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In September 1900, the American Bicycle Company of Toledo, OH, apparently lept full time into the new automobile industry. It announced that it was ceasing the production of bicycles and would devote its plant to steam carriages. In November, the first steamer debuted at the New York Auto Show under the name Billings, after Frederick Billings who designed the car. [1]

The first Toledo cars were steamers, powered by vertical 2-cylinder double-acting engines of 6 hp. Steering was by tiller, and several different body styles were made, prices varying from $800 - $1,600. In 1902 a gasoline car with an 18 hp vertical 3-cylinder engine was introduced. The steamers were dropped at the end of 1902, although a condensing Toledo Steam Car appears at the end of the Company's 1903 trade catalogue.

The International Motor Car Company was purchased by Pope, which then produced the Pope-Toledo. The Pope-Toledo was never a steam car, but it was Pope's high end vehicle.[2]

The history of the Toledo Steam Carriage and its various corporate identities remains to be written. This page contains no primary source research. The Virtual Steam Car Museum would be delighted to partner with an author willing to write this history.

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The late Art Hart began the restoration of this Toledo Steam Carriage. Sadly, Art died before finishing the restoration, but his superb craftsmanship and attention to detail shows in this partially finished Toledo. This car is now owned privately.

American Bicycle Company

The earliest documented Toledo Steamer advertising appears in June 1901 under the American Bicycle Company name, Automobile Department. The latest documented Toledo Steamer advertisement bearing the American Bicycle Company name is January,1902. Thereafter, it is the International Motor Car Company.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company Magazine Advertisement, June 1901, Harpers Magazine, p. 61 Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company Magazine Advertisement, unknown magazine

The American Bicycle Company's Automobile Department promoted its Toledo Steam Carriage as being so simple that a woman could drive it. Harpers Magazine, June 1901, p. 61. Its competitor, the Locomobile, occupied half the page. An identical advertisement appeared in an unidentified magazine, also dated June 1901.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, 1901 undated magazine advertisement  photocopy

This advertisement appeared in sometime in 1901. Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Worlds Work Magazine advertisement, half page,  1901

This half page advertisement in The World's Work Advertiser probably dates sometime in 1901.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, 1901, Unidentified Magazine Advertisement

This American Bicycle Company advertisment dates from 1901. The lady alighting her Toledo speaks to the ease of operation. There is a reference to a brochure, which the Museum has not seen: Send for our "P.T." Booklet for full details. Note the puppy dog on the seat.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company Magazine Advertisement, Munsey's Magazine, September 1901 Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company Magazine Advertisement, Harper's Magazine, p. 72

By September 1901, when this Munsey's Magazine advertisement (left) appeared, the company was advertising a variety of improvements. It still advertised under the name American Bicycle Company, Automobile Deparatment. In October 1901, this Harper's Magazine advertisement (right) continued to promote the Toledo's improvements. The car was still advertised under the name American Bicycle Company, Automobile Deparatment.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, Magazine Advertisement, Harpers, November 1901, p. 109 Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, Magazine Advertisement, Munsey's Magazine, November 1901

The American Bicycle Company promoted the Toledo's performance in the Buffalo endurance trial held in concert with the Pan American Exhibition in that city. These November 1901 advertisements promote cars B 20 and B 21 (apparently entry numbers in the race), ntoing that b 20 was the second carriage of any description to reach Buffalo and the first steam vehicle to arrive. Note the tortoise and the hare observing the Toledo Steamer.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile aDepartment, December 19, 1901, Life Magazine, Conde Collection Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, December 1901, Unknown Magazine Advertisement Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, December 1901, McClure's Magazine, p. 80b

These three advertisements appeared in December 1901. On the left is a December 19, 1901 Life Magazine advertisement. Conde Collection The advertisement in the center is from an unknown magazine, while the advertisement at the right is from McClure's Magazine, p. 80b. Note the delightful face at the top of the McClure's advertisement.

Toledo Steam Carriage Magazine Advertisement, 1901 Munsey's Magazine, American Bicycle Company Automobile Department

This advertisement appeared in Munsey's Magazine sometime in 1901.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm W. Edgar,  Press Photo dated October 28, 1944.  Hancock & Brooklyn Avenues, 1901, Front Toledo Steam Carriage, Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm W. Edgar,  Press Photo dated October 28, 1944.  Hancock & Brooklyn Avenues, 1901,  Reverse

This press photograph was printed on October 28, 1944. It shows "Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm W. Edgar in [their] Pope-Toledo Steamer. Taken at Hancock & Brooklyn Aves. 1901." The Pope-Toledo Steamer identification is in error.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, Magazine Advertisement, Harpers Magazine, December 1901

The American Bicycle Company advertising in December 1901 promoted its latest model as having water and gasolene tanks capable of carrying the car further than any other steam car. It also promoted the company's new illustrated catalogue. The image at the left may be related to the Pan-Pacific Exhibition in Buffalo, NY. She appears in a 1902 advertisement. See below.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, Illustrated Catalogue, November 1901.

