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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Studebaker, Cole


Augustus J. Fertig
The Washington Herald
October 10, 1913

Between the engineer who designs an automobile, and the manufacturing genius who builds it, there intervenes a step which, while never of a spectacular sort, is nevertheless of mighty importance, determining to a great extent the price at which the car profitably can be sold.

This step is the purchase of material. To the man under whose direction this task is performed, the automobiling-buying public owes a large share of the increasing value that is being put into the popular-priced American automobile.

The purchasing agent is a specialist in values of materials. He knows the reputation of every large maker of materials, and the capacity of his plant. He is a veteran student of human nature—wary, resourceful and shrewd.

An example of scientific buying ability is Chester J. Reynolds, through whose department The Studebaker Corporation buys annually many millions of dollars worth of supplies, varying in value from the pencil of a stenographer to the most costly automobile materials and equipment.

Mr. Reynolds' experience dates back 26 years to his first job in the purchasing department at the Studebaker in plant South Bend. His transfer to the automobile plants in Detroit occurred several years ago and implied a change in detail only.

Backed by the immense Studebaker buying power, Mr. Reynolds daily entertains an interesting series of callers at this office in the Detroit headquarters.

Representatives of big steel mills; salesmen of high-grade leather and paint; builder of automobile equipment; manufacturers of machine tools, and a host of others complete for the Studebaker business.

Guided by a definite policy, Mr. Reynolds sits in judgement. He must be satisfied regarding quality; if there is any doubt involved, the Studebaker laboratory determines that by analysis and experiment. He must be satisfied on the seller's financial standing and ability to make deliveries according to schedule. He must be satisfied that the price finally agreed upon is reasonable, but will still allow the salesman's firm a margin of profit. This last provision makes it necessary to know the last word regarding manufacturing cost.

The experienced salesman is fully aware of all these conditions. He knows also that the Studebaker contract will mean continuous operation for the manufacturer he represents, and a successful season as a result. Just how great a saving this represents to the purchaser of a car may be imagined from the fact that a manufacturer of material or equipment is almost always ready to quote, on prices ordered in lots of 50,000, a price approximating one-third or less of what is charged for the same piece at retail list.


Indianapolis, Oct. 9.—"Homeward, ho!" is the slogan of the Cole engineering test party. If the present schedule is maintained the transcontinental testers will be in the Hoosier capital early next week.

It will be a pretty weary and homesick trio that pulls up in front of the Cole motor car factory. Almost to a day, Chief Engineer Crawford, Field Advertising Manager Bradfield and Chief Tester Fettijohn will have been on the road three months. During this time they will have traversed fifteen States and the province of British Columbia. Already the speedometer has clicked off more than 7,500 miles. Their journey has taken them into the roughest country on the continent.

The return of the motor car explorers has been timed most opportunely. They will be in the East in ample time to prepare for visiting the big automobile shows, an important fact from the viewpoint of the manufacturer and dealer. It is expected that the transcontinental Cole will be the reigning feature at the national motor car exhibits.

A royal welcome is being planned for the arrival of the trio in Indianapolis. A number of private owners of Coles are getting up a parade to escort them into the city. An informal reception will be held at one of the leading clubs. In recognition of the wide boosting that the Cole chiefs have done for Indianapolis and the Hoosier State, the Governor of Indiana and the Mayor of Indianapolis will be on the program to thank them on behalf of the State and city.


When running wires for an electric lighting system, great care should be taken to see that none of the wires are so positioned that the sill of the body can squeeze them, for otherwise the constant chafing will soon cause grounds, which will be fatal to the satisfactory working of the system.

The wires should be placed in the channel of the frame iron, and retained by clips or brackets, which will prevent movements in so far as possible. To prevent shorts two wires should not be held by the same clip.

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