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William H. Birdsall (b. Oct. 25, 1877 - d. Oct. 23, 1929) 
Regas Automobile Co., (1903-1906) 55-57 South Ave, Rochester, NY

Mora Motor Car Co., (1906-1907) 317 Livingston Bldg. (31 Exchange St.) Rochester, NY; 27-31 Siegrist St. (Harrison St.); Mora Motor Car Co. - aka Mora Company (1907-1908) 27-31 Siegrist St. (Harrison St.); (1908-1911)500 Hoffman St. (Mora Place), Frank Toomey & Co.,1910-1911, 500 Hoffman St.; Newark, NY

Omar Motor Co. - aka Child’s Automobile Co. - (1908-1911) 27-31 Siegrist St, Newark, NY

Mora Power Wagon Co., (1911-1914) 5320-5328 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
Associated Firms
Syracuse Automobile Co.

The history of Newark, New York’s little-known automaker, the Mora Motor Car Co., - and the related Omar Motor Co, manufacturer of the Browniekar - starts with its founder and namesake, Samuel Hancock Mora (b. 1868 - d. March 5, 1918*).

*The date of his passing is taken from the estate’s application for probate, although one modern source lists it as March 7, 1918 (without attribution).

Samuel Hancock (Gibbons) Mora was born in St. Louis, Missouri in November, 1868 to Kentucky-born Samuel S. Gibbons (b.1845-d.1872) and a Missouri native, Emma “Birdie” Parry (b.1849-d.1894) who had been married on August 14, 1866. Period directory listings give the elder Gibbons’ occupation as bookkeeper and salesman for Quinlan Bros. & Co., a wholesale liquor distributor. A sister named Emma (m. Marshal Eyster in 1890) joined the Gibbons family in 1870, but sadly the family patriarch, Samuel S. Gibbons, passed away unexpectedly two years later on May 21, 1872.

Soon after, our subject’s mother, Emma, married an Italian-born “Professor of Music” named Carlo Mora (b.1842), and the family adopted the surname of their stepfather. The 1880 US Census reveals the Mora family had relocated to Princeton, Illinois (302 South St., Princeton, Bureau County, Illinois).

In 1886 the Mora family moved to the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, their address, 430 McMillan St. The 1887 Cincinnati directory lists Carlo Mora’s occupation as salesman, Samuel’s as clerk.

Our subject married 16-yo Grace Marie Whitney in Medina, Medina County, Ohio on October 20, 1888 and although his stepfather is listed in the 1888 Cincinnati directory, Samuel is not, so it is assumed he stayed in Medina as his first child, Leota M. Mora (b. June 22, 1889) listed Medina, Ohio as her place of birth on her June 4th, 1941 marriage license. The Mora’s middle child, George Whitney Mora (b. Oct. 5 1892 – d. Feb. 1987), lists his birthplace as Cleveland, Ohio, but shortly thereafter (or before, as is often the case) Samuel Mora took a job with the Eastman Kodak Co.*, a major photographic chemical, film and paper manufacturer in Rochester, New York.

(*Its predecessor, the Eastman Dry Plate Company was founded by buggy whip manufacturer Henry A. Strong and bank clerk/photo enthusiast George Eastman on January 1, 1881. In 1884, the Eastman-Strong partnership gave way to a new firm, the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company, which was succeeded by the Eastman Company in 1889 and in 1892, the Eastman Kodak Company of New York.)

Mora’s first appearance in the Rochester city directory is in 1893, where he’s listed as a clerk at 343 State St. (Kodak office) with a home address of 136 Kirk. The next year’s directory (1894) indicates he had moved into his own residence at 5 Kay Terrace, and he was likely still living there when his youngest child, (Samuel Adolph, b. Dec. 15 1895 – d. 1961) was born.

By that time Mora had become manager of sales for the Eastman Kodak Co.’s Solio paper works in Rochester, New York and after its formation in 1899, Secretary of Canadian Kodak Co., Ltd.

Mora was fundamental in the establishment of a branch factory in Canada and applying for exceptions on certain items as raw / unfinished materials required for manufacture. Mora’s efforts created the Canadian Kodak Co. Ltd. Mora was given 30 shares of C.K. Co. Ltd. for his efforts (the same amount held by George Eastman) and appointed Secretary of the new firm.

A detailed look at the Rochester, New York city directories provide several address for Mora; 5 Kay Terrace (1890s); 191 Lake Ave.(1900-1901); and 439 Lake Ave. (1902-1910); all City of Rochester. Even though his car business was located in Newark, Mora commuted via the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Railroad (electric), and was a regular overnight guest of the Gardenier Hotel, corner of East Ave. and East Union St., Newark, NY.

Mora’s wife, Grace Marie Mora, died of appendicitis on April 1st, 1899, leaving Mora to care for his three small children, Leota M., George W. and Samuel A. Mora. Her obituary in the Democrat & Chronicle follows:

“One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin is a truism I never more keenly appreciated in our busy life perhaps than where that touch is from the hand of death and the sympathy of a large number of people has gone out to Mr. Samuel H Mora and his three children in their recent bereavement Mrs. Mora died at the family residence in Rochester April 1st from which place she was buried on the 4th, the funeral services being attended by a large number of personal friends of the deceased and many of those associated with Mr. Mora in the office and works of the Eastman Kodak Company with which he has been long identified.”

The 1900 US Census reveals his stepfather, Carlo Mora, had moved to Rochester to help care of the children (Samuel’s mother Emma – Carlo’s wife - had passed away in 1894):

Samuel H. Mora 36yo, widower; Leota M. (9yo); George W. (8yo); Samuel A. (4yo) Mora and also notes his 48yo stepfather, Carlo Mora, was now living with them as well – his occupation still professor of music.

On June 10, 1901 the recently-widowed Mora married Margaret Agnes Griffin (b.1867-d.1940) in Boston, Massachusetts, the following day’s Boston Globe reporting:

“Rochester Man Take a Bride at the South End

“The parochial residence of the cathedral of the Holy Cross was the scene of a pretty wedding ceremony last evening, when Margaret A. Griffin, one of the South End’s most popular young ladies, became the bride of Mr. Samuel H. Mora of Rochester, N.Y. The ceremony, which was witnessed by only a small gathering of relatives and immediate friends, was performed by Rev. Nicholas R. Walsh of the cathedral. Miss Mary Talbot of this city was bridesmaid and Mr. James F. Drey of Boston was best man. Following the ceremony there was a reception at 23 East Concord st., the residence of the bride’s aunt, Mrs. James M. Drey, with whom the bride has made her home. Mr. & Mrs. Mora left on a bridal trip. They will be at home after Sept. 15 at 439 Lake av., Rochester, N.Y.”

Mora was an early adopter of the automobile, the March 23, 1902 edition of the Democrat & Chronicle revealing he had been awarded a permit from the City of Rochester to erect an “auto storage” facility at a cost of $350. According to Newark historian John Zornow, Mora’s boss, George Eastman owned several Mora automobiles. Interestingly George Eastman, who was still a bank clerk at the time, signed and witnessed the May 8, 1879 patent application of George B. Selden for “America’s first automobile”.

Selden’s application was the very first to mate an internal combustion engine with a 4-wheeled vehicle. He continued to improve upon his original application which resulted in several delays, but ultimately he was granted his patent on November 5, 1895. Selden also served as George Eastman’s patent attorney and several years after Mora’s failure founded the Selden Motor Vehicle Co., whose coachbuilder, Caley & Nash, is covered elsewhere on this site. Incidentally the Mora Motor Car Co. was a member of the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM), Selden’s infamous auto patent trust.

The Mora family’s entry in the 1905 NYS census lists them as follows:

Samuel H. Mora 36yo; Margaret A. Mora 32yo; Leota M. (b.1889-d.1984); George Whitney (b.1892-d.1987); and Samuel A. (b.1896-d.1961) Mora.

In George Eastman: A Biography (pub. 2006), historian Elizabeth Brayer states:

“… Sam Mora, head of the salesforce, whose talents Eastman acknowledged but who had delusions of grandeur about being Eastman’s heir apparent. Yet he appreciated Mora’s efforts – ‘considerable ability as an office man, a hard worker with good habits’ – because he knew that sales were so central: ‘People who have an itching to manufacture the goods do not understand what they will encounter when they try to sell them.”

However as time went on, Eastman tired of Mora’s perceived entitlement, Brayer relates:

“Eastman fired Sam Mora, his aggressive sale manager, who was thoroughly unpopular with independent dealers. The reason given for Mora’s dismissal was that he was acting too much like an heir presumptive.”

At the time of Mora’s dismissal (in late 1905 - early 1906, after 13 years with Eastman), he held the position of general sales manager.

The New York Incorporations column of the March 14, 1906 issue of the New York Times announced the March 13th, 1906 creation of the Mora Motor Car Company:

“Albany, March 13 – incorporated today:

“Mora Motor Car Company, Newark; capital, $150,000. Directors – S.H. Mora, William Freeman, Rochester; W.H. Birdsell, Newark.”

Although Samuel H. Mora’s name adorned the vehicle, it was designed by William H. Birdsall (b. Oct. 25, 1877 - d. Oct. 23, 1929), a mechanical engineer and former semi-pro bicyclist from Syracuse, NY who had been associated with several other automobile manufacturers prior to his arrival in Newark.

William ‘Billy’ Hart Birdsall was born in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York on Oct. 25, 1876 to William (b. 1847-d.1901) & Charlotte (nee Hart) Birdsall (one source says he was born on Oct 25, 1877).

The 1892 New York State Census places both father and son in Auburn, Cayuga County, NY, where the senior Birdsall was employed as a scythe maker/plater in his family’s scythe manufacturing enterprise which included his father John, his brothers Steven and John Jr., and his half-brother Leander (all Birdsall).

A closely-related branch of the Birdsall family were also engaged in the farm implement manufacturing business. The Birdsall Company was founded in Penn Yan, N.Y., by Hiram Birdsall in 1860, the firm originally manufactured threshing machinery and horse-powered implements. Upon Hiram’s retirement, his son, Edgar M., took over the firm in the style of the E.M. Birdsall Co. and in 1874 began manufacturing portable steam engines. In 1882 the company moved to Auburn, N.Y where the firm introduced their first steam traction engine as The Birdsall Co. It was reorganized under new management in 1886, and once again in 1893, this time in the style of ‘The New’ Birdsall Co., their ad in the 1896 Auburn directory stating “mfrs. of portable engines, grain threshers, saw mills, &c. &c., foot of McMaster.” In 1906 the firm was reorganized once again as The Birdsall Engine Co. which remained in business into 1919.

Incidentally, William H. Birdsall’s uncle, Leander Birdsall, was Captain of the Auburn Police Department for many years. The 1900 US Census places William in Syracuse, NY, his occupation, commercial agency, auto mobile, along with his wife, Elmina ‘Mina’ Mary (nee Parker, b. 1881) Birdsall.

In the early 1890s Birdsall gained some notoriety as a bicycle racer in and around Central NY, the January 16, 1898 Syracuse Herald gives details of one of his contests:

“Novel Cycle Race - Birdsall and Barnes Will Start at Opposite Ends of the Course

“A special to The Herald from Auburn last night says:

“There will be a novel bicycle road race tomorrow between Auburn and Syracuse riders. At an early hour William Birdsall will leave this city for Syracuse, while at the same hour Edwin C, Barnes will leave Syracuse for Auburn. The conditions governing the race are that when both riders meet, the one who has ridden the shortest distance is to turn back and accompany the other on his way.”

The May 5, 1898 Syracuse Evening Herald announced the April 27, 1898 wedding of Birdsall to Elmina Parker, calling him ‘the old racing man’:

‘“Billy’ Birdsall, the old racing man, who is well known in this city, was married in Auburn recently.”

The blessed union resulted in the birth of five children: Katherine (b.1907); John P. (b.1909); Jane Adair (b.1912-d.1992); Helen Hart (b.1915-d.1983) and Charlotte Nye (b.1921-d.1992) Birdsall.

At the right is a poor quality image of their father Billy piloting a 1900 Locomobile through the streets of Syracuse. It was a publicity photo for the Syracuse Automobile Co., the Syracuse Locomobile distributor, for which he served as salesman. The S.A.C. had been organized by C. Arthur Benjamin, former manager of the Olive Wheel Co.; William D. Andrews and Henry Trebert. Originally located at 243-245 West Water St., Syracuse it later moved to a more spacious facility located at 336 South Warren St.

The January 21, 1901 edition of the Syracuse Post Standard gave details of a Savannah, Georgia automobile contest which Benjamin and Birdsall had entered as teammates:

“Benjamin and Birdsall have Locomobile Race

“C. Arthur Benjamin and Billy Birdsall of this city, who are representing the Locomobile throughout the south, gave three very fast exhibitions in a half-mile race at Savannah, Ga. January 1.

“The race was best two in three. Benjamin writes that be took the first heat by getting the best start. Ben says he was afraid of the sharp turns and that Birdsall was not. Consequently Billy took the next two heats in fast time, going the second in 57 seconds and the third in 57 1/5 seconds. Benjamin won his hear in 59 seconds.

“The dodgers advertising the race, one of which has been sent to Syracuse, say in big type that William Birdsall and C.A. Benjamin, two of the greatest machine operators in the United States, will start Locomobiles in this race.”

The December 3, 1902 issue of The Horseless Age reported that the Syracuse Automobile Co., had been appointed distributor for the Winton:

“The Syracuse Automobile Company of 346 and 348 South Warren street, Syracuse, NY, has secured the exclusive agency for the Winton touring car for Syracuse and adjacent territory.”

It’s assumed the Syracuse Automobile Co., was strictly a motor car sales, storage and service operation and it’s unlikely the firm built any vehicles. The firm remained in the Syracuse directory into 1903 after which it was succeeded by the R.M. Cornwell Co., a similar firm. By that time Birdsall had accepted a position with a small Utica, New York automobile manufacturer named the Buckmobile Co. The firm’s formation was announced in the June 11, 1902 issue of The Horseless Age:

"The Buckmobile Company, of Utica, N. Y., has been incorporated by A.V. Brower, W.H. Birdsall and A.J. Seaton to succeed the Utica Automobile Company."

Existing advertisements reveal the Utica Automobile Co., located at the corner of John and Catharine Sts., Utica, N.Y., remained in operation into 1903 as a retail automobile dealership offering “ALL THE BEST: Wintons, Oldsmobiles, Locomobiles, Electrics and Buckboards.”

As early as 1901 Birdsall had started working on a car of his own design and later that year he sold the idea to A. Vedder Brower and a group of Utica, New York investors who organized a company to manufacture the 2-cylinder car. Officers of the firm included: A. G. Brower, president; Samuel Campbell, vice-president; and A. V. Brower secretary and general manager, its Directors: A. G. Brower, A. V. Brower and Samuel Campbell. The first Buckmobile factory was located just two blocks away from Utica Chas. H. Childs & Co. carriage works at the intersection of John and Catherine streets. Production soon exceeded the capacity of the small plant and Buckmobile relocated to larger quarters located at 708 Genesee St. at the intersection of Shepherd Place, Utica.

The introduction of the car was announced in the June 11, 1902 Horseless Age and the firm was one of 114 exhibitors at the November, 1902 New York Automobile Show which was held at Madison Square Garden. A description of the exhibit from the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal's coverage of the event follows:

"The Buckmobile Company, 708 Genesee street, Utica, N. Y., exhibited one of their Buckmobiles in natural wood finish, which was much admired. The feature of this car is its long wheel base (80 inches), and the construction of the running pear, which gives easy riding and permits high speed over rough roads. The tread is 4 feet 6 inches and the wheels are either wile or artillery wood construction, as ordered. Either lever or wheel Steering can be furnished.

"The motor is an upright, double cylinder, gasoline engine of 10 actual horse power. It has 4 3/8- inch bore and 4 ¾-inch stroke, and is geared 3 to 1. A sliding gear and clutch transmission is used, which gives two forward speeds and reverse. The speed of the engine is controlled by throttling the gas and advancing the spark. Splash lubrication of the engine parts is employed.

"Roller bearings are used throughout. A double-acting brake acts on the differential. The gasoline capacity is 6 gallons, which will run the car 100 miles over ordinary roads. Speed is 25 miles per hour. The buckboards are of second-growth ash, air dried. They rest on two large, strong leaf springs, extending from axle to axle. The body can be removed by disconnecting the brake clutch and taking out four bolts. The large friction clutch is self-adjusting and is of sufficient strength to transmit 35-H.P. The engine is copperjacketed and has roller bearings. The inlet and exhaust valves are easily accessible."

Motor Age reported on the Buckmobile exhibit as follows:

"Buckmobile Co.—One runabout is exhibited, finished in oak throughout. The frame is carried on two side springs. The platform has, in addition, two wood supports resting on each axle, almost parallel with the springs. The front axle, to accommodate the wood supports, is bent upward a short distance from the yokes, then is run across, forming an arch and allowing of more than ordinary clearance. The engine is of the double cylinder vertical variety, rated at 15 horsepower and carries a planetary gear on the outer end of its shaft. Two speeds forward and one reverse are provided for, and controlled by one lever. All valves are mechanically operated. Split rear axle, with single chain drive, is used. A surrey seat, detached, is exhibited, it being intended to mount on the platform back of the main seat. This is also finished in oak.

"Slaton, Henderson & Gillies have taken the New York agency for the Buckmobile Co. and will conduct their business under the title of the Buckmobile Co. They have just had completed for them a fine two-story brick garage at 1900 Broadway. Mr. Gillies says the parent company will bring out this season a 16 horsepower car with vertical motor, planetary transmission and wheel steer."

The short-lived Buckmobile company, which produced approximately 40 Buckmobiles between 1902 and 1904, merged with the operations of the Remington Automobile & Motor Co. and the Geneva, New York-based Black Diamond Automobile Co. in June 1904, the June 17, 1904 issue of Motor Age reporting:

"Consolidation Effected

"The Black Diamond Automobile Co., a New York state corporation with $500,000 capital, has made arrangements to consolidate with the Buckmobile Co., of Utica, N.Y. It will continue to make practically the same machines as are now being made by the Buckmobile Co. Dr. A.G. Brower and son, A.V. Brower, will hold the same official positions with the company that they have filled with the Buckmobile Co. They will be largely interested in the company. William Dieter, the Black Diamond Automobile Co.'s mechanical engineer, now has full charge of the Buckmobile Co.'s works, which have been enlarged. The Black Diamond company has also purchased the Remington plant, which is situated in Utica. This is a large, well equipped plant and will be operated to its full capacity."

On July 26, 1904, Birdsall was awarded his first patent for ‘running gear’, US Pat No. 765,955 which was assigned to A.V. Brower, Utica, NY, and originally filed on March 2, 1903. By the time the patent was issued Birdsall had already left Utica, taking a position as engineer with the “Waterless” Regas Automobile Co. in Rochester, NY.

Regas founder, James Harry Sager, began manufacturing bicycle accessories with a partner, Willard G. Rich, as the Rich & Co. in 1891. Rich sold his share in the firm to Sager in 1895, who reorganized as the Sager Mfg. Co., its address 138 North Water St., just one block east of St. Paul St. At that time the company’s most popular product was ‘cycle saddles’. In 1899 Sager add bicycle gears to the product line, reorganizing as the Sager Gear Co.

James H. Sager was born in Ontario, Canada in August of 1859, emigrating to the United States in 1884. He married Cora Blanche Mills (b. Mar. 1864 in NY) in 1886 and the union resulted in the birth of two children; Clinton M. (b. Mar. 1889) and Thelma L. (b. June 1897) Sager. In 1900 Sager entered the burgeoning retail vehicle sales and manufacturing business as the Regas Vehicle Co. (Sager spelled backwards) locating his salesroom and manufactory at 66 East Ave., Rochester. A Regas Vehicle Co. advertisement in the February 1, 1900 Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester):

“Electric and Gasoline Automobiles, Motor-Cycles, Bicycles. Regas Vehicle Co. Rochester, NY, Telephone 84. 66 East Ave.”

The firm carried Orient, Ariel, National, Record, Stearns and Regas bicycles; Orient motorcycles and Winner Gasoline and Woods Electric automobiles.

Subsequent advertisements touted the danger of steam automobiles, as evidenced by the following, which appeared in the February 18, 1900 edition of the Democrat & Chronicle:

“AUTOMOBILES! Don't Be Deluded! You Are Not All Engineers? Could You Pass the Necessary Examinations to Run the Best Equipped Steam Plant in This City?

“Ask any practical engineer whether he would prefer running a large steam plant to a small one; he will tell you that the larger the plant, the more leeway he has, that a small plant requires much more attention; that things are liable to happen sooner. Placing it under the seat out of sight makes it still more dangerous.

“We Will Tell You the Truth, We Will Give You the Facts, not only about our automobiles, but about all the others. Any make of electric vehicle is safe, also any gasoline vehicle without steam. With either of these two types of vehicles you are without FIRE HEAT AND STEAM, and these are carriages which ladies and children can operate.

“MAKES WE HANDLE. WOOD'S ELECTRIC CARRIAGES, the finest made, which we are selling to the best people in Rochester. The WINNER GASOLINE RUN-ABOUT which will be here very soon. The ORIENT 20th CENTURY VEHICLE which will carry you everywhere.

“Defer placing your order until you have seen our line. Telephone 84 and we will CALL and take you for a ride. ‘Regas’ Vehicle Co., 66 EAST AVENUE. Do not overlook the fact that we carry a full line of HIGH-GRADE BICYCLES.”

On December 1, 1900 the Regas Vehicle Co. relocated to 72-80 West Main St., Rochester. The New Corporations column of the May 29, 1901 edition of the New York Times announced the official formation of the Regas Vehicle Co.:

“Regas Vehicle Company of Rochester: capital $25,000. Directors – J. Harry Sager, Cora B. Sager, and George D. Green, Rochester.”

Sager also developed his own motor bicycle, three of which were entered in a September 1901 New York-Buffalo Endurance Run, the September 11, 1901 issue of The Horseless Age recording the list of entrants of which Nos. 87, 88 and 89 were Regas Motor Bicycles of 1 ½- and 2 ½-hp, piloted by J.H. Sager (no. 87, 1 ½-hp), G.D. Green (no. 88 2 ½-hp) and Warren L. Stoneburn (no. 89 1 ½-hp). The death of President McKinley ended the race prematurely at Rochester instead of Buffalo and the September 18, 1901 issue of the Horseless Age noted that none of the Regas Motor Bicycles made it past Albany, with only 41 of the original 89 entrants making it to the premature finish in Rochester. The top finishers were all automobiles, and within two years Sager would began manufacturing his own automobile.

The March 29, 1902 edition of the Democrat & Chronicle announced the debut of the Regas ‘Spring Frame’ bicycle:

“A Valuable Bicycle Invention.

“Two well-known Rochester men, J. Harry Sager and George D. Green, have just been allowed patents on a very important and valuable bicycle invention that will in all probability revolutionize the bicycle industry. It is a spring frame which makes the modern wheel as comfortable as the most luxurious carriage, without adding much cost, no visible mechanism and scarcely any extra weight to the popular graceful, up-to-date modern bicycle. Fully three-quarters of all the bicycle manufacturers have adopted the device and shipments have been made to foreign countries. Undoubtedly this will add another large manufacturing industry to Rochester. These improved bicycles may be seen and ridden at the ‘Regas’ Vehicle Co., Nos. 72 and 80 Main street west, who are manufacturing and supplying bicycle manufacturers this spring frame device, which is known as the ‘Regas’ spring frame, name ‘Regas’ being derived by spelling Sager backwards.”

A display advertisement in the April 29, 1903 edition of the Democrat & Chronicle reveals the Regas Vehicle Co. was liquidating their stock of bicycles in order to concentrate on ‘manufacturing and wholesale trade’:

“Clearance Sale – Bicycles

“We have decided to close out our retail business, confining ourselves to manufacturing and wholesale trade exclusively. Therefore, we offer our entire stock of bicycles at greatly reduced prices. This is a genuine clearance sale which begins at once and is confined to our present stock of ‘Regas Bicycles.’ Come quick if you need a bicycle. Cash or time. Inducements for cash. Every bicycle fully guaranteed. A few good second-hands cheap. ‘REGAS’ VEHICLE COMPANY, 80 Main Street West. Up One Flight. OPEN EVENINGS UNTIL EVERY WHEEL IS SOLD.”

In July of 1903, Sager reorganized the Regas Vehicle Co. as the Regas Automobile Co., a firm primarily funded by Thomas B. Dunn, founder and president of the T.B. Dunn Co., a well-known Rochester-based manufacturer of perfumes, extracts and most famously ‘Sen-Sen’ brand licorice-flavored gum and breath mints. Sager served as president; Dunn, vice-pres., and the operation moved into a large brick structure located at 45-47 South Ave., Rochester. The New York Incorporations column of the July 30, 1903 edition of the New York Times announced the formation of the Regas Automobile Mfg. Co.:

“Albany, July 29. – Incorporated to-day:

“Regas Automobile Company, Rochester: capital $100,000. Directors – J.H. Sager, T.B. Dunn, and C.E. Bowen, Rochester.”

The July 31, 1903 edition of the Democrat & Chronicle reported the news to Rochesterians:

“COMPANY INCORPORATED - Regas Automobile Manufacturing Company Filed Papers With County Clerk.

“Articles of Incorporation of the Regas Automobile Company were filed yesterday with the County Clerk. The capital stock is given as $100,000, divided Into 1,000 shares of $100 each. The purpose for which the company is formed is the purchase, manufacture, sale, and dealing in automobiles, and all kinds of vehicles or conveyances operated by mechanical power, with all things incidental. The directors are J. Harry Sager, Thomas B. Dunn, Carroll E. Bowen and Robert C. Kershner, of this city, and L. Louis Willard of Binghamton.”

The News and Trade Miscellany column of the August 8, 1903 issue of The Automobile announced the new firm to the nation:

“Organized to Make Waterless Runabouts

“The Regas Automobile Mfg. Co., of Rochester, NY, has been incorporated with $100,000 capital stock for the purpose of buying, manufacturing and selling automobiles and accessories. The directors are J. Harry Sager, Thomas B. Dunn, Carroll E. Bowen, and Robert C. Kershner, of Rochester and L. Louis Willard, of Binghamton, NY. The company has no connection with the Regas Vehicle Co. which will retire from business, and the Regas spring frame for bicycles, which has been marketed by that concern, will still be manufactured by J. Harry Sager.

“The new Regas Automobile Mfg. Co. is ready to begin the business of manufacturing and marketing exclusively gasoline automobiles fitted with air-cooled motors, with which all of its vehicles will be equipped. A light touring car will be built fitted with detachable tonneau seats and driven by a two-cylinder air-cooled motor of 4-inch bore by 5-inch stroke. The design will be modern and the engine mounted vertically under a hood at the front.”

In addition to manufacturing automobiles, Sager was also interested in politics, the October 26, 1903 issue of the Democrat & Chronicle lists him as a candidate for the New York State Assembly, 3rd District on the Prohibition Party ticket. His home address at the time was 53 Lake View Park, Rochester.

The first Regas automobile was a small, single-cylinder 7 hp air-cooled runabout on a 72-inch wheelbase chassis which sold for $750 in 1903, and the December 5, 1903 issue of the Automobile included a listing of the New York and Chicago Automobile Show participants, both of which would include the Regas Automobile Co. as an exhibitor.

For 1904 the Regas grew into a 12hp air-cooled V-twin on a 81-inch wheelbase chassis that was offered as a touring or runabout for $1500; a 20hp air-cooled V-4 on a 86-inch wheelbase was also available. The Regas included a Marble-Swift friction transmission, a ‘Bunsen-tube’ type cooling system rather like the Knox but of Sager’s own design, and shaft drive. Sager’s unique air-cooling system was eventually awarded a US patent, albeit 6 months after he had let the firm:

“Means for Cooling Heated Surfaces; US patent No. 775,860, filed October 14, 1902 awarded November 22, 1904 to James H. Sager and George D. Green, and assigned to the Regas Automobile Co.”

The January 7, 1904 issue of The Motor World reviewed two of the firm’s 1904 models they had seen at the New York show. Regas was one of the numerous firms exhibiting at Madison Square Garden for the first time:

“Regases from Rochester – Two Attractive Air Cooled Cars Incorporating Some Interesting Features

“Two interesting additions to the growing family of air cooled cars are being placed on the market for the 1904 season by the Regas Automobile Company, Rochester, NY. Model B is the light car being furnished with a detachable tonneau with side entrance, seating four persons. With the tonneau removed the car is transformed into a Stanhope runabout, seating two persons. The second car is known as Model G, and is a touring car, having a tonneau body with side entrance and seating five persons.

“As the higher powered and more ambitious product, the touring car, Model G, merits first attention. Its power plant consists of a four cylinder vertical engine, placed vertically in front under a bonnet. These cylinders are 4 inches by 5 inches and are cast in pairs, one pair being placed behind the other. This engine develops 20 horsepower at a speed of 1,000 RPM. There is one crank to each pair of cylinders, and, of course, two flywheels. Splash lubrication is employed, fed by a sight feed automatic lubricator. The inlet valves are automatically operated the pipes being 1 ¼ inch in diameter, while the exhaust pipes are 1 ½ inch. Jump spark ignition is employed, and the engine speed which, ranges from 300 to 1,000 RPM, is controlled by both throttle and sparking advance.

“The transmission is of the individual clutch type, giving three speeds forward and reverse. Each gear is independent of the other, and all are operated by a single lever. All gears are constantly in mesh, running in oil bath. There is no noise and no possibility of stripping or sticking. The drive is by shaft with forged universal joints from engine to transmission, and double chain drive direct to rear wheel. The brakes are applied by bands on each of the driving wheels.

“The cooling system is both novel and effective. The cylinders are straight cast-iron tubes surrounded by perforated sheet steel jackets, through which project slotted copper tubes, flanged at cylinder end and producing both radiation and circulation, as the hot air passing out of the tubes draws cool air in through the slots. There are 150 of these perforated copper tubes to each cylinder, 1 5/8 inches long by 1/2 inch in diameter, twenty two gauge. One end of the tube is flanged and shaped to fit contour of cylinder, to which they are held rigidly by the perforated sheet steel jacket surrounding the cylinder through which the tubes project.

“The frame is made of angle iron, trussed. Full elliptic springs front and rear are used together with artillery wood wheels, and 30 inches by 4 inches Fisk detachable tires. Wheelbase 86 inches, tread 56 inches. Solid square axles front and rear. Hyatt roller hearings in all four wheels. Transmission gear and differential in one all tight case.

“Two mufflers are fitted, one for each pair of cylinders. These are very efficient and are claimed to do away absolutely with back pressure. Wheel steering is used, the steering column being joined and hinged forward.

“As stated, the entrance to the rear of tonneau is from the side, the front seat being thrown forward. Three persons can be comfortably seated here, in addition to two in the individual front seats, which are hinged, lifting forward. The seats are leather trimmed with brass beading around the tops.

“The smaller car, the Model B, is similar to the G in its main features. It is fitted with a two cylinder vertical engine, however, developing 13 horsepower at 1,000 RPM and 15 horse power at 1,200 RPM. These cylinders are 4 ½ inches by 5 inches, and are cooled in the same manner as are those of the touring car, 160 instead of 150 copper tubes being attached to each cylinder.

“The wheel base is also shorter in the Model B, viz.: 80 inches, while the wheels are fitted by 28 x 3 ½ inch Fisk tires.”

The January 21, 1904 issue of Motor World detailed the numerous manufacturers who were exhibiting at the 4th annual New York Automobile Show.:

“Regas Automobile Co.

“Regas Automobile Co. show a single car with several novel features. First of all, the entrance to the tonneau is secured by throwing forward either half of the divided forward seats which are hinged, with a portion of the side panel of the body rising with the seat. A double cylinder air cooled engine is used with the cylinders set ‘V’ section. Each cylinder is covered as to the body part with a steel jacket, completely filled with perforations through which are inserted tubular copper radiating members. The tubes are each indented, the displaced metal being forced into the tubes. The theory is that the tubes radiate externally as well as internally, the air being freely circulated through and about the tubes. The engine heads and castings for the valves are flanged to secure increased radiation. The change gear is of the sliding type, giving two speeds forward and one reverse. A double drive is used to each of the driving wheels.”

The January 23, 1904 issue of The Automobile covered the firm’s exhibit at the New York Automobile Show:

“Regas Automobile Company

“A motor of original and striking design and an ingenious side entrance to the tonneau are features of the Regas car, which was shown for the first time. The motor which is made both with two and four cylinders has a particularly novel appearance, both on account of the position of the cylinders, which are set V-shaped on the crankcase, but also on account of the long hollow cooling tubes with which they are studded and which give them a curious porcupine effect. Projecting from each cylinder are 172 perforated copper tubes, 1 ½ inches and one-half inch in diameter, which not only present a large amount of radiating surface but also provide circulation, the hot air passing out of the ends of the tubes drawing in cool air through slots in the tubes near where they are inserted into the cylinders. The tubes are flanged and shaped to fit the contour of the cylinder to which they are held rigidly in place by a perforated sheet steel jacket. This device is claimed by its makers to be the first instance in which both radiation and circulation are obtained without mechanical means.

“The side entrance tonneau has practically the same appearance as the ordinary tonneau except for the absence of the back door giving a long comfortable back seat. Entrance is obtained by tipping forward either of the individual front seats, which are separately hinged to the body on their front edges. When tipped forward each seat carries with it a semi-circular portion of the side of the tonneau, making an entrance which is easily reached by two steps, one in the usual position which also gives access to the front seats and the other at the height of the frame and directly opposite the tonneau entrance. The rear fender is curved to pass under the upper step and is partly supported by it. The entire device is both practical and ornamental.

