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Automobile Tops
Protecting The Motorist In Winter - 1912
Enclosing The Car For Winter Service - 1916
Inclosing The Car For Winter - 1918
Associated Builders


November 12, 1912 issue of the Automobile Journal:


“Convertible Bodies, Combining Qualities of Touring and Enclosed Types, Make for Convenience—Heating Devices, Their Method of Application and Operation.

“Now that a majority of owners use their automobiles the greater portion of the year, and many without regard to weather conditions, no matter what the season, the protection afforded by the enclosed body is superior to all others. By the term enclosed is not necessarily meant the coupe, Berline or limousine, but rather the type that will protect the passengers and operator as well from dust, mud, rain, wind, cold or other condition that can be avoided. With cars being used for more extended travel each year the manufacturer is providing comforts and conveniences obtain able with other forms of modern transportation.

“The designers of bodies have made wonderful progress since the days of the rear entrance to the tonneau. The side door types have been improved by the adoption of the torpedo with smooth sides and wind resisting lines, which construction has been refined to a remarkable degree. The development of the convertible body, a practical type providing the comforts of the limousine without detracting from the conveniences of the touring design, has made possible the utilization of one chassis the entire year without alteration of springs, etc. The weight is but a little more than the usual fore door type, and it will appeal particularly to the motorist maintaining but one machine, because of the convenience made possible through the combinations that are afforded so easily and quickly.

“The very general adoption of the fore door and enclosed bodies has brought about a change in the position of the control levers, the gate or quadrant being placed within the body at the right of the driver or in the center, the mounting depending upon the design. With this situation the equipping of the chassis with the convertible body is simplified.

“Convertible Designs.

A body of the convertible type and one that is the result of development extending over a period of several years is the product of the Springfield Metal Body Company, Springfield, Mass., shown in accompanying illustrations. While this normally is in appearance an open touring equipment of conventional design, it may be converted into an entirely enclosed body suited for service under all conditions of weather and temperatures, the combinations being secured without sacrificing any desired quality of either type, and the changes may be made in a very few minutes.

“With the body open there is a folded top carried under a dust cover and a windshield mounted on the scuttle dash. There is no abnormal appearance or unsightly projection to call attention to the fact that the body can be entirely enclosed with glass windows. With the top raised, access is not impeded nor is the vision obstructed, and the maker points out that the elimination of buttoned side curtains makes for convenience of the passengers, as does the use of straight side supports instead of bows at varying angles.

“Removable Windows.

“The windshield is not divided and has a heavy frame while the body has the usual side doors for the front and rear seats, not unlike those of the average enclosed car with drop door windows. In these doors, concealed by heavy padding, are recesses into which the windows fold and are covered by leather flaps which button down. When the windows are raised they are spring retained. At the back of the front seat is a receptacle for the windows in their frames, and the pocket is utilized when the equipment is used in its open form, in warm weather, for instance.

“The construction is best explained by the process of converting from the enclosed form into the open or touring type, the operation being shown in the accompanying illustrations The door is opened to a right angle position and held with one hand while the flap is unbuttoned, the window raised and folded down and the flap secured at the top. The windows proper are next removed by unscrewing the ball handled knobs sufficiently to allow the frames to be lifted out, after which they are placed in the receptacle on the back of the front seats.

“Folding Top

“After the back curtains are unbuttoned three screws on each side of the body are loosened with a wrench provided for this purpose, and the catches holding the front horizontal bows to the glass front on each side are unlocked by pressing upward on projecting levers. The front horizontal bow is swung up until it unlocks the front vertical member. The inner end of the first named bow is then swung down parallel with the vertical member and entered into a projecting lug in a locking hole. Between each pair of bows is a concealed joint which is broken so that it will fold down easily when carrying the bows back. The front bows are then carried back and the others in order, entering the lowest one in the fastening studs first and each succeeding bow on top of it, after which the holding screws are tightened and the slip cover placed in position.

“It is obvious that the construction makes for convenience, as with the top raised it is a simple matter to take the windows from their receptacle and place them in their openings should their service be desired. With the windows in position the entire body, with seven passengers, perhaps, may be enclosed so as to give the best of protection against the cold or rain and the occupants may leave the car or enter it at will through the doors. The windshield swings from the top in its frame and affords any degree of ventilation. It may be cleared of accumulations of water or snow by the use of a scraper.

“The designer points out that the fabric top does not serve as a sounding board and conversation may be carried on without inconvenience in ordinary tones. All joints are screw retained, eliminating opportunity of rattling and the upholstery is in keeping with the comfortable design. The bodies are constructed both for touring and roadster cars and can be made to fit almost any standard chassis of modern manufacture.

“Curtain Devices.

“The ingenuity of the top manufacturer has solved one of the vexing problems of side curtains, which form means of protecting the occupants of the car from chilling winds or the weather. These members when fitted properly exclude the cold, but the entrance and egress of the passengers is restricted in that sections of the curtains must be unbuttoned or detached. When not fitted to the top they are stored under the seat or in some other convenient place, and adjusting them to position requires time.

