Post Number: 1776
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 12:27 pm: || |
i saw this on a car forum that i frequent and thought it might be of interest
http://www.history.com/this-da y-in-history.do?action=Article &id=7331
March 26, 1932
Henry Martyn Leland, the founder of Cadillac and Lincoln, died in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 89. Leland was born in Vermont, the 8th child of New England farmer Leander Barton Leland and his wife Zilpha Tifft Leland. He began his industrial career as an apprentice engineer at Knowles Loom Works in Worcester, Massachusetts. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Leland began work at the U.S. Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. After the war, Leland served as an engineer and mechanic in a series of manufacturing firms in New England. He distinguished himself as a tireless worker and an exacting supervisor only satisfied with his own high standard of quality. Leland was a real New Englander, a Presbyterian stickler with good manners and a titan's work ethic.
He moved to Detroit to run a company with his old partner Charles Norton that was to be financed by Detroit lumber mogul Robert Faulconer. After successfully runnning, for a few years, as a supplier of various machine-shop products, Leland and Falconer gained entrance into the automobile industry at the request of Ransom Olds. Olds needed a supplier of transmissions for his Olds Runabouts. Leland wasn't the only major player in the automotive industry to get his start with Olds. Olds also hired the Dodge brothers to manufacture the bodies for his cars.
After a successful run supplying Olds transmissions, Leland was asked by the Detroit Automobile Company to appraise their holdings, which they were preparing to liquidate. Leland surprised them by recommending that they hang on to their facilities; he offered to run their car company for them and revealed to them an engine design he had come up with which produced three times the horsepower of Olds' engines. The Cadillac Car Company was born, named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit.
The first Cadillacs came on the market as low-priced cars, but soon, due to Leland's high standards, the car was marketed as a luxury item. The car company that became a symbol of excess and ostentation in the 1950s began as the product of a puritanical perfectionist. Cadillac distinguished itself further by becoming the first car company to introduce a self-starting mechanism. Charles Kettering invented the system at the urging of Leland, who was said to be distraught over the death of a friend caused when an errant crank-shaft broke the man's arm and jaw.
In 1908, William Durant and GM bought the Cadillac Motor Car Company for $4.4 million in cash. Leland continued to run Cadillac, and it became GM's most successful marque. Eventually, Leland and Durant fell out over GM's participation in World War I. Leland had been to Europe just before the war, become convinced that the war was inevitable, and that it would decide the future of Western Civilization. Durant's disinterest in the war cause infuriated Leland so much that he quit. He went on to found Lincoln, which he named after the man he admired most and for whom he had cast his first vote as a 21-year-old, Abraham Lincoln.
Leland was never able to escape financial trouble with Lincoln, and he ended up selling the company to Henry Ford. Ford eventually ran Leland out of the business, most likely as a result of some personal jealousy on Ford's part. Nevertheless, Leland was responsible for creating the luxury marques for America's two largest automotive manufacturers.
Post Number: 534
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 12:36 pm: || |
I find it interesting that Leland founded two car companies, one that was sold to GM and the other sold to Ford.
Post Number: 1869
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 12:45 pm: || |
Also the namesake of the Leland Hotel, FYI.
Post Number: 4315
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 1:06 pm: || |
Born when the first wagon train departs Independence Missouri, for Oregon.
Died, when the first jets were being designed.
He was there for it all, and had a hand in history.
Post Number: 1729
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 2:47 pm: || |
Thanks, Gravity. His home is for sale in Indian Village. We cover quite a bit of Mr. Leland's history in the Preservation Wayne Automotive Heritage Tour.
I didn't remember this was his date of death.
Post Number: 65
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 3:20 pm: || |
If you look at a 1903 Cadillac and that first Model A Ford you can see the lineage.They're not identical but the resemblance is definite.
Post Number: 4318
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 6:50 pm: || |
1903 Ford "A" runabout
Post Number: 1733
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 6:57 pm: || |
Henry Leland, the Master of Precision. My favorite story about Mr. Leland is about his carrying an engine up the back stairs at the Ford Piquette plant in his sixties.
Post Number: 4022
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 6:58 pm: || |
He has a surprisingly small grave marker in Woodmere Cemetery.
(Message edited by Ray1936 on March 27, 2009)
Post Number: 2442
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 9:52 pm: || |
Leland's main contribution to the automobile industry was the adherance to standardization of parts, that dimensionally parts should be made identically, or within a tight tolerence dimensionally so that the parts are interchangable. This may seem lke common sense, but at the time it was very hard to do, casting was more primative, and machining was onnly as good as the man running the machine (nothing has changed there)Today, automation and electronic sensing of dimension has taken a lot of the need for highly skilled machinists for every machining operation.
Leland took 10 Cadillacs, each painted a different color, to a very important motor show in London (UK) and as a show of Cadillac's adherance to tight tolerences and standardization, had the cars dissassembed and re-assembed, mixing the parts freely and everything fit. The cars looked like the coat of many colors, but they went together perfectly. The English were astounded at this, they routinely employed "fitters" who took rat tail files and moved holes over, made them oval--oblong) to get bolt holes to line up (the English contined this practice for decades afterword!) whereas the Cadillac parts all lined up perfectly.
The rest of the (successful) US industry followed suit in short order.
Post Number: 1734
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 9:58 pm: || |
The Dewar prize.
Post Number: 2443
|Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 10:28 pm: || |
I'd rather win the Kessler's prize.
Post Number: 4342
|Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 8:29 am: || |
Me - The Ridler award.
Post Number: 185
|Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 5:03 pm: || |
Lodgedodger, What is the Indian Village address? Any pix?
Post Number: 1739
|Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 5:54 pm: || |
Residential MLS #28194767
Sale Price: $114,900
Mailing Address: 2240 IROQUOIS ST
DETROIT, MI 48214
Property City: DETROIT
Directions: SOUTH OFF VERNOR AND EAST OF VAN DYKE
Crossroads: E OF VAN DYKE, S OF VERNOR
Subdivision: ASSESSORS PLAT OF BLKS 1,2,5,6,7,8,10,11,ETC
School District: DETROIT
Sq Footage: 2,800 Year Built: 1915
Lwr Lvl Sq Ft: Yr Remodeled:
Lot Size: 52X172X52X172 Acreage: 0.19
INDIAN VILLAGE CHARMER. THE ORIGINAL LELAND FAMILY HOME, FOUNDER OF CADILLAC AND LINCOLN MOTOR CAR COMPANIES. PARTIAL RESTORATION DONE. NEW BOILER, PLUMBING, ELECTRIC SERVICE, LANDSCAPING, CONCRETE WORK, NEWER ROOF. BEAUTIFUL ORIGINAL DETAIL THROUGHOUT. STILL NEEDS PLASTER AND DECORATING WORK. FIREPLACE IN LR AND MBR. READY TO FINISH AND LOVE! THIS HOME WILL QUALIFY FOR NEZ TAX ABATEMENT FOR NEW HOMESTEAD OWNER.
Stromberg, it has a lot of potential.