Builders of Wooden Railway Cars ... and some of other stuff

Cincinnati Car Company

The Cincinnati Car Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, had its beginning in the Chester Park shops of the Cincinnati Street Railway. The shops built cars for the parent railway, and were asked by others to build cars for them. The firm was incorporated in 1902, and rapidly became a leader in building electric street cars and interurbans, as well as subway and elevated railway cars.

Cincinnati Car Co. 1907 Advertisement

The above advertisement, dated 1907, indicates the company builds “every type of car for Electric Service,” and we have never seen its advertising except in electric railway publications. But the company’s advertisement in the 1911 Electric Railway Dictionary refers to it as “Designers and Builders of Every Type of Electric and Steam Railway Equipment. [Emphasis ours.] Do you know of any steam railway equipment built by this company? If you do, won’t you share that information with us?

The most notable product of the Cincinnati Car Company was its curved-side lightweight cars built during the 1920s. These steel cars had an “S” curve in the side plates that gave them a better strength-to-weight ratio than flat side plates. They were produced in such numbers for both streetcar and interurban lines they became known as the rubber stamp cars.

Cincinnati Car Company Lightweight Car

Curved-side Cincinnati lightweight on Northampton Transit Co line near Easton, Pennsylvania, 1924. Look at the right side of the door casing to see the “curve.”

In 1926, the company acquired the Ohio Traction Company, which controlled the Cincinnati Street Railway Company. Two years later it consolidated with the Versare Corporation, and was reorganized as the Cincinnati Car Corporation.

Car building “practically ceased” in 1931, and the corporation was liquidated 22 May 1938. {423}

For More Information

Wagner, Richard and Birdella Wagner. Curved-Side Cars Built By Cincinnati Car Company. Cincinnati, OH: Wagner Car Co., 1965.

120 pp, spiral bound with plastic covers. Numerous b/w photos, diagrams & reference information.

Wilkins, Van. “Cincinnati Car Corp. Trolley-Coach and Bus Production.” Motor Coach Age (March-April 1991; pp. 26-29.

Cincinnati Car Corporation Collection 1902-1931l 1965 at the William Henry Smith Memorial Library of the Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana. Description online (Feb 2007) at .

You can read about the restoration of a Cincinnati Car Co. interurban at the website of the East Troy Railroad Museum using this link.

08 February 2007

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