Alphabetical Index|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z


quicklinks|buses|cars|customs|designers|fire apparatus|limos|pro-cars|taxis|trailers|trucks|woodies

Julian S. Brown (b. March 29, 1887-d. April 4, 1964)
Julian S. Brown Garage, 1908-1911; Julian Motor Co., 1911-1913; Sagamore Motors Co., 1913-1914; Julian Motor Car Co., 1914-1919; Julian Brown Development Co., 1922-1925; Jule Motor Corp., 1929-1931; Dewitt Development Corp. 1930-1932; Electri-Craft Corp., 1932-1937; Syracuse, New York
Associated Firms
Fleetwood Metal Body Co.

Few people alive today remember Alexander T. Brown, a brilliant inventor who became one of Syracuse’s most successful businessmen. Even fewer recall his 'playboy' son Julian S. Brown, who spent most of his adult life embroiled in one lawsuit after another.

However, the youngster had his moments of brilliance, one of which was his self-named automobile, the 1925 Julian Sport Coupe aka Julian Six. The one-off prototype, a revolutionary air-cooled, rear-engined automobile, whose platform and tubular backbone frame anticipated Ferdinand Porsche's Volkswagen Käfer by over a decade, can be found at the National Automobile Museum (Harrah Collection) in Reno, Nevada.

Unfortunately his magnificent automobile was overshadowed by his numerous marriages and failed business enterprises, which kept Brown in and out of the Syracuse courts for the better part of two decades. Between 1908 and 1964 the Syracuse Herald published 360 articles concerning the junior Brown, 350 of which dealt with his legal problems, many of which dragged on for decades.

Apparently Mr. Brown, although exceedingly wealthy, preferred paying his attorneys to settling his debts and was either suing or being sued for most of his adult life. Most had to do with his various failed businesses and paramours although several involved suits he filed against his ex-partners, ex-wives, his brother and the estate of his mother.

Syracuse’s citizens were so fed up with his legal entanglements that the Syracuse Herald Journal labeled him “Syracuse's Most Investigated Citizen” at the culmination of his Federal bankruptcy proceedings in August of 1939 where Federal Judge Frederick H. Bryant declared him officially bankrupt. However, that was only the beginning of Brown’s legal mess which plagued him for the next decade. As late as April 16, 1952, attorneys were still wrangling over fees owed by the various parties.

Julian Stephen Brown was born on March 29, 1887, in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York to Alexander T. Brown (1854 - 1929) and Mary Lillian (Seamens b.1863 – d.1932) Brown.

A short biography of his father, written by William Martin Beauchamp in 1908, is excerpted below:

“In the field of public life and commercial and industrial activity Alexander T. Brown has won distinction and is today numbered among the leading, influential and honored citizens of Syracuse.

“He was born in Scott, Cortland county, New York, November 21, 1854. He comes of Revolutionary ancestry and the line of descent can be traced back to Thomas Brown of Massachusetts - 1611 A. D. His paternal grandfather was an early settler of Onondaga county and one of its pioneer teachers. The paternal grandfather, Timothy Brown, settled in Scott, Cortland county, New York, in 1800, and his wife at one time was the owner of land on the site of the city of Cortland. The father, Stephen S. Brown, was also a native of Cortland county and a farmer by occupation. In early manhood he wedded Nancy N. Alexander, a native of Leyden, Massachusetts. His death occurred ten years ago but the mother survived until the fall of 1906. Their family numbered three children, one of whom has passed away, while the living brother of our subject is William H. Brown, of Syracuse.

“In the select schools of his native town Alexander T. Brown acquired his early education and afterward attended Homer Academy. Entering business life, he was for some time agent for a harvester machine company and also sold hardware. The year 1879 witnessed his arrival in Syracuse, where he became connected with the fire arms business of the firm of W. H. Baker & Company in the mechanical department. He is the inventor of the famous L. C. Smith shot gun, and continued with the house in the manufacture of this fire arm up to the time the business was sold to the Hunter Arms Company. From early youth displaying marked mechanical ability and ingenuity, Mr. Brown has produced many valuable devices. He is the inventor of the Smith Premier typewriter and also of many clever and practicable devices for the telephone and the automobile. Since his production of the Smith Premier typewriter his attention has been given at least in part to its manufacture. He is now president of the Smith Premier Typewriter Company, ‘employing some two thousand workmen. He is likewise a director of the Third National Bank of Syracuse; president of the Brown-Lipe Gear Company of Syracuse; and one of the founders of the H. H. Franklin Automobile Company, of which he was at one time president and which has the largest payroll in Syracuse. He still owns a considerable amount of stock in this company. Furthermore he is an officer in the Globe Malleable Iron Works of Syracuse; is a stockholder and officer in the Syracuse Aluminum & Bronze Company; director of the Pneumalectric Machine Company, large manufacturers of electrical mining machinery, at Syracuse; an officer and director of the C. H. Wood Company; and a director of the Clear Clothing Company, manufacturers and wholesale dealers of this city.

“In 1881 Mr. Brown was married to Miss Mary L. Seamens, a daughter of Julian C. Seamens, of Virgil, New York. They have two sons: Charles S., a student in Cornell University; and Julian, also in school.”

“Mr. Brown is a life member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He belongs to the Citizens’, the Century and the Yacht and Golf Clubs of Syracuse, to the New York Transportation Club and to the Adirondack League and the Syracuse Automobile Club.”

After their public education in the Syracuse schools Julian and Charles (who graduated from Cornell University in 1907 with an engineering degree) constructed a unique speedboat which ‘planed’ above the surface just as some high-speed patrol boats do today. The then revolutionary concept was deemed too dangerous, and thus the small craft received little more than passing notice.”

Julian's older brother Charles (b. April 20, 1885-d. April 22, 1953) was an accomplished engineer and during his lifetime was awarded 43 US Patents, most of which were concerned with mechanical devices such as industrial lawn mowers, engines and transmissions. A couple of them were licensed and put into production by the tractor division of the Revere Copper & Brass Corp. of Rome, New York. Unlike Julian, who liked being in the public eye, Charles was a private man, preferring to work in a small workshop at Syracuse's Terminal Bldg. (opposite the New York Central station) with his longtime assitant Tom Delaney.

After attending college for a couple of years, Julian, the more ambitious of the two, decided to forgo a degree and get into the automobile business, the January 31, 1908 issue of the Syracuse Herald reporting:

“Garage Instead Of Factory:

“Change in Plans for Old Universalist Church, Now the Cahill Block

“Julian S. Brown, the youngest son of Alexander T. Brown, is about to engage in the automobile business. On March 1st Mr. Brown will open a garage. Mr. Brown has selected as a place for his new business the old First Universalist church at the corner of West Genesee and North Franklin streets, which was recently built over into a modern two-story business block by Charles Cahill. Mr. Brown’s partner will be Charles G. Hanna.

“The property which they will occupy was originally bought from the First Universalist church by Mr. Cahill and George Beadel and it was rumored that it was the intention to make it into a cracker factory. Mr. Cahill has since purchased Mr. Beadel’s share in the property and will rush it to completion. Architect E.A. Howard is drawing the plans for the changes in the building and the work of making it into a garage will be started at once. The garage will be 135 x 70 feet and will have entrances on Willow and Genesee streets. Several lodges are already negotiating for rooms in the building, which will be known as the Cahill block. An attractive front is to be put in.”