“These conditions have been overcome in the Jiffy curtains, made by the Jiffy Auto Curtain Company, Detroit, which are standard equipment on several 1913 models. Instead of being carried under the seat the Jiffy curtains are in the top in sections, three to each side, and are retained when not in service by straps. They are strung on rust proof wires at the side of the body and each section overlaps the other, just enough to make the car weather proof, irrespective of the direction of the wind or rain. Snap buttons are utilized to join the sections, and each is secured to the outside of the body on adjustable wires. When a passenger desires to leave the car the curtain is slid and compressed. As they depend from steel cables and are swung inward and upward, they are concealed from view and fold easily with the top. Vertical windows are provided and so fitted that they do not interfere with the operation of the curtains.

“For the motorist whose chassis is not equipped with an enclosed or convertible type of body, the manufacturer has provided ingenious robes, as well as wearing apparel, which contribute to comfort in winter driving. Those who have experienced the difficulty of arranging the robe to exclude draughts and at the same time permit of easy access to the clutch and brake pedals will appreciate the Burlington Sho-Fur mat robe, made by the Burlington Blanket Company, Burlington, Wis. It is provided with two pockets for the feet as shown in an accompanying illustration, the arrangement permitting freedom of operation.

“Another design made by the same company and produced in individual or dual form, comprises a mat to which is secured the robe. The former prevents the cold from reaching the feet and ankles of the passengers and makes it a simple matter to arrange the robe in such manner as to exclude the cold. The design also dispenses with the annoyance of uncovering anyone except the person who desires to leave the machine, a convenient detail in construction.”

Nov. 10, 1916 issue of The Automobile Journal:

“Enclosing the Car for Winter Service

“Converting the Open Roadster of Touring Car Into a Closed Car for Use while Jack Frost Has the Land in His Grip – Description of Representative ‘Ready-To-Install’ Tops for Standard Chassis.

“Among the more noticeable tendencies in the progress of the motor car industry is the practise of providing cars with tops that will admit of their being used continuously throughout the year. The superstructure of several standard cars for 1917 are so constructed that the interiors can be easily and quickly enclosed for protection against the cold and storms of winter and left open for summer driving. The owners of cars not so equipped have evinced a desire to obtain the same range of operation, and consequently the makers of special bodies and tops have this year concentrated more than ever on the production of 'ready-to-install' tops that can be mounted on almost any standard chassis, and at very reasonable prices.

“Value of Changeable Tops.

“The range of choice in that type of top is extremely wide, and in every case they provide the maximum of comfort and generally add much to the exterior appearance of the car. They compare favorably in appearance with the built-on enclosed bodies and the degree of protection against the elements that makes for luxurious operation in winter time. They provide opportunity for the owner to obtain the greatest possible use of his machine, making it unnecessary to lay up the car for the winter, a factor that is appreciated by every one, whether they use the car for pleasure or business.

“Until recent years it was almost universal practice to store the car for the winter, the owner taking to the street car, railroad train or "shank's mare" when cold weather arrived. He not only thus ties up a considerable amount of money, as represented in the cost of the machine, from which he was obtaining no return, but also was paying out money for transportation by other methods when he had in his motor car one of the best and most flexible means of travel, but was unable to use it. The enclosed winter body and top have changed the complexion of the situation, and manufacturers are reporting this year the greatest demand for bodies for winter use they ever experienced.

“All Season Service.

“Among the changeable tops now obtainable the majority are superior in appearance and service to the top that comes on some cars as standard equipment. Most of them can be left on the machine throughout the year without detracting from appearances or comfort.

“These tops are built for the smaller and cheaper cars, as well as for the very expensive models. On the latter they are designed in keeping with the finish of the car and have sliding glass windows, overhead lighting equipment and all the luxurious appointments of a  limousine top. They can be taken od or mounted with little loss of time and the mini mum of labor and are comparatively low In cost considering the many advantages they afford.

“In the following will be found descriptions and illustrations of several representative tops that are now on the market. It is impracticable to present here the full details of. their construction and method of installation; such information is obtainable from the manufacturers, whose names are given with each description.

“Tops for Ford Cars.

“The TopFord, which is described as 'the perfect limousine for Fords,' by Its manufacturer, the Detachable Limousine Company, Inc., of Hempstead, N. Y., when adjusted to the Ford touring car, becomes a part of the car itself and is snug, tight, weather proof and will not leak or rattle. Metal and wood is used in. its construction and there are no canvas or leather curtains. The top includes a polished plate glass windshield and the windows and doors are set with clear crystal glass and in a manner to prevent them from rattling. The frame is of a seasoned wood with heavily nickeled trimmings. A light colored lining is used on the interior and slip covers are furnished to match, giving the interior of the car a handsome upholstered appearance. The equipment included with this top for the touring cars includes a dome light, flower vase and silk curtains for the side and rear windows. The top for Ford touring cars sells for $135 and for Ford, runabouts the price is $110, both prices being F.O.B. Hempstead.