“Other features of the Regas car are as follows: Angle iron frame full elliptic springs, solid, square axles, Hyatt roller bearings in all four wheels, individual clutch transmission, three speeds forward and reverse, spur gear differential, shaft drive to transmission, chain drive to rear wheels, Loomis float-feed carbureter, Loomis muffler, Brown-Lipe steering gear. Wheel base of two-cylinder car is 80 inches, of four-cylinder car, 86 inches; tread of both is 56 inches. The two-cylinder motor develops 12 horsepower and the four-cylinder motor gives 20 horsepower.”

Automobile Review’s technology editor E.W. Roberts provided the following overview of the Regas in the January 30, 1904 issue of the magazine:

“A Practical Review of the Progress in Automobile Design and Manufacture as Exemplified at the New York Show By E.W. Roberts

“The Regas

“The Regas Automobile Co. of Rochester, NY, have a new proposition in air-cooled engines, the cylinder walls being studded with a number of copper tubes perforated at the sides and carrying a draft of air through them, much on the principle of the Bunsen burner. The cylinders are placed at an angle of about 60 degrees and both connecting rods of one pair drive the same crank-pin. In the four-cylinder engine two of these pairs of cylinders are coupled. The car is furnished with a friction drive transmission or with a selective clutch system, at the option of the purchaser.”

Another item in the same issue (apparently not written by Roberts) provided an overview of the car and mentions that 5 examples were on display at the New York show:

“The Story of the New York Automobile Show – part II

“The Regas Automobile Co. - The Regas Automobile Co., Rochester, NY, exhibited five cars. Their models are particularly attractive. The 2-cylinder motors set V-shaped under the hood, are easily accessible and are cooled. The lubrication is a pressure system, there are automatic meet valves and a speed of 300 to 1,200 revolutions. The body is large and roomy, with side entrance produced by tilting the front seat forward. This is a new feature in automobiles.”

In the same issue Roberts provided a few more details, broken down by model:

“Regas Automobile Company, Rochester, NY.

“Model ‘B.’ light, four passenger tonneau; side entrance gasoline; motor of four cycle type; two upright cylinders; 4 ½ x 5 cylinder, set V-shape to give room for circulation between them, cylinder air-cooled by 172 perf. copper tubes 1 ½ inch long by ½ inch diam.; automatic inlet valves; 12 hp; 3 speeds forward and 1 reverse; automatic inlet valves; speed 300 to 1,200 rpm, giving 12 hp; throttle and spark control; individual clutch transmission; weight 1,500 lbs., price $1,500.00.

“Model ‘C.’ four cylinder touring car tonneau; 4 upright cylinders 4x5 air cooled; generating 20 hp; speed 300 to 1,000 rpm; controlled by throttle and spark; wheel base 86 inches; tread 56 inches; the hood and body longer than model ‘B’; wheel steering, sliding gear transmission; 2,000 lbs., price $2,000.”

The February 4, 1904 issue of the Automobile Review mentions that Regas was amongst the firms that were slated to have an exhibit at the Chicago Show, which commenced February 6, 1904. The following two issues of the same publication, which was based in Chicago, included articles on the automobile, the first being the February 13, 1904 issue:

“Regas Automobile Co., Rochester, NY

“Side entrances and air-cooled motor are leading features of the Regas model B four-passenger touring car. This car is one of the new side entrance vehicles at the show, and its makers deserve commendation for being pioneers in this excellent method of entrance and exit. Their air-cooling device consists of perforated sheet steel jacket, through which are placed 172 perforated copper tubes. The jacket with the tubes is then placed over the cylinder, to which it fits closely and gives perfect contact. With these tubes, ample radiating surface, both inside and outside of the tubes, is obtained, and the perforations draw in and cool air as the hot air passes out. This system is founded on the well-known theory of the Bunsen burner. Air cooling permits of machining the cylinder inside and out, and so giving cylinder walls of even thickness, which admits of perfect expansion.

“The side entrance to the tonneau is effected on either side by tilting front seats. This model has 28 inch wheels, 3 inch tires, individual clutch transmission, 80 inch wheel base, Loomis carburetter, spur gear differential, chain drive, and powerful hand brakes on each hub.

“With reference to air-cooled engines the Rochester Gas Engine Co. have conducted several experiments along this line. They have run a 3 ½ x 3 ½ inch air-cooled engine at 1,000 revolutions per minute for four hours consecutively in a warmly heated room, without the cylinders becoming unduly heated. This experiment speaks volumes for the possibility of air in automobiles where air current is constantly obtained.”

“The Regas Automobile Co Rochester NY - The product of this company was described in my report of the New York show. However, Mr. Sager showed me an improvement he has made in the method of attaching the small cooling tubes to the cylinders, which enables him to attach them to the heads and the valve boxes as well. This certainly should improve the efficiency of his unique cooling system.”

The February 27, 1904 issue of the Automobile Review provided a much more detailed overview of the 1904 Model ‘B’ and ‘C’, presumably written by its technical editor, E.W. Roberts:

“The Regas Air-Cooled Models for 1904

“The Regas Automobile Company of Rochester, NY, have two models for this season’s trade. Model ‘B’ is a light four passenger tonneau car fitted with a two-cylinder vertical air-cooled motor located under the hood, which is capable of generating over 12 horse power. The side entrance is a feature of this model as it is also of model ‘C’.

“Model ‘C’ in general design is similar to model ‘B,’ but has a wider tonneau with room for three, and has a four-cylinder vertical motor with cylinders mounted in pairs, one behind the other, making a very compact and powerful engine. Model ‘C’ has an 86-inch wheelbase and 56-inch tread, and model ‘B’ has an 80-inch wheelbase and standard tread. Both of these models are replete with improvements that are in the van in their respective classes, noticeable among which are the air-cooled motors, in which fans are not needed, and the side entrance tonneau with access obtained by tilting front seats. The materials used throughout are of the best procurable, and upon these has been expended the highest grade of American workmanship. The general design of these cars compares favorably with anything on the market, and at all of the recent auto shows they came in for searching analysis and a great many commendations.


“The air-cooled engines are the most characteristic portion of the Regas cars. These motors are constructed in two sizes, the two-cylinder and the four-cylinder one. In the two-cylinder engine the bore and stroke are 4 ½ and 5 inches respectively, and in the four-cylinder variety the dimensions are four and five inches. Both of these are of the twin-cylinder class and are mounted vertically in front under the hood, and are set V-like to permit of as free air circulation as possible. Each cylinder is covered with a steel jacket through which are inserted tubular copper radiating members and the engine heads and castings for the valves are deeply flanged to assist radiation.

“Steel Jacket

“In air-cooled motors the radiating members must offer the greatest possible radiating surface and the metal used must be of the highest radiating quality. In the Regas the steel jacket which fits tightly to the cylinders is provided with 172 perforated copper tubes 1 ½ inches long and ½ inch in diameter, which serve to break up the heat generated by the rapid explosions in the cylinders. These tubes in themselves provide an extra-large amount of radiating surface, but in addition create air circulation; for when the hot air passes out of the ends of the tubes it draws the cool air through the perforated slots, which is the same system as that used in the well-known Bunsen burner. The copper tubes have shoulders on the end next to the cylinder which keep them in constant contact with the cylinder walls. The hot air passing out must necessarily draw cool air in, and this induced air circulation obviates the necessity of a fan or blower of any description. The cylinders being angularly mounted with ample space between them prevents the possibility of pocketing the air and also leaves a wide opening for natural circulation.

“The two connecting rods work on one crank between two flywheels inside an aluminum case, giving splash lubrication to both cylinders. The inlet valves are automatic and very accessible, and the exhaust valves are directly below them and can readily be removed when the inlet ones are out. The engine speed varies from 300 to 1,200 revolutions, generates over 12 horse power and is controlled by both spark and throttle.


“A carburetter made specially for these motors is used. It is of the Loomis type, float feed, and by its automatic construction gives a powerful and constant mixture at all rates of speed.


“The Loomis muffler, which is proof against back pressure, is employed and the vehicles have wheel steering with Brown Lipe steering gear, 14-gallon gasoline tank under the rear seat, brass side lamps, horn, tools, and an option of Marble Swift friction transmission if desired.


“The individual clutch type of transmission gives three speeds forward and one reverse. All gears are constantly in mesh and run in an oil bath within an oil tight case. Each gear is independent of all others and all are operated by a single lever, which admits of simple and quiet change of speeds. Any change of gear from high to low or vice versa can be instantly made at any time regardless of the speed of the car, and there is not the danger of stripping gears or loss of power.

“The Differential

“The spur gear differential is integral with the transmission and the drive from the motor to the transmission is by universal joints and from the transmission to each rear wheel through powerful individual chains. The brake system consists of a very strong band brake on each rear wheel.


“The side entrance tonneau marks this model as a leader in its class. The rear entrance has the objection common to all rear entrances, that of small individual tonneau seats that are of necessity small in order to permit of easy entrance. In the Regas car the entrance is accomplished by the tilting of either of the front seats as shown in one of the illustrations. A portion of the body raises with the seat and enables any one, large or small, to enter the tonneau comfortably from either side of the car without unfastening any bolts, locks or catches of any kind. The hinges at the edges of the front seats allow them to be tipped forward easily and steel pins on the bottom of the seats enter the recesses in the body and so hold the seat securely and eliminate all rattle and noise that might arise.

“This body design combines that of the surrey and tonneau and obviates the disadvantages of both. In appearance it is identical with the popular up-to-date tonneau with the objectionable narrow back door not in evidence. The tonneau has a long comfortable back seat, which enables the occupants to face forward and does not compel them to have to brace themselves so as not to slide off the small corner seat. The continuous back makes a stronger, a roomier and a safer tonneau. It is easily detachable, and a lid provided, which gives the car a neat runabout appearance and allows ample carrying space for luggage, etc., a feature found on very few cars. The upholstering is of the best that can be had. The highest grade of leather is used; there are spring cushions in the backs and seats and a row of brass beading around the tops of all seats gives a most attractive finish.

“Running Gear

“A strong and durable running gear is a primary essential to the life of any car, if the wheel base is too short, the spring not of suitable strength or the axles weak, the general usefulness of the car is correspondingly impaired. In the Regas an angle iron frame well trussed is employed and the full elliptic springs in the front and rear give as easy a riding vehicle as can be had. The artillery wood wheels with 12 spokes in each are 28 inches in diameter and are fitted with 3 ½ inch detachable tires. Solid square axles are used in the front and rear, and all four wheels are furnished with Hyatt roller bearings.

“Air-Cooling Test

“Air-cooled motors come in for many doubts among the automobile public, and in order that the auto buyer and owner may have some adequate idea of what has been accomplished in the air-cooling line the following test was arranged:

“The Rochester Gas Engine Company of Rochester, NY, experimented with a two-cycle air-cooled motor fitted with the Regas tubular radiators and have given out these results.

‘“The engine we used was 3 ½ inches diameter and 3 ½ inch stroke, making 1,000 revolutions per minute, and we knew the difficulty would be to keep the engines properly cooled when making these rapid explosions. We made one test wherein the engine ran four consecutive hours in our warm steam heated testing room and believe there was no limit to the length of time we could have run it.’”

Although Regas had exhibited 5 cars at the National Automobile Show in New York City (January 1904) and at least one car at the following show in Chicago (Feb. 1904), several months later J. Harry Segar (as he preferred to be called) resigned from the company and its chief shareholder, Thomas B. Dunn, took over.

J.H. Segar is listed in the 1905 Rochester directory as a bicycle specialty manufacturer at his home address of 9 Brooklyn St. The 1906 directory lists a new firm, the J.H. Sager Co., spring makers, at the same address; J.H. Sager, president and Charles J. Iven, vice pres.,sec-treas. The 1907 Rochester directory provides a new address, 265 South Av., and a new product line, auto specialties. The firm remained at that address until 1918, when they relocated to 36 S. Water St. By 1920 the J.H. Sager Co. had moved to 138 N. Water St., remaining in business into 1929. Sager’s auto specialties business collapsed soon after the stock market crash and he relocated to the Rochester suburb of Scottsville, NY, where he ran a filing station right up until his passing in the mid-30s.

The Regas Automobile Company’s new president, Thomas Byrne Dunn, was born in Providence, Rhode Island on March 16, 1853. He moved with his parents to Rochester in 1858 where he attended public school and the DeGraff Military Institute. He founded the T.B. Dunn Co., 111 N. Water St., Rochester, which manufactured perfumes, extracts and Sen-Sen gum and breath mints. Dunn served as president of the Rochester Chamber of commerce from 1903 to 1906 and was appointed chief commissioner of the New York exhibit at the Jamestown (Virginia) Tercentennial Exposition during 1907. Dunn was elected to the NY State senate in 1907, becoming NY State Treasurer in 1908. In 1909 Dunn merged his company into, and became president of, the newly formed Sen-Sen Chicklet Co. which was capitalized at $6,700,000. He served as chairman of the Rochester Centennial Committee in 1912 and from March 4, 1913-March 3, 1923 served as the region’s US Congressman, with two terms as chairman of the House Committee on Roads. He was an alternate delegate to the 1920 Republican Convention and on July 2, 1924, the 71-yo passed away, just sixteen months after leaving Congress.

The February 1903 issue of Soap Gazette and Perfumer announced the recent election of Dunn as president of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce:

“THOMAS B. DUNN, first vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Rochester, NY, was elected president to succeed Daniel B. Murphy who resigned because he could not give the office his time and attention. Mr. Dunn is president of the Thomas B. Dunn Company, perfumers, Rochester, NY, and is a progressive business man. The Dunn Company has purchased the old Homeopathic Hospital building on Monroe avenue (233 Monroe av.) and will erect a new plant there soon.”

Soon after Dunn assumed control of the company from Sager he enlisted William H. Birdsall to overhaul the firm’s air-cooled motorcars for the 1905 model year, the June 30, 1904 issue of The Motor Age reporting:

“Birdsall with Regas—W.H. Birdsall, who was formerly general manager and mechanical engineer of the Buckmobile Co., of Utica, N.Y., has become mechanical engineer of the Regas Automobile Co., of Rochester, N.Y.”

Birdsall came up with an all-new Regas with an air-cooled four on a 100-inch wheelbase with a three-speed sliding gear transmission.

The 1905 Rochester City Directory lists Birdsall (for the first time) as a mechanical engineer, with a work address of 45 South Ave. and a home address of 120 Chestnut St.

Thomas B. Dunn, who was the current president of the chamber of commerce gave a speech to the participants of the 1904 ‘Good Roads’ convention, the Oct. 20, 1904 issue of Motor Age reporting:

“TALKED FOR GOOD ROADS - Enthusiastic Advocates for Better Highways in New York State Get Together at Rochester

“Rochester, NY, Oct. 15 - Monroe county, in New York state, famous since the earliest days of cycling for its fine sidepaths, now takes the lead in good road construction. The county, of which the city of Rochester is the seat possesses some 240 miles of sidepaths for bicyclists, the riders being taxed 25 cents a year for a tag which permits them to ride on the paths. If the present plans are put through, in another 10 years the county will possess that many miles of good roads. The reason the cycle paths are given so much importance is the fact that the same men who worked so energetically for sidepaths are now pushing the good roads movement, foremost among these being Senator William W. Armstrong, of Armstrong baggage bill and Higbie-Armstrong good road law fame; the former compelling railroads in New York state to carry bicycles as baggage and the latter law which gives state aid in building roads.

“Last week a good roads convention was held at Rochester, the day sessions being held in the supervisors’ rooms in the county court house and the evening sessions in the chamber of commerce rooms, the convention receiving the hearty support and co-operation of both the board of supervisors and Rochester chamber of commerce. Speakers of prominence in the cause of good roads were present from all sections of the country. The manufacturers of good roads machinery and the publishers of good roads literature were also on hand to assist the project….

“Thomas B. Dunn, president of the chamber of commerce and incidentally one of the largest stockholders in the Regas Automobile Co., welcomed the delegates to chamber of commerce rooms and made a few remarks on the conditions he had encountered while automobiling. William C. Barry, a prominent member of the chamber who is also interested in an automobile factory, was next speaker in the evening session, and so favorable an impression did he make on his listeners that he was unanimously elected as president of the Monroe County Good Roads Association.”

The Nov. 24, 1904 issue of Motor Age listed Regas as an exhibitor at the upcoming 1905 New York (exhibition hall) and Chicago (main floor) Automobile Shows and the 'Minor Mention' column of the December 21, 1904 Horseless Age described it:

“The Regas Automobile Company, of Rochester, N.Y., expect to build a four-cylinder car for next year, equipped with a side entrance body.”

Birdsall’s overhauled Regas debuted at the 1905 New York and Chicago Automobile shows, however Dunn was disappointed in the firm’s prospects and pulled the plug on the money-losing operations soon after. Little mention of the firm or its vehicles would appear in the 1905 automobile trades save for the August 1, 1905 issue of Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal:

“Regas Four-Cylinder Air-Cooled Car

“Regas Automobile Co., 45-47 South avenue, Rochester, NY, are now on the market with their 4-cylinder gasoline car and we illustrate the same herewith. The cylinders are 4 ½ in. bore and 5 in. stroke and are cooled by the ‘Regas’ patent air cooling system. The engine is of the vertical type and develops 28 to 30 horse power. It is placed in front and drives through a 3-speed-and-reverse sliding gear transmission. The wheelbase of the car is 100 inches.

“They recently gave the car a very severe test, particularly the air-cooling system. On a sultry day with the thermometer at about 90, they drove the car from 11 AM till 9 PM, stopping only about an hour and a half for lunch, almost entirely on the high gear over roads in horrible condition from recent rains and a cloudburst which they encountered en route. Five passengers were carried and not the least sign of overheating did the engine show.”

At around the time that Thomas B. Dunn debuted the Birdsall-redesigned 30 hp 4-cylinder 1905 Regas automobile, its designer, William H. Birdsall was introduced to Samuel H. Mora (b. 1868 - d. March 5, 1918*) who at the time was sales manager of the Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, New York’s largest employer. It is entirely possible that Mora had purchased a Regas automobile, although evidence is lacking. Regardless, at some point prior to or during 1905 the two auto-minded men met and made plans to design and produce their own motor car.

*The date of his passing is taken from the estate’s application for probate, although one modern source lists it as March 7, 1918 (without attribution).

Mora’s personal history up to the time of the formation of Mora is covered at the beginning of this writeup, now we turn to the history of the Mora Motor Car Co. As stated previously, by the time of Mora’s unanticipated departure from the Eastman Kodak Co., (late 1905/early 1906, the exact date unknown) he and Birdsall had more-or-less finalized the design of the first Mora automobile, which was unsurprisingly similar in appearance to the 1905 Regas.  By that time Mora had already inked a deal with the Village of Newark, New York’s Board of Trade to furnish him a plant to build his self-named motor car, Newark historian John Zornow explains:

“As early as October 1905, a group of public-spirited Newark businessmen, all members of the Newark Board of Trade, made contact with Samuel Hancock Mora in Rochester. Mora was looking for a building, and even more importantly, a community to support his venture, that of building motor cars.”

Thomas W. Martin, president of both the Reed Mfg. Co. and Newark Board of Trade, had been trying to rent out the structure since 1903 when the Reed Mfg. Co.* moved into an all-new 37,000 sq. ft. 3-story brick factory located on Harrison St. Martin suggested that his old wooden factory building, which was located along a railroad siding on Newark’s Siegrist St., would be ideal. The Board of Trade agreed to pay the rent of the vacated Reed Mfg. building for a period of one year providing Mora kept from ten to thirty employees busy during those 12 months.

(*The Reed Manufacturing Co., of Newark, N.Y., 1890-1946, was founded by local jeweler Reuben M. Reed to manufacture tinware. Reed invented and received a patent for a process of making anti-rusting tinware in the 1880s. In what began in a small backyard shed, the company would soon become one of Newark’s leading industries and the largest producers of wash boilers in the United States. The company produced an extensive line of tinware, aluminum galvanized (coated with zinc) ironware, enamelware in its trademark turquoise, along with dark gray, three-coated white “flintstone,” as well as copper and nickel-plated copperware. The original factory was a modest one located behind the Methodist parsonage on South Main Street, a short walk from Reed’s house, a block away. To meet growing demand a much larger three-plus story wood-frame factory was built in 1892 on the south side of Siegrist St, adjacent across from the depot of the West Shore Railroad. In 1899 Lockport, NY businessman Thomas W. Martin, purchased a controlling interest in the firm and in 1903 constructed a new 37,000 sq. ft. three-story brick building on Harrison St., at the foot of East Ave. and connected to the Northern Central R.R.)

The News and Trade Miscellany column of the December 7, 1905 issue of the Automobile announced:

“It is expected that S.H. Mora of Rochester, NY, will soon start an automobile factory employing sixty skilled workmen in the village of Newark, if a proposed agreement whereby the Newark Board of Trade raise $1,000 toward paying the rent of a factory for one year is concluded. Carpenters have already begun overhauling an old factory to put it in shape for Mr. Mora.”

The New York Incorporations column of the March 14, 1906 issue of the New York Times announced the March 13th, 1906 creation of the Mora Motor Car Co.:

“Albany, March 13 – incorporated today:

“Mora Motor Car Company, Newark; capital, $150,000. Directors – S.H. Mora, William Freeman, Rochester; W.H. Birdsall, Newark.”

Although Samuel H. Mora’s name adorned the new vehicle, it was actually designed by William H. Birdsall (b. Oct. 25, 1877 - d. Oct. 23, 1929), a mechanical engineer and former semi-pro bicyclist from Syracuse, NY who had been associated with several other automobile manufacturers prior to his arrival in Newark, all of which is covered earlier in this writeup. By the time the 1906 Rochester city directory appeared in late 1905, Birdsall had already relocated to Newark to oversee the retrofitting of the former Reed Mfg. factory in order to commence the manufacture of the proposed 4-cylinder Mora Motor Car.

It had become apparent to Birdsall shortly after the January debut of the 1905 Regas that his employer was not long for this world, and the firm ended production shortly thereafter, the May 3, 1906 issue of The Motor Way announced their pending dissolution:

“There will be a meeting of the stockholders of the Regas Automobile Company on May 7, in Room 607 Powers Building, Rochester, N. Y., for the purpose of voting upon a proposition to dissolve the company.”

The Trade Changes column of the August 1, 1906 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal announced its formal dissolution:

“Regas Automobile Co., of Rochester, N.Y., have filed a certificate of dissolution.”

By the time of Regas’ official dissolution, brand new 1906 Moras were exiting the old Reed Mfg. plant in Newark at the rate of four or five per week. For its first 2 years in business the official address of the Mora company was an office on the third floor of the (used various room numbers 317-318-319 to keep track of advertising leads) Livingston Building which was located at 31 Exchange Street, Rochester, NY. Samuel H. Mora lived at 439 Lake Ave., Rochester, NY.

The firm’s initial factory was located in a portion of the recently vacated Reed Mfg. Co. plant on Siegrist St. in Newark, adjacent to the main line of the West Shore Railroad, by then a subsidiary of the New York Central.

Mora officers and directors included; S.H. Mora, pres.; William N. Freeman, sec. treas.; Rochester, NY; William H. Birdsall, Newark, NY; and George S. Whitney of Akron, O.

Freeman was a good friend of Mora’s who had worked alongside him in Eastman Kodak Co.’s sales department where his official title was “correspondent.” Freeman and wife Katherine (Moran) were from two well-known Canandaigua, NY, families.

George S. Whitney (b. August 19, 1866 - d. Nov. 23, 1953) was Mora’s brother-in-law (brother of Grace Marie Whitney, Mora’s deceased first wife) and general superintendent of the Adamson Machine Co., of Akron, Ohio, manufacturer of “rubber working machinery” (tire vulcanizing presses, molds and other tire-manufacturing specialty machines). Whitney remained good friends with his brother-in-law after his sister’s passing and his rubber business contacts ensured that Mora wouldn’t pay too much for their tires.

Engine and drivetrain castings and forgings were supplied by H.A. Inman Co., Inc., whose foundry was located at 40 East Ave., Newark, just around the corner from Mora’s Seigrist St. factory. Radiators were built in Rome, NY, by the Long-Turney Mfg. Co. and its descendant Rome-Turney Radiator Co., which is covered elsewhere on this site. A.O. Smith supplied the steel frame; Bosch Magneto Co., its electrics; Diamond Rubber Co. of Akron, O., the tires; New Process Raw Hide Co. of Syracuse, clutch and belts; and the Weston-Mott Co. of Flint, Mich, its wheels. The in-the-white coachwork (a body delivered to a chassis manufacturer minus trim, paint, varnish and hardware) were constructed by the Jas. N. Leitch Co., of Amesbury, Mass. (also covered elsewhere on this site) and the Mora’s upholstery and trimmings were supplied by Rochester, NY’s Schlegel Mfg. Co.

The 24-hp Mora was introduced to the motoring press in the March 22, 1906 issue of The Motor Way:

“The Mora Touring Car

“The Mora roadster is a 24-horsepower, four-cylinder four-cycle car made by the Mora Motor Car Company, with headquarters at 319 Livingston building, Rochester, N.Y., and works at Newark, N.Y.

“The car has a wheel, base of 98 inches and a tread of 58 inches. The wood wheels are 32 inches in diameter and equipped with 3 1/2-inch clincher tires. The vertical, water-cooled engine is located forward under the hood. The cylinders are of 3 15/16-inch bore and 5 1/8-inch stroke. Jump spark ignition is used.

“Among the features of construction pointed out by the makers is the aluminum bed of the engine and transmission, which forms a continuous mud and dust pan that extends from the front end of the engine to the rear end of the transmission. The journal bed of both engine and transmission is machined in one operation, to insure alignment, and marine type bearings are used for the crank and transmission shaft. The crank shaft and transmission shaft are lined up and bolted to the engine and transmission bed before the upper half of the crank case and cylinders are connected, or, in other words, the engine is assembled from the bottom upward. In assembling, the engine and transmission are placed in position as one unit.

“The rear platform spring suspension in connection with the transverse front spring brings the points of the frame suspension central instead of at the corners, furnishing extraordinary flexibility to compensate for uneven roads.

“The spark and throttle levers are located on top of the steering column. The clutch is operated by a left pedal. The two exterior constricting brakes are operated by the right pedal, and the two interior expanding brakes are operated by a band lever. All brakes operate on the rear wheel drums.

“All repairs or replacements on the engine are made from above. There are large hard hole plates on both sides of upper half of the engine crank case. The transmission gears are easily removed. The engine and transmission bearings are of phosphor bronze. The connecting rod journals are 2 5/8 by 1 5/8 inches; the crank shaft journals are 4 by 1 5/8 inches. The crank shaft bearings in the engine are of the same design as those in the transmission.

The body construction permits of the removal of the "torpedo" back and the substitution of a surrey seat, making the car convertible to a four-passenger conveyance by loosening four bolts. The car is said to weigh 1,700 pounds.”

The March 22, 1906 issue of The Automobile announced the Mora in a slightly different fashion:

“Mora Light Touring Car

“The light car illustrated and described herewith is a machine of a popular class, with high power for its weight and a body that, normally of the runabout type, may be converted into a four-passenger body by removing the ‘torpedo deck’ behind the fixed seat and attaching a surrey seat. The engraving of the complete car shows the surrey seat in position. In general construction the car follows well-known lines, having a four-cylinder vertical water-cooled motor, placed under the bonnet in front, sliding-gear transmission giving three forward speeds and a reverse and final drive by propeller shaft and bevel gears. The frame is of pressed steel, the axles are tubular, the bonnet is round-topped and the radiator of the cellular type.

“A departure from ordinary practice is made, however, in the mounting of the engine and transmission. Two aluminum castings, bolted together by suitable flanges so as to form a continuous bed-plate serve to support the engine and the transmission, while lateral extensions form mud and dust guards and carry the lugs by which the whole is bolted to the main side frames of the car. The bearings for both engine and transmission shafts are attached directly to the bed-plate with a view to securing constant and correct alignment. The upper part of the engine crankcase, the cover for the sliding gears of the transmission and the lower part of the well in which the flywheel turns are bolted to the main castings; hand-holes covered by removable plates provide access to the interior of the engine and gear castings without the necessity for removing the casings themselves. The main castings are well ribbed, to give stiffness. The general construction and arrangement are clearly shown in the accompanying engravings.

“The cylinders of the engine have a bore of 3 15/16 inches and a stroke of 5 1/8 inches, the cylinders being cast in pairs with integral heads, water jackets and valve chambers. Caps screwed into the tops of the valve chambers permit the removal of the valves. All valves are on the same side - the left - and are operated by a single camshaft wholly inclosed in the crankcase. Ignition is by jump spark, a combined low-tension contact-maker and high-tension distributer being placed on a shaft extending through the left side of the crankcase at right angles to the camshaft, from which it is driven by gears. The camshaft is gear driven in the usual way from the front end of the crankshaft, the gears being completely inclosed in an aluminum casing.

“In assembling the power and transmission plant, the shafts are placed in their bearings and lined up before the upper parts of the casings or the cylinders of the motor are attached, the work thus being done from the bottom upward. The engine and transmission are completely assembled before being placed in position and the bed-plate bolted to the frames. All bearings are of phosphor bronze. The crankpins and crankshaft journals are 1 5/8 inches in diameter; crankpin bearings are 2 5/8 inches long and the crankshaft bearings are each 4 inches long. All these bearings are of the ‘pillow-block’ type, split and adjustable; two of them may be seen in the engraving showing the transmission gears uncovered. The manufacturers state that all the gears in the transmission can be removed from the casing in fifteen minutes. The control of the car is by spark and throttle levers placed on the top of the steering wheel. Braking is confined to the rear wheel, hubs which carry drums for internal expanding and external constricting brakes, the former, for emergency use being operated by a hand lever, and the latter, for regular service by a pedal for the right foot. A pedal for the left foot controls the cone clutch.

“The spring suspension consists of a three-spring platform arrangement in the rear and a single transverse spring in front. The weight of the car is given as 1,700 pounds. The motor being rated at 24 horsepower, this would give approximately 1 horsepower for every 70 pounds weight of the car - ample power for hill work and bad roads. The wheelbase is 98 inches and the tread 56 inches; wheels are 32 inches in diameter and are fitted with 3 1/2 inch clincher tires. Fifteen gallons of gasoline can be carried. Mud guards are wide, there is a small steel step bolted to frame on each side, no running board being used. Included in the equipment of each car are oil side lamps and tail light, a horn and the necessary tools.”

The article neglected to include the address of the company, which was published in the News and Trade Miscellany column of the March 29, 1906 issue of the Automobile:

“In describing the Mora ‘24’ car in The Automobile for March 22, the address of the company manufacturing the machine was omitted through a regrettable error. The Mora car is built by Mora Motor Car Co. whose offices are at 318 Livingston Building, Rochester, NY. The car has been styled the Mora by the builders.”

The ‘Automobile Companies Recently Incorporated’ column in the March 29, 1906 issue of the Automobile announced the formal organization of the firm:

“Mora Motor Car Company of Newark NY capital stock $150,000 Directors Samuel H. Mora and William Freeman of Rochester, William H. Birdsall of Newark and George S. Whitney of Akron, O.”

The ‘News and Trade Miscellany’ column of the May 10, 1906 issue of the Automobile, offered a free pamphlet to its readers courtesy of the Mora Motor Car Co.:

“The Mora Motor Car Company, 317 Livingston Building, Rochester, NY, issued in pamphlet form a handy digest entitled ‘Complete Motor Car Laws of United States.’ A two cent stamp will obtain a copy.”

The ‘New Agencies and Factories’ column of the May 17, 1906 issue of the Automobile announced that Moras would be sold alongside the American Mercedes in Boston:

“H.C. Stratton who represents the American Mercedes with offices in the Colonial Building, Boylston street, Boston has also taken on the Eastern agency for the Mora which is manufactured at Rochester NY.”

The May 31, 1906 edition of the Newark Courier announced that 62 cars had already been sold, although the actual production numbers are lacking:

“The Mora Motor Car Company, located in the old Reed factory in Seigrist street, is opening business in Newark, under auspicious circumstances. Sixty-two cars have been sold and between forty and fifty men are on the pay roll. If accommodations can be found for the rest of the men, it is expected that the force will number two-hundred by next April.”

The May 31, 1906 issue of The Automobile provided details on the Mora’s optional surrey seat, which was priced at $125:

“A Roadster With Surrey Seat Attachment

“To provide an automobile mechanically right at a reasonable price has been the aim and object of the makers of the Mora roadster. They have endeavored to keep the weight where it will not make its ownership an extravagance because of tire expense, and yet not so light as to make fast speed impossible or a matter of discomfort. Not so complicated as to require expert knowledge to keep it in order, and not so simple as to lack any essential and vital parts important to steady performance - just a happy medium car with ample power and a little to spare when necessary.

“The Mora Roadster, which is the product of the Mora Motor Car Company, of Rochester, with factories at Newark, NY, is intended principally for use as a two-passenger car, but, to accommodate those who may occasionally desire to carry more than two people, the body is so designed that the torpedo back shown in the illustration may be removed from the roadster, and a surrey seat substituted. It only takes a matter of ten minutes to make a change of this character, and when it is made the roadster is converted into a comfortable, roomy four-passenger car. The price of the roadster, complete with torpedo back, is $1,650 and the surrey seat is $125 additional. The approximate weight is 1,700 pounds.

“Much mechanical advantage is claimed for the pan construction, which is exemplified in the illustration, as support for the motor and gear set. It is even considered of greater importance than the mud-proof feature, which is original with Mora Motor Car Company, and patented by it. The ends of two halves of the lower base are first accurately machined, then the two halves are bolted together, and all the outside edges, inside bolt bosses, surfaces for upper case, and the journal bosses, are all machined at one sitting. This enables the production a perfect and permanent alignment at three vitally points, - i.e., where bearings are bolted to case; where upper half of engine case, which carries the cylinders, is bolted to case; and where case carrying complete motor and gear is bolted to frame. In assembling, the crankshaft, main, and countershafts are aligned on the lower case, then the upper half of the gear box is put in position, and finally the cylinders are attached.