On October 25, 1911, Brown married Ethel Listman, daughter of Charles Listman, a well-known ice dealer and investor in Syracuse’s Century Motor Vehicle Co., a short-lived (1899-1903) steam and electric automobile manufacturer. Wihtin the month the November 30, 1911 issue of the The Automobile / Automotive Industries announced that the newleywed was also getting into the automobile manufacturing business:

“SYRACUSE N.Y. - Julian Brown, son of the prominent manufacturer, A.T. Brown, of this city, announces that he will soon erect a factory for manufacturing the gas engine recently invented by him and which is attracting a great deal of attention in the trade. Mr. Brown will have plenty of financial backing. The factory site is not yet selected.”

The December 13, 1911 Syracuse Herald revealed that Brown was not only manuafacturing an engine, but that it would be the “highest priced motor made in America”:

“Motor Company To Have Large Plant

“Syracuse to Have Another New Enterprise, With Capital Stock of $200,000.

“The Julian Motor company is the name of another new enterprise for Syracuse, which has just been incorporated with a capital stock of $200,000 subscribed for by Syracuse business men, and the new company will begin business immediately in Syracuse. The company is the outcome of the gasoline motor which Julian S. Brown, president and designer of the company - which bears his name, has been perfecting during the last several years. Mr. Brown is a son of Alexander T. Brown.

“One of the several distinguishing features about the new company is what it will manufacture the highest priced motor made in America. It will be for automobiles, motorboats and for trucks.

“It was stated to-day that the factory and headquarters of the company probably will be located permanently in this city and it will add another large industry to Syracuse.

“Mr. Brown, who invented the engine, has worked on it for several years. The company is not ready to announce the location of its factory, except to say that it will be in this city.

“Whether or not the company will build a plant of its own is not stated.”

The Recent Motor Truck Incorporations column of the February 1912 issue of the Commercial Vehicle included the names of Brown's two partners:

“Julian Motor Company of Syracuse, manufacturing and dealing in motors, engines, motor vehicles, etc., was incorporated with a capital of $200,000. Incorporators; Julian S. Brown; George A. Young; Ernest W. Lawton.”

Plant construction got underway on a fifteen-acre site in nearby Messina Springs* during the summer of 1912.

(*Messina Springs was a small community, northwest of Messina (now East Syracuse), which was settled in the early 19th century around several mineral springs east of Syracuse, New York, at the intersection of James Street and Thompson Road).

The September 11, 1912 issue of the Horseless Age contained a large article detailing the particulars of the Julian engine which can be seen in a number of images located to the right:

“Julian Motor Co. Introduces America's Highest Priced Motor

“The Julian Motor Co., of Syracuse, N. Y., is preparing to introduce to the automobile world for the consideration of manufactures, as well as private car owners, a new motor which, while adhering to general practice in some respects, presents a great departure from current practice in many details of construction.

“‘Accessibility is the keynote in the care and operation of this motor,’ said Julian S. Brown, president of the company, to a representative of The Horseless Age who examined the new motor at the Syracuse factory last week. ‘We have designed each and every part for exceptional freedom in making necessary adjustments. This motor is especially adapted to the use of the owner of the heavy car who does his own driving and makes his own adjustments. In obtaining accessibility, reliability, and at the same time flexibility, we have deviated somewhat from current practice in many details.’

“Although no definite price has been set at which the motor will be marketed, it is stated that it will be sold at a price greatly exceeding that of any motor now built either in this country or abroad. The various new features will be brought out in the following detailed description:

“This motor is of the four cycle, monobloc, T-head type, having six cylinders.

“It has a bore of 4 1/2 inches, and an exceptionally long stroke of 7 inches, giving a stroke-bore ratio of 1:55 to 1. It is conservatively rated at 48 horse power, but develops as much as 100 horse power at a speed of 2,200 r.p.m. by actual block test. Exceptionally large valves are used, these being 3 1/16 inches in diameter, and having a lift of 3/8 of an inch. The seats of the valves are made much flatter than ordinarily, the angle at which the seats are cut being only 30 degrees from the horizontal. In order to obtain lightness and to facilitate cooling the stems are made hollow. These are inch in diameter and are of carbon steel welded to nickel steel heads. In the accompanying drawings of the motor it will be noticed that the push rods are also of special and unique design. They are made square instead of round, are hollow and have holes bored through each of the four sides at regular intervals to gain lightness of weight. They are 4% inches in length, of nickel steel, case hardened and ground, and run in a special cast iron bushing. These push rod guides are subjected to four processes of preparation for the guides. They are first rough broached, then finish machine broached, hand broached, and finally the push rods are lapped in by hand before the final assembling. Another feature of the valve construction is the small dashpot on the upper end of each push rod. This is in the form of a small tight-fitting cup having a vent on each corner of the square. This dashpot keeps the push rods from jumping, and also serves to thoroughly lubricate the lower end of the valve stem, thus reducing the wear.

“The camshaft is remarkable for its exceptionally large bearings. These are seven in number, so that each cam operates between two bearings. The bearings are 1% inches in diameter and 2 inches long, except the front bearing, which is 3% inches long and 2 inches in diameter. One point of accessibility is noted in the assembly of the camshafts and their bearings. The shafts are removable through the front of the motor without taking out the bearings. Immediately above each bearing is located a small oil well cast integrally with the crank case. This oil well is kept filled by splash from the connecting rods and furnishes a continual supply of oil for the camshaft bearings. On each cam on the exhaust side of the motor is a small projection or auxiliary cam which releases compression in the cylinder when the shaft is pulled endwise by means of a compression release handle located at the front of the motor.

“On each side of the motor is a large aluminum cover plate extending the whole length of the crank case. These plates are held in place by means of four thumb screws on studs which pass clear through the motor from the intake to the exhaust side. The plates thoroughly enclose the valve mechanism, excepting the heads, which are protected by large aluminum caps on top of the motor. On the intake side it will be noticed that there are four large screened holes through which the air for carburetion passes. Before this air reaches the carburetor it must necessarily pass along the side of the motor. This serves to warm the air and thus to facilitate carburetion. By thus having the warm air pass around the yoke water jacketing of the carburetor is eliminated as well as all water pipes and connections.

“Four exceptionally large bearings are supplied for the crankshaft, which in itself is 2 1/4 inches in diameter, flanged on the rear end and bolted to the flywheel. This shaft is finished over its entire surface, including the cranks as well as the shafts and crank pins. For use in a motor as large as this the connecting rods are very light, each rod weighing only 3 pounds complete, including the bearings and cap. These rods are 14 inches long, of I-beam construction, and are made from heat treated chrome vanadium steel. The upper end of each rod has a special form of clamp, as shown in the drawing. This construction is said to be much stronger than in the case where the rod is split on one side. Each lower bearing is secured by four bolts which are held from turning by spring lock washers as well as by cotter pins in the lock nuts, eliminating loosening and consequent loss of nuts.

“Each piston, which is 6 1/2 inches in length, is provided with three concentric rings peened on the inside. The piston has a number of oil grooves which facilitate oiling the piston and cylinders. The piston with its wrist pin weighs complete only 4 3/4 pounds, thus making all reciprocating parts, including the connecting rod and bearings, only 7 1/4 pounds. These pistons and rings are fitted so exactly into the cylinders, it is stated, that by actual test the full pressure has been held in each cylinder for three minutes. The pistons may be removed by removing the oil well, thus facilitating dissembling.

