Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Automobile Design & Manufacturing: A Different History

This week, the North American International Auto Show opens in Detroit, Michigan. While Detroit has been synonymous with the auto industry, both in its hey day and in its decline, there was another city where automobiles were designed and manufactured by, so far, the only African American family in that business. Today, there are black engineers and designers involved in the auto industry. In fact, the latest breakthrough in transportation technology is an African American PhD candidate at MIT: William Lark, Jr. is chief designer of a "small stackable car that folds".

Frederick Patterson with one of their automobiles
Greenfield, Ohio was home to the C.R Patterson Car Company. Born into slavery in 1833, Charles R. Patterson arrived in Greenfield, Ohio in 1862 where his skills as a blacksmith and wagon repairman were much in demand.

Sometime around 1888, Charles Patterson went into partnership with J.P. Lowe & Co, a carriage maker and eventually bought the business in 1893. The development of an automobile began in 1914 and the first one was completed in 1915.

The company went on to manufacture trucks and eventually specialized in school buses, becoming known as the Greenfield Bus Co. Frederick Patterson, Charles Patterson's son, died in 1932, having run the business after his father's death. Frederick's sons worked in the business until its doors were closed, shortly after Frederick's death.


  1. What were the determining factors for the company going out of business?

    1. Largely, they were unable to raise enough capital to increase production in the face of increased competition. There is quite a bit of information if you click on the link above C.R. Patterson Co".
      Thanks for your interest!

  2. Great and a very informative blog for me. Thanks a lot for the great information. Keep sharing.

  3. Automobile industry is one of the fastest growing industries now days; therefore from years we have found several kinds of history on it. Various types of brands such as; BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche and many others are providing quality vehicles from years. But in these years we have found a different story that changes the face of automobile industry.

  4. From years we have witnessed different types of changes in automobile sector; most probably it appears especially to attract the attention of customers. Therefore through the help of Automobile International Show, automobile manufacturing companies are taking beneficial steps to attract and aware customers with automobile's best and modern features.

  5. The history of automobile industries was quite old and it provides several kinds of information to us. Most probably in ancient days we have suffer from different communication or transportation problems; so to overcome from these problems, automobile industries used to introduced many types of vehicle production process. Under automobile production process we have found different steps and process such as; new designs, new technologies, new features and specifications etc.

  6. Interesting! It's Frederick Patterson! Great to read this brief history! I cannot believe that automobiles exist such an earlier time. Though quite old models and lacks technology but still those are the beginning of auto industry. Thanks for the post.

  7. The long and winding street more likely than not been a tough move in the prior days cars. Leonardo da Vinci played with the idea of transport vehicles in the fifteenth century, yet horse drawn carriages and old, solid strolling remained the most effective method for transportation.

  8. The automobile has for quite some time been a part of the American society. We depend on it on an individual level for exercises, for example, going from home to work, the store or different areas additionally on a less individual level (however of equivalent significance) to get items conveyed to stores and business of each sort.

  9. Nice post, its really knowledgebale and valuable, this post helps me alot thanks for sharing