the exit door in front of the rear
provision of dynamic (regenerative) braking, two 50-horsepower motors
of the 36-horsepower motors thought adequate by the Fageols, and
similar to those of autos of the day to facilitate driver training.”
The first of the ten (ordered) 43-seat
reached Salt Lake City in September of 1928. Utah Light & Power Co.
christened them ‘Salt Lake City Electric Coaches’ (as opposed to
coaches or trolley buses) and had them painted a combination amber
brown/canary yellow with a terra-cotta roof in order to distinguish
orange streetcars they replaced.
A number of problems developed with the ten
were the first straight electric coaches built by Versare.
If a pole left the wire the dynamic braking
ceased to function,
so new designs for frogs had to be devised to prevent de-wirements. A
with passengers receiving electric shocks as they boarded or left the
was solved by installation of drag chains to discharge static
More serious were difficulties with the
drive-shafts of the trunnion-mounted
rear axles, which despite the use of pneumatic tires had a tendency to
identical eleventh coach on exhibit at the 1929 AERA convention was
shipped from Cleveland to Utah to handle the increased ridership.
Engineers decided to convert the double
to a single rear axle configuration with double rims/tires, and the
In March of 1929 the Cincinnati Car Corp.
lightweight 4-wheel Cincinnati/Versare all-electric trolley-coach
to Salt Lake City. Similar in appearance to the earlier Versares, the
included numerous upgrades including General Electric motors and
(earlier coaches were fitted with Westinghouse equipment) and an
dynamic braking system.
A demonstrator supplied by Twin-Coach
evaluation also proved satisfactory so Utah Light & Power split
coach order between Cincinnati Car and Twin Coach. The first cars
service in December of 1929 and along with the two purchased
remained in service for most of the next decade. The Twin Coach models
relatively trouble free, but rear-axle failures plagued the
units although UL&P engineers eventually sorted the problem out.
Versare and its successor Cincinnati Car
Corp., are thought
to have built at least 40 all-electric trolley buses between 1928 and
Utah Light & Power purchased 11 Versares
and 8 Cincinnati trolley coaches for a total of 19 units.
New Orleans Public Service Inc. transit
roster indicates they placed 11 Cincinnati 4-wheel Trolley buses
service during 1930.
The Chicago Surface Lines of Chicago,
Illinois, commenced trolley bus service on April 17, 1930 with 74
coaches supplied by
Twin Coach, Brill, St Louis Car, ACF, and Cincinnati Car. Only two
the initial 74 were Cincinnati Car units (#123-124). During 1931
were purchased from Twin Coach, St Louis Car, and Cincinnati Car of
four (#161-164) were supplied by Cincinnati Car, placing the total
number supplied at 6.
The Louisville Railway Co. of Louisville,
Kentucky owned 12 pieces of Versare equipment and had a sample
built by Cincinnati Car Corp.
The Nov 1929 issue of Electric Railway Journal
Knoxville Power Co., Knoxville, Tenn. purchased four ‘Versare’
coaches from the Cincinnati Car Corp.
April 1930 issue of the Electric Railway
Journal mentions “a pair of Cincinnati Car Corporation trucks for the
The March 22,1931 issue of Electric Railway
Journal stated that Baltimore, Maryland’s United Railways and Electric
Co. order 150
new streetcars of which 50 were to be constructed by Cincinnati Car Co.
Sales orders for busses in 1929 included
gas-electric busses for the Cincinnati Street Railway Company. These
may have been the only
gas-powered vehicles built by the Cincinnati Car Corporation. It is not
known if this model saw active service. Between 1929 and 1931 sales of
trolley-coaches totaled nine cars.
The March 2, 1929 issue of the Electric
Railway Journal included a small item on the Versare:
“SEATING 33 or 35 passengers, having
acceleration (3 miles per hour per second up to 12 miles per hour),
four-wheel gas-electric coach fills a place long vacant in city
needs. For outlying metropolitan service having a fluctuating load
maximum capacity in a small unit, or for maximum load requirements of
city properties, where traffic movement is always at a faster schedule
than is possible m more heavily congested districts, this Versare
unit fits in! Its quick pick-up insures extremely fast smooth starts,
eliminating in the passenger's mind that impression of slowness,
most coaches as other vehicles pass him. This one feature alone will be
of retaining and increasing revenue riders.