“This concern attracted considerable attention in the top industry through its Introduction of the Scripps-Booth top for the eight-cylinder, cloverleaf body on that make of chassis, and also its Buick Nassau winter top. The Scripps-Booth top has a close resemblance to a custom made job and it is in perfect harmony with the lines of the body. A three-plymahogany veneer, velvet finish on the rear and middle sections and doors gives it an ultra modern and distinctive appearance. The top sets perfectly flush with the body and is attached in a manner that conceals all the irons. James S. Booth of the Scripps-Booth company, who has distinguished himself as a body designer, co-operated in the design of this body.

“A Top Made of Agasote.

“The Buick-Nassau top is entirely of agasote and is without a single jointed panel. It is made of one piece, which ex- * tends entirely around the body from one side of the windshield to the other. The windshield is made in three pieces of thievery latest design and with attachments for controlling the ventilation and setting the sections as desired. The interior finish is in keeping with the high class work throughout and slip covers to match the lining are furnished. Additional equipment includes a vanity case, * electric cigar lighter, vase, umbrella stand and electric dome light.

“Brunn & Co., Inc., of Buffalo, N. Y., builds for high class cars an exclusive type of enclosed body which has a number of distinctive features. The illustrations at the head of this page shows one of these bodies on a Marmon car, belonging to Glenn H. Curtiss, the famous aviator and aeroplane manufacturer. A feature of these bodies is the pointed front shield, which is made in two sections. When mounted on a Cadillac the lamps and ventilators are in the cowl, while a removable trunk rack is fitted on the rear deck. The sidelights and windows can be dropped completely out of sight and the centre pillars are removable, leaving the car open from the front to back for
driving on mild days.

“Wadsworth 'All Season' Tops.

“The 'All Season' limousine top for Ford cars, manufactured by the Wadsworth Manufacturing Company of Detroit, Mich., can be fitted to the 1915 or 1916 Ford touring car or roadster without any changes whatever to the body or the windshield. They can also be attached to the 1913 or 1914 models byusing the De Luxe combined windshield and cowl, for which an additional charge of $12 is made. Fitting close to the body, with no overhang or unsightly attachments showing, the tops are extremely attractive and greatly improve the appearance of the cars. The materials used in the interior are the same as are used in trimming Ford cars and the top meets the windshield in such a manner that the latter may be opened and closed and yet is rain or dust proof. The tops sell at $55 each, f. o. b. factory Detroit. The Wadsworth company also makes a line of tops for Studebaker cars, Buicks and other models.

“The Limousine Top Company of Kalamazoo, Mich., manufacturer of demountable limousine and coupe tops, make a specialty of two types, known as the De Luxe models for Chalmers and Haynes cars. The construction throughout is of the very highest quality and in keeping with the high grade specifications followed out by the most expert body builders. The frames are made of hard wood and put together with glue and screws and the rear quarter and deck is of solid construction of best material. First quality hard wood stock is used in the side panels and door frames. Wherever curved or bent glass is necessary to conform to graceful body lines it is used, and the entire design is in keeping with the form of the main bodies on both the touring cars of each make, as well as the roadsters. The beautiful interior finish is greatly enhanced by an electric dome light and silk curtains in the back and side tonneau windows. They are designed to meet the requirements of both summer and winter use, the side panels and doors being detachable. Prices on the various models are as follows: De Luxe sedan top for Haynes touring car models 36-37, $275; De Luxe coupe top for Haynes roadster model 36, $275: De Luxe closed top for Chalmers Six-30, five-passenger touring car, $275; De Luxe closed top for Chalmers Six-40, seven-passenger touring car, $300. All prices f. o. b. Kalamazoo, Mich.

“White's Limousine Top for Fords (Open).

“An enclosed limousine top and an enclosed roadster top for Ford cars is manufactured by the Geo. White BuggyCompany of Rock Island, 111. The limousine top for the Ford touring cars, 191516 models, which sells for $65, is designed for permanent use. It meets all the requirements of winter operation, and for summer has many advantages over the standard folding tops. The doors are perfectly hinged and open and shut as a unit with the doors in the body of the car. It is fitted to the irons that come on the Ford bodies and can be attached in a short'time. For summer use the panels and doors in the side may be removed, leaving a clear opening from the windshield to the rear curtains. Curtains for summer use instead of the panels may be obtained from the manufacturer at a slight additional cost. The roadster top for the same model Fords sells for $50.

“KoupetTops for Fords.

“The 'KoupetTop' for Ford roadsters, made by the Heinzelman Brothers Carriage Company, Belleville, Ill., is really a De Luxe product of its type for this model of car, having five heavy glass panels and windshield. The panels above the door slide easily on hangers to admit of entrance and the rear panel, which is extra large, swings outwardly and is held in position by self locking hinges. The upper and lower sections of the windshield may be swung either outwardly or inwardly and are held in place by the locking hinges. The roof is dome shaped and is covered with a weather proofed fabric and the interior is lined .to match the car. The top, which is fastened onto the body by the top prop irons, cap be removed and in one piece by simply loosening the bolts. The 'KoupetTop' for the 1915 Ford roadster is $80 and $82 for the 1914 model. The Heinzelman Brothers Carriage Company also make a Light Model Top for Ford roadsters which sells for $37.50.

