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Marvel Carb. Co. and Walter Marr

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I learned something tonight about Buick history that I never knew. According to a post on the Brass Buicks forum, Buick's Chief Engineer, Walter Marr, was the majority owner of the Marvel Carburetor Company, which, as we all know, was standard equipment on most 1910s, 1920s, and early 1930s Buicks. Here's the post. I can't for the life of me figure out who wrote it, as there are three or four different names on this post. What really surprises me is that Beverly Rae Kimes, in her book on Walter Marr, never mentions the fact that he owned the Marvel Carburetor Co.


Pete Phillips

OK, here is the post that I saw, copied from the Brass Buicks forum:



From: BB@BrassBuicks.groups.io <BB@BrassBuicks.groups.io> on behalf of Dave Marshall <dpmarshall@prodigy.net>
Sent: Thursday, July 2, 2020 6:35 PM
To: BB@brassbuicks.groups.io <BB@brassbuicks.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BB] Buick carb.
Interesting !
On Jul 2, 2020, at 4:55 PM, Gregg Lange <glange0@charter.net> wrote:
The Marvel Carburetor Co.was wholly owned by Walter Marr, Buick's chief engineer for many years. Walter had no qualms about selling carbs to whomever. Interesting that he specified Marvel carbs for Buick. Such a deal!  


From: "Derk Replogle"
To: BB@BrassBuicks.groups.io
Sent: Thursday July 2 2020 4:21:49PM
Subject: Re: [BB] Buick carb.

Sounds reasonable. Anyone have a picture of an early Buick marine or stationary engine? I have only seen a drawing in a catalog.
Derk Replogle
Stanhope NJ USA
1903 Rambler
1907 Model F
1911 Stevens Duryea
Gregg Lange
Saginaw MI USA

Dave Marshall
Wichita KS USA
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Posted (edited)

Never happened. But the history of manufacturing companies in the early 20th century is so convoluted I’m never surprised to hear some of the mistaken claims that come up.

This is one I’ve never heard before.... So absent any kind of documentation or even a source cited I’d say 100% — never happened.


Edited by Ben P.
Clarity (see edit history)
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In her book on Marr,  Kimes did say that he bought Marvel stock at the the suggestion of Billy Durant. She says that “Billy had given him sage advice that would work out very well: buy Marvel Carburetor.” This could be thought to mean buy the company but I think it meant buy stock in Marvel. This happened several years before the 1920 recession when Durant lost GM the second time, according to Kimes.  
Later “Marvel fell victim to a takeover” and Marr sold his stock for $126,000 which he used to pay for the construction of his new home on Signal Mountain Tennessee. This happened in the late twenties. Although Kimes doesn’t give a date she does say that is happened while the law suit regarding construction of the home was going on and that was in 1929. None of this leads me to believe that he owned the company, to the contrary, only that he owned stock. 


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I believe that you are absolutely correct in thinking that Mr. Marr had stock in Marvel.  I remember the late Bill Close telling me something about that.  Bill was married to Walter Marr's granddaughter and Barbara and I had the pleasure of knowing these folks for several years before Bill's passing.


Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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