“All construction details are identical with
Units, assuring the same absence of body and other maintenance items.
-Fastest and smoothest acceleration of any
coach on the road,
facilitating increased schedule speeds.
-Unusual hill climbing ability: 15 miles per
hour on 12% grade, fully loaded.
-Unusual accessibility of power unit from
“One of the Versare Coaches of this type
started on route shown below. Another will start very shortly on a
Western Tour. Special
stops along the route may be arranged by a wire to the company.
“As the public has a quaint habit of
transportation at old-fashioned prices. That demand can be met with the
kind of rolling stock and the right kind of operation. We do not
street cars where coaches should be used—nor try to sell coaches where
will do the job. But we will welcome the opportunity to submit to you a
and plan— based on the right kind of transportation units— for we build
cars and coaches.
“Cincinnati cars are as modern as this
morning, Versare Coaches have a distinctive passenger appeal — both
bring a luxury to
transportation that pays!
“THE CINCINNATI CAR CORPORATION, Winton
Place, Cincinnati, Ohio”
Salt Lake City’s Utah Light & Traction
Co. operated 10
Versare 6-wheel trolley coaches starting in 1928. Following Versare’s
takeover by Cincinnati Car, they took delivery
of a number the Cincinnati Car Corp.’s new 4-wheel coaches and had a
few of the
existing Versare 6-wheelers rebuilt with a single rear axle and dual
Electric Coach 311 was originally a Versare
demonstrator with G.E. equipment and tandem rear axles (like the first
passed to Cincinnati Car Co. and came to Salt Lake City in March of
1929 when it
was the first coach rebuilt with a single rear axle and dual rear
June of that year.
Cleveland operated at least 1
Montreal utilized 5 Versare 6-wheelers
Montreal Tram Co. Serial numbers: 801-805
Years acquisition: 1927 1928 Number of seats: 37 Engine:
gas-electric) Manufacturer: Versare Corporation, Albany, New York
The November 3, 1928 issue of Electric
included a 3-page display ad announcing the planned purchase of 5
“The present fleet o£ Versares so
satisfactorily meets every
transportation requirement that Montreal Tramways Company has ordered
“The success of Versare Transportation Units
the service of electric traction companies in Boston, Cleveland,
Albany, Providence, New York and elsewhere can be duplicated in
every other city.
“Fleets of Versare 6 wheel Units, operating
direction of well-known traction companies, demonstrate their
familiar types of buses and coaches.
“Versares are the allies of electric
railways in meeting the requirements of mass transportation.
“The Versare radically differs from other
vehicles in design, and construction. It is not a bus revamped! It is
adaptation of a coach! The Versare Transportation Unit is the closest
approach to the
most successful type of modern electric street cars, with all the
of mobility and ease of operation of the automobile.
“The Versare comfortably carries 37 seated
passengers and 37 standees. Has ample head, leg room and wide aisle.
load — front entrance and side exit doors speed up running time.
“In construction the Versare is not
approached by any other
vehicle. Truss girder construction — same as skyscrapers, bridges and
dirigibles — gives great strength and rigidity. Girders, angles and
castings are made of Duralumin. Sectionalized body framework permits
replacement in case of injury, without dismantling body.
“The enormous mileage covered by Versare
units without any maintenance requirements speaks volumes for its rigid
“The Versare is powered by a 125 hp.
Gasoline engine with two 33 hp. motors, located in rear and very
accessible. Absence of
fumes, noise and vibration; easy control; air-brakes; quick pick-up,
hill-climbing ability under full load are a few features of this
electric railway official should give the Versare Highway
Patents - all filed by Oliver Francis Warhus
Universal Joint – US Pat. No. 1491763, Filed
Apr 6, 1921 - Issued Apr 22, 1924
Patents - all filed by Oliver Francis Warhus
and assigned to the Versare Corp.:
Propelling and Transmission Mechanism for
Vehicles – US Pat. No.1661780, Filed Jan 31, 1925 - Issued Mar 6, 1928
Yoke – US Pat. No.1607374, Filed Sep 26,
1925 - Issued Nov 16, 1926
Double Truck Vehicle - US Pat. No.1666921,
Filed Aug 30, 1924 - Issued Apr 24, 1928
Steering Mechanism for Vehicles - US Pat.
