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

McGuire-Cummings - Page 2

In 1905, an attempt was made to form a combination of 15-20 of the leading streetcar manufacturing firms. We have told the story of the The Streetcar Builders Consolidation on another page. Needless to say, this combination never came about. It would have become the Standard Oil of streetcar manufacturers, and the tide of both public and political thinking was turning strongly against such monopolies. The storied Standard Oil (trust) would be legally challenged the following year (1906) and in 1911 be held by the Supreme Court to be an illegal monopoly that must be broken up.

One point of interest, however. We know that McGuire-Cummings was organized 1 January 1904. Yet the reports of the combination, the latest of which claims to be based on “a circular describing the plan addressed to Kean, Van Cortlandt & Co., the bankers, who will act as syndicate managers, and who will float the new securities,” names both the McGuire Manufacturing Company and the Cummings Chicago Car Company: entities we would have thought had given way to McGuire-Cummings.

McGuire-Cummings Advertisement

McGuire-Cummings advertisement.
Click pic for enlargement.

In the 1908 Paris, Illinois, city directory, John J. Cummings is listed as President of McGuire-Cummings. The firms offices are in Chicago. It manufactures cars, trucks and snow plows from a branch factory at Paris.

From the photo below we can see that McGuire built cars for steam railways as well as for electric railways, but their catalog for 1911 shows only electric railway equipment, and the only other information we have come across in that regard is the statement in Charlton {23} that they, “... built many railroad cars. Among the various types and orders were such as flat cars for A.T.S.F. (70'-7"), Tank cars for such products as: oil, wine and vinegar. Box cars and special cars, baggage, express, etc.” If you can tell us anything more about McGuire-Cummings equipment for steam railways, please share it with us.

Tank car by McGuire-Cummings
Three-compartment, 10,000 gallon, 40-ton tank car built by McGuire-Cummings in 1909. (Lucas)

What we know McGuire-Cummings did do was build a great many of the heavy wood and steel “interurban” cars that traversed America during the first quarter of the twentieth century. Charlton {23} says they about reached the limit in wood for heavy interurban cars and then continued in steel.

Ranier Valley Car #151
Car # 151 was built by the McGuire-Cummings Co. in 1912. It was rebuilt in 1917 by the Rainier Valley Line. It later became a restaurant at Occidental and Holgate in Seattle and was scrapped in 1938. (Courtesy of the Rainier Valley Historical Society, Seattle, Washington)


11 April 2006

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