The White Motor Company was an American automobile and truck manufacturer from 1900 until 1980. The company also produced bicycles, roller skates, automatic lathes, and sewing machines. Before World War II, the company was based in Cleveland, Ohio.
About 1898, Thomas H. White purchased a Locomobile steam car and found its boiler unreliable. His son, Rollin, set out to improve its design. Rollin White developed a form of water tube steam generator which consisted of a series of stacked coils with two novel features: the first was that the coils were all joined at the top of the unit, which allowed water to flow only when pumped, allowing control of the steam generation; the second was pulling steam from the lowest coil, closest to the fire, which allowed control of steam temperature. This second point was critical because the White steamer operated with superheated steam to take advantage of steam's properties at higher temperatures. Rollin White patented his steam generator, US patent 659,837 of 1900.
Rollin H. White patented his new design and offered it to, among others, Locomobile. Finally, he persuaded his father, founder of the White Sewing Machine Company, to allow the use of a corner in one of his buildings to build an automobile. White's brother Windsor, who was a management talent, joined the business venture, followed by their brother Walter, who became instrumental in the sales, promotion and distribution of the product. The first group of fifty cars were completed in October 1900, but none were offered to the public until April 1901 so the design could be thoroughly tested. Since the cars were being offered by the automobile department of the sewing machine company, White could not afford to diminish the reputation of the parent company by the introduction of an untested product. It became necessary in 1905 to separate the automobile department from its parent company to accommodate the growth of the business and to physically separate them, as a fire in one could ruin both operations. On July 4, 1905, a racing steam car named "Whistling Billy" and driven by Webb Jay set a record of 73.75 mph on the Morris Park Racecourse. A 1907 White steamer was one of the early vehicles in the White House when Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, allowed the Secret Service to use the car behind his horse-drawn carriage. In 1909, president William Howard Taft converted the White House stables into a garage and purchased four automobiles: two Pierce-Arrows, a Baker Electric, and a 1911 White. This $4,000 car was one of the last steam cars produced and proved a favorite of the President who used bursts of steam against "pesky" press photographers. White companies' manufacturing facility expanded. The White steamer used unique technology, and it was vulnerable in a market that was accepting the internal combustion engine as the standard. White canvassed existing gas manufacturers and licensed the rights to the Delahaye design for the "gas car", showing a chassis at an English auto show in December 1908. The last steam car was built in January 1911 as the company made a transition to gasoline-powered vehicles.The company continued to show them in their catalogues as late as 1912. About 10,000 White steam-powered cars were built, more than the better known Stanley.
White Motor Company ended car production after WWI and began producing trucks. The company soon sold 10 percent of all trucks made in the US. Although White produced all sizes of trucks from light delivery to semi, the decision was made after WWII to produce only large trucks. White acquired several truck companies during this time: Sterling, Autocar, Diamond T, and REO. White also agreed to sell Consolidated Freightways trucks through its own dealers. White produced trucks under the Autocar nameplate following its acquisition. Diamond T and REO Motor Car Company became the Diamond REO division, which was discontinued in the 1970s.
White designed and (with other companies) produced the M3 Scout Car, the standard United States Army reconnaissance vehicle at the start of World War II. White also built the later M2 and M3 half-tracks.
In the 1930s, White produced 500 of their small Model 706 buses specifically designed to carry passengers through the major National Parks of the western US. The distinctive vehicles, with roll-back canvas convertible tops, were the product of noted industrial designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, and originally operated in seven National Parks. Today, Glacier National Park operates 33 of their original 35 buses, where they are referred to as "Red Jammers", and 8 (of an original 98) have been restored for renewed service in Yellowstone National Park. Glacier National Park's 33 buses were refurbished by Ford Motor Company and TransGlobal in 2000-2002, while Yellowstone National Park's eight buses were refurbished by TransGlobal in 2007. Glacier has kept one bus in original condition. Yellowstone has five White buses in original condition, two model 706s and three older units as well. In addition, Gettysburg National Battlefield operates two of Yellowstone's original buses.
In 1953, White purchased the Autocar Company. From 1951 until 1977, White Motors also distributed Freightliner trucks, under an agreement with Freightliner's parent, Consolidated Freightways. White manufactured trucks under its own brands—White, Autocar, and Western Star—as well, leading to the company becoming known as the "Big Four" through to the mid-1970s. The Sterling nameplate, unused by White as long as the company owned it, went to Freightliner after the companies' split; it was used from 1997 to 2008, by Daimler Trucks. Sales dropped during the 1960s, Semon E. "Bunkie" Knudsen, former president of Ford Motor Company, made the company successful for a time, but the decline continued. By 1980, White was insolvent. Volvo AB acquired the US assets of the company in 1981.
This extremely rare Touring car was restored to a very high standard, and has held up quite well- with minimal detailing and the occasional touch up this car is ready for any show one would wish to enter. It runs without fault, and could be toured with confidence. It has some very interesting features such as the rotary cowl vents, running board mounted spare, tool box, and tank set, and nickle plating- an advanced feature for 1914. The artillery wheels are in excellent condtion and run straight and true.
This is a very rare, nicely restored car that needs nothing but a happy new owner!