No.1599152, Filed Oct 25, 1924 - Issued Sep 7, 1926
Steering Mechanism for Vehicles - US Pat.
No. 1632460, Filed Apr 17, 1925 - Issued Jun 14, 1927
Spring Suspension for Vehicles – US Pat.
No.1667275, Filed Aug 6, 1926 - Issued Apr 24, 1928
Vehicle - US Pat. No.1673786, Filed Aug 6,
1926 - Issued Jun 12, 1928
Building Unit - US Pat. No. 1799337, Filed
Aug 6, 1926 - Issued Apr 7, 1931
Exhaust Muffler - US Pat. No. 1708002, Filed
Mar 3, 1927 - Issued Apr 9, 1929
Patents - all filed by Oliver Francis Warhus
and assigned to the Cincinnati Car Corp.:
Motor Vehicle - US1894075, Filed Nov 21,
1927 - Issued Jan 10, 1933
Versare was taken over by the Cincinnati Car
Company, an old established streetcar builder, late in 1928, apparently
Cincinnati Car a foothold in what it saw as a promising market for
trolley buses. The United Press wire service announced the pending
October 12, 1928:
CO. PROPOSES MERGER WITH ALBANY COMPANY
“Cincinnati. Ohio, Oct 12, (U.P.)—
Stockholders of the
Cincinnati Car Co. will be asked soon to approve a merger of their
the Versare Corporation of Albany, N. Y. manufacturers of trackless
buses and trucks, it was announced today.
“Assets of the car company not directly
connected with the
manufacture of its products will not be included in the consolidation.
Investments of the car company include 37,000 shares of Cincinnati
Street Trolley Co. stock, equipment valued at more than $250,000 and
“Directors of the local company have
approved the general plans to merge with the Versare Corporation.”
The December 22, 1928 issue of the Electric
Railway Journal announced the merger had been approved:
“Cincinnati Car-Versare Merger Approved
“Stockholders of the Cincinnati Car Company
at a special meeting Dec. 14, gave unanimous approval to the merger
entered into by the directors of their company and those of the Versare
of Albany, N. Y., as had been anticipated in announcements made a
number of weeks
“The two plants will be merged in the
formation of the Cincinnati Car Corporation, with headquarters in
engineering facilities and offices of the Albany corporation will be
brought to the
Ohio city, but physical property will remain at Albany.
“To effect the merger, the Cincinnati Car
Corporation will purchase all the assets of the Cincinnati Car Company
shares of stock of the Cincinnati Railway Company, the Traction
Cincinnati and the earnings and profits of the company for the year
stock will be distributed to stockholders of record at the close of
31, 1928. The Cincinnati Car Company will receive for the assets which
be retained for manufacturing purposes, 125,000 shares $20 par value 7
cent preferred stock and 50,000 shares of Class B stock without par
the Cincinnati Car Corporation.
“The stockholders at their meeting
authorized the formation of the Cincinnati Traction Building Company to
accomplish a complete
distribution of the assets of the Cincinnati Car Company. The Traction
Building Company will be the holding concern for the building, surplus
profits for 1928 and the fractional shares of stock of the Cincinnati
Railway Company, and the 7 per cent and Class B shares of the newly
corporation — which stocks can not be distributed in kind because of
fractions into which they would have to be split. Authorization was
directors to sell these undistributable assets and to make cash
“The agreement provides for issuance to the
Versare Corporation of 10,000 shares of Class A stock without par value
the property of that firm, including patent rights. This stock will be
subordinate in claims for assets and earnings, to the 7 per cent
which the Cincinnati Car Company stockholders will receive. The Versare
will also receive 50,000 shares of Class B stock without par value as
payment for its interest.”
The December 22, 1928 issue of the Electric
Railway Journal provided additional details:
“Cincinnati Railway Holdings to Car Company
“As noted elsewhere in this issue
stockholders of Cincinnati
Car Company have approved terms of merger with Versare Corporation,
Albany, N.Y., into a new company, The Cincinnati Car Corporation. From
there will be excepted 89,661 shares of Cincinnati Street Railway
ownership of Cincinnati Traction Building Company and earnings and
Cincinnati Car Company for 1928. The stockholders of the Cincinnati Car
authorized the redistribution of Cincinnati Street Railway stock to
Cincinnati Car Company stockholders, also the formation of the
Company Building, a holding company.”
