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Bethlehem Motors Corporation

$95.00

SKU: 7468
Product Details

Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Bethlehem Motors Corporation dating back to the 1920's. This document, which was printed by the American Bank Note Company, is signed by the company President and Assistant Secretary and measures approximately 11 1/2" (w) by 7 1/2" (h). 

 

This certificate's vignette features an allegorical male figure sitting on an anvil with a sledgehammer. He is flanked by factory scenes.

You will receive the exact certificate pictured. Please note, there is a 1" tape repair on the back of the piece. It is located at the bottom left side margin as you are looking at the piece.

    Historical Context

    The Bethlehem Motors Corporation was a manufacturer of tractors, automobiles and trucks in Allentown, Pennsylvania, between 1917 and 1926.

    Tractors

    In 1918 and 1919, the Corporation built the Model 18-36 tractor, which weighed three tons, and was powered by a Beaver 4-cylinder engine with two forward speeds. Standard equipment included a Stromberg carburettor, Bosch magneto and Fedders radiator. The tractor was not a success, probably due to the poor financial position of the company, the crowded tractor market in the United States, and the 1920 agricultural depression.

    Automobiles

    In 1920, the Bethlehem Motors Corporation built the 'Ideal' automobile, which was to be sold only outside the United States. The Ideal was a four-seater sedan with a 40 hp engine built by Bethlehem, Timken axles, and was priced at $3,000. The company went into receivership later that year, and all plans to further produce and sell the car were discontinued. New management disposed of the unsold cars for approximately $1,000 each in 1921.

    Trucks

    Truck manufacturing began in 1917, with ​1 1⁄4-ton trucks powered by Golden, Belknap and Swartz engines, and a ​2 1⁄4-ton vehicle using a North American engine. The smaller models cost $1,245; the larger models $1,775. Speeds were between 12 and 18 mph, depending on the engine governor used. Production in 1919 was approximately 3,500. By 1920, all Bethlehem trucks came with electric starter and lights, with the company motto at this time being "Trucks bought today without electric lights will be out of date tomorrow". Despite these new features, business decreased, with the company going into receivership.

    Demise

    The last Bethlehem trucks, and the last vehicles of any type manufactured by the Bethlehem Motors Corporation were assembled in 1926. The factory was bought by Hahn and Company in 1927.