Lot 246

Hershey 2019

1905 De Tamble-Miller High-Wheel Runabout Prototype

The Merrick Auto Museum Collection


$26,400 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
  • Enigmatic artifact of the high-wheel era
  • Believed to be an early prototype by De Tamble
  • A unique subject for future research

Among the countless automotive brands that have hatched, struggled, and died since the dawn of the industry are many like the De Tamble. Edward De Tamble, head of the Speed Changing Pulley Company of Indianapolis, had ideas for a small, two-cylinder high-wheel runabout. It reached production in 1909, by which time a new company, the De Tamble Motor Company, had been formed in Anderson, Indiana. By March 1910