This is the American Bicycle Company's Illustrated Catalogue referenced in its December 1901 advertisement. It is dated November 1901. Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Tom Peterson Article, Horseless Carriage Gazette, March-April 1969, First Car to Grand Canyon

Tom Peterson wrote a nicely researched article about the 1901 Toledo that was the frist automobile to reach the Grand Canyon. His Horseless Carriage Gazette article cited a number of sources: "This article was compiled from stories written by Winfield C. Hogaboom in the Los Angeles Herald, February 2, 1902 and in the Flagstaff Coconino Sun, February 8, 1902, and by Roger W. Birdseye in Motor Life, January 1925, and Progressive Arizona, October 1925. Also see Flagstaff Coconino Sun, January 4, 18, and 25, 1902."

Toledo Steam Carriage, First Automobile to Reach the Grand Canyon, Real West Magazine, May 1979

This issue of Real West magazine carries a story about the first automobile to reach the Grand Canyon, a 1901 Toledo.

Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, Horseless Age, January 15, 1902, Conde Collection Toledo Steam Carriage, American Bicycle Company, Automobile Department, McClure's Magazine, January 1902, p. 61

These two advertisements appeared in January 1902. On the left [Conde Collection] is a Janaury 15, 1902 advertisement from Horseless Age and on the right is an advertisemetn from McClure's Magazine, p. 61. The McClure's advertisement features Anna Held, a famous actress and singer associated with Florenz Ziegfeld.

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These two Scribner's Magazine advertisements date from early 1902. Neither has a month to identify its specific date.

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This couple poses in their new Toledo Steamer, sometime about 1901 - 1902. there is no information on the back of this wonderful illustration to tell us who they are and where they are.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Press Photograph, September 20, 1964 Front

This press photograph is dated September 20, 1964.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Press Photograph, September 20, 1964 , Reverse Toledo Steam Carriage, Crawford Museum, Henry Austin Clark, Postcard Toledo Steam Carriage, Crawford Museum, Henry Austin Clark, Postcard

This 1901 Toledo Steamer can be found in the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Go Visit!

Toledo Steam Carriage, Crawford Museum, Henry Austin Clark, Postcard Toledo Steam Carriage, Crawford Museum, Henry Austin Clark, Postcard Toledo Steam Carriage, 1901, The Nethercutt Collection, courtesy of Skip Marketti

This 1901 Toledo Steamer can be seen at the Nethercutt Collection in California. If you have not visited the Nethercutt, put it on our "bucket list." Go visit! Nethercutt Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, 1901, The Nethercutt Collection, courtesy of Skip Marketti American Bicycle Company Advertising Cover, May 10, 1901, Westfield, MA Front American Bicycle Company Advertising Cover, May 10, 1901, Westfield, MA Reverse

American Bicycle Company advertising cover from Westfield, MA, postmarked May 10 and 11, 1901.

International Motor Car Company

Under its new name, The International Motor Car Company, the Toledo Steamer was joined by the Waverly Electric. By January 1903, the IMCC was promoting its gasoline cars.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, February 1902 Magazine Advertisement, McClure's Magazine, p. 89 Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, February 1902 Magazine Advertisement, Munsey's Magazine

In February 1902, Toledo Steam carriages were advertised for the first time under the International Motor Car Company name. The ad on theleft appeared in McClure's Magazine, p. 89, and that on the right in Munsey's Magazine.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, 1902, McClure's Magazine, p. 56

This undated 1902, Toledo Steam Carriage advertisement appeared in McClure's Magazine, p. 56. It mentions a particular trip, and further research about this trip will help date the advertisement. There is no mention of the Waverly Electric, so this advertisement presumably predated the merger or acquisition of Waverly.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Life Magazine Advertisement, March 13, 1902 Conde Collection

In March 1903, the Toledo Steam Carriage advertising continued, often using the iconography from earlier advertisements. Compare the lady at the left with the December 1901 advertisement above. Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, sold by Hyman, Ltd., 2010

This 1902 Toledo Steam Carriage was sold by Hyman, Ltd. in 2010. It was once part of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry collection in the early 1950's. At that time, it was owned by Lenox Lohr, the Museum's president.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Century Magazine Advertisement, March 1902, p. 56.

