McGuire-Cummings - Page 3
Unfortunately, extra-fare interurban service proved unprofitable, and the cars were ultimately rebuilt into deluxe coaches.
McGuire-Cummings moved its main plant from Chicago to Paris, Illinois, in 1919, following the 1st World War. Although there is no evidence of any corporate reorganization, the 1921 Paris city directory lists the firm simply as the McGuire-Cummings Company.
On 31 October 1925, McGuire-Cummings was reorganized as the Cummings Car & Coach Company, operating from its plant at Paris, Illinois, but with offices at 111 W. Monroe Street in Chicago. The factory covered 25 acres, and produced street cars, passenger cars, city and interurban cars, sweepers, car trucks, gas and electric snow sweepers, snow plows, and gas and electric buses. Electric locomotives were constructed and shipped worldwide.
In 1927, the factory reportedly had 100 employees at work, though 250 - 350 was considered full-force. Its payroll was in excess of $500,000, and it could produce 364 cars a year. That year it produced the world's first aluminum street car, built just like a steel car, but in cast aluminum. It was shown at the National Street Railway car convention in Cleveland, and was later put into service at Joliet, Illinois.
A 1930 Paris city directory shows the firm operating as the Cummings Car & Coach Co., Builders of Street Cars, Gas, Electric Busses and Snow Fighting Equipment. Cummings quit building rail cars about that same time, but apparently continued to stock and supply parts until 1943.
It was probably about that time (during the 2nd World War) that the factory became Midwest Body & Manufacturing Division (of McGuire-Cummings?), as it is so listed in a 1944 Paris city directory. During the war it manufactured bomb skids for the war effort.
Cast of Characters
William A. McGuire (1840-1904) was born at Niagara, Ontario, Canada, and there received his education and began his business career. He came to Chicago in 1863, during the Civil War, as the economy of the Northern United States was booming due to wartime spending. There he engaged in the iron manufacturing business and founded the McGuire Manufacturing Company.
John J. Cummings (1875?-b1917?) was born in Illinois and educated at Armor Institute of Technology (now Illinois Institute of Technology).
In February of 1909, he bought the Denver & Intermountain Railroad, the interurban line from Denver to Golden, Colorado, apparently when its builders got into financial trouble. He supplied it with four cars about that same time. He sold the line in June of 1910. [One wonders if he might have acquired the line temporarily in lieu of payment for the cars and then let it go again when the original owners came up with the money.]
Can you tell us more about either of these two individuals? If so, please share it with us.
For More Information
Cars of the McGuire-Cummings Manufacturing Company, 1911. Electric Railway Historical Society Bulletin #14. Chicago, IL: Electric Railway Historical Society, 1950.
Sanders, Robert. (Front page article on the local McGuire-Cummings Coach and Car factory). Paris Beacon-News. 30 July 1927. Available on microfilm from the Illinois State Historical Library via interlibrary loan.
Traction Planbook, 2nd Edition. Newton, NJ: Carstens Publishing, 1968.