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1902: H.G. Martin and Company Automobile Storage and Repairs

During the early-1900s the steam-powered car was at the forefront of the motor vehicle movement due to over two centuries of previous development of the steam piston and cylinder engine. At the same time, the conventional gasoline-powered reciprocating internal combustion engine fired by either a spark or a hot tube ignition had received less than century of advancement.

  • View a short video of a 1899 Locomobile steam car being fired up and put through its paces in Sweden. 

The car on the far-left side and the one in the doorway are both Wintons. The quadricycle in front of the garage door is powered by a one-cylinder-rear-mounted-air-cooled gasoline engine, and equipped with a front-mounted passenger seat was built either by the French De Dion-Bouton Company or the Waltham Manufacturing Company.

The other four machines in the photograph are Loco steam cars; these are 1901 to ’02 models produced by the Locomobile Company of America (1899 – ’29), which was located 120-miles due west of  Providence, RI, in Bridgeport, CT.

Learn more about the Locomobile steam car in earlier posts here on The Old Motor. Tell us what you find of interest in the photos courtesy of the Providence Public Library.

13 responses to “1902: H.G. Martin and Company Automobile Storage and Repairs

  1. I like the French De Dion-Bouton quadricycle , especially if you had your mother in law riding in front to act like an air bag. (;-o)

  2. The well dressed gentleman at the far right in the image looks similar to photos I have seen of the Monsieur Georges Bouton of the firm De Dion-Bouton . At the turn of the century De Dion-Bouton, sold more automobiles than the combined totals of Daimler, Lanchester, Napier and Wolsely combined totals in the United Kingdom-and exceeded threefold the sale of the ‘curved dash’ Oldsmobile. (Ballantines Illustrated History of the Car marque book No 6)

  3. Must love those ‘auto buggys’. Near twenty years ago I was chatting with a gent who was approaching the century mark. As he spoke about travel on the roads and towns in my area, something became apparent. Any time two vehicles showed up on the same road, every day was race day!

  4. Not all Locomobiles: the car on the right as well as the car on the far left are both a 1900 Winton. With respect to the quadricycle: I wouldn’t be surprised if this was an Oriënt, built by the Waltham Manufacturing Company. They could be easily transformed into a tricycle, by the way. In Europe many firms produced these tricycles and quadricycles, but these were of course always built after the De Dion-Bouton example. In America there were also others like Canda, but I have the impression that there were not that many.

  5. I sure would like to know the exact location (address) where the H. G. Martin Co was located in Providence… Thanks, Dick Shappy, Providence RI

    • HG Martin & Co was located at intersection of West Exchange and Aborn in Providence when this photo was made.

      196 TO 200 West Exchange.

      Additional information and an additional picture of HG Martin & Co in the article “The Automobile Comes to Rhode Island” by J Stanley Lemons published August 1994 by Rhode Island Historical Society in their “Rhode Island History”. Available online to read.

    • I could not find the exact location of H.G. Martin’s business in 1902, but I can provide the following information.

      In 1901 a city directory ad showed him at 179 Aborn Street as well as 2 Worcester Street, and he represented both the Century Motor Vehicle Co. and the Studebaker Manufacturing Co. and other firms.

      That being said, his 1901 city directory listing showed him repairing electrical machinery at 196, 198, and 200 West Exchange, and an automobile storage station at 261 Aborn.

      Martin’s 1903 city directory ad only shows the 196, 198, and 200 West Exchange Street location. The ad states he was the state representative for both the Locomobile Company of America and the De Dion-Bouron [sic] “Motorette” Company. It further states he had a storage capacity of 100 carriages.

      The 1903 and 1904 city directories only show the 179 Aborn address.

      Harold Gardiner “Harry” Martin, Sr. was born in Providence, RI, June 11, 1867 and died July 26, 1933. He appears to have remained involved in the automobile business his whole life in addition to selling real estate and insurance.

    • There are multiple locations for automobile businesses associated with HG Martin in Providence at the time of the image in this TOM post.

      The November 1902 Issue of “Outing” has a list of service stations and HG Martin & Co is listed at “198 W. Exchange St” and also at “Dorrance Worcester and Eddy Sts”.

      The 179 Aborn address mentioned by ACE ZENEK was the address of a number of very early automobile businesses prior to WW1. A January 1, 1918 fire is reported to have consumed 50 automobiles at what was a “Packard Service Station”.

      Two clues in the image above are what may be a street number on the door frame of the mandoor under the hanging sign, and in the background are freight cars parked on a railroad siding or in a yard.

      I haven’t yet found a picture of either the 179 Aborn or the Dorrance Worcester and Eddy Location.

      The 1905 “Red Book” Interstate Automobile Register and Tourists Guide shows a HG Martin listing with the 179 Aborn Address and a map which suggests the image in the TOM post might be the Aborn location due to the railroad tracks and street layout.

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  6. According to the Providence Public Library, it was on West Exchange Street. I don’t trust that completely, but a 1901 or 1902 City Directory would have it.

  7. Thanks guys… I visited where that West Exchange and Aborn Street corner once was and see that construction of Interstate 95 now occupies that location. thanks again, Dick

  8. West Exchange Street was next to the railroad tracks. I used to park in a lot that was on railroad land directly across the street from 222 West Exchange. The tracks are gone now… moved when they built a new station in the 1980s(?) but the original Union Station is quite close, on Exchange Place (renamed Kennedy Plaza in the 60s).

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