In March 1903, the Toledo Steam Carriage placed this advertisement in Century Magazine, page. 56.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Heinzen, March 13, 1902, Photograph Toledo Steam Carriage, Heinzen, March 13, 1902, Photograph Detail

Someone whose last name was heinzen purchased this Toledo Steam Car in March 1902. It was his first automobile. There is writing in pencil on the back of this image but it is not readable.

International Motor Car Company, Letter to C. E. Coolidge, October 13, 1902 International Motor Car Company, Advertising coverr to C. E. Coolidge, October 13, 1902. Front International Motor Car Company, Advertising coverr to C. E. Coolidge, October 13, 1902. Reverse

On October 13th 1902, R. B. Brownell sent a catalouge describing in detail the Toledo Touring Car.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Scribner's Magazine, p. 89

This September 1902 advertisement is the first to include the Wavery Electric. The uper advertisement appeared in Scribner's Magazine, while the publication of the lower advertisement is unknown.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Unknown Magazine

The iconography of automobiles driving around the advertisement is wonderful.

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This advertisement, dated 1902, markets the steam, electric, and gasoline engine powered cars of the IMCC. Its street address is 3050 Central Avenue. This ad likely appeared late in 1902.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company 1902  magazine advertisement in American Monthly Review of Reviews, p. 66.

This advertisement, dated 1902, appeared in the American Monthly Review of Reviews. It promoted the Toledo Steam Carriages of the IMCC. It sought agents in unoccupied territory.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Horseless Age, p. xx

On January 21, 1903, the International Motor Car Company placed this advertisement in Horseless Age, promoting its new gasoline car, but still mentioning the Toledo Steam Carriage.

1903 International Motor Car Company Trade Catalogue, Gasoline Cars and Condensing Toledo Steam Car.Toledo Steam Car International Motor Car Company 1903 Trade Catalogue Gasoline Cars Toledo Steam Car International Motor Car Company 1903 Trade Catalogue Condensing Steam Car

On January 21, 1903, the International Motor Car Company placed this advertisement in Horseless Age, promoting its new gasoline car, but still mentioning the Toledo Steam Carriage.

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This undated catalogue carries a Toledo Steam Carriage name on its cover, but promotes steam, electric, and gasoline cars. This brochure survives as a photocopy in the Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Life Magazine, p. 93 Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Unknown Magazine, late 1902, Conde Collection Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Unknown Magazine, late 1902, Conde Collection

On January 29, 1903, the International Motor Car Company was deeply discounting its Toledo Steam Carriages as shown in these three advertisements. The advertisement on the left appeared in Life Magazine [Conde Collection] but the other two, while dated 1902, lack magazine identification. The undoubtedly date from late 1902.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Harper's Magazine, April 1903, p. 77

As late as April 1903, the IMCC used the phrase When you go out in a "Toledo" Steam Carriage it brings you home again. The above advertisement appeared in Harpers Magazine. The advertisement below appeared in 1902 in an unknown magazine.

Toledo Steam Carriage, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Unknown Magazine, late 1902?, p. 47. Toledo Gasoline Car, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Unknown Magazine, mid 1903

By June 1903, the IMMC advertising had abandoned the Toledo Steam Carriage and the Waverly Electric in favor of its gasoline cars, offered in 2, 3, and 4 cylinders. This advertisement probably dates to late 1902, as it mentiones both the Toledo and Waverly. Note the address, 3052 Central Avenue.

Toledo Gasloine Car, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Country Life Magazine, June 1903

In this June 1903 advertisement, the IMMC has abandoned the Toledo Steam Carriage and the Waverly Electric in favor of its gasoline cars, offered in 2, 3, and 4 cylinders. It claimed to have "The Largest Automobile Factory In The World."

Toledo Gasoline Car, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Unknown Magazine, mid 1903

These two advertisements (above and below) feature the IMCC's gasoline car exclusively. Note the street addresses. One advertisement lists 3057 Central Avenue, while the other lists 3056 Central Avenue.

Toledo Gasoline Car, International Motor Car Company, Magazine Advertisement, Unknown Magazine, mid 1903

Pope Motor Car Company

At some point in 1903, the Pope Motor Car Company acquired the International Motor Car Company. Pope apparently moved its headquarters to Toledo and offered automobiels powered by all three methods. Pope's advertising continued to market the Toledo Steam Carriage, but soon, Pope dropped its steam car and used the Toledo name for its highest quality cars.

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Pope Motor Car Company was a member of the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers. The Automobile, December 5, 1903, p. 69. Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Pope Motor Car Company, February 8, 1903 Advertising Cover, Front

This Pope Motor Car Company advertising cover is dated February 8, almost certainly 1904. It promotes gasoline, electric, and steam cars.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Pope Motor Car Company, February 8, 1903 Advertising Cover, Reverse adfasdf

By the summer of 1903, The Pope Motor Car Company had rebranded the Toledo as a gasolene car and was entering it in various contests. This advertisement promoted the Toledo's success at the Minneapolis Automobile Club's May 16, 1903 Hill Climb. The image shows the car, carrying a full load of passengers, climbing the Minneapolis hill.

