Beautiful certificate from the Elgin Motors
issued in 1923. This historic document was printed by ??? and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of the Elgin logo. This item has the signatures of the Company's President, T. H. McDuffee and Secretary and is over 83 years old.
ELGIN — Argo, Illinois— (1916-1923), Indianapolis, Indiana — (1923 - 1924) —"The Car of the Hour" and "Built like a Watch" were scarcely subtle reminders that several executives of the famed Illinois company producing clocks and timepieces had decided to enter the automotive arena. They did this by taking over the defunct New Era Motor Car Company of Joliet and moving it part and parcel to Argo. There a 210,000-square foot factory awaited on 13 acres of land "to provide for future expansion."
The Elgin was a conventional car that performed exceedingly well in Midwest endurance contests, which demonstrated that "Illinois roads are not roads." The most interesting model was a six arriving in 1922 that featured the Cutler-Hammer pre-selective gearbox, double transverse rear suspension, and a built-in trunk. Apparently the Elgin Motor Car Corporation was an immensely popular proposition for small investors.
Attendance at annual stockholders meetings was so large they had to be held in a tent. A stock dividend of 10 percent had been paid in July 1916 and a cash dividend of five percent in July 1920. Nineteen-twenty was Elgin's best year ever with sales totalling over $7 million. Then Elgin hit the postwar recession hard, and sold a bond issue of $500,000 to pay bank loans and "provide additional working capital."
In June of 1923 Elgin stockholders formed a new corporation — Elgin Motors, Inc. — with J.H..McDuffee, formerly an officer with the Willys-Overland and Cole companies, as president and general manager. Indianapolis was selected as the new home of the Elgin car, and the buildings of the old Federal Motor Works in that city were purchased. It was all over soon after that. Manufacture began in Indianapolis, but in late June of 1924 the new Elgin company was placed in receivership, following a suit brought by plant manager M.S. Black on a salary claim.
History from Wikipeida and OldCompany.com.