DFP 19320327 Obit p. 2

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DFP 19320327 Obit p. 2 - THE DETROIT FREE PRESS SUNDAY, MARCH 2 7. 1932...
THE DETROIT FREE PRESS SUNDAY, MARCH 2 7. 1932 Value Industry a anti-Klrin 1,400,- Henry Leland Central Figure in Swift and Dramatic Progress of Auto Industry Continued from Page One Cadillac and Lincoln companies and with development of the Liberty motor during the war. This last undertaking fell to hU lot when he waa 75 years old. He Saw the Future Of the several colossal Industrial figures who saw the future of the automobile even In its Infancy, Mr. Leland stood in the front row. Like Henry Ford, the Dodges and other pioneers he started in a small shop on the East Side of Detroit. He was an Easterner, born In Vermont, and learned the machinist's machinist's trade in his early youth. Before Before coming here he engaged in a small way In manufacture of gas engines for power boats and was recognized as an expert in tool making and half a score of kindred phases of iron working. During the Civil War he was employed in an arms factory turning out the new rifled guns for the Union Army. His connection with the Olds company convinced him of opportunities opportunities automobile manufacturing afforded. In 1902 he started the Cadillac company and became the world's first quantity producer of fine cars. He was an inventor of note before this period, and it was as head of this company that he introduced into automobile making the electric starter, storage battery Ignition, electric lighting and thermostatic thermostatic control of engine temper atures. Ills Ambition Fired Anew It was understood he proposed to retire from business after the Cadil-lao Cadil-lao Cadil-lao transfer, but his ambition was fired anew when development of the Liberty motor was projected, chiefly chiefly for which purpose he launched the Lincoln Motor company. Building of Liberty Motors by Henry Leland and his son, Wilfred, Wilfred, for American and Allied airplanes constituted one of the industrial industrial romances of tha World War. When the United Statea entered the war In April, 1917, the Lelands were with Cadillac. They made a trip to Washington. Was there something they could do? Gen. George Squier, of the United States Air Service, was consulted. The Government would need airplane airplane engines but - i not ready to let contracts. When they were let, he told the Lelands, no one would stand a better chance than they of getting the work. He knew, ha assured assured them, r'l about their record for accurate manufacture. Plant la Established In the beginning, he thought about 20 motors a day would be re quired from the Lelands' company. They returned to Detroit and with personr' func- func- bought a plant on Holden A' . and equipped It to build the number of motors which Squier has suggested. Ten days after the Country entereu the war, the Lelands rcrlgned from Cadillac, although they stayed on with that company until July 4. Meantime, the government s vision vision widened. When it cam time to let contracts, they were for 100 motors a day. It meant that the Lelands had to expand their facilities facilities greatly. Wilfred Leland went to Washington to sign the first contract. contract. It was signed two days after the Leland company had been incorporated. incorporated. With him went George Wal- Wal- bridge, of the Walbrldge-Aldinger Walbrldge-Aldinger Walbrldge-Aldinger Co. On the train Mr. Leland told Walbridge what he and his father had in mind the Warren Ave. plant. Ground was broken Sept 21, the roof was on Christmas Day, $2,000,000 worth of machinery was Installed by Llncoln a Birthday and the steam turned on, the plant was dedicated on Washlngton'i Birthday, Birthday, and by Aug. 31, 1918, a year after the contract waa signed, the Lelands' Lincoln company had de livered 2,000 motors. They had started with a hole In the ground, raised an $8,000,000 building, put into it a fortune in machinery, and at the end of the year, giving other manufacturers five months start, had established a record for the largest number of motors produced in a single day, the largest number produced in a month, and the year's largest production. The work was runner compli cated by the fact that at the last minute the Government decided to make 12-cylinder 12-cylinder 12-cylinder engines instead of eights. Besides making this change, the Lelands had to marshal a force of 6,000 men. Demand Lincoln Motors Shortly before the war ended, the Lelands got an extra thrill from a visit from an army engineer In charge of American battle planes In France. He returned to the United States to urge that motor parts be made Interchangeable. He told the Lelands that he had yet to find parts made at the Lincoln plant which were not interchange able, and also said that an order had been issued in France just be fore he sailed to take the name plates off Liberty engines because flyers were balking at taking planes LOWEST PRICES in Frigidaire History over the German lines which were not powered by Lincoln s. Henry Leland also took particular pride in the fact trial when the war finally ended and Government auditors auditors made their checks, they found the manufacturing costs of the Lelands Lelands were lower than any other manufacturer. This company later branched out as the manufacturer of passenger cars or the most costly kind. It was to keep Henry Leland busy for vears and to involve him In long litiga tion and financial chaos. Lincoln's Tragta Chapter The history of the Lincoln Motor Co. from the time It went into production production on automobiles until it passed into the hands of Henry Ford Is a tragic chapter. Henry Leland held to the last that what happened never should have happened, happened, and that he had been the unhappy victim