Wayne State University
and
The Detroit Public Library Present

“The Changing Face of the Auto Industry”
The First 50 Years 1890-1940
Michigan’s Moguls, Manufacturers and Mavericks

This demonstration project is part of The Making of Modern Michigan, a statewide project funded by the IMLS.

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Timeline of
Featured
Manufacturers
—1890-1900
Oldsmobile

—1901-1910
Welch
—1911-1920
Lion

1921-1930
Wills St. Claire
1931-1940
Jaeger

The Changing Face of the Auto Industry is a demonstration project showcasing digitized images of photographs, pamphlets, and other materials held by the Detroit Public Library.

There have been over five hundred auto manufacturers in Michigan's history. The majority of these existed for a brief period of time in the first half of the 20th century. Many never even produced a single production vehicle, while others developed into the behemoth, multinational conglomerates that currently dominate the world of auto manufacturing. This site provides images related to some of the early Michigan pioneers in the auto industry. As part of The Making of Modern Michigan, the images found on this site will become part of a statewide repository of historical and cultural information.

View full description of the project.


FEATURED BIOGRAPHY
“ WILLIAM CRAPO DURANT”
FEATURED AUTO MANUFACTURER
“ DETROIT ELECTRIC”

   

CAR FUN FACT
The origin of the word automobile is credited to a 14th Century Italian painter and engineer named Martini. The word comes from the Greek word, "auto," (meaning self) and the Latin word, "mobils," (meaning moving). He never built an automobile, but he did draw plans for a man-powered carriage with four wheels. The word car comes from the Celtic word "carrus," (meaning cart or wagon).

   

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All images courtesy of The Detroit Public Library National Automotive History Collection