“In the construction of the frame, the Mora roadster embodies some characteristics peculiarly its own. The sills are made of best close grain, carefully selected maple, stiffened by armoring through the center with a piece of 30 carbon steel, 3/16 inch thick by 4 inches deep, affording a combined advantage of wood and steel. This original feature of armoring the wood on each side is designed to stiffen the steel from sidewise strain as though it were clamped in a vise, the steel itself affording more than the necessary strength to hold a load many times that which the car will be compelled to carry. The rear axle is of the divided driving type, completely housed, running in tubular axle on ball bearings, and the front axle is tubular with ball bearing front wheels. For the front spring a transverse semi-elliptic is used, and the platform type in the rear. The wheels are artillery type, wood, and 32 inches in size; wheel base, 98 inches; tread, 54 inches.

“One point strongly dwelt on by the manufacturers of the Mora is the ‘mechanically right’ features of the motor, and its asserted high efficiency. In the language of its makers, ‘It is a long-stroke, slow-speed motor which takes hold of and pulls its load steadily and easily, operating as slow as four or five miles an hour and over most hills at high speed, thus necessitating few changes of gear.’ The motor is water-cooled, four-cylinder, 24 horsepower, 3 15/16 x 5 1/8, cast in pairs, fitted with special Mora carbureter, jump-spark ignition, fed by single coil and storage battery; throttle and spark control and splash lubrication system. Transmission is sliding gear, three speeds forward, and reverse. The car is shaft driven.”

The August 29, 1906 edition of the Newark Gazette reports that 75 hands were employed at the factory, but laments that no new housing had been created to house them – many new hires were reportedly sleeping in tents, or out in the open:

“The Mora Motor Car Company now employ seventy-five men in their factory. That is no small addition of families. Where are the houses?”

The October 10, 1906 edition of the Newark Gazette announced that Mora was closing down its Rochester office and moving the sales staff – headed by William N. Freeman, the former Kodak sales correspondent – to Newark:

“The sales department of the Mora Motor Car Co. is being moved from Rochester to the factory in Newark. The business of this company is rapidly increasing and our citizens hope that arrangements may be made to keep the concern here permanently.”

Shortly thereafter the October 17, 1906 edition of the Newark Gazette indicated the purchasing dept. was also moving to town:

“The purchasing department of the Mora Motor Car Co. is being moved to Newark from Rochester and is located with the other offices in the factory.”

The December 12, 1906 edition of the Newark Gazette mentions the firm’s recent exhibit at Madison Square Garden auto show:

“The Mora Motor Car Co. of this village made a fine exhibit at the automobile show in New York last week and sold all the cars they took down for exhibit. They are shipping this week two car loads of Mora cars to San Francisco and one car load to Los Angeles. This industry is rapidly growing.”

The 20-page 1907 Mora catalog (4-1/2" x 5-3/4") included 7 b/w images of Mora automobiles, including 4 of the Mora Racytype & Tourer, both 4 cyl. & 6 cyl. models.

The January 2, 1907 edition of the Newark Gazette, notes “The company are away behind on their orders”:

“The Mora automobile factory is a busy place in Newark this winter. The company are away behind on their orders and are working all the men possible in order to get ready to make spring deliveries. The Mora car is proving to be very popular with the public. The industry is rapidly growing and is destined to be a popular one. The company will soon require more room for their business and it is hoped they will make arrangements to stay in Newark.”

The arrangements mentioned involved moving and enlarging the freight house of the West Shore Railroad which was covered in the following item that appeared in the January 2, 1907 edition of the Newark Gazette:

“Another possible advantage to be gained by this move would be that the old Reed factory, occupied by the Mora Motor Car Co., might be extended to the site now occupied by the freight house, thus giving room for a fine, large factory, and insuring the permanency of this business in Newark. The railroad authorities will do well to consider this suggestion (not ours) in regard to the moving of the freight house. This is a question which might very properly be taken up by the Board of Trade and Village. Board with the Railroad Company, as both the location of the freight house and the assured permanency of the Mora factory in Newark are matters of paramount interest to all business people and property owners here.”

The ‘Industrial Newark’ column of the January 23, 1907 edition of the Newark Gazette included a description of the Mora operations, indicating 70 hands were currently employed at the Siegrist St. factory:

“Brief Notes About Newark's Factories, Railroads, and Other Industries.

“The writer had the pleasure of inspecting the Mora Motor Car factory from top to bottom a few days ago with Mr. Mora, the head of the company, and was pleased and surprised to see the extent to which this business has grown during its brief life here. There are now seventy men at work and more are being added from time to time. The Mora car has caught on, to use a slang phrase, wherever it has been shown, and the trouble now is to turn put enough cars to fill the orders already booked for the coming spring delivery. In addition to the larger car and runabout, the concern is now turning out a very beautiful and graceful as well as a fast speeding car, which catches the eye of all automobile lovers. The Mora car is fast taking its place among the best of the lower priced cars, and shipments are constantly being made to various parts of the country. While there are a number of factories spreading the name of Newark to the four corners of the United States, no other product of a Newark factory is reflecting more credit on the town than this motor car. These machines are beautiful pieces of mechanism, attracting the attention of the public wherever they go. The cars are made complete here, with the exception of a few minor parts, which are bought by all automobile manufacturers. The writer inspected the work from its rough beginning through to the paint shop and saw machines in all stages of construction. The manufacture of an automobile is an interesting process. The engines used in this car are made complete in the Newark factory, and apparently have some features in the way of construction which make them superior to any other gasoline engine for motor cars. A tremendous business is predicted for this concern.”

Two “help wanted” ads for the firm appeared in the March 6, 1907 edition of the Newark Gazette, which indicates that William H. Birdsall duties included managing the plant as well as designing and engineering the automobile:

“WANTED—A young man who has use of horse and wagon for one day a week. Apply by letter to W.H. Birdsall, or Mora Auto Co., Newark.

“WANTED—Experienced lady stenographer, good wages and permanent position, Apply Mora Motor Car Co.”

In March of 1907 Mora approached the Newark Board of Trade for help floating a $750,000 stock offering that would allow the firm to construct an all-new factory, insuring that the firm would remain in Newark. Chief supporter of the scheme was Board of Trade president Thomas W. Martin who was financially supported by local businessmen Charles L. Crothers (b. Dec. 21, 1864 - d. Feb 20, 1956; a wealthy farmer and dir. of Arcadia National Bank); Frank F. Garlock (b May 28, 1880 – d. Feb. 23, 1912; cashier, dir. of First National Bank); and Abram Garlock (b. Feb. 26, 1860 – d. May 22, 1931; a wealthy cider mfr.); James R. McLaughlin (b. Nov. 5, 1860 – d. Apr. 19, 1924) and Leonard A. Parkhurst – (b. Jan. 1869 - d. Sep. 8 1940); both executives of the Lisk Mfg. Co. of Canandaigua.

The March 20, 1907 edition of the Newark Gazette presented the motor company’s plans for expansion to the people of Newark:

“Good News For Newark – The Mora Motor Car Co. Will Stay and Enlarge Business

“$750,000 Capital

“New Buildings To Be Erected At Once – Force Will Be Doubled During Year – Company Reorganized and Enlarged – will Be Biggest Industry in Wayne County

“When S.H. Mora, who had been identified for fourteen years with the Eastman Kodak Co., came down from Rochester over a year ago and rented the old Reed factory in which to manufacture automobiles, few people had much confidence in his staying, thinking that his company, the Mora Motor Car Co., would stay here until they got their business organized, and then might be induced to go to some larger place, but action has been taken within a week that ensures this industry for Newark, with a large increase in business.

“In the old Reed factory the Mora company found just the quarters they wanted in which to make a beginning. With the understanding that they would employ not less than ten men, while not agreeing to employ more than thirty, the Newark Board of Trade undertook to pay the rent of the factory for a year. The company came here, began the manufacture of the Mora automobiles, and the business jumped from the start. The Mora machines are a high grade article, sold at a figure between the cheaper and the highest priced machines. Their perfect mechanism, power, speed, beauty, noiselessness, superior engine, and other features, made them popular at once; and business began to come faster than it could be taken care of. More machines were turned out the first year than were, made the first year by a number of concerns that are now ranked among the leaders. It took but a few months to grow to the limit of the factory, and it be-came evident some time ago that something must be done to provide larger and better factory quarters. Then the people of Newark began to worry again for fear Mr. Mora would leave Newark.

“The matter was taken up by Mr. Mora with several financiers in Newark, with the result that a new company, The Mora Company, is being organized with a capital of $750,000, to take over the business of the Mora Motor Car Co., which had a capital of $150,000.

“The Directors of the new company are S.H. Mora, T.W. Martin, J.R. McLaughlin, Chas. L. Crothers, W.N. Freeman, L.A. Parkhurst and Frank Garlock. Enough of the stock has been subscribed to ensure the successful carrying out of the project.

“The company will continue to occupy the old Reed factory, but will build at once in addition a brick factory building to cost $25,000, adjoining the old one.

“There are now one hundred well paid men in the employ of the company. This number will be more than doubled when the addition is occupied, and as the business is growing rapidly that number will be increased from time to time.

“T.W. Martin expresses the opinion that this is the biggest business proposition that has ever been organized in Wayne county, both as to the magnitude to which it will attain, and its value as an investment.

“The Mora cars have caught the fancy of the people so easily that three times the possible output might have been sold last year.

“The company hopes to sell considerable of their stock in Newark, and are making very liberal inducements to investors for a short time. As this proposition appeals to our people both as a gilt-edged investment, and as an industry that will add several hundred to our population and help Newark in every way, we predict that there will be little trouble in placing the stock here. Mr. Mora has $50,000 of his own money in the business. He is a hustling business man, and all who know him trust him implicitly, believing he will make good all his hopes and predictions.

“The executive committee of the Board of Trade met the directors of the company Monday night, and voted to back up the enterprise by appointing a committee to help sell stock. Another meeting was held last night, and the committee will be announced today.

“Attention is called to statements made to investors on the last page of this paper.”

The next day’s (March 21, 1907) Newark Courier announced the expansion in a slightly different manner:

“The Mora Company - Capital Increased to $750,000. New factory to be built. Leading Business Men interested.

“The village of Newark was fortunate when the Board of Trade prevailed upon the Mora Car Company one year ago to begin the manufacture of the Mora automobile in this village. The Mora car has proved a grand success and the company is now in process of increasing their capitalization to a point which will make their work especially important industry, similar to that of the Reed Manufacturing Company of Newark and the Lisk Manufacturing Company of Canandaigua.

“The plans embrace a new and complete factory, which will be built at once, having a floor space of 25,000 to 80,000 feet and a working force and output increased in even larger proportion. That the company will permanently locate at Newark has been largely brought about through the successful and untiring efforts of our leading business men. Their judgement in regard to the enterprise has taken the practical form of investing liberally of their money. Besides their money, they will give the enterprise their attention and their judgement on the Board of Directors,

“The increased investment which is being effected will give the Mora Company a capitalization of $750,000. S.H. Mora will continue the general management of the Company, with as strong a Board of Directors as it seems possible to collect together, including T.W. Martin, of the Reed Manufacturing Company; J.R. McLaughlin, of the Lisk Manufacturing Company; Frank Garlock, of the First National Bank; C.L. Crothers, of the Arcadia National Bank; L.A. Parkhurst, of the Lisk Manufacturing Company and W.N. Freeman, of the Mora Motor Car Company. These men are all known as leaders in business, Mr. Mora, who will have the selling and management of the Company, comes out of the Kodak Company of Rochester, after a service of fourteen years, which service contributed in no small degree to the wonderful success which was attained by that industry. He is an expert in marketing goods. He is, also, vitally interested in the success of the Mora Company, being the principal investor. The business is starting also, at a time when the automobile industry is merely in its’ infancy.

“Until $250,000 of preferred stock is sold there is an opportunity for Newark people to help the project. This will not be in the form of a gift or a bonus in any way but solely and as a first-class, profitable and secure investment at 7 per cent interest. The details of this matter are given in the prospectus to which we are giving preferred space, in the present issue of the Journal and which is worthy of the careful attention and consideration of every reader.”

The April 1907 issue of the Motor Way listed Mora’s recently-elected slate of executives and directors:

“At a recent meeting of the stock holders of the Mora Motor Car Company of Newark, S.H. Mora was elected president, T.W. Martin vice-president and W.N. Freeman secretary-treasurer. These Officers and J.B. McLaughlin, L.A. Parkhurst, Frank Garlock and C.L. Crothers are the members of the board of directors. The company will increase its capital stock to $750,000 and enlarge its plant.”

The April 18, 1907 edition of the Newark Courier announced that a property located adjacent to a spur of the Northern Central R.R. (a subsidiary of the Penn Central R.R.) had been contracted for:

“Site Selected for Motor Car Factory - Newark Concern Will Build Immediately

“The site for the location of the Mora Motor Car Company has been now decided upon and will be between Hoffman street, and the Northern Central tracks.

“The deed was received Monday by the company and calls for the land south of the plant of the Perfection Mince Meat Company, extending halfway through to East Maple avenue or a distance of twenty-eight rods on the street, and abutting on the Pennsylvania railroad on the east. Hoffman street will be extended to East Maple avenue, thus giving a double entrance to the plant and to the street. The floors of buildings will be on the level with those of the cars. It is expected that the switch will have quite a drop, to bring it on a level with the factory; for the purchased properly is considerably below the track. The buildings are to be of brick and will be rushed to completion as soon as the plans can be drawn and the contracts let.”

By the end of April 1907, Mora had established sales branches in twelve major US cities: 2824 Broadway, New York, NY; 1218 Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill; 204 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa.; 22 Park Sq. Motor Mart, Boston, Mass.; 138-140 Beatty St., E.E. Pittsburg, Pa.; 116½ So. 6th St. & 512½ 2nd Ave. So., Minneapolis, Minn.; 24-28 Goodrich St., Buffalo, NY; 605 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, Cal.; 711 So. Spring St., Los Angeles, Cal.; 310 Liberty St., Troy, NY; 138 e. Spring St., Columbus, Ohio; 1420 Court Pl., Denver, Colo.

The May 8, 1907 edition of the Newark Gazette provided Arcadia’s citizens with recent Mora-related news:

“At a meeting of the directors and stockholders of the Mora Company held Wednesday evening the following officers were elected: S.H. Mora, president; T.W. Martin, vice-president; W.H. Freeman, secretary and treasurer.

“The sales office of the Mora Motor Car Co. was moved from Rochester to Newark last week, making this now a thoroughly Newark concern. Heretofore it has been posted in printed matter as a Rochester concern with work at Newark. W.N. Freeman, who has charge of the sales department, closed the Rochester office permanently one week ago Monday. Room has been provided for him and his force at the factory in Newark, where he will be obliged to put up with such conditions as he can get until the new factory is occupied. A Rochester agency has been established for the Mora Motor Car Co. in charge of Hollis & Co. who are temporarily located at 123 Park Avenue. It is their intention to erect a building for a garage and salesroom for permanent occupancy as soon as the can obtain a suitable site.”

William H. Birdsall and several members of the Mora board went on the road early that summer to prove the Mora’s prowess in competition, the June 5, 1907 edition of the Newark Gazette reporting:

“Automobile Notes.

“Chief mechanician Birdsall, of the Mora Motor Car Co. of this village, returned Monday from Cleveland where he went to enter one of the Mora cars in the great hill climbing contest which will be held near that city tomorrow. The contest will be at the famous Gates Mill Hill, which is one mile long and has a rise of 816 ½ ft. There will be from 100 to 160 cars in the contest. Several famous cars will be in the race, but Mr. Birdsall expects the Mora to make a fine showing in her class. He expects to drive the car.

“The Lockport agent of the Mora Motor Car Co. of this village got mixed up in an argument with the agent of another car the other day and the result was that a challenge was made for a fifty mile road-race, to be driven by the agents, between the Mora car and another. This race came off at five o'clock Monday morning, the course being from Lockport to Akron. The Mora lost by six minutes, owing to a puncture. President Mora, of the company, Mr. Freeman, manager of the sales department, and T.W. Martin and C.L. Crothers, two of the directors, went to Lockport Sunday night in order to be on hand to witness the race.”

Birdsall entered a Mora Racytype roadster in an ACA-sanctioned Chicago-to-New York sealed-bonnet contest in July, then returned to Chicago, without having to remove the seals originally placed by the ACA officials at the start of the event. The 6,440 mile sealed-bonnet sojourn gave rise to Mora’s subsequent advertising slogan, ‘The World’s Record Sealed-Bonnet Mora,’ which was detailed in numerous magazines as evidenced by this ad from a 1907 issue of Popular Mechanics:

“The Most Wonderful WORLD’S RECORD Ever Made by a Motor Car

“Was completed at the finish of the Chicago Motor Club Clubs Reliability Run on June 28th.

“Mora Racytype Roadster No. 184 finished on June 2d at New York City the severe four day’s sealed bonnet contest, with a perfect score.  Then with all seals intact, started on Monday, June 24th, from New York City for Chicago, Ill., arrived in Chicago Thursday, June 27th, with all seals still intact, started in the Chicago Reliability Run Friday, June 28th, and finished this run with all seals still intact and with a perfect score except a delay of 20 minutes on account of a laundry wagon forcing the car into the curbstone to avoid accident, which badly bent the front wheels and compelled the driver to run very slowly to the starting point. Over 2,000 miles running without making one single adjustment or the use of a tool of any kind for repairs, under a sealed bonnet.

“A Worlds Record: This performance constitutes in every respect a world’s record, and is unquestionably the hardest and at the same time, from the buyers’ standpoint, the most satisfactory test to which it would be possible to subject a car. On an ordinary trip, even a non—stop run, there is an opportunity for the driver to make adjustments, and on such a trip any number of minor troubles might arise and be adjusted by a skillful mechanic, without materially delaying progress, but with the hood fastened down, the transmission, battery box and coils sealed up, there was absolutely no opportunity to make adjustment on any part of the power plant, and therefore the mechanical ability of the driver cut no figure whatsoever on such a trip. That the Mora went through 2,853 miles under such severe conditions as this simply proves its claim to being Mechanically right.

“This is a World’s Record for any class of Motor Cars. Better look into the merits of The Mora.

“Write for the ‘Sealed Bonnet’ — a complete story of the run; it’s free.

“MORA MOTOR CAR COMPANY, 23 Mora Place, Newark, New York

“‘MORA Makes Good’”

That initial triumph was corroborated in the July 10, 1907 edition of the New York Times:

“Long Sealed Bonnet Auto Run

“An unusual automobile run was finished last week when the Mora Racytype, which competed in the sealed bonnet contest of the Automobile Club of America, arrived in New York from Chicago, having completed a trip, of 3,219 miles without breaking any of the original seals affixed by the Automobile Club's committee. Following the test, after a perfect score, the car was driven to Chicago and made a clean sealed bonnet record in the Chicago Automobile Club's contest. It was then driven over the roads back to New York. Nothing was done to the car except to supply it with oil and gasoline, and repairing one puncture. The car was driven in both contests by W.H. Birdsall.

“S.H. Mora, President of the Mora Motor Car Co., believes the test is the hardest to which a machine has ever been subjected. The car was almost completely covered with mud, having been up to the radiator in water and wet clay for many miles. It will be aged, for demonstrating for a few days, and then placed on view at the Cimiotti Garage, Broadway and 110 Street, with all the seals intact.”

Although I could find no evidence of its construction, the July 11, 1907 edition of the Newark Courier indicated that Samuel H. Mora had planned on building a house in Newark:

“S.H. Mora, president of the Mora Motor Car Co., is having plans made for a fine residence which he will build in in Newark.”

A Mora Racytype was mentioned in the ‘Creditable Performances’ column of the August 1, 1907 issue of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal:

“The Mora Racytype No. 184, which was entered in and completed the 600 mile run of the New York sealed bonnet contest with a perfect score has traveled in all 2,863 miles with all seals unbroken. The car, after finishing the New York contest, journeyed to Chicago where it entered the sealed bonnet contest of the Chicago Club. It came thru with all seals intact, but penalized a few points for being late, caused by a wagon backing into it and bending the axle. The car was then turned towards New York where it arrived with all seals of both clubs intact.”

Apparently the very same Mora that took part in the ACA sealed-bonnet contests made several sojourns through New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania during July and August, accumulating additional mileage with the ACA seals intact, the August 24, 1907 edition of the Weekly, Pittsburgh’s Illustrated Weekly, reporting:

“The four-passenger Mora Racy runabout which has been traveling streets of Pittsburgh for the past week went through the ACA sealed run of 60 miles in New York about six weeks ago with a perfect score. It was then driven to Chicago and entered in the Chicago non-stop sealed run of 176 miles and again without a single adjustment. Then it was driven back to New York with the New York and Chicago seals intact and covered over 2,000 miles in that city before leaving for Atlantic City and Philadelphia, from which place it was driven here. The car is in charge of Mr. J.W. David of Newark, NJ, and has been quartered at the garage the Liberty Automobile Company. Mr. David left for Columbus yesterday with the autometer showing a little over 5,000 miles and with the hood, coil, transmission and rear axle still bearing their unbroken seals.”

The very same vehicle racked up several hundred more miles during a 3-day sealed-bonnet contest in Cleveland, Ohio, the ‘Races and Competitions’ column of the September 1907 issue of the Motor Way reporting:


“The three days sealed bonnet and reliability contest of the Cleveland Automobile Club, which was held Sept. 10-12, resulted in only one perfect score, the successful car being the four-cylinder Gaeth, which was handled throughout the test by Paul Gaeth.

“Only eight cars started in the contest, a two- and a four-cylinder Buick, two four-cylinder Cartercars, a two- and a four-cylinder Jackson, a four-cylinder Mora and a four cylinder Gaeth; there was also a single cylinder Gaeth delivery wagon, the only contestant in the commercial vehicle class. Each day cars were sent over a route of 150 to 160 miles. On the first day the Gaeth touring car and the four-cylinder Buick made perfect scores; on the second day the same cars, and also the two-cylinder Buick, made perfect scores but on the third day the Gaeth was the only one to make a perfect score. Each day the Gaeth commercial car came through without penalization and without stopping for repairs of any kind.

“Of all the contests held under adverse conditions the Cleveland affair should be put on top of the list. It rained almost continuously, all three days and the roads were in frightful condition. Some of the cars had very narrow escapes when skidding and it was a wonder that even seven of nine cars were able to finish. While there were not as many starters as was hoped for, the reason was most of the local dealers had no cars on hand. The club will another similar affair next year, but it will be held much earlier during the season.”

The September 1, 1907 issue of Automobile Trade Journal announced the recent hiring of an experienced purchasing agent for the Newark automaker:

“Mr. F.E. Miles, formerly with the Reliance Motor Car Company of Detroit, Mich., has been appointed purchasing agent of Mora Motor Car Company at Newark, NY.”

The October 30, 1907 edition of the Newark Gazette alerted Arcadians that 3 carloads of Mora roadsters and touring cars were going to be demonstrated and displayed at the ALAM’s Eighth Annual Automobile Show (Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers – licensed under the Selden patent ) which was held from November 2- 9 at Madison Square Garden:

“Mora in New York

“Fine Exhibit Being Made at Automobile Show

“The Mora Motor Car Company of this village is making a fine exhibit in New York, during the Automobile Show. Three carloads of cars were taken down from here. Besides the exhibit of new machines several cars are being kept busy demonstrating in the streets and the sealed-bonnet car, which has made such a wonderful record, is also being shown. Besides Mr. Mora and Mr. Freeman and the New York agents of the company; Charles L. Crothers, one of the directors, is assisting at the show, and Mssrs. Birdsall, Goddard, Dean, Allaart and Smith of the mechanical department of the company are also in New York. The Mora is making a great show and attracting a good deal of attention.”

The competing NAAM – National Association of Automobile Manufacturers – sponsored show was held concurrent with the ALAM event at the Chicago Coliseum and First Regiment Armory. The annual Importers’ Salon was held from Dec. 28, 1907 to Jan. 4, 1908 at Madison Square Garden.

The January 8, 1908 issue of The Automobile announced the appointment of W.W. Burke as manager of the new Manhattan Mora distributor:

“W.W. Burke, formerly manager of the New York branch of the Electric Vehicle Company, has been appointed manager of the New York branch of the Mora Motor Car Company and will open a salesroom at the southeast corner of Broadway and Fifty-second street as soon as the premises can be made ready.”

The official listings for the Mora Motor Car Co in the 1908 Motor Cyclopedia follows:

“Mora Motor Car Co., Newark, NY; Makers of the Mora Car first marketed in 1906. Cap. $750,000. S.H. Mora, Pres. and Gen. Mgr.; T.W. Martin, Vice-Pres.; W.N. Freeman, Sec. and Treas., also Sales Mgr.; Geo. Whitney, Supt.; J.L. Willard, Purch. Agt.; F.A. Partenheimer, Advt. Mgr.”

Two official distributors were also included:

“Mora Motor Car Co., 1218 Michigan Ave., Chicago, III.

“Mora Mora Motor Car Co. of New York, 52d St. and Broadway, New York City; W.W. Burke, Mgr.”

Work on the all-new Mora factory was well underway by the first of the year, the ‘Industrial Newark’ column of the January 8, 1908 edition of the Newark Gazette reporting:

“The new storage room of the Mora Motor Car Co. is now being occupied. It is full of machines ready to go out. The sales for spring delivery have been very satisfactory considering the money stringency.

“Work has begun on the boiler plant at the new Mora factory. When this is completed and steam is turned into the main building, work on that will be resumed.”

The January 15, 1908 edition of the Newark Gazette provided several new details regarding the dimensions of the new Mora plant:

“Mora Motor Car Co., two and three story brick factory, 54 x 406 and large one-story warehouse.”

The January 23, 1908 issue of the Automobile announced that the Manhattan branch was now open for business:

“The Mora Motor Car Company of NY has just opened a new branch at the southeast corner of Fifty-second street and Broadway, in charge of W.W. Burke as manager. Mr. Burke had the same position with the Electric Vehicle Company for some time and is accordingly well known to the trade. The Mora made a name for itself in every one of the contests in which it was entered last year and it is thought that the new sizes now on exhibition will be even more successful.”

Sales successes were the subject of the following item found in the January 29, 1908 edition of the Newark Gazette:

“Mora Automobiles - They are Catching on in Great Shape in New York.

“The Mora motor car is meeting with a fine sale this year and the factory is crowded in its capacity to fill the orders already in. Business is being done in double time at the New York office of the concern; the manager feeling very sanguine over the prospects for the year. The Journal a day or two ago had the following item regarding the Mora car:

“W.W. Burke, general manager of the Mora New York branch house, had the satisfaction of closing the most rapid authentic sale on record Wednesday afternoon. This is the first week of the Mora's career under its new auspices and the first sale under such unusual circumstances augurs well for its future.

“Mr. Burke had brought from the depot a shipment of Moras of various types for his new showroom, among which was the first of what the Mora manufacturers designated as the doctor's model. This car is a regular 24 h.p. Racytype minus the rumble seat, in place of which has been ingeniously built a full box back, well qualified for the work it has to perform.

“Before it could be placed in the showroom Dr. George Bowling Lee, of the New Plaza Hotel, happened along, and without the least hesitation paid for it and took it away from the curb.

“Mr. Burke has been allotted but twelve of this type from the factory, and indications are that they will he rapidly sold. Since his connection with the automobile business Mr. Burke has never been so keen as he is over the outlook for the ‘sealed bonnet record holder.’”

According to the February 5, 1908 edition of the Newark Gazette, the new factory would be up and running by March 1, 1908:

“Mora Motor Car Co.

“Something About Outlook for 1908:

“PROSPECTS BRIGHT, President Mora Enthusiastic—Panic a Blessing in Disguise. Force Increased at Mora Plant All Through December— Will Occupy New Factory About March 1 - New Houses Needed If Business Is to Grow.

“Following up an item in last week's Gazette to the effect that the Mora company were forced to their utmost capacity to keep up with orders, we have taken, pains the past week to get more complete information in regard to this institution in which so many Newark people are interested. We were prompted to this by the report that the company were adding new men to the force, almost daily, which indicated that even though the times were somewhat dull this concern was keeping busy.

“Asked as to the business prospect for the coming year, S. H. Mora, president and manager of the Mora Company, replied that he felt very enthusiastic with regard to the outlook from both the standpoint of the general automobile trade and that of the business of the Mora Company. He stated that the financial stringency which has existed through the fall had affected the automobile makers possibly more than any other line because the automobile industry is a very young one and practically all of the concerns engaged in it are doing a large business for the amount of their capital, and in consequence would feel the severity of the tight money conditions more than older established lines. And furthermore this stringency came at the dull season of the year, the time when automobile makers are investing large sums in pay-rolls and material in contemplation of spring business and, when their deliveries on account of the season are few. As a result, some of the concerns in the trade who are perfectly solid were forced into the hands of receivers.

“On the other hand, Mr. Mora expressed himself as feeling that the conditions that have obtained during the past fall would prove to be a blessing in disguise for the trade in general, as they would unquestionably place the business on a more secure and solid foundation that it has ever been in the past. The general disposition in the trade being toward conservatism,, would unquestionably result in a very material curtailment in output for 1908 so that in all probability there will be a shortage in the high grade machines, which will give all of the factories making such machines an opportunity to clean up their stock and dispose of their outputs readily.

“Coming down more particularly to the Mora business, Mr. Mora said that they were about the only makers in the business who had found it necessary to increase their force during December; that with the advent of T.C. Collings, who for six years had been Superintendent for the Peerless Company of Cleveland, O., and who on Dec. 1st accepted the position of Superintendent for the Mora Company, a general reorganization had been accomplished and the force increased until now it is as large as it ever has been, and during the next two or three months will be further increased. A trip through the shop shows it to be an exceedingly busy place, with everybody hustling to get work out ready for spring deliveries which will commence in earnest in about six weeks.

“Mr. Mora said that the Company now has contracts made for a large part of its 1908 output and he expects that by the first of March all of the cars that can possibly be made this season will be contracted.

“The Mora Company's line is now composed of two styles of-six-cylinder cars and two styles of four-cylinder cars. The four-cylinder car is an improved model of the 1907 production, while the six-cylinder cars are entirely new models and exceptionally fine ones, the Company's claim on these cars being that the Mora Six is "THE MECHANICALLY FINEST LIGHT SIX BUILT IN AMERICA.” This is a big claim for anyone to make, and when it is considered that this concern is only about three years old, and in that short time has been able to develop a car which has so many points of mechanical merit that it can without danger of substantiated dispute claim to make the mechanically finest car built in America, notwithstanding it has to compete with many concerns which have been seven or eight years in the business, it certainly speaks well for the thought, energy and ability displayed in the development of the company's product; and those who were so far seeing as to exert their influence and energy and invest their capital to keep this enterprise in Newark may have good reason for self-congratulation.

“Mr. Mora stated that it had been a source of great regret to the management that there had been so much delay in the receipt of timbers for the new building, some of the carloads of principal timbers being on the road as long as four months, with the result that the last carload was received only three or four weeks ago, and the building cannot now be completed ready for occupancy until about March 1st. This delay will prevent the company from turning out as many cars for 1908 as they had anticipated. At the same time, by being able to use the building by March 1st, they will be in fairly good condition, as in the present plant the machinery equipment is very well taken care of and the lack of facilities applies more particularly to the finishing of cars, which requires a large amount of floor space. With the new building ready for this purpose in March, it is contemplated that the company will be able to make its deliveries with reasonable promptness and according to contract.

“In concluding, Mr. Mora, very earnestly spoke of the need of additional house accommodations in Newark. At this time the company has 150 employees and he estimates that a year from now they will require more than double that number. He expressed himself as being afraid that unless there is concerted effort to supply house accommodations at reasonable rates the business of the company may be handicapped, later by inability to secure houses for its men. Although 86 new houses and apartments and flats were added to Newark's accommodations last year it is quite evident that as many more will be needed in 1908. Newark is to be congratulated on the establishment here of the Mora business, which, promises to be one of the largest and most successful industries in this part of the state.”

Samuel H. Mora was quoted in the February 6, 1908 issue of The Automobile:

“Figures That Impress All Who Study Them

“That automobile popularity is far from waning, as many pessimists have endeavored to make us believe, is strongly contradicted by the registrations with the Secretary of State at Albany during 1907 says S.H. Mora, maker of the Mora car and a member of the American Motor Car Manufacturers Association. During 1907 there were 13,980 owners registered and 9,386 registrations for chauffeurs against 11,649 owners and 7,335 chauffeurs in 1906. To me these figures are impressive as they must be to anyone who will study them. It means that the American manufacturer is offering the public the very best car possible to build for the money; or else, the sales of American cars would not have had such an increase during the past year.”

“Personal Trade Mention:

“J.S. Draper, for the past three years, sales manager of the Wayne Automobile Company, Detroit, Mich., has just resigned that position to assume the duties of general sales manager of the Mora Motor Car Company of Newark, NY. Mr. Draper's resignation became effective on February 1.”

A Mora automobile accompanied the participants of the legendary New York-to-Paris on it westward journey from Rochester, the February 26, 1908 Newark Gazette providing the details:

“The Mora Motor Car Company received a telegram yesterday from the car which is accompanying the New York-Paris race. It stated that the Thomas car was ahead. They left Michigan City towed by ten horses, on account of the snow banks. The telegram was sent from Chicago, and it stated that there was great excitement there. Mr. Campbell, of the Mora office, is accompanying the machine by rail, and will give us a full report of the trip later. It has been a very severe trip on account of the snow.”