“Cooling is accomplished by means of a centrifugal water pump located on a vertical shaft at the front and on the exhaust side of the motor. On this same shaft is also located the gear oil pump. At the lower end of the water pump there is a by-pass which takes care of all water leaking past the bearings. An absence of water piping will be noticed on the exterior of the motor. Since the pump is located close to the motor its outlet is direct connected to the water jacket, thus eliminating the water pipe. The return water tube on top of the motor is built between the tops of the cylinders, and is protected by a cap extending the whole length of the motor. There is a six bladed cast aluminum fan with an eccentric adjustment. It is mounted on Hess-Bright ball bearings and is provided with stuffing boxes.

“The crank case is built with integral extensions on each side to meet the frame of the chassis, the whole case being cast in one piece. One noticeable feature of the construction of the crank case is that the bolts which hold the crankshaft bearing caps in place also secure the cylinders, thus relieving the case of all strains. With this construction the case acts merely as a washer between the cylinder and the crankshaft bearings. The motor is supported at three points, one in front and two in the rear.

“On the front end of the motor are two small tanks cast integrally with the crank case. The one on the intake side is an auxiliary gasoline tank and performs two functions. It serves to warm the fuel, thus enabling it to vaporize more readily. The other function is of more importance. It eliminates the necessity of pressure fuel feed. The gasoline is led from the main tank to a standpipe on top of the small auxiliary tank, from which place the fuel runs into the tank while the car is running on the level. As soon as the rear tank is lowered—for instance, when the car is climbing a steep grade—and the fuel will no longer continue to flow from the main tank, the fuel which is in the auxiliary tank, being ahead of the carburetor and higher, will continue to furnish sufficient fuel supply for carburetion. This tank is of one gallon capacity and will therefore supply enough fuel to take the car up any grade which is likely to be encountered.

“The other tank on the exhaust side of the motor forms an auxiliary oil tank of 1 ½ gallons capacity, which can be placed in operation by merely pressing a button. Lubrication is accomplished by means of the splash system. Oil is supplied to each crank pin at four points in such a manner that the oil is forced in between the crank pin and its bearing. The method of cleaning the oil well is easy and of unique arrangement. This is accomplished by removing plugs at both ends of each oil trough, thus enabling one to run a brush through one side of the motor to the other, thereby thoroughly cleaning the oil reservoir without removing it from the crank case. Baffle plates are cast at the front and rear of the case to prevent oil from rushing to the front or rear ends of the motor when the car is ascending or descending a grade.

“One feature which should be mentioned in regard to the lubrication system is the method of taking care of the surplus oil in the dip troughs under the connecting rods. In the centre of the front side of each trough a little below the top is a small drain hole which keeps the oil at a constant level at ordinary motor speeds. At high speeds, however, when an access of oil is taken up by the splash this hole is small enough to prevent the surplus oil running out as fast as it is pumped in. This allows the oil level to be raised until it flows over the top of the trough and down into the reservoir. The drain hole is located high enough in the trough so that when the motor is tipped back in climbing a hill the oil can rise to the extreme top of the rear side of the trough without running out of the drain port on the front side.

“One point in which accessibility is particularly desirable in a motor is the method of mounting the magneto. Although the magneto on this motor is accessible from its location, it may be almost instantly removed by merely releasing a thumb-screw. By turning this thumb-screw on the base of the motor, which unlocks a slide fastened to the base of the magneto and by turning the shaft coupling so that the slots are parallel, the magneto is slid sideways out of the base without the aid of wrenches or other tools. All electric cables running from the magneto are encased in a tube which conducts them to the spark plug chamber on top of the motor. The magneto is of the high tension type and is used in connection with the dual ignition system. All wires and plugs are concealed, thus making it almost impossible to shortcircuit the ignition system when washing the car or in fording streams.

“In order to show the extreme accessibility and easy assembly of this motor it is pointed out that only two sizes of bolts and nuts are used in its whole construction, thus necessitating only two wrenches in the tool outfit. Both the intake and exhaust manifolds are held in position by studs running through the yokes, with the nuts on the outside, thus enabling easy dismantling of these manifolds.

“Another point which illustrates attention to details is the construction of the starting crank spindle. The crank is mounted on a tapering splined shaft and can be placed in any position relative to the compression stroke convenient for cranking.

“The crank case web extends to the frame thus eliminating the necessity of a mudpan beneath the motor. No grease cups or stuffing boxes are used on any part of the motor, except the spiral stuffing box on the rear end of the crankshaft. The motor is of the unit power plant type and is built with the flywheel encased in an extension of the crank case. The clutch housing is bolted directly to the flywheel housing and encloses a multiple disc dry plate clutch made up of 13 Raybestos faced discs and 14 steel driving discs.

“The makers will furnish this motor either with or without the transmission and control levers. Where these are supplied either a three or four speed transmission may be installed. With this motor there will also be supplied either an air or an electric starter. The motor illustrated herewith is equipped with a three cylinder air motor which actuates the transmission gears directly instead of operating through a distributor to the cylinders. When the engine is running the air motor is converted into a compressor geared at engine speed and supplies air to a large tank attached to the frame of the car. When it is desired to start the engine the compressor is reconverted into an air motor geared 17 to 1 to the front gear of the transmission, and obtaining its power from the air pressure in the large storage tank.

“The company announces that it will also make a four cylinder motor of the same general dimensions and construction as the six, and that it will also shortly bring out a six cylinder, 3 ¼ x 6 inch motor of an entirely new design. The details of this new motor are not yet available, but will probably be announced within a short time.”

Unfortunately the project didn’t progress beyond the construction of the prototype and the plant, the September 27, 1913 Syracuse Herald reporting:


“Schedules in bankruptcy of the Julian Motor company of East Syracuse filed yesterday with Referee Charles L. Stone, and show liabilities of $24,942 with assets of the nominal value of $15,713.

“The company owes $750 in wages, $9,441 in secured claims and $14,320 to general creditors whose claims are unsecured. There are about fifty creditors in all.

“The secured creditors are S.K. Bresee, $5,000, secured by mortgage; Edward Joy company, $1,044, and W.J. Burns & Co., secured by mechanic liens. The principal unsecured creditors are Alexander T. Brown, $5,500; F.A. Austin company, $3,200; the June Press, $360; C.E. Lipe, $1,072; Syracuse Supply company, $458; Theo. C. Ackerman, $500.

“The company’s plant in East Syracuse is valued at $15,000.”

From 1913 onward Charles G. Hanna* (b.1889-d.1942), an early Syracuse automobile dealer (Paige, Paige-Detroit, Ford) partnered with Brown in his automotive enterprises, the first of which was the Sagamore Motors Co., whose founding was announced to the trade in the December 4, 1913 issue of Motor World:

“Syracuse, N.Y. — Sagamore Motors Corporation, under New York laws; authorized capital, $75,000. Corporators — Julian S. Brown, Charles G. Hanna and Ernest W. Lawton, all of Syracuse.”

(*from 1926-1929 Hanna served two consecutive terms as Mayor of Syracuse).

