The Big Car Database


Spaulding was a name used for automobiles from two different companies. One company was based in Grinnell, Iowa and the other in Buffalo, New York.

Spaulding of Iowa

The Spaulding Manufacturing Company was a United States automobile manufacturing company founded by Henry W. Spaulding which produced automobiles named Spaulding from 1910 to 1916. The company was based in Grinnell, Iowa.

Car production stopped in 1916 but the company continued as a truck body builder.

Henry W. Spaulding was born in Vermont in 1846 and arrived in Iowa in 1876 where he set up shop as a blacksmith and carriage manufacturer in Grinnell. At the turn of the century the Spaulding Manufacturing Company was the oldest and largest producer of vehicles west of the Mississippi.

By now Spaulding's sons, Frederick E. and Ernest H., had joined their father in the family business. The Spauldings went automotive in 1910 with a pair of four-cylinder 30 hp cars: Model C with three-speed sliding gear transmission and Model D with a two-speed planetary. The wheelbase was 112 inches, and the price $1,500. These cars were sold through the Spaulding carriage agents. In 1911 the Model D became a larger (122-inch wheelbase) and more expensive ($2,500) 40 hp car, which the Spauldings attempted to market through established automobile dealers.

This did not work well, apparently, for in 1912 Spaulding returned to using its carriage outlets almost exclusively. In 1913 the Spaulding was revised into a 40 hp four on a 120-inch wheelbase, and remained thus for the rest of its life. Engines that had been Rutenbers thus far were switched to Budas in 1914. An interesting model for 1915 was called the "Sleeping Car," which provided overnight accommo­dations.

But the most fascinating news from Spaulding was its performance in 1914 in traveling the River-to-River (Mississippi-to-Missouri) Road in what was claimed "a world's dirt-road speed record" and its establishing a new cross-state speed record, feats that persuaded the Panama-Pacific International Exposition the following year to select the Spaulding to map the overland route to the California exposition.

Difficulty in getting parts transported to Grinnell and underfinancing of the venture spelled the end for the Spaulding car in 1916. Thereafter the firm survived building truck bodies, and by the early Twenties the Spaulding Manufacturing Company was producing road machinery. Henry W. Spaulding died in 1937 at the age of 91. In addition to building the only automobile in Grinnell, he was also for a time mayor of the town and president of the Citizens National Bank.


When the Spaulding automobile was produced in 1910, the Spaulding Manufacturing Company had been making carriages for 36 years in Grinell, Iowa. Henry W. Spaulding's two sons Frederick and Ernest had joined the firm with their father. They decided to go into car   business with a pair of four-cylinders, 30 horse power models: a three-speed and a two-speed transmissions. The wheel -base was 120 inches and the price was $1, 500. They were to be sold through their carriage business agencies. In 1911, they came out with a larger model that sold for $2,500 and these were to be sold through automobile agencies. This did not work out and they returned to their carriage agencies in 1912. The 1913 model was a 40-horse power on a 120 inch wheel base and it stayed there.

Spaulding was a well-made four-cylinder chassis with a Buda motor and listing at $1,230 as touring car or roadster. It had plenty of power and high-class components and had been changed only in minor detail. A special feature of this car was the supply of a touring body for five passengers which can be converted into a sleeping place by dropping the back of the front seat. This is done in a few minutes and the cushions were so shaped that a comfortable bed could be fixed up. Magneto ignition and the Entz system of single unit lighting and starting were fitted to the Buda motor, and the three-speed gearset was situated amid ships, while the floating rear axle had exceptionally large brakes.

Spaulding of New York

The Spaulding Automobile and Motor Company of Buffalo, New York produced an automobile named Spaulding from 1902-1903 .

Brothers Henry F. and C. M. Spaulding, owners of the Spaulding Machine Screw Company, Buffalo, NY, incorporated their Spaulding Automobile & Motor Company in early 1902. A lawsuit against the company, by the Olds Motor Works, for infringement of patent on the motor delayed the production. After the motor was redesigned production began with a suspension that looked like the Oldsmobile, another lawsuit ensued. Finally, it was on the market for $650, but was raised to $700 in 1903. A touring car was added in 1903, but by now, they were in financial trouble because of the large amount of money from previous lawsuits. It went into receivership that year.