When the firm merged with the Cincinnati Car
Co. in 1928 Warhus became vice president in charge of engineering and
sales for the
H. L. Sanders is president of the Cincinnati
Car Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, which was recently merged with the
Albany, N. Y. Other officers are: A. L. Kasemeier, J. H. Elliott and A.
Warhaus, vice-presidents; E. C. Bernhold, secretary-treasurer; and S.E.
A trolley-coach version was marketed as
well, initially having the same three-axle layout as the motor bus, but
with a single rear axle, and after sale of the company the
were sold under the Cincinnati name.
The February, 1930 issue of the Electric
Railway Journal (Vol.74,
No.2) included a detailed article on a new aluminum-bodied streetcar
collaboration with Albany’s United Traction Co.:
“New Albany Car Includes Many Innovations
“By R.S. Beers, Transportation Engineering
“Differences of many kinds from conventional
found in the new car which has been operating for some little time on
of the United Traction Company, Albany, N. Y. The outstanding features
extensive use of aluminum and its alloys in the body construction, and
driving motors and type of control.
“Particular care has been taken to make the
attractive. The miscellaneous parts of the electrical equipment, such
control devices and switches, have been grouped and placed in a cabinet
vestibule, with a convenient table top which not only conceals the
but provides a place for the operator to lay his transfers, punch and
“Tests made have shown that the service
performance of the
car is also somewhat unusual. The free running speed is 32 m.p.h.,
attained with a rate of acceleration on the control points of 3.5
Stops with the service brake are at the rate of 2.5 m.p.h.p.s., but
emergency braking is used, combining both air and magnetic devices, the
obtained may be as high as 6 m.p.h.p.s.
“In order to obtain minimum weight, aluminum
and its alloys
have been used extensively in the car body and framing, many parts
entirely of such materials. In the following discussion, where aluminum
referred to it is understood that the term includes not only pure
the various alloys of the metal which have been brought out by the
Company of America and which have been designated by it as suitable for
part in question.
“The side sills are formed of 3 x 5 x
angles, extending in one continuous piece from front body corner posts
center exits and from center exits to rear vestibule corner posts on
of the car. The cross sills are formed of 4-in. aluminum channels.
fastened to the underside of the side sill angle. The body end sills
of two 4-in. aluminum channels spaced on 10 5/16-in. centers, fastened
body side sills with top and bottom center gusset plates riveted to the
sills and platform center sills.
“The center exits are reinforced with
longitudinal sills and plates, forming a step well. A 4-in. aluminum
placed at the junction between the floor plate and the top step well.
the full length of the center exit and is connected by angle clips to
cross sill and riveted to the floor plate. The center exits each have a
cover plate of No. 9 gauge aluminum, flanged on the inside, and
within 4 1/2 in. of the center line of the car to the side sills and
the main body cross sills on the two sides of the center exit. The step
hangers, risers and tread plates are formed of No. 7 gage aluminum
“General Dimensions of the Albany Car:
|Length over all
||8 ½ in.
|Length over dashers
||11 ½ in.
|Length over body
||11 7/8 in.
|Length of platforms
||5 13/16 in.
||9 3/8 in.
|Wheelbase of truck
|Vestibule door openings
|Side exit door openings,
|Width over all
||2 ½ in.
|Width over side sills
||8 7/8 in.
|Width over vestibule
|| 3/8 in.
|Width of aisle
|Width of seats
|Height, rail to top of
||11 3/16 in.
|Height, rail to under
side of sill
|Height, rail to bottom
|Height, floor to
||9 ¾ in.
|Height, rail to first
step, end door
|Height, first step to
platform, end door
|Height, rail to first
step, center exit
|Height, first step to
second step, center
|9 ½ in.
|Height, second step to
car floor, center
|9 ½ in.
“The open side of the platform is supported
by a built-up
knee, formed of No. 7 gage aluminum plate pressed to shape. The top and
edges of these knees are reinforced by a 2 x 2 x 1/4-in. steel angle
them. The knees are further braced with a No. 7 gauge aluminum hanger
flanged on the inside edge for connecting to the knee and then around
outside of the side sill angle.