Hanna was engaged in several automobile business enterprises and later was Ford representative in Syracuse. Subsequently he was a commission broker and later sales representative for several companies. Hanna was an aviator in the first World War and was honorably discharged as a lieutenant and during his term as mayor was largely responsible for bringing air travel to the Syracuse Area by acquiring an airfield in Camillus, NY which was renamed the Syracuse Municipal Airport in 1927. He was twice married. His first wife, the former Miss Florence Bresee, died in 1928. The Bresee family were also major players in the Syracuse retail automobile trade (1922-2011). In 1934 Hanna married Miss Anna Irene Wright.

Additional details of Brown and Hanna's new ventures were detail in the December 6, 1913 issue of Automobile Topics:

“Julian Brown Forms New Company

“Julian S. Brown, of Syracuse, N. Y., formerly of the Julian Motor Co., maker of ‘the most expensive gasoline automobile motors in the world,’ has formed a new company for the manufacture of motors The company is styled the Sagamore Motors Corporation, with headquarters at Syracuse and a capital stock of $75,000 Charles G. Hanna and Ernest W. Lawton are also interested in the company.”

Brown and Hanna went to the 1911 New York Automobile Show hoping to drum up some intereest in their new engine, the January 11, 1914 issue of the Syracuse Herald recorded their attnedance at a dinner given by Chalmers:

“Among the guests at the dinner given by the Chalmers Motor Car company at the new Hotel Biltmore, New York city on Wednesday evening were Charles G. Hanna and Julian S. Brown of this city.“

Brown continued to drum up interest in the new engine, which was mentioned in the April 18, 1914 issue of Automobile Topics:

“Brown Again Building Motors

“Julian Brown, of Syracuse, N. Y. is preparing to enter the field of automobile engine manufacture again, and has developed a new motor having a rotary valve in the cylinder head. The valve is in the form of a drum, and takes care of both inlet and exhaust. Brown has formed the Sagamore Motor Co., which will produce the engine in four-cylinder and six-cylinder forms, in two sizes each.”

The September 1, 1914 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal announced that Sagamore was bringing out an “eight-cylinder V-Type motor for automobile work”:

“Sagamore Motor Company of Syracuse, N.Y., is about to bring out a new eight-cylinder V-Type motor for automobile work, which is but 27 in. in length from end to end, including the flywheel. It is said to weugh less than 350 lbs. and has a bore of 3 1/2 in. and a stroke of 4 1/2 in., rated at 65 h.p.”

Apparently the Sagamore was no more successful thatn its predecessors and Brown moved to Detroit where he advertised his services as an“automotive engineer”. He made sure to meet all the “right people” and was listed in the 1916 edition of Dau’s Blue Book of Detroit. Soon after he joined the Society of Automotive Engineers which included him in their 1917-1919 directories which list his occupation as automotive engineer, providing an address of 619 Woodward Ave., the same address he used in a classified advertisement he placed in the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce newsletter during 1917 which follows:

“Julian S. Brown, 619 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Mich., wishes to represent San Francisco manufacturers and jobbers in that market.”

Brown’s clients included the Zantholene Co., the manufacturer of Crème of Zantholene, an ointment which advertised it could dry, heal or sooth: ‘pimples, eczema, blisters, cold sores and cuts’. Its advertisements carried the same address as Brown, 619 Woodward Ave. The firm was highlighted in the March, 1916 issue of National Druggist:

“Creme of Zantholene a Winner.

“It has been our experience that the ‘different’ product with a specific mission, therapeutically and possessing real merit, has no trouble attaining direct success. Our belief is amply vindicated in the case of Creme of Zantholene. This article, marketed in Detroit a few years ago, found its way to the top of the list of leaders there, and step by step branched out until it now claims a like distinction in many New York cities and most of the Middle West field. It is mainly an article for cold sores, cuts, burns and like affections. It is not greasy and is most pleasant to use.

“The advertising matter accompanying Creme of Zantholene is beautifully artistic, and it is being extensively and judiciously advertised. It costs $4.00 per dozen and sells at 50 cents. All jobbers have it.

“Put a Creme of Zantholene girl on your showcase and the demand begins—merit does the rest. If your jobber can not supply you, write to The ZanthoLene Co., 619 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Mich.”

The 1917-1918 Detroit Directories lists him as a representative of both Zantholene and the Clinton Mineral Springs company of Saxonburg, Penn., a distributor of mineral water:

“Julian S. Brown; treas. and mgr. Det. branch Clinton Mineral Springs Inc., and The Zantholene Co. r.619 Woodward Ave.”

Julian S. Brown’s WWI Draft Registration Card (date June 5, 1917) confirm he was living in Detroit at 619 Woodward St., his occupation ‘Independent Engineer’.

His engineering activities were centered upon a prototype automobile powered by a six-cylinder “twin-threes made into a six” of his own design (a V-6?). The self-named prototype Julian automobile was announced to the trade via the following press release that appeared in the June 28, 1919 issue of Michigan Manufacturer & Financial Record:

“Julian Car the Latest.

“A newcomer in the Detroit automobile manufacturing field is the Julian Motor Car Company, which is now in formation and which will bring out a six-cylinder car designed by Julian S. Brown, a well known engineer, member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, and who has his headquarters at present at 619 Woodward avenue. The principal feature of the new vehicle will be the engine, which will consist of twin threes made into a six, and which will weigh only 300 pounds or thereabouts.”

The prototype was described in slightly greater detail in a concurrent issue of Automobile Topics:

“The car sits low, the frame being only twenty-one inches from the ground. This is because of the spring suspension and the radically new method of applying the driving power. The drive is through the rear springs, these being shackled in front instead of being pushed along.

“The car sets low, the frame being only 21 inches from the ground,” explained Automobile Topics. “This is because of the spring suspension and the radically new method of applying the driving power. The drive is through the rear springs, these springs being shackled in front instead of being pushed along.”

The Detroit-built Julian car was not heard from again although Brown remained in Detroit into 1921, the Detroit Directory listing him as follows:

“Julian S. Brown; automotive engineer; Motor Boat Lane.”

Although its sounds phony, Motor Boat Lane was (and is) a real street that runs from East Jefferson Ave. to the Detroit River across from the Detroit Yacht Club. It was the home to a number of marinas and motorboat related businesses which at that time included the Belle Isle Boat & Engine Company.

On September 25, 1922, Brown married Margaret Hanna, the sister of his long-time business partner Charles G. Hanna. Soon-after Brown announced once again that he was building a 6-cylinder automobile, althugh this version would be air-cooled, theApril 18, 1923 issue of the Syracuse Herald reporting:

“Syracuse Firm To Build New 6-Cylinder Car; Julian Brown Development Corporation’s Experiment Auto Nearly Completed. Motor Is Air-Cooled

“Julian S. Brown, son of Alexander T. Brown, has completed the organization of the Julian Brown Development Corporation which will continued the work developing his new six-cylinder, air-cooled automobile, announcement concerning which was made last summer. The experimental car is now nearing completion in the plant of the Meldrum-Gabrielson Corporation, 601 West Fayette Street.

“Mr. Brown is president of the concern and the other officers are: Vice-president, Alexander Meldrum; secretary, Charles F. Hancock; treasurer, Charles G. Hanna. Carl Gabrielson is also a director. The company will be organized later before production is undertaken in a commercial scale.

