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Richard von Brecht

The Brecht Automobile Co. of St. Louis, Mo

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My family briefly made cars in St. Louis. This occurred over three years starting in 1901. It was a side line their main business was making butcher supplies. I have a few pictures and a tiny bit of information. Apparently they were mostly steamers, none had an internal combustion engine.

I'd would be interesting in knowing if there any surviving examples of these vehicles? I would be also interested in any information about these vehicles as well as other sources that might be tapped to help locate one. Thanks

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I have dug a little more information on the Brecht Automobile Co. Apparently, they worked with the H. F. Borbein & Co. Their shop was on Cass Ave down the street from the Brecht facility. They made the drive train and the steering gear.The Brecht Co furnished the steam engine which might have been a converted refrigeration compressor. Also, the Brecht Co was the more established company and probably provided the financial capital. So any information on the Borbein Co. would be appreciated.

Edited by Richard von Brecht (see edit history)

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I did a search on Google for "brecht borbein" and came up with this. There were more listings too. Good luck....

BORBEIN-St. Louis, Mlssouri-(1900,1904-1909}-ln 1899 H.F. Borbein & Company began manufacturing solid steel axles and artillery wood wheels at the corner of Ninth and Clark in St. Louis. In 1900, when his quarters became cramped there, Henry Borbein moved to Cass Avenue - and within a year was crowded again, but without sufficient capital to make another move. During 1900 he had built an electric runabout and caught the "automotive bug." Consequently, early in 1901, he joined forces with the Brecht Butcher's Supply Company, which had decided to establish an automotive sideline. Borbein served as manager of the Brecht Automobile Company from 1901 until October 1903 when he had the wherewithal to buyout Brecht, immediately changing the name of the product from Brecht to Borbein and announcing that he stood ready "to fill all outstanding orders." Like the latter-day Brechts, Borbeins were sold in diverse states of un*dress. Motors, tanks and connections were never supplied, but the rest varied according to model. Borbein's No. 26, for example, was a large 130-inch steel*framed touring car chassis "furnished ready for power with one coat of lead paint, with or without upholstering." No doubt Borbein's product was bought by both the backyard do-it-yourselfer and unimaginative entrepreneurs who wanted to get into manufacture the easy way. Precisely how long Borbein remained in business selling these quasi-kit cars is not known. Although he was pressed for receivership in August 1907, H.F. Borbein was still advertising late in 1909. Thereafter he continued in the automobile parts manufacturing field, selling out to his son Alfred Borbein in 1919.

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Have you checked with the Horseless Carriage Foundation Inc? It is a research foundation connected to the Horseless Carriage Club of America. I believe it is hcfi.org and there are links to them scattered about AACA. I know there is one in the horseless carriage forum near the bottom of the forum choices.

HCFI is a great asset to the hobby and very reasonably priced. But there is a research charge.

Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2

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Thanks 37Packard and Wayne for your information. I came across one other association. They also marketed the vehicle as the Rushmobile.

Also, they exported many of their vehicles, mostly to Frankford, Germany and Buenos Aires, so I'm going to check out The Steam Car Club which covers the European scene

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Richard: I did a bit of research for you in our archives and found the four advertisements seen here in trade magazines of the 1901-03 period.

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Thanks T-Head for the information from your website. I'm getting the impression that the Brecht Automobile Co. marketed most parts in the United States. Still, I haven't given up looking for a working or non-working model.

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See if you can search the patent office. Maybe you will beable to find something. Blue prints would even be nice as then you could reproduce a Brecht.

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I'll be darn , here it is but it's under H.F. Borbein assignor to Gus V. Brecht Butchers Supply Company of St Louis Missouri Patent US0708793

Another bit I found that may be of interest http://www.earlyamericanautomobiles.com/americanautomobiles6.htm

( a little over half way down the page )

Edited by 30DodgePanel (see edit history)

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Just think, A working model may also have had to be made and summited to the patent office. Dandy Dave!

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Thanks guys for the excellent research. Lots of new material.

For those who are interested. The Brecht Company had a very extensive manufacturing operation. The catalog has hundreds of items. They equipped meat packing houses around the world.

According to my father they started a line of refrigerated display cases some time in the twenties or thirties. They had problems which drained the company and the founders had enough. They liquidate the company and retired.

A side note is the guys who founded Hussmann worked there. This company still exists and is one of the largest makers of food display cases.

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For reply that I was very interesting in the brand and company, if we take the new company and found in future let it could bright again. That must be great and hug dream,

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My great grandfather owned a Brecht steam car in Hawera, New Zealand. It was assembled by Mr A.W. Reid of Stratford who assembled 4 steam cars around 1903. I have a photo of the car and have the steering column and steering wheel. He only had the car for a few years before he bought a 1905 Darracq (which we still have). He dismantled the Brecht and used the chassis for a trailer to tow behind the Darracq.

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I tried to put a photo on. My IT skills are minimal, when one of our children comes home I'll get them to help me. the photos I have are too large a file to post. Regards, Jim.

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As of a few years ago, the Brecht Butcher Supply building still stood on Cass Ave. in St. Louis, but the owners wanted to demolish it. I'm not sure if that happened. I believe it had been damaged by fire at one time.

Bill Brecht

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A Photo of the Brecht steering box in my shed. post-98737-143142359972_thumb.jpg Photo of my Great Grand father, James Livingston in the drivers seat

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A photo of the Brecht steering wheel etc. I found this in my grand parents loft above the stable. My father could remember playing with this as a child but didn't know how it came to be there. It was in the rafters, I didn't get it down to have a look at it until some time after dad died. Certainly wasn't expecting it to be from the steam car. Just fortunate that our family aren't too good at throwing stuff away. Dad said that the engine was taken to drive a water pump. He made enquiries as to its whereabouts but with no luck. post-98737-143142359977_thumb.jpg

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Here are two photos of Mr A.W. Reid's cars. wether it is the same car with a different body or the same car I don't know. He did make changes to the body of his car. The photo of the car with two people sitting in it is from a book "New Zealand on the move" by Mathew Wright. The other photo is from Puke Ariki museum New Plymouth.post-98737-143142362503_thumb.jpg

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Hello, richard

my name is Buz Heuchan. My mother was Florence Von Brecht, her father was Charles Von Brecht, his, Gustav.

i did some research on the Brecht automobile some years ago, but you are far ahead of where I was. Thank you.

we have a son ( now 44 ) named Brecht William Heuchan & another son named Charles Von Brecht Heuchan Ii .

Would love to hear if you are able to learn more.

can you tell me your parents, grandparents ?

Regards - Buz

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As of a few years ago, the Brecht Butcher Supply building still stood on Cass Ave. in St. Louis, but the owners wanted to demolish it. I'm not sure if that happened. I believe it had been damaged by fire at one time.

Bill Brecht

The old Brecht building was torn down after the fire sorry to say.

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I have a Borbein Auto Co. parts catalogue and a Confidential Discount Sheet Applying to our Catalogue No. 9 sheet.  Also   have a stack of The Motor World trade papers dating from 1909 . Is there a way to find out their value and if they a rare ,cannot find much information on google

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