Older Portland, Oregon residents may
recognize the name Wentworth & Irwin as being that city's American
Motors dealership which was located at 1005 W. Burnside from 1941 to
1987. The firm's involvment in motor sales dated to 1912 when the
Columbia Carriage & Auto Wks began
selling motor trucks to residents of Washington State and Oregon. They
started with Atterbury (1912), then GMC (1914), Doane (1917) and Samson
(1919). They also distributed Beeman and New Britain tractors and in
a stand-alone Nash dealership at 21st and Washington Streets, Portland.
For many years were one of the northwest's largest
manufacturers of logging trailers. All signs of the firm are gone save
for the former Nash-AMC building at the corner of 10th and Burnside
that's currently the home of Powells Books. The firm's truck body
business survives in the southern Portland suburb of Clackamas, where
the Columbia Body Mfg. Co. manufactures heavy-duty dump bodies and
trailers for the region's municipalities and contractors. Of
particular interest to transportation enthusiasts are a series of
streamlined bus bodies constructed by the firm in the mid-1930s,
several of which were of the 'Newell-type,' or 'deck-and-a-half' style
that predominated in the Pacific northwest. The Columbia trailers
mentoined in this article are unrelated to those made by their neighbor
to the north, the Columbia Trailer Co. of Vancouver, B.C.
Our firm's history can be traced to a
wagonmaker named Samuel B. McBride (b. Aug. 1837 -d. May 3, 1918) , who
in the 1880s established his own carriage works, S.B. McBride &
Co., at 4th ave. and Madison
Samuel B. McBride
was born in Jefferson, Indiana during August of 1836
to Henry (b.1788-d.1862) and Elizabeth (Todd – b. 1792-d.1882) McBride.
Siblings include Amanda (b.1826 –d. 1855) and John Wallace (b.1831 –
d.1867) McBride. After serving his apprenticeship with a blacksmith in
Monroe County, Iowa he moved to Albia, Iowa where he married America
Jane McIntire (b.1836 – d.1922), and to the
blessed union was born five children; Wilson G. (b.1857), Maryetta
(b.1859), *Ella Etna (b.1862–d.1965); Bertha B ( b. 1865) and Hadden S.
(b. June 25, 1873) McBride.
she retired, Ella moved to Seattle where she gained fame as a
fine art photographer.)
The 1860 US Census lists him as a
'wagonmaker' in Albia, Monore County, Iowa. In 1867 the McBride family
headed west, the 1870 US Census listing them in Wadsworth, Washoe
County, Nevada, his profession listed as 'carpenter'. McBride moved
further west in the early 1870s, first to Albany, Oregon, and finally
in 1874 to Portland where the experienced wagonmaker found plenty of
work constructing wagons, trucks and carriages for the
The 1890 Portland Directory lists S.B.
McBride & Co., (Samuel B. McBride, Daniel G. Snuer) carriage
makers, cor. 4th and Madison. He later moved his business to 330 Third
Ave., and in 1902 relocated to 290 Front street were he established the
Columbia Manufacturing Company, the firm's name referenced the large
river that divides Portland with its neighbor to the north,Vancouver,
Its listing in the 1903-1906 Portland
“Columbia Manufacturing Co., (Samuel B.
Joseph A. Ryan, sec.) wagonmakers, 290 Front.”
In 1906 Charles G. Irwin (b. Jul. 24, 1879 –
d. May 19, 1954) acquired an interest in the
Columbia Mfg. Co. from its secretary,
Joseph A. Ryan, becoming a junior partner to founder, Samuel B.
reorganized as the Columbia Carriage Mfg. Co., which was listed in the
1907 Portland directory:
“Charles G. Irwin, sec Columbia Carriage
Mfg. Co., res. 724 E. Burnside
“Columbia Carriage Manufacturing Co., S.B.
C.G. Irwin, sec, Wagonmkrs, Water ne cor. Market.”
Charles Granger Irwin was born on July 24,
1879 in Port
Huron, Fort Gratiot Township, St. Clair County, Michigan to Charles H.
customs inspector b. Apr. 1841 in England – d. Jan. 10, 1904) and Alice
August 1841 in Canada) Irwin. Siblings included five sisters: Sarah
NY), Ellen (b.1866 in MI), Alice (b.1870 in MI), Ethel (b.1873 in MI),
(b.1878 in MI), and Harrison S. (b.1881 in MI) Irwin.
1900 US Census lists his parents in Detroit,
but no listing
for Charles Granger, who was now living in Sacramento, California where
he worked as a clerk for Waterhouse & Lester, Inc.,
Street (Sacramento), a San Francisco-based distributor of carriage
hardware, hardwood lumber, iron, steel, and coal, carriage trimmings,
cushions (E.W.A. Waterhouse, pres.; A.A.
Waterhouse, v-pres.; Seymour Waterhouse, sec; Wells Fargo Bank, trea.)
offices in Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose (all Calif.) and
On February 4, 1903
Irwin married Harriett Green (b. Jan. 1, 1883 – d.1981) at Sacramento,
California. Harriett Green was born Jan. 1, 1883, in Sacramento,
to& Ely L. and Mary Everett (Reed) Green. The newlyweds
relocated to Portland where Irwin took a position with the Portland
branch of Waterhouse & Lester, his listings in the 1904-1906
Portland Directories follow:
“Charles G. Irwin, slsmn., Waterhouse
& Lester, res. 365 13th.”
In 1907 McBride and Irwin reorganized the
firm as the Columbia Carriage & Wagon Works, the 1908-1910 Portland
directories list the principals as follows:
“Chas. G. Irwin, sec-treas Columbia
& Wagon Wks., h. Rockspur Or.
“Columbia Carriage Manufacturing Co., S.B.
McBride, pres., C.G. Irwin, sec-treas, 330 Water St. (cor. Market).”
In December of 1910 George G. Wentworth
(b. April 30,
1870-d. May 30, 1940) bought out
McBride’s share of the business which was reorganized as Columbia
Carriage & Auto
Works, the January 9, 1911 issue of Oregon Daily Journal reporting:
“To Whom It May Concern:
“Notice is hereby given that on the 19th
December, 1910, the Columbia Carriage works filed with the Secretary of
State supplemental articles of incorporation changing the name of the
said corporation to the ‘Columbia Carriage and Automobile Works’ and
increasing the capital stock thereof to ten thousand dollars. C.G.