“The Fouts & Hunter Carriage Manufacturing Company, Terre Haute, Ind., makes tops known as the Cozy Cab line. The "Limousine" line, including both touring and roadster tops, are sold direct from the factory to Ford owners. The De Luxe line is sold to dealers.

“The limousine tops have curtains mounted on special made steel spring rollers, with the front and back edges working in a metal groove 1% inches deep, which holds them rigid and prevents rattling or displacement. The tops are designed for use in all seasons and can be thrown open instantly by the driver or any occupant without stopping the car. This feature is an excellent one and is appreciated when a shower comes up suddenly. The driver may enclose his car without getting out in the rain and when it is over he can throw the sides open again with four motions of the hand.

“The Cozy Cab limousine top sells for $48.50 and the Cozy Cab roadster top at $32.50, both prices f. o. b. Terre Haute, Ind.

“Complete Line of A-W Tops.

“A distinctive line of tops of the allweather convertible type, with glass doors and panels, which not only meets all the requirements of the all-weather car, but greatly adds to its appearance, is manufactured by the Adams-Williams Manufacturing Company, 1790 Broadway, New York City. This concern makes these tops for Fords, Dodge cars, Cadillacs and other makes. In applying these tops no alterations or changes are necessary in the body of the car and when removed the body is left as clean and in as good condition as it was originally.

“There are several important and new features incorporated in the construction, which with the exception of the rear bow, is all metal and steel. The glass windows and panels are set in steel frames which are proof against shocks or severe usage. A patented construction of the top prevents weaving of the frame or the communication of any body movement to the glass. The occupants can use one or more panels as desired. They are retained by a concealed spring that is operated by the fingers, and when all the panels are removed and the top is up the car cannot be distinguished from a touring car. When the body is all enclosed for stormy weather good ventilation is afforded, although' dust, snow, rain or wind cannot enter.

“Distinct tops are built for each model of car. The Ford can be fitted out in two hours, either the 1915, 1916 or 1917 models, either touring or runabout bodies. For Pierce-Arrows, Locomobiles and other cars with varying body lines it takes longer to equip them with "A-W" tops, as the lines of the tops are made to harmonize with the lines of the car bodies. The Ford tops attached to touring cars are priced at $85, and the runabouts, attached, $60. These tops can be converted either for open touring with the hood folded back or completely enclosed within three minutes.

“The Anchor Buggy Company, Cincinnati, O., makes the Anchor sedan glass enclosed top for Ford touring cars and the Anchor coupe glass enclosed top for the two rear doors, equipped with improved anti-rattling attachments, are furnished for $5 extra. For similar equipment in both front and rear doors, which is called the Anchor sedan (style C), the price is $87. The price of the Anchor coupe for Ford roadsters is $62.50 without ventilating windows and $67.50 with. Additional equipment may be had for both types, including a frosted dome electric light wired complete to attach to batteries for $5; storm curtains made of water proofed rubber, with mica lights, to be used when side windows and doors are taken out, $10; storm curtains for runabout top, $7.50.

“Top for Oakland 32.

The Anchor glass enclosed top for a regular Oakland 32 body is a regular coach construction of pressed steel and wood, with solid deck roof, covered with water proof upholstering material. The doors and top of car open together and the hardware throughout is of neat design. Whipcord lining is used on the interior of the top, which is also equipped with electric dome light. The price of this type is $125. For the same model Oakland roadster Anchor tops are made of similar design and material at a price of $100. All prices are f. o. b. Cincinnati.

“Springfield Top Notch Tops.

The Springfield Commercial Body Company, Springfield, Mass., manufactures a line of tops for Ford and Maxwell cars which are known in the trade as "Springfield Top-Notch Tops." These are built to fit so closely that they are absolutelynoiseless and rattle proof and the windshield when closed fits flush with the roof of the top, making it impossible for rain, dust or wind to penetrate the interior. The same materials used in finishing the car are used as trimmings in finishing up these tops, giving the "job" a tailored appearance. Heavy glass is used throughout in the panels in place of celluloid or other glass substitutes. The back is of solid metal on the Maxwell tops and the frame and workmanship throughout show substantial construction and beautiful design. The Maxwell tops sell at $150 each f. o. b. factory, Springfield, Mass., and the Ford at $57.50.

“Types of Detroit Tops.

“The Detroit Weatherproof Body Company of Detroit, Mich., makes a large variety of detachable limousine tops that can be fitted to 10 different car models.

“These tops are attached to the regular body irons and do not leave any scratches or defacing marks upon the car when detached. They come completely equipped with lighting equipment and exceptionally fine interior finishes.