“The Julian Brown motor, which has been the subject of discussion on the part of automobile engineers and others during the last year, has six cylinders which will be placed radially and it is proposed to locate this on the rear axle. By elimination of the usual drive shaft and other parts, it is claimed that the new design will reduce the parts in the entire assembly by 437. There are a number of other distinctive features in the design.”

The Meldrum-Gabrielson Corp. (Alexander Meldrum & Carl Gabrielson) was a Syracuse-based manufacturer of machine tools who enjoyed a brisk trade in their patented ‘Syracuse’ Adjustable Limit Snap Gage.

While the car was under development Brown introduced a horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder marine engine. A prototype was constructed at the Brown-Lipe Gear Corp. plant and during 1924 Brown and a group of investors formed the Jule Motor Co. to produce it.

The October 16, 1924 issue of the Syracuse Herald announced a recapitalization of the Julian Brown Development Corporation:

“Julian Brown Firm increases Stock

“The Julian Brown Development Corporation, which is interested in the marketing of an automobile with a rotary engine on the rear axle, designed by Julian S. Brown, has increased its capital stock from 2,000 shares of common stock at $10 par value, to 1,000 shares of no par value common stock.

“The first models, made in the plant of the Meldrum-Gabrielson Company, have been given their road tests in Syracuse and surrounding territory for several months. The increased capital will provide for final tests it is explained.”

The June 4, 1925 issue of The Automobile / Automotive Industries provided additional details of Brown's new air-cooled car which was christened “The Julian”:

“Car Is Built with Engine of Fixed Radial Type Mounted at Rear of Chassis

“Drives through combined planetary and sliding gear to a flexible rear axle of which the central part is carried on the rear spring.

“Rear view of Julian chassis; Julian sport-sedan; Front view of Julian chassis

“A car with many features differing radically from those of conventional designs has been built by the Julian Brown Development Corp., Syracuse, N. Y.

“The engine is a six-cylinder fixed radial air-cooled type mounted at the rear of the chassis; it drives through a combination sliding pinion and planetary type of transmission giving four forward and two reverse speeds. The front axle is thin-walled, large diameter steel tube. Instead of the conventional frame a tubular steel backbone is used, which has the two half elliptic cross springs secured to it at its ends. A special design of rear axle is used, the halves of which swivel in a vertical plane around pivot supports on the differential housing.

“The engine has a bore of 3 3/8 in. and a stroke of 5 in. (268 cu. in.), and with a compression ratio of 4.8 to 1 is said to develop 60 hp. at 2500 r.p.m. The valves, which have a clear diameter of 1 5/8 in. and a lift of 3/8 in., are arranged horizontally and opposite each other in the cylinder heads. Three rings are carried by each of the cast iron pistons, and these are located at the middle instead of at the top end. A cast aluminum piston pin retainer and oil cooling jacket is held in place by two 3/8 in. cap-screws. The pistons have a conical head with a central flat spot 1 in. in diameter, and have a clearance of 0.0025 in. at the skirt.

“Two Opposed Throws

“The crankshaft has two opposed throws and is supported in two main bearings, all of its journals being hardened and ground. Three connecting rods work on each crankpin, one blade and one forked rod being mounted on and concentric with the master rod. The camshaft is supported in a single bearing and carries only two cams; it is mounted above the crankshaft and is driven from the latter through an internal gear and two pinions. The drive for the generator, ignition unit and oil pump is taken from the outside of the camshaft gear through an angular drive.

“The conical clutch, lined with asbestos fabric, operated in oil, the film on the clutch surface being maintained by centrifugal force. When the clutch cone is in contact with the flywheel the planetary gears are locked, and a direct drive is obtained. By pressing the clutch pedal forward it forces the under side of the cone into contact with a stationary cone, thereby causing the planetary Pinions to operate, giving a reduction of 2.2 to 1. This reduction is used in combination with either the direct drive or the gear reduction in the sliding gearset. The reduction ratios obtained are 3.46, 5.19, 7.61 and 11.42, this applying the total reduction between crankshaft and rear wheels.

“Rear Axle Shaft Connections

“Each of the rear axle shafts is connected through a universal joint to one of the side gears of the differential. The wheel bearings are mounted on tubes which terminate in a ball joint over the universal joint, which is fastened to the housing of the powerplant and differential. The brake drums are inside the disk wheels and are 16 in. in diameter by 3 ½ in. wide. There are four brake shoes inside each drum, the upper and lower together forming the emergency brake (operated by lever) and the forward and rear the service brake.

“The front axle has a tubular center 2 ¼ in. in diameter by 1/16 in. wall thickness. The cross spring is connected to the axle end…

“The two transverse tubes are mounted on opposite ends of the main tube. Whereas the front spring is shackled at one end and pivoted at the other, the rear spring is pivoted at both ends, shackling being made unnecessary by the fact that the spring ends swing on the same radius as the axle ends. The ends of the rear spring are flat and rest between two oval blocks of Celeron.

“The chassis has been fitted with a body designed by Fleetwood, of the sport coupe type. An outstanding feature of the vehicle is its low build. The floor is only 16 in. from the ground, although the minimum road clearance is 11¼ in., or more than on the average passenger car. Among the advantages claimed for this construction are improved riding qualities, due to the reduction of unsprung weight; to the placing of the seats between axles instead of over the rear axle, and to the attachment of the springs to the center instead of to the sides: reduced pitching and swaying, due to lowering of the center of gravity; improved traction, due to the location of two-thirds of the weight on the rear axle; increased tire mileage, due to reduced slippage of rear tires and reduced weight on front tires; absence of smoke and heat from the engine in the body due to the rear location of the powerplant; and the ability to turn in a very short radius.

“It is claimed that the car could be produced to sell for about $2,500, but no definite plans for its future have been formed.”

Beverly Rae Kimes reports that although Fleetwood built the body, it was designed by Brown, who also insisted upon upholstering the car in a Victorian-pattern broadcloth – already passé by that time. No further word concerning the Julian appeaded in the local papers, nor the national trades, however six months after the passing of Brown's father (January 31, 1929) and his inheritance of approximately $2.5 million his current wife filed for divorce, the August 25, 1929 issue of the Syracuse Herald reporting:

“Julian S. Brown, Heir to $7,000,000 of A.T. Brown, Defendant in Divorce Suit

“Wife, Sister of Mayor Hanna, Asks $25,000 Counsel Fees and $3,500 Monthly Alimony, Argument Set for Sept. 7.

“Julian S. Brown, one of the heirs to the $7,000,000 estate of Alexander T. Brown, manufacturer and inventor, is being sued for divorce by his wife, Mrs. Margaret A. Brown, it became known yesterday.

“The petition of the wife asks for an award of $25,000 in counsel fees and alimony of $3,500 a month. This will be argued in Special Term of Supreme Court on Sept. 7.

“When Mr. Brown was served with papers in the action by Deputy Sheriff Louis H. Powell, the paper reports. Brown said, ‘There is nothing to it, there must be some mistake’.

“He was served while overseeing work in construction of a garage in East Water Street, the site of the Thalheimer grocery. Mrs. Brown contends that her husband is the owner of the premises.

“The affidavit of Mrs. Brown which was attached to the divorce petition state they were married on Sept. 25, 1922.

“Mrs. Brown said that she was forced to leave her husband in September, 1927, and that since she had been living with relatives. She stated that she is in poor health and is not able to live on the $100 a month which he gives her.