George Gannett Wentworth,
was born in San
Francisco, California on April 26, 1870, to Joshua Jackson (an
1827 in Maine-d.1913) and Ariana Matilda aka Mary (Gannett, b. 1831 in
d.1923) Wentworth. His father, Jackson G. Wentworth, was one of
the pioneers of
San Francisco, having gone to California, by way of Cape Horn, in 1849.
Siblings included Mary (b. 1864), Anna (b.
Charles J. (b. 1868) Wentworth. George G. Wentworth received his
in the public
schools of San Francisco and from 1888—95 was employed as a salesman by
Hawley Mason Hardware Co. in that city. In 1895 he entered
service of the Honeyman Hardware Co., 4th SW cor.
Ore., as manager of its tool department and in 1896 married Anita B.
(b. Sep. 23, 1870 in S.F. Calif. – d.
1944). To the
blessed union were born two children, Charles W. (b. Aug. 1897) and
(b. Oct. 1898) Wentworth.
McBride and Ryan returned to business at the
same time, the February 19, 1911 issue of The Oregon Daily
“Three New Companies Launched
“Three articles of incorporation were
yesterday in the office of county clerk: Columbia Manufacturing
Company, S.B. McBride,
J.D. Honeyman and J.A. Ryan, capitalization $5,000.”
Wentworth handled the sales and Irwin
managed the 6-man shop, the bulk of their business being the
construction and repair of
wagons, goose neck drays and carriages. In late 1911 they also took on
franchise for Atterbury trucks and the construction of truck bodies and
gradually became the firm’s focus.
1911-1916 Portland directory lists:
“Columbia Carriage & Auto Wks.,
pres., Chas. G. Irwin, sec-treas.) 209 Front St.
“George G. Wentworth, pres., Columbia
Carriage & Auto
Wks., 209 Front St, h. 791 Johnson
“Chas. G. Irwin, sec-treas Columbia
& Auto Wks.,
209 Front St., h. Rockspur Or.”
The firm's listing in Chilton's 1913 Vehicle
“PORTLAND. — Columbia Carriage and
Wagon Works, 209-211 Front St. G. Wentworth, president; Chas. G.
Irwin, secretary, treasurer, general manager and purchasing agent.”
The September, 1913 issue of 'Up To the
Magazine provides evidence that the firm was one of the first to
construct motor buses on the West Coast:
“Pendelton will be the first city in the
West to have auto street cars. G. F. Baker, who has been operating a
there, is having two 25-passenger auto buses built in Portland by
the Columbia Carriage company and they will be delivered before
September 15. He plans to operate them on all paved streets with
The May 10, 1914 issue of the Oregon Daily
Journal annoucned the firm's appointment as a GMC distributor:
“Portland Becoming Coast Truck Center;
Well Known Make Has Representation in This City
“Portland is fast becoming the truck
of the Pacific
northwest. Practically every well known truck made in America has
representation in this city. The latest acquisition is the General
company truck line, said to be the most complete built by any
this country. This concern builds both electric and gasoline trucks
from 1000 pounds capacity to five tons, with a price radius of from
“W.H. Barnes, the factory representative,
the agency for this line of vehicles with the Columbia Carriage and
located on Front street. The territory covered by the local concern
the entire state of Oregon and the counties in Washington bordering on
Columbia river. The men at the head of the Columbia Carriage and Auto
G.G. Wentworth and C.G. Irwin, are both well-known young business men
city and have been in the carriage and wagon business for many years.
years ago they took the agency for the Atterbury truck and succeeded in
quite a few of them in this territory, but as the Atterbury people did
build a complete line of vehicles, and demand for carried sizes grew,
men decided that the General Motors company would give them a much
to operate in and therefor took that agency.
“The General Motors Company, in addition
also owns the Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile and several other makes of
cars that are represented in this territory.”
The September 27, 1914 issue of the Oregon
Journal mentioned a fleet of International-chassised buses recently
constructed by the firm for the Pendleton
Street Car company:
“Automobile Street Cars Used For First
in Pacific Northwest
“The first real automobile street cars to
service in the northwest were shipped from Portland to Pendleton, Ore.,
first of last week and were introduced to the public as the Pendleton
Street Car company Thursday, the opening day of the Round-Up.
“G.K. Parker of Pendleton is at the head
company that has inaugurated this method of street railway service in
The chassis on which the street car bodies are built were purchased
International Motors company of this city and the body work was done by
Columbia Carriage & Auto Works. The cars have a seating capacity of
people each and have a pay-as-you-enter arrangement in order that the
each machine may also act as conductor. In this way the services of one
utilized as motorman ad conductor.
“Auto street cars have been run with great
success in other
parts of the country for several years and from this initial step of
progressive eastern Oregon people there is no reason why, in a short
of the smaller cities throughout the northwest should not be served
car service of this nature.”
The May 23, 1916 issue of the Oregon Daily
Journal included an article detailing the firm's operations and the
costs associated with purchasing a light truck body:
“Nothing The Matter With Portland
“The Columbia Carriage & Auto Works,
209-211 Front street, has not been proclaimed from the housetops, yet
it is paying the 30
people employed in its 50 x 100 four story and basement building more
$500 a week for their services.
“It has been in operation 15 years and has
grown, like a human being, from infancy to a robust, healthy, muscular
“Its announcement reads that it builds
automobile street cars, busses and sightseeing cars, hearses,
ambulances, delivery cars
and commercial rigs of every description, and rebuilds private cars to
the wishes of anyone. For example, the Journal representative saw a
car being changed over into a small hotel. Its owner will soon start
a tour of a considerable portion of the country, and the car is being
into a living room, like a davenport, into a bedroom, and if the party
take a notion he may carry a gasoline stove along and board himself and
guests. It will be not only a comfortable and complete car in which to
will have a most attractive appearance.
