Mufflinburg Body Company Model T Ford Depot Hack

The Mufflinburg Body Company roots start in 1845, when George Swentzel set up a buggy-building business in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. It was not long before the area became known for its horse-drawn buggies as within a decade, Mifflinburg was home to more than dozen coach and buggy makers. The arrival of the automobile sounded the death knell to buggy building business, but it wasn’t an outright kill, it was more a slow death as the automobile took over the transportation needs of a nation and world. The Mifflinburg Buggy Co. were not quick to change their operations to vehicle body construction. It took until 1913 before they delivered their first vehicle body, a large omnibus to Williamsport, Pa. Other buses followed as production of buggies was phased out. Soon there after they were just building bus, commercial bodies and a line of depot hacks for Ford’s Model T’s. In these years the buggy makers were given an golden opportunity to grab a market share when Ford did not expand its offering of commercial bodies for the Model T and its truck lines. This led to the establishment of a flourishing aftermarket for custom truck and wagon bodies from dozens of builders. Eventually Ford would start to take the market back with its expanded offering of 15 different body configurations for the Model T, that finally included the Runabout with a pickup body in 1925. During these years Mifflinburg flourished and expanded and in 1916 Mifflinburg Body & Gear Co merged with Mifflinburg Buggy and where soon relocated and renamed the Mifflinburg Body Co. In 1918 Mifflinburg Body offered production Suburban and Country Club wagon bodies for the Model T as well as a line of commercial bodies for the 1-ton Ford Model TT chassis. Seen here is one of the Suburban models in this 1921 photo from Boston. These wagons were well-built and detailed, with panel ribbing featuring formed stringers that had all been shaped to give it a rounded form rather than just squared-edged ribbing common to most body builders. Mifflinburg wagons came with storm windows and well-upholstered seating and sold well for the life of the Model T. Mifflinburg would custom build a customer a body for any chassis and they would become the source of bodies for Billy Durant’s upcoming 1923 Star Station Wagon. In the late thirties their finals foray into wagon building was a very limited run of Bantam station wagon bodies for American Bantam, who about this time, developed the core design for the Jeep. After years of effort and enterprise and several owners, the remains of the company continued on for over a 100 years, building all sorts of products from military trailers, wooden toys to pool tables, radio cabinets and prefab houses under various owners. Its DNA still exists in the cabinet building operations of the Elkay Manufacturing Co in Danville, Virginia today.

Depot Hack Mifflinburg-web++

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