Image by clamshack
photo from Bill Jepsen and George Hess
The above picture shows the employees of Mason Motor Car Company, lined up in front of the factory, located at
100 – 110 – 114 Southeast 5th Street (East 5th & Vine), in Des Moines, Iowa. An authority on the car places this picture between late 1907 to 1908. Nothing of this factory remains today, disappearing as an address from the city directory in 1937. The company was founded as The Mason Motor Car Company, but in 1909, the name was changed to The Mason Automoblile Company, and a new group of leaders took control. This new leadership lasted about a year, then they wanted out. Fred Maytag, William Galloway and others took control in late 1909.
There have been quite a number of past newspaper and magazine articles that have displayed a small picture of what was supposed to be the Des Moines factory, but in all actuality, it was the Maytag-Mason Auto Company in Waterloo, Iowa that was shown. Many websites also display the Waterloo plant as the Des Moines plant as well. We have several pictures of this building at later dates, and some of the Waterloo plant at it’s current metal-clad existence, so the above picture has been substantiated as the Des Moines location.
Nobody in the above picture has been positively identified yet, but the portly gentleman in front of all the others in front of the office door on the right is most probably Ed Mason. In the 1908 city directory there are listings for several employees as apprentices, and they are probably the 3 or 4 young men standing in front of the right hand garage door opening.The following information below was culled from Des Moines city directories of the time period. Given are their names, occupation and place of residency;
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