Pullman Model H Light Touring Car, 1908

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#0047 - Pullman Model H Light Touring Car, 1908

Photographed: York Heritage Trust Concours d'Elegance, 2007
Owner: Fred Rosemiller

What Pierce-Arrow is to Buffalo... Pullman is to York, Pennsylvania. Although never receiving a high degree of national recognition, Pullman automobiles were well built up-market cars mass-produced between 1905 and 1917. Though tens of thousands of cars were produced—the actual number is in dispute—today perhaps 30 survive, most of which reside here in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The city of York looks back on these veterans with pride, particularly in light of the industrial dearth that lead to economic atrophy through the twentieth century. Buffalo knows very well what that feels like.

Railroad fanatics will recognize the Pullman name from the standard heavy passenger cars that hefted scores of commuters across the country in the heyday of rail travel. Pennsylvania is certainly a mecca for railfans, but the York-based car company is merely an allusion to the quality embodied by the Pullman rail car, rather than a connected entity. Pullman's founder was one A.P. Broomell, and it was his decision to stake the name of his company on an already well recognized manner of travel, quite a bit of smart marketing.

As conditions worsened for the Pullman Motor Company, so did the aim and ultimate quality of the product suffer. A 1917 New York Times survey of the emerging auto accessory market depicted three new models from three marques, each of them now long forgotten—Empire, Premier, and Pullman. Of these three—and so very much to the contrary of the thousands of dollars asked for an early Pullman—the cheapest car on the page was the Pullman 4-Seat Tourer, weighing in at a mere $825. That was Model T territory, and certainly not the standard to which Broomell aspired at the outset.

Sources:

New York Times: Many-Sided Ingenuity In Car Accessories: New Devices Constantly Added and Hundreds of Manufacturers Engaged in This Branch of Industry, by L. M. Bradley, published Sunday, January 17, 1917

Wikipedia was able to provide a lead on another New York Times article from 1909, this one pertaining to the Pullman Model K Touring Car. Since I have photographs of the Model K, I think I'll put this informational find to good use in the future.

 

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