The same edition announced a trip by William H. Birdsall to Long Island:

“W.H. Birdsall took a Mora Racytype Four to New York to take part in the economy contest on Long Island yesterday over a course of about 250 miles.”

The March 19, 1908 issue of The Automobile included a picture of the Mora accompanying the New York to Paris participants, stuck wheel-deep in the snow, but its bonnet still sealed – with over 8,000 miles on the odometer since it was originally sealed by ACA officials on June 19, 1907:

“Sealed-Bonnet” Mora Wheel Deep In the Snow (picture caption).


“Not content with having some 8,000 miles under sealed-bonnet conditions last season to its credit, the Mora car, which successfully took part in the first sealed-bonnet contest run by the Automobile Club of America, and every one since then was started from Rochester, together with the New York-Paris contestants. The Mora met with several accidents last summer, such as the smashing of a wheel, breaking of the steering gear connections and part of the radiator, but repairs to these parts were carried out without interfering with the original seals placed on the bonnet by the officials of the Chicago Motor Club last June. The Mora left Rochester at noon on February 16, in company with the Zust, but as the latter went into a shop for repairs, the Mora kept on to Buffalo, where it joined the Thomas and De Dion the same afternoon.

“The story of its trip westward from Buffalo is that of a continuous struggle against almost overwhelmingly adverse conditions for every step of the way, during the course of which the Mora crew and car used their efforts ¡n helping out first one and then another of the contestants in the New York to Paris run. On one day the total distance covered was seven miles.

“Chicago was finally reached after many mishaps and hardships, and the day following the arrival of the Mora, the technical committee of the Chicago Motor Club, who sealed the bonnet last June, inspected the seals and certified that they had not been disturbed since originally placed on the car on June 19, 1907, so that the Mora was enabled to add 60 miles to its world’s, record of 8,000 miles under sealed bonnet conditions. Some idea of what the going was like for a large part of the way may be gained from the photograph showing the car almost out of sight in the snow.”

A picture of the Sealed-Bonnet champion was featured in the April 1, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette:

“The Mora Sealed Bonnet Roadster

“The above picture was taken just this side of Chicago while the car was accompanying the New York-to-Paris machines to that city. J.N. David is seated at the wheel. J.H. Stickney was on the seat beside him and Ernest Lindstrom in the rear seat. This is the roadster which finished in the Glidden tour, the Chicago, New York and Cleveland endurance races, and which has not had the seals broken since June, 1907, which means that the engine has not been touched in that time. This is the most wonderful record ever made for endurance by any car. The seal is still intact. It will be seen by this picture that the boys had no easy snap on their Chicago trip. Everything is coated with frozen mud and snow. Mr. David, however, is wearing the same smile which he seems to have on perpetually. The harder the trip before him, the broader the smile. He has driven the sealed bonnet roadster over many a rough course, and to many a victory.

“The Mora Motor Car Company will take part in the automobile carnival in New York April 7, 9 and 10. April 7 there will be an historical parade; April 9, hill climbing at Fort George; April 10, a run to Gramatin Inn.”

Once again the thoughts of Samuel H. Mora were published in The Automobile, this time in the April 2, 1908 issue:


“S.H. Mora, Mora Motor Car Co., Newark, N.Y.

“We are firm believers in the six-cylinder proposition's future. Our agents seem to look at it as we do for our orders are two to one for the ‘sixes’ as compared with the ‘fours’. To my mind the aim of construction has been to attain flexibility equal to that of the steam car. Two-cylinder cars supplanted ‘one-lungers’ and the double-cylinder gave way to the quadruple. So I believe that the ‘six’ will supplant the ‘four’ at the high price end of the business. Continuously applied power is an advantage not to be disputed. We have tried to produce as light a car as is consistent with strength and average power. We are satisfied with the progress we are making: for the engine and transmission of our ‘six’ weigh but 15 pounds more than those of our ‘four’.”

A tour of the brand-new Mora plant was included in the April 11, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette:

“The New Mora Factory: Buildings Now Ready for Occupancy; Will Move At Once

“Description of the New Mora Plant — Equipment All New and First Class — Conveniences For Workmen – Plans for More Buildings Later — A Magnificent, Prosperous Industry.

“The main buildings of the Mora Motor Car factory are now-practically completed. The store house for new machines has been in use for some time and the other buildings will be occupied as soon as it is possible to move into them. The matter of moving will be rather a long, expensive business, on account of the weight of much of the machinery. We announced in this paper some time ago that part of the manufacturing plant would be moved over into the new buildings in March, but this was not done. Preparations are being made this week, however, to begin the moving in earnest.

“‘We expect to commence moving to our new plant in about ten days, but owing to the busy season we will probably be at least sixty days accomplishing The task,’ said S.H. Mora, President of the Mora Motor Car Co., the other day.

“‘The first main building, the boiler house and the testing house have been completed.

“‘The main building is of brick, mill construction, 406x60 feet, two stories high with full skylight roof, making an open building with abundance of light. The projection at the centre is to accommodate the elevators, stairway and lavatories for shop hands. The lower floor will be devoted entirely to machine work and each department will have a separate motor for supply of the power required. The upper floor will contain the reception room and offices, reached from a private entrance at the front end of the building. The designing and drafting rooms will be located just back of the offices and the balance of the floor devoted to the painting, upholstering and final assembly of cars.

“‘The machinery equipment in the old plant is the best obtainable, all new within the past two years, and a large additional quantity has been ordered, some of-which is now on the ground. When all this is installed the capacity will double the present facilities.

“‘The company purchased this site of seven acres on the Northern Central R.R. and one of the unique features is a siding graded down to bring the floor of the freight cars on a level with the lower floor of the building to facilitate loading. This siding will accommodate fifteen cars.

“‘The testing house at the left of the main building is complete-in every detail. Doors the entire length of the building permit cars to be freely driven in and out and five of these have pits directly back of them over which cars may be run for making adjustments to driving gear. Automatic ventilators give air and carry off gas from these pits. Wash racks for the cars are provided and after test each car will have all parts cleaned by steam before final assembly. This method of cleaning is far superior to washing. A large room is set aside in this building for the testing crew and is equipped with a complete lavatory.

“‘An isolated building of concrete block for the heating plant is built at the far end of the building next to the railroad, which allows of coal being dumped from the car to the fire room.

“‘A blacksmith shop is being erected just beyond the boiler house to isolate such work from the main building.

“‘Plans are made for other buildings to be located parallel with the first main building and when completed the several buildings are to be connected by a building across the south end.

“‘The accompanying illustration shows the works the Mora car made necessary.”

“‘The greatest honor of all came to the Mora Motor Car Company when from the hundreds of cars gathered in New York for the greatest carnival ever held, a Mora was selected to head the procession on Tuesday evening, being the car which carried the queen. The automobile carnival to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the manufacture of automobiles in this country was the greatest affair of the kind ever held in the world. The city of New York was so brilliantly illuminated Tuesday night that the Tribune was led to remark that the people of Mars could no longer have any doubt that this planet is inhabited.

“‘On all of the side streets from Broadway, cars stood in endless rows, decorated and placarded, ready to swing in line for the big parade. At the proper time with the boom of flashing lights and amid the cheers of the multitude Queen Joan marched, from the Cumberland hotel and entered her royal car, a Mora, which was decorated with a canopy of Easter lilies. She was attended by her two children dressed as Indians, with war bonnets and khaki hunting suits. As the queen's car wheeled to enter Broadway, the king, his train borne by flunkies in brilliant red plus, took his place in another car which towered twelve feet above the pavement, in this way procession started.

“‘The Mora Company was represented at the carnival by its New York agents. President S.H. Mora, and J.W. David, expert mechanician, who was there to drive a car in the hill climbing contest. The Mora is being represented at the Pittsburg automobile show this week by W.M. Freeman and J.W. Stickney, who are exhibiting the Mora car. Sales Agent J.S. Draper has been in Chicago this week assisting the Chicago agent of the Mora at the big automobile carnival held there.”

“Several suggestions have been made in regard to a place where the Mora Motor Car Company can test their cars in safety. M.I. Greenwood has made the most practical suggestion that we have heard yet, and that is that arrangements be made with the Newark Fair Association for the use of the tracks. Members of the Association say that horsemen complain that automobiles raise the dust from the track and leave exposed the stones. This is undoubtedly true, but if some system of rental could be arranged for, the Association could have enough money to put the track in good condition during the annual races at the fair in September. The race track is easy of access and would make an admirable place for the testing out of the machines. Mr. Mora has been away the past week most of the time and we have been unable to get an interview with him as to his opinion of the race track for his purposes, but we assume that he would be pleased with an arrangement whereby his cars could have the use of this track at any time. This would only partly solve the question, to be sure. During the seasons of the year when there is snow or deep mud the track would not be available. During several months of the year, therefore, the machines must be allowed on the brick pavement under certain restrictions, but from now on until fall the track could be used to advantage undoubtedly by the Mora Company. The Union-Gazette will be glad to publish opinions regarding this very important matter at any time.”

The ‘Brief Items and Trade Miscellany’ column of the April 16, 1908 issue of the Automobile included a more concise description of the new Mora plant to the automotive trade and a short description of their 1908 catalog:


“The Mora Motor Car Company, Newark, NY, will shortly commence moving into its new plant but as the whole force is working under considerable pressure at present it will probably be 60 days before the transfer is completed, The first main building measuring 60 by 406 feet and which is two stories high of mill construction with full skylight, has been completed, as have also the boiler and testing houses. The ground floor of the large building will be entirely devoted to machine work, each department being supplied with power by an independent motor. The second floor will house the company offices, drafting-rooms and the painting and upholstering departments. The machine tool equipment of the old plant is only two years old and is the best obtainable. With the large additional quantity that has been ordered, and some of which is already on the ground, the company will have double its present facilities. The site of the new plant comprises a plot of seven acres, situated on the Northern Central Railroad. The testing house is complete in every detail, doors the entire length of the building permitting cars to be driven in and out freely. Five pits have been installed and automatic ventilators supply them with fresh air and carry off the gas. Wash racks are provided, and all cars will be cleaned by steam.

“New Trade Publications:

“Mora Motor Car Company, Newark, NY. In presenting its trade literature to the automobile buying public for the coming season this concern goes into the whys and wherefores of the ‘Six’ vs ‘Four’ and shows why it was convinced that the additional cylinders were an advantage. The Mora ‘Four’ for 1907 was an unusually successful car. The catalogue illustrates and describes each type turned out, as well as a number of the essential parts of construction, showing their design.”

Although several ‘moving into’ articles had appeared during the preceding two months, the plant finally became operational during the last week of April 1908, the April 25, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette inferring that mechanicians who left the Siegrist St. plant on Saturday would start work at the Hoffman St. plant on Monday:

“The Mora Motor Car Company are moving into their new plant this week and in consequence about half the factory force is laid off. The men took their tools home Saturday night, and when they return to work they will be in the new factory, which is one of the best in the country.”

The May 2, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette reported on several new record-breaking runs:

“Mora Smashes More Records - Makes a Fine 1000 Mile Run, and Runs From Cleveland to Newark.

“The Mora Motor Car Company have done a couple of stunts during the past few days of which they are proud, and of which considerable mention is being made in the daily papers. With representatives of the press and members of the Buffalo Automobile Club as continuous observers, a six cylinder Racytype with seals intact and engine running perfectly was driven into the garage of the Buffalo agency after having covered, 1,000 miles in 47 ½ hours running, or an average of better than 21 miles an hour, allowance being made for tire repairs. Mr. Mora says that so far as the company knows this is the first test of its kind, as it was conducted by a dealer with a stock car completely equipped which had been used for demonstrating since early in the year. H.B. Odell, the driver, is not a racing man but a salesman for the Maxwell-Briscoe Buffalo Company, the Mora dealers in that city. The car was in excellent condition at the finish with the engine running even better than at the start.

“This test was made on the streets of Buffalo and on the roads within thirty-five miles of the city, so actual road conditions were encountered at all times, up and down, the hills, through the towns, over unguarded railroad crossings, etc. Only occasional bursts of speed were possible, but when, opportunity offered 55 miles were easily attained and the high grades were taken at speed without difficulty.

“The other test is reported by F.H. Adams, manager of the Wentworth Motor Car Company, Cleveland. He sells the Mora car in that city. C.W. Campbell, of the Mora Company Department of Publicity, furnishes us a report of a one day's reliability test made by Mr. Adams with a Mora Six Tourer. On Sunday last he left the Cleveland Automobile Club and made a run of 115 miles, finishing with ease. After the run there was some talk about a day's touring, and Mr. Adams having several prospective purchasers interested in the Mora touring car invited some of them to accompany him in a run from Cleveland to the Mora factory in Newark, proposing to make the run of 300 miles in one day of twelve hours. Mr. Adams was unable to get any of his customers to come with him and so brought his wife and nephew. He left Cleveland at six o'clock Tuesday morning, making the run to Erie, 102 miles, in two and one-half hours. Stopping there for twenty minutes, he left for Buffalo, arriving there after an 86 mile run at one o'clock, where one hour and a quarter were spent for dinner. He left Buffalo at a little after two and arrived in Rochester at four-fifteen, making the run of 79 miles from Buffalo in two hours, beating a record made by the Mora Four-Cylinder car last winter by thirteen minutes. After a stop of fifteen minutes in Rochester, Mr. Adams left for Newark, a run of 33 miles, arriving at the factory in fine shape at just half-past six, having stopped three-quarters of an hour make repairs to a spring. This made the actual running time a little under ten hours, or a trifle better than thirty miles an hour, which Mr. Adams believes establishes a record for one day's touring. The party reached Newark in good condition, and could have driven further with perfect comfort. Mr. Adams made the run on 30 ¾ gallons of gasoline and two quarts of oil. Mr. Adams is now making arrangements for a trial at a twenty-four hour track record with this car and feels confident that he will make another record.”

The May 7, 1908 issue of The Automobile also made mention of the Buffalo reliability run:


“May 4 - After having had the power plant of a six-cylinder Mora demonstrator, taken from the stock of the Buffalo representatives of the company, officially sealed by Secretary Dai H. Lewis of the Automobile Club of Buffalo, H.B. Odell started at 11:20 AM, April 23, for a 1,000-mile reliability run under sealed bonnet conditions. The test was made on the streets of Buffalo and on the roads, 30 to 35 miles outside the city. The run was completed in 47 1/2 hours, actual running time, or an average of 21 miles an hour, making allowances for tire repairs. Several press representatives and members of the automobile club acted as observers.”

The May 23, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette contained a Samuel H. Mora-penned article on the advantages of the six-cylinder motor car, originally published in New York City by the New York World:

Mora Believes in the Six-Cylinder; Flexibility One of the Advantages of This Type.

“The following article by S. H. Mora, of the Mora Motor Car Co., appeared recently in the New York World:

“There has been much discussion this year as to the relative merits of the one, two and four cylinder automobiles as compared with the six-cylinder car. To my mind there is no doubt but that the six-cylinder is far superior to the others, although the one, two and four cylinder machines will always hold a certain number of exponents.

“That manufacturers are coming to realize the advantage of the six-cylinder was demonstrated at the recent show of the American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association in Grand Central Palace, when there were nine-teen types of ‘sixes’ on exhibition. If it was not that the men who put the ‘sixes’ on the market believed that the ‘six’ is better than the others, they would not build such cars.

“In my opinion there are many reasons why the ‘six’ is better than the smaller cylinder cars. Flexibility is one of the chief reasons. Designers have tried for this end since the beginning of automobiles, and the ‘six’ has practically settled the point for them.

“Of course the makers of four-cylinder cars will oppose my views, but they will eventually have to admit that the six-cylinder auto will ultimately drive the four to the wall. When the two-cylinder car was first made the manufacturers of one cylinder machines vigorously opposed the new car, and when the four cylinder made its appearance there was a storm of protest from the makers of the two.

“Six-cylinders make a steadier running motor, with a more even pull, minimized vibration, jar and shock, less wear and tear, and easier riding. Traveling through traffic the ‘six’ demonstrates its superiority emphatically. On crowded streets the ‘six’ requires simply that the throttle be somewhat closed, while the ‘four’ requires a lower gear. When a momentary opening appears ahead the driver must shift his gear before speeding through it. If he is driving a ‘six’ he has merely to open his throttle to accept the opportunity of getting away. Thus the ‘six’ is easier to operate.

“It will therefore be seen that the ‘six’ is easier on tires. Each separate driving impulse gives the rear tires a fresh frictional grind on the road surface, but in the ‘six’ driving impulses are not separate, but continuous.

“Each individual cylinder in a ‘six’ is characterized by no different operations than occur in each cylinder of the ‘four.’ The difference is that the six-cylinder motor provides six power strokes within the same two crankshaft revolutions that produce only four power strokes in the four, and, these six power strokes are so timed by the angle at which the throws of the crankshaft are set that power in any single cylinder cannot possibly be exhausted before power in a succeeding cylinder begins its work. Thus no power of the six-cylinder is wasted in overcoming the slowing down of the motor and in the four-cylinder motor. The ‘six’ is also a fuel economizer.”

William W. Burke, the Manhattan Mora representative, entered a six-cylinder car on behalf of the Mora company in the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup race, the May 28, 1908 edition of the New York Times reporting:

“Mora Enters Vanderbilt Race

“William Burke, the New York representative of the Mora Motor Car Company, yesterday made the first formal entry for the Vanderbilt Cup race on behalf of S.H. Mora. Mr. Burke state that they had made the entry for the reason that, in his opinion, each manufacturer in America should declare his position as soon as possible, and that Mora would be represented in the Vanderbilt by a six-cylinder car. In answer to the request of the Acme Company, the Vanderbilt Cup Commission is understood to have declared that it was permissible to use foreign material in the construction of the racing cars, provided the parts were made in America. This was held not to apply top magnetos.”

The September 5, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette published a list of the newly-elected Mora officers and directors, which was almost identical to that of the previous year, albeit with a reduction in the number of directors from seven to five:

“MORA DIRECTORS - They Were Elected at the Annual Meeting Tuesday.

“The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Mora Motor Car Company was held yesterday afternoon in the company's offices on Mora Place. Prospects for the year 1909 were reported to be bright and a good year is anticipated. A resolution was adopted reducing the number of directors from seven to five. The meeting was well attended, many of the women stockholders being present as well as a goodly number of out of town people. The following men were elected directors for the ensuing year: S.H. Mora, Frank Garlock, Abram Garlock, T.W. Martin and W.N. Freeman.

“At a meeting of the directors held this week the old officers were re-elected as follows: S.H. Mora, president; T.W. Martin, vice-president; W.N. Freeman, secretary-treasurer.”

The September 12, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette announced that the sealed-bonnet record-holder had been purchased by H.I. Buttery, superintendent of the Waterloo Woolen Mfg. Co.:

“Sealed Bonnet Mora Motor Car Has Been Purchased By Waterloo Party - Still Running.

“Insisting that he would rather have a car which had proven itself worthy beyond all arguments, H.I. Buttery, of Waterloo, N.Y., has purchased from the Mora Motor Company, the now famous Sealed Bonnet Mora car, which ran almost 8,000 miles with its bonnet sealed competing in one public contest after another and traveling over the roads connecting prominent cities as far west as Chicago.

“The power plant of the Sealed Bonnet car was placed in one of the light powered touring cars for Mr. Buttery, and from a letter just received from the new owner, the motor has improved under the severe test to which it was subjected. Mr. Buttery writes that the motor, which shows extraordinary power on hills, is good for a duplication of its unapproached record.”

Also included in the same edidion was the following classified advertisement:

“Anyone wishing boarders or roomers, please send description of rooms, price wanted and number of boarders wanted to Mora Motor Car Company.”

The September 17, 1908 issue of The Automobile carried a condensed version of the sale of the sealed-bonnet Mora:

“Mora Motor Car Company - The sealed bonnet Mora car which this company drove almost 8,000 miles without hood being lifted has been sold to H.I. Buttery of Waterloo, NY, who decided that in buying a machine he wanted to feel that he was getting a car that has already proven itself worthy. The power plant was placed in one of the light touring cars and the reports from the owner so far indicate that the car is doing excellent work.”

With the new factory up and running, Mora management pondered what to do with the old one, and what could be done with the obsolete equipment contained therein. Somebody, exactly who remains unknown, thought the time was right to produce a diminutive automobile aimed at aspiring junior automobilists with wealthy parents.

The early pint-sized cyclecar marketed as the Browniekar would soon become exponentially more well-known than the Mora motor car ever was. Although credit for the design and engineering of the car is given to William H. Birdsall, he was busy working on the new 60 hp four-cylinder Mora engine that would be introduced in 1909, so the task of ironing out the engineering and manufacturing details was given to a recently-hired M.I.T. graduate named Arthur M. Dean.

The Browniekar utilized a DeDion-style layout and rear-end, a wooden chassis, and a four-stroke, single-cylinder, 3.5 h.p., engine with a bore and stroke of 3-in. and 3.5-in., respectively. Like the remainder of the vehicle, the engines were built completely in-house, even the carburetor, and power was transmitted to the rear wheels via a flywheel cross-shaft arrangement which drove the rear wheels via sturdy leather belts.

The September 28, 1908 edition of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle introduced the car, yet un-named publicly, to the residents of nearby Monroe County, New York:

“Will Build Automobile To Be Run By Children

“Newly Organized Company Begins Operations in Newark.

“Newark, Sept. 27 - The Child’s Automobile Company, a newly organized concern, has opened the old manufacturing building on Siegrist street, formerly used by the Reed Manufacturing Company and, later, by the Mora Motor Car Company, and has installed new machinery.

“The purpose of the company is to build a so-called ‘pony’ type of motor car. One of these cars has been constructed and has been on exhibition. It is a small affair with a small single-cylinder engine, will cost from $150 to $250 and is intended for children's use. S.H. Mora, of the Mora Motor Car Company, is president of the new company, and it is understood that the interests of the two are allied.”

For reasons that remain open to conjecture, during the next 2 weeks the official name of the Child’s Automobile Co. was changed to the Omar Motor Co., Omar being an anagram of its owner’s (Samuel H. Mora) surname. The Siegrist St. factory was owned by Thomas W. Martin, Mora’s vice-president and president of the Reed Mfg. Co., another well-known Newark business.

The October 3, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette provides some additional details including the trade name of the vehicle:

“New Automobile Factory in Newark.

“Newark is to have still another industry. This will be the manufacture of a motor car for children to be called the Browniekar. It will be manufactured by the Omar Motor Company in the old Reed plant. This will be a very nice little machine for children, with a maximum speed of 12 miles an hour, with several safety appliances. It will sell for $150 and will doubtless be a popular machine. We will have a more complete description of the enterprise next week.”

The Minor Mention column of the October 7, 1908 issue of The Horseless Age also reported on the firm’s organization:

“The Child's Automobile Company has been formed at Newark, NY, to manufacture a small single cylinder runabout children's use to cost from $150 to $250. S.H. Mora of the Mora Motor Car Company is president of the new concern, and it is understood that the two interests are allied. A vacant building on Siegrist street formerly occupied by the Mora Motor Company is to be used.”

The October 8, 1908 issue of Motor World did too:

“Mora Heads a New Company

“Real automobiles with gasolene motor and all the mechanism, but made in juvenile sizes at a low price, will constitute the product of a newly organized concern of which S.H. Mora of the Mora Motor Car Co. is president. The Child's Automobile Co. is the name adopted and the company will use the factory building on Siegrist street, Newark, NY, formerly occupied by the Mora factory. The cars will be small single cylinder affairs of a so called pony type to sell for from $150 to $250 and are intended for children.”

The October 10, 1908 edition of the Newark Union Gazette reveals the name of the diminutive cyclecar for the first time:

“New Industry For Newark – Automobile For Boys and Girls to be Built Here.

“The Union Gazette mentioned briefly last week the new automobile industry which will occupy the old Reed plant on Siegrist St. We are able to give today a more complete description of the car to be manufactured. More will be said about the organization of the company, which is now being perfected.

“The Omar Motor Company, recently organized, are busily engaged in preparing for market the boy’s and girl’s automobile to be known as Browniekar.

“Browniekar is a toy designed for harmless sport and amusement of the young folks, of such light weight and low speed as to remove all element of danger, but, nevertheless, a real Motor Car, designed by a practical automobile engineer of several years' experience in the production of large and powerful machines.

“Browniekar is of such simple design that any intelligent boy or girl, of eight years or more can operate, adjust, and, after becoming familiar with its construction, if necessary, repair it.

“Browniekar has a maximum speed of ten miles an hour and is intended to provide healthful, instructive amusement, at a small cost, to absorb idle hours.

“The boy or girl who drives a Browniekar will obtain, by practical experience a knowledge of things mechanical, construction, carburation, ignition and operation of gas engines, etc., that he or she would not be liable to obtain from books.

“The engine of Browniekar is designed especially with a view to simplicity and reliability, built exceptionally strong and rigid in expectation of giving good service under unusual conditions.

“A simple carburator with only two simple adjustments that will start the engine with regularity and promptness, a thermo-syphon system of cooling through integral cast cylinder jacket and spiral tube radiator, and an inclined steering wheel directly connected to front axle, also carrying spark and throttle on steering column same as on large motor cars, make Browniekar a real motor car for the young folks.

“The speed of the car is varied by manipulation of spark and throttle levers and allowing drive belt to slip by reducing pressure of foot on clutch pedal. Ten miles an hour is the maximum speed.

“The driving control is by clutch pedal operated by left foot. When this pedal is pushed forward it tightens the belts and drives the car forward. This arrangement provides against accidental starting and is a factor for safety, as connection between engine and rear wheels is made only when pressure is applied to clutch pedal. If foot is removed belts become slack, slip on shaft and have no driving power.

“A brake pedal, operated by the right foot, when applied stops the shaft carrying belts from revolving.

“Browniekar is a two passenger roadster type with seat position adjustable to driver, has a coil on the dash, 1 ½ inch single tube pneumatic tires and is finished in medium red with black stripe. It will be sold for $150.00 including tools, tire pump and book of instructions. This book will contain diagrams showing name and number of each part, together with general information in regard to motor cars, their construction, principle care, repair, etc., and will be sold separately for twenty-five cents.

“The estimated cost of maintenance of each Browniekar is one gallon of gasoline for 30 to 50 miles, one gallon of gas engine oil for 500 to 600 miles, two quarts of lubricating oil and two pounds of grease for a season, one set of four dry batteries for two or three months and expense for repairs dependent on the boy or girl who operates the car and the care it receives at their hands, as the Browniekar is guaranteed for three months against flaw or defect in material.

“Those who have seen Browniekar are very enthusiastic over it and predict a large sale, which means another thriving industry for our town. It is quite likely one will be running on the streets here within a short time, when all will have a chance to see and admire it.”

The naming of the Browniekar was no accident. Mora was clearly banking on the world-wide popularity of the Eastman Kodak Co.’s line of budget-priced ‘Brownie’ cameras. As the onetime Kodak sales manager, Mora knew that the Kodak Co. had appropriated the trade name from the elfin ‘Brownies’ of Scottish folklore and doubted his former employer would go after him for using it.

(Named after their skin color ‘Brownies’ were good-natured little spirits or goblins of the fairy order that appeared only at night to perform good deeds or oftentimes harmless pranks while the household slept, never allowing themselves to be seen by mortals.)

More important than the name was the brilliant marketing scheme for the Browniekar. Although the car was sold through normal channels, it was advertised - at no expense to its manufacturer - via popularity contests whereby the ‘most popular’ boy (or girl, in a handful of markets) in a community would receive a Browniekar free-of-charge from the local newspaper or department store sponsoring the contest. Popularity being determined by the number of ballots an individual child received, and it’s interesting to note that many of the winners garnered over 100,000 votes!

With a median wage of $.22 an hour the parents of a middle-class child had no hopes of ever coming up with the $150 (as high as $250) required to purchase the vehicle in 1909, however, they would be more than happy to enter their child in a contest to win one. By co-sponsoring the contests with a local newspaper, the store that carried the Browniekar would get free advertising, which would result in the getting the children of wealthy parents interested in them, producing multiple sales that would quickly recover the cost of the contest cars.

Some of the 100+ municipalities that held Browniekar contests included: Miami, Fl.; San Antonio, TX.; Washington, D.C., Allentown, Pa.; New Castle, Pa.; Altoona, Pa., Meadville, Pa.; Oil City, Pa.; Scranton, Pa.; Uniontown, Pa.; Wellsboro, Pa.; Wilks-Barre, Pa.; Portland, Or., Oshkosh, Wi.; Binghamton, NY.; Buffalo, NY; Glens Falls, NY; Gloversville, NY.; Rochester, NY; Syracuse, NY; Dillon, Mt.; Little Rock, Ar.; Pine Bluff, Ar.; Fitchburg, Ma.; Montpelier, Vt.; Greenville, Ms.; Athens, O.; Columbus, O.; Youngstown, O.; Medford, Or.; Ogden, Ut.; Trenton, NJ.; Winnipeg, Mb., CA.; Decatur, IL.; Montgomery, Al.; Anaconda, Mt.; Missoula, Mt.; Concord, NC.; Newberry, SC.; Davenport, Ia.; Dubuque, Ia.; Sioux City, Ia; Akron, O.; Chillicothe, O.; Coshocton, O.; Zanesville, O.; Angola, In.; Fort Wayne, In., Goshen, In.; Sullivan, In.; South Bend, In.; Auburn, Ca.; Los Angeles, Ca.; Modesto, Ca.; Oakland, Ca.; Pomona, Ca.; Red Bluff, Ca.; San Francisco, Ca.; Santa Ana, Ca.; San Bernardino, Ca.; Santa Cruz, Ca.; Woodland, Ca.; Leavenworth, Ks.; Newton, Ks.; Washington, Ks.

It’s most famous purchaser was 13-yo Joseph Frank ‘Buster’ Keaton, who, along with his family; brother Harry, (aka Jingles); sister Louise; mother Myra and father, Joseph Hallie Keaton, travelled the country’s Vaudeville circuit performing comedy routines interspersed with acrobatics, stunts, and song and dance routines. The Keatons were so-well known for their physical comedy that they were billed as ‘The Roughest Act That Was Ever in the History of the Stage’.

At an early age Buster developed a love for all things mechanical and spent much of his spare time tinkering with bicycles, boats, gas engines and automobiles. Long before he found success in Hollywood, the 13-yo vaudeville star was earning enough money whereby he was able to purchase his own Browniekar “the most popular, instructive, and health-giving device ever placed in the hands of the younger generation” at a local Macys department store. Seen to the right is a picture of Buster and his brother Harry ‘Jingles’ in his recently-purchased Browniekar.

The price of a medium red w/ black stripe, the standard color scheme was $150 with custom colors available for an additional $25. Browniekar advertising stated “The Pioneer Juvenile Car” was a “harmless sport and amusement for the young folks. ...intended to provide healthful, instructive amusement, at a small cost, to absorb idle hours” that “any intelligent boy or girl, of eight years or more can operate."

The November 5, 1908 edition of the Newark Courier formally introduced S.H. Mora’s new cyclecar to the town of Arcadia's residents:

“A Real Motor Car for Boys and Girls

“Browniekar is the name given to an automobile for the young folks that is being built by a company just organized under the title of Omar Motor Company, at Newark, New York, and which is beginning to appear on the streets. It is a fine looking little car, just big enough for two children, and it is receiving the enthusiastic approval of every youngster who sees it.

“The factory is now busy getting out the first cars and orders are beginning to come in, which indicate that the demand will equal the capacity of the plant to supply. The Omar Company are the leaders in furnishing these small automobiles and will have the advantage which comes of being first in the field.

“The accompanying illustrations of Browniekar and its engine give a splendid idea of its make-up and from the catalogue we are able to give a general description to our readers:

“Browniekar is a type designed for harmless sport and amusement of the young folk, of such light weight and low speed as to remove all element of danger, but, nevertheless, a real Motor Car, designed by a practical automobile engineer of several years' experience in the production of large and powerful machines.

“Browniekar is of such simple design that any intelligent boy or girl, of eight years or more can operate, adjust, and, after becoming familiar with its construction, if necessary, repair it.

“Browniekar has a maximum speed of ten miles an hour and is intended to provide healthful, instructive amusement, at a small cost, to absorb idle hours.

“The boy or girl who drives a Browniekar will obtain, by practical experience, a knowledge of things mechanical; construction, carburation, ignition and operation of gas engines, etc., that he or she would not be liable to obtain from books.

“The engine of Browniekar is designed especially with a view to simplicity and reliability, built exceptionally strong and rigid in expectation of giving good service under unusual conditions.

“A simple carburator with only two simple adjustments that will start the engine with regularity and promptness, a thermos-syphon system of cooling through integral cast cylinder jacket and spiral tube radiator, and an inclined steering wheel directly connected to front axle, also carrying spark and throttle on steering column same as on large motor cars, make Browniekar a real motor car for the young folks.

“The speed of the car is varied by manipulation of spark and throttle levers and allowing drive belt to slip by reducing pressure of foot on clutch pedal. Ten miles an hour is the maximum speed.

“The driving control is by clutch pedal operated by left foot. When this pedal is pushed forward it tightens the belts and drives the car forward. This arrangement provides against accidental starting and is a factor for safety, as connection between engine and rear wheels is made only when pressure is applied to clutch pedal. If foot is removed belts become slack, slip on shafts and have no driving power.

“A brake pedal, operated by the right foot, when applied stops the shaft carrying belts from revolving.

“Browniekar is a two passenger roadster type with; seat position adjustable to driver, has a coil on the dash, 1 ½ inch single tube pneumatic tires and is finished in medium red with black stripe.

