e m mcmillan

E-M-F Company

The E-M-F Company was an early American automobile manufacturer that produced automobiles from 1909 to 1912. The name E-M-F was gleaned from the initials of the three company founders: Barney Everitt - a custom auto body builder from Detroit, William Metzger - formerly of Cadillac, and Walter Flanders, who had served as Henry Ford's production manager.



Byron F. "Barney" Everitt was born 1872 in Ridgetown, Ontario, and learned wagon-building in Chatham, Ontario. In the early 1890s he worked for carriage maker Hugh Johnson in Detroit. In 1899 he started his own body building company, with orders from Ransom Olds, and then Henry Ford. In about 1904 his own first assembled car was the Wayne. The car model bearing his name was the Everitt, 1909-1912.


William E. Metzger was born 1868 in Peru, Illinois. He was one of the first car salesmen, a buyer and reseller, and in the late 1890s established the likely first United States automobile dealership, in Detroit. He was a key figure in the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers, and also promoted early races at Grosse Pointe. In 1902 he became affiliated with the Northern Motor Car Company and the same year helped organized Cadillac, with orders taken at the New York Automobile Show in January 1903.


Walter E. Flanders was born 1871 in Rutland, Vermont. He was a machinist who started with servicing sewing machines during an apprenticeship at Singer Corporation, followed by an association with Thomas S. Walburn in general machining in Cleveland, Ohio in the late 1890s. An order came from Henry Ford in Detroit to the company for a thousand crankshafts, and Ford was impressed by the response. Then in the early 1900s Flanders again worked with Walburn, this time for Ford at the Ford Piquette Plant at the corner of Piquette and Beaubien Streets in Detroit. Flanders became manager of Manufacturing at the plant, where he also worked with the two future Vice Presidents in charge of Manufacturing, Peter E. Martin, and Charles E. Sorensen. Flanders was replaced in his role by those latter two, when he resigned abruptly on April 21, 1908. Flanders' skill was in setting up and effecting timesaving procedures and methods at the plant, where engineers had developed the Model T in late 1907, which then began production in 1908, and led eventually to invention of the new moving assembly line to meet skyrocketing demand for the Model T in 1910.


E-M-F produced several models of its own design and contracted with the Studebaker Corporation to sell E-M-F's though Studebaker wagon dealerships.

E-M-F vehicles were known in their time for their notoriously bad build qualities. Detractors soon began stating that the E-M-F name stood for "Every Morning Fix-it", "Every Mechanical Fault" and "Every Miss Fire". Internal fighting between the partners did nothing to solve the product's problems.


John M. Studebaker, unhappy with E-M-F 's poor quality and lack of management, gained control of the assets and plant facilities in 1910. To remedy the damage done by E-M-F, Studebaker paid mechanics to visit each unsatisfied owner and replace the defective parts in their vehicles at a cost of US$1 million to the company. The E-M-F name continued into 1912 with the Studebaker name becoming more and more prevalent on the cars. In 1913, the E-M-F was replaced by the Studebaker.

Problems aside, E-M-F held its own in the growing market place. In 1909 E-M-F placed fourth (producing 7,960 vehicles) in total automobile production in the U.S. behind that of Ford Motor Company, Buick and Maxwell, with Cadillac in the fifth position. In 1910 the firm built 15,020 vehicles and again held onto fourth place behind Ford, Buick, Overland. In 1911 the firm placed second in overall assemblies with 26,827 automobiles produced for the year.

Flanders also ran the short-lived Flanders Automobile Company, which produced cars that were wholly based on previous E-M-F designs. The Flanders company was absorbed into Maxwell Motor Company (Incorporated) which was reorganized out of the assets of the United States Motor Company in 1913.

On June 20, 2005, the E-M-F Plant on Piquette Street (at John R) caught fire and within a few hours was gone. The five-alarm fire nearly spread to the famous Ford Piquette Plant where Henry Ford built the first Model T.

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