William L. Grout

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William L. Grout (1833-1908) was an U. S. industrialist and pioneer manufacturer of sewing machines and automobiles.

In 1876 he started, together with Thomas H. White, the White Sewing Machine Company in Cleveland, Ohio. The company was founded with a joint capital of $400 which he brought in. Later, White began building steam and gasoline automobiles and became a leading truck manufacturer for decades.

Later, they separated, and Grout founded the New Home Sewing Machine Company in Orange, Massachusetts. Business flourished, and in 1892, its best year, New Home sold 1.2 million sewing machines.

Alas, he had to learn that his sons Carl, Fred, and C.B. were not interested in his business. So, he set them up in the automobile business in 1900 as manufacturers of both steam and gasoline powered cars. At first, they were sold under the Grout New Home label. Although quite successful with up to 18 steam vehicles built per week by 1904, William L. Grout disagreed more and more with the way his sons handled business. Severe family struggle arose as he ended serving a $200,000 attachment on the factory - and faced, aged 74, a lawsuit to install a conservator for him because of his age. Finally, he succeeded and took control of the company. His sons resigned and left town.

William L. Grout died on April 20th, 1908, leaving the company in trouble again. Production closed in 1912, after a reorganization.

References[edit]

  • Kimes, Beverly Rae (editor) and Clark, Henry Austin, jr., ; The Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 2nd Edition, Krause Publications, Iola WI 54990 ISBN 0-87341-111-0

See also[edit]