“The estimated cost of maintenance of each Browniekar is one gallon of gasoline for 30 to 50 miles, one gallon of gas engine oil for 500 to 600 miles, two quarts of lubricating oil and two pounds of grease for a season, one set of four dry batteries for two or three months and expense for repairs dependent on the boy or girl who operates the car and the care it receives at their hands, as the Browniekar is guaranteed for three months against flaw or defect in material.

“Browniekar weighs about 300 pounds and will be sold for $150, including tools, tire pump and book of instructions. This book will contain diagram showing name and number of each part, together with general information in regard to motor cars, their construction, principal, care, repair, etc., and will be sold separately for twenty-five cents.

“Browniekar has been in process of building for the past year; tried out under varying conditions, extreme care being exercised to build a simple substantial toy for boys and girls that have wanted an automobile of suitable size at a moderate price for their own use.

“In the Browniekar the manufacturers have provided something for the young folks that bids fair to make the pony and bicycle back numbers.

“Those who have seen Browniekar are very enthusiastic over it and predict a large sale, and that it will soon be as familiar a sight on the streets as cars for grownups.”

Browniekar sales literature described the vehicle as follows:

“Browniekar is designed for harmless sport and amusement of young folks, of such light weight and low speed as to remove all of danger, but nevertheless a real motor car, designed by a practical automobile engineer of several years' experience in the production of large and powerful machines.

“It is of so simple design that any intelligent boy or girl, of eight years or more can operate, adjust and after becoming familiar with its construction, if necessary repair it.

“The boy or girl who drives a BROWNIEKAR will obtain by practical experience a knowledge of things mechanical: construction, carburetion, ignition and operation of gas engines, etc., that he or she would not be liable to obtain from books.

“Simple? Yes, but nevertheless a real motor car.

“CONTROL - Steering is by inclined hand wheel direct connected to steering knuckles.

“Spark and throttle levers are carried on steering column, same as many large multiple cylinder machines.

“Drive control is by clutch pedal which is operated by left foot. When the clutch pedal is pushed forward a tightener pulley takes up the slack in flat belt from engine to counter-shaft and drives the car forward. This arrangement provides against accidental starting of the car, as connection between engine and rear wheels is made only when pressure is applied to clutch pedal. If foot is removed therefrom tightener pulley is released, belt becomes slack, slips on countershaft pulley and has no driving power.

“The brake pedal is operated by right foot and when applied stops countershaft from revolving.

“SPEED - Maximum speed ten miles an hour. There are no gears or other change speed arrangement to get out of order. Speed is varied up to the maximum by manipulation of spark and throttle levers and by allowing drive belt to slip by reducing pressure of foot on clutch pedal. The car is propelled forward only, but can be pushed backward.

“SPECIFICATIONS - Type, two-passenger Roadster; Seat position adjustable to driver. Wheel Base, 66 inches; Tread, 34 Inches; Frame, selected ash; Motor, single cylinder, four cycle 3-inch bore by 3 ½ inch stroke. Cooling, by water circulation through jacket cast integral with cylinder to vertical spiral tube radiator at front of car; Ignition, jump spark from coil on dash, current supplied by four dry cells; Lubrication, motor lubricated by splash of oil in engine case, transmission shaft fitted with grease cups; Transmission, by flat belt from engine shaft to countershaft, by two V-belts from countershaft to rear wheels, no gears, chains or sprockets; Axles, front I Beam section, rear 1-inch round section steel; Brake, contracting band on countershaft pulley, very powerful; Wheels, 24-inch diameter, wire spoked, ball bearing; Tires, 24-inch by 1 ½ inch Omar Special - 4 lugs; Color, regular finish, medium red with stripe; Equipment, tire pump and tools.

“OMAR MOTOR COMPANY, Newark, N.Y., Makers.”

William W. Burke, the ambitious manager of Mora’s Manhattan sales branch, kept busy sending out press releases detailing recent Mora accomplishments. The ‘Automobile Notes’ column of the November 14, 1908 edition of the San Antonio Gazette reported that a Mora had set another record:

“W.W. Burke, New York manager of the Mora Motor Car company, has received word of another victory by a Mora 6-cylinder car. On the half-mile track at Sandusky, O., a Mora lowered the five-mile record one minute and 20 seconds. Time was 7 minutes 41 seconds. In a special exhibition it covered a mile in 1 minute 7 ¼ seconds. The latter approximately figures 54 miles an hour.”

Although several sources state that Mora produced upwards of 1,600 vehicles, I believe the real number is less than half of that, even when the total production of the Mora and Omar organizations are combined. I think a more conservative grand total, say of around 700 vehicles - 300 Moras and 400 Browniekars - is a more accurate number, however evidence is lacking at the present time.

An article in the November 28, 1908 edition of the Newark Union-Gazette paints a somewhat gloomy outlook for the Mora Motor Car Co. for 1909. Several of the major stockholders threatened that unless additional financing could be secured the factory might have to move elsewhere:

“Mora Company To Sell Bonds

“Prospects Bright For the Business if Money is Raised

December 5, 1908 edition of the Newark Union-Gazette:

“Prospects Bright For Mora Co. – Business Men Hold Meeting – Committee Appointed to Sell Bonds

“Pursuant to the call of Avery L. Foote, president of the Newark Board of Trade, a meeting was held Tuesday evening in the dining room of the Gardinier Hotel to consider the matter of assisting the Mora Motor Car Company to sell their 6 per cent, first mortgage bonds to the amount of $25,000, the directors and two of the largest stock holders having already subscribed for $25,000.

“The ground was covered quite fully in this paper last week, the situation being then explained to our readers. As was stated the Company made and sold 100 cars last year, a remarkable output considering the financial panic. Contracts are already made for the sale of 100 cars the coming season and it is expected that from 300 to 350 cars will be built and sold without any difficulty with the aid of $50,000 in hand now with which to contract for and purchase necessary material. Frank Garlock, cashier of the First National Bank and one of the Mora directors, stated at the meeting that if this money could be raised and the plans of the company carried out there would be no difficulty in paying dividends. If the money is not raised it will be necessary to cut the present force down about one-half, which will be a bad thing for property owners and merchants. The Mora Company at present has a very efficient force throughout and the management feel that it would be a misfortune to have to disorganize this force for lack of funds. At the meeting Tuesday evening Mr. Foote presided and Mr. Mora in a very complete and convincing statement placed before the business men present the needs of the company. After giving a brief history of what has been done up to this time he predicted a very successful future for the company if finances can be so arranged that the work can be pushed this winter. Mr. Mora very firmly believes, and so do the other officers of the company that if money can be obtained with which to put out about 300 cars this winter, they will take care of themselves practically after the winter.

“Following Mr. Mora, Mr. Garlock made some remarks in which he hinted, as did Mr. Mora, that in order to make the company a success for its stockholders, this money must be raised – if not in Newark then somewhere else, in which case the business will be moved away. Brief remarks were made by Mr. Campbell of the company, and by superintendent Collings, expressing their faith in the Mora car and its future. They were followed by R.A.S. Bloomer, John Steurwald and E.P. Soverhill and as a result of the conference, a motion was made by Judson Snyder that a committee of three be appointed to act with the chairman in disposing of the bonds. Mr. Foote appointed as such committee to act with him E.P. Soverhill, John Steurwald and R.A.S. Bloomer.

“An invitation was extended by the officers of the company to those present and all others who might desire to see the plant to visit the factory in automobiles on Wednesday afternoon, leaving the Gardinier at two o’clock. This invitation was accepted by quite a number of the business men who had never seen the plant, and all were surprised and delighted with the Mora factory and its equipment.

“All things considered, the Mora company has had a very successful year. There was not enough money made to pay dividends, but during a year when many of the largest automobile factories in the country were closed down for months, Newark may consider herself fortunate that the Mora Company was able to keep the factory running, during every mouth of the year. As Mr. Mora puts it, a demand that dividends be paid during the past year would have been equivalent to a demand on him to perform miracles. Under existing financial conditions throughout the country the company has done well, to keep its factory running and to pay all expenses, which it has, we are informed. With bright business prospects ahead the Mora Company should do well during the coming year and it is up to the business men and property owners in Newark to see that it is provided with the money it needs. This is Newark's largest industry. It has greatly increased the population of Newark and at least fifty houses in Newark are probably being filled by automobile families. We cannot afford to lose it.

“Following the business session on Tuesday evening the Gardinier Brothers furnished, an elaborate luncheon for the business men present, consisting of oysters, cold turkey with cranberry sauce, and other delicacies, followed by excellent cigars. On motion of James M. Pitkin, three cheers were given for the Gardenier Brothers before the company adjourned just before midnight.

“It was a most harmonious meeting, the unanimous sentiment among those present appearing to be that the money should and can be raised in a short space of time.”

The December 10, 1908 issue of The Motor World presented the firm’s financial plight to the industry, suggesting that the Newark Board of Trade needed to help, curious as Thomas W. Martin, Mora’s vice-president, headed that organization:

“Mora Bids for Newark Capital

“The Mora Motor Car Co. of Newark, NY, is seeking assistance from the Newark Board of Trade in the flotation of $50,000 in bonds. Half the issue is said to have been subscribed for by the directors of the company and it is desired that the Board arrange to help in taking the other half. A meeting of the Board was held on the 1st inst., at which the company made its representations and promised a production of 350 cars by spring if the bonds are sold.”

The December 19, 1908 edition of the Newark Union-Gazette indicates that Mora would be exhibiting a ‘very attractive’ machine at the upcoming National Auto Show which was held at the Grand Central Palace from December 31, 1908 to January 7, 1909:

“The Mora Motor Car Co. is getting ready to exhibit at the New York show. A sample machine is being prepared that will be very attractive.”

The Grand Central Palace show of 1909 was under the management of the American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association (AMCMA), the first year they had run a show as an independent organization. Prior to that time it had taken space in exhibitions conducted by the ACA (Automobile Club of America). The Importer’s Salon, previously a separate event run by the Importer’s Association, joined the AMCMA show for the first time.

Although Mora had exhibited at the ALAM show in late 1906 and 1907, Samuel H. Mora had been elected treasurer of the AMCMA in 1908, and was appointed to the show committee in 1908, joining industry notables as Benjamin Briscoe and Ransom E. Olds. Consequently, Mora did not exhibit at the 1908 ALAM show, the ALAM being seen as an unwelcome competitor to the AMCMA. For reasons that are unknown, no specific mention or description of the 1909 Mora display at the New York or Chicago shows was to be found in the motoring press that year, other than it was managed by the Manhattan distributor, William W. Burke.

However the February 1, 1909 issue of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal contained an exhaustive review and road test of the new 1909 Mora ‘Light Four’ by the periodical’s technical editor Hugh Dolnar:

“The 1909 Mora Cars by Hugh Dolnar

“In a previous issue of ‘The Journal’ descriptive matter as complete as could be obtained at the time, on the Mora Light Four car was published.

“The following description covers the entire 1909 Mora line and describes in detail some features not previously covered.

“The Mora Motor Car Company, Newark, NY, USA, offer for the season of 1909 a six-cylinder chassis, 115 ins. wheel base, with either a 4-passenger roadster body, $3,750 or a 5-passenger ‘tourer,’ $3,600, and will also supply a shorter chassis, 105 ins., same 6-cylinder motor and same transmission with the ‘Racytype’ body, either rumble seat or trunk in rear, as may be desired, $3,500.

“These 6-cylinder models are continued from 1908 with only a few changes in the way of detail refinements, are light weight, have 42 brake HP or more, are very fast, easily showing 60 miles on good roads.

“For the 1909 general demand the Mora Company has produced the 1909 ‘Light Four’ a new model of light four-passenger or five-passenger car, 25 brake HP, 2,280 pounds scale weight, tanks filled, high gear ratio, 3 to 1 reduction from crank shaft to driving wheels, 55 miles on good roads, sliding gear, three forward speeds and a reverse, selective, with bevel gear to divided rear axles. This new model is in no sense an experiment, being simply an adaptation of the 1907 and 1908 Mora ‘World’s Record Sealed Bonnet’ car, which in 1907 made between 10,000 and 11,000 miles with a sealed bonnet. No change except detail refinements was made, save to rearrange these well tried elements in a somewhat lighter model, with 110 ins. wheel base, 7 ins. longer than that of the ‘Sealed Bonnet’ model, and weighing only 2280 lbs., tanks full, 25 BHP sliding gear speed change with bevel gear to divided rear axles, with a 4-passenger body at $1850.00, a ‘Racytype’ body, detachable rumble seats, either two, three or four passengers, $1850.00, or a 5-passenger tonneau body at $1900.00. All of these More 1909 Light Four models are fitted with the new Mora Motor Car trunk as part of regular equipment, with no extra charge. A high tension Bosch magneto is furnished with these Light Four models so far specified, complete double ignition system, storage battery and magneto as an extra, at $150.00. The cape top is also an extra $125.00.

“This chassis is also fitted with either a Limousine or Landaulet aluminum body at $3250.00, the regular equipment including a high tension Bosch magneto and storage battery, complete double ignition system.

“Notable Features

“Mr. W.H. Birdsall, designer of this entire 1909 chassis, gives original thought to his work and often reaches conclusions diametrically opposed to common practice, invariably simplifying his own choice and reducing production labor costs while obtaining improved operation or construction, making the following features worthy of careful consideration.

“Long motor stroke, full and substantial underneath protection of motor, control linkages and gear box, simplified universal joints in the form of a square, hardened steel male and female waklers, simplification of propeller shaft casing, which is made to serve as the torsion arm without the front yoke and trunions axially coincident with the universal joint center, the omissions of struts in connection with the platform rear springs, the extension of the chassis frame sides to the rear to give the trunk platform and carry the rear chassis frame cross member backward to a position directly over the cross spring, avoiding the common cross spring overhung bracket and its diagonal supporting members, improved reverse cone clutch construction, improved pedal, and cone rocker construction, an original selective gear shift linkage, and an important change in internal brake shoes, flexible internal band, self-applying, same effect forward and backward.

“To give a sure start on the spark Birdsall enriches the charge before stopping by advancing a hand lever, ratchet retained at the rear left of the front board; by this attention the self-start by the spark is said to become infallible and never failed as observed by the writer.

“The Motor

“This motor has been changed in some details from the illustration given, which is a reproduction of the construction working drawing.

“Mr. Birdsall, its designer, believes in long stroke, and these cylinders are 4 x 5 1/8 inches. The valves are nickel steel heads electrically welded to carbon steel stems. The hardened cams are keyed and pinned to the ¾ dia. Camshaft, nickel steel. The lifter construction has been changed to a disk at the low lifter end, eliminating the heavy lifter fork, roller and roller pin here shown. The piston pin is 1 ¼ steel tubing, 5/8 hole, case hardened and ground, taper pin, nut and split pin through connecting red top eye and the piston pin, pin turning with the rod in phosphor bronze bushes forged in the piston hubs. The piston is three cylinders, top dia. ten-thousandths below cylinder bore, middle part 1/32 small on a side, 3 15/16 dia. and bottom of piston, below pin bushing, has 2-1000 diameter reduction below the cylinder bore.

“The fan is in plain bearings, with eccentric support for fan belt tightening.

“The commutator drive and time-sleeve construction are well shown in this picture. The cylinder bore finishing is on a Davis Boring and Grinding Machine, boring with a boring rod and grinding in same machine to accurately cylindrical form. The rods are steel drop forgings piston pins fixed in topped eyes, capped wrist ends, two 7/16 nickel steel bolts in each rod cap. Nickel-babbit rod boxes, flanged and in halves. The crank-shaft is very large, 1 5/8 dia. wrists and journals, with unusually large bearings. The water-jackets diameters are increased from the bottom ends of the water-jackets upward, ensuring rapid water circulation in every part of the jacket,

“Crankshaft Supports

“The crankshaft bearings are not in motor-base bored seats, but are individual pillow blocks, malleable castings, with flat bottoms, each held to the flat upper surface of the lower base with 4 threaded studs and nuts, pillow-block positions accurately retained by two dowels in each. These pillow-blocks and caps are bored after assembling the box and cap, and are all reamed together to accurate alignment after being fixed to the finished flat upper face of the lower base member. The crank-journal boxes are of nickel babbitt, shouldered and keyed against radial movement, and flanged, and are cast to finished dimensions in accurately constructed metal molds, so as to fit the pillow blocks and to take the crankshaft with reaming and scraping only. This permits the supply of a box replacement to purchaser which will assemble correctly.

“This clutch is new in construction, the reversed female cone being formed in the flywheel rim, which is applied to the flywheel radial web, making the shortest possible reverse cone clutch construction.

“Pedal Construction

“The pedal arms are straight I-section levers, having eyes at their free ends which take threaded ends of the pedal shank, which carry the rocking pedal treads on cross-pins, so that by means of nuts on the threaded pedal stems of the rocking pedal treads the location oi the idle pedal tread can be placed to best suit the driver's foot range and convenience. This adjustable pedal tread mounting costs less than the ordinary integral and rigid pedal construction, which can only be perfectly suitable for a driver of one foot-reach and can never be exactly right for a driver of different build.

“The Mora Square ‘Wabblers’

“In place of the ordinary universal joints, commonly modifications of the Hooke joint, Birdsall makes one shaft end in a square hardened steel socket and forms the co-acting shaft end in a square bulged in the middle, a free fit in the steel socket, the extreme shaft angular variation in this car is only 5 deg. on a side, and this hard steel ‘Wabbler’ serves perfectly, with no noise and so far, no sign of wear, between the cone clutch and the gear box line shaft, and the propeller shaft. The socket as used in the Mora Light Four is 1 7/8 ins. Square.

“The Speed Change Gear

“This is selective, all gears and shafts hardened, all on annular ball bearings, side shaft placed above the line shaft, with two round shift slides placed side by side near the top of the aluminum gear box. The shift is by a sleeve and hand lever in two slots, sleeve and hand lever rigidly connected, sleeve sliding and rocking on the brake rock-shaft. See figs. 8 and 9.

“The two gear shift sliders are worked by one single arm integral with the sliding and rocking gear shift sleeve, all so stopped that the single sleeve rocker arm must be wholly disengaged from one slider before it can engage and move the other gear shift slide under any conditions of mishandling, thus making it impossible to bring two pairs of gears into contact at the same time.

“Propeller Shaft and Casing

“The propeller shaft is nickel steel, 1 3/16 dia., and is in ‘New Departure’ ball bearings at the front end and the other close in front of the bevel pinion, no bevel pinion separate thrust bearing, and no rear bearing for the bevel pinion. The bevel gear and pinion are 4-DP, 1 3/8 ins. face, nickel steel, heat treated, 15 pinion teeth, 42 bevel gear teeth, with about 3 to 1 reduction.

“The 8 spur pinion balance gear casing hubs are on New Departure ball bearings. The divided rear axles are special steel, 1 7/16 dia., semi floating, wheels fixed to tapered outer ends with key and hex nut, in Hyatt roller bearings next to the wheel hub. The bevel gear housing is in 3 pieces, 2 side members and a large hand-hole cover on top. There is no brazing whatever in the rear axle assembly.

“The Brakes

“The brake drums are pressed steel, 14 ins. outside dia., 13 5/8 inside dia., 2 ins. face inside and outside. The outside band is lined with ‘Scandinavian’ fibrous material, 3-hole-lever applied. The inside expanding flexible band is also faced with the ‘Scandinavian’ fibrous lining, and has its ends adjacent to a fixed abutment integral with the brake drum cover. This internal expanding flexible brake shoe is applied by a peculiar linkage, not described, which makes one end of the brake band the application abutment for the outer end, and causes this internal brake shoe to be applied by the rotation of the brake drum itself, and co-acting with the brake drum cover abutment makes the brake give the same retarding effect in either direction. This brake goes into work with only very slight pedal pressure, and when once begins to work is self-applied to the limit of its resistance by brake drum rotation. When the pedal pressure is removed the brake shoe at once collapses so as to entirely clear the brake drum inner surface. Patent pending. Both front and rear brakes are applied through full length steel bar eveners guided in chassis frame side slots, so that the application of one brake makes the abutment for the application of the other, rendering equal brake tension certain, and also making it impossible to apply a brake to one wheel only.

“The Springs

“This car is very easy riding indeed, and has half elliptic springs in front and a platform spring assembly in the rear, all well shown in the various illustrations. The front springs are 39 ins. long by 1 1/3 ins. Wide, 8 leaves, graded and lipped, jointed to the chassis frame in front and linked to chassis frame side brackets in the rear. The front springs are perched 17 ½ ins. from front spring eye to the middle of the front axle. The top 3 leaves are banded together.

“The rear side springs are 48 ins. long by 2 ins. Wide, 9 leaves, lipped, graded and have the 3 top leaves banded together. These rear side springs are jointed to chassis frame brackets in front. No struts are fitted, and the propulsion thrust of the driving wheels is transmitted to the chassis frame through the side springs themselves. The side springs are on revoluble perches, perch centers 25 ¼ ins. to rear of side spring front eyes.

“The Cross Spring

“Common practice places the cross-spring perch some inches to rear of the chassis rear cross member, making a very strong bracket needful for the spring perch itself, and also making it needful to place strong diagonal supports between the spring perch bracket and the chassis frame sides, to safely carry the whole weight of the tonneau load.

“The Mora chassis frame sides are extended to the rear so as to bring the rear chassis frame cross member directly over cross-spring, thus giving a direct vertical bearing on the spring and at the same time giving rear platform space for carrying the Mora Traveling Trunk, supplied as a part of a regular equipment with all bodies which permit such an appendage.

“The cross spring is 38 ins. long by 2 ins. wide, 7 leaves, lipped and graded. The side and cross-spring ends are connected by a universal joint cross, with two pins at right angles and links from the cross pin ends to the spring eye pin.

“This Mora platform spring gives a very easy riding tonneau, with no objectionable side sway.

“Ignition is regularly by storage battery, coils in a box on the rear face of the front board and jump spark plugs. A complete double ignition system with Bosch high tension magneto is fitted as an extra $150.00.


“The lubricating oil is carried in a vertical cylindrical tank, 1 1/8 gals. capacity, on the right front of the front board, piped from the bottom to 2 needle valves and a flushing valve between the needle valves, on the rear face of the front board, at right of coil box. The top of this lubricating oil tank has a check valve and pipe to the exhaust placing, say 2 or 3 lbs. pressure on the oil in the tank. The right needle valve leads to the rear crank pit, and the left needle valve leads to the front crank pit, while the middle hand opened flushing cock leads to both crank pits, enabling the driver to transfer all the oil in the tank or any part of it to the crank pits at will. All spring eye pins have spring oilers.

“The Starting Rich Charge

“The carbureter is a Mora construction, float feed, single stand pipe and horizontal automatic intake. A vertical rocker, hand operated and ratchet retained at the rear left of the front board, works a carbureter air admission closing valve; the rocker handle is moved by two notches to the left before stopping the motor, closing the normal air admission to the carbureter and causing the motor cylinders to be charged with a rich mixture after the spark is stopped, thus making a start on the spark certain.

“The muffler is of a special ‘Ejector’ type, said to reduce muffler pressure below atmosphere under ordinary working conditions.

“The front board is of mahogany, brass bound, with steel drop forging bracket support. The front side of the front board carries the lubricating oil tank. The rear face of the front board carries the ‘Rich Charge’ rocker at the left, the four-coil box in the middle and the lubricating oil valves at the right of the coil box.

“Underneath Protection

“For a time tarpaulin aprons, the filthiest and least efficient protection conceivable, were strung under the forward part of the chassis to protect it from road drift. Then came the ‘Steel Pan,’ a mere dirt and oil collector, frail and unsubstantial, and finally various forms of aluminum castings were used, of which this Mora expansion of the oil basin to form a complete underneath protection and crank-shaft base support, is the most elaborate, efficient and satisfactory example yet seen by the writer.

“This three-piece aluminum casting construction is substantial, does fully protect the motive and control assembly, is so well designed as to stay in place under all rough road conditions, and was undoubtedly the principal factor in procuring the ‘Sealed Bonnet’ 10,000 mile record performance for the Mora Light Four Prototype in 1908.


“The spark and throttle levers are ratchet retained on top of the hand wheel. The steering action is a double gear reduction. a bevel pinion to a bevel sector carrying a spur pinion in an internal spur gear sector in integral assembly with the globe end steering arm.

“There are two large pedals, that at the left disengaging the clutch only, and that at the right applying the external flexible band ordinary brake only. There are two hand levers, the outer one, latched, being pushed forward to first disengage the clutch and then apply the internal emergency brake band. The horizontal accelerator pedal is placed between the large pedals, which can be screw adjusted to suit the driver's foot reach.

“On The Roads

“Wednesday, Dec. 16, 1908, a 1909 ‘Light Four’ Mora car driven by its designer, W.H. Birdsall, two passengers in the tonneau and the writer, as observer, left the Hotel Gardinier, Newark, New York, at 11:38 AM for Rochester and return round trip, about 86 miles.

“The day was cloudy, not very cold, but cold enough, no snow on the ground, and the roads were bad all the way except out of Canandaigua through Victor to Mendon, some 18 or 20 miles. Some of the road was tolerably fair, but much of it was extremely bad, Park Avenue in the city of Rochester being especially horrible and costing us two inner tubes, one by a blowout and one by puncture with a glass splinter which stayed in place in the shoe and enabled the leaking tube to carry us within four miles of home before replacement.

“The car was new to Birdsall, but handled to perfection and started on the spark whenever the air valve lever was advanced a couple of notches before stopping the motor. When this valve lever advance was not made before stopping, the motor failed to start on the spark, but always started at the first pull on the hand-crank. This carburetor air-valve handling really gives a certain self-start without any air pressure or any shift of motor camshaft, provided attention is paid to the carburetor air-valve position immediately before stopping the motor, thus fully justifying the Mora claim as to its convenience and value.

“From Newark to Canandaigua, 20 miles, the road is nowhere really good, is very bad in places, and has several extremely dangerous right angle turns at the foot of steep descents, all making anything like fast pace foolhardy. The Mora Light Four has cylinders 4x5 and is geared 3 to 1 on the high speed reduction to the driving wheels, making 55 miles about the good road straight away limit, and we reached Canandaigua, for lunch, at 12:16 PM, 38 minutes for the 20 miles, a little better than a 30 mile pace.

“The car was very lively, taking almost all hills on high, and has piston area enough to warrant 2 1/2 to 1 reduction from motor to drivers on high, but Mr. Birdsall prefers ample hill climbing power to very high speed on the level, and really 55 miles is enough for all ordinary road work, much as every motorist likes the ability to take no other car's dust.

“The riding of this 1909 Mora new Light Four is extremely good, both front and rear, and the car has the agreeable feeling of life due to ample piston area for the weight.

“After a substantial lunch, to which all did ample justice, the Light Four was driven hard to Park avenue, Rochester, which has been torn up for two years and is simply a deeply rutted mud-hole diversified by trolley tracks and switches. The road from Canandaigua nearly to Mendon is the best found in this whole run, except the Rochester street pavement, and bad from Mendon to Park avenue, Rochester, but we made fair work, as it was only 1:57 when floundering along in the mud and trolley tracks of Park avenue and Colby street, we had a blow out of the left front tire and stopped in Colby street to replace the inner tube. From Canandaigua to the place of our blow out is about 30 miles, which we made in 55 minutes, again a little better than a 30-mile pace. We were quite a long time replacing the inner tube, and then drove slowly down town to the Whitcomb House, where we warmed ourselves and began the return run at 2:33 PM, taking the northerly route through Fairport, Macedon and Palmyra.

“Somewhere as we were leaving Park avenue the same left front tire was punctured by a splinter of glass which stuck in the cut, but leaked so that three miles beyond Palmyra, only four miles from home, we again made an inner tube replacement for our unlucky left front tire and finally drove to the factory door about 4:35 PM.

“The last long roadside wait destroyed our interest in time keeping, and we did not make any accurate record of the return running, the north road through Palmyra being worse than the Canandaigua route, very hilly and rough and muddy in spots with plenty of bad turns, altogether about as hard a stretch of country road as any motorist need wish to negotiate. These roads will soon be better, as farm teams were busy adding to enormous piles of boulders and cobblestones piled up at intervals as macadamizing material but today these highways are a pronounced disgrace to the Empire State.

“A more thorough test of the bad roads abilities of the Mora Light Four than that afforded by this run over very bad roads in early winter with the driver constantly pushed to speed by the observer, who desired pace for the story, could hardly have been made. Mr. Birdsall was docile, and got about all out of the car there was in it, after he became familiar with the handling, and there was not the slightest fault in the action of the 1909 Mora Light Four at any place or in any particular. The brake control given by the 14-inch diameter drums being highly efficient and enabling many of the downhill sharp turns to be made with far less delay than if the driver had not been certain of his ability to check the car instantly.”

As a suitable car had not been completed in time for the event, Burke had withdrawn Mora’s entry in the 1908 Vanderbilt cup race, the September 8, 1908 issue of the Horseless Age reporting:

“Status of the Vanderbilt Race

“A meeting of the Vanderbilt Cup Commission of the AAA was held Wednesday afternoon, September 9, upon the return of William K. Vanderbilt from Europe. Contrary to expectations, Mr. Vanderbilt did not bring with him any European entries for the race. It was unanimously decided by the commission however to run the Vanderbilt race even if no more than the present number of entries, seven, are received. The entries thus are a Mora, Acme, Thomas, Chadwick, Mercedes and two Knox. It was announced that the preliminary closing date for entries would be extended from September 1 to October 1, entries being received up the latter date at the single fee of $1,000. Several other cars, including two Locomobiles and a Frayer-Miller, are said to have been promised. It is thought doubtful whether the Mora car will take part because of difficulty in getting it ready time, and it is further reported that Robert Graves, instead of racing the winning Grand Prix Mercedes on which he holds an option, has decided to run his 1905 car. Two additional entries of foreign cars, both privately owned, are expected. One is a Hotchkiss car that took part in the last Vanderbilt Cup race, and the other an Isotta stock car. It is thus apparent that the ban of the recognized national automobile clubs on the Vanderbilt race is quite effective so far as the foreign industries are concerned.”

Hoping to get their $500 deposit back, Burke claimed that the withdrawal was because the “Vanderbilt Cup race was changed from an International to a National event.” Consequently Mora - and only Mora - sued the organizing body as reported in the February 9, 1909 edition of the New York Times:

“Vanderbilt Cup Commission Sued - The Mora Motor Car Company Would Recover $500 Entrance Fee

“Withdrew From the Race – Decisions Not To Enter Car Followed Clash of A.A.A. and A.C.A., Making the Event National

“All the members of the Vanderbilt Cup Commission, the body which has managed the various automobile races for the Vanderbilt Cup, have been made co-defendants in a suit brought by the Mora Motor Car Company to recover $500, part of the entrance fee to the last Vanderbilt race, which was paid by the Mora Company when it nominated one of its cars to compete in the event. Jefferson DeMont Thompson, formerly Chairman of the Racing Board of the American Automobile Association, and Frank G. Webb, a former member of the same board, both of whom also served on the Cup Commission, were served with papers in the suit last Friday.

“According to W.W. Burke, manager of the Mora Company’s New York branch, a car was entered to compete in the last Vanderbilt race when it was supposed that the event was to be of the international character which has distinguished it in former years. Acting in this belief, says Mr. Burke, his company forwarded to the commission a check for $500, being half of the entrance fee demanded of competitors.

“This transaction occurred, according to Mr. Burke, before the clash between the A.A.A. and the Automobile Club of America took place, which resulted in a peace agreement, whereby the A.A.A. was to control National racing, while the A.C.A. became the governing body in International events held in this country. By this agreement the Vanderbilt Cup race was changed from an International to a National event, and for a time even it looked as though the Vanderbilt race might be abandoned. In view of this uncertainty, declares Mr. Burke, his company decided not to go ahead with the building of a racing car and notified the Vanderbilt Cup Commission of their intention to withdraw from competition in the race, at the same time asking for the return of the $500 part entrance fee.

“The failure of the Cup Commission to return this money is made the basis of the present suit.”

The February 11, 1909 issue of The Automobile, added several important details:

“Vanderbilt Cup Commission Sued

“New York City, Feb. 8 - Jefferson deMont Thompson chairman, and Frank G. Webb, vice chairman, of the Vanderbilt Cup Commission were served on February 5 with a summons in an action to recover $500, representing part payment on account of the entrance fee paid to the Vanderbilt Cup Commission by the Mora Motor Car Company of Newark, NY. Senator William W. Armstrong, attorney for the plaintiff, has made all the members of the Vanderbilt Commission parties defendant to the suit, although the two mentioned were the only ones served.

“Speaking of this suit, W.W. Burke, manager of the Mora New York branch, said: ‘When the entry blanks were issued for the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup race, the first entry was made by the Mora Motor Car Company, in the belief that the race would be an international one as in previous years. The company sent its check for $500, being part payment of the fee of $1,000, specified for each starter. Then came the clash with the A.C.A., and for a time it looked as if the race would be abandoned, owing to the Cup Commission not adopting the rules formulated by the Congress of European Automobile Clubs. Under this uncertain atmosphere the Mora Motor Car Company decided not to go ahead with their special racing car, and demanded the return of their $500.

“Referring to the other side of the matter, Mr. Thompson says the suit will be contested on the ground that all conditions for the race were fulfilled by the commission. ‘We received the entry from the Mora company on May 25,’ said Mr. Thompson. ‘The entry was treated seriously and arrangements were made with the Mora as a prospective starter. It was not until September 24 that we were notified that the company had not been able to finish the car and desired to withdraw. Very naturally the commission declined to return the money. The proviso that half the fee must accompany the entry and would be forfeited in the failure to take part in the race was made to prevent just such happenings. Were we to have made conditions that did not include early payment of part of the entry fee, we would have been flooded with entries from concerns that had no intention of competing and desirous simply of obtaining what prestige might accrue to prospective contestants.”

