Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Ohio Moments

Warren's J.W. Packard built popular autos

On Nov. 5, 1863, mechanical engineer James Ward Packard - maker of the popular Packard automobile - was born in Warren, Ohio.

He and his brother William founded the Packard Electric Co., a producer of electrical equipment, in 1890. Two years later, they established the New York and Ohio Co. to manufacture light bulbs.

Fascinated by the horseless carriage, Packard took a ride in a Winton manufactured by The Auto Co. of Cleveland in 1898. The following summer, he lured shop foreman William Hatcher away from Winton and hired A.C. Nelson, a draftsman from Berea, Ohio. They designed and built the first Packard in 16 weeks. Packard named his enterprise The Ohio Automobile Co. He produced 500 cars in Warren over five years, then moved the operation to Detroit in 1903.

Packard died in 1928, age 64, and was buried in Warren. Hundreds of thousands of his cars were built until production ended in 1958.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call (513) 768-8361

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