View Full Version : Studebaker / Electric Auto - Lite Company.

09-19-2017, 04:18 AM
For many years the above Companies had a strong business bond with various electrical items fitted to the Studebaker product. When Studebaker celebrated their Centennial in 1952 Auto - Lite recognised the occasion with a beautiful hand made book for Harold Vance, President of the Corporation re their Centennial achievment. There was a week long celebration on radio, newspapers & television.
This presentation book contains many unique photos of 1952 Studebakers along with cuttings from contemporary publications. In the attached image there are also two large Studebaker Week badges dedicated to the event.
Another week in the long history of Studebaker.67152

09-19-2017, 05:18 AM
Very nice item. Thanks for sharing.
Nice day to all.

09-19-2017, 06:07 AM
Jim, you never cease to amaze me with some of the unique and different Studebaker items you have. Thanks for sharing them.

09-19-2017, 01:14 PM
Thanks for sharing! I remember listening to the radio show Suspense! It was sponsored by the Electric Auto-Lite Co.
They would highlight a car company from time to time. I remember Packard being high lighted and I'm sure Studebaker must have been, especially in 1952.
And as Johnny Plug-Check would say "and check the spark plugs too"

09-19-2017, 08:18 PM
Thanks for sharing! I remember listening to the radio show Suspense! It was sponsored by the Electric Auto-Lite Co.
They would highlight a car company from time to time. I remember Packard being high lighted and I'm sure Studebaker must have been, especially in 1952.
And as Johnny Plug-Check would say "and check the spark plugs too"

Bill, you have a great memory. I rechecked my book & there is certainly adequate mention of that "Suspense" program on radio & television.

09-19-2017, 09:31 PM
Some interesting history...


The Electric Auto-Lite Company
List of Deals
1946 298,971 common shares (par value $5 per share)
The Electric Auto-Lite Company was incorporated in Ohio in May 1922 to purchase for cash and securities the assets of the Electric Auto-Lite Division of Willys Corporation. Electric Auto-Lite made parts, equipment, and accessories used in the manufacture of automobiles. The company grew rapidly in the first few years of its existence as a subsidiary of Willys and as the motorcar industry grew. In 1912 it produced 100 starting and lighting outfits per month. In 1920 it produced 100,000 per month. During the 1920s it was supplying parts for auto manufacturers such as Chevrolet Company, Durant Motors, Overland, Chalmers, and National.

In 1923, in its first full year of operation as an independent company, Electric Auto-Lite earned $2.5 million on sales of $14.5 million.

Over the years the company grew and broadened its product line by regularly purchasing other companies in the industry. Electric Auto-Lite acquired American Enameled Magnet Wire Company in 1923, and in March 1926 it bought the starting-lighting-ignition business of American Bosch Magneto Company and Gray & Davis, Inc.

Electric Auto-Lite was making more than 100,000 lighting and starting units per month for 115 different makes of car in 1927. It employed more than 4,000 people in its Toledo and Fostoria plants.

In 1928 the company bought USL Battery Corporation, Prest-O-Lite Storage Battery Corporation, Marko Storage Battery Corporation, and Wubco Battery Corporation. It also acquired interests in Eclipse Machine Company and the Columbus Auto Parts Company. In February 1929 Electric Auto-Lite added the storage battery division of Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing Company, and in September it acquired control of J.W. Brown Manufacturing. During 1929 Electric Auto-Lite delivered one million generators to the Ford Motor Company. The company workforce expanded to 12,000, and sales in 1928 were nearly $50 million.

In 1932 Electric Auto-Lite sold 75 percent of its interest in Electric Auto-Lite of Delaware and all of its holdings in Fostoria Machine & Tool Company. In 1934 Electric Auto-Lite bought Moto Meter Gauge & Equipment Corporation, the Corcoran-Brown Lamp Company, and the Owen-Dyneto Corporation.

In May 1934 Electric Auto-Lite achieved some notoriety in a labor-management struggle that came to be known as the "Battle of Toledo." The company refused negotiations with striking workers and hired strikebreakers in the spring of 1934. A group of local socialist-affiliated unemployed workers joined the strikers, setting up mass picket lines. On May 23 the sheriff arrested several picket leaders, prompting the "Battle of Toledo." Ten thousand workers and their families blockaded the Auto-Lite factory, keeping the strikebreakers inside. Deputies used tear gas and water hoses to try to disperse the crowd, which rioted and set fire to the parking lot. The National Guard, dispatched to evacuate the strikebreakers, killed two protesters but failed to break the strike. Ultimately Auto-Lite closed the plant, agreed to recognize the union, rehired the strikers, and gave them a 5 percent wage hike. Almost simultaneous strikes in San Francisco and Minneapolis signaled a wave of labor militancy throughout the country.