The October 28, 1909 issue of The Motor World announced that a counter-suit instigated by the A.A.A. had been dismissed due to a technicality, not because the suit was without merit:

“Court Defines A.A.A. Status – National Body has no legal standing in New York – Development of Suit Against Mora

“Prof. Charles Thaddeus Terry, counsel extraordinary and attorney at large for the American Automobile Association (of New Jersey) was surprised and vexed this week when Judge Wells of the Ninth Municipal Court, New York City, threw out a suit which the Three A's had brought against the Mora Motor Car Co. for non-payment of $500 balance due as entrance fee in the 1908 Vanderbilt cup race. It probably was the first action of the kind ever instituted and was designed as a counter to the suit brought by the Mora company against the A.A.A. for the return of the $500 they already had paid.

“Charles W. Coleman, representing the Mora company as soon as the case was called, moved that it be thrown out on the ground that the A.A.A. is a New Jersey corporation and has never made application to do business in New York, and therefore has no right of action in a New York court.

“Whereupon, and amid much suppressed amusement on the part of Mr. Mora, the case was removed from the calendar.

“The Mora company was prepared to prove by such witnesses as Arthur L. Pardington, L.I.M.P.; Robert Lee Morrell, ACA; E.R. Hollander, FIAT; Samuel Sunset Butler, Sec. etc., ACA; Hon. Jefferson De Mont Thompson, ex-chairman VCC; and Manufacturer Mora, that the balance of the entrance fee for the Mora racer (which it is said was never built) was not paid simply because the character of the race was changed from an ‘International’ to a ‘National’ event without Mr. Mora’s permission.

“The Mora suit against the Three A's for failure to return the $500 which Mora, in a fit of carelessness did pay as a binder for his unbuilt car to race, is due to come up for hearing in Rochester, NY, at an early date.”

The following classified advertisement was placed by the Mora factory in the May 15, 1909 edition of the Newark Union Gazette:

“Bargains in Second-Hand Autos.

“One 2-passenger, 4-cylinder Mora Roadster, with top, $750. One 2-passenger, 4-cylinder Mora Roadster, (with extra surrey seat for making 4-passenger car) used very little, $1,000. Both taken in trade, thoroughly overhauled and put in A-1 condition. Also one Mora Racytype, 4-cylinder, 3 passenger, slightly used for demonstrations and practically good as new, $1,250. Catalogue with illustration on request. Mora Motor Car Company, Newark, New York.”

Mora’s public relations department continued to work overtime in getting Mora in the news, as evidenced by the following item in the May 22, 1909 edition of the Muscatine Journal (Iowa) which relates how well a 2-yo second-hand Racytype Mora had held up:

“Mora Second Hand Car Pleases Him.

“Purchaser of Second Hand Car of Mora Make Writes of His Experiences with the Machine

“Below is a quoted letter received from J.M. Horner which speaks for itself of his enthusiasm over a second hand Mora which he purchased in New York City. The car he refers to was a four-cylinder Racytype shipped from the factory to New York City on June 10th, 1907. Most buyers concede that it speaks well for any car, that has a reputation for selling well second hand, and stands up and does the work as a second hand car. The Mora cars do both. The fact that they sell well and do the stunts when old and apparently out of date has often influenced buyers to select a Mora car rather than some other.

“The letter follows:

“Rockledge, Fla., April 5th, 1909.

“Mora Motor Car Co., Newark, N.Y.

Gentlemen: - Accept my sincere thanks for your kind favor of the 19th ult.

“While writing permit me to say that with this Mora roadster (No. 204) and me, it was a case of love at first sight, and my judgement was good. I bought her second hand in New York and shipped it by boat to Jacksonville from which point I have travelled plump through probably fifty swamps, and hundreds of miles of loose sane, and she has never said ‘no’ for a single stroke. No used talking, she’s a peach, and I have seen and owned a few other makes of cars too. Yours very truly, J.M. Horner.”

An article in the May 22, 1909 edition of the Newark Union Gazette presented a very positive outlook for the local Omar and Mora factories:

“Mora Strikes Good Gait – Wheels Are Humming in Factory and Out

“Our people should always be interested in home industries, and all pleased to hear such good news from the Mora Company. Newark's factories are all doing well this year, and from time to time during the spring and summer, this paper will have brief write-ups of them.

“Things are humming at the Mora Motor Car factory this year. The only trouble has been that the company cannot get the new machines out fast enough and they complain that Newark is not building houses fast enough to take care of the men they would like to bring here.

“There is probably not a single empty house in Newark today and for this condition the Mora Company is largely responsible. Men come in on the trolley every day from other towns up and down the line because they cannot get houses to live in here. There are now 200 people on the payroll at the Mora factory and 65 men over at the Omar factory where the little Browniekars are being made. The Mora Company expects to turn out 500 cars this year and the Omar Company will make and ship 550 at least of the Browniekars. This is going some, and adds something to the value of every piece of real estate in Newark.

“Mr. Mora, by the way, has been elected treasurer of the American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association, and last week at a banquet held in New York was presented a beautiful gold watch fob in appreciation of his services as a leading member of the New York show committee.

“The Mora factory is a very busy place just now, where not only the 1909 machines are being turned out, but plans are being perfected for the 1910 machine. Hon. H.M. Blakely of Lyons, who has been investigating, the automobile question during the past year, and has visited many factories and show rooms, expresses the opinion that the Mora car for 1910 will be the best machine in America.”

On June 23, 1909, just one month after the previous item was published, Mora Motor Car Co. machinists went out on strike, the July 1, 1909 edition of the Newark Courier reporting:

“Machinists Side of Story.

“The machinists of the Mora Motor Car Co., of Newark, N.Y., went out on strike at 2 o'clock Wednesday, June 23rd, to maintain the 54 hours a week schedule.

“The Company posted a notice on June 12, that the shop would work 10 hours a day for the first 5 days and 5 hours on Saturday making 58 hours a week.

“The machinists considered the matter and requested Mr. Gleason, Business agent of the Rochester District, to call on the Superintendent Mr. Collins and try and have the machinists work 54 hours a week. The machinists were willing to work 10 hours for 5 days and 4 hours on Saturday or 9 hours and 5 minutes 5 days and 4 hours and 50 minutes Saturday or listen to any suggestion Mr. Collins made. Mr. Gleason called on Mr. Collins and asked for an audience but all in vain - Mr. Collins refused to have anything to do with him.

“A committee of the machinists called on Mr. Collins Thursday morning, June 24th in regard to the men going out and he denied them an interview. The machinists wish to state that the trouble could have been adjusted had not the company taken such a stand in the matter.”

The July 1, 1909 issue of Automotive Industries included a brief tour of the Mora factory:

“What Reeves found in a round of factories:

“No factory that I visited is more modern than the plant of the Mora Motor Car Company at Newark, NY. It is light and clean with high ceilings and Mr. Mora insists it all helps the men to turn out good work. All the 1909 cars will be out by July 10 and will be delivered immediately to customers through the agents. Work is now under way on the 1910 product, which will be new in several features, although carrying most of the features that have made the Mora car so successful during the past two years. The horsepower of the four-cylinder car will be increased from 24 to 35. Among the other features is the casting of a ledge on the engine base reaching to the radiator, which combined with the original Mora under pan idea, makes a complete covering of the under part of the machine, insuring a clean motor and clean working parts.

“S.H. Mora, owing to his long experience as sales manager of the Kodak Company, thoroughly understands the handling of agents and appreciates the necessity of keeping them supplied with cars at a time when the cars are in the greatest demand. His arrangement with agents is such that almost all of them receive an allotment of cars sufficient to make a substantial profit.

“Great preparations for next year in the way of additional buildings and the demand for additional help, to say nothing of the betterment of cars, both in material and construction, coupled with the reports of agents asking for 1910 cars and territory, enables even the poorest prophet to declare for a great selling year in 1910.”

Early in 1909 William Kellerhouse, Samuel H. Mora’s chauffeur, hit a pedestrian on Main St., Rochester, NY, as she exited from a streetcar. As Mora owned and was riding in the vehicle in question, he was deemed equally responsible. A February 13, 1909 trial in Rochester municipal court found Kellerhouse and Mora at fault, awarding the pedestrian, Elizabeth Lawless, $175 in damages and $16.65 in costs.

At the time many motorists, especially those of means, believed they controlled the road, and if a pedestrian dared cross their path they should be blameless in the event of a collision. As ridiculous at it may seem today, Mora directed his attorney to appeal, arguing that a pedestrian should be responsible for their actions, regardless of whether he or she was aware of the approaching vehicle. The case reached the Monroe County Court of Appeals that August, and the decision published in the August 18, 1909 edition of the Democrat & Chronicle:

“Upholds Rights of Pedestrians

“Judge Stephens Decides for Injured Woman.

“Motorists Must Use Care

“Judgment Against Chauffeur and Occupants of His Car Sustained on Appeal to Court of Record and Rights of Public Are Defined

“County Judge Stephens has laid down the law on the subject of the respective duties of pedestrian and drivers of vehicles, when the former are crossing in front of the latter after alighting from street cars. The case is that of Elizabeth Lawless against Samuel H. Mora and William Kellerhouse and it comes to the upper court on appeal from a judgment of $175 damages and $16.65 costs awarded the plaintiff in Municipal Court on February 13th, for personal injuries.

“The judgment is sustained by Judge Stephens. The accident out of which the suit grew occurred in Main street. Philetus Chamberlain appeared for the plaintiff in the action and W.W. Armstrong for the defendants-appellant. Kellerhouse was chauffeur of the machine which struck the plaintiff.

“Judge Stephens, in his decision, points out particulars in which the case differs from the noted one of Dr. A.A.W. Brewster against Hiram L. Barker, Jr., and makes the following observations:

“‘The duty or obligation that rests upon a pedestrian in passing over a street from a car in relation to those using vehicles upon the street is not variable, changing with each foot of ground traversed; what that duty is four feet from a safety point, so it remains at ten feet and even throughout the entire passage; It ceases only when the perils incident to the use of a street by others having an equal right to use it have been safely avoided.’

‘“That the plaintiff did all that was required of her while going over the intervening space, whatever it might have been, was settled by the Brewster case and, with respectful deference to that authority, it must be held here that the plaintiff was not chargeable with contributory negligence.’

‘“The finding of the trial court that the operator of the motor vehicle was negligent cannot properly be disturbed for, even if he had the right to assume that the plaintiff would be watchful for her own safety, but after he became conscious that she was heedless of his approach, the management of his vehicle was not careful.’

‘“The other questions in the case have been examined but they present no occasion for differing with the conclusions reached below. The Judgment is affirmed with costs.’”

The September 10, 1909 edition of the Atlanta Georgian announced that Mora’s longtime sales manager, Jesse Sargeant Draper (b. Oct. 6, 1872 – d. Mar. 5, 1944), was in town to arrange for space for the firm at the Atlanta Automobile Show, and to interview prospective dealers:

“Mora Motor Car Co. Will Open a Georgia Agency

“The steady movement of American automobile manufacturers to Atlanta was exemplified again Friday when J.S. Draper, manager of sales of the Mora Motor Car Company, of Newark, N.Y. came to Atlanta to open an agency for the state of Georgia.

“Mr. Draper has not yet closed for a representative for the state, but is negotiating now and expects to secure a man with ample financial backing to handle the car.

“The Mora car has been represented pretty well through the South for several years, except in Georgia. It now expects to get into this territory and do business with a rush.

“This car will enter in the New York-to-Atlanta endurance run, and will also be at the local show. Mr. Draper applied for 1,000 square feet of space. How much he got he has not been informed, but he was assigned to Taft Hall. Seven Mora cars will be exhibited.

“This year the company is making two chassis. The small car will sell at $1,000 and the big car at $2,500.”

In September of 1909, the failure of the entire production of piston rings caused Mora to curtail deliveries of cars. It was Mora's policy not to ship any vehicle unless they were perfect. Even though this was a noble practice, it did signal the 'beginning of the end' for the company.

A *native advertisement in the October 7, 1909 edition of the Washington Post detailed the history of that city’s Mora distributor:

“The Mora Agency

“John J. Fister, proprietor of Fister’s Garage and Washington agent for the Mora Light Four automobile, can be said to have grown up with the motorcar industry of this city. While he has had but little to do with the sale end of the business, he enjoys the reputation of being one of the most competent automobile mechanics in the country. In the equipment of his garage he gave particular attention to the repairing department. From his vast fund of knowledge acquired from his close intimacy with all grades of machines from the old one-cylinder cars of 1895 to present-day luxurious touring cars, he is prepared to tackle the job of repairing anything in the automobile line. The Mora agency was placed with him in the latter part of 1908. The Light Four is built throughout with that careful attention to detail which is so essential in the construction of any piece of machinery which will have to stand many knocks and jolts and which so many times is placed in the care of incompetent hands. This car is as near fool proof as it is possible to make it. The engine develops 25 horsepower in the brake test. It is equipped with five lamps, a horn, and a trunk. It is a car with graceful lines and has attracted a great deal of attention since its introduction to the Washington public.”

(*a paid ad that matches the look and feel of a news article)

The October 9, 1909 edition of the Newark Union Gazette reveals Mora was still having trouble finding lodging for their recently-hired employees:

“Wanted – Furnished rooms and board at reasonable rates. Address Superintendent Mora Motor Car Co.”

A small item in the October 17, 1909 edition of the Newark Courier verifies that Mora had dealerships outside the continental United States:

“J.L. Stone and wife, of Habana, Cuba, foreign representative of the Mora Motor Car Company are spending a few days in Newark.”

The lawsuit against the organizers of the Vanderbilt Cup Race, which was still awaiting resolution, was mentioned in the November 6, 1909 edition of the Newark Union Gazette:

“The Mora Motor Car Company, of Newark against J. DeMont Thompson and others is an action to recover, $500, which was one-half of the fee paid by the plaintiff as entrance fee in the Vanderbilt cup race in 1908. The plaintiff did not enter the race, because, as, it is claimed, the race was changed from a national to an international one.”

Another native advertisement was included in the November 7, 1909 edition of the Washington, D.C. Sunday Star:

“Paying Business Built Up

“John J. Fister’s Storage and Repair Garage

“Has Washington Agency for the Mora Car Company of Newark, N.J.

“When the Wright brothers saw that the bicycle business was on the wane they gave it up and began to build airships. Ten years ago John J. Fister got tired of bicycles and took up automobiles. He has made a success of the business, and now runs a general storage and repair garage at 1215 U Street Northwest, and also has the Washington agency for the Mora car, manufactured by the Mora Company of Newark, N.Y. As a matter of actual history, Fister is one of the pioneer automobile men of Washington. He was engaged in the bicycle business in 1898 but about that time automobiles began to come into Washington, and Mr. Fister realized at once the future of the industry. He studied automobiles and opened a repair shop and garage. While he has done comparatively little with the sales end of the business, he has come to be recognized as one of the most expert and reliable automobile mechanics in the country.

“Customers Like Him.

“When he started out Mr. Fister gave close attention to the repairing department, and quickly attracted customers, who have stuck by him continually. He has retained their patronage by two qualifications, uniformity in charges and efficiency in workmanship. The fact that Mr. Fister took up repair work so long ago makes him thoroughly familiar with the mechanism of all types of cars, from the old ’99 one-cylinder models to the highest grade and most luxurious of modern touring cars. Mr. Fister became the agent for the Mora car last year. The Mora light four is built with the greatest care throughout. All the attention to detail that makes for mechanism has been carefully given. The most competent workmen obtainable are engaged at the Mora factory, and the cars turned out, it is claimed, are as near "foolproof" as possible. The engine develops twenty-five horsepower in the brake test. The Mora is equipped with five lamps, a horn and a trunk, and is a car with graceful lines. It has had the attention of the Washington public ever since its introduction here. The Mora light four 1910 is listed at $2,500.”

Even the New York Times published native ads, as evidenced by the ‘Gossip of the Automobilists and Trade Notes’ column of the November 28, 1909 edition:

“One of the snappiest-looking four-cylinder runabouts at a popular price yet turned out by an American manufacturer will arrive this week in New York. It is the product of the new Mora Motor Car Works of Newark, N.Y. and of the $2,500 model which the same concern heads its line with for 1910. The Mora 20 has been christened the American Renault by those who have seen it, and seemingly they are not mistaken, for to all outward appearance it carries many of the earmarks of the famous Frenchman. ‘Mechanically Right Construction’, the slogan of the Mora factory, has been carried out in the same degree of nicely in the ‘20’ as it has in other models, so it will bear any test in that direction.”

Native advertisements could also be presented as editorials, as in the December 26, 1909 edition of the Chicago Inter Ocean:

“Road Versus Track for Auto Tests

“S.H. Mora, Builder of Car Bearing His Name, Discusses Comparative Merits of These Events - Better Roads in the South Needed. By S.H. Mora.

“There has been considerable discussion held in automobile circles as to the comparative merits of track and road racing. There seems to be a diversified opinion as to which form of racing really brings out the true merits of a car.

“It is my opinion that road racing and road contests, of all sorts - provided the events are properly conducted, such as sealed bonnet contests and endurance contests, are to a large extent the cause of the present high standard of automobiles. Each contest which has been held has unquestionably shown the manufacturer the weak and good points in his car, with the result that he has taken additional pains in perfecting the concern's product.

“The tours and races committee of the American Motor Car Manufacturers association has given the different forms of racing much attention, and I understand the members are of opinion that road contests mean more to the industry at large than do the track events.

“While track racing brings out to a certain extent the speed and staying qualities of the cars, it is my opinion that the various forms of road endurance contests have proven to the automobile purchasing public that the American built car will accomplish everything reasonable required of it.

“The sealed bonnet contest, held some time ago under the auspices of the Automobile Club of America, accomplished worlds of good for the automobile industry. The fact that out of fifty entries more than forty cars were able to withstand the grueling contest is sufficient evidence that the motor car has reached as near as possible the stage of perfection.

“Track racing of course in many instances, such as twenty-four hour contests, accomplish a great deal for the industry. The shorter track events I do not think bring out the real merits of an automobile except in the matter of power and speed.

“The average automobile purchaser does not care for a great amount of speed. It is endurance and the lowest amount of upkeep that interests the purchaser most. For this reason I would say the road contests help the industry more than the track events. It is seldom that a buyer asks to be taken to a track and shown what the car can do at high speed. He wants to see a machine climb hills and travel over the average country highways.

“A man seldom buys a car for racing purposes alone, but with the view of touring. Consequently road endurance contests are watched more closely by intending purchasers than track racing. True it is that thousands flock to a rack track to witness the contests, but it is more for the love of the sport and not simply to see what the car can do in the matter of speed.

“Such read contests as the ones the Constitution has originated mean a great deal to the industry as a whole because they create much enthusiasm through the territories where the cars pass, and these contests accomplish a great deal in the matter of good roads.

“From now on there probably will be a widespread demand for good roads through the South, and when the Southern roads are put in better shape for touring it will mean an increased amount of sales in the territory south of Washington.

“It is my hope to see many road contests this coming year. While they are more strenuous and severe than ordinary touring they can be likened to tests which are given elevators. If an elevator is built to carry 3,000 pounds of weight, it is tested to carry 7,000 pounds. It is the same with an automobile. An automobile owner may not wish it to travel more than twenty miles aa hour, but a track race calls for fifty miles an hour or more, and a road endurance contest asks that the car shall endure harder touring than would commonly be required of it.

“Thus it ran be seen readily enough that contests are an excellent barometer, and upon the results of these the selling power of a car is often established.”

The January 2, 1910 edition of the New York Times commented on Mora’s display at the New York Auto Show which took place at the Grand Central Palace from Dec. 31, 1909 through January 7, 1910:


“Two types of chassis are exhibited by the Mora Motor Car Company of Newark, N.Y.

“One well known to New Yorkers is that of the regular four-cylinder car, successor to the type which established the Mora’s reputation as the sealed-bonnet wonder. The other is a new creation, being placed on the market this season to meet the well-defined demand for a four-cylinder runabout of ample power and graceful lines at a moderate price. The Mora ‘20,’ as it is called, is of the four-cylinder type of 20 horse power, built with the same care and precision which characterizes the higher-priced Mora cars. Outwardly, the Mora ‘20’ fills the eye as a big little car, and it should have no difficulty in taking its rightful place in the small car class. It sells for $1,050, a price within the reach of every one who has any ambition whatever to own an automobile. A feature of this model which strikes the visitor is its close resemblance to the French Renault.”

The February 4, 1910 edition of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle included news that a trial date had been set in the $500 lawsuit Mora filed against the organizers of the Vanderbilt Cup race back in early 1909:

“Mora Company Sues for $500

“Would Recover Half Entrance Fee.

“Recalls Vanderbilt Race

“William K. Vanderbilt May Be Witness at Trial in Wayne Supreme Court.

“Lyons, Feb. 3 - The Calendar for the February term of Supreme Court to be held at the court house I this village before Justice S. Nelson Sawyer the week of February 7th, contains thirty cases, twenty-eight on the general calendar and two on the equity calendar.

“The action brought by the Mora Motor Car Company of Newark against DeMont Thompson, Frank G. Webb and others will attract some attention if it comes to trial, as William K. Vanderbilt, of New York City, is to be a witness. The action is to recover $500, which is one-half of the entrance fee the plaintiff had paid to enter the Vanderbilt Cup race on Long Island a little over a year ago. It seems that the entrance fee was $1,000, half of which had to be put up before the entries closed, and this was done by the Mora Motor Car Company, but before the race was run off the rules governing the race, it is alleged, were changed so that the plaintiff did not enter the race, and the company now brings this action to recover the $500 that it put up in good faith. Attorney William Armstrong will represent the plaintiff and Edson W. Hann, the plaintiff.”

Try as I might, I could find no further information on the suit. Considering how wealthy Vanderbilt was, he may have simply paid off the $500 claimed by Mora to avoid having to travel upstate.

The April 9, 1910 edition of the Newark Union Gazette reported on the results of the 1910 Mora board meeting:

“Mora Directors Are All Re-elected – Annual Meeting of Stockholders Held – Company Reported to be in Fine Condition

“The regular annual business meeting of the stock holders of the Mora Motor Car Company was held Tuesday evening. The old board of directors was re-elected as follows: S.H. Mora, W.N. Freeman, Abram Garlock, Frank Garlock, T.W. Martin. A very interesting financial report was made showing the company to be in fine condition. The profits were about $30,000 last year. The directors decided it best to put that money into the business, however, rather than into dividends, and it was done. Mr. Mora says the profits for the coming year will be greatly in excess of last year's. This is an industry in which Newark has every reason to be proud, as the Mora car is one of the best made in the United States.”

Factory-direct Second-hand Moras were advertised in the classified section of the May 28, 1910 edition of the Newark Union Gazette:

“FOR SALE — We offer some exceptional bargains in second-hand Mora Motor cars, Roadsters and Tourers, from $500 up. These cars taken in trade for 1910 models are all in good running condition. Mora Company, Newark, New York.”

The Local Items column of the July 9, 1910 edition of the Newark Union Gazette:

“A party from Cleveland, Ohio, was in town over Sunday with a Mora car which had a horn which attracted considerable attention. It could "imitate a pipe organ, and the driver played' several religious hymns as the car glided up and down our streets. We understand, that Sales Agent Draper of the Mora sold the gentleman, who came with the Cleveland car, a new Mora which was taken back Monday.”

By 1910 Mora advertised that their car would compare with any other automobile built costing even $4000, and they were prepared to prove it.

Wiliam W. Burke, manager of Mora’s Manhattan factory store, entered a Mora in the May 10-11 two-day Reliability Contest from New York to Atlantic City, NJ (aka New Jersey Reliability Run) which covered a route from New York to Atlantic City and back and was promoted by the Motor Contest Association of New York, the March 30, 1910 edition of the New York Times announced the upcoming event:

“Reliability Auto Run in New Jersey; First Tour Under New Rules from New York to Atlantic City and Return.

“A two-day automobile reliability contest from New York to Atlantic City and return on May 10 and 11, which was announced last night by the Motor Contest Association, 1777 Broadway, will be the first touring competition to be conducted under the 1910 rules, recently promulgated by the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association. This tour will take the place of the three-day-around-New Jersey tour, which aroused a great deal of interest through the State last Summer, and will be followed one month later by a three-day reliability run known as around-Long-Island tour.

“The two-day Jersey contest will have its night stop in Atlantic City on the same night that a big delegation of Harrisburg motorists are due to arrive there as contestants in the Harrisburg club’s Spring tout. On the run to Atlantic City the trip will be made by way of Lakewood, stopping there for the noon control and luncheon. On the return trip the tourists will pass over another route, stopping at Trenton for the noon control and covering substantially the same route that was adopted for the jubilee event last summer.”

The May 14, 1910 issue of Automobile Topics covered the event as follows:

“Around New Jersey Reliability Run

“Of the thirty contesting cars entered in two days, ‘Around New Jersey Reliability Run’ from New York to Atlantic City and return on May 10 and 11, twenty-nine completed the 320 miles. The affair was held under the auspices of the Motor Contest Association and was termed the Two Days’ Reliability Contest Around New Jersey.

“The start was made Tuesday morning from Columbus Circle. The cars were officially checked out at Jersey City and the trip to the New Jersey seashore resort, 160 miles distant, started. The weather was ideal and excellent time was made by the cars, although considerable stops were made through tire troubles. The record of the run was marred slightly when the Koehler ’40’, one of the contesting cars, and a Ford, bound for Newark, collided at Elizabeth. The route lay through Newark, Elizabeth, Perth Amboy, Asbury Park, Lakewood, Port Republic and Pleasantville. All the cars arrived at the night control on schedule time.

“The return trip was not as pleasant as the outgoing one for it rained steadily from the time the cars left Atlantic City at 8 o’clock until Trenton was reached. The only mishaps of the day's run were the smashing of the Cole ‘30’ car's front axle and wheel near New Brunswick, and a fire in the Overland car at the Trenton control. There were very few penalizations but at this writing, Thursday, the results of the technical committee's examination is not known.

“The contesting cars and drivers were: Pierce-Racine, Lewis Strang; Stoddard-Dayton, R. Newton; Cole, F. Warmington; Auburn, Herbert F. Earl; National, W.C. Poertner; Franklin, Paul Harvey; Zust, Joseph Kingsland; Chalmers, Joseph Bell; Mercer, H.S. Clark; Midland, Leo Anderson; Mora, Charles Hinman; Regal, W.H. Bowers; Franklin, Charles F. Fox; Buick, W.C. Davenport; Buick, Phil Hines; Mitchell. O.K. De Lamater; Welch-Detroit, Robert W. Flagg; Maxwell, L.M. Bradley; Haynes, W. Shuttleworth; Overland, George L. Reiss; Koehler, J.L. Bryer; Matheson, Neil Whalen; Zust, V.P. Pisani; Hupmobile, R.G. Gillan; Hupmobile, Elmer D. Cutting; Maxwell, Charles O.P. Bernhard; Marion, William F. Bradley; Cadillac, L.P. Burne; Cadillac, N.L. Lichtenberg; Mercer, Joe Trehou.”

The May 21, 1910 issue of Automobile Topics published the results, with the Mora - piloted by Charles Hinman - achieving a perfect score:

“Nineteen Out of Thirty Had Perfect Scores

“The result of the examination of the reports of the observers on the two days reliability run around New Jersey, which was held on Tuesday and Wednesday May 10 and 11, under the auspices of the Motor Contest Association, was announced on May 17, and showed that of the thirty actual competitors, nineteen finished the run from New York to Atlantic City, and returned with perfect scores. As provisions were only made for one prize, a solid gold medal in each class, the drivers who made perfect scores are to be called together and asked to draw to see which drivers will receive the prizes. After this has been settled the association will present each perfect score competitor with a medal, which will not be a solid gold one. The second and third prizes in each class are silver and bronze medals.

“In class 1A, for cars selling for $800 and under, the Hupmobile driven by R.E. Gillam made a perfect score. The Hupmobile driven by Elmer D. Cutting was penalized 9 points for oil and water replenishments. In class 3A, for cars selling from $1,201 to $1,600, the Regal driven by W.H. Bowers and the Overland driven by George L. Reiss both made perfect scores. The Maxwell driven by W. Mulstay was penalized 1 point for a stalled motor, the Buick driven by W.C. Davenport was penalized 191 points for a broken spring and water replenishment, and the Cole, driven by F. Warmington, was penalized 1,000 points as it was put out of the contest by accident. In class 4A, for cars selling from $1,601 to $2,000, the following cars all made perfect scores: Pierce-Racine, Lewis Strang; Franklin, Paul Harvey; Chalmers, Joseph Bell; Cadillac, L.R. Burne; Auburn, Herbert F. Earl; Marion, W.F. Bradley; Cadillac, N.L. Lichtenberg; and Midland, Leo Anderson. The Maxwell driven by Charles Schaeffer was penalized 3 points for gasolene replenishment, the Buick driven by Phil Hines was penalized 1 point for closing petcock of dripping carburetter, and the Koehler driven by J.L. Breyer was penalized 1,000 points as it was put out of the contest by accident. In class 5A, for cars selling from $2,001 to $3,000, the following cars all made perfect scores: National, W.C. Poertner; Mitchell, O.R. De Lamater; Mora, Charles Hinman; Stoddard-Dayton, R. Newton; and Mercer, Joe Trehou. The Glide, W.H. Foltz, was disqualified at the start of the event.

“In class 6A, for cars selling from $3,001 to $4,000, the Matheson, driven by Neil Whalen, and the Franklin, driven by Charles F. Fox, both made perfect scores. The Welch-Detroit, driven by Robert M. Flagg, was penalized 2 points for a sticking valve, the Croxton-Keeton, driven by W.C. Spenny, was penalized 21 points for dirt in the carburetter, and the Haynes, driven by W. Shuttleworth, was penalized 1,051 points for a broken clutch finger and withdrawing from the contest.

“In class 7A, for cars selling for $4,001 and over, the Zust, driven by V.P. Pisani, made a perfect road and technical examination score and the Zust, driven by Joseph Kingsland, was penalized 41 points for carburetter adjustments.”

The results of the run were announced in the June 1, 1910 issue of Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal:

“Reliability Run Around New Jersey

“The Motor Contest Association on May 10, 1910, conducted a very successful 2-day Around New Jersey Reliability Run from New York to Atlantic City and return. There were thirty-one entries and of these nineteen finished with perfect scores. The weather was excellent and only two slight accidents occurred. The winners in each of the classes were awarded gold medals; the seconds, silver, and thirds, bronze. The results of the run were as follows:

Class 1A $800 and Under

Hupmobile (d. Gillam) perfect; Hupmobile (d. Cuttings) 9 (oil & water replenished)

Class 3A, $1,201 to $1,600

Regal (d. Bowers) perfect; Overland (d. Reiss) perfect; Maxwell (d. Mulstay) 1 (stalled motor); Buick (d. Davenport) 191 (broken spring, water replenishment); Cole ‘30’ (d. Warmington) 1,000 (out – accident)

Class 4A $1,601 to $2,000

Pierce-Racine (d. Strang) perfect; Auburn (d. Earl) perfect; Franklin (d. Harvey) perfect; Chalmers (d. Bell) perfect; Koehler (d. Bryer) 1,000 (out – accident); Marion (d. Bradley) perfect; Cadillac (d. Lichtenberg) perfect; Cadillac (d. Burne) perfect; Midland (d. Anderson) perfect; Maxwell (d. Schaeffer) 3 (gasoline replenished); Brush (d. Hines) 1 (closing pet cock on dripping carb).

Class 5A $2,001 to $3,000

Stoddard-Dayton (d. Newton) perfect; National (d. Poertner) perfect; Mitchell (Delamater) perfect; Mora (d. Hinman) perfect; Glide (d. Foltz) - disqualified at start; Mercer (d. Trepon) perfect.

Class 6A $3,001 to $4,000

Franklin (d. Fox) perfect; Welch-Detroit (d. Flagg) 2 (sticking valve); Croxton-Keaton (d. Spenny) 21 (dirt in carb); Matheson (d. Whalen) perfect; Haynes (d. Shuttleworth) 1,051 (broken clutch).

Class 7A $4,001 to $5,000 and over

Zust (d. Kingsland) 41 (carburetor adj.); Zust (d. Pisani) perfect.”

The April 23, 1910 issue of Automobile Topics announced an upcoming New York to Atlantic City and back reliability contest:

“May 10-11 Two day Reliability Contest from New York to Atlantic City NJ and return under the auspices of the Motor Contest Committee.”

Advertising for the 1910 Mora continued to exploit the firm’s success in the sealed-bonnet tours stating that “… at a World’s Record Sealed Bonnet Tour” the “World’s Record Sealed Bonnet Hero” had covered a combined total of 9,000 miles without opening the hood for repairs or maintenance.

The Mora was not the only to car to exploit sealed-bonnet runs, and even if the scheme had resulted in increased sales, it was too late as a group of anxious creditors brought an end to production in July of 1910. The July 16, 1910 edition of the Newark Union Gazette confirmed the rumors that had been circulating in and around Newark in regards to the future of Mora:

“In Receivership

“Papers Being Prepared in the Matter of the Mora Company of Newark. Geo. W. Todd of Rochester and Frank Garlock of Newark Named as the Receivers.

“Many rumors have been upon the struts of the village for several weeks regarding the financial conditions of the Mora Company of Newark. As many of these reports have been wild and premature, The Union-Gazette asked Mr. Frank Garlock of the First National Bank for a statement yesterday and received the following:

"Papers are being prepared in the matter of the receivership of the Mora Company of this village. The larger merchandise creditors have had several meetings during the past week or ten days and have been trying to figure out an extension of time in the payment of accounts and while practically all of the larger ones did favor an extension, so many of the smaller ones did not that it was deemed necessary, for the protection of all concerned, to put the company in the hands of a receiver.