“The prices on the tops for the different models are as follows: For Hudson Super-Six phaeton (including three-piece built in windshield), $160; Chandler 1916-17 seven-passenger touring (including three-piece built in windshield), $160; Cadillac 1916 touring (including rain vision visor to be fitted to standard windshield), $160; Chalmers Six-30 fivepassenger (including rain visor to be fitted to standard windshield), $140; Buick D-45 Light Six, $125; Overland model 83, $115; Maxwell standard touring car, $100; Chevrolet Four-Ninety, $90; Ford standard touring (including rain vision ventilating shield), $77; Ford roadster (including rain vision ventilating windshield), $70.”

December 5, 1918 Motor Age:

“Inclosing The Car For Winter

“Tops That Help Make Driving In Cold Weather Free From Chill

“By B. M. Ikert, Motor Age Editorial Staff

“The first requirement of winter driving is to keep out the cold. If a heater is installed there must be adequate assurance that heat so derived is retained, otherwise, it would be like opening all the windows and doors of your home in zero temperature and at the same time piling on fuel in the firebox of the heating plant. A closed car body is the connecting link, so far as the car owner and cold weather is concerned, and it is possible to either realize or approximate an inclosed body in various ways.

“Side Curtains and Top

“First, we have the regular top that comes with the car, from which can be suspended the usual side curtains, forming a more or less closed body job. This is all right as far as it goes, but the arrangement is far from satisfactory when the curtains have to be left on all winter. Side curtains are really intended to be used only in summer, against occasional showers. They obscure the vision of the driver and passengers to a great extent, and the celluloid windows of some do not last long, due to the severe uses in winter. They are very much in the way when put on, as one must constantly unbutton this or that fastener to get out.

“Then there is the arrangement whereby the car's regular top is used in connection with heavy side curtains, forming an inclosure that is infinitely much better than the side-curtain affair first mentioned. The door curtains on the second job usually open and close with the doors, and the opening in the curtains for opening the doors generally is covered with a flap of some sort to keep cold air out. The windows are generally of celluloid and the owner's present top is utilized.

“Another arrangement is possible whereby the owner's present top is used. This consists of what is referred to as a glass inclosure, made by setting frames around the sides of the car, perfectly fitted to the windshield, with glass windows for ventilating. In many cases the frames are covered with imitation leather.

“A fourth method of inclosure is that of a detachable top built of wood and specially made for each car. On most of these jobs the doors are full sized and require taking off the doors of the touring car. These doors are fitted usually with dropping glasses and special forms of lifting devices. The balance of the glass in sides and rear is generally stationary. Also, the interior of such a top can be upholstered in whatever form the owner desires and slip covers made for the balance of the job so the whole will harmonize. Such tops are, of course, not kept in stock, as each owner has some particular points he wishes to incorporate. Consequently, in such cases it is necessary to drive to an establishment making such tops and have the latter fitted directly to the job.

“Finally, we have a scheme for housing the owner conveniently with a winter top designed so as to pull right over the present top, making a double top and affording greater protection against the cold. When in position it resembles much the permanent types of winter tops, but has the advantage that it can be slipped on or off readily. On one of these types the top hugs the sides of the body snugly, being stiffened with light steel strips that eliminate any flapping also. Such a top weighs this side of 40 lb. and can be put on or taken off by one person.

“Many Tops for Fords

“In choosing a winter top the owner in his haste to provide means for keeping out cold should not lose sight of ventilation. This is taken care of in those types of winter tops where the old top is discarded by proper windshield construction and the dropping glasses in the doors. Also see that the top, especially if for a roadster, does not weigh too much and that the parts are so designed that continual use. does not produce vibration and squeaks. Glass will break sometimes, and it is well to see that the frames on the glass-inclosed types are built so that the new glass can be built easily. Most of the more permanent or all-season tops are fitted with an electric dome light, with the wires concealed in the woodwork. Where such wires are not provided and the owner later on desires to equip thus, it is possible very often to run the wires underneath the top lining or under the moldings on the sides.

“Ford owners are very lucky in that there are an almost endless variety of winter tops for Fords. Some of them are neatly made and give a touch of elegance to the Ford not readily obtained with the usual top and side curtains. They also in many cases incorporate rain vision and ventilating types of windshields. The regular Ford top and side curtains are hardly strong enough to cope with winter, and the owner of such a car probably would be money ahead if he invested in a good winter top and carefully stored the old one and curtains for warmer weather.

“While many of the winter tops are made in one locality and shipped to any point, whereupon the owner must install it himself, there are those concerns catering only to the local trade and to whom the owners must drive with their cars and leave them there for from, say, three days to a week or more, while the top is fitted. It must be understood that irons must be fashioned to fit in certain places, and this cannot be done without the car on the premises. As might be expected, such a place is capable of rendering special service, and in many cases no two jobs are alike. Thus, what is true of one city is true of another, and in the larger cities there may be perhaps from three or four to a dozen or more concerns equipped to do special work*. In fact, many of the concerns specializing in custom bodies for the higher priced cars also are equipped to make up any form.