Toledo Gasolene Car, Pope Motor Car Company, August 1903, Leslie's Magazine

In August 1904, Pope's advertising announced a larger, more powerful 24 Horsepower Gasoline Touring Car. The steam and electric vehicles are not mentioned.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Pope Motor Car Company, October 10, 1903, Japan Hill Climb on May 6, 1903

These two advertisements (above and below) promote a Toledo Steam Carriage running on the grounds of the Osaki, Japan exhibition on May 6, 1903. The lower ad is undated, but the upper advertisement is dated October 10, 1903 and seems particularly late for promoting the Toledo Steam carriage.

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The Pope Motor Car Company ran this same advertisement in Munsey's Magazine sometime in 1903. Note the Columbia gasoline car marketed by the Electric Vehicle Company. Compare the automobile images. By late 1903, the carriage style automobile was clearly out of fashion and the automobile design as it is known today had appeared in America.

Pope-Toledo Gasoline Car, Pope Manufacturing Company, February 27, 1904, Saturday Evening Post.

By early 1904, Pope had attached the Pope name to the Toledo, marketing the Pope-Toledo, its highest quality car. The top of the line model sold for $3,500 and carried a 24 hp, four-cylinder engine.

Manhattan Supply Company

In late 1903, the Pope Motor Car Company abandoned the Toledo Steam Carriage and apparently contracted with the Manhattan Storage COmpany to dispose of its remaining stock. Manhattan placed a series of advertisements to sell these cars beginning as early as December 5, 1903 and running through February 27, 1904.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Manhattan Storage Company, December 5, 1903, Automibile Magazine, p. 70, Conde Collection

The Manhattan Storage Company, the Largest Automobile Dealers in America, placed this full page advertisement on page 70 of The Automobile. on December 5, 1903. It documents Pope's disposal of its remaining Toledo Steam Carriage stock and its complete transition to the gasoline powered Pope-Toledo. Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Manhattan Storage Company, The Automobile Magazine, January 22, 1904, p. 88, Conde Collection

On January 22, 1904, the Manhattan Storage Company, placed another full page advertisement on page 88 of The Automobile. Five different models were offered at half price. Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Manhattan Storage Company, February 13, 1904, The Automobile Magazine, Conde Collection Toledo Steam Carriage, Manhattan Storage Company, February 20, 1904, The Automobile Magazine, p. 86, Conde Collection

By February 1904, the Manhattan Storage Company had reduced the size of its advertisements in The Automobile. These advertisements appeared on February 12 and 20, 1904. Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Manhattan Storage Company, February 27, 1904, The Automobile Magazine, Conde Collection

By February 1904, the Manhattan Storage Company had reduced the size of its advertisements in The Automobile. These advertisements appeared on February 12 and 20, 1904. Conde Collection.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Manhattan Storage Company, 1904

The Manhattan Storage Company placed this advertisement in an unidentified magazine in early 1904.

Manhattan Storage Company, 1904, Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal

The Manhattan Storage Company placed this advertisement in the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal sometime in 1904.

The Fate of One Toledo Steam Carriage

This Michigan Historical Studies supplement is found in the Conde Collection. It refers to an earlier story about a Toledo Steamer that we have yet to find.

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Small Fry

The Conde Collection contained this single sheet with Toledo Steam Carriage Information.

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Richard and Grace Brigham apparently compiled this information, which was taken from a publication entitled Road to Yesterday.

Are They or Aren't They?

These steam car images may or may not be Toledo Steam Carriages. Can you help identify them?

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This unidentified steam car may be a Toledo, perhaps fitted for a race or competition. The only information is a stamp on the back. Walter J. McCarthy, 133 Old Field Rd. Huntington, NY 11743. Additional information would be greatly appreciated. This is a modern print from an original.

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This image was published in an unidentified magazine. Additional information or identification would be greatly appreciated.

[1]Kimes, Beverly Rae and Clark, Henry Austin, Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1805 - 1942,, (Iola, WI, 3rd Edition, 1996), p. 1472. This account draws very heavily on Kimes & Clark, but magazine advertising seems at odds with the K&C account. Much remains to be learned about the Toledo steam cars.
[2]Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobile, (New York, E. P. Dutton & Co., 1968), p. 196. Georgano states that the steamers were dropped at the end of 1902, but the company advertised its steamers heavily in 1903.

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