The Abner Doble Motor Vehicle Company was founded in Waltham, Massachusetts, US

Friday 30th October 1914

The Abner Doble Motor Vehicle Company was founded in Waltham, Massachusetts, US. The first car was the Model A. Up to five cars were thought to be made. Four were sold and one was kept for development. The cars were of good quality and appeared to have a good market.

In 1915, Doble drove his Model B, a revamped version of the Model A from Massachusetts to Detroit to seek investors. He managed to obtain $200,000, which he used to open the General Engineering Company with C L Lewis. In January 1917, Doble’s new car, the Doble Detroit, caused a sensation at the National Automobile Show in New York. Over 5,000 deposits were received for the car, with deliveries scheduled to begin in early 1918. The Dobles’ had not entirely worked out various design and manufacturing issues, and although the car received good notices and over 10,000 orders, only 30 were built. Doble blamed his company’s production failure on the steel shortages caused by World War I, but the Doble Detroit was mechanically unsatisfactory.

Doble also announced at the New York show that he was working on a steam engine for aeroplanes.

The Doble brothers were divided by Doble’s insistence on taking credit for the company’s technical achievements, and John Doble ended up suing Doble for patent infringement, whereupon Doble left Detroit for California and the General Engineering Company folded. When John Doble died of lymphatic cancer in 1921 the surviving brothers reunited in Emeryville, California. They set up a company under the name of Doble Steam Motors.

In 1924 the State of California learned that Doble had helped to sell stock illegally in a desperate bid to raise money for the company, and though Doble was eventually acquitted, the company failed during the ensuing legal struggle. Fewer than fifty of the Model E steam cars were produced before the company went out of business in April 1931, the total being reported variously as 24, 42, and 43. Doble himself owned one from 1925 to 1936 as his own experimental car. He took it with him when on consulting work in New Zealand and England. He sold it in England to Mortimer Harmon Lewis of Hyde Park, London, just before he departed for the US.

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