“She states that her husband is the owner of real and personal property valued at more than $3,000,000. His income, she said, is at least $150,000 a year.

“Brown, with his mother and brother, Charles Brown, inherited the estate of Alexander T. Brown, his father, who died last February. The will named the First Trust and Deposit Company as executors, but the estate passes to the widow and her two children in the same proportion as if no will had been drawn.

“Mrs. Brown, who is a sister of Mayor Charles G. Hanna, is represented by Bond, Schoeneck & King. The application for counsel fees and alimony was for a temporary amount pending the trial of the action in the fall.

“This is Mr. Brown’s second marriage. His first wife was Miss Ethel Listman.”

The February 23, 1930 issue of the Syracuse Herald reported that the two Brown brothers had recently purchased a large parcel of land on the southern shore of Oneida Lake, a beautiful 80 sq. mi. lake located 10 miles north of downtown Syracuse:

“Brown Brothers Buy Large Section of Oneida Lake Shore

“Activity in Oneida Lake shore properties is reported in connection with acquisitions of land by Charles E. Brown and Julian S. Brown, sons of the late Alexander T. Brown.

“The former is now listed as the owner of 300 acres of land at Shakeltons Point, near Bridgeport, and in this connection a summer sport colony development is mentioned.

“Julian S. Brown, inventor of the Jule motor, an inboard and outboard motor, revolutionizing the ideas of powering small craft, has acquired property near Brewerton for a large boathouse and garage for private use.”

Brown entered the nightclub business at much the same time, the June 15, 1931  edition of Fred Belts’ Syracuse Column (Syracuse Herald) reporting:

“Impending construction of a building at South State, East Water Streets and Erie Boulevard at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars to house ‘the most elaborate night club in the East’ is announced by Julian S. Brown, president, of Dewitt Development Corporation.

“Details Mr. Brown gives the Sunday HERALD prove he is making plans on a rather luxurious scale. The exterior will be of white manufactured stone. The interior will be fitted with black velvet drapes with white trimmings and lettering.

“The first floor will have no windows, this program being adopted to exclude traffic noises and help musicians and entertainers. A balcony will be built out over the dance floor. One feature will be a promenade deck with steamer chairs, tables and multi-colored lights on revolving pedestals.

“Plans provide for completion of the new building about Sept. 1. There is one thing that can be said for Mr. Brown. The man has courage. At a time when many gentlemen who have—or did have—fat bank accounts study stock market tabulations until they strain their eyes and have to call in an eye specialist, he takes a hot weather plunge into the chilling hazards of a substantial night club investment.”

The June 26, 1931 issue of the Syracuse Herald announced the niteclub's groundbreaking ceremony:

“Night Club Job To Start

“Ground to Be Broken Monday

“Ground will be broken Monday for construction of a building to house a night club at South State and East Water Streets and Erie Boulevard, East, by the Dewitt Development Corporation, it was announced today by Julian S. Brown, president. The proposed structure will cost approximately $250,000 Mr. Brown said.

“Final letting of contracts is scheduled to be completed by tomorrow and progress of the project is to be pushed to have the building ready for occupancy by Sept. 1.

“Plans announced by Mr. Brown a few weeks ago call for a building different in design from any other structure in the city.”

Construction was completed in time for the Cafe DeWitt's September 5, 1931 grand opening. Unfortunately Brown had failed to factor in the continued effects of the Depression on the Syracuse community and within a year the Café was in the hands of a receiver.

In 1932 Akron, Ohio’s Perry Spencer formally charged Brown with alienating the affections of his wife, Mae Curtis Spencer, just two weeks after their July 1931 marriage. The February 26, 1933 Syracuse Herald reporting:

“Spencer charges Brown alienated the affections of his wife, Mae Curtis Spencer, and that, because of Brown's influence over his young and attractive wife, she has continuously refused to live with him and has told him she much prefers the association of Brown to that of the plaintiff.

“He charges he married Mrs. Spencer in Florida in July, 1931, and that they separated a few weeks after their wedding because of Brown's attention to his wife. Mrs. Spencer and Brown were acquainted before she married the defendant, he says, and immediately after the wedding Brown began paying court to her.

“He charges Brown disregarded the marriage vows of Mrs. Spencer and set about to win her affections and so cause her to lose her affection for the plaintiff. He alleges Brown told the wife of the plaintiff that he, the plaintiff, was not a fit companion for her, that he was unable to provide for as she should he provided for, and her marriage was a mistake.”

In 1932 Brown engineered a battery-powered electric boat motor equipped with a DC Rotary switch which stepped up the voltage from 6 volts, to 12 and 24 volts thus giving the craft a choice of three speeds, the February 26, 1933 issue of the Syracuse Herald reporting:

“Julian Brown Boat Industry Will Hire 350

“Motor Designed for Slow Speed Use by Fishermen

“Operates on Battery

“Big Scale Manufacturing Slated to Start in Few Weeks

“Syracuse soon will have a new industry in which it is planned to provide employment for between 350 and 400 workers. Julian S. Brown, Syracuse Inventor, will start manufacturing within a few weeks a new type electric motor for small boats designed by him after several years of study. Manufacturing operations will be carried on at the now idle plant of the Julian Motor Car Company in Eastwood.

“The new motor, Mr. Brown explained last night, is entirely different from anything in the same line now on the market and possesses numerous features that are expected to place it immediately in popular demand. Operated by a storage battery similar to those used in automobiles the motor, which resembles a gasoline outboard motor, has but few moving parts and is entirely noiseless in it operation.

“The motor is designed especially for fishermen and for those who do not desire speed in their craft. It has two speeds, one of two miles an hour and one of four miles an hour. It is started by the throwing of a switch and no cranking or priming is necessary. The power is provided by the storage battery which may be recharged by plugging it into an ordinary light socket at the end of the day. The battery will deliver power enough to run the motor for about 10 hours and will develop about one half horsepower, Mr. Brown said.

“Although the motor will be available for purchase by itself at a price of about $75 after manufacturing operations have been started Mr. Brown also plans to sell a combination boat and motor unit. This unit will sell for about $200. The boat will be about 15 feet long with two cushioned seats each holding two adults and will be covered with a canvas shelter top Steering will be by means of ropes passing along the sides of the boat to the motor in back.

“The features of the electric motor which are expected to make it immediately popular are its simple mechanism and small number of moving parts its light weight of about 15 pounds its ability to run at a speed slow enough for trolling and its ease and cheapness of operation The motor is started merely by the throwing of a switch and may be operated, Mr. Brown calculates, at a cost of from 8 to 10 cents a day.

“Orders have already been received for 200 of the motors, the inventor said, and work will be started on the plant in a few days.”

Another article appeared in the December 1933 issue of Motorboating:

“Electrically Driven Boat Shown At Detroit

“One of the most interesting features of the Detroit Regatta week was the display, in the Hotel Whittier lobby, of the new Electri-Craft. This was the first public showing of this all-electric boat, which is being built by the Electri-Craft Corporation, of Syracuse, N.Y., and is being distributed nationally by the Electri-Craft Boat Company of Detroit.

“The Electri-Craft is particularly adaptable for use by women and children. It is also an ideal boat for the man who enjoys trolling. There are no starting problems, no lubrications problems, no noise, no fumes, and no mechanical complexities of any kind. Instead, the Electri-Craft starts at the turn of the button and is silently on its way.

