The Holsman Automobile was manufactured from 1901 to 1911 in Chicago, Illinois which was the center of Automobile invention in America at the turn of the century. Henry K. Holsman, a prominent architect, designed, manufactured and sold the Holsman Automobile. He is credited with the invention of the first usage of the “reverse” gear.
carriage

The Holsman Automobile was a “high wheeler” built to run along the muddy, rutted roads of the great plains of America. They became very popular and were manufactured and shopped as far away as New Zealand. They all held true to the company motto, “High Wheels Travel All Roads Because All Roads Are Made to Be Traveled by High Wheels.”


Holsman automobile company

The Holsman Automobile Company was one of the smaller companies, operating for almost eight full years, and producing approximately 2,500 high wheel vehicles, which were subsequently considered the “Cadillac” of the high wheelers.

In the case of the HACo, they did maintain some records, but these records were practically all destroyed following H. K. Holsman’s death.

The importance of the Holsman high wheel automobile in automotive history has been noted by the English Automotive historian, G. H. Georgano, in his book, CARS 1886-1930, by means of the following two statements: On page 65, More than 75 manufacturers made these high-wheelers. The best known included the HOLSMAN, the I.H.C. (International Harvester Company) and the SEARS; and on page 68, The Chicago based Holsman Automobile Co., was the pioneer maker of High Wheelers, and it was their success between 1902 and 1906 that led numerous other companies to get in on the act.

The pioneer Holsman was so successful, that by 1905 the high wheel Culver, La Petite, Palmer and Jewell, had joined the Holsman in the marketplace. By 1907, there were a total of 15 companies producing high wheel automobiles in the United States, 31 in 1908, and the number of companies reached a peak of 41 in 1909. Just as sharp as the rise, came the decline. Twenty-four in 1910, nine in 1911, and four in 1912.

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Holsman automobile company

The Holsman Automobile Company was one of the smaller companies, operating for almost eight full years, and producing approximately 2,500 high wheel vehicles, which were subsequently considered the “Cadillac” of the high wheelers.

In the case of the HACo, they did maintain some records, but these records were practically all destroyed following H. K. Holsman’s death.

The importance of the Holsman high wheel automobile in automotive history has been noted by the English Automotive historian, G. H. Georgano, in his book, CARS 1886-1930, by means of the following two statements: On page 65, More than 75 manufacturers made these high-wheelers. The best known included the HOLSMAN, the I.H.C. (International Harvester Company) and the SEARS; and on page 68, The Chicago based Holsman Automobile Co., was the pioneer maker of High Wheelers, and it was their success between 1902 and 1906 that led numerous other companies to get in on the act.

The pioneer Holsman was so successful, that by 1905 the high wheel Culver, La Petite, Palmer and Jewell, had joined the Holsman in the marketplace. By 1907, there were a total of 15 companies producing high wheel automobiles in the United States, 31 in 1908, and the number of companies reached a peak of 41 in 1909. Just as sharp as the rise, came the decline. Twenty-four in 1910, nine in 1911, and four in 1912.

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  • article1

    Holsman Automobile Company 1902 - 1908

    Public Introduction, 1903

    Holsman introduced his high wheel automobile to the public at the Chicago Automobile Show in January 1903.

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  • article2

    Holsman Automobile Company - Paint shop

    The Chicago 100 Mile Endurance Contest of 2 August 1902 & Other Contests

    The Chicago Automobile Club organized a 100 mile endurance contest and scheduled it for July 12th 1902

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  • article3

    The second Holsman ad appeared in several magazines in late 1902.

    H.K. Holsman and the Independent Harvester Company

    In April of 1910, H. K. Holsman joined the Independent Harvester Company of Plano, Illinois as a consulting engineer.

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  • article4

    Curved body, Model 3, Runabout 1903 - 1904

    Henry K. Holsman and His Patents

    H.K. Holsman applied for and received several patents pertaining to automobiles and their functional appliances.

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  • Holsman Auto Logo

    Holsman Auto Logo

    Automotive Quarterly

    The Holsman Automobile Company was spitting mad. It its issue of February 13th, 1907, The Horseless Age had gone on at length about the “Western Buggy Type of Automobile”, and Holsman wanted to set the records straight.

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  • Western Union Telegram to H.K. Holsman

    Western Union Telegram to H.K. Holsman

    Recapitulation

    The average vehicle price of $442 for 1906 appears to be incorrect. The gross vehicle sales figure and the orders recv’d figure used in arriving at $442, are as shown in the HACo’s records. One or both of them, would appear to be in error as the $442 figure is less than the lowest priced … Continue reading Recapitulation

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  • HACo Instruction Book, Cut No. 1 - Motor

    HACo Instruction Book, Cut No. 1 - Motor

    Instructions For Setting Up, Adjustment, Use And Care Of The Vehicle

    These instructions are intended to furnish in the minutest detail all the information needed by individual users of widely different temperaments and of very little knowledge of mechanical things. We suggest that you study these pages in connection with the vehicle until you know them by heart, whether you are familiar with mechanical matters or … Continue reading Instructions For Setting Up, Adjustment, Use And Care Of The Vehicle

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  • HACo Capital Stock

    HACo Capital Stock

    Financial Record

    Financial records from July 1, 1905 through January 1, 1910.   As of  [1905]     July 1st 1906   January 1  1907 January 1 [1907]   July 1st 1908 January 1 1909 January 1 [1909] July 1st 1910 January 1   Net assets $ 50,000 ₁ $ 68,119 $210,328 $291,333 $264,087 $243,195 $334,262      – Finished vehicles $ 15,400 ₂ $ 23,100 ₁ $  … Continue reading Financial Record

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"High Wheels Travel All Roads Because All Roads Are Made To Be Traveled By High Wheels"