“One of the concerns so equipped is the Chicago Coach & Carriage Co., Chicago, which follows along three distinct lines in its winter inclosures. They are the curtain inclosure, glass inclosure and detachable top. One of the illustrations shows the curtain construction on a Winton, the job costing about $150. The old top is used and the curtains open with the doors. Flaps keep out cold air. The glass inclosure is accomplished by wood frames covered with imitation leather placed around the sides of the car and fitted with glass panels. Such a job affords much light and also uses the present top. A four-passenger job of this type costs about $250; five-passenger, $275, and seven-passenger, about $300. Such a top is shown herewith on a Pierce-Arrow.

“The third method of this company is shown in the illustration of a Fiat. This job costs about $1,100 to $1,500, depending on size and material. The old doors are removed for this outfit and the interior upholstered any way the owner desires. Slip covers are made to harmonize and electric lights can be easily installed. All this work is special, inasmuch as none is kept in stock, but is built up according to design passed on by the owner. It is advisable to have all three styles of inclosures shop-installed, but the first two can be handled by the owner if necessary.

“The Marmon Chicago Co., Chicago, makes tops for all models and makes of cars. They are not carried in stock, but patterns are available for making them up to suit the owner's whims. Prices vary with style. The concern carries its own trim department and is equipped to build any kind or style of top wanted. There is also to be had a winter side curtain with glass windows, provided with ventilators, also an opening for the driver to signal. The concern also makes up a special glass side with wood molding to fit under the touring top. It requires normally about four days to install one of these tops, as special brackets and irons have to be made for each ear. Curtains are held securely in place by steel bands bolted to the inside of the body and top frame, sewed securely to top material and back curtain. A curtain equipment for a Marmon 34 roadster and touring car costs $125 and $145 respectively. This Top Is Demountable

“The Limousine Top Co., Kalamazoo, Mich., makes the DeLuxe demountable limousine tops for the Franklin, Premier, Chalmers, Cadillac, Haynes and Liberty cars. In these tops the touring top is not used and the company builds in its own windshield of the rain-vision type. In design and quality these tops compare favorably with a regular limousine body and are painted with fifteen coats of paint. Wood panels are fitted with plate glass set in channel rubber. Blocks and handles are furnished in the demountable top doors, the door locks of the touring body being held back and not in use when the winter top is on. The top section of all door glasses drops down for ventilation, sliding in felt covered steel channel as in limousine construction. Inside is neatly trimmed with back and side tonneau windows provided with silk roll curtains. An electric dome light is furnished also. The side panels and door frames can be easily slipped out, thus making a summer top. When desired side curtains can be provided for storms when the sides are removed. Prices on these tops vary from $275 to $400.

“A complete line of winter tops for all models of cars is made by the Staver Motor Car Co., Chicago, and tops are kept in stock for cars such as Chalmers, Buick, Hudson, Chevrolet, Chandler, Maxwell, Overland. This is made with glass windows and Pyraline windows in the doors, which slide up between the top and the deck lining, and is a permanent sedan top, as the sides are removable for summer. For Fords, Dodge Brothers, Oakland and Oldsmobile models the tops are made entirely with glass windows, with two ventilators, door handles properly upholstered and trimmed. The company is prepared to build for any make of car the Staver Utility or Staver Luxury top. The Utility top is made of wood fitted to each car and covered with material to match the goods of the touring top and the inside to match the lining of the top. It is fitted with heavy Pyraline windows, rear panels hinged for ventilation; japanned outside door handles and inside pull to handles. Prices range from $42.50 to $75 for roadsters and from $65 to $100 for touring cars. The Luxury top is much like the Utility, but glass is used in the panels with anti-rattlers,' nickel-plated door handles, etc. Prices range from $85 to $165 for roadsters and $140 to $225 for touring cars. The company's sedan tops can be installed by the purchaser in about one day. Utility and Luxury tops require about four or five days, as they have to be made up special.

“Inclosure Made by Dealer

“A well designed job of curtain inclosure is that put out by the Schillo Motor Sales Co., Chicago, shown herewith installed on an Elgin six. This inclosure was designed1 by J. F. Cummings and is applicable to any make of car, necessitating, however, that the car be driven to the premises, as it takes about four days for cutting and fitting. The touring top is utilized and the sides are made up to match the top, the inside being lined also the same as the top. The celluloid windows are exceptionally heavy and special attention is given for a snug fit around the sides of the car body, glove fasteners being used extensively. Flaps to keep out the cold are provided over the door handles and the driver is able to signal by a similar flap. The curtains, of course, open with the doors, the latter being ironed and braced for this.

“The Auto Cape Top Co., Chicago, makes a winter top that slips right over the touring top, thus forming double protection against cold. It is thoroughly windproof, as it fits snugly the top edge of the body and its sides are stiffened by light steel strips, thus eliminating any flapping. Doors open and close with curtains attached. Wind strips around the doors make it impossible for wind or rain to penetrate. The job weighs only 35 lb. and costs $55 for a Dodge Brothers touring car and $35 for the roadster. The top is made to match the regular top. The concern points out the fact that this winter top protects the summer top, saves the wear and tear on it and takes care of any small leaks that might exist in the regular top.