“There are three speeds forward and three reverse. Low or trolling speed is about 1½ m.p.h. for a period of ten hours. Second speed is approximately 4½ m.p.h. good for better than sixteen hours. At top speed, the boat will run close to 8 m.p.h. with a cruising radius of approximately 32 miles.

“Recharging without removing the batteries or touching the terminals has been so simplified, that this takes only a moment’s time. Base plugs are fitted beneath each seat, and all that is necessary is to plug in the special Electri-Craft automatic charger which is supplied as standard equipment with the boat.

“Two outstanding features of the Electri-Craft are the lack of electrical loss between the battery and the motor, and lack of frictional loss between the motor and the propeller. The manufacturers guarantee the complete outfit for eighteen months.

“National sales of Electri-Craft are being handled by Leonard Thompson of 500 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit.”

The February 1935 issue of Motorboating annonuced that the 1935 EletriCraft line was “vastly improved”:

“Electri-Craft, the electrically-propelled boats produced by the Electri-Craft Corporation have been vastly improved for 1935. They are built in three different models known as the Angler, Standard and Streamline. The Angler is a 15-footer with one cockpit, seating six. Electrically propelled, from storage batteries, it has a single motor which drives it up to five miles per hour. The Standard is also a 15-footer of generally similar construction with backs of seats and cushions upholstered in waterproof cloth filled with Kapoc. Speeds of 3, 6 and 9 m.p.h. with reverse, controlled by special switches, are provided. Battery chargers are standard equipment. The Streamline is offered in regular and deluxe types, 18 feet in length, and finished throughout in exceptionally fine style. These models seat eight in two cockpits.”

The July 1935 issue of Motorboating announced the debut of Electri-Craft's new Streamline model:

“Streamlined Electri-Craft

“To the various regular models of electrically propelled watercraft manufactured by the Electri-Craft Corporation, at Syracuse, N.Y., there has recently been added a new streamlined hull in keeping with the modern principles of boat building.

“In this new Electri-Craft there are two combinations of speed because the electric power comes from two sources – eight batteries under the aft seat furnishing power for high and second speeds and tow batteries back of the forward seat furnishing power for low speed and lights. On a single charge of the batteries the streamline will operate a total of twenty-three hours at high and low speeds which would be the equivalent of 117 miles. Using second and low speeds the cruising range is forty hours or 195 miles.

“Among its numerous interesting features the Streamline offers a bronze construction suitable for salt water service, heavy skegs protecting the bow, rudder and propellers, leak-proof stuffing box, twin motors, generous storage space and cushions and seat backs of Kapok.”

In early 1936 Electri-Craft introduced an electric marine weed cutter with an adjustable cutting depth that could be mounted on any boat, Shipbuilding and Shipping Record reporting:

“Marine Grass Cutter

“If you’ve ever had to pole a boat through a heavy growth of seaweed or underwater plants of any kind; if you’ve ever had to clear a weed-fouled propeller; if the channel to your boathouse is so weed-choked that you –but let’s omit the profanity and examine a new weed cutter developed by Electri-Craft Corporation.

“This device consists of a circular saw which operates in a horizontal plane at the lower end of a shaft clamped to the stern of a row-boat. The cutter blade is between two plates which have periodic notches to ‘back up’ the plants being cut. The blade is protected by a vertical guard ring; and the shaft is hinged so that when this ring hits a stone or snag, the entire mechanism swings up. For power, this device depends upon a storage battery, the motor being built into the top of the shaft. In full cutting operation, the motor draws an average of 14 amperes.”

As late as 1965 a number of Electri-Craft boats were still in use at Cypress Gardens, a botanical garden and underwater theme park in Winter Garden, Florida.

On May 26, 1936 Julian S. Brown married wife number three, Mary Alice Rambo (aka Mary Ellis Rambeau - error). The marriage didn't last very long, his bride filed for an annulment the following year claiming Brown coudn't prove he was divorced from his second wife, Margaret Hanna, whom he married on September 25, 1922 - his first wife was Ethel Listman, whom he married on October 25, 1911.

The March 26, 1937 issue of the Syracuse Herald provided an overview of a typical day in court for Mr. Brown:

“Brown Takes Stand to Tell Of Jule Firm; Describes Operations of Concern That Made Motors for Boats

“Reverses Revealed: Witness Gives Detailed Account of Engine He Designed

“Julian S. Brown, erstwhile millionaire sportsman, went on the stand before Referee Edward N. Jackson Friday to describe his part in the operations of the Jule Motor Corporation, defunct plant which once manufactured outboard motors.

“Another bankruptcy matter effecting Brown, based on claims totaling $12,000 brought by Dr. Samuel F. Lamed, Syracuse Engineering Company and I. Fleischman & Sons, was to have been resumed before Federal Judge Frederick H. Bryant Friday morning but It was adjourned until 2 o'clock.

“Brown, questioned by George A. Langan, counsel to John H. Farnham, trustee in the Jule Motor Corporation bankruptcy, described the operations or the firm, in which he is said to have had the major financial interest, before it ceased activity in 1931.

“Brown went into a detailed description of the motor which he designed himself, the reverses the corporation suffered when the market for outboard motors fell off and the value of the machinery used in its manufacture.

“One by one he identified 30 items listed in an inventory of the assets of the factory. The inventory was prepared under the direction of the trustee and his counsel.

“Brown testified he had turned over all books, bank records and files pertaining to the defunct corporation to the late Frank Hodges, special master in the 1931 bankruptcy proceedings.

“It was the matter of records that precipitated a verbal clash last week between Langan and Laurence J. Sovik, representing the receiver for the Salt Springs National Bank which has an $18,000 Judgment against the corporation.

“Sovik, however, was not at the hearing before Referee Jackson though he appeared In Federal Court Friday morning when Judge Bryant recessed the trial of the other bankruptcy proceedings.

“The original books of the motor corporation, Brown testified, showed 'many thousands" of dollars had been spent on the development of the outboard motor which he designed. He said he advanced most of the money himself. The motors, he said, were practically worthless when the market became poor.

“Brown testified he owns the premises in which the Jule Motor Corporation was housed. A year or two after the firm ceased operations, the Electri-Craft Corporation occupied the building. Brown said.”

Although Brown was officially declared Bankrupt in late 1937, the auction of his most prized possessions, didn't take place until mid-1941, the June 15, 1941 issue of the Syracuse Herald reporting:

“Julian Brown Possessions Up At Auction

“$85,000 Brewerton Camp, $40,000 Yacht and Plant to Be Sold - GO THIS MONTH - Electric-Craft Building at East Syracuse Line for Sale June 26

“Julian S. Brown's remaining ‘Syracuse possessions,’ his $85,000 camp at Brewerton, his $40,000 yacht ‘Bubbles,’ and his massive Electri-Craft Corporation plant, will be sold this month at public auction to satisfy creditors.

“To those who know Brown, the sale of these three ‘items,’ as they are listed, were the inventor's sole interest here. His apartment houses, night club and restaurants were nothing more than mere business ventures he started during the Depression ‘to help the unemployed,’ as he has so often stated.

“The Electri-Craft plant, located in James Street, at East Syracuse village line, and its contents will be auctioned off June 26. The following day Auctioneer Myer Voit will stick up his flag at Brewerton and proceed to dispose of the camp, its furnishings and the yacht ‘Bubbles.’

