SEARCH UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
Prepared by Mary Denise Robb, May 10, 1991; updated October 2015
1 document case, 2 record storage boxes, 1 oversized document tube, 3 cubic feet, 11th floor
The Twin Coach Company was founded in Kent, in 1927, by brothers William B. and Frank R. Fageol. The brothers originally started their business in Oakland, California in 1916 and manufactured trucks for World War I use, as well as pleasure cars for domestic use. They brought the first model of their "Safety Coach" east in 1923, and settled in Kent in 1924 as the Fageol Motor Company. The company was sold to American Car and Foundry Company of Dayton, Ohio, in 1925. During 1927, however, after the Fageols' development of the new form of public transportation called the "Twin Coach", the brothers re-established themselves in their original Kent location as the Twin Coach Company.
The Fageol Motors and Twin Coach companies were instrumental in the history of public transportation in the United States. The dual-motored "Twin Coach" was the first urban transit or streetcar-type motor coach designed and built by anyone. The Twin Coach Company ranked second in urban bus manufacturing for approximately twenty years, and it sold to major corporations across the country. It also broadened its scope to include the manufacture of airplane parts and machine engines, as well as a new house-to-house mail delivery truck called the "Pony express".
In 1958, Twin Coach sold its marine engine business and moved its headquarters to Cheektowga, New York. In 1962, stockholders approved a name change for the company, and the Twin Coach Company became the Twin Industries Corporation.
Charles A. Blair came to the Twin Coach Company from Detroit, and stayed with the company for many years. An engineer and inventor, he developed safety devices for large-scale machinery and received national acclaim in his field. By the 1950's he had reached the position of Plant Superintendent.
The diversified records and objects in the Twin Coach Company collection were donated to the Kent State University Archives by Laurel Wilcox on December 1, 1983. Wilcox had previously purchased the collection at a garage sale, and decided that KSU was the best place to house the records.
The metal grill plate and pin were donated to the Archives by Frank Klein.
Additional items were donated in 2004 by Joseph H. Lipscomb whose father, also Joseph H. Lipscomb, worked for the Company's purchasing department from 1926-1943.
The materials in the Twin Coach Company collection have been broken down into the following series:
Regarding the Twin Coach series, employee records include a list from the Twin Coach Company and a list from its subsidiary company, the Fageol Safety Coach Company, and property records range from real estate holdings to specific pieces of machinery. Specifications pertain to factory equipment and coaches, and include the previously titled "Standard Coach Specifications" file in its original order.
Publications include those of the Twin Coach Company, the earlier Fageol Motors Company, and other outside publications. The outside publications are significant to the collection because of specific Blair correspondence relating to it, or because of the articles they contain regarding the Twin Coach Press Brake Safety Device and/or Roller Shear Guard. Photographs are divided into three basic categories --- property, machinery, and miscellaneous--- and include the photographs which appear in articles from the California Safety News and Monitor publications in the collection.
The last component of the Twin Coach series consists of various metal plates, one of which is stamped with Charles Blair's name and company identification. The others appear to have had the purpose of being attached to Twin Coach and Fageol vehicles. Two of the plates (one of which is from the Akron Multi-Truck company of Akron, Ohio) are in separate boxes at the back of the collection because of their design.
The Charles A. Blair series begins with his correspondence: general correspondence, correspondence specifically related to his involvement with the Roller Shear Guard and Press Brake (another previously created file, titled "Roller Shear Guard and Press Brake") which includes copies of Blair's replies, and Twin Coach company letters of which Blair received a copy but was not the primary recipient. Further correspondence (of a different nature) follows, with materials and exercises from the two correspondence courses in which Blair was enrolled. His patent records include drawings and correspondence directly related to those records. The bulk of this file relates to his Railroad-Tie Patent No. 1, 112, 100 (included).
The blueprints, drawings, and miscellaneous papers which complete the series are all of a miscellaneous nature -- they range from areas of personal interest to those of company business. Because of the large format of some of the blueprints and drawings, and the lack of space for flat storage, it is necessary for them to remain folded inside their folders, or rolled and kept outside and next to the box in which the rest of the collection is stored. These rolled drawings are arranged first by size, and then in chronological order. Subject matter is not taken into consideration -- drawings range from a child's toy to the framework for a steel house. The miscellaneous papers which close the collection include a 1915 map of Detroit streetcar lines, a 1954 Twin Coach directory, and various non-dated Fageol Motor Company forms.
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Series 3 -- Fred Ziegler Collection This part of the collection was purchased from Frank Klein, bookdealer. The collection was previously owned by Fred Ziegler, an employee of Twin Coach. It contains many advertisement promotions, blueprints, specifications and manuals pertaining to Twin Coach. Materials cover dates during the 1950's with the exception of the Goodyear Zeppelin material which covers 1929-1932.
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