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The Metz Automobile 1908 to 1922

The Metz Company was a pioneer brass era automobile maker established by Charles Herman Metz in Waltham, Massachusetts, from ca.1908 to 1922.

The Early Days - the Waltham Manufacturing Company :

The Orient Buckboard, as shown, was an interesting vehicle designed to be the cheapest automobile available.  It consisted of a flat wooden platform on which a single two-person buggy seat was mounted.  A four horsepower, single-cylinder engine mounted at the rear supplied the power.  Initially steering was by tiller and there were no springs.  The flexing of the wooden platform served to cushion the ride.

Charles H. Metz founded the Waltham Manufacturing Company in 1893 for the purpose of manufacturing bicycles.  He designed the bicycles to be lightweight and gave them the name "Orient".  Bicycle manufacturing continued until 1903.  In addition to single seat bicycles Metz designed and sold 2,3,4,5,and 6 seat bicycles.  His ultimate design was the "Oriten", a 10 seat bicycle of which only one was manufactured.

After building one gasoline and one electric prototype automobile in 1898 and 1899, the company began manufacturing vehicles for sale which they called Orient automobiles.  The vehicles were actually the single cylinder one seat tricycle and the single cylinder two seat quadricycle.  These vehicles were produced from 1900 through 1901.  Then the first real car produced by the company for sale was introduced as the Orient runabout in 1902; however, C. H. Metz had left the company in December of 1901 in a disagreement with other major investors over the type of automobile to build. 
The Waltham Manufacturing Company manufactured the Orient Buckboard from 1903 through 1907 and several larger models of cars in 1906 through 1908 when the company went under financially. C. H. Metz was asked by the bank to step in and save the company.
The Metz Company :
When C. H. Metz took over the Waltham Manufacturing Company in 1908, he had significant manufacturing space, a large supply of parts for uncompleted cars, a large debt, and no work force.  The agreement was that he pay off $10,000 per month until the debt was paid.   His solution, offer to the public the Plan Car (a kit car).  This required a minimal work force to make any additional parts needed and to package and ship the groups of parts in installments to customers.  The car was advertised to be, a $600 car for the cost of the parts, initially $300.  Actually the price rose to $350 ($25 each for 14 groups) before the first complete set of parts was shipped to a customer.  The customer purchased one group of parts at a time and when he had assembled them he would purchase the next set, so the plan also resulted in time payments for the car. Metz did not have all the groups of parts available at the time he started selling the parts groups.  The final groups were not available until September - October 1909 and the per group price by then had increased to $27.

Metz's plan was so successful that he had the total bank debt paid off by the fall of 1909 and he reincorporated the company as the Metz Company.  The Plan Car was continued with little change through 1911.  However, beginning sometime in 1910 the Plan Car was also offered as a complete, company assembled, car for an additional $97. By late 1911 only the company assembled car was offered at a cost of $485.

Plan Car Specifications: 

Cylinders 2
Horsepower 10
Bore and Stroke 1909 3.25 by 3.25
Bore and Stroke 1910 & 1911 by 3.5x3.25 
Tire Size 1909 & 1910 28 by 2.5
Tire Size 1911 28 by 3
Wheel type 1909 - Wire
Wheel type 1910 & 1911 - Artillery
Wheel Base 81 “
Tread 48" or 56" (By reversing wheels on axle)
Drive Friction
Final Drive Chains 2
Body Style Runabout
Color (Body & Wheels) 1909 Grey Prime
Color (Body &Wheels) 1910 - French Grey
Color (Body &Wheels) 1911 - Metz Grey
Upholstery Leather
Weight 1909 450 lb.
Weight 1910 625/650 lb.
Weight 1911 750 lb.
Price 1909 $300/$350
Price 1910 $378/$475*
Price 1911 $485
Options 1909 - Artillery wheels, 1910 & 1911 - Wire wheels, Red color, 30x3 Tires

*Factory Assembled
Model 22:
In 1911 Metz introduced the Model 22, it had a 4 cylinder engine and continued using the friction drive concept that had been used in the Plan Car.  Only one body style, a two person roadster without doors, was available, the color was dark blue with cream wheels.  The Model 22 roadster initially sold for $495 in 1912 & 1913.  The price decreased to $475 in 1913 and then increased to $495 in the 1915 model year as doors were added.

Model 22 Mechanical Specifications (All):

Cylinders 4
Horsepower 22
Bore and Stroke 3.75 by 4.00 inches
Tire Size 30 by 3 inches
Wheel type Artillery
Wheel Base 96 inches
Tread 1912 - 56" or 48" (By reversing wheels on axle), 56" after 1912
Drive Friction
Final Drive Chains 2

Model 22 Roadster Specifications:

Body Style Roadster
Body Color 1912 - Battleship Grey
Body Color 1913 through 1915 - Dark Blue
Wheel Color 1912 Battleship Grey
Wheel Color 1913 through 1915 - Cream
Upholstery Leather
Upholstery 1913 through 1915,Fabricord
Weight 1912 1000lbs
Weight 1913 & 1914 - 1100 lbs
Weight 1915 - 1150 lbs
The Metz Special:
In 1913 only, the "Metz Special", a more stripped down version of the standard roadster, was offered at the reduced price of $395 but raised to $445 in several months. It was painted vermillion.

1913 Special Roadster Specifications: 

Body Style Special Roadster
Body Color Vermillion
Wheel Color Vermillion
Upholstery Fabricord
Weight 1000 lbs.

