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  1. Many thanks for all your input. The article is complete and going to press. Gave coverage to Bendix, Lockheed, Steeldraulic, Timkin Hydostatic, and Huck mechanical and hydraulic brakes (Chev to 1950). The person who asked about the address in Detroit of Lockheed's Hydraulic Brake Company, it was 2843 E. Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI
  2. Here is what I have learned so far about early automobile brakes. Still need to know how Wagner Brake company figured into the picture. I assume they manufactured brake parts under licence to Bendix, and acted as a distributor to aftermarket parts to jobbers. LOCKHEED BRAKES In 1901 a young inventor named Malcolm Lougheed (who later changed the spelling of his name to Lockheed) began design work on a four-wheel hydraulic brake system for the automobiles as they begin to appear on the scene. He used a large cylinder and hollow tubes to transmit fluid pressure through individual cylinders at each wheel. Each wheel cylinder pushed opposing brake shoes against the drums (Internal Expanding) or pulled strap linings around the outside of the drum (External Contracting). Between December 17, 1922 and July 1923 he received seven patents for his hydraulic brake designs. In 1923 he formed the Hydraulic Brake Company in Detroit, Michigan to manufacture his brakes. In 1921, the first passenger car to be equipped with four-wheel hydraulic brakes was the Duesenberg. Carmakers as a group were not quick to adopt Lockheed hydraulic brakes. The first Lockheed four-wheel hydraulic brakes appeared on Maxwell's higher priced Chalmers cars in the late fall of 1923. Walter P. Chrysler was Chairman of Maxwell Motor Co. and wanted to adapt the Lockheed hydraulic brakes to his upcoming new 1924 Chrysler car line. However, there was a problem with the Lockheed brakes. Lockheed used rawhide cup seals to prevent hydraulic fluid leakage when the brakes were applied. These seals quickly dried out and shrank under heavy brake usage. Maxwell engineers came up with more resilient seals in the form of rubber cups and that solved the problem. Because the improvements were so substantial, Lockheed agreed to allow Maxwell the use of his brake system free of royalties provided Lockheed could incorporate the improvements in his original design. Chrysler made these improvements to the Lockheed brake, and then gave the patent rights back to Lockheed. Chrysler used the improved brakes, calling them the Chrysler-Lockheed hydraulic brakes, on the 1923 Maxwell and then on the new 1924 Chrysler models. Chrysler continued to use Lockheed hydraulic brakes on all of its car lines from then on until 1962. Lockheed brakes were first used on Nash cars in 1935 and thereafter on the Lafayette car line until 1939 and the postwar 600 series. In spite of the advantages of hydraulic brakes by 1931 only Chrysler, Dodge, Desoto, Plymouth, Auburn, Franklin, Reo, Flint, and Graham used them. GM and Ford still had cable-operated mechanical brakes. In fact, it was not until the mid-1930's that GM adopted Bendix hydraulic brakes across all its car lines. In 1939 Ford became the last automobile manufacturer to switch to hydraulic brakes. They adapted the Lockheed system similar to the system used on the 1939 Nash Lafayette series. Malcolm Lockheed sold his brake company to Bendix in 1932 for $1,000,000 and returned to California, and, ever the optimist, began gold mining again at his Ilex mine. He lived the last twenty-nine years of his life at Mokelumne Hill, in Calaveras County, CA. eventually forced to become a welfare recipient until his death on August 13, 1958. It was a sad end for a great--if stubbornly independent--inventor and entrepreneur. BENDIX BRAKES Vincent Bendix made his impact on the automobile scene by inventing a unique starter device in 1911. His "Bendix Drive" was installed on an engine starter motor and it automatically disconnected from the flywheel as soon as the engine started. It was first installed in the 1914 Chevrolet. It soon became the standard starter drive in many cars produced in the United States. The Bendix Drive mounts on the end of the starter motor and automatically disconnects when the engine starts. By 1919, Bendix starter drive production had soared to 1.5 million and nearly every vehicle produced in America was equipped with his Bendix drive. By 1922 Vincent Bendix was rich and ambitious. In 1923 after meeting French engineer Henri Perrot at a European auto show, Bendix acquired the license to Perrot's shoe-brake and equalizing