The Columbus Buggy Company was the largest manufacturer of horse drawn vehicles in the United States. George M Peters apprenticed to E & H F Booth in 1856. George excelled at painting, lettering, and scrollwork. After an interruption caused by the war, George partnered with William & John Benns. The three purchased a small carriage repair shop belonging to H H Charitans. Still in 1865, they bought the Moore carriage shop becoming Peters, Benns, & Company. A partnership was then established with Ayres, Mithoff, & Dann. Standardization or duplicate practices for manufacturing were developed while using prison labor. Their carriages were sold through auction by A Sells. The company struggled and accumulated debt. Clinton Dewitt Firestone joined in 1868 providing $5,000 capital. Still, the company struggled until resuming the duplicate method of production in 1870. After a significant fire and rebuilding in 1874, the company was sold to H K Fuller in 1875. This would become the Buckeye Buggy Company.
Firestone and Peters established the Iron Buggy Company in 1875. Oscar Peters joined at this time as the Peters Dash Company was formed. Their new location had access to the P. C. & L. Railroad and ample land for expansion. They sold 50,000 buggies the first year and soon became a two million dollar company. They were producing a new buggy every 8 minutes. The name was changed to the Columbus Buggy Company (CBC) at the end of 1875.
C D Firestone’s cousin, Harvey began selling Columbus buggies in Detroit in 1890. Hard rubber tires were a forty-dollar option on buggies. Henry Ford came into Harvey’s shop and bought a set of these tires and wheels for his Motorwagon made by the Detroit Automobile Company. The Firestone/Ford relationship led to the creation of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company.
Competition from new rubber companies applied pressure on CBC as the Financial Panic of 1896 developed. CBC was forced into bankruptcy by creditors and the Peters Dash Company was sold to provide capital. CBC was sold at auction in 1898 and a judgment entered against stockholders. The company was reorganized and recovered just as motor vehicles were being developed. An electric carriage, the Columbus Electric Car, was introduced in 1902. A gasoline powered car followed in 1907.
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