“The center sills at the front and rear ends
of the car
extend through the body end sill to the buffer sills, and are formed of
aluminum channels, connected with angle clips. The body end sills are
braced with two 1/4-in. pressed 5-in. aluminum channels laid flatways
extending from the end sill to the body bolsters being bolted to them.
closed side of the platform is formed by a continuation of the side
angles. The platform ends at each end of the car are reinforced with
No. 9 gauge
aluminum nosing plates for the full width of the car and some 20 in.
“Body Framing Is of Aluminum
“The body framing also is of aluminum
material includes cast, rolled and extruded sections, heat treated. The
posts are of extruded "U" shaped sections extending from side sill to
side plate, bolted and clipped to the side sills. The truss braces
pair of side posts are of built-up construction, consisting of an
rail or sash-rest casting, a body side plate casting and a No. 14 gage,
heat-treated aluminum flanged plate riveted to the side sill angle.
individual truss frames form the side body construction and extend from
pier posts to center exit pier posts on both sides of the car. On the
side of the vestibule cast aluminum belt rails are used, bolted to the
vestibule posts and body pier posts. These castings have lugs which
steel diagonal bracing to be used. The side body girder plates and
are of 18 gauge aluminum plates held in place by aluminum moldings
the side posts.
“The body side posts are fastened to the
roof carlins by cast
aluminum shoes bolted to them, forming a continuous member from sill to
The side posts are finished on the inside of the car by extruded
pilasters. The body corner piers and exit door piers are finished of
sheet aluminum pilasters.
Caption - The main controller is placed
beneath the car
floor, the master control being actuated by the left foot. The right
governs the reverser and the air brake. Only auxiliary devices have to
controlled by hand.
Caption - Foot-operated control and
extensive use of
aluminum in the framing are features of this new car for the United
Company of Albany, N. Y.
“The Albany car is designed to permit of
easy entrance and
“The roof is of the arch type with vestibule
hoods at each
end. A channel shape extruded aluminum carlin is located at each side
and door post, and the ends of these carlins are fastened to the side
bracing and window posts by cast aluminum brackets. The body roof is
with 5/16-in. Haskelite the full width of the roof, and in five
sections. The hoods are sheathed with 5/16-in. Agasote cast in two
outside of the roof is covered with canvas.
“The center vestibule posts extend from the
buffer sill to
belt rail and are of extruded heat-treated aluminum, being tied to the
posts by diagonals of 2 x 2 1/4-in. flat steel bar braces. The inside
the vestibule below the windows is formed by the aluminum equipment
while the side vestibule finish is of No. 18 gage aluminum plate. A
sign box of
cast aluminum is built into the vestibule hood.
“The headlining is No. 18 gage aluminum
sheet curved to the
contour of the roof, jointed on the carlins and covered with aluminum
The advertising card racks are made of No. 18 gauge aluminum, forming
to the headlining sheets. The edges are covered with aluminum moldings
to take standard car cards the full length of the car body.
Caption - The controller, reverser,
resistors and other
equipment are placed under the car convenient for inspection from the
“The doors are made of cherry. Post
cappings, pier cover
plates and moldings are of aluminum. The wainscoting below the windows
of aluminum plate. The window stooling is an extension of 'the cast
brace finished with cherry capping.
“Besides the main framing, aluminum is used
in a number of
details on the car. Spacer rings for the head lamps and housing rings
for the marker
lights are made of aluminum, as is the sander reservoir.
“The seats are of the walk-over type, with a
welt divided back.
The chair for the motorman is of the bucket type and is adjustable
and longitudinally. The seats are upholstered in brown Spanish
“The car body is mounted on Cincinnati
passenger type arch
bar trucks, with spring pedestal cantilever type journal boxes and
rubber cushions and semi-elliptical spring bolster suspension. The
trucks are designed
to operate on curves with a minimum radius of 30 ft. The wheelbase is 5
in., and the wheel diameter is 26 in.
