Republic Motor Truck Company

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Republic Motor Truck Co ad 1916.jpg

Republic Motor Truck Company was a manufacturer of commercial trucks circa 1913 - 1929, in Alma, Michigan. By 1918, it was recognized as the largest exclusive truck manufacturer in the world, and the maker of one out of every nine trucks on the roads in the United States.[1] It was one of the major suppliers of "Liberty trucks" used by American troops during World War I.

The author Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) purchased a Republic truck in 1916 and drove it across the United States. His exploits were later published in the pamphlet "An Auto-Biography"[2] and distributed by Republic. By 1918, Republic was advertising in such national publications as the Saturday Evening Post, declaring that one goes to "Damascus for swords, Teheran [sic] for rugs, Lynn for shoes, Rochester for cameras, Dayton for cash registers, Alma for trucks."[3] Over 3,000 dealers served the United States, with additional dealers in at least 56 foreign countries and colonies.[4]

In 1917, Republic purchased a major supplier, Torbensen Axle Company. In 1927, Republic purchased the Linn Manufacturing Company, makers of the heavy duty Linn tractor.

The return of the Liberty trucks to the United States after World War I led to a major reduction in demand for trucks. Republic's production volume dropped from nearly 30,000 in 1918 to 1,453 in 1921.[5] Selling Torbensen Axle in 1922 (later Eaton Axle and Spring, now Eaton Corporation) was insufficient to meet cash demands, and Republic was forced into receivership. After reorganization, the company attempted unsuccessfully to regain its former status as a preferred manufacturer. After the sudden death of its president, Oliver Hayes, in 1928, the company merged with the American LaFrance Company to become LaFrance-Republic. LaFrance-Republic in turn was purchased by the Sterling Motor Truck Company in 1931, which was purchased by the White Motor Company in 1951. A parts depot for Republic existed in Alma until 1957.


A 1918 Republic Tractor Advertisement - Syracuse Herald, June6, 1918

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McMacken, David, and Louise Davenport (1976). "Down Twelve Decades: A Pictorial History of Alma, Michigan", np. Alma Bicentennial Committee, Alma, Michigan.
  2. ^ Edgar Rice Burroughs, "An Auto-Biography", 1917 [1]
  3. ^ Saturday Evening Post, February 23, 1918, p. 46
  4. ^ Alma Record (Alma, MI), Centennial Edition, June 28, 1956
  5. ^ Weimer, Andrew M. (1934). "An Economic History of Alma, Michigan", University of Chicago doctoral dissertation

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