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Danville's Tincher Automobile

by John L. Tincher III

Reprinted from Winter 1981-82, page 10

            Thomas Luther Tincher, youngest of the eight children of Danville’s pioneering banker and merchant John L. Tincher I, (Spring 1976), formed a company to manufacture automobiles.
           
The Tincher Motor Car Company was located in
Chicago before moving to South Bend , Indiana in 1908.  The Tincher, a quality car, never competed in price with low price models manufactured by Henry Ford.  While Mr. Ford’s cars were selling for $300 to $500 to fit most budgets, the Tincher was priced at $6500 for a select few.  The Chicago plant produced six cars a year, and after moving to South Bend , production was increased to eighteen autos per season.
           
The Tincher was manufactured in several different body styles.  The Krupp Company in
Germany , (a world leader in new processes and quality production of steel), supplied much of the material for this auto and gave class to the Tincher with its parts of chrome nickel steel.  Many servicemen will recall Krupp’s contribution to German armament with the Krupp guns armor planting.  The Tincher was powered with a 50-60 horsepower engine, had a wheel base of 127 inches, and weighed three thousand pounds.  It came in seven passenger models and carried a three year guarantee on all materials and workmanship.

            A silver cup owned by John L. Tincher III bears the following inscription:

Wheaton County Fair 
Sept. 13, 1907
First Prize
Three Mile Automobile Race
Won By
Allan Pirie
Driving Tincher Racer, Time 3 min. 20 sec.
 

This was a speed of nearly sixty miles per hour, quite an accomplishment seventy years ago.  There is speculation that Allan Pirie was of the Pirie family of Pirie, Scott & Co.
           
The Tincher was not to have a future however as it was to join the long list of auto manufacturers that went out of business in the twentieth century.  When the company failed Thomas Luther’s mother, Caroline, paid off his debts and the Tincher Motor Car Company was no more.
           
Following the failure of the company, Thomas Tincher moved to
Los Angeles where he became West Coast Distributor of the Haynes automobile.  And the Tincher car?  The Antique Auto Society in Hershey , Pennsylvania reported that it was thought that Mary Pickford owned a Tincher, maybe it is still preserved somewhere.  If it is, it would be worth far more than the $6500 which seemed so exorbitant at the beginning of the century.
           
The June 6, 1907 issue of the “The Motor Age” magazine shows a detailed catalogue and article regarding the Tincher automobile. 

            It seems like history often repeats itself.  When Tincher was building his auto, much of the body work was completed by a company in Germany, The Krupp Company. Today, this same company has factories in Danville. ThyssenKrupp began its Danville existence with the purchase of the Wyman Gordon plant on Lynch Road in 1991.  Though the Tincher auto no longer exists today, ThyssenKrupp is alive and running.

The Heritage of Vermilion County is published quarterly by the Vermilion County  Museum Society    Subscriptions available through Society membership                  

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