Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Made in Plain Dealing Car

Unidentified men in an unidentified auto garage that is most likely in Plain Dealing.
Bryce Turnley Collection: 1997.062.098
If you recognize the place or any of the men please contact the History Center 318.746.7717
Did you know that in 1919, a Plain Dealing citizen and business owner built a car? The following article titled “Made in Plain Dealing” appeared in The Bossier Banner on Dec. 18, 1919, with a description of the vehicle.
Advertisement for Jame's Garage in Plain Dealing.
The Bossier Banner, April 24, 1919.

“The James Garage has been trying out this week the first automobile ever turned out by a Plain Dealing manufacturer. The parts are all new, and none of them were made in Plain Dealing, but it is a James Garage Plain Dealing car, for there never was before any such car assembled anywhere.

“The trial trip yesterday showed the new car to be fast and a good climber. It is lighter than a Ford but carries twice as large a gasoline tank (of 20 gallon capacity) and may be operated on less gasoline per mile and, Mr. James believes, makes the mile in less time.

“All four wheels are the same size, and thus a 20 per cent saving on tires is made. The car is low-topped, light and gets over heavy roads in good shape. It is a self-starter and carries electric lights fore and aft.

“Mr. James says his car costs less than any of the low-cost automobiles, and can be made and sold at a good profit for less than the other cars are sold for. He thinks his car is better, too, in all respects.

“Anyway, here is hoping that a Plain Dealing automobile factory will turn out many hundreds of such cars during the years to come.”

A few months later, another article about the Plain Dealing car appeared in The Bossier Banner on Mar. 11, 1920, also titled “Made in Plain Dealing.” This article gives the following update on this locally made car.

“Mr. J. H. James made the trip to and from Shreveport Tuesday in his automobile made by himself in his own garage in this place. The “made in Plain dealing car” made the trip without a balk or accident over roads (lying between this place and Benton) that most prudent people have lately hesitated to try to travel. They are most awful roads and only a good car and a skillful driver can negotiate them under present wet weather conditions.

“That the Plain Dealing car made the trip proves two things: It is a good, stout, well-behaving car; and Mr. James knows how to drive.”

Unfortunately, the hope of having an automobile manufacturing company in Plain Dealing never came to pass. It appears that this was the only car built by John H. James in Plain Dealing. In 1921, James moved to El Dorado, Ark. where he became the manager of a lumber yard.

If anyone reading this article knows anything about this car, or if you know someone that might, the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center would love to hear from you. It would be truly amazing to see photographs of this car and to be able to add them to our collection to share with our patrons. As always, visit the History Center, at 2206 Beckett St., Bossier City, for all your Bossier Parish history needs.

By: Amy Robertson

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