Hand-made Automobiles 1920s


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Thread: Hand-made Automobiles 1920s

  1. #1

    Hand-made Automobiles 1920s

    Hi. I would greatly appreciate any information about how a small-time auto manufacturing group might operate in the late '20s. Imagine one boss, four workers, and four cars being built at a time. No big assembly line, and certainly no molten steel being poured. How is the car's body shaped and put together? (Parts like lamps, batteries, and windows would be provided from outside. Sheet metal would be delivered to the small factory, but would arrive unshaped.) Would parts be fitted over a wooden mold? Would the skeleton of the car be, in fact, a wooden mold? What cutting and shaping tools would be used? (Etc.)
    If you know, or you know someone who does, please fill me in. Thanks!

  2. #2
    None that I'm currently aware of. By the 1920s, big automakers we know today like Ford and GM (founded in 1903 and 1908 respectively) had mass production down to a T, at least in America.

  3. #3
    I don't think a manufacturer as small as you mention could have survived into the 1920's, being outcompeted by the big motor companies, at least not a manufacturer of the kind that builds cars from ground up. Customizing existing cars or custom-building them from pre-manufactured parts, however, is a different matter.

    Such a business would be stocked with much of the same tools you'd expect to find in a modern garage. The power tools would be perhaps moderately bulkier and unwieldier than today, but still largely the same. Much like today, car bodies at the time were made out of sheet steel, so a shop producing custom bodies would have a hydraulic press with various moulds and dies. Since plastics were largely uncommon at the time, many interior parts typically made of plastic today would be fashioned out of plywood, rubber and leather, so a small-time car-builder could be expected to have some tools for working those materials as well. More likely and practical, however, is that the shop owner would simply contract another business specializing in working those materials to build those parts for him and simply install them in place.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Xander416 View Post
    None that I'm currently aware of. By the 1920s, big automakers we know today like Ford and GM (founded in 1903 and 1908 respectively) had mass production down to a T, at least in America.

  5. #5

    Thank you.

    Thank you for your reply. From the little I know, there were a few small time auto manufacturers in the US left in the 20s, but of course you're right in the main.

  6. #6

    Quite helpful

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberWar View Post
    I don't think a manufacturer as small as you mention could have survived into the 1920's, being outcompeted by the big motor companies, at least not a manufacturer of the kind that builds cars from ground up. Customizing existing cars or custom-building them from pre-manufactured parts, however, is a different matter.

    Such a business would be stocked with much of the same tools you'd expect to find in a modern garage. The power tools would be perhaps moderately bulkier and unwieldier than today, but still largely the same. Much like today, car bodies at the time were made out of sheet steel, so a shop producing custom bodies would have a hydraulic press with various moulds and dies. Since plastics were largely uncommon at the time, many interior parts typically made of plastic today would be fashioned out of plywood, rubber and leather, so a small-time car-builder could be expected to have some tools for working those materials as well. More likely and practical, however, is that the shop owner would simply contract another business specializing in working those materials to build those parts for him and simply install them in place.
    This is really helpful information. Thank you.

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