Monday, August 17, 2009

Richmond's Kline Motor Car Corp. 1907-1923


HEK said...

Thanks for posting this.

The Kline was one of Richmond's efforts to "stay current" with the modernity. About a decade prior to Kline, Trigg made a manly effort to establish a ship building industry here -- and it basically killed him.

Back in the day, an automobile wasn't that tough to construct: it was a carriage with an engine and brakes. So many localities throughout the country starting making them. Most of them were short-lived.

The chamber of commerce actively squired Baily, Carroll and Kline (BCK) of York, Pa., to move their factory to Richmond. Problem was, BCK wasn't able to support its modest plant there, much less the 15-acre site offered them, with a railroad spur running into the middle, to drop off parts and raw materials.

The columned and pedimented building was opened in 1911, but less than 5 years later, citing manufacturing needed for war production, Kline moved. Fact was, his company wasn't making any money. Mass production made hand-built cars too expensive for most consumers to afford. The Model T Ford was what people wanted.

Kline ended up as the Virginia director of the American Automobile Association, and an advocate for road improvements.

HEK said...

P.S. The factory later became W.G. Cosby transfer and storage, and was torn down for the current bus station.