The C. R. Patterson & Sons Company was the first Black-owned automobile manufacturer in the United States. The company was initially began by a former slave and his eldest son took the family business to greater heights in the early 20th Century.

Charles Richard Patterson was a former slave who escaped captivity in Virginia, then settled in Greenfield, Ohio. Patterson worked as a blacksmith for various local horse-drawn carriage companies and became friendly with white carriage company owner, J.P. Lowe. The pair went into business together in 1873 and maintained a successful business relationship.

In 1893, Patterson split with his partner and began C.R. Patterson & Sons. The company enjoyed some early success but the automobile industry’s evolution impacted the horse-powered vehicles Patterson specialized in. After Patterson died in 1910, his son, Richard, took over the family business.

The younger Patterson, who was the first Black football player at Ohio State University, debuted the company’s first Patterson-Greenfield automobile. The car sold for $850 and was reportedly a superior vehicle to the vaunted Model T Ford that debuted in 1908.

The company shifted gears to manufacturing buses and other vehicles after slow sales due to the market dominance of Ford at the time. While the company should have turned Greenfield into the next Detroit, the Great Depression impacted the business negatively.

Patterson & Sons eventually shuttered its doors in 1939 and while revival attempts were made with other names, it would never return to its former glory.

Like BlackAmericaWeb.com on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: C.R. Patterson And Sons

  1. I am also proud of our people. If our younger generation of African Americans would come into the recognition of our rich ancestry, their perceptions of themselves would change. They would relish in their pride of our vast accomplishments and strive to go further, to be even stronger within. Knowledge, truly is power. I wish that we had more ideas from the older generation of ideas of how to spread our great news. Melba Joyce, Jazz vocalist, Educator

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

×