But for Henry Ford's assembly line, Cleveland might have been the "Motor City." In 1900, there were over 1000 small auto manufacturers coexisting in the United States, over 70 of them in Cleveland. The first auto sold in the US came from Cleveland's Winton Motors; the first car to make use of steel ball bearings was Cleveland's Baker Motors; and the first use of the French word "automobile" in conjunction with the US car industry was by Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter, Charles Shanks, in 1899.
One by one Cleveland's auto manufacturers went out of business, but Cleveland and Northeast Ohio continued to be a major contributor of auto parts, steel, glass, and rubber products well into the 1960s. In fact, in 1963 13 percent of Cleveland's work force was employed in some aspect of the auto industry.
The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum was formed in 1963 with the private collection of Mr. Crawford's company Thompson Products at its core. (Thompson Products later diversified and became TRW, Inc.) The museum showcases 200 classic automobiles, among them 80 cars that originated in Cleveland. The museum is open Monday - Saturday from 10am - 5pm and on Sundays from noon to 5pm.
Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum
10825 East Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44106
(Last updated on 11-09-07)