Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Victor Page Motors Corporation

Victor Page was born in 1885 in Massachusetts before his family moved to Rhode Island. When he was 19, he became part of the Page Motor Vehicle Company of Providence with Arthur Page and J.H. McHardy. They built a 10-horspower air-cooled car that sold for $750. A total of 25 cars were sold before the company folded.

Victor Page was a prolific writer of books on automotive and aviation construction and repair. By 1922, he had written fourteen textbooks and numerous articles on the topics. During World War I, he became the chief Aeronautical Engineering Officer of one of the largest aviation instruction centers in the world, located in France. When he returned home, he formed the Victor Page Motors Corporation. It was a Delaware corporation with a capital stock of 5,000,000 shares at a value of $1.00 each.

In his report to the stockholders, Victor spoke about the production of two models: the Aero-Type Four and Utility Four. The Corporation’s goal was to produce an improved car engine of the air-cooled type. These cars were built between 1921 and 1924 in the Liberty aircraft factory. During the Automobile Show on January 7, 1922, the Corporation exhibited two-coupe sedans, two convertible speedsters, a display chassis, and a body for its Aero-Type Four. The cost ranged from $1250 to $1750.

The Aero-Type Four was a nice car for its era. It had steel disc wheels, contoured shell, hood, and fenders. The engine was air cooled and featured an extensive use of aluminum. It had a four cylinder engine with overhead valves and camshafts and produced 30 horsepower. The fuel consumption was 25 to 30 mpg with a 119 inch wheelbase. The dashboard was made of black walnut. The interior featured tilt steering and the clutch and brake pedals were adjustable to fit the driver.

In 1922, the Corporation bought nearly four acres of land in Connecticut. Within a year, three building were completed, but there was no further construction after that. When he formed the company, Page made an arrangement with Charles Beadon to sell the stock. Unfortunately, some of Beadon’s salesmen were less than honest and when dividends and profits were not forthcoming, some of the stockholders travelled to Connecticut to get their money back. As soon as Page learned about the methods being used to sell his stock, he terminated his agreement with Beadon. Beadon brought a Bill of Complaint against him in federal court. Page won the case, but at a cost. Due to the money put into the legal proceedings, there was not enough money to begin commercial production of the cars. They tried selling stock, but sales were still below what was needed.

At a 1926 stockholder meeting, the Deputy Attorney General of New York began to question Page and eventually charged him with fraud. The judge ruled against Page and issued an injunction against the corporation, prohibiting it from selling stock anywhere in New York. Liquidation proceedings of the company were carried out and the land and buildings were sold on August 11, 1927.  During the proceedings, it was mentioned that although the cars had been made, none had been sold. At the liquidation, all the assets were sold off, including the cars.


Derato, Frank. “Victor Page & His Automobile.” Bulb Horn. July-Sept., 1988

Gosden, Walter E. “Victor Page Aero Type Four.” Long Island Forum. October, 1978

Page, Victor W. “President’s Report of Progress to Stockholders of the Victor Page Motors Corporation.” October 21, 1921.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Cross-Island Trolley Line

In 1886, Herman F. Rogers spoke to a railroad promoter while on a train from Santa Fe. Mr. Rogers was so enthusiastic about this idea that he spoke to Mr. E.D. Davidson, a local contractor about the possibility for a horse car line in Huntington. Mr. Rogers agreed to find financing for the road and Mr. Davidson would secure a franchise from the Town Board. In January of 1887, the Huntington RR was organized.  The route was to be along New York Avenue from the harbor through the village to the local LIRR station three miles away.  It would take another three years before it would begin to be built.

On June 10, 1890, grading commenced between Linden Street and Tuthill Avenue on the east side of New York Avenue. On June 26, the first car arrived and the railroad was open to the public on July 19. An incredible 1100 people filled and refilled the three cars that shuttled back and forth all day long. The railroad operated in two divisions, the harbor branch and the depot branch. Before the summer ended, the officials of the road secured permission from the LIRR to run a track across New York Avenue.

In the annual report of the directors of the LIRR in 1989, the road committed itself to another innovation: the construction of trolley roads. On April 21, the work began with the old light rails and ties being dug out and standard ties and rails being placed.  The first electric trolley car crossed Main Street on June 14.

In January 1906, the LIRR gave the first public intimation of its intentions to build a trolley road from Huntington Station through Melville and Farmingdale to Amityville. The LIRR bought a two-acre tract from John Mullins opposite the Huntington Station in April. That summer, the LIRR embarked on the process of securing franchises for the trolley from all the regulatory bodies involved. The Highway Commissioners granted the franchise on October 6. In December, cross ties arrived at Farmingdale and Huntington and preparations were made to being work in February if weather permitted. Difficulties created a postponement of the line, but work finally resumed in October of 1908. The line officially opened on August 25, 1909.


Seyfried, Vincent F. The Cross-Island Line: The Story of the Huntington Railroad. 1976.