In 1914, the standard roadster was offered with a body modification, a "turtleback" compartment instead of the tool box. 

1914 Torpedo Roadster Specifications: 

Body Style Torpedo Roadster
Body Color Dark Blue
Wheel Color Cream
Upholstery Fabricord
Weight 1100lbs
In addition, a sportier speedster was offered at a price of $500.  It had wire wheels, was painted bright orange with black fenders, had nickel trim, and for an additional $100 could be equipped with electric lights and an electric starter.

1914 Speedster Specifications: 

Body Style Speedster Body
Color Orange with Black Fenders
Wheel Color Orange
Upholstery Fabricord
Weight 1000 lbs

The Glidden Tour:
Metz entered three Model 22 cars in the July 1911 Glidden Tour, to give the car a good road test before full scale production.  The Metz team was the only team that arrived at the finish line without a time extension, but failed accumulate enough points for an overall win.  In the 1913 Glidden Tour, the Metz cars won with perfect scores and no time extension.  Another event that illustrated the toughness of the Metz Model 22 was the trip undertaken by L. Wing who owned a Metz agency in Los Angeles and O. K. Parker, a reporter from Los Angeles.  They started from Los Angeles, drove across the desert to the Grand Canyon, drove to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up by following an intersecting gorge, and then drove back to Los Angeles.  The total trip encompassed 1400 miles which included the 84 miles round trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back over very rough terrain.
Model 25:
The Model 25 Metz was introduced in mid 1915 and was offered in two passenger roadster or touring car form from 1915 through 1917.  The roadster was a modification of the Fore door Model 22 roadster introduced in 1915.  Changes from the Model 22 included a more rounded radiator, hood, and fenders.  The horsepower was increased from the model 22 by increasing the engine bore and a single chain final drive was used instead of the double chains used on the Model 22.  Complete electrical accessories including starter, lights, and horn were standard equipment on the Model 25 cars.  Some trucks were also made in 1916 on the touring chassis although they were not to popular.  The following four models were offered:
Model A $500 Open express

Model B $550 Same as Model A except equipped with electric starter and lights
Model C $525 Express body with top and side curtains
Model D $575 Same as Model C except equipped with electric starter and lights
Model E $600 Enclosed body with standard electric starter and lights.
Body Style Truck Body

Color Black
Wheel Color Black
Upholstery Fabricord
Weight Unknown

Model 25 Mechanical Specifications: 

Cylinders 4
Horsepower 25
Bore and Stroke 3.875 by 4.00 inches
Tire Size 30 by 3.5
Wheel type Artillery
Wheel Base 1915 - 105"
Wheel Base 1916 & 1917 - 108"
Tread 56"
Drive Friction
Final Drive Chains 1

Model 25 Roadster Specifications:

Body Style Roadster
Body Color Dark Blue
Wheel Color Cream
Upholstery Fabricord
Weight 1915 and 1916 - 1600 lbs
Weight 1917 - 1950lbs

Model 25 Touring Specifications: 

Body Style Touring Body
Color Black
Wheel Color Vermillion
Upholstery Fabricord
Weight 1915 and 1916 - 1600 lbs
Weight 1917 - 1950 lbs

Model 25 Truck Specifications: 

Body Style Truck Body
Color Black
Wheel Color Black
Upholstery Fabricord
Weight Unknown
The War:
The Federal Government negotiated with the Metz company to use their plant for production of war equipment for World War I. They took over the plant in 1917 and manufactured parts for the Air Corps DH-4 DeHaviland airplane.  They used the plant until the end of the war in November 1918.  Consequently, no Metz cars were produced in 1918.

The Metz Company ran into legal problems in collecting final payment of $130,000 for the war production work from the Government.   So in order to raise cash to continue producing cars, The Metz Motor Sales Corporation was formed and shares sold to raise needed capital.  In addition, the spare part business for previously produced Metz cars was sold to a newly formed company called the Metz Friction Drive Service Company.  These actions provided the cash for a new car. 

Master 6:

The car was the Metz Master 6, it was completely different from anything Metz had produced before.  To meet current competition, the friction drive and chain final drive was replaced by a gear transmission and shaft final drive and the four cylinder engine was replaced by a six cylinder engine.  Production lasted until 1921 with prices for the roadster and touring starting at $1495 in 1919 and increasing to $1995 by 1921.  A roadster, touring, coupe and sedan were manufactured.   However, only about 100 coupes and only one sedan is reported to have been built.  The price of the coupe started at $2695 in 1920 and increased to $2795 in 1921 and the price of the sedan was listed as $2895 in 1921.
Master 6  Specifications: 

Body Styles Roadster, Touring, Coupe, and Sedan
Cylinders 6
Bore & Stroke 3.125 by 5.000 inches
Horse Power 45
Tire Size 32 by 4
Wheel Base 117 inches 1919, 120 inches for 1920 & 1921
Wheels Wire
Wheel Color White
Color Royal Blue
Interior Leather
The End:
By 1922, the company was in dire financial condition and was taken over by the Waltham National Bank. They reorganized the company and renamed it the Motor Manufacturers Incorporated of Waltham.
Side Bar:
The reason I became interested in this car, was because our current RRVCSDC president, Jack Willis, actually owned one of these cars back in the 70's.

The majority of the content of this article was copied and then reformatted from the following two websites