Thomas B

Saturday 2nd April 1910

Thomas B. Jeffery of Rambler died in Pompeii, Italy aged 65. He was an inventor and bicycle manufacturer with his partner, R. Philip Gormully, who built and sold Rambler bicycles through his company, Gormully & Jeffery Mfg. Co., in Chicago from 1878 to 1900. He was one of America’s first men interested in automobiles, and in 1897, he built the first Rambler motor car. Jeffery was serious about motor cars so he sold his stake in G&J and founded the Thomas B. Jeffery Company. He used the G&J money to buy the old Sterling Bicycle Co. factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he set up shop to manufacture automobiles on a large scale. From 1902 until 1908, Jeffery moved steadily to bigger, more reliable models. His cars were built on assembly lines (the second manufacturer to adopt them — Ransom Olds was first while Ford went to the moving assembly line in 1913), and in 1903 he sold 1,350 Ramblers. By 1905, Jeffery more than doubled this number. One reason may have been because he went to the steering wheel before 1904. After his death, Charles T. Jeffery changed the automotive branding from Rambler to Jeffery to honor Thomas B. Ultimately, his family sold the manufacturing business to Charles Nash, who renamed the company Nash Motors and greatly expanded their manufacturing efforts.

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