1925: Several Automotive Pioneers are Honored at a Milestone Dinner in New York City

January 6, 1925

The National Automobile Chamber of Commerce held its silver jubilee dinner at New York City’s Commodore Hotel (the present-day Grand Hyatt Central New York). This dinner, which took place in conjunction with the New York Automobile Show, also served as an occasion to pay tribute to 11 automotive pioneers and present each with medals. 

These honorees were:

  • Samuel L. Miles, editor of Motor Age magazine;
  • Edgar L. Apperson, a manufacturer who helped found one of the first successful American automobile producers (the Haynes-Apperson Company);
  • Elwood Haynes, another co-founder of the Haynes-Apperson Company and the designer of one of the earliest automobiles made in the United States;
  • John S. Clarke, a co-founder of the Autocar Company;
  • Charles E. Duryea, the engineer who brought about the first working gasoline-powered automobile in the United States and also served as co-founder of the Duryea Motor Wagon Company;
  • Herbert H. Franklin, founder of the Franklin Automobile Company;
  • Charles B. King, the engineer and entrepreneur who was the first person in Detroit to design, build, and drive a self-propelled automobile;
  • John D. Maxwell, co-founder of what became the Maxwell Motor Company (predecessor of the Chrysler Group);
  • Ransom E. Olds, the executive responsible for the first mass-produced automobile (the Oldsmobile Curved Dash);
  • Andrew L. Riker, an automobile designer and the first president of the Society of Automotive Engineers;
  • Rollin H. White, a businessman who co-founded the White Motor Company; and
  • Alexander Winton, an automobile designer and racer who established the Winton Motor Carriage Company. 

Another highlight of the dinner involved a letter from President Calvin Coolidge to Charles Clifton, president of the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce. This letter, which was read out loud at the dinner, addressed the wide-ranging effects of the automobile on American society by that time. Coolidge also asserted in the letter that “we cannot fully realize their extent, much less their implications as regards the future.”

The above 1920s postcard depicts what was then New York City’s Commodore Hotel.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Additional information on both the silver jubilee dinner of the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce in 1925 and that era’s leading automotive issues is available at http://homepages.rpi.edu/~simonk/pdf/epstein1928.pdf

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