“Prices Seem Moderate
“Open delivery beds are built upon cars
$20; a canvas bow-top delivery bed, 43 inches long, 40 inches wide and
high, with canvas bow-top over bed and seat, back and side curtains,
being converted into a runabout by removal of three bolts in bed, $50;
bow-top delivery bed, considerably larger than the last mentioned, with
inch flare board on either side, back and side curtains, windshield
lamp bracket, horn bracket and cushion, rear doors or end gate and
$100, and panel top delivery body, 60 inches long back of seat, 40
54 inches high, handsome fore doors, rear doors or end gate and
front side storm curtain, fender brackets, lamp bracket and cushion,
$115. These are
merely samples of the cost of auto equipment work, where it is done on
scale, as in this establishment. A fine auto hears for an Oregon city
undertaker was being completed, a Salem banker’s beautiful car was
according to its owners own ideas and wishes, making it very handsome
different from any other, probably, in the state, and there were others
stages of manufacture which were destined for Baker and for points in
“All Kinds Of Bodies Built
“‘We do a great deal of work for garages,’
C.G. Irwin, manager, said, ‘and for business houses generally. We have
completed four auto deliveries for Meier & Frank, one for the
Telephone and Telegraph company, an immense truck for Doernbacher
Manufacturing company, and one each for the Columbia and Saito Fish
find the business men of Portland exceedingly loyal to our industry.
what has enabled our concern to grow so substantially. Today we are
orders. Our business is 100 per cent greater than at this time last
season, and we
are booking new orders daily. The city commissioners, however, do not
us so graciously, and for the life of me I cannot understand why. They
patronize agents of eastern manufacturers buying the same vehicles we
could sell them at
no higher prices, thus sending Portland money east to support
having no interest whatever in this city. The council recently bought a
street flushers. Suppose an accident should happen to one of these. The
here is closed, and it would be at least two weeks before repairs could
“‘Our business covers a broad field,
Washington and Idaho would naturally be our stamping grounds, but we
Montana and northern California. Our equipment is so complete we are
compete in quality of work and prices with any factory anywhere, and
this fact is
becoming well known to the public.
“‘One difficulty, however, confronts all
workers in our line at present, and that is the scarcity of material.
It is almost
impossible to procure sheet steel, even at tremendously increased
prices charged for
that commodity. Happily we had been buying in large quantities and had
stock on hand when prices began to soar. That supply, however, is
‘fading away,’ and orders placed months ago have not been filled. I
stock will be exhausted before we receive a renewal, which, I
understand, will be
a month or more. We have similar difficulty in securing aluminum, of
use considerable. For business reasons, if for no other, we all will be
glad when this
European war is ended.’
“The transactions of this concern amount
from $180,000 to $200,000 a year. G.G. Wentworth is president of the
company, and he
devotes all his time to its interests.”
Columbia Carriage and Auto Works listing in
the 1915-1917 Portland Directory follows:
“Columbia Carriage & Auto Wks.,
G. Wentworth, pres., Chas. G. Irwin, sec-treas.) Agents, G.M.C. Trucks,
Bodies and Wheels, 209-211 Front, Tel Main 2892.”
In 1917 Columbia Carriage and Auto Works
firm reorganized as Wentworth & Irwin, their entries in the 1918
Portland Directory being:
“Columbia Carriage & Auto Wks. succeed
by Wentworth & Irwin Inc.
“Chas. W. Wentworth, purchasing agent,
Wentworth & Irwin
Inc., r. 1130 E. Flanders.
“Geo. G. Wentworth, (Anita B.) pres.
Wentworth & Irwin
Inc., h.1130 E. Flanders.
“Wentworth & Irwin Inc., (G.G.
Wentworth, pres., C.G.
Irwin, sec-treas. –mgr.) Agents for G.M.C. Trucks and Tractors, Mfrs.
Bodies, Tops, Wheels and trailers, 200 2d., cor. Taylor, Tel Main 2892.”
The April 15, 1917 issue of the Oregon Daily
Journal announced the frim was moving to larger quarters:
“Wentworth & Irwin Take New Quarters
“Wentworth & Irwin, local distributors
of the GMC and Doane trucks, have acquired a more convenient location
at the southeast
corner of Second and Taylor streets, where it is the intention of the
maintain one of the best truck service stations on the coast.
“A ten-year lease has been secured and the
building, which is a two-story brock, 100 x 100 feet, will be
remodeled. The plant and
equipment of the present location will be moved to the new quarters and
a show room will be one of the new features.
“For the past six years Wentworth &
Irwin under the name of Columbia Carriage & Auto Works have
occupied quarters on Front
street near Taylor which was in the midst of the old wholesale
The April 25, 1917 issue of Motor World
announced that Wentworth & Irwin were now carrying the San
Francisco-built Doane ‘Low-Bed’ Truck:
“Wentworth & Irwin, Portland, Ore.,
the Columbia Carriage & Auto Works, have taken over the agency for
the State of Oregon for the Doane truck, manufactured in San
The May 5, 1917 issue of the Oregon Daily
Journal provided a few more details in regards to Wentworth &
Irwin's new digs:
“Carriage & Auto Works Will Move
“The Columbia Carriage & Auto Works,
located at 209-211 Front Street, is fitting up a new place on second
between Taylor and Salmon, in the premises formerly occupied by the
company, and will move its big plant to this spot about the first of
“The business of the company, owned by
Wentworth and C.G. Irwin, is growing rapidly. The concern will take
hold of an
ordinary auto and convert it into a first class truck.”
June 16, 1917 issue of the Oregon Daily Journal announced that the firm
had completed renovations on their new place of business and were
“Wentworth & Irwin Occupies Fine New
“Carriage and Auto Works Reincorporates
Under Names of Its Owners
“It is 16 years since the Columbia
and Auto works came into existence, a mere baby industry employing two
“One year ago, Messrs. Wentworth &
were employing 30 people in the 50 x 100-foot four-story building at
“And now the Columbia Carriage and Auto
works has gone out of existence, its owners substituting their own
names and incorporating
under that of Wentworth & Irwin; has removed to the two-story
100 x 100-foot building at the southeast corner of Second and Taylor
increased the mechanical forces, and the new firm is doing a business
of from $50,000
to $60,000 a month. The structure in which the company is now located
been completely remodeled, a finely appointed office has supplanted the
antiquated enclosure of the former place, daylight permeates every inch
interior, and the working force is supplied with all the refreshing
ozone it can
consume. The first floor accommodates the fine machinery outfit of the
and the second the woodworking and finishing department. Below
trucks in every conceivable shape and condition are received, repaired,
remodeled or rebuilt, as may be desired or be necessary, and upstairs
are made to
appear as new. Models of a few years ago are transformed into the very
creations, as if they were 1917, or even 1918 styles, and their owners
can, if they
are members of the Ananais club, safely assure their neighbors that
have invested in a brand new car.
