Tuesday, April 12, 2016

William B. Stout

Photo From Here
I mentioned a few posts back I wanted to get William Stout's autobiography. It came in the other day from inter-library loan. Man, what a fascinating individual! At various times he was a school teacher, reporter and a columnist, but he was primarily a designer/engineer. He's mostly known for his contributions to automobile and airplane design but he also designed motorcycles, buses, prefabricated housing and a host of other things.

He was looking for capitol to finance his design laboratory and hit up most of the movers and shakers of the day with the pitch give me $1,000.00 and I can promise you zero return on your money. The surprising thing is, it worked. The back of the book has a list of his contributors and it's a veritable who's who of the automobile and aircraft industry - Fred Fisher of Fisher Body, Charles Bohn of Bohn Aluminum,Charles Kettering, George Holley of Holley Carburetor, Walter Chrysler, Edsel Ford, Ransom E. Olds, Garfield  A. Wood of Gar Wood Industries, and a host of others. Eventually he sold the company and his investors quadrupled their money.

In addition to all the industrialists he knew and was involved with, he personally had dealings with Octave Chanute, the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh, and most all of the aviation pioneers such as Boeing, Beech and Stinson. He was also the president of the Society of Automotive Engineers for one term.

He also toured Europe on his honeymoon astride a motorcycle, even though his bride had never been on one before. My kind of woman right there.

The book is a great read. While looking for a photo of his Victor motorcycle, I ran across a site that has a very good biography of Stout. Lots of info and photos plus some links to other articles and videos. Check it out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed reading your Blog. That car of Stout's design is so good looking, looks like a Buckminster Fuller creation. The early attempts at streamlining created lasting forms.