“The Rex Mfg. Co., Connersville, Ind., manufactures the Rex all-season top. These are not kept in stock but are sold as standard equipment on cars or through various branches, distributors, and dealers. The Rex tops are not made up with celluloid curtains, but windows are of plate glass. The sides are removable and all tops are equipped with special rain curtains for use in emergencies in summer when the car's sides are removed. The touring top is not utilized, as the Rex replaces same. All tops are regularly equipped with electric dome light, wires being concealed. Ventilation is secured by the sliding glass in the doors, the upper half sliding in velvet-lined channels. The Rex top differs from the conventional types in that it is an all-season affair and once installed need never be removed. In the springtime, it is possible to keep out rain by quick-acting curtains which are hidden in a pocket in the top until handily dropped into position. During the summer, when side panels have been removed, passengers and driver are afforded a clear vision. This is also true when the panels are installed for winter use. The doors fit snugly and open both inside and outside. The interior is upholstered to harmonize with the other appointments of the car, and the general lines of the top are made up to conform to the make and model of car on which it is installed. Ordinarily, the price of the Rex top motor car averages about $200 more than the price of a model that is fitted with a cloth top.

“Another concern which specializes in an all-weather top is the Detroit Weatherproof Body Co., Pontiac, Mich. Tops are kept in stock for Fords, Chevrolets, Overlands, Buick, Maxwell, Hudson, Chalmers, Chandler cars, with prices varying from $87.50 for a Ford roadster to $190 for Hudson Super-Six top. This top displaces the touring top entirely, since it can be opened on all sides, leaving just the windshield and the rear quarter supporting the top. The owner can install this in approximately 3 hr. The rear quarter, back and sides are of glass, the doors being of heavy celluloid sewed into the leather door, being bound around with spring steel, frame reinforced at different points by A-in. round iron. Doors slide in a channel disappearing into the top, where one door slides over the other permitting them to lie flat out of sight, and out of the way when not in use. The operation is similar to the action of a roll-top desk, except that the doors lie flat as mentioned. Dome lights are supplied on some of the models with wires therefor concealed, affording a neat installation. The feature is the double decking air space between top covering and inner lining said to make the tops cool in summer and warm in winter. These tops are attached to the regular body irons of the car and fit flush with the sides. The interior lining and trimming are of limousine cloth. Ventilation is secured by opening the flexible Pyraline in the top of the door which also allows full freedom for traffic signaling. This concern also manufactures a line of winter tops for commercial cars.

“Alvey Eliminates Regular Top

“The Alvey All-Year top made by the Wardway Vehicle Works, Chicago Heights, Ill., eliminates the use of the regular touring top and is made for Fords, Dodge Brothers, and Overland cars. The roof of this type is built of wood on a substantial frame, the back part being also of wood with rounded corners reinforced with heavy galvanized iron. The windows are celluloid. The ceiling is covered with limousine cloth and the cloth lining in the roof fastens with glove fasteners so it may be easily removed when desired. The top weighs from 50 to 75 lb. for roadsters and 75 to 110 lb. for touring models. The top may be changed from a closed to open model in less than 3 min. Curtains can be raised and lowered similar to a window shade. A cloth is attached to the top of the curtain and this cloth winds on a roller pulling the curtain up into the top between the ceiling and roof. Thus the curtains are always in place ready to be pulled down to close the car. The Alvey all-year top costs $65 for Ford roadsters and $85 for touring, while the prices for Dodge Brothers roadster and touring are $85 and $125 respectively. The same is true of the Overland models.

“The A-W convertible top is made for all makes and models of cars by Adams-Williams Mfg. Corp., New York. Cars so fitted, however, have to be taken to the factory for installation, as the company is prepared to ship tops ready for attaching to Fords only. The concern is also prepared to ship skeleton frames or untrimmed tops for variety of makes and models to dealers who are in a position to do their own trimming as well as attaching the tops. The old top is eliminated and the A-W can be attached to a Ford in about 4 hr. The top is made to fold as a one-man top but with the same converging shape characteristic of permanent tops. After the top is raised it takes but a few minutes to install the glass side panels fully and completely inclosed. The glass door panels become a part of the door as in regular inclosed bodies opens and close with the doors, and there are no ugly points or crevices to admit rain or snow. The light window frames are made of steel and the top is so constructed that it will not shrink, rattle or warp.

“The Anchor Top & Body Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, manufactures demountable glass-inclosed tops for Buick, Overland, Oakland, Ford, Dodge Brothers and Oldsmobile cars. Prices range from $77.50 to $250. Tops are installed by both consumers and dealers, and the average length of time required for installing is 4 or 5 hr. The tops are so arranged that doors open with regular body doors, except on Fords, and are equipped with ventilating windows on all four doors. An electric dome light is furnished on all models except the Ford. Anchor tops are made of hard wood, reinforced with pressed steel, and a rigid deck is covered with a weatherproof material while the sides including window and door sections are highly finished wood. The windows are arranged so that the upper or outer panes slide in felt channels. Special. fasteners hold this glass in any position. Installation is easily made, as the top comes ready to be replaced on the car body. The top irons to which the regular extension top is attached are used as the foundation for Anchor tops. Each iron is marked where it is to be used and how it is to be fastened.

