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Why The Name Spaulding?

While names like Ford, Chrysler, Chevrolet and Dodge have continued to the present, the Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805-1942, documents over 2,500 others that didnít. In Iowa alone nearly 100 different carmakers gave it a try!

The Spaulding is a classic example of one that didnít survive. Produced by a company that had already made a name for itself, the Spaulding Carriage and Automotive Works was founded in 1876. By 1909, when it announced its intentions to build a car; it was producing 10,000 carriages and wagons a year and employing up to 300 in its Grinnell factories.

The Spaulding automobile was produced from 1909 to 1916. As might be expected, it was a more popular car in Iowa than elsewhere; although it did establish dealerships as far away as California and Texas. In each of the better years, several hundred cars were produced, but by 1915 the handwriting was on the wall. While stronger, more powerful and more luxurious than Fordís Model T, the company was never able to achieve true assembly line production capability and could not charge enough for the cars to remain profitable.

By 1929 it was all over and the buildings were occupied by other companies. Only one Spaulding is known to survive, owned by a Missouri collector. Itís a 1913 model with engine, radiator and other parts, but without the body and original wheels.

Find out more of the history behind the Spaulding Center for Transportation from the timeline of significant milestones.