Acquisitions continued through the 1930s. In 1935 Electric Auto-Lite acquired the Alemite Die-Casting & Manufacturing Company as well as the plants of Central Brass & Fixture Company of Springfield, Ohio. In 1936 it purchased Bay Rubber Company.

Beginning in 1937 the company began selling or dissolving many companies that it had acquired in past years. It sold its interest in Concealed Door Check Company and Earhart Door Check Company in 1937. In 1938 it dissolved Southwest Battery Corporation, and in 1939 it also dissolved Battery Distributing Corporation, Wubco Battery Corporation, USL Battery Sales Corporation of California, and Prest-O-Lite Battery Company. In 1942 Otto Warehouse and Perma-Maid Companies were also dissolved.

By 1945 Electric Auto-Lite manufactured more than 400 types of parts, including generators, lamps, horns, hubcaps, wiring, and seat adjustors. It was the largest independent manufacturer of automotive electrical equipment. Sales in 1945 were $124.4 million, up from $56.3 million in 1939.

Skip Lackie
09-20-2017, 05:10 PM
Every week on Suspense, announcer Harlow Wilcox would converse with a Dolt named Hap about his car problems, which were always due to worn-out or poor-quality tune-up parts. Wilcox always finished the ad with: "You're always right with Auto-Lite!"

Blue 15G
09-21-2017, 09:03 AM
"They Auto Lite....... But they don't!"

(Sorry, just a little auto parts store humor from back in the day.)

09-21-2017, 09:11 AM
"They Auto Lite....... But they don't!"

Joe Lucas comes to mind with that one!!


Blue 15G
09-21-2017, 09:59 AM
Joe Lucas comes to mind with that one!!

Craig I agree with you on that!

09-21-2017, 10:42 AM
More history......

HistoryThe origins of Autolite can be traced to 1911, when Electric Autolite was founded. The company produced a generator to power early day auto lamps or buggy lamps. In 1927, Electric Autolite acquired the Prest-O-Lite Battery Company from The Union Carbide Corporation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Carbide) which produced automotive batteries. In 1935, Royce G. Martin, President of the Electric Autolite Company, decided that the company should enter the business of manufacturing spark plugs. Robert Twells, a ceramic engineer, led the development team. A few months later, the company was selling their first spark plug (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spark_plug). Electric Autolite's products were expanded further to include: Starting Motors, Generators, Regulators, Ignition Systems, Wire and Cable Products. Autolite enjoyed instant success, as it had secured supply contracts with leading car manufacturers such as Chrysler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler), Studebaker (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studebaker), Packard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packard), and Willys (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willys).
In a 1940 promotional film, Autolite featured stop motion animation of its products marching past Autolite factories to the tune of Franz Schubert (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Schubert)'s Military March (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Marches_Militaires_(Schubert)). An abbreviated version of this sequence was later used in television ads for Autolite, especially those on the 1950s CBS program Suspense (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspense_(U.S._TV_series)), which Autolite sponsored. (Autolite had sponsored the earlier radio program.) Announcer Harlow Wilcox (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlow_Wilcox_(announcer)) turned the ad's tagline "You're always right with Autolite!" into a national catchphrase.
In 1961, seeking to enter the profitable aftermarket auto parts business, the Ford Motor Company (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Motor_Company) acquired the Autolite tradename, an Ohio spark plug factory, a Michigan battery facility, limited distribution rights, and the services of several employees.[2] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autolite#cite_note-2) Autolite products became standard original factory equipment in Ford vehicles. A federal antitrust lawsuit was filed against Ford, which dragged on through the remainder of the 1960s, and Ford was forced to sell its Autolite-related assets to the Bendix Corporation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bendix_Corporation) by 1973.
In 1963, the portion of the Autolite company which was not acquired by Ford merged with the Mergenthaler Linotype Company and the Eltra Corporation was formed. Former Autolite Motor phase of the company became the Prestolite Motor and Ignition Company, later Prestolite Electric (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prestolite_Electric). In 1973, the Bendix Corporation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bendix_Corporation) had purchased both Fram and Autolite. In 1980, The Eltra Corporation is acquired by the Allied Signal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_Signal) Corporation which became Honeywell (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeywell) in 1999. Bendix was acquired by Allied in 1983, thereby bringing Autolite back to its original parent, Electric Autolite (Eltra) as part of Allied Signal (Honeywell). In 2011, Honeywell sold its automotive consumer products group to the Rank Group, which set up FRAM (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fram_(oil_filter)) Group, LLC and several other companies to take over the operations and the transfer of ownership of the acquired trademarks.