“General Specifications of Equipment of the
|Type of unit
||one man, motor,
||double-end, double truck
|Number of seats
|Builder of car body
||Cincinnati Car Corp.
||center and end
||General Electric, foot-operated
|Car signal system
and single stroke bells
||General Electric CP-27B
||General Electric PCM
||Rail Way, standard drawbar
||Hunter, end and side
||Consolidated Car Heating
at center doors
||Johnson, electrically operated
||Flexolith, 1/2 in.
|Gears and pinions
||Protex, 3/4 in. for vestibule, DSA for
||Cincinnati Car Corp.
||Leather, white sanitary grips
||20 inclosed, 500 watts, thermostatic
||Aluminum, 18 gauge
||Nickel-plated, satin finish
||3 in. x 6 in.
||Standard, 20 in series
||Four, GE-265, inside hung
||Red and cream
||Haskelite; Agasote in hoods
|Safety car devices
|| Safety Car Devices Co.
||Curtain Supply Co., brass
||Hale & Kilburn Walkover
||Brown Spanish leather
|Stanchions and rails
||Monel metal pipe
|Ohio Brass Co.
|Cincinnati arch bar
|Railway Utility Co., New
|Steel, 26 in. diameter
|Curtain Supply Co., brass
“Power for driving the car is obtained from
four GE-265 motors, one on each axle. These motors are rated at 35 hp.
make it possible to maintain a high schedule speed. The motors are of
standard, self -ventilated type, geared for a free running speed of 32
m.p.h. at 550
volts. The gear ratio is 68:15.
“Arrangements have been made for foot
operation of the G.E.
Type PCM control. In practice it has been found that this control has
flexibility of the hand-operated Type K. The operator can choose
speed he desires by stopping on the resistance notches. This may be
done by the
movement of his foot on the control pedal. Since the brake is
controlled with the
other foot both hands are free for making change, punching transfers
similar purposes, thus reducing the duration of the stops.
“The control was developed to meet the
requirements of street
railways for faster acceleration without discomfort to the passengers.
general, this improvement has been obtained by increasing the number of
resistance steps permitting small increments of accelerating current
comparatively short time interval on each step and for the total
normal service accelerations as high as 3.5 m.p.h.p.s. are secured.
nine steps in series and nine in parallel on the main controller. The
automatic, the master controller having three points, known as
series, and parallel. When the operator presses his foot down to the
position the control notches up under the direction of an accelerating
“The line breaker, contactors and all of the
equipment are in a box underneath the car, while the foot-operated
is recessed into the toe board. The main contacts are locked in the off
position when the reverse lever is removed, just as in the usual hand
controller. Normally the acceleration of the car is controlled by the
and, in addition, there is a pilot valve operated by the heel plate
off power in an emergency and applies both air and magnetic brakes.
“The air brakes are of the straight air type
with an emergency
feature. The usual hand valve is replaced by a foot-operated control
the automatic lap type. The novel feature of this valve is that when
is put in any braking position and held there, a definite pressure will
built up and maintained in the brake cylinder without moving the pedal
a lap position. In other words, the amount of pressure built up depends
on the distance
the pedal is depressed. There is also a lock so that the pedal may be
the full service position and held there, as when the operator is
“Supplementary braking is obtained by the
brakes. These consist of four electromagnets mounted between the wheels
truck. Normally they clear the rail head but they can be lowered on the
and magnetized at the will of the operator. The magnets are energized
from the trolley and are controlled through the intermediary of
valves. The retardation obtained by these brakes is thus independent of
motors and control. It does not in any way reduce the effectiveness of
“In an emergency both the air and magnetic
together, such a combination allowing for very fast braking without the
sacrifice of flexibility or ease of operation. Although the full
is not needed at every stop the operator takes greater advantage of his
accelerating rate when he knows that he can follow more closely behind
and get a high rate of retardation if needed.
“A bell ringer, a sander and the magnetic
track brake are
each operated by individual hand valves. The supply of air to these
automatically cut off when the pedal is locked so that a passenger on
platform cannot tamper with them. Compressed air for operating the
the auxiliaries is furnished by a CP-27, 15-cu.ft. compressor,
“Two circuits, each consisting of twenty
lamps in series, furnish
illumination for the car interior and for the headlight, destination
signs and markers.
The lighting fixtures are of the dome type with provision for
a defective lamp. A novel feature is that when the motor reverser is
changing ends the headlight and other indication lamps are reversed
attention from the operator.
“Straight pneumatic control is used for the
door at the
motorman's platform, while the center door is handled with automatic
control. A four-position rotary valve enables the motorman to select
opening combination that he desires. A signal lamp in front of the
whether the center door is closed. The door engines are of the direct
differential type mounted above the door. Each engine operates a
“The signal buzzer is operated by a pull
switch and a cord
running down each side of the car. In addition there is a single stroke
with a push button near the center door so that the passenger can
“There is a conventional stop light on each
end of the car,
and in addition red lamps are placed over each door connected in the
circuit with the stop light. By this means automobile drivers as well
persons inside of the car, are warned that a stop is about to be made.
