Tarkington (automobile)

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The Tarkington automobile was a two-door, six-cylinder,[1] gas-powered car built in the early 1920s in Rockford, Illinois.

Joseph Arthur Tarkington tried very hard to get his car into mass-production, but was unsuccessful. The company was incorporated in January 1920 with $500,000 of initial funding.[2] It took three years before a prototype was displayed to the public.[2] Although well received by the press, additional capital needed for mass production was not forthcoming and the company was dissolved on June 1, 1923.[2]

Joseph filed several patents for the car, and there are stories that he was a pioneer in many things related to the automobile, albeit never receiving any credit. Here is an excerpt from the family tree website of Karl Swenson, a man who built the Tarkington with Joseph:

Carl was one of the people who tried to produce an automobile by the name of the Tarkington. He and his dad and Mr. Tarkington worked at this and had 6 cars made. They failed to get the funding needed to get them mass-produced so had to quit the project. Carl was an avid golfer and being the engineer he was, worked very hard to perfect his golf swing.[citation needed]

All six cars produced by the company were eventually scrapped.[2]


  1. ^ Wise, David Burgess (2000). The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Automobiles. Iola, WI: Quantum Publishing. p. 559. ISBN 0-7858-1106-0. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kimes, Beverly Rae; Clark Jr, Henry Austin (1996). Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805–1942. Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 1453. ISBN 978-0-87341-428-9.