Another History Tidbit Of The Edwards Motor Co.

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8710 Vickery Rd. Castalia, Ohio 44824 willc@lrbcg.com

The recent article on Edwards engines was quite interesting. (See both the November and December 1999 issues of GEM for carticles on Edwards.) I have one piece to add to it.

While I am not well acquainted with the Edwards Motor Co., I have done much research on old engines built near my home area of Sandusky, Ohio. While compiling a history of the Matthews Engineering Co. of Sandusky, Ohio, I came across the following Edwards Motor Co. reference. First let me give you a brief overview of the Matthews Engineering Co.

The Matthews Boat Co. of landlocked Bascom, Ohio, was founded before the turn of the century by Scott J. Matthews. He catered to the affluent yachting customers, and due to his insistence on high quality, his business quickly flourished. In 1906 the city of Port Clinton, Ohio, offered the Matthews Boat Co. free land where the Ottawa River enters Lake Erie, and the company made the move.

About 1912 the Matthews Boat Co. hired two Engineers to design and built gasoline-powered generators so that their yachts could be equipped with electric lights and appliances. The Matthews Boat Co. built and sold about 275 of these 1 or 2 cylinder units between 1913 and 1915. In 1915 the Engineers who had designed these direct-coupled generators gathered financial backers and purchased the engine-building division away from the boat-building concern. They named the new corporation The Matthews Engineering Company and sold under the Matthews trade name, although the Matthews family had no control over the new firm. Within months the Matthews Engineering Co. moved to nearby Sandusky, in search of bigger facilities, proximity to foundries and railroads, and a larger labor pool.

The Matthews Engineering Co. nourished and expanded their product line to include direct-driven generators from 300 W to 75 KW. Although they had a number of military contracts, the products that sold the best were 32 volt dc light plants. In 1923 a holding company that owned a large share of Matthews Engineering Co. stock collapsed, and the Matthews Engineering Co. was forced into receivership. In December of 1924 the Matthews Engineering Company was sold at public auction for $127,000, a small fraction of the $ 1,500,000 capital investment. All new product development was suspended at that time. The Matthews Engineering Co. continued to fill orders for existing designs through 1928, but the plant was already closed when it was partially destroyed in an accidental fire in the early 1930s.

Now, back to the Edwards Motor Co. story! The 1927 - 1928 Sandusky City directory lists the Edwards Motor Co. as manufacturing engines at 607 King St. in Sandusky, the same address as the Matthews Engineering Co. Company

officials are as follows

:

President

C. L. Bauer

Vice president

Albert Y. Edwards

Secy/Treasurer

C. M. Hollenbeck

General manager

Albert Y. Edwards

Albert Y. Edwards and his wife Anne H. are listed as residing in Sandusky, whereas C. L. Bauer and C. M. Hollenbeck are not listed in the residential section. The Edwards Motor Co. is shown as being incorporated in 1920 with $60,000 capital. Albert Y. Edwards and the Edwards Motor Co. are not listed in any Sandusky City Directories previous to or subsequent to the 1927-28 issue.

Although I cannot locate the story now, I believe that I have heard that the Edwards Motor Co. suffered a major fire at their Springfield, Ohio, plant. Apparently they attempted to keep building Edwards Motors for a time at the under-utilized Matthews Engineering facility.

A few years ago I met a local gentleman who claimed that he once owned an Edwards engine that supposedly was built in Sandusky, but I have not been able to trace this engine any further. If anyone has any further information on Edwards or any other engines built in Sandusky, Ohio please contact me.

ANOTHER EDWARDS ENGINE

By Donald W. Chapman, 18 Hayden Lake Road West, Champlin, Minnesota 55316

This is a picture of an Edwards engine. Note the large V Pulley for easy starting with El motor. It runs very well, but I don't know if that is the original color or not. It is serial number 20887.

More Edwards Engine Info

By Harold W. Hauger 10819 Tucker Road Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050

I own an Edwards engine, serial No. 20655 with high tension ignition which I restored several years ago.

Although I live no more than 75-80 miles from Springfield, Ohio, factory.

I have seen only four or five Edwards engines in the past 25 years at the engine shows I have attended so would guess they are, indeed, rare.