“The receivers named are George W. Todd of Rochester and Frank Garlock of Newark. It is the intention of the creditors to have the business continued under the receivership and it is hoped that a reorganization of some kind may be perfected in the near future that will put matters in good shape for a continuance of the business. Owing to the large number of unsold cars, the liabilities are large, but the assets exceed the liabilities by nearly $200,000.”

Mora’s troubles can be traced back to September of 1909, when a large shipment of piston rings caused significant delays in delivering new automobiles to Mora’s small network of dealers. Orders for new vehicles fell exponentially, as did payments to suppliers. One of those suppliers, the Rome-Turney Radiator Co., of Rome, NY, (whose history can be found elsewhere on this site) demanded immediate payment. The Newark Historical Society has a letter responding to the Rome firm’s demand asking for their patience and understanding, but it was all to no avail. With no orders, a backlog of inventory (36 completed cars is mentioned in the receivership records) and no cash with which to pay its creditors or employees, Mora was finished, as was the related Omar Motor Co., which was a wholly-owned subsidiary.

A statement issued by Samuel H. Mora in regards to the receivership was published in the July 23, 1910 editions of the Newark Union Gazette and Newark Courier. The complete document, as published in that day’s Union Gazette, follows:

“The Mora Failure – Statement Issued by S.H. Mora Showing Conditions

“Last week we announced that the Mora Company of this village was preparing the papers preparatory to going into the hands of receivers. There was an error made in the receivers named in our account. The name of Horace McGuire of the law firm of McGuire & Wood of Rochester has been substituted for that of Frank Garlock of this village. In the statement issued by S.H. Mora, president of the company, he explained the conditions which arose that resulted in the company's failure. Mr. Mora's statement, written to the creditors, is as follows:

“First - The contracts which we had signed last Fall fully justified us in believing the demand for our product this year would readily be more than twice that of last year, in consequence, preparations to double the output were made. The business the first four months of this year was somewhat more than 40 percent, higher than that of last year. After April 1st, however, the volume, while equal to that of last year, dropped away below our expectations. As a result, we found ourselves with a large stock of merchandise and a proportionately large indebtedness.

"Desiring so far as possible to conserve the interest of creditors and avoid unnecessary publicity which might work contrary to the interest of both the creditors and the company, about the middle of May the writer called on the six largest creditors and requested an extension until October, and approval on their part of our settling with smaller creditors as fast as possible, while holding the accounts of the larger creditors in abeyance, the writer agreeing that he would undertake to see that none of the larger creditors secured a preference. Five of them, viz., Bosch Magneto Company of New York, Diamond Rubber Company of Akron, O., The Jas. N. Leitch Co., of Amesbury, Mass., The New Process Raw Hide Co. of Syracuse, Weston-Mott Co. of Flint, Mich., readily agreed to this course being pursued. The sixth one, Messrs. Clum & Atkinson, of Rochester, did not make an agreement. The writer, nevertheless, felt assured they would exercise patience along the lines agreed to by the other five largest creditors.

"Second - About June 20th, Messrs. Clum & Atkinson became impatient and commenced suit against the company upon its account. Thereupon, the writer notified the merchandise creditors whose accounts approximated $5,000 or more, and invited them to a conference to determine upon the best course to be pursued, that all creditors might be treated alike. This conference was held on June 30th. About two-thirds in amount of the merchandise creditors were represented. The opinion was very strongly expressed by all but one creditor, who had brought the suit, that it was in the interest of the creditors that some plan for the continuance of the business under its officers be arranged, as under such circumstances, creditors could expect to receive their accounts in full, whereas a bankruptcy proceeding would cause material depreciation. In consequence, a committee of merchandise creditors was appointed, with power to investigate the affairs of the company, conserve the interest of all creditors, decide on the course, to be pursued, and with the concurrence of the longer creditors, make such arrangements as in their judgment were proper for the smaller ones. This committee was composed of T.W. Meachem, chairman, (New Process Raw Hide Company), H.G. Myers, secretary, (Myers Advertising Agency, Rochester, N.Y.), F.I. Reynolds, (Diamond Rubber Co.), G. Jahn, (Bosch Magneto Co.), 0.S. Mott, (Weston-Mott Co.), and A.H. Case, (W.P. Davis Machine Co., Rochester, N.Y.)

"The committee have investigated the affairs of the company, with the assistance of a firm of public accountants, and found that we have an adequate and satisfactory plant, on which there are no liens, an excellent car, a good organization and a large stock of merchandise, which, for reasons before stated, we had been unable to market. They held several meetings, at most of which the dissenting creditor, Messrs. Glum & Atkinson, was present. After finding that the present backers were unable at this time to raise a sufficient amount of cash promptly to enable them to make a compromise settlement and avoid legal proceedings, they Thursday decided that a receivership would be necessary in order to conserve the interest of everyone concerned and to recommend to the Court the appointment of Mr. Geo. W. Todd, of Rochester, N.Y., and Mr. Frank Garlock, of Newark, N.Y., as receivers.

"Third - In, pursuance of the plan outlined, an application to the Court for a receivership will he applied for promptly. It is to be regretted that the legal handling of the matter, with its consequent costs and publicity, could not be avoided, but in view of the insistence of Messrs. Clum & Atkinson and the fact that they were in position at this time to take judgment at their option, the committee doubtless felt it had no other course open to it than the one decided upon, and obviously have decided upon a course calculated, so far as possible, under the circumstances, to protect the interest of all.

“The receivers George W. Todd and Horace McGuire were in Newark Monday perfecting plans to take charge of the plant. It is expected that they will conduct the plant in such a way as to realize from the stock as much capital as possible. The stock consists of a large quantity of unmanufactured materials together with a large number of unsold automobiles. The creditors secured Plumb & Plumb of Rochester to look out for their interest and William W. Armstrong is the attorney for the Mora Company. In all probability the financial embarrassment in which the firm finds itself will pass off in due course and under the reorganization it is expected that the company will have smooth sailing.

“The Mora car is conceded by all in a position to know to be a superior car in every respect. The fact that a large number of 1910 cars have not been sold was not because the car is inferior. It is the best car that the company ever turned out. There was no limit to the tests demanded upon the car before it received the OK of the company’s mechanics. The long rainy spell which occurred early in the season, it is said, had not a little to do with the slow sales which resulted in lack of funds and therefore the pressure by the creditors. Although the loss is heavy among the larger creditors, there are many in Newark and this immediate vicinity who have also lost considerable and in a number of cases it has fallen upon those who could ill afford to stand the loss.”

Five days later the receivers announced production would be continued for as long as possible, the July 28, 1910 edition of the Newark Courier reporting:

“Receivers Announcement – Will Continue Business and Expect Reorganization at an Early Date

“The following statement has been recently given out by the receivers of the Mora Company. There has been no real change in the operation of the plant since the receivers took possession. Fifty men are still employed, and the sale of cars continues:

"The undersigned have recently been appointed receivers of the Mora company and are now in possession of its business and manufacturing plant. We have been led to believe that a re-organization of the company by its creditors, and others, will be brought about in the near future. In the meantime, we shall endeavor to keep the plant in operation. We hope to have uncompleted cars completed and to be able to supply the demand for cars as fast as orders are received. We shall endeavor to preserve the high reputation of the 'Mora' which has been earned through advertising and performance. We hope our receivership is but temporary and that soon a new company or re-organization of the present company will be in possession of its assets.

“George W. Todd, Horace McGuire, receivers.”

The bankruptcy had an immediate effect on several Newark businesses, in particular the First National Bank, whose *cashier (executive manager) was forced to resign in order to distance the institution from the bankrupt firm, the August 26, 1910 Newark Union Gazette reporting:

“Cashier Resigned - Frank Garlock Severed His Connections With First National Bank - Stephen L. Comstock Elected to Take His Place - Statement by Bank Officials.

“At a meeting of the directors of the First National Bank of this village on Friday, August 19th, Frank Garlock, who had been cashier and one of the directors of the bank for a number of years, severed all his connections with it. Stephen E. Comstock, of S.E. Comstock & Co., who has been a stockholder of the bank for some time, was elected cashier. Some time ago Mr. Garlock became interested in the Mora Company, manufacturers of automobiles, and at the time it went into the hands of a receiver was one of its directors. The Mora Company did its local banking business with the First National Bank and it may suffer some loss on account of the financial difficulties of the Mora Company. The bank is protected, however, and its loss is nothing which should create any alarm or which will seriously embarrass that long-established institution. Just how much the bank will lose cannot be accurately ascertained until the Mora difficulties have been adjusted and the assets of that company realized upon. Under the United States banking laws the bank was not at liberty to loan to any one individual over 10% of its capital and surplus or about $22,000. As a director of the Mora Company, Mr. Garlock was vitally interested in its welfare and endorsed a good deal of its paper. This was a private matter, however, and had nothing to do with the bank as an Institution. Mr. Abram Garlock, who is also a director of the Mora Company, also endorsed some of its paper and in both of these cases their obligations were not secured and they will therefore be heavy losers. It was because of this condition in which Mr. Frank Garlock found himself that he, for the sake of the bank and the village in which it does business, asked the directors of the First National Bank to accept his resignation, which was done as stated. D.P. Smith, president, and Byron Thomas, vice-president of the bank, as private individuals, also endorsed some of the Mora paper, but in each of their cases, we are informed, they required ample security and it is understood that their loss will not be anything serious.

“Frank Garlock has lived in Newark all of his life and has always been regarded as one of our most progressive and esteemed citizens. Years ago he entered the hardware business in the place formerly conducted by the late Mr. John Cronise and now by the Mattison Hardware Company. In this business Mr. Garlock was eminently successful. After the death of the late Fletcher Williams, who for many years was the head of the First National Bank, Mr. Garlock bought an interest in that institution and in due course became its cashier. His many friends in Newark regret that he .is such a heavy loser as the result of the Mora failure and sincerely hope that after the matter is finally adjusted it will be found that he is not so seriously crippled as rumor states he now is.

“Mr. Comstock, who takes his position as cashier, is one of our best known and successful business men. He was educated In the Newark High School after which he accepted a clerical position with Blackmar & Allerton, produce dealers. After that he accepted a position in the Peirson & Perkins Bank, which has since developed into the Newark State Bank, and he later he came associated with the C.H. Perkins Company, commission merchants. He acquired the business of that firm a number of years ago and has since operated under the style of S.E. Comstock & Co., selling the output of several canneries in this state. His business has grown very rapidly and the sales amount to three quarters of million dollars annually.

“For the benefit of our readers we would say that the First National Bank is perfectly sound and stands ready willing and perfectly able to meet any demands made upon it, and that the losses of Mr. Garlock are personal and have nothing to do with the bank as an institution. The bank has a capital of $150,000, a surplus of $75,000 and above all this an, additional stockholders liability which exceeds $150,000. It is one of the United States depositories for this section and as it was organized in 1863, with its charter No. 349 it is one of the oldest institutions of Its kind in this section. The officers of the bank are now D. P. Smith, president; Byron Thomas, vice-president; and Frank Comstock, cashier; F. Fletcher Garlock, assistant cashier. Mr. Emor H. Ridley is teller and Mr. Wm. T. Peirson, bookkeeper.”

(*The Cashier of a bank is an executive officer, by whom its debts are received and paid, and its securities taken and transferred, and that his acts, to be binding upon a bank, must be done within the ordinary course of his duties. His ordinary duties are to keep all the funds of the bank, its notes, bills, and other choses in action, to be used from time to time for the ordinary and extraordinary exigencies of the bank. He usually receives directly, or through the subordinate officers of the bank, all moneys and notes of the bank, delivers up all discounted notes and other securities when they have been paid, draws checks to withdraw the funds of the bank where they have been deposited, and, as the executive officer of the bank, transacts most of its business.)

Despite announcements that Mora production would continue, the receivers realized it was a lost cause and got permission from the bankruptcy court to liquidate its assets, the November 5, 1910 edition of the Newark Union Gazette reporting on the sale of the plant:

“Mora Plant Sold for $65,000 - Sale of Thirty-four Cars to Samuel Gorson Confirmed—Settlement of Suit Brought by Frank Garlock et al - New Business to be Started Soon.

“An adjourned first meeting of the creditors of the bankrupt Mora Company under a special notice sent to the creditors to consider three propositions was held at the office of the company in this village Wednesday. The meeting was a very important one and, as forecasted in a recent issue of this paper, the building, machinery, etc., were sold, the sale of thirty-four cars confirmed and the suit brought by the so-called syndicate settled.

“The three propositions considered were: First, a private offer to purchase thirty-four automobiles in different stages of completion by Samuel Gorson of Philadelphia.

“Second, to consider a proposed settlement of the suit brought by Frank Garlock, Abram Garlock, Byron Thomas, D. Pardy Smith and S.H. Mora, all of Newark, a so-called syndicate organized to finance the Mora Company by advancing certain sums on the purchase price of specific cars, taking title as fast as the cars were manufactured, the syndicate claiming the ownership by virtue of the contract for the purchase of fifty-five completed cars. The settlement was effected upon the basis of the release of thirty-eight of the fifty-five cars to the syndicate and seventeen to the trustee, and the cancellation on the part of the syndicate of approximately $80,000 of indebtedness, the total amount originally claimed being about $121,000.

“Third, a proposition to consider an offer for the purchase of the Mora plant and assets other than the accounts and bills receivable, due bills and the cars obtained from the syndicate settlement for the sum of $60,000. The meeting Wednesday was adjourned Monday from Seneca Falls to Newark to consider all three propositions. At Wednesday's meeting the trustee, J.M. Edsall, and his attorneys, Wright & Mitchell of Buffalo, succeeded in obtaining from the prospective purchasers an increase of $5,000, making the bid $65,000. There was considerable opposition by some creditors who did not have a definite idea as to their real wishes; but after considering the matter fully and discussion pro and con throughout the day, it was the unanimous opinion of all that the trustee had made an excellent sale. In this connection it is of interest to note that Mr. Edsall has made a record in bankruptcy proceedings in that in so short a time after he took charge, via., from October 11th to November 2nd, he made so advantageous a sale of bankrupt property. It is one of the quickest sales on record for the past fifteen years. Judge Charles A. Hawley has given his personal attention and skilled assistance in carrying through the intricate processes necessary to perfect this sale.

“The purchasers of the Mora plant are Charles Crowley, Frank Toomey, Jacob Schmitt, Emil Isevene and Charles Fraley all of Philadelphia. It is the intention of these gentlemen, we are authorized to say, to carry on a motor car business in Newark in the present Mora plant. We understand the gentlemen have unlimited capital, and that if their present plans are perfected, Newark will soon see the plant in operation on a much larger scale than during the most flourishing days of the Mora Company.

“Before adjournment was taken Judge Hawley ratified all three of the propositions and entered an order fully confirming all of the acts of the trustees. Among the large creditors represented was the firm of McGuire & Wood of Rochester, attorneys for $100,000 worth of creditors and also attorneys for the receivers. Mr. Meachem of Syracuse, chairman of the creditors committee, represented over $200,000 worth of creditors. In all of the three proportions, Attorneys Wood & Meachem stood for the affirmative. Attorney C.P. Williams of Lyons represented the Newark syndicate. Mr. Goodwin represented the Lincoln National Bank of Rochester, a $25,000 creditor. Attorney Byron C. Williams of Newark acted as local counsel with Wright & Mitchell, attorneys for the trustee.

“As a result of the trustee's administration of the Mora affairs culminating in Wednesday's proceedings, a vexatious and expensive law suit involving $85,000 has been satisfactorily disposed of; and practically the entire assets of the Mora company have been disposed of in cash. Thus an example has been set for prompt business like administration of bankrupt estates, the settlement of which too often continues through the courts for too long a time.

“The present status of the factory will remain as it is now until the management is installed.

“Late Wednesday the contract was drawn, signed and approved by Judge Hawley and the meeting adjourned until November 23d at Seneca Falls at 11 o'clock at which time a first dividend will be declared. Under the bankrupt law, the final dividend cannot be declared until three months after the first dividend.”

For several months Philadelphia-based Frank Toomey & Co. (Charles Crowley, Frank Toomey, Jacob Schmitt, Emil Isevene and Charles Fraley) assembled whatever cars could be completed from the remaining parts on hand, slashing prices of the remaining vehicles by 25% or more, the November 24, 1910 edition of the Newark Courier noting that a skeleton crew of former employees were busy in the Mora factory:

“Automobiles Being Built

“It will be of interest to the people of Newark, to know that the Mora Motor Car Company commenced work this morning under the new management. A small force of men has been added and as the business increases more will be taken on. Nothing very definite is known at this time just what the plans of the new company are for the coming year, but it is expected that it will not be very long before a full force of men will be at work and the business go on as before. The name of the new company has not yet been decided upon, it’s being now run by a partnership.”

The April 22, 1911 edition of the Newark Union Gazette announced the arrival of the Toomey-built 1912 Mora:

“1912 Model A Beauty

“New Mora Car Meeting With Immediate Favor, Six of Them Ordered

“Frank Toomey & Company, manufacturers of the Mora Automobile, have just placed on the market their new Model ‘M’ 1912 car. In grace of outline and general attractiveness, to say nothing of superior workmanship and efficiency of service, it is unquestionably one of the finest cars built in America for the price. The car is meeting with a remarkably favorable reception, and no wonder. In architectural design it is the most graceful car which we have yet seen. It follows the Torpedo idea and is made most attractive by its straight lines and graceful curves. The back of the car is not cut away, but is rounded out into a very pleasing effect. The side lines are straight, this effect being produced by high doors and by placing the levers inside the box instead of on the outside. One can hardly appreciate what a difference this makes without seeing the car, one of which was taken to Rochester this week and sold inside of an hour to a party who had never seen it before. This now model is known as the fore-door type and is made in four- and six-passenger styles. The body of the car is much longer and the back a little higher than the old car and is made entirely of aluminum with the exceptions of the iron and brass trimmings and the dash. The aluminum is given two coats of primer, then six coats of rough paint which is followed by three coats of color on top of which are placed three coats of rubbing varnish and finally one coat of finishing varnish. The body is thoroughly rubbed down during each of the finishing processes.

“The company has recently established a new agency at Elmira and now has five agencies as follows: Providence, Rochester, Syracuse, Elmira and Philadelphia. The sales store at Philadelphia was leased this week for 2 more years and is located on Race street in that city. The new model ‘M’ sells for $1900 and we are informed that six of them have already been sold.”

The Toomey Co. produced as many Mora cars as they could assemble from parts on hand into September of 1911,at which time they put the plant up for sale, the September 23, 1911 edition of the Newark Union Gazette reporting:

“Mora Plant For Sale

“Frank Toomey & Co. Have Decided to Sell the Entire Mora Plant About October 15th

“Frank Toomey & Company, owners of the Mora Automobile factory, have decided to discontinue business and will offer the entire plant, including stock and machinery, at public auction about the middle of October.

“During this week Frank Toomey, Joseph L. Schmitt, Charles Crowley, Emil Le Vena and Charles Fraley, all of Philadelphia, have been in town holding meetings to decide what should be done with the business. On Thursday evening a meeting of the owners was held at the factory and it was voted to take this action.

“Before this sale if anyone desires to purchase an automobile, the real estate or any of the machinery which belongs to the firm, some member of the firm will be at the office at all times to attend to the same. The factory will continue in operation until the date of the sale.”

The plant remained unsold and Newark’s Board of Trade got busy looking for a prospective tenant for the 4-yo plant. Several firms were interested, but withdrew long before contracts with Toomey could be ironed out. In early 1913 a well-financed prospect with a growing business, expressed an interest in the property. Members of the Board of Trade assisted both buyer and seller in putting together a deal and on April 20, 1913 a deal was struck between Frank Toomey & Co., and two Canastota, NY businessmen, Simon E. Hallagan and Freedus E. Thompson, the proprietors of the Canastota Couch Co. The April 21, 1913 edition of the Democrat & Chronicle reporting the good news:

“Newark To Have A New Industry

“Negotiations Closed with Canastota Couch Co.

“20 Cities Wanted Plant

“Newark Wins on Account of Having New Factory Building For Sale, Making Work of Preparation Mere Trifle - Employs 70 Hands

“Newark, April 20, - Negotiations were closed today by which the Canastota Couch Company is to move its business from Canastota to Newark. The firm has just purchased the Mora automobile plant, which has been vacant for nearly a year. Over twenty cities have been negotiating with the company and the great consideration in favor of Newark was the fact that the Mora building is a new one, and meets most ideally the needs of the industry, and is immediately available.

“The Canastota Couch Company manufactures couches and certain lines of mission furniture. At present it employs seventy hands, ten of whom are women and nearly all of whom are skilled workmen. Simon E. Hallagan, president of the company, will remain in Canastota during the summer to keep the old plant going. F.E. Thompson, the vice-president will immediately come to Newark to take charge of the building of a lumber drying kiln and the installation of new machinery, and as soon as that is finished, with as brief a shutdown as possible, will move to Newark, It is expected that the plant will be in operation here by September 1st.

“The Mora plant which has been purchased is a splendid brick structure worth over $100,000. It was erected a few years ago as the home of the Mora Automobile Company. When that company went out of business, the factory, machinery and business were purchased by Frank Toomey & Co., of Philadelphia, who operated the plant for about a year, when they sold out. The machinery was almost all new and was nearly all sold at auction. Since that time the factory has been standing idle.

“The new industry will bring to Newark many new families.”

The May 8, 1913 edition of the Newark Courier announced that that purchase was concluded:

“Deal is Closed

“The negotiations which have been pending between the Canastota Couch Company, and Frank Toomey & Co., of Philadelphia for the purchase of the Mora factory, were concluded on Tuesday of this week and the deed given to the Canastota Couch Company. Newark residents have, therefore, now assurances that this large Mora plant will soon be again put into operation on surer basis that it has ever occupied in the past.

“The Canastota Company will fit up the plant for their enterprise and will get it ready for their occupancy before dismantling their present plant in Canastota, which is too small for their needs and is not adapted to rebuilding. While the Mora plant is being fitted up, the Canastota plant will be continued in operation, so that there will be no cessation in their business.

“The Canastota plant employs sixty men and ten women. The Newark plant will employ this number; and will increase the force as the business is increased in their enlarged quarters.

“The Canastota company at present is doing an annual business of $135,000 and has been in operation for 12 years. The president of the company is Simon E. Hallagan; the secretary is F.E. Thompson. The company manufactures couches and articles of Mission furniture.

“Mr. Hallagan, the president of the company, will come to Newark to superintend the erection of a dry-kiln and the installation of factory machinery, expecting to have the new plant ready for occupancy on September 1.”

Hallagan and Thompson named their Newark operation, the Hallagan-Thompson Co. and, after Thompson sold his interest to Hallagan in 1923, the Hallagan Mfg. Co. That firm remains in business in the very same plant, under the management of the fourth generation of the Hallagan family.

Following the 1911 bankruptcy of the Mora Motor Car Co. its founder and namesake returned to Ohio after an 18-year absence and established a new firm, The Mora Power Wagon Co. at 5320-5328 St. Clair Avenue NE, Cleveland, to manufacture light trucks, which were growing in popularity at the time.

The firm’s listing in the 1911 Cleveland directory lists S.H. Mora as President-manager; D.K. Moore, vice-pres; and W.N. Freeman as sec-treas.

Mora and Freeman are covered earlier as they were executives of the Mora Motor Car Co., while D. Kirke Moore was new to the Mora family. Moore (b. 1872 - d. Apr. 26, 1958) was an industry veteran specializing in the sale and production of axles, transmissions and wheels. Prior to joining Mora, Moore had founded the American Distributing Co., an early truck parts distributor located in Jackson, Michigan. He was merely an officer at Mora, supplying much-needed capital and assisting in the procurement of parts needed for the Mora Speed Wagon. After his affiliation with Mora ended he served as sales manager of the Weston-Mott Co. then assistant general manager of the Vim Motor Truck Co. In 1917 Moore became general manager of the Standard Parts Co., manufacturers of the Stan-Par Axle and after the War he organized the D.K. Moore Co., a Cleveland-based heavy truck parts distributor. In 1922 Moore joined the Dana Group as supervisor of sales for all of its divisions; Spicer Mfg. Corp., Parish Mfg. Co., Sheldon Axle & Spring Co. and the Salisbury Axle Co.

When he initially returned to Ohio, Mora moved his family into a home at 61 Alvason Rd. in East Cleveland and in 1914 they moved several miles closer to the plant into a house located at 1689 Crawford Rd.

The February 2, 1911 issue of The Motor World announced the formation of the Mora Power Wagon Co. to the industry:

“Mora Forms Truck Company in Cleveland

“S.H. Mora who was president of the now bankrupt Mora Co. of Newark, NY, has gone West and formed the Mora Power Wagon Co. in Cleveland, Ohio. It has been incorporated with $750,000 capital stock under the laws of the State of Ohio. Millard H. Nason, Robert P. Abbey, Thomas S. Dunlap, A.F. Hatch and H.A. Mullen are named as corporators. The company intends to manufacture medium-powered motor trucks and delivery wagons.”

The firm’s first offering, a ¾ ton-capacity delivery wagon primarily designed by William H. Birdsall, was introduced to the motoring press via the July 20, 1911 issue of The Motor World:

“Mora’s New Wagon Well-Cooled

“Its cooling system a Special Feature and the Reasons Therefor – Other Characteristics of the Newcomer

“Up to this time it has been noticeable that the development of the commercial vehicle as a mechanism distinct from the pleasure car has proceeded more rapidly in the direction of large vehicles that it has in the field of light delivery wagon. That condition now is rapidly being remedied however and the smaller commercial built especially for commercial purposes, is constantly becoming better known. One of the more recent additions to the class, and one which obviously employs no details ‘borrowed’ from the light passenger car is the Mora, which has been developed by the Mora Power Wagon Co., of Cleveland, Ohio.

“Embodying the essential useful features of opposed motor in front, left hand drive with center control, heavy framing and low suspension, the machine, which is here illustrated, obviously belongs to the working class of motor vehicles. It is rated at 1,500 pounds carrying capacity, has a 16 horsepower two-cylinder, four-cycle motor which is water cooled, and it is geared for a normal speed of 15 miles an hour when running on high gear. As its name suggests, it has been designed by the originator of the Mora car, which was a not unfamiliar product of an earlier period of the industry.

“The motor is of 4 ½ inch ‘square’ dimensions and of generally standard characteristics. It is placed in a most accessible position in the front of the vehicle, covered by a 15-inch hood and placed directly behind a square-tubed radiator of unusually large capacity. Large jackets surrounding the cylinders and liberal pipe areas permit of natural circulation of the water, thus dispensing with a circulating pump and also permitting the motor to be run for considerable periods without danger of overheating. This disposition is made with the ultimate service of the machine distinctly in mind, it being considered essential that a delivery wagon be so constituted that the engine can be run continuously irrespective of the speed of the machine, or even of its movement, in order to obviate the need of frequent cranking and likewise to prevent high temperatures.

“The flywheel, being constructed with integral fan blades and mounted at the front of the engine, is the only active member required for the circulation of air through the radiator. Lubrication is effected by a combination of splash and force-feed systems. Ignition is carried out by a low-tension magneto and coil.

“The transmission unit is concentrated on the countershaft and consists of a planetary change gear embodied in a single housing with the differential. Two forward speeds and a reverse are provided, and they are controlled by means of two pedals and a lever, in the usual manner. The high-speed clutch is of the multiple-disk type, running steel to steel in an oil bath. The change gear unit is fully enclosed. It is mounted on ball bearings at the sides of the differential and on Hyatt roller bearings on the countershaft supports. Final transmission to the wheels is carried on by means of double side chains. The combined radius and distance rods, which are of I-beam section, also serve as brake hangers and anchors. The brakes are of the internal expanding order, mounted on the rear hubs, and are actuated by means of a pedal and emergency lever arrangement, in the conventional manner.

“Provision is made for the use of either solid or pneumatic tires, according to the demands of the service in which the individual machine is to be placed, or the inclination of the user. When solid tires are used, the specifications call for 36 x 2-inch equipment in front and 36 x 2 ½ in the rear. For pneumatics the 34 x 4 size is recommended by the manufacturer, on both front and rear wheels.

“The frame, which is of heavy pressed steel, is 140 ½ inches long and 34 inches wide. Semi-elliptic spring suspension is employed, the front members 39 inches and the rear ones 42 inches long. Both front and rear springs are 2 inches wide. Special steel axles of 1 ½-inch section are employed, the frame and gear construction being unusually solid for a vehicle of less than one-ton capacity. The wheel base is 94 inches and the tread is of standard dimensions. The regular body equipment is that of the open tray with flared sides. The loading space is 78 x 44 inches. A light stake body having an 84 x 44 inch platform, as shown in the picture, may be had as an option. Solid tires, three oil lamps, a horn and kit of tools are the regular equipment which are offered at the list price which is $1,000.”

The 1912 Cleveland directory lists S.H. Mora as President, Edward E. Servis Sec-Treas. and Samuel H.’s son, George M. Mora, foreman.

Detailed photos and descriptions of the 1912 line of Mora Power Wagons appeared in the June 1912 issue of The Carriage Monthly:

“An Opportunity for Wagon Builders

“It is pretty generally agreed that the carriage trade missed a great deal of its opportunity by not getting more directly into the pleasure car business when that industry was in its inception. Some carriage builders saw the chance and got in on the ‘ground floor,’ but because there was no general effort made to secure for the carriage trade the benefit of an invention so closely allied to it, the business went largely to concerns outside of the regular vehicle builders.

“Wagon builders at the present day stand in the same relation to the commercial motor vehicle as the carriage builders did eight or ten years ago to the pleasure car, and they are to a very great extent profiting by the experience of the carriage builders since that time. The wagon trade has not been slow in making the necessary connections with the commercial motor vehicle, via the chassis builder, who furnishes everything about the car that the wagon man himself is not equipped to produce.

“Progressive merchants and manufacturers the country over arc rapidly reaching the conclusion that from the standpoint of efficiency, economy and up-to-date methods, the time has come to install the commercial motor wagon as a part of their business equipment. The big, heavy trucks with the capacity of a freight car will be the type that will fit in best for some lines of business, and they will be sold in increasing thousands during the next few years.

“But the truck of which the greatest number will be in demand is destined to be the car of lighter capacity and greater flexibility used by the vast army of jobbers, retail merchants and farmers. ‘Unlimited’ is a comprehensive word, but it can be applied with approximate propriety to the demand that will soon be here for reliable, efficient and moderately priced motor wagons of from a thousand pounds to two tons capacity.

“The vital factors entering into the construction of power wagons are continuous efficiency, reliability and durability combined with low cost of upkeep - with all these dependent upon simplicity. This simplicity plays a much more important part in the power wagon than in any other type of motor vehicle. The kind of work demanded of it means the user wants power when he wants it and as long as he wants it. The driver is seldom, if ever, an expert chauffeur, who can properly care for complicated mechanism. These same drivers are often careless, therefore to be satisfactory a power wagon must be able to stand any kind of handling under all kinds of conditions; in other words, be fool-proof, and as far as possible abuse-proof.

“These conditions were fully appreciated by the designers of the Mora Power Wagon, a truck intended especially for light hauling and package delivery. Simplicity is the keynote of the Mora chassis. How well they designed to meet them is shown by citing a few Mora features. The thermos-syphon or natural circulation method of cooling – extra-large water jackets and a radiator whose cooling surface is larger than is usual engineering practice for motors of the same power, furnish ample cooling capacity without the troublesome pump.

“The frame of pressed steel is 140 ½ inches long and 34 inches wide. It is of the material found on the highest priced and most developed cars. Thoroughly braced by cross members and a tie rod in front, not found on any other wagon approaching the price of the Mora, the frame is held rigid with parts in perfect alignment under all road conditions at all times. This means long life of not only the frame, but the entire wagon as, well as freedom from troublesome adjustments of the mechanism.

“Semi-elliptic springs are used front and rear. They are so made of a specially treated steel and the wagon so suspended that variable loads can be carried under variable road conditions without shocking the mechanism at any time, yet staunch and powerful enough to withstand severe shocks when the wagon is loaded to capacity.

“The distance rods from the jackshaft to the rear axle are really not rods, as the name would indicate, but strong tapered I-beams. These rods also serve as brake hangers and anchors. Brakes are of the internal expanding type, with a non-burning brake lining. Operated by a foot pedal, a hand lever is added for emergencies and for locking the wagon if stopped on hills.

“The live rear axle for several reasons is the best construction for pleasure cars, but when it comes to the commercial vehicle, the dead axle is unquestionably the logical axle. The reason, in the fewest words, is that this axle has work enough to carry the load without being called upon to propel this load also, and a dead rear axle can be made twice as strong with less than half the weight of a live one, moreover. It is simpler and practically trouble-proof. Front axle is 1 ½ inches square, rear 1 ½ x 2 ¼ inches, both solid drop-forgings of special axle steel.

“The Mora motor is four-cycle water-cooled two-cylinder horizontal opposed, of 4 ½ inch bore and the same stroke. It develops 16 really horse-power. Placed in front under a 15-inch hood, it is immediately accessible whenever it requires attention. It is not necessary to lift the seat, pull up the foot boards, take off the body or disturb the load in any way. In keeping with the rest of the wagon the engine is an embodiment of simplicity.

“The thermo-syphon or natural circulation method of cooling the engine is employed. This is made possible by the large water jackets on the engine and large hose connections. The radiator is of the square tube type, and its radiating surface is larger than is usual engineering practice for engines of the power of the Mora. The fan is integral with the flywheel on the Mora, which flywheel is in front of the engine and just back of the radiator.