“The development of this new type of car was
the United Traction Company of Albany, N. Y., which furnished unusual
assistance and co-operation to the manufacturers in suggestions and
demonstrations in operation. The car and trucks were built by the
Car Corporation and the electrical equipment was furnished by the
Caption - Under side of the truck, showing
the method of
mounting the motors and wheel brakes. The double bars between the
the shoes of the magnetic track brakes which may be pulled against the
independently of the air brakes.
Versare had been taken over by the
Cincinnati Car Company
late in 1928, apparently to give Cincinnati Car a foothold in what it
saw as a
promising market for gas-electric and trolley buses.
Sales of Cincinnati’s interurban rail cars
also continued into 1930, the Cincinnati & Lake Erie Railroad
lightweight high-speed Cincinnati Car Corp. interurban cars.
Nov 1930 issue ELECTRIC RAILWAY JOURNAL:
“A Versare gas-electric bus in service in
the Bronx system.
“On all lines the Third Avenue Railway
System operates 177
buses, of which 133 are used in the Bronx and 44 in Westchester. New
consisting of Safeway six-wheel, A.C.F. and Versare gas-electric buses,
purchased for use on these systems, ranging in seating capacity from 56
to 23 passengers.
On the two Concourse routes in the Bronx, 27 double-deck buses are
Westchester, six 41-passenger vehicles are operated on the White
Plains-Tarrytown route, the remainder seating 29 passengers. The
23-passenger, buses are used generally in shuttle service in the Bronx.”
A number of factors contributed to the
demise of the
company, including the Great Depression and competition in the
and gas-powered bus markets. Traditional customers that were able to
bankruptcy became judicious with their funds and purchased second hand
equipment rather than new cars. Other customers abandoned rail systems
altogether in favor of busses and trolley-coaches, but the Cincinnati
Corporation was not able to compete in this market.
The corporation's assets were liquidated in
1930 directory lists Warhus in Albany as
pres. General Car & Coach Corp., 100 State St., Rm.1031
General Car & Coach (1930-1935) was a
short-lived manufacturer of electric street cars, trolley buses and
whose manufacturing facility was located in Glens Falls, N.Y.
"The General Car & Coach Co.,
Glens Falls, N.Y., has leased the plant there of the former Arrow Grip
Co. Oliver F. Warhus is president and general manager."
Headquartered in Albany, the firm had hoped
to lease a car
barn and freight shed (old Eastern Utilities Corp.) in Rensselaer, but
suitable property was located in Glens Falls, a small city located 20
the north. Founded in 1917, Arrow Grip was a well-known manufacturer of
portable automobile jacks and non-skid tire chains whose initial plant
located at 112-132 Cooper St., Glens Falls, N.Y. A 1919
provided funds for the construction of a new 2-story brick factory on
and in 1926 the firm was reorganized as the Argrip Chain Co.
September 1930 issue of ELECTRIC RAILWAY
“Production to Start by General Car &
“O. F. Warhus, president of the General Car
Corporation, has announced that production of the company's
car and trolley bus will start on a schedule of 100 cars a year at the
established in Rensselaer, a suburb of Albany, the plant representing
investment of $175,000. It is intended to start manufacture within a
and within three months it is expected that 150 men will be at work.
number will be increased to 200 when production begins to hit the
“The type of car proposed for manufacture
will be similar to
Car No. 301 of the United Traction Company, Albany, to be built under
held by Mr. Warhus. The vehicle will weigh 12 tons.
“The site acquired by the new company for
its plant was
formerly owned by the Eastern New York Utility Company. It includes a
freight shed, power plant, machine shop, garage and offices and
approximately 45,000 sq.ft. of floor space. The property covers 5 acres
heart of lower Rensselaer.
“Mr. Warhus is a native of Davenport, Iowa.
He has had
twenty years of experience in the field of electric transportation. He
vice-president and general manager of the Versare Corporation and later
vice-president and director of the Cincinnati Car Company, where he was
charge of engineering and sales.
