It was a time when entrepreneurs were most commonly referred to as “pioneers” in their field or industry.
Henry Knox was one such pioneer, a man whose vision helped revolutionize transportation not only in America, but throughout the world.
It was Knox who built one of the first four-cylinder opposed-internal combustion engines. In 1895.
He went to work for Duryea Motor Wagon Co., the proud winners of the first automobile race ~ Chicago to Evanston and back ~ in the United States.
However, Knox was endowed with an independent and inventive spirit, so in 1898 he formed his own auto company in Springfield, Ill.
Knox Automobile Co. would first produce three-wheeled air-cooled autos. Four-wheeled autos were soon produced with a substantial number being manufactured by 1901.
In 1911, Knox introduced America to superbly crafted six-cylinder models, but it was the 1914 model that Knox believed to be a revolutionary design of craftsmanship ~ a six-cylinder, air-cooled model that represented the apex of Knox’s automotive designs.
The company was so proud of its achievements in producing this model that they were included in promotional material:
“Our aim in the design of the Model 46 has been to fulfill the requirements of that large number of automobile enthusiasts who desire a trim, handsome six of reasonable capacity, designed with an efficient motor of sufficient power and flexibility to meet the requirements of both town and country service.”
Keep in mind that “country service” was more akin to what today’s city dwellers would consider off-road driving without four-wheel drive.
The Model 46 was more than a trim vehicle. It featured a then-powerful 46-horsepower, 496-cubic-inch overhead valve six-cylinder engine.
Surviving Knox autos today are very rare and extremely valuable, as is this 1914 Knox photographed at The Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, Calif. ~ on the edge of the San Fernando Valley and within a 10-minute drive from Interstate 5.
Besides quality cars, Knox Motors was also known for building finely crafted trucks and farm tractors, according to information provided by Nethercutt.
The 1914 version in these photos was built “to meet the growing demand for a high-quality six-cylinder car,” Nethercutt noted.
Sadly, the Knox may have been ahead of its time because low demand for this six-cylinder version resulted in it being the final year for Knox auto production.
It would be years before there would be mass demand for six-cylinder cars.
This 1914 Knox was known as the Model 46 Little Six Touring model, which was Knox’s pride and joy because it capped a 16-year genesis of a pioneering automaker whose capstone was to be a six-cylinder auto.
The model sold for a $4,350, which was mid-priced among similar car models for that era.
In 1914, Knox Auto had succumbed to its creditors’ demands and reorganized.
Out of the ashes of the original company arose Knox Motor Truck/Atlas Motor Car Co.
For the next two years, the new company would go on to manufacture fire apparatus ~ including fire trucks, tractor-trailers and trucks.
Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel Co. merged with Militor Motors Co. to form Knox Motors Association in Springfield.
Under the new name of Knox-Martin, the merged company then manufactured winch tractors and other vehicles.
By 1924, the post-World War I recession (prior to the start of The Great Depression) took its toll on Knox-Martin, and it was shuttered for all time.
Keywords:1914 Knox, Glenn Franco Simmons, Nethercutt photos, The Nethercutt Museum, classic car photos, classic cars
© Glenn Thomas Franco Simmons