of a set of unbeatable unbeatable circumstances. When the Lincoln entered Into its contract with the Government for delivery of Liberty engines, the contract contract was for 17,500 motors and was made non-cancelable non-cancelable non-cancelable to justify the Lelands in putting up a plant so costly. When the war ended, only 6,500 motors had been built. That left the Lelands with a big plant on their hands and their money tied up In brick and mortar. They had to develop a product. The Government Government cancelled the non-cancelable non-cancelable non-cancelable contract; the Lelands did not fight it. They developed the Lincoln Motor Motor Co. Just before they were ready for deliveries, the general deflation of 1920 set in. Prices cracked. Almost Almost every manufacturer waa compelled compelled to borrow. The Lelands borrowed borrowed $4,500,000. Associate Confident The company, they felt, promised to be very profitable. The late Joseph Boyer and the late William H. Murphy, associated with the company, company, expressed confidence. Some stockholders, however, thought the depression of 1921 was the time to throw the company Into receivership. receivership. "We fought It." said Wilfred Leland, Leland, the son, Saturday. "We demonstrated that the company had a capacity to yield a profit of $10,000,000 a year on a production of 50 motors a day and $6,000,000 on 35 motors a day. "We felt that a company with that future should pay its creditors juo cents on tne dollar. "We consulted a Chicago bank. Its president said receivership on our part was preposterous and that nis DsnK was loaning to com panies not nearly as stronr much larger amounts than Lincoln re quired. He told us if the directors of the Company would continue to Indorse the Company's paper, he would guarantee that no bank would call Its loan and all funds Lincoln required would be provided, Arranged for Loan "My father arranged with New iork capitalists lor a loan of sio, 000,000. It would have enabled us to go along without Indorsement of the directors. We went down to get the money one Monday morn' ing. Twenty minutes before we were to get the money, word came that the Government had placed a 4,S(X),000 additional tax on the Lin coin Motor Co. It prevented the loan and forced the receivership, The tax was shown later to be without foundation and was with drawn. "Alter the receivership, we proved our figures. The plant started up and we demonstrated that the plant attained a produc tion or 35 motors a day and that such a production would have shown a net profit of $6,000,000 a year." As an incident of the failure came a break in the long friendship between Mr. Ford and Mr. Leland, Six years after the sale of the Lin coln Company Mr. Leland and his son William sued Mr. Ford for $6,000,000, claiming there had been a verbal agreement that the pur chased was to pay that sum to Lincoln stockholders. The suit was dismissed on legal grounds While employed with a sewing machine company at Providence, R. L, Mr. Leland invented the hair clipper which since has become standard equipment in practically every barber shop In the world. He turned it over to his employer, who put it into production at once and within a short time it was earning the bouse a profit of $1,000 a flay. The employer had a canny sense of what to do with money, and alarming notions of the rights of inventors. All that Mr. Leland got out of it was a raise of SO cents a day. "Right then," Mr. Leland said, "I decided to go into business for my self, and that If I ever invented anything else I and not somebody rise would get tne Denent ot tu Had His Eye on Chicago He was familiar with the west and the chances its cities afforded to the beginner in manufacturing. He had traveled as salesman for his house from the Ohio River to the Great Lakes, in which several of the leading towns were growing rapidly, and serving an expanding tributory population. He decided Chicago offered the best promise of success, and there he planned to make a start for himself in 18X6. One of the most shocking crimes in America mob history turned him away from the Illinois metropolis and toward Detroit. Detroit. Mr. Leland reached Chicago on the May day that the Haymarket Massacre shocked the world. During During a labor disturbance a bomb was thrown into a squad of police attempting to restore order and eight policemen were killed. The perpetrators of the crime were anarchists. Several of them were executed for these murders. Helped Decide City's Fate The massacre made a tremendous impression on Mr. Leland. He Special Demonstration ot tli N.w SONOTONE ScimnttHe Hmmring Aid ft th shuddered with horror at the thought of the shambles, and noted with misgivings its connection with labor unreHt. It was borne in upon him that Chicago was not the place to attempt to launch a new manufacturing manufacturing industry, and that same day he decided to seek a location elsewhere. It is probable that tl.e Haymarket Massacre cost Chicago first place In the automotive world, for to Mr. Leland more than anv one else this City owes its start toward dominant position n this industry. Mr. Leland headed for Detroit. His plans were vague, however, and when he reached this City he had. no definite idea of locating here. He stopped at the old Rus-sel Rus-sel Rus-sel House at Woodward Ave. and Cadillac Square, later the site of the Hotel Ponchartraln and now of the First National Bank Building. Building. His first impressions of Detroit were not auspicious, for some one stole his fine beaver hat from the dining room and left him one of the cast-iron cast-iron cast-iron derbies of the time to replace it. To make matters worse it was Sunday and there was no chance to buy a hat. Threw the Hat Into River The future auto king was furious. He took the offending hat