“T. M. van der Stempel, formerly of the
staff of Electric
Railway Journal, and a graduate mechanical-electrical engineer, will be
charge of sales. He has had experience both here and abroad in electric
and highway transportation engineering problems.”
Syracuse Herald August 28, 1930:
“Rensselaer Car Plant to Aid Syracuse; Part
of Materials for
Corporation to Be Obtained Here; To Build 100 a Year; Plans Wait Only
Consent of Public Service Commission.
“One or more Syracuse Industries will
from the establishment of a new trolley car manufacturing plant at
by the recently formed General Car and Coach Corporation, of which O.
F. Warhus, of Albany, is president.
“Various materials to be used in the
manufacture of the cars
are to be obtained from Syracuse, Detroit, Philadelphia, Buffalo,
Albany, it was announced in Albany. It was not learned just what
new company expects to secure In Syracuse, owing to the absence from
today of the president of the concern.
“Mr. Warhus has completed arrangements, it
was said, for the
production of a standardized type of street car. The cars are to be
at the rate of 100 a year and within three months the plant will be
employing 150 workers.
“All that remained today for the completion
of the plans, it
was announced, is the comment of the Public Service Commission to an
application by the New York Power & Light Corporation for the
its Rensselaer properties to a holding company, with the object of
selling or leasing the properties.
“If the Public Service Commission acts
favorably on the
application, Mr. Warhus, it was said, will lease the car barn and
of the old Eastern Utilities Corporation for one year, with the option
“According to a report of the industrial
division of the
Niagara Hudson Power Corporation, which made an investigation, there
will be a
market for trolley cars for many years to come. The report was written
Joseph K. Moore, of the bureau, and had special reference to the
and Coach Corporation.
“‘Statistics indicate’, the report state,
street cars and electric coaches are and will remain the most necessary
vehicles in community transportation.”
1933 (+1934) directory lists him in Albany;
Associate Director, 42 N. Pearl St. 4th flr. 1937 directory lists him
in Washington, DC,
mechanical engineer, WPA.
“November 20, 1938 New York Times:
“FREDERIC PRUYN, EX-BANKER, DIES; Served as
a Director of the National Commercial Bank and Trust in Albany STRICKEN
Formerly Was Treasurer of Federal Signal Company--Headed Versare Co.
retired Albany banker and business man, died today of pneumonia at a
lodge at Newcomb in the Adirondacks, friends in Albany were advised
“Mr. Pruyn was the son of Mrs. Anna Williams
Pruyn and the
late Robert C. Pruyn. He was stricken while hunting near Newcomb
ago. Pruyn was a graduate of the Albany Academy, St. Paul’s School and
“He was a director of the National
Commercial Bank and Trust
Company of which his father was president. He also served as treasurer
Federal Signal Company, now the General Railway Signal Company,
director of the
Consolidated Car Heating Company and as president of the now defunct
“Survivors include his mother, two brothers,
and Robert D. Pruyn; a sister, Mrs. David M. Goodrich; three sons,
Pruyn Jr., F. Morgan Pruyn, and Milton L. Pruyn, and a daughter,
“His 1907 marriage to Beatrice Morgan was
dissolved in 1926 by a divorce.”
Not surprisingly the eight-wheeled bus
after the Second World War, but this time it involved two
rigid 4-wheeled sections linked by a central pivoting joint. The
driver steered the articulated vehicle from the front using a complex
system that connected the front-most axle with the rearmost axle.The
system was tested in Germany during the
1950s and found to be too problematic for normal use and was abandoned.
similar 3-axle system was developed in the United States by Kaiser in
series production did not result.
Another variation is the quad-axle coach
today in Europe and Australia. This system mimics the Goodyear system
albeit with two steerable front axles in place of the steerable 4-wheel
trucks used by Versare and Goodyear. All were fitted with a standard
rear axle of the type commonly found on commercial vehicles.
A small number
twin steer, 3-axle coaches were used in Great Britain and northern
the 1950s and 1960s which featured two steerable axles at the front and
single axle at the rear.
The most common multiple axle coach used
today is the
standard three axle coach, which is steered conventionally at the front
One variation is the articulated or ‘bendy’ bus, which is a standard
2-axle, bus with front axle steering to which a rear trailing unit is
permanently affixed via a pivoting joint.
Theobald for Coachbuilt.com