Hart-Krafts of York, Pa.: ‘Most of the trucks were used and abused’

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This rare Hart-Kraft light delivery truck was one of thousands of vehicles built in York in the first quarter of the 20th century. The truck will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum, 217 W. Princess St., York. To see a photo of the truck before restoration, see below. Background posts: When an automobile became a seesaw and Camp Security memories tucked inside memoirs.
A relic of York County’s automotive manufacturing past will become available for all to see this weekend.
Fred Rosenmiller, the county’s foremost promoter of all things historic on wheels, has donated a restored Hart-Kraft light delivery truck to the York County Heritage Trust… .


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Fred Rosenmiller found these remains of a 1911 Hart-Kraft truck in Arizona. He donated the restored truck to the York County Heritage Trust.
York, sitting on major transportation routes, was a known maker of wagons. So, this spurred early, but short lived, successes in the fledgling automotive business at the turn of the 20th century.
At least 15 companies produced thousands of vehicles. As many as 20,000 Pullman cars might have been made in York by one maker.
A York Daily Record story (12/7/07) on the Hart-Kraft acquisition follows:

During a free, public program on the history of York-based automotive manufacturer Hart-Kraft Motor Company at the Agricultural & Industrial Museum in York on Saturday, the York County Heritage Trust will unveil the latest display at the museum.
It’s a 1911 Hart-Kraft light delivery truck donated to the museum by the Rosenmiller Family Foundation.
According to Sarah Selvaggio, events manager at the Heritage Trust, the truck is believed to be the last known example of a vehicle produced by the Hart-Kraft Motor Company still in existence.
“It’s very significant in our history of York’s role in the automotive industry,” Selvaggio said.
Hart-Kraft, which operated from 1908-1913 in a building where Sovereign Bank Stadium presently is, was just one of a number of companies that built cars and trucks in York throughout its automotive past, Fred Rosenmiller of the Rosenmiller Family Foundation said.
That illustrious past dates back to the early days of motoring and earned York the unofficial title of the “Detroit of the East,” Selvaggio said.
The Hart-Kraft truck is especially rare, Rosenmiller said, because most were used until they fell apart and were eventually turned to scrap.
“Most of the trucks were used and abused and then hauled off to the junkyard when they quit running,” Rosenmiller said.
But not this vintage piece of automotive simplicity.
Rosenmiller said he found the remains of the truck in Arizona and had it restored in Willow Street, Pa., by Paul Vaughn, a car restoration expert.
With the truck back to its original state, it embarked on a tour of car shows, winning top awards in each one it entered.
The little truck boasts a 2-cylinder water-cooled engine that cranks out 16.2 brake horsepower. That may not seem like a lot, and in fact, it wasn’t.
A Ford model T of the same year had a 4-cylinder engine that produced 22 brake horsepower, and it weighed about 600 pounds less, giving the Ford more bang for a much smaller car.
The tiny green truck represents an era in automobile history gone by. It has brass trim that engulfs its front-end that isn’t seen in modern cars. It doesn’t have a windshield, or doors.
“This is just a prime example of York’s automotive past,” Rosenmiller said.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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One Response to Hart-Krafts of York, Pa.: ‘Most of the trucks were used and abused’

  1. Thomas Yingling says:

    Anybody have any information or background on who the owners were of the Hart-Kraft company. I assume at least two of them went by the last name of Hart and Kraft. But, what are thier first names and where are they from?

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