“The G.M.C. trucks are Wentworth &
productions. They are known for their strength and low prices. At this
company is completing a 20 passenger car for Columbia Highway traffic,
handsome body of which is mounted on one of these.
“From a business of $8,000 to $10,000 a
16 years ago, the company has grown to from $500,000 to $600,000 per
July 1, 1917 issue of the Oregon Daily Journal announced that Wentworth
& Irwin were manufacturing their own line of Columbia 1-ton truck
extensions, which were marketed to owners/purchasers of Ford Model T
“Firm Specializes in Truck Attachments
“Modern commerce demands methods of
will combine speed and large carrying capacity at a minimum cost of
Motor transportation, of the several methods now employed, has received
deal of attention by prominent manufacturers to achieve this end.
“There are many types of vehicles in the
catering their merits to the buying public. But of the cast numbers,
attachments and trailers afford the most economical equipment.
“In order to meet this demand Wentworth
formerly the Columbia Carriage & Auto Works, about a year ago
manufacture a truck attachment on order only, and since that time the
has been so great that the firm decided to make a special business of
and organized a department under the direction of Fred Canfield. The
is of one ton capacity and has been called the Columbia truck
Wentworth & Irwin have recently occupied new and enlarged quarters
at Second and Taylor street.”
The firm also specilized in the rebuilding
of wood-spoked wheels and were included in the 1918 Automotive Wood
Wheel Manufacturer’s Association directory as an 'Official Wood Wheel
Service Center.' In early 1918 Wentworth & Irwin began distributing
GM-built Samson Sieve-Gripp tractor,
31, 1918 issue of the Oregon Daily Journal reporting:
“Nothing the Matter With Portland by H.S.
“‘We are employing 38 persons, our payroll
is between $800 and $900 weekly, we do a business of between $600,000
and $700,000 a
year, we are incorporated, and our capital is only $10,000.’ Said C.G.
Wentworth & Irwin company, formerly Columbia Carriage & Auto
works, now located at Second and Taylor streets.
“It was 17 years ago that this concern
started in business, and for a number of years it was located at
209-211 Front street. It
outgrew these quarters, however, and about six months ago the 100 x 100
story brick building at the southeast corner of Second and Taylor
secured. The structure was completely remodeled and fitted up in modern
fashion. It had been occupied as an automobile top factory and the
second story as a rooming house. All the upstairs
apartments were removed and the wood working department of the big
plant, engaged in the construction of auto trucks and the repairing and
rebuilding of trucks and automobiles, occupies that floor.
“When the Columbia Carriage & Auto
came into existence, 17 years ago, large capital was not so necessary
This was probably the reason that this enterprise was founded in a
basis, and as its profits have paid for its extension, the corporation
never been changed and its capital stock increased. Its business has
had to do,
until very recently, only with the building of trucks and automobile,
delivery rigs, etc., but lately it has added tractors to its list.
“‘It is not boasting,’ said Mr. Irwin, ‘to
declare that we have found a coast invented tractor, the Samson, simply
its line. It seems to embody all the attractive qualities of these very
farm devices, and we are selling great numbers of them. This is one of
cases in which good things are bettered by new though and adding
this is why our tractor has so early in its life become so strong as
those who have familiarized themselves with it many improvements over
“Mr. Irwin is the business manager of this
concern, and Mr. Wentworth superintendent of the manufacturing end. The
latter is found
right in the heat of the battle, so to speak. He is among those who are
things,’ and apparently with all their strength. They are operating a
machine shop, wood working machinery and paint and varnish works. If it
happens that a forlorn appearing ‘gas wagon,’ seemingly without a
brought to the place, Mr. Wentworth sees to it that when it departs it
and spruce. His workmen make then shine.”
November 1, 1920 issue of Motor West announced that Wentworth &
Irwin had been awarded a repeat contract to produce mail wagon bodies
for the US Post Office Dept.:
“The Post Office Department has again
awarded to Wentworth & Irwin, Inc., manufacturers, and distributors
and Samson trucks, the contract for building all United States mail
for the territory west of the Mississippi River. The Government
trucks without bodies and turns them over to Wentworth & Irwin to
build the bodies according to specifications. This business last year
to $75,000. This is the third consecutive year that this firm has won
March 23, 1918 issue of the Oregon Daily Journal announced that
Wentworth & Irwin were going to construct 50 lumber semi-trucks and
trailers for the hauling of high-grade old-growth spruce (called
'airplane timbers' as they were being used to construct air frames for
the US and its Allies):
“Fifty Trucks Being Fitted For Camps
“The Wentworth & Irwin company, Second
and Taylor, are fitting out 50 10-ton gas trucks for use in the spruce
camps of Oregon.
Their reaches are made of second growth fir trees larger than six-inch
stovepipe, and 40 to 50 feet long. Airplane timbers will be loaded on
the trucks to be
hauled to places of loading on the railroad.”
June 25, 1919 issue of the Oregon Daily Journal reported that Wentworth
& Irwin had received yet another contract to supply the US Post
Office Dept. with motor bodies:
“Portland Firm Gets Half Million Dollar
“One of the really important automotive
transactions of the season in Portland is reported by Wentworth &
Irwin, G.M.C. truck
distributors and body builders, who have received a contract from the
government for building mail trucks, the deal representing a
about half a million dollars.
“The trucks are part of the equipment
purchased by the
government for war purposes. The decision to convert them into mail
followed the signing of the armistice.
“The Wentworth & Irwin shops at Second
streets, will be materially enlarged to handle the big job. New
be installed, and a considerable force of men will be given employment
The firm was lsited in the 1920 Portland
directory under 'automobile
“Wentworth & Irwin Inc., (G.G.
Wentworth, pres., C.G.
Irwin, sec-treas. –mgr.) Agents for G.M.C. Trucks and Tractors, Mfrs.
Bodies, Tops, Wheels and trailers, 200 2d., cor. Taylor, Tel Main 2892.”
In 1920 Wentworth & Irwin began
trucks, tractors and farm equipment, another firm recently purchased by
Motors Corp. The
January 23, 1921 edition of the Oregon Daily Journal announced that:
“Body Building is Big Industry in Portland
“One of the largest builders of truck
is Wentworth & Irwin, at Second and Taylor streets. An immense
plant has been
set aside by this firm for the building of trailers, bodies, tire work
skilled operations connected with motor car and truck work, and a
space has been devoted to body building alone. This firm turned out
truck, bus, stage and hearse bodies last year, 180 of these being on
truck chassis for use of the post office department in rural free
and city hauling work in connection with the mails.