mechanisms patents. Using Perrot's patents he made improvements and came up with a workable mechanical four-wheel drive brake system. To finance the new brake system, Bendix offered stock to the public for the first time in 1924, marking the official beginning of The Bendix Corporation. Bendix opened a plant in South Bend, Ind. and began the manufacture of his Bendix mechanical four-wheel brakes. Production climbed from 650,000 brakes in 1926 to 3.6 million in 1928 mostly in supplying Bendix mechanical brakes to General Motors. In the 1920's there were two schools of thought about the mechanical vs hydraulic brakes as to what was the better brake. Bendix argued that mechanical brakes did not have any fluids "to leak out all over the garage floor." and that they were sure, safe and reliable. Lockheed claimed the safety of equal application of force at each wheel made hydraulic better able to control skidding. The said there were no complicated mechanical rods and cables to stretch. They claimed rust and dirt made mechanical brakes unreliable, did not last long without problems, and were dangerous and in need of constant maintenance. (Note: Since hydraulic brakes were eventually universally adapted they were the better brakes). In 1929 Bendix renamed his company Bendix Aviation Corporation. Malcolm Lockheed, sold his Hydraulic Brake Company in Detroit, MI in 1930 for $1,000.000. to Bendix Aviation. The sale included some 56 brakes patents. By 1931 the Bendix Avaition Corporation had bought up several manufacturing companies and was comprised of the following Divisions: 1). Bendix Mechanical Brakes, South Bend, IND 2). Lockheed Hydraulic Brakes, Detroit, MI, 3). B-K Vacuum Brake Booster Div. .South Bend, Indiana. 4). Bendix Starter Drive, Eclipse Machine Co, Elmira, NY 5). Stromberg Carburetor, South Bend, IND. 6). Scintilla Magneto, Sidney, NY. 7). Bendix-Westinghouse, Automotive Air Brake, Pittsburgh, Pennsivania 8). Cowdrey Brake Tester Div. South Bend, Indiana. Bendix now controlled the market for brakes on automobiles, trucks, and airplanes, with the only other brakes on the market being the Chevrolet Huck and Midland Steeldraulic brakes. STEELDRAULIC BRAKES - were used on the: Auburn 1931 and 1932, 8 CYI., Hupmobile after 1927 Pontiac 1928 to 1932 Nash after 1929 (some) De Vaux 1930 Durant 1930, 1931 Oakland 1928 to 1932 Dodge 4 and Standard Within five years, as the owner of the Lockheed patents, Bendix converted their mechanical brakes to hydraulic. Lockheed brakes were kept in production (along with the Bendix brakes) for the next 15 years. They were produced by the Wagner Brake Div-of the Wagner Electric Company under license to Bendix. Those brakes were called Wagner-Lockheed. In 1948 Bendix was cited by anti-trust goverment interests for having a monopoly on brake systems and efforts to break up the firm failed.
  3. I am doing a paper on the history of automobile brakes. What I have learned is that three names are involved with early automobile brakes-Wagner-Lockheed-Bendix. Herbert Appleton Wagner formed the Wagner Electric Corp and produced Brake parts thru the Wagner Brake Div. Circ 1920 onward. Malcomb Lockheed patented Hydraulic brakes in 1918 and they appeared, with some changes. on Chrysler, Graham, and other cars from 1924 to the 60's. Vincent Bendix developed four-wheel mechanical brakes about 1923 and sold them to GM, Willys, and others, up to about 1934. About 1935 onward Bendix introduced Hydraulic brakes. Bendix brakes were always self-energizing and easy to adjust because both shoes could be adjusted at the same time by their floating shoe at the toe anchors using a the star adjustment gear on an internal threaded sleeve. The early Lockheed Hydraulic brakes were external contracting. My questions: 1). What year did Lockheed change to the internal expanding design? 2), Why did Lockheed change its name to Wagner-Lockheed and what year. 3). What year did Bendix begin the manufacture of internal expanding brakes? 4).How did Wagner play an important part in the development of brakes as his name appears on brake fluid, shoes and linings, master cylinders, and wheel cylinders. It would seem Lockheed and Bendix would have the patents on these brake parts. Nash used a combination of these manufactures parts in the mid 1930's onward but mostly Lockheed on the Lafayette, and Bendix on the Ambassador lines for 1939-1940. Some 1939 Nash Lafayette cars have Bendix brakes. 5). How many Nash Lafayette cars used the Bendix brakes in 1939? Appreciate any enlightment.
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