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Republic Motor Truck Company

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The Republic Motor Truck Company was a manufacturer of commercial trucks circa 1913 - 1929, in Alma, Michigan. By 1918, it was recognized as the largest exclusive truck manufacturer in the world, and the maker of one out of every nine trucks on the roads in the United States.[1] It was one of the major suppliers of "Liberty Trucks" used by American troops during World War One.

The author Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) purchased a Republic truck in 1916. In 1917 two men named Lester Poyer and H. L. Dewey drove a Republic dispatch truck fully loaded 4080 miles from the Alma Plant in Michigan to a Republic distributor named D. F. Poyer (father of Lester) in Los Angeles. Edgar Burroughs led the parade welcoming the two at the end of their successful trip. Because of this it has been mistakenly believed over the years that Edgar himself made the trip, when in fact the trip was made by Lester and H. L.. A rare book titled "4080 Mile Haul By Republic Dispatch Truck" was published by Republic detailing this event. By 1918, Republic was advertising in such national publications as the Saturday Evening Post, declaring that one goes to "Damascus for swords, Teheran [sic] for rugs, Lynn for shoes, Rochester for cameras, Dayton for cash registers, Alma for trucks."[2] Over 3,000 dealers served the United States, with additional dealers in at least 56 foreign countries and colonies.[3]

In 1927, Republic purchased the Linn Manufacturing Company, makers of heavy duty tractors.

The return of the Liberty Trucks to the United States after World War I led to a major reduction in demand for trucks. Republic's production volume dropped from nearly 30,000 in 1918 to 1,453 in 1921.[4] Republic was forced into receivership in 1922. After reorganization, the company attempted unsuccessfully to regain its former status as a preferred manufacturer. After the sudden death of its president, Oliver Hayes, in 1928, the company merged with the American LaFrance Company to become LaFrance-Republic. LaFrance-Republic in turn was purchased by the Sterling Motor Truck Company in 1931, which was purchased by the White Motor Company in 1951. A parts depot for the Republic brand existed in Alma until 1957.

See alsoEdit

References / sourcesEdit

  1. McMacken, David, and Louise Davenport (1976). "Down Twelve Decades: A Pictorial History of Alma, Michigan", np. Alma Bicentennial Committee, Alma, Michigan.
  2. Saturday Evening Post, February 23, 1918, p. 46
  3. Alma Record (Alma, MI), Centennial Edition, June 28, 1956
  4. Weimer, Andrew M. (1934). "An Economic History of Alma, Michigan", University of Chicago doctoral dissertation

External linksEdit



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