“Ignition is by means of a magneto. Lubricating of the motor is effected by a combination of the splash system and mechanical forced-feed. The mechanical oiler is located on the dash, where is accessible and can be constantly watched by the driver. It is operated by an eccentric on the camshaft. An automatic float-feed carbureter of approved design is employed. Both the magneto and carbureter are controlled by means of levers on a sector on the steering column and just below the steering wheel.

“Power from the engine reaches the transmission through a drive shaft with two universal joints, one connected to the crankshaft the other to the transmission shaft. The transmission, clutch and jackshaft are a single unit, fully encased, neat, compact and all mechanism protected from mud or dirt. The planetary transmission as used in the Mora wagon is said to be practically fool-proof, as there is no possibility of stripping gears or doing other damage to the mechanism.

“The Mora transmission provides two speeds forward and one reverse. Low and reverse are operated by foot pedals, while high speed is handled with a hand lever in the middle of the floor at the driver's right. The high speed clutch is of the multiple-disk type, the disks being steel against steel running in an oil bath. The clutch engages very gradually. Adjustment is simple.

“Ball bearings are used on each side of the jackshaft differential, while roller bearings are used on the outer ends of the shaft. The gearing of the wagon is such that a working speed of 15 miles an hour is maintained. This, however, can be changed to suit the working conditions of the purchaser.

“The two illustrations shown herewith illustrate one of the wagons complete with safety express body and a top view of the chassis separately. We understand that the Mora Power Wagon Co., 5320-28 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, manufacturers of this vehicle, will sell their chassis separately to wagon builders, who will build bodies thereon to suit the individual requirements of customers. The bulk of the commercial motor vehicle business of the near future is to be in wagons of a character similar to the Mora as regards both carrying capacity and price, and the wise wagon builder will not lose sight of an opportunity to make a connection with a reliable chassis maker, so that he may be certain of his fair share in this growing branch of the vehicle industry.”

The October 1912 issue of The Motor Truck pp 715-717:

“Mora 1500-Pound Delivery Wagon

“Believing that the largest field in the commercial car industry is in the 1500-pound capacity class, the Mora Power Wagon Company, Cleveland, 0., has concentrated its efforts upon the production of a high grade machine of this type. It is not amiss to state that the men connected with the organization have had years of experience in building pleasure cars and while no details from the lighter machine have been copied those features making for simplicity, reliability and low cost of maintenance have been incorporated. Qualities emphasized of the Mora product are high grade material and the best of workmanship, simplicity and accessibility.

“Two Cylinder Power Plant

“The subject of power plant received decided consideration by the designer of the Mora, and after a careful investigation of the various factors entering into the power vehicle delivery, the two-cylinder engine was adopted. Of this type the company points out that it provides continuous efficient service with minimum cost of maintenance and that it is well adapted to delivery work.

“The Mora motor is a four-cycle, double opposed, horizontal, water-cooled unit having a 4.5-inch bore and stroke developing 16.2 horsepower according to the S.A.E. formula, although it is stated that it has exceeded this rating in brake tests. It is located under the hood, is very accessible, and the starting crank is located in front, secured to the cross tie-bar of the frame extension.

“The cylinders are cast of a special gray iron, carefully machined and ground to size, and may be removed easily, being bolted to the crankcase, which is so designed that it is a simple matter to disassemble the power plant. The pistons and rings are ground to size and carefully fitted, insuring good compression and a well-balanced motor.

“The valves are of liberal diameter and are adjustable. This is secured by a threaded member in the pushrods and it is an easy matter to loosen the lock nut and compensate for wear. The pushrods are of liberal size and the portion carrying the adjusting device is offset. The pushrods are slotted and the construction of the bushings is such that the members cannot rotate.

“Lubrication and Cooling

“Lubrication is by a combination splash and force feed system. A four-feed mechanical oiler is mounted upon the dash in plain view of the operator, and supplies oil to the working parts. It is actuated by an eccentric driven off the camshaft, which is extended through the crankcase for this purpose.

“Cooling is by the thermo-syphon principle, cooled fluid being taken from the bottom of the radiator and led through pipes to the bottom of the cylinders, flowing thence through the water jackets to the outlet pipes on top of cylinders and to the top of the radiator. The pipes are ample in diameter and are threaded into the cylinders, connection between which and the cooler is by rubber tubing of substantial construction. The radiator is of the cellular type, mounted in front, and being of ample capacity, maintains proper temperature of the water under all conditions of service. Cooling is assisted by fan shaped blades cast integral with the flywheel which is in front of the power plant.

“The carburetor is a Stromberg mounted upon the right of the motor and just back of the right hand cylinder, a position affording complete protection as well as facilitating carburetion through proximity to the heat thrown off by the cylinder. The intake pipes are well designed, being free from bends, and the main member is supported by an adjustable brace bolted to the upper crankcase. The vaporizer is readily accessible for cleaning, adjustment, etc.

“Fixed Ignition Employed

“A true high-tension magneto is employed for ignition, eliminating the battery, coil and numerous wires, and by it the motor may be started on a quarter turn of the starting crank. It is mounted upon the upper half of the crankcase or inspection plate, a special base being incorporated in the design. This inspection plate is provided with a large filler cap for replenishing the supply of lubricant in the crankcase and the part may be removed easily and without disturbing the water pipes, intake members or other components. The magneto is gear driven off the camshaft. Proper meshing or timing of the gears is possible through the design of the upper crankcase, it being made in two sections, one of which fits over the driving gears. By removing two nuts these members may be seen plainly.

“The magneto is of the fixed spark type, the company maintaining it provides maximum efficiency, simplifies the operation of the car and prevents dam age to the motor through improper use of the spark lever. With this system but one lever is mounted upon the steering wheel, the throttle member. The spark plugs are vertically located between the valves and petcocks are fitted to each cylinder for priming purposes, etc. The valve caps are very accessible, making it an easy matter to grind valves when these members require attention.

“Believing that the planetary transmission is best suited to cars operated by inexperienced drivers, the company equips the chassis with this type, a design providing two speeds forward and reverse. The clutch, jackshaft and transmission are a unit and the latter is inclosed in an oil tight, weather and mud proof case which is provided with a large inspection plate. The clutch is of the multiple disc type, operating in a bath of lubricant and is readily accessible and easily adjusted.

“Drive from the motor to the jackshaft is by shaft, provided with a large and well-designed universal joint at either end. Final drive is by double roller chain of ample dimensions and means are provided for alignment of the rear axle. The gear ratio is such that a speed of 15 miles an hour is obtained. The company, however, will fit gears to meet the working conditions of the purchaser, as all parts are interchangeable.

“Rear and Front Axles

“Both front and rear axles are steel drop forgings, the former being 1.5 inches square and the rear 2.25 by 1.5 inches. The alignment of the rear member with the jackshaft is secured through two ample, tapered I-beam members which rods serve as brake hangers and anchors.

“The frame is of pressed channel steel, 140.5 inches long and 34 wide. It is thoroughly braced by cross members and a tie rod in front, the latter serving to retain the starting crank. The wheelbase is 94 inches.

“Semi-elliptic springs are utilized both front and rear, the company stating that the type is the most logical for commercial vehicles in that they care for a heavy load transported over rough roads. The springs are constructed of a specially treated high grade steel and so secured that vibration is absorbed, yet are staunch enough to withstand severe shocks occasioned by heavy loads.

“The brakes are of the internal expanding type located inside the sprockets on the rear wheels. They are operated by a pedal, and a hand lever is provided for emergency and for locking the brakes when stopping or on a steep grade. The diameter of the brakes is 10 inches and face 2.5, providing ample braking surface.

“Wheels and Tires

“The wheels are of the artillery type and the hubs and hub flanges are liberal in size and designed to withstand severe service. Ball bearings of ample diameter are deployed. When solid tires are fitted 36 by two-inch members are provided in front and 36 by 2.5 inches in the rear, although tires 36 by 2.5 inches front and 36 by three rear are listed as extra. Pneumatic shoes, 34 by four inches are optional equipment.

“The steering gear is of the irreversible type and the steering column is fitted with a 16 inch wheel upon which is mounted the throttle lever. Left hand drive is employed, with high speed and brake levers at the right in the centre. The low speed and reverse are operated by pedal. The fuel capacity is 12 gallons, sufficient for considerable service. The equipment comprises two oil side lamps, tail light, horn and tools.

“In the matter of details the company has been very particular. Lock washers and cotter pins are employed throughout and lubrication of parts subject to wear has not been overlooked. Grease cups are fitted to all components and 29 of these members are disposed at convenient places on the chassis.

“The company manufactures a wide variety of standard bodies to meet the requirements of different industries. The dimensions of the express and stake bodies are 80 inches long and 45 inches wide. In addition to standard bodies the company is prepared to build special types to meet the needs of the purchaser.

“The Mora commercial car is covered by a liberal guarantee and the maker states that with and proper care it will withstand and give satisfactory service under a 25 per cent overload.”

The November 1912 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal contained the following overview of the Model 20 and 21 1500-lb Mora light delivery:

“The Mora Light Delivery Car

“The Mora light delivery car rated at 1500 lbs. carrying capacity, is fitted with either straight or open express type body as standard, and is manufactured by the Mora Power Wagon Company, 5320-28 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, 0. Solid or pneumatic tires can be fitted. The latter may be successfully used where speed is required.

“The Opposed Motor

“The prime mover is a square motor located under a forward bonnet having a bore of 4 ½ in. and a stroke of 4 ½ in. with water jackets formed integral with the cylinders, these two in number, horizontally opposed. Four integral lugs anchor this component to the side rails of the main frame, heavy steel bolts being used. The cylinders, which are formed with heavy flanges, and the pistons are made of the same material and are accurately finished. The wrist pins are 1 1/8 in. in diameter, hardened and ground, placed above which are three of the four 1/4 in. compression rings. Drop forged steel connecting rods of the I-beam type are used, fitted with plain bearings. Wrist pin bearings are 1 ¾ in. in diameter, the two sections of the bearings held in place by two 3/8 in. steel studs, lock nuts and cotters.

“The 1 ¾ in. solid drop forged crank shaft has plain bearings, formed in the crankcase end cover plates. These plates are round in form and are bolted to the crank case through six 7/16 in. steel studs to each bearing plate.

“The valves, beveled to 45 deg., are 1 11/16 in. in diameter, the cast iron heads welded to carbon steel stems, 3/8 in. in diameter. The push rods, 1 in. in diameter, are pinned to prevent turning and operate in bronze guides in the crank case. The cam shaft, with cams formed integral, is 7/8 in. in diameter. The fly wheel, a six-spoked fan, is 20 x 2 5/8 in.

“Crank Case Carburetor and Ignition

“The two cylinders are anchored to the cast iron crank case by means of six 7/16 in. steel studs. The top of the case is aluminum and the end plates, which carry the crank shaft bearings, are cast iron.

“An automatic float feed type carburetor is employed. The intake is 1 5/16 in. in diameter and is retained on the cylinders through 3/8 in. steel studs. The 1 1/4 in. exhaust pipe is anchored in much the same manner.

“A low tension magneto is employed for ignition purposes, this carried on the crank case cover plate actuated through bronze gears, secured to the magneto shaft. Batteries are also used and the coil is carried on the dash. Hand levers under the steering wheel control magneto and carburetor, and are fitted with a large ball to insure easy finger grip.

“Lubrication and Cooling

“Force feed lubrication is used. The mechanical oiler, having six leads, cares for all bearings of the motor. This mechanism is driven by means of an eccentric on the cam shaft. The oiler is located on the dash and affords knowledge of the oiling, the system being adjustable. On the crank shaft is carried an oil ring, which further insures proper oiling, together with splash in the crank case and constant feed from the mechanical oiler.

“The cooling apparatus is of the thermos-syphon type. The cooler of the square tube type, measures 24 1/4 x 17 ¼ x 2 ½ in. and is connected to the engine by means of rubber hose.


“Power is transmitted from the engine to the transmission by means of a universal jointed propeller shaft 1 1/8 in. in diameter. The multiple disc type clutch is fully enclosed in the transmission case and readily adjusted, having eight plates 8 in. in diameter. This two speed transmission has 7/8 in. face gears with a main shaft 1 1/4 in. diameter, planets ¾ in. face. Ball bearings are used at each end of the main shaft. A spring check controls high speed and at the low speed the clutch is inactive, the gears being active. At high speed the whole assembly operates as a unit. The Scandinavian lined transmission bands are easily adjusted. The transmission is supported at three points, at the jack shaft outboard brackets on the side rails of the frame and forward at center to a cross member of the frame.

“The transmission is a unit with the differential the case being cast iron. The driving shafts are 1 1/4 in. in diameter, Hyatt roller bearings being used, these 4 in. long with ½ in. rollers. The front driving sprockets are either of 17 or 19 teeth and the side chains are 1 in. pitch with 9/16 in. rollers. The driving sprockets are keyed to the jack shaft on a taper. Ball bearings are used at each side of the differential cup and cone, button thrust at the ends of the jack shaft. To the cast steel brake drums are bolted the rear sprockets.

“Frame and Springs

“The pressed steel frame is 140 in. long and 34 in. wide. From the forward end of one frame rail to the other extends a 1 in. steel tie rod, used to stiffen the construction at this point. At the rear cross member gusset plates are used. Side rails are straight throughout.

“Semi elliptic springs are used front and rear, supporting the frame by shackles. A feature of the construction, however, is the method of anchoring the rear ends of the forward members. A combination bracket is fitted, which supports the rear end of the front spring also serving as a step hanger supporting the pedal rocker shafts. Front springs are 39 x 2 x 6 in. and the rear springs are 43 x 2 x 11 in., having the eyes bushed with steel.

“Axles and Brakes

“The front axis is 1 ½ in. square, having its center dropped and formed with integral yokes, while the rear axle is a forging 1 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. Cup and cone type wheel bearings are employed and are made up of ¾ in. steel balls inside, 5/8 in. ball outside. Both front and rear wheels make use of the same size bearings.

“Fourteen 1 1/2 in. spokes are employed in the rear wood artillery type wheels, the front wheels having twelve spokes of the same size and construction. Heavy gage pressed steel is used for the wheel hubs. Either solid or pneumatic tires are fitted on the 36 in. wheels.

“Clips retain the 10 x 2 ½ in. cast steel brake drums to the spokes of the rear wheels. Operation is through pedals and hand levers in the center of the floor board. The brake pull rods are 3/8 in. in diameter, adjustable with a rocker shaft 1 in. in diameter.

“Steering and Control

“The worm and nut type steering wheel has a 1 1/2 in. post surmounted by a 16 in. wheel. The tie rod is 13/16 in. in diameter, drag link 7/8 in. The joints are of ball and socket type, with spring check at each end of the link, the whole assembly located back of the front axle. Spark and throttle levers are placed under the steering wheel and the car steers from the left. Low speed, reverse and the brake are operated through pedals.


“The Mora light delivery chassis made in two models, namely Model 20 and Model 21 can be fitted with any type body as the needs may require. Model 21 has the identical mechanism of Model 20 but has a longer wheelbase and different tire sizes. The wheelbase on this new model is 118 in. and the tires are 36 x 3 ½ in. front and 36 x 3 in. rear. Model 20 fitted with stake or open express type body, has a loading space of 45 x 80 in., and is listed at $1,000. Model 21 chassis in the lead and with two oil lamps, one tail lamp, horn and tools, sells for $1,100. The length of frame back of toeboards is 113 1/2 in.”

The February 1913 issue of the Motor Truck announced that open express type Moras had been purchased by the Water Works Dept. of the City of Cleveland, Ohio and the Fired Dept. of the City of Youngstown, Ohio:

“Mora Wagons for City Service — Recently the Mora Power Wagon Company, Cleveland, O., installed a Mora wagon of the open express type and 1500 pounds capacity, in the water works department in that city. Another vehicle of similar type was delivered to the city of Youngstown, O., where it is doing good work as a service wagon in the fire department.”

A 1-ton capacity Mora delivery wagon equipped with a new Birdsall-designed purpose-built 25-hp truck motor called “The Brute” was introduced to the nation via the August 1913 issue of The Carriage Monthly:

“A New Mora 2,000-Pound Truck

“Enthusiastic over the way the two-cylinder 1,500-pound Model 20 Mora made good and desiring a little bigger wagon that would cater to popular demand, Mora dealers have urged the makers, the Mora Power Wagon Co., Cleveland, Ohio, to build a four-cylinder machine. They are now satisfied. Model 24 has been evolved, and it is a 2,000-pound chassis.

“The four-cylinder, long-stroke motor is designed by their engineer, W.H. Birdsall, who is one of the pioneer designers of long-stroke automobile motors in this country. He figured that too few truck designers fully appreciated the wide difference in the character of the work of a commercial machine and that of a pleasure car, and in the scramble of many makers to get into the commercial field engines were either bought on the open market that were never meant for commercial work or else pleasure car makers didn’t stop to design a new motor, but attempted to adapt their pleasure car power plants to this service. Profiting by their mistakes and drawing upon his wide experience in designing long-stroke motors, Mr. Birdsall has created a compact motor which they name ‘The Brute,’ that has its working parts about 35 per cent heavier than is the usual engineering practice for pleasure car motors of the same size. The motor is cast monobloc and is located under a hood in front, where it is easily accessible. It is rated at 25 horse power.

“The simple thermo-syphon system of cooling is employed. The radiator is of the cellular type and is a large one, in fact the Mora people claim it is the largest radiator to be found on any machine of the same capacity. Front cooling surface measures 416 square inches, while the aggregate cooling surface of the 4,034 cells in the 2 ½-inch core measures 10,000 square inches. A fan is supplied back of the radiator to draw air in and another in the flywheel to throw it out.

“The oiling system is self-contained. A positive plunger pump brings the oil up from a reservoir in the sub-base into the crank-case and keeps it at a constant level for the connecting rods to dip into it, the excess returning into the reservoir. A float gauge is provided, which indicates the amount of oil in the sub-base.

“Keeping abreast of the times the designer incorporated three-point suspension in the hanging of the motor. The engine is so nicely hung on cross hangers that vibration is eliminated to a surprising degree.

“Ignition is by means of a high-tension magneto. A *strangle rod is provided with the Stromberg carbureter, which greatly facilitates starting. This strangle rod and the magneto switch are the only things to be found on the dashboard, giving the clean dash that the buyer has been educated to look for.

(*strangle rod/strangle tube is an antiquated term for choke)

“Figuring that, unlike big trucks which are handled by more or less experienced and better paid drivers, a commercial car of the Mora type would mostly be in the hands of all kinds of cheaper men with very little, if any, experience in handling a motor vehicle, a fool-proof planetary type transmission is provided in preference to the more likely-to-be damaged sliding gear. This transmission is built along sturdy lines and gives two speeds forward and one reverse. Gears are large faced and adjustments are readily accessible. The transmission is fully enclosed, protected from mud dirt, and is integral with the jackshaft. Low speed is operated the middle foot pedal, while reverse is taken care of by the left-hand outside pedal.

“The high speed clutch is of the multiple disk type running in oil. It, too, is fully enclosed by an extension of the transmission housing. Adjustment of this clutch is very simple , which adjustment can be reached by merely removing a hand hole plate on top of the housing. This high speed is operated by a hand lever in the middle of the floor at the driver's right.

“The jackshaft is bolted right on to the transmission so that clutch, transmission and jackshaft form a single unit. Ball bearings are to be found on each side of the differential, while Hyatt rollers are used on the outer ends of the shaft.

“A 3 ½ per cent nickel steel shaft, 1 ¼ inches in diameter, hooks up the transmission with the engine in a straight line drive. Universal joints are of the flange type, easy to take apart. There two of these joints, one at the engine just behind the flywheel, the other at the transmission.

“Drive from the jackshaft sprockets to rear wheels is by means of two roller side chains. Strong distance rods of heavy U section hook up the jackshaft and rear axle. The gearing of the wagon is such that a speed of 15 miles an hour is guaranteed. This, however, can be changed very easily, being increased or diminished in order to suit the working conditions of the purchaser.

“An exceptionally strong frame is to found on the Mora. It is channel pressed steel of the same material found on the highest priced cars. Being inswept at front allows an unusually short turning radius for a wagon of the Mora wheel base, exceedingly heavy where the strain is greatest, being strongly reinforced by cross members and heavy gussets. The frame is 165 inches long, 34 inches wide at the back and 31 inches in front. Frame back of foot boards is 102 inches long.

“Springs are semi-elliptic, made of specially treated steel and so hung that the wagon rides right when empty, and they still can withstand shocks and act properly when the wagon is running under a capacity load. Front springs are 38 inches long, rear 45 inches long.

“The hanging of the rear springs and axle especially has impressed everyone who has examined the wagon inasmuch as these two elements are so hooked up as to reduce shocks on the rear axle to a minimum. Wheel base is 115 inches long, a desirable length just short enough so that the wagon can be handled quickly in congested traffic, yet long enough to permit a body with a large practical loading space without any undue overhang.

“Axles are special axle steel drop forgings with heavy spindles. Front axle is of the drop type, 1 ½ inches by 2 inches. Rear, 1 ½ inches by 2 ¼ inches. It will readily be appreciated that axles of this size on a 2,000-pound wagon are more than large enough and give a comfortable ‘factor of safety.’

“Wheels are of the heavy artillery type with wide felloes and spokes 1 ¾ inches in diameter. These are built with extra-large hub flanges and hub ball bearings that will more than stand the racket. Regular equipment of these wheels calls for a solid clincher tire, 2 ½ x 36 inches in front and 3 x 36 inches on the rear wheel. Pneumatic tires are furnished at an extra charge.

“Brakes are powerful and positive. Two sets are furnished. The service brakes are internal expanding, located in drums on the rear wheel. They are operated by the right-hand outside foot pedal and are 12 inches in diameter with a 2 ½ inch face. These service brakes are provided with equalizers. Emergency brakes are also internal expanding, these operating in drums on the outer ends of the jackshaft. They are 10 inches in diameter with a 2 ½ inch face. Operated by a hand lever in the middle of the floor at the driver's right. Both sets of brakes are easily adjusted.

“The steering gear is of the irreversible screw and nut type, located on the left-hand side of the wagon, rapidly being conceded to be the logical side for the steering mechanism of a motor vehicle from the standpoint of convenience, safety and saving of time for the driver. A strong gear is provided and it is so attached to the frame that it can be taken down in but a few minutes should there be any occasion to do so. Steering connections are extra heavy. This Model 24 Mora sells for $1,400, chassis only, which includes the front fenders, dash and toe boards, two oil side lamps, one oil tail lamp, horn and tools. A standard open express type body for this chassis would measure 3 feet 10 inches by 7 feet 6 inches.”

The vehicle was also featured in the September 1913 issue of The Power Wagon:

“New Mora Wagon

“The Mora Power Wagon Company, Cleveland, 0., has just announced a new 2,000 pound model equipped with a 4-cylinder motor.

“The engine is of the L-head type with the cylinders cast en bloc. The cylinders have a bore of 3 3/8 inches and a stroke of 5 inches, giving the motor a rating of 18.21 horsepower ALAM. The thermo-siphon system of cooling is employed. The radiator is of the cellular type and unusually large, having 416 square inches of cooling surface.

“The oiling system is self-contained. A plunger pump brings the oil from a sump into the crank case, where a constant level is maintained. The connecting rod big ends dip into the oil and distribute it to the main bearings and cylinder walls.

“Ignition is by means of a high-tension magneto. A strangle rod is provided with the Stromberg carburetor which it is claimed greatly facilitates starting. This strangle rod and the magneto switch are the only things to be found on the dash board. The transmission is of the individual clutch type and gives two speeds forward and one reverse. It is fully inclosed, protected from mud and dirt, and is integral with the Jackshaft. Low speed is operated by the middle foot pedal, while reverse is taken care of by the left pedal. The high speed clutch is of the multiple disk type running in oil. It is readily accessible through a hand hole plate on top of the transmission housing. The high speed is operated by a hand lever in the middle of the floor at the driver's right.

“Drive from the jackshaft sprockets to rear wheels is by means of two roller side chains. Strong distance rods of heavy U-section connect the jackshaft and rear axle. The gearing of the wagon is such that a speed of 15 miles an hour is guaranteed.

“The frame is of channel pressed steel. It is inswept at front to provide a short turning radius, and is strongly reinforced by cross members and heavy gussets. Springs are semi-elliptic, made of a specially treated steel. The front springs are 38 inches long, and those in the rear 45 inches long.

“The wheel base is 115 inches long. The axles are special steel drop forgings with heavy spindles. The front axle is arched and measures 1 ½ by 2 inches. The rear axle is 1 ½ by 2 ¼ inches. Wheels are of the heavy artillery type with wide felloes and spokes 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Regular equipment provides solid clincher tires 2 ½ by 36 inches in front and 3 by 36 inches in the rear. Pneumatic tires are furnished at an extra charge.

“Two sets of brakes are furnished. The service brakes are of the internal expanding type and are placed in drums on the rear wheels. They are operated by the right hand outside foot pedal and are 12 inches in diameter with a 2 ½ inch face. The emergency brakes, also internal expanding, operate on drums on the outer ends of the jackshaft. They are 10 inches in diameter and have a 2 ½ inch face.”

The 1913 edition of the Cleveland directory substituted Frank H. Adams as Treas., and although the firm was listed in the 1914 directory it was no more, the January 1, 1914 issue of The Automobile reporting that a receiver had been appointed in an involuntary petition for bankruptcy presented by attorneys of the Swinehart Rubber Co., of Akron, Ohio:

“Mora Power Wagon Receiver Named

“Cleveland, 0., Dec. 27 - Federal Judge W.L. Day has named Frank H. Adams receiver for the Mora Power Wagon Co., 5320 St. Clair avenue. The Swinehart Tire& Rubber Co., of Akron asked for the receiver in an involuntary petition filed with the district court.”

The January 1, 1914 issue of The Motor World provided several more details:

“Mora's Power Wagon Also ‘Goes Broke’

“Building motor trucks in Ohio did not prove more profitable for S.H. Mora than did the manufacture of motor cars in New York. As a result the Mora Power Wagon Co., of Cleveland, was last week thrown into the hands of Frank H. Adams as receiver. Adams is treasurer of the company, whose liabilities are about $14,000 and assets about $12,000. Mora's New York enterprise failed about two years ago but soon afterward he acquired support in Cleveland where he organized the wagon company bearing his name, which, however, failed to make any particularly visible progress.”

The January 29, 1914 issue of Motor Age reported that Samuel H. Mora requested the order of bankruptcy be vacated as it was based upon testimony given by Frank H. Adams, the firm’s treasurer, who was not authorized to do so:

“Wants Bankruptcy Order Vacated

“The Mora Power Wagon Co., by President Samuel H. Mora, has filed In the United States district court at Cleveland O., a petition asking an order to vacate the bankruptcy adjudication recently passed. He claims Frank H. Adams of the Mora company, who appeared and admitted insolvency after an involuntary petition in bankruptcy was filed in the court, had no right to take such action and that he was not authorized to do so by the directors of the company. The bankruptcy proceedings were instituted some time ago by H.M. Andrews & Son, The Swinehart Tire and Rubber Co. and B.A. Hammer Co.”

Mora’s petition was allowed and the April 1914 issue of The Motor Truck noted that Mora had been appointed receiver:

“Future of the Mora Company in Doubt.

“The future of the Mora Power Wagon Company of Youngstown, O., which has been in the hands of the courts since December, has not been determined, and there is no immediate prospect of a settlement. Frank H. Adams, treasurer of the company, was made receiver upon his petition, but a counter petition made by S.H. Mora, the promoter, which specified an error in the service of the original papers, was later presented and the first decision was reversed and Mora was made custodian of the property. The statement that Youngstown capitalists have secured control of the company and will remove it to Cleveland, O., is maintained to be without foundation.”

No further articles on the firm can be located, and it is unknown exactly how many Mora Power Wagons were produced, but the number is most likely well under 100.

Samuel Hancock Mora died by his own hand on March 5, 1918. He is buried next to his first wife, Grace Marie Mora, at Riverside Cemetery, 2650 Lake Ave, Rochester, NY. At the time of his passing the Mora family lived at 1338 Addison Rd., Cleveland, Ohio. The 1918 directory also lists his two sons: Samuel A. Mora, machinist; George M. Mora, proprietor of the Liberty Garage, 4810 Lorain Ave., Cleveland.

Prior to the collapse of the Mora Power Wagon Co., William H. Birdsall took an engineering position with the Syracuse Auto Supply Company, Inc. which was organized in Syracuse, New York, in 1912 with a capital stock of $25,000 for the manufacture of motor vehicles and parts. Incorporators were B.H. Newall, C. Arthur Benjamin and M.C. Klock. William Hart Birdsall’s (b. Oct. 25, 1876 - d. Oct.23, 1929) 1918 draft card lists his birthdate as October 25, 1877, employer as Syracuse Supply Co., Syracuse, NY, occupation, mechanical engineer (later sales manager) and wife Mina Parker Birdsall (b. April 27, 1880 in Auburn, NY). Founded in 1885, Syracuse Supply is a machine tool and industrial equipment distributor, which continues to do business today, see:

An Oct. 31, 1919 passport application reveals Birdsall was sent by Syracuse Supply to Norway and Sweden in November of 1919 as a representative of the McIntosh & Seymour Corp., of Auburn, NY, a manufacturer of ‘Diesel Type Oil Engines’, and sole US licensee of the Swedish Diesel Engine Co.

The 1925 New York State Census reveals Birdsall remained in Syracuse, and continued to work for Syracuse Supply. He passed away in Buffalo, New York on Thursday, October 23, 1929, which coincidentally was the same day that, in the last hour of trading (2:00 to 3:00pm), stock prices suddenly plummeted to unprecedented levels, and the very next day, which became known as Black Friday, the market plummeted substantially further.

Surviving Moras and Browniekars

Of the approximately 900 Mora cars thought to have been produced (one source says 1,800, but surviving evidence results in a much smaller total), there are two complete surviving cars and a mysterious third one last seen nearly 3 decades ago by Newark resident and Hallagan Mfg. Co. enployee William B. Banckert.

The first complete car is a 20hp 1909 Mora Model 20 runabout with a Renault-style hood that resides in the permanent collection of the Swigart Museum of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

The second complete car is a 1908 6-cylinder Mora Tourer, chassis #482, which is pictured to the right. It sold for $3,750 when new, which included a $150 top, which was optional. It has its original engine (albeit rebuilt), paint, top and upholstery evidence of the great care heaped upon it by its previous owners.

That car's current custodians, Steven E. and Pamela P. Heald of Sodus, NY, believe it was originally purchased by a Utica, NY doctor who enjoyed it for several years until its daily operation was sidelined by a fault in the engine. It was subsequently sold to a Cooperstown, NY, automobilist who placed it into storage until the outbreak of World War II when it was donated to the War effort – its raw materials (brass, cast iron and aluminum) being in short supply and absolutely vital to firms engaged in the production of war materiel. Luckily, the owner of the scrapyard where it ended up thought it to be in far too nice a condition to be scrapped, so he hid it away for the duration of the conflict. It was eventually purchased from the scrap yard for $35 by Walter Meyer, who was in the process of accumulating antique cars for a museum he was opening up on Route 20 in Bridgewater, NY. Meyer, an electrician, came upon numerous old cars in his travels and if the price was right, would add them to his collection. He was also a fan of historic preservation, mainly because he couldn’t afford to restore them, so most were placed on display “as found”. His wife sold off the collection one-by-one, following his death in the early 1990s, the Mora going to Joe Whitney, an early automobile collector and restorer located in Tucson, Arizona.

Whitney got it running, but the engine was in such a sorry state the project was placed on the backburner for almost two decades. Steven and Pamela Heald became aware of the Mora after reading about it in the November-December 1990 issue of the Horseless Carriage Gazette (Vol. 52, No. 6, pp.38), and purchased it from Whitney in 2005. The Healds wisely elected to keep the car as original as possible yet drivable, the only major work being a complete engine overhaul and some new tires. Most of the rest of the vehicle remains as it was back in 1908.

Steven E. Heald, Application Development Manager at Wegman’s Food Markets, is also past president of the Wayne Drumlins chapter of the AACA, and lives in Sodus, NY. His wife, Pamela P. Heald, is President and CEO of the Wayne County-based Reliant Community Credit Union.

The third car, a more-or-less complete 1908 Mora touring, was seen by Banckert in a farmer’s field located on State Rt 98, several miles north of Franklinville, Cattaraugus County, NY nearly 4 decades ago. It had been exposed to the elements for quite some time, although the Mora script was still on the radiator and the seat cushions and interior were mostly intact. It's doubtful that car survives and I have no knowledge of any further sightings of that vehicle, or any similar one, since then.

Three Browniekars are known to exist, and the Healds own the bright red Browniekar pictured to the right. It was treated to a complete restoration in 2008-2009, and won first prize at the 2010 AACA Annual Grand National Meet in New Bern, North Carolina.

The original Mora and Omar Motor Co. plant on Siegrist St., is no longer standing, however the large brick factory complex Mora erected in 1908 on Hoffman St. remains in excellent shape, and houses the Hallagan Mfg. Co. The Mora Power Wagon plant in Cleveland, Ohio, is gone and currently serves as a parking lot for neighborhood businesses.

Special thanks goes to Bill Banckert, Elizabeth Brayer, Pam & Steve Heald and John M. Zornow.

© 2019 Mark Theobald for







Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

Elizabeth Brayer - George Eastman: A Biography, pub. 2006

Shannon Perry - The Eastman Kodak Co. and the Canadian Kodak Co. Ltd: Re-structuring the Canadian photographic industry, c.1885-1910, March 2016 Doctoral Thesis, de Montfort University, Leicester, UK

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