“This was all brought about by Frank J. Cregg, Jr., trustee in Brown's current bankruptcy proceeding, who issued a trustee's order calling for the sale.

“Several months ago in a State Court litigation, Supreme Court Justice D. Page Morehouse held the Electri-Craft Corporation was fraud on creditors and that the assets belonged to creditors. There were three stockholders in the corporation, Brown, Frank Stimson and Robert Park and each hold one share.

“The latest legal maneuver came from Trustee Cregg who issued the order in an effort to speed up the liquidation of the bankrupt’s estate. Brown’s major creditor is the Salt Springs National Bank, represented by Laurence Sovik of Costello, Cooney & Fearon. The bank holds a $140,000 judgment against Brown.

“Of all the possessions Brown sought to save when his fortune started tumbling, the Electri-Craft plant, his camp and yacht were foremost. It was at the plant that he designed and made his famous electric motor boats that ran so silently through the water that they gave one the impression they were being towed by an invisible hand. In there he had all kinds of expensive equipment: Lathes, drills, grinders, jigs—all articles that should bring an exceptionally high price today, especially because of a general nationwide shortage of such machine tools. The building and property as well as the equipment will be sold. Brown invested over $80,000 in equipment for the plant alone. He erected the plant on land he inherited from his father, the late Alexander T. Brown.

“What can be realized from the camp is a matter of speculation. It is a two-story affair fronting the Oneida River and is lavishly furnished with mirrors, Oriental rugs and the like. The first floor is taken up with the kitchen and boat garage. Living quarters are on the second floor. The yacht Bubbles, a 40-footer, needs attention. At least Brown testified so at one of his many hearings before Special Master Francis J. Smith. Bubbles has been in drydock for acme time and the seams will need recaulking and the motor a checking before becoming seaworthy once again. Brown was proud of his yacht and testified at one time that while it was of special design, having narrow beam to increase her speed, he would never hesitate to start across Oneida Lake regardless of how bad a storm.

“Brown, incidentally, has been residing in Florida with his fourth wife and her two children for better than a year and it is doubtful if he will come back for the auction.”

The April 16, 1952 issue of the Syracuse Herald announced the final hearing of Brown's 16-year long brankruptcy proceedings:

“Court Ends Julian Brown Litigation

“THE UNITED STATES Court of Appeals for the Second District has brought to an end the 16-year-long Julian S. Brown bankruptcy proceedings which the court observed ‘have long been a bone of contention and a fruitful source of litigation ins Syracuse.’

“The decision reviewed briefly the long history of the Brown proceedings which began in 1929 with an inheritance from Brown's father. ‘Even this brief survey, touching only highlights, indicates the long and controversial litigation involved, though it does not set forth the bitterness engendered between the parties and lawyers’, the court observed.”

Brown passed away at his Daytona Beach summer residence on April 4, 1964, the April 7, 1964 issue of the Syracuse Post Standard included the following obituary which fails to mention the Julian automobile:

“J.S. Brown, inventor, dies at 77

“Julian S. Brown, 77, of Daytona Beach, Fla., formerly of Syracuse, died Saturday night in Daytona Beach after a short illness.

“A native of Syracuse, he resided here until moving to Florida seven years ago, Mr. Brown inherited $3.5 million from the estates of his father, Alexander T. Brown, inventor and head of Brown-Lipe-Chapin Co. at the time of his death in the late 1920s, and of his mother, Mrs. Mary L. Brown, a few years later.

For more than a quarter of a century Mr. Brown was involved in court proceedings stemming from four marriages and embroilment in bankruptcy claims.

“Coming into an inheritance of 12.5 million from the estate of his father about the time of the beginning of the depression, Brown entered into a series of ventures, including the construction of a night club at State St. and Erie Blvd. that failed.

“He inherited a $500,000 trust fund from his mother, contested the will, settled for the half million dollars and then lost most of it in payment to creditors. An inventor, Mr. Brown built a battery-powered electric motor for fishing boats that enjoyed a moderate success.

“He at one time pursued a lengthy investigation that resulted in the calculation that here were 50,000 lakes in the United States most of them in Florida. Surviving are several cousins. Services will be at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Greenleaf Funeral Home, 503 W. Onondaga St., the Rev. John L. Knight officiating. Burial will be in the family mausoleum in Oakwood Cemetery. There will be no calling hours.”

Among the assets left in his estate when Brown died was the Julian, which he kept in a Florida garage for several decades. After passing through a couple of owners the Julian ended up in the collection of William Harrah who mounted a through restoration of the car during the mid-1970s. Most recently the car was included in the 'What Were They Thinking? - The Misfits of Motordom' exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

© 2014 Mark Theobald for

Julian S. Brown patents:

US Pat No. 1088259 - Internal Combustion Engine – Filed Jun 19, 1911 - ‎Issued Feb 24, 1914 to Julian S. Brown
US Pat No. 1209389 - Internal Combustion Engine – Filed Apr 18, 1913, Awarded Dec 19, 1916 to Julian S. Brown
US Pat No. 1209390 - Rotary Valve Mechanism for Internal Combustion Engines – Filed Jan 8, 1914 Issued Dec 19, 1916 to Julian S. Brown
US Pat No. 1247498 - Internal Combustion Engine - ‎Filed Dec 3, 1913 - ‎Issued Nov 20, 1917 to Julian S. Brown
US Pat No. 1615613 – Power transmitting device for motor vehicles - ‎Filed Jul 15, 1922 - ‎Issued Jan 25, 1927 to Julian S. Brown
US Pat No. 1674093 – Sliding-gear power transmission mechanism - ‎Filed Dec 22, 1924 - ‎Issued Jun 19, 1928 to Julian S. Brown
US Pat No. 2572310 - Automotive transmission incorporating hydrodynamic couplings - ‎Filed May 25, 1950 - ‎Issued Oct 23, 1951 to Julian S. Brown, Jacksonville, Fla., assignor of one-half to Stewart W. Munroe, Los Angeles
US Pat No. 2860857 - Mixing apparatus for mixing materials of different characteristics - ‎Filed May 3, 1955 - ‎Issued Nov 18, 1958 to Julian S. Brown, Fayetteville, N.Y. assigned to Edmund L. Lewis, Syracuse, N.Y.







Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

William Martin Beauchamp - Past and present of Syracuse and Onondaga County, New York:  From Prehistoric Times to the Beginning of 1908, pub. 1908

Beverly Rae Kimes – The Classic Car, pub. 1990

Car Classics, February, 1977 issue

Karl S. Zahm – Julian: the Man, the Car, the Classic That Might Have Been - The Classic Car, Vol. 36, No. 3; September 1988 issue

Michael Lamm – 1925 Julian; Autoweek, Vol. 48 Issue 1, Jan. 5, 1998 issue, p25:

James W. Ogilvie & Justus Hayes Knowles - Wood Through Water; Classic Power Boats, pub 2003

Submit Pictures or Information

Original sources of information are given when available. Additional pictures, information and corrections are most welcome.

Click Here to submit pictures or information


quicklinks|buses|cars|customs|designers|fire apparatus|limos|pro-cars|taxis|trailers|trucks|woodies

© 2004-2014, Inc.|books|disclaimer|index|privacy