- Written by webmin
Earlier this month, we reposted a photo from twin6 showing a wonderfully insane front-wheel-drive contraption from Rose City, Michigan, but couldn’t relate any more information than what was in the photo itself. However, reader Steve Donohoe actually knew somebody from Rose City, Michigan – Dean Coleman, the chief of police there – and Dean checked with the Ogemaw County Historical Museum to see if they knew any more about the automobile. As it turns out, they had a couple more photographs of it, along with an undated newspaper article from an unknown source that tells us a little more about the vehicle and its inventor:
Rose City, Mich., June 17 – Walter Rose, of this place, enjoys the distinction of belonging to the family which gave the town its name – not only that, but he is an inventor. He calls his creation an automobile. The best idea of its wonderful construction and appearance will be obtained from the picture. Rose has been working on the machine about a year. His neighbors pay a high tribute to his genius – those who own teams – as when they see him coming with his flyer they turn down the first convenient alley or into a dooryard, or over a lawn, or into the woods – anywhere out of the way of the “Terror.”
Mr. Rose gave The News correspondent a short sketch of his experience as a builder of autos as follows:
“When a fellow gets the fever for automobiling something is bound to be done, and I got the fever. This is the result.
“I have got it so it works pretty well. I have an 18 horsepower motor, chain driven. It is mostly carpenter work. The front wheels are old mowing machine wheels encased in wood, and the rims are covered with rubber belting, tacked on, and are puncture proof.”
He puts the speed at 10 miles an hour. As he has no reverse, if he wishes to turn around he lifts the wagon and carries it around, the front wheels on which the engine rests, following.
The “Terror” is absolutely original, and no one is likely to steal the idea. He puts the cost as it stands at $250. The principal drawback to the machine seems to be a tendency to stop often for repairs.
Rose City is coming to the front as an automobile center, and when Mr. Rose gets his machine perfected the local manufacturers, as well as those of the rest of the world, will have to go some to maintain their business, and there will be no need for them to enlarge their plants.
Yes, that last paragraph is rather confusing. We so far see no mention of any automotive manufacturers being based in Rose City, Michigan, at any point in time. As for Mr. Rose, it doesn’t appear as if he was a very successful inventor; we see no patents under his name, nor do we see any other contemporary references to him. We’ve got a request for more information in with the Ogemaw County Historical Museum to see if they can tell us any more about Mr. Rose. Who knows – his contraption may still be out there somewhere.