GMC Electric Trucks
The lads at the American Truck Historical Society (which I belonged to for most of the '80s) had pegged it as a 1913-14 GMC Electric. I first became aware of GMC Electrics from Gini Rice's 1971 Relics of the Road series, Volume One, GMC Gems, 1900-1950, although she only had one picture and scant information:
John M. Lansden co-founded the Lansden Company in New Jersey in early 1904 with financial help from Thomas Edison. Edison acquired control of the company in 1908 and sold it 1912. The company declared bankruptcy in 1913 and was absorbed by the Mack Truck Company. During its eight year tenure, the Lansden Company built some 2,000 electric trucks and delivery wagons, along with an unknown number of a two-seat electric roadster, the Electrette:
Lansden left his namesake company in 1911 - shortly before Edison sold it - to start up and manage the electric truck and bus section the newly formed General Motors Truck Company. The whole Lansden Company story will be told in another post another day.
GMC Truck Historian Donald E. Meyer contends that the GMC owned Rapid Motor Vehicle Company (fully acquired in 1909) offered the new electric trucks first, followed by GMC proper, but to date no pictures of a Rapid Electric of this vintage have surfaced.
GMC Electric truck production lasted from 1912 to 1917, with nine standard capacities being offered ranging between half-ton and six-ton. A January 23, 1913 New York Times ad claimed 42 GMC models - 25 Electric and 17 gasoline. At the 1913 New York Truck Show, the GMC Electric Truck display was at the Grand Central Palace, while the Gasoline Truck display was at Madison Square Garden. 1,200 to 1,300 Electrics were built over the five year period. Compare that with the output of just one of GMC's competitors, the General Vehicle Company (GeVeCo) - by 1915 New York City alone had 2,000 of GeVeCo's GV Electric trucks, and that represented more than 25% of all trucks of all types working daily in the city:
More on the General Vehicle Company later - for now see the post here.
In 1914, GMC Electrics represented just over 22% of GMC truck and bus production. By the next year that figure was cut by more than half, and by 1916 it was down to just over 3%. Only one GMC Electric left the assembly line the final year of production.
In 1912 GMC Electric had entered an already saturated market and simply could not catch up. By 1917 they had wisely chosen to concentrate on the ultimately dominate gasoline truck.
These are all of the GMC Electric photos I could find. If you know of any others, please let me know where to find them.