“The company has been operating here for
years in body building alone, and some $35,000 in capital has been set
aside for this
kind of work. In normal times 40 men are employed in woodworking,
and painting in connection with this part of the company’s activity. No
passenger car bodies at all are manufactured.”
In 1922 Wentworth & Irwin began
distributing New Britain light duty farm tractors which were
manufactured in Connecticut by the New Britain Machine Co.
Wentworth & Irwin's business had expanded to where they required an
increase in capitilzation from $50,000 to $100,000, the‘Notices of
Increase in Capitalization’
column of the December 28, 1922 issue of the Oregon Statesman (Salem)
“Wentworth & Irwin, Portland; $50,000
1923 Wentworth & Irwin purchased the
Nash Automobile Distributorship for the five western states from the
Portland Motor Car Co. The new Nash store was located across the
Williamette river at the corner of 21st Ave. and Washington street, its
listing in the 1923-24 Portland directory
“Wentworth & Irwin Inc., (G.G.
pres., C.G. Irwin, sec-treas. –mgr.) Agents for G.M.C. Trucks and
of Auto Bodies, Tops, Wheels and trailers, 200 2d., cor. Taylor, Tel
Nash distributors 21st and Washington, Tel Main 2892.”
The December 16, 1924 issue of the Oregon
Statesman (Salem) included a large display ad for Wentworth &
Irwin’s second Nash
dealership, the Kirkwood Motor Co., which was located at 246 State St.,
“Wentworth & Irwin, Inc., Announces
Kirkwood Motor Co., the new dealers for Nash Motor Cars for Marion and
Polk counties. A
firm whose record measures up to the high ideals and standard of
service of Nash
Motor Company. We also announce the showing of the full line of 1925
Sixes at the show room of the Kirkwood Motor Co., 246 State Street.
& Irwin, Inc., Portland, Ore.”
The April 5, 1925 issue of the Oregon
Statesman (Salem) covered a visit to Salem, Oregon by Geroge G.
Wentworth's son Charles W.:
“Nash Distributor Visits The Kirkwood
“Charles W. Wentworth, member of the firm
Wentworth & Irwin, Inc., of Portland, Oregon distributors for Nash
in Salem Friday conferring with Fred Kirkwood of the Kirkwood Motor
Salem Nash dealers who have just opened up in their new location at the
Commercial and Chemeketa streets. Mr. Wentworth is very enthusiastic
over the new Nash
models and says that his company thinks that they are extremely
having the Kirkwood Motor Company for the Salem distributors. ‘The
have a wonderful place now at their new location and certainly can do
in displaying our cars,’ said Mr. Wentworth.”
George G. Wentworth’s other son, Jackson G.
who was also identified with the Wentworth & Irwin organization for
a number of years,
passed away in 1925.
The September 4, 1926 issue of the Oregon
Statesman (Salem) included a large display ad for F.W. Pettyjohn Co.,
Salem’s new Nash
distributor, who had taken over the 365 N. Commercial street premises
operated by Fred Kirkwood’s Kirkwood Motor Co.:
“Announcing F.W. Pettyjohn Co., Nash
displaying the new Nash Advances Six, Special Six and Light Six models.
“It is a genuine privilege and pleasure to
announce that the F.W. Pettyjohn Company have assumed Nash
representation in Salem for
Marion and Polk counties.
“Wentworth & Irwin Inc., 21st and
Washington Streets, Portland, Oregon.”
The F.W. Pettyjohn Co. was far more
successful than their predecessor, and in July of 1927 opened up a
satellite facility at 133
Second street, Albany, Linn county, Oregon.
Among Wentworth &
Irwin’s numerous innovations was the
first use of brakes on logging semi-trailers, which previously relied
only on the semi-tractor’s brakes to slow down.
At one time or another they used two different addresses for the
trailer works; 123 Oregon St. and 327 Oregon St., properties that were
later acquired by the City of Portland for the construction of the
Oregon Convention Center. Wentworth & Irwin were also using the
'Wentwin' trade name on their trailers and bus bodies, as evidenced by
their listing under the 'trailers' heading in the 1929 edition of
“Wentwin — See Wentworth &
Irwin. Wentworth & Irwin, 327 Oregon St., Portland, Ore. 'Wentwin.'”
1932 issue of Power Wagon reveals that Wentworth & Irwin were
constructing 3-ton semi-trailers for Seattle, Wash. and Portland,
Ore.-based Consolidated Truck Lines, Inc.:
– “From the very first, the company realizes the absolute need of good
trailers on the long-distance hauls, and at present owns 72 trailers,
all of three-ton capacity. Each trailer, of course, doubles
hauling capacity of the truck, with very little extra operating
expense. The 72 trailers
include 35 locally built Wentworth and Irwin trailers, five Fageol
semi-trailers, 20 Sterlings, six Trailmobiles,
and six Utility trailers.”
George G. Wentworth retired in 1932, leaving
his son, Charles W. Wentworth, (born in Portland in 1896) to carry on
the family business. In
1922, after a short stint in the US Navy, C.G. Wentworth was united in
marriage to Ann Dowd, of Portland, whose father, James Dowd, was one of
settlers of that city. To the blessed union were born two children,
Patricia Ann, and Charles W. Wentworth jr.At that time Charles W. was
manager of the firm's Nash
distributorship which was located at Twenty-first and Washington
streets, Portland. The
70,000 sq ft., 2-story, 200 ft. x 75 ft. facility included a splendid
show and sales room, offices, and complete parts, service and repair
facility. A combined 100 persons were employed at Wentworth
& Irwin's G.M.C. truck distributorship (200 2d Ave., cor. Taylor
St.), and 'Wentin' body works (123 Oregon St.).
& Irwin built an unusual
1933-34 Ford tractor and semi-trailer bus who's tractor was
remote-controlled from the
trailer by the driver. The 'Tri-coach' system was built under license
from its inventor, George W. Yost, the proprietor of Seattle's Suburban
the Yost family owned a Ford dealership their stage line had easy
access to Ford equipment, which was often used to in its early days to
transport passengers over the line of the Yost Auto Co. Yost’s long
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 1932 he designed a novel articulated coach that mated a Ford
cowl and chassis with a passenger trailer via a fifth wheel.
constructed by Heisers, Inc., the prototype '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
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.