“'Over the Top' for Ford cars is a product of the Auto Remodeling Co., Chicago, and consists of a non-supportable top, that is, the top is supported by the present summer top. It fully incloses the car and attaches to the body in a snug and tight manner. Arrangement is such that top and door operate as a unit. This top is made of a heavy mohair and fitted with celluloid, and all edges are bound and heavily reinforced. Large windows afford an abundance of light and by its application, the makers state, the top preserves the standard top, gives a double-deck and double-back curtain and fastens securely to windshield with patented devices. It comes to the user in a paper carton and when unwrapped is ready to slip on. The ventilation is secured by opening the windshield. The price of the touring model is $47.50 and that of the roadster $28.50.

“Top of Limousine Lines

“A winter top for Cadillac cars is made by Erdman-Guider Co., Detroit. This concern does not manufacture tops as a stock provision, nor for any car but Cadillacs, but takes care of special orders. It requires about one day to install this top, and the price averages about $450. This top is built along the lines of a limousine top and is equipped with a three-piece rain vision, ventilating windshield with all three sections adjustable. All windows and door corners are rounded. Plate glass is used throughout, including a large rear window. The whole top is trimmed in tan Bedford cloth with high grade seaming and pasting lace to match. An artistic type flush dome light with cut star globe controlled with an independent limousine switch is furnished. High grade silk curtains with automatic rollers are furnished on three rear windows. The doors are equipped with a limousine handle, which opens both top and door with one operation. Doors open as one solid limousine door. Upper windows in all doors drop for ventilating purposes. The top is painted black. When properly mounted, the top is guaranteed not to rattle or to rub on body and has none of the overhanging effect and fits perfectly. Approximately 250 lb. are added to the weight of the car by the top.

“The Snug-Tite Limoutop Co., Chicago, is marketing a neat winter top for Ford cars selling for $40 for the touring and $30 for the roadster models. The wood sides are made of seasoned poplar carefully mortised together by cabinet makers. The front end of the Limoutop is mortised to fit the windshield securely, and a cross piece connects the two sides, extending across the top and closing the space above the windshield while keeping the side pieces securely fastened against it. This does not interfere with opening the windshield. To equip a Ford with a Limoutop it is only necessary to loosen the nut where the rear bows fasten, then take out the cotter-pin, which holds the front bow, as though one were going to lower the top. The Limoutop slips right in place, there being a special attachment to drop over the iron on a car body to which the bow of the top fastens, thus making the Limoutop as solid as part of the car. The complete job weighs 40 lb. The door of the new top fastens securely to the door on the car, and the two open as one. The exterior is given three coats of black enamel and the interior two. Doors have attractive handles which add to the appearance, and plenty of light is afforded by use of large transparent celluloid panes which are unusually heavy. The company is prepared to furnish this type for Fords ranging as far back as 1914, which model cannot be fitted owing to the slanting windshield.

“The Fouts & Hunter Co., Terre Haute, Ind., makes the Cozy top for Ford roadsters and touring cars. The company uses 44-oz. material known as Carrubber. In the making of the roof a solid side and end piece frame similar to limousine construction gives the thin flat lines characteristic of high grade closed cars. The strong feature of this top is the automatic curtain. It is always ready and yet never in the way. It is out of sight under the" roof when an open car is wanted but can be drawn into position in an instant. These tops can be attached by anyone in a short time, as they come with fittings adjustable to the regular Ford top irons. The price of the Cozy roadster top is $59 and that of the touring $83.50. The weight of the roadster and touring type are 55 and 75 lb. respectively.

“The Roy Top Co., Chicago, makes special winter tops, glass side inclosures and curtain attachments. All this work is made to order. The glass side inclosures range in price from $75 to $250, while the curtain attachment runs from $25 to $75, depending on the size and make of car. The glass inclosures are made of wood framework with all plate glass windows and doors while the curtain attachment uses a steel framework for the doors and is covered with top material having large celluloid windows and convenient door handles. Electric dome lights and switches are installed when so desired. The regular touring top is used in all the various forms of inclosures made by this concern. Glass side jobs and curtain adjustments must be installed at the factory for the first fitting, but thereafter the customer can remove or install his own top in two hours. A special feature on the glass inclosure is the catch for raising and lowering the glass for ventilation. Also special handle with bracket which operates the lock on the lower door.

“A convertible all-season sedan body is made by William Pheiffer Auto & Carriage Works, of Omaha, Neb., which utilizes the regular windshield. Arrangement is such that the side panels can be added very readily with doors of both top and body opening as unit. This concern builds winter cabs, also for trucks and closed bodies for various makes of cars.”

© 2004-2015 Mark Theobald for



1900 Columbia Electric Bus by Willoughby

Automobile Journal: November 12, 1912 issue

Automobile Journal: Nov. 10, 1916 issue

B. M. Ikert - Motor Age:  December 5, 1918 issue

Pictures Continued
1900 Columbia Electric Bus by Willoughby


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