to the foot of Woodward Ave. and cast it into the river. Then to while away the time he embarked on the Belle Isle ferry. The ferry boats of that day were run on a sociable plan. Whan one got on and paid his nickel he was tree 10 remain all day if he desired, desired, shuttling back and forth between between the City and the Island. A few tripa up and down the river were enough to show the new. comer the beauty of the place and iu convince mm it would be a desirable desirable City in which to establish himself and his business. Within a few days he had secured quarters for his enterprlsa on Bates St. and his spectacular career as a manufacturer manufacturer had begun. Opposed Organized Labor Mr. Leland was a man of sturdy opinions and was recognized as a dry leader in Michigan and an uncompromising uncompromising enemy of organized labor. He attracted attention when the United States entered the VVorld War by advocating exemption exemption of skilled mechanics from the draft, and also urging that aliens resident here be included in the usis. Mr. Leland had a sincere admiration admiration for Abraham Lincoln. That is why the name was given to his war-time war-time war-time plant A statue of The Emancipator stood on the grounds near the factory, and Mr. Leland's office was ornamented with a fine portrait of the Civil War President He was of rugged constitution, and refused to be greatly concerned concerned with ups and downs of life. When the Lincoln Co. failed, he said In reply to an interviewer: "A man may reach a time of life when he hasn't as much to worry about as when he was 25 and trying to support a family. Troubles thst upset you at 25 roll off your back at 75." Waa Born In Vermont Mr. Leland was one of the founders of the National Metal Trades - Association, the National Founders Association and of the Golden Cross. He was associate! with civic, sociological and benevolent benevolent organizations and served as president of the American Society of Automobile Engineers. He received received the degree of doctor of engineering engineering from University of Michigan Michigan and University of Vermont Mr. Leland attributed his long life in part to the fact that he always always had lived sanely and avoided excesses. His success he ascribed to hard work and playing the game fairly. "Whether a man be a manufacturer, manufacturer, salesman, lawyer or whatnot, he must establish a reputation of being a master of his particu . r business," he said In an interview on his eighty-fifth eighty-fifth eighty-fifth birthday anniversary. anniversary. illustrates It with Story "Honesty not only ,1s the best policy. One should alm'to he honest because it is eternally right" Emphasizing the value of a reputation reputation for honesty In business dealings, dealings, he recounted an incident of his experience as an automobile manufacturer. "Our purchasing agent came to US one day several years ago in pleased excitement,' ne related "and explained he had negotiated a contract for material at an ex ceptionally low figure. "The price was one at which knew the maker could not make a profit I said so, and the purchasing purchasing agent agreed. Thereupon 1 tore up the contract and told the purchasing agent to have the manu facturer sea me later aoout It. tie came In a few days, and when questioned admitted he would lose money at tne price ne set, dui explained explained that doing business with us would help him to get contracts from other companies. It was a good enough reason, but we agreed on a figure which would give hlra a profit He made deliveries prompt ly and satisfactorily." Puts Premium on Experience "Hard work." he said, "Is the only road to success. There is no substitute for experience. And ex perience can come only tnrougn work and determination. Mr. Leland never tasted alcoholic liquor or used tobacco In any form, be said. Mr. Leland was born at Dan ville. Vt, Feb. 16, 1843. He mar ried Miss Ellen Rhoda Hull, of Mill- Mill- bury. Mass.. in 1867. and she died in 1914. Their children. Wilfred C. and Gertrude L. (Mrs. Angus C. Woodbridge), both of Detroit, survive. survive. The Detroit Citizens League transmitted to the Leland family Saturday a resolution passed by its executive board commending Mr. Leland's civic activities. "We recognize in Mr. Leland, the resolution read, in part, "the founder and Inspiring personality without whose wlBe counsel and courageous leadership the League never would have been organized. "We believe the welfare of Detroit Detroit and its municipal progress have been due in large measure to his initiative, foresight and wise planning, and we especially commend commend his vigorous and successful fight for clean, efficient election system which today is recognized of benefit Detroit" Two The indicated week posed tax ject troversy in tne Counsel forward The Council a tion the up by liams. transmitting sale if action by Mr. William's' specific and Mr. veeks are The is that gets a right present to be levy The the 1 per owner except State - The home property City on provision resolution, a last to hear the Mr. property sale, would actual free encumbrances. pre-diets be based rather This Williams doubt the estate represents of estimates, subdivision in Village the guard tent on his off his leader a company from the $2, the LOWER tip), not outh. Sumlny UPPER Sun-day, niifht or and rain or chanci nouth north: portion: rain in OHIO south Sunday; in south partner. t The p. m. 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Clipped from Detroit Free Press27 Mar 1932, SunPage 2

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan)27 Mar 1932, SunPage 2
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  • DFP 19320327 Obit p. 2

    efine597 – 20 Mar 2017

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