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.
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.
is operated exclusively on Standard Oil products, and its ten wheels,
not including the fifth, appear to be a sweet potential market for
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
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
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.”
1934 an improved Tri-Coach powered by a flathead Ford V-8 was put into
operation. Yost's semi-trailer coach proved so successful that by the
end of the year 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.
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.
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.
July 19, 1935 issue of the Oregon Statesman:
“Tractor Delivery Trucks Purchased
“Approximately 9,400 hours of labor for
northwest workmen has
been provided by the purchase of four new, modern tractor and
gasoline delivery trucks by the General Petroleum corporation,
H.M. Williams, Salem manager for General. This is one of the first
trucks have been purchased and manufactured in this area.
“This makes a total of eight units
purchased in the northwest
by General recently, four others having been completed a few months
units were manufactured in the Kenworth Motor Truck corporation and
& Irwin, Inc. Portland and Seattle plants.
“Total cost for the four new units was in
excess of $24,000
according to Williams. Each unit has a 2,400-gallon capacity, 10 wheels
painted in the special General Petroleum green.”
Wentworth & Irwin built some bi-level
buses in the mid 1930s that were used to transport both passengers and
cargo. The rear
passengers sat over a large cargo hold located over the rear half of
They also built some mid-thirties airport
limousines on customer-designated chassis. One rare example was built
stretched 1935 DeSoto Airflow chassis for the Mount Hood Stages, one of
the very few
Airflows known to have been modified for commercial use. The
Heiser deck-and-a-half coaches of
1934-1938 were constructed in two series, the first 100 series was
constructed on ACF/ Kenworth
bus chassis with a traditional front engine –rear drive arrangement. It
replaced in 1936 by the 700 series which featured a nearly identical
passenger compartment with a completely streamlined front-end. The
Hall-Scott 6-cylinderwas cooled with air intakes in the lower side
least two (2) 100 series were constructed and ten (10) 700 series, the
latter in two
different lengths. The latter series worked through World War II and
photographed in 1943 dropping off passengers at Camp Harmony, a
Japanese Interment Camp
located in Puyallup, Washington.
1937 Wentworth & Irwin began construction on a Kenworth-chassised
motor coach, that was outfitted with the latest in emergency response
equipment. Financed by Aaron M. Frank, the scion of Portland's Meier
& Frank dept. store, and named for Portland's first fire marshall,
the $30,000 'Jay W. Stevens Disaster Service Unit' made its public
debut on March 29, 1939 on the stage of Portland's Municipal
Auditorium. The vehicle could carry as many as 7 injured patients and
included a small emergency operating theater, portable generators,
flood lights and a public address system with broadcast capabilities. A
brochure issued at the event listed the vehicle's capabilities:
“...equipped to handle
not only fire, but all such diasasters as train wrecks, plane crashes
the collapse of tall buildings, bridges or elevators; shipwrecks,
highway disasters, snow slides, ,earth slides, floods, jail breaks,
riots, epidemics, explosions, mine or tunnel diasasters, storms...”
When completed the innovative
vehicle (now touted as costing $40K) toured the west coast, the
September 29, 1939 issue of the San Bernardino County Sun reporting:
“Disaster Service Car To Be Exhibited in
“The Jay W. Stevens Disaster Service unit
of the Portland, Ore., Bureau of Fire will be exhibited in San
Bernandino tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 in front of the Munipal
auditorium, it was announced yesterday by Fire Chief C. Neal Niday, of
“Fully equipped with every type of tool,
device and machine that might be used in life saving or first aid in an
emergency, the $40,000 streamlined car is the first of its kind in the
“Constructed by experts under the
supervision of Aaron M. Frank of Portland and donated by him to the
Portland Fire Bureau of Fire on March 15, 1939, the unit will arrive in
San Bernadino at 5 p.m., escorted by California Highway Patrol officers.
“It will be open to public inspection in
front of the auditorium. The mayor and city council, as well as San
Bernandino insurance men, will meet at 6:30 to go through the unit.
“Manned by a squad of six specially
trained firemen, the unit has been on display at the National Fire
Chief's convention at San Francisco and at the State Fireman's
convention at Monterey. It is being returned to Portland, where it
operates out of the central fire station.
“The unit contains no fire fighting
equipment, but is solely for the treatment of persons injured in
emergencies of any nature or magnitude. It contains portable power
plants and communication equipment.
“In recognition of the many years of
outstanding work by Jay W. Stevens, in fire fighting and fire
prevention, the unit has been named in his honor. Mr. Stevens served
for many years on the Portland fire department.”
Bodies for the Portland Fire Department’s
Fageol and Kenworth pumpers and chemical apparatus were assembled in
Irwin's shops at a cost saving of some $21,000 over pre-built apparatus
according to Portland Fire Commissioner Earl Riley. Wentworth &
Irwin also constructed a special body for use by State of Oregon's
Dept. of Forestry, theAugust 15, 1937 issue of the Oregon Statesman
“Truck for Forest Fire Use Received
“Will Tour State, Then Be Kept Here for
Service in Woods of State
“A new fire truck, embodying the latest in
fire-fighting equipment, has been delivered to State Forester J.W.
Ferguson by the
Wentworth-Irwin company of Portland.
“The entire equipment is carried in
compartments constructed in the body, Tools include shovels, axes,
hazel hose and
saws sufficient to equip 60 firefighters. In addition there is a
capacity tank. Three pumpers are provided.
“One of these is a power take-off with
capacity of 130 gallons per minute while the truck motor is idling. It
is possible to
pump either from the tank or stream. The two other pumpers are the
type Y Pacific Marine with a capacity of 60 gallons per minute each.
includes 30 feet of suction hose, relay reservoirs, pump cans and
tanks for the pumpers.
“Seat Eleven Men
“There also are electric lanterns for
forest fire fighting, first aid kits and miscellaneous equipment. Seats
provided in the truck for 11 men.
“The truck is painted red with chrome
railings. The design ‘Forest Department, State of Oregon’ is painted in
on each side.
“Following a tour of the state which will
include most of the association units, the truck will be returned to
where it will be available for emergency calls.
“Eventually it is proposed to obtain
The school bus used on 'Leave It To Beaver'
Television series from 1957-1963 was
a 1940 Kenworth Model 610 with a Wentwin (Wentworth and Irwin of
Portland, Oregon) body. It was originally sold to Taft School District
California through Bakersfield Garage and Auto Supply in 1940, and was
traded to Crown Coach Incorporated, who subsequently resold it to T
& T Bus
Service. Its serial number is 50900, and was equipped with a Hall-Scott
George G. Wentworth died in Portland, Ore.,
May 30, 1940, the July 15, 1940 issue of Automobile Topics reporting:
“George G. Wentworth, president of
& Irwin, Inc., Nash distributor of Portland, Ore., died last week
at the age of
the firm's customers were relegated to the Pacific Norwest, they rarely
advertised outside of the region, although occasional ads such as the
following were placed in Western Trucker:
“Passenger and Freight Carriers
“The most convincing evidence that Wentwin
‘Engineered Transportation’ is a recognized quality in coach, bus and
building is the great number of carriers bearing the Wentwin shopmark.
have learned it pays to standardize with Wentwin.
“TRUCKERS GET TOGETHER MODERN WENTWIN
“The New WENTWIN Coach
“The New WENTWIN Pusher Coach for Portland
Stages, pictured above”
its first 40 years in business the firm's workforce increased from
6 to over 200, with a similar increase in floorspace from 10,000
to 175,000 sq. ft. Besides holding the
distinction of being the oldest agency in the western United States
General Motors trucks, the firm's associated 'Wentwin' coach works
specialized in the construction of
custom-built trucks, rollers, and trailers used to transport
from the forests of the Northwest to the mills, its Wentwin (later
& Irwin) trailers being especially popular in the lumber industry.
Wentworth & Irwin's
G.M.C. distributorship maintained full service departments for
maintenance, reconstruction, and parts replacement for the
Motors lines of trucks, and the Wentwin body works maintained its
engineering, plate, machine, body, blacksmith, woodworking, trim, and
shops for the manufacture and repair of the motor coaches, truck bodies
WWII Wentworth & Irwin constructed a number of war
worker trailers for west coast firms such as Kaiser, Pacific Car, and
Boeing that were engaged in large military contracts. Pulled by a
tractor cab &
chassis the semi-trailer buseswere often converted from existing new
car carriers, or built
scratch. Similar bus-trailers were constructed in the midwest by Shult
War the firm continued to build its popular line of bodies for fire
apparatus, trailers for log-haulers and a new line of dump bodies.
Founder Charles G. Irwin passed away on May
19, 1952, the June 1952 issue of Western Trucker reporting:
“Charles Granger Irwin. 74, founder
of Wentworth & Irwin, Inc., manufacturer of trucks in the Pacific
Northwest, died May
19 at a hospital in Portland, Ore. He was president of the firm he
years ago. He established the firm with the purchase of the Columbia
Works which he converted to manufacture of truck bodies. He was soon
by George Wentworth as a partner. Mr. Wentworth's son, Charles W.
Wentworth, now is vice-president and general manager of the company.
Mr. Irwin was born
in Detroit, Mich. He is survived by his wife, Harriett, Portland, Ore.:
sister, Mrs. Henry Schleason, Oakland, Calif., and several nieces and
1961 Wentworth & Irwin reorganized its commercial body and trailer
division as the Columbia Body & Equipment Co., Logger and Lumberman
West magazine reporting:
“Wentworth & Irwin, Inc.’s industrial
changed the name of this division to Columbia Body & Equipment Co.
According to C. W. Wentworth, president, the new firm name coincides
and expanded services and manufacturing facilities which offer truck
fleet owners and individuals complete transportation exactly designed
needs of the men and the products carried.”
Period advertisments list the Columbia Body
Equipment Co. division
of Wentworth & Irwin, Inc., at 123 N.E. Oregon
St., Portland, Oregon.
Now president of Wentworth & Irwin Inc.,
Charles W. Wentworth felt the future lay in retails automobile sales
and in the mid-1950s sold their GMC distributorship to Portland-based DSU (Diesel Service Unit) which
was founded in 1945 by Jim Montgomery, Bill Prothero and Wally Yost.
Wentworth retained his Nash distributorship
into the modern era when Nash became Rambler then American Motors.
Charles W. Wentworth Jr. took the reins of the family business in the
1960s, and in 1969 brought some much-needed publicity to the firm
through a pair of AMX drag cars. Prospective car buyers were invited to
come to the firm's 1005 West Burnside dealership to see the 'AMX
Wheel Stander... an engineering job they said couldn't be done.'
In 1978, when a struggling AMC bought back
its franchise, then-president Charles Jr. bought a Chevrolet dealership
His sons, Greg, Scott and Bob Wentworth - the fourth generation - had
business in the 1970s, and in 1982, Charles Jr. bought a Buick
Eugene, Ore., two hours south of Portland.
Charles W. Wentworth Jr. passed away in
1992, and Greg, Scott and Bob Wentworth were faced with sharing control
business that for decades had been run by their father and grandfather.
They elected to sell off their commercial body building subsidiary
which had re-located to an 18,000 sq. ft. facility at 5525 S.W. 28th
St. in 1989, due to the construction of the
Oregon Convention Center. In 1994 Tom Scranton purchased the
Columbia Body & Equipment Co. reorganizing it as the Columbia Body
Mfg. Co., which in 1997 relocated to a new modern facility loacted at
S.E. Mather Rd., in the southern Portland suburb of Clackamas. The
December 1, 1997 issue of
Trailer/Body Builders Magazine featured an article on the firm written
by Mark Nutter:
“Columbia Body Manufacturing Is Revived,
Product Line Redesigned
“Tom Scranton is leading Columbia Body
to the position it once held as a major West Coast dump body
“In the early 1970s and 1980s, Columbia
dominated the dump
body market within 100 miles of Portland, Oregon, Scranton says. The
had about 80% of the market. Scranton and the Hanel family purchased
company in 1994 and are establishing a strong market position.
“The biggest step Columbia Body took
spot as a market leader is moving into a new location in 1997. The
moved from a cramped 18,000-sq-ft building into a renovated
building on a 6 1/2-acre site in Clackamas, near Portland.
“'The lack of space reduced our gross
margins,' says Todd Lessner, chief financial officer at Columbia. 'We
lost price discounts because we didn't have enough storage space for
purchases of parts. Production was restricted because of space
man-hours spent repositioning work in progress.'
dramatically in the new plant, Lessner says. Besides having over three
more space, Columbia invested in new machinery and plant equipment.
“The new equipment includes a 250-ton
brake, a 1/2-inch
shear that can handle material up to 12-ft long, a metal worker, 26
three plasma cutters, drill presses, and band saws. New bridge cranes
almost every square foot of plant space.
“Columbia purchased a new paint booth
long, 18-ft wide,
and 18-ft high. The paint booth is equipped with gas dryers that can
temperature inside the booth to 180 degrees F.
“'This company is laying the groundwork
production capacity,' Lessner says. 'Everything, including office
equipment, tools, and machinery, was upgraded to take us into the year
“When it moved into its new offices,
Digital NT server with 14 personal computer work stations and a local
network (LAN), Scranton says. A database program is being incorporated
“'Incorporating the database and CAD
provide the long-term benefit of being able to automatically predict
and track inventory,' Lessner says.
“In the future, sales
orders will be
entered into Columbia's computer system via laptop computers equipped
modems. After an order is entered, the computer database will allocate
inventory for each Columbia product so the same components are always
“'We will realize greater economies of
Columbia will always be purchasing the same components to build its
products,' Lessner says.
“With its new production facility, the
company is already expanding
its share of the dump body market, Scranton says. Occasionally,
its dump truck and trailer combinations to customers located 500 miles
“'Columbia's reputation for top quality
rooted in a
labor force that included some of the best fitter welders on the West
Coast,' Scranton says.
“Now, rather than relying on fitter
to build its
products, Columbia is using more welding fixtures, says Terry Potter,
engineer at Columbia. Welding fixtures provide better product
“'When it comes to building dump bodies,
away from a job shop approach to more of a production line process so
welder doesn't have to be a fitter,' Potter says. 'We don't want a
product totally dependent on one employee.'
“By using more welding fixtures, Columbia
streamline production and reduce the setup time needed to weld a
says Potter. Other changes reduced production time such as
“Dump Body Designs
“The Columbia dump body
design has a
distinctive look with concave sidepanels on its truck body and pup
Between the concave sidepanels and inner wall on the dump bodies and
trailers is a 3/4-inch space. This air space insulates hot products
asphalt and provides a clean exterior appearance since loads cannot
exterior concave sidepanel.
“In the 1960s, Columbia began building
dump body and pup
trailer combination, incorporating a sidewall, top rail, and bottom
from one piece of steel. After Scranton purchased Columbia, he
began redesigning the pup trailer.
“The frames of the pup trailer and dump
Scranton says. For strength, the original design had extra crossmembers
“'It was a sound design, but we found
engineering analysis that the benefit didn't outweigh the weight gain,'
Scranton says. 'The original pup trailer and dump body designs hauled
metal around, and it really wasn't doing anything.'
“The new dump body and pup trailer frame
30% stronger and
uses eight-inch T-1 steel frame rails instead of 10-inch frame rails,
says. This helped reduce by 600 lb the weight of the new truck and
combination compared to the original design.
“Stronger, Lighter Bodies
body is 600 to 900 lb lighter than the company's original dump body,
says. Dump bodies built by Columbia are made of 3/16- by 1/4-inch
steel with a 400 brinnel hardness made by Oregon Steel Mills in
“'Formalloy is easier to form, and it
hardness and yield strength after bending,' Scranton says.
“Columbia purchases steel in the maximum
length for its dump
bodies. This is more cost effective than purchasing several different
of sheet from the steel mill.
“'The cost of five different lengths of
sheet can outweigh the forming costs,' Potter says. 'We're trying to
reduce machinery setup costs for different body lengths. The company is
to budget more money for jigs, fixtures, and tooling.'
“Standard Width Frames
“Another major change
Scranton made was
switching to a standard 34-inch wide frame for the dump body and pup
Dump bodies in the assembly process can now be mounted on either a
“The side height of the new dump bodies
said. Columbia Body's engineers determined the center of gravity was
on the dump body.
“'The overall design now has more
“A minor change Scranton made to the pup
switching to cast steel undermounted spring hangers, he said. On
trailer, the most extensive changes were made to the drawbar. Scranton
a hinged drawbar to replace the drawbar previously used on the pup
“Because the new drawbar is hinged and has
double-acting cylinder on each side, it absorbs the harmonic motion
hauling a heavy load on a rough road, Scranton says. The cylinders in
Columbia's proprietary dampening system allow 5 1/2 inches of travel
drawbar moves up or down.
“The build time for dump trailer drawbars
using a welding fixture thus eliminating a long setup time, Potter says.
“'But we increased the build time by
for Huck-bolting a glove reinforcement and bracing in the drawbar,'
“Better Drawbar Design
are designed so
the Huck bolts and glove reinforcement handle fatigue while the welds
additional strength, Potter says. Gussets are Huck-bolted inside the
where it attaches to the trailer.
“The drawbar design was first tested on
combinations Columbia built for Randalls Sand & Gravel in Puyallup,
Washington. The truck-and-trailer rigs are used primarily off-road in
quarries. In this severe service, Columbia's drawbars are holding up
compared to traditional fixed drawbars found on most pup trailers.
“Besides its drawbar, other design work at
concentrated on new products such as the five- to six-yard dump body
single-axle chassis, Scranton says. This dump body is being
primarily for installation by Columbia distributors.
“Scranton's redesign of Columbia's
combination has been an on-going process since 1994, he said. During
process, Columbia has been producing limited quantities of truck body
trailer sets a year.
“'Production was limited until we could
history to validate our engineering and design work,' Scranton says.
'Now we can release our drawbar and frame design into full
purchased the company,
Columbia has increased production every year. In 1994, the company
dump truck-and-trailer combinations. In 1995, it built 60. In 1996,
built 150, and in 1997 the company expects to build 400 dump
“Each year since 1994, Columbia's gross
Lessner says. Columbia's sales result in an annual profit before taxes.
“'Because of our increased production
expect this upward trend to continue,' Lessner says. 'One of the
benefits of Columbia's increased capacity is that the company can
According to the February 3, 2003 issue of
Automotive News the Wentworth's automobile dealerships survive as
follows: Greg Wentworth, (then 54) is president of Wilsonville
Chevrolet, Wilsonville, Oregon; Scott Wentworth (then age
49) is president of
Wentworth Buick-Pontiac-GMC, Portland Oregon; and Bob Wentworth (then
age 47) is president of
Chevrolet-Subaru., Portland, Oregon.
© 2014 Mark
Theobald for Coachbuilt.com