BRASS-NICKEL
TOURING REGION

underwood

1929

 In the Headlines

  • The Vatican state comes into being
  • Herbert Hoover is inaugurated as President of the US
  • Wall Street crashes!
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gives its first awards
  • Hitler's Nazi party win preliminary Bavarian elections

 1929 mileposts


In The United States

  • Stock market crash triggers a 10-year global depression. At the bottom, in 1933, a quarter of the U.S. work force is unemployed
  • Locomobile, once the largest American car maker fails
  • The shakedown ends independent sports vehicle, electric, and steam car production in the U.S. for decades.
  • Forty-four United States auto manufacturers still in business
  • Passenger-car output rises again, to 4,445,178; truck volume leaps to 881,909. The overall total will not be beaten until 1949
  • The millionth Model A is built, followed by the two-millionth in July
  • Ford's production and market share doubles to 32% of the market, well ahead of Chevrolet; Hudson-Essex is third. Independent luxury car firms control 5% of the US market, their peak
  • Radios are available in many models; foot-controlled dimmer switches appear
  • Dual taillights begin to appear, but some makes keep single lights well  into the 30s
  • Nearly 90% of all cars sold are closed models - the opposite had been true a decade earlier
  • Two auto pioneers die this year; Walter C. White and David Dunbar Buick dies in poverty in a Detroit hospital.
  • Gangland violence peaks with the St. Valentine's Day Massacre - like other Americans, criminals make extensive use of automobiles
  • Women hold only 24.3% of the driver's licenses in the U.S.
  • New York City has 3,000 automated traffic lights and has cut the traffic squad from 6,000 to 500 officers.
  • Lynds' Middletown reports that the automobile has transformed consumer spending, church attendance, and courtship patterns in the US. Battles over driving are a major cause of arguments in families
  • A shell-shaped gas station opens in Winston-Salem NC.
  • Burma Shave begins to erect rhyming billboards.
  • Harlan Sanders opens a gas station in Corbin Ky, later adds a restaurant
  • All 48 American states have gasoline taxes for road improvements.
  • More American commuters ride buses than trolley cars
  • Major public festivities celebrate the completion of a paved road between Atlanta and Chattanooga

US Auto Manufacturers

  • Greyhound Lines bus company has bought a fleet of double-decker buses to be used throughout the country. Buses with transcontinental routes will have sleeping accommodations on the upper level
  • Chevrolet introduces the 'stovebolt six' engine, its response to the powerful, 4-cyclinder Model A. The engine will serve for 26 years.
  • Ford produces the first mass produced station wagon.
  • Oldsmobile introduces an up market companion the $1595 Viking V-8; it lasts only 2 seasons
  • Buick launches the $1000 Marquette at mid-year; it's an early '30 model with an L-head six
  • Duesenburg announces the Model J, with a 265-horsepower, dual-overhead-cam, straight-eight engine; it's a huge, fast, powerful and impressive
  • A duesenburg J hits 116 mph in tests at the Indianapolis Speedway
  • Even low income motorists who can barely fantasize about owning a Duesenberg soon appreciate the meaning of the phase, 'It's a Duesy'
  • The new luxurious Cord L-29 features front-wheel drive; so does the new equally luxurious Ruxton
  • The $3095-3285 Cord has a 298.6 cid, 125-horsepower Lycoming straight-eight
  • Ruxton developers have trouble finding a production facility; it will eventually be built by Moon
  • Ruxton, one of few cars to lack running boards, is soon known for its narrow Wood-Lite headlights (actually an option)
  • The Marmon-built Roosevelt and Stutz-built Blackhawk appear, both less powerful and expensive than their big brothers
  • DeSoto is officially on the market with a 174.9-cid, L-head six that cranks out 55 bhp
  • The Franklin 'le Pirate' models have concealed running boards under the doors
  • Chrysler adopts downdraft carburetors for improved fuel distribution
  • Only Studebaker and Willys will limp out of bankruptcy.
  • Within 10 years, Detroit Electric, Doble, Dupont, Durant, Franklin, Kisell, Marmon, Pierce-Arrow, Reo, Studebaker, Stutz, Willys, and others will follow suit
  • Auburn exhibits a streamlined aluminum Cabin Speedster with an aircraft-inspired interior
  • More than 80,000 De Sotos are sold-a first year record for a make
  • The Fargo commercial sedan/wagon is launched by Chrysler
  • Nash develops a 100-bhp straight-eight for 1930
  • Nash initiates volume production of its 'Twin-Ignition' system for overhead-valve sixes and eights, using two spark plugs per cyclinder
  • Kleiber Motor Company experiments with diesel truck engines

And From Around the World

  • Ford begins its Dagenham, United Kingdom plant the largest outside the US. It will never drop costs to US level because the British market is too small for maximum production. To avoid unions, it pays triple the prevailing wage rate
  • Henry Ford refuses to modify his cars for the British market (for example, moving the steering column to the right side), although his share of the market is from 29% to 4%
  • Ford adds handbrakes to the Model A after Germany prohibits its importation for safety reasons
  • On May 31, Henry Ford signed an agreement with Soviet trade officials to build an automobile factory at Nizhni Novgorod capable of producing 100,000 cars a year. As part of the agreement Soviet Russia will purchase $30 million worth of Ford product over four years.
  • Mussoline blocks Ford's proposed Italian factory
  • Enzo Ferrari leaves Alfa-Romeo, starts his own firm to build racing cars and make parts
  • British Petroleum decides not to seek oil in Saudi Arabia
  • Standard Oil-California gets concession in Bahrain, the first US penetration of the Middle East
  • Congestion has reduced Paris rush hour to 6 kph
  • British Pedestrian's Association founded, an anti-auto lobbying group
  • Morris Minor, a tax-beating 8-hp car, introduced
  • On March 17, GM buys the German company Opel AG

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 New Makes: 1929

Blackhawk, Cord, Fargo, Marquette, Roosevelt, Ruxton, Viking, and Windsor

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 1929 Production figures 

1. Ford................................................1,507,132
2. Chevrolet.........................................1,328,605
3. Hudson/Essex......................................300,962
4. Willys-Overland/Whippet........................242,000
5. Pontiac/Oakland...................................211,054
6. Buick..................................................196,104
 7. Dodge .................................................124,557
8. Nash...................................................116,622

Some figures are estimates

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 By the Numbers

US Population.................................121,767,000
Avg. Income...................................$1,582/year
DOW Avg..................................................248
New Births........................................2,650,000
New Home (Median Price).........................$7,246
New Car (Avg. Cost)..................................$643
Gas.....................................................25/gal
Milk..........................................................14
Bread (Loaf)................................................9
Eggs..................................................48/doz.
Steak (lb)..................................................52
Stamp........................................................2
Per Capita Income....................................$ 652

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New in 1929

  • front-wheel drive
  • Popeye the Sailor
  • Nudist colony in NJ
  • mobile homes
  • 1st Academy Awards
  • Lithiated Lemon (later 7-Up)
  • home-applied hair coloring (Nestle Colorinse)
  • three companies offered coast-to-coast passenger air travel, using trains for part of the trip
  • Duncan yo-yo

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 Deaths

  • March 6
    David D. Buick, b. Sept. 17, 1854

    Founded Buick Motor Company in 1902, originated the windshield & the valve-in-head engine
  • April 4
    Karl F. Benz - b. 1844

    German engineer who designed and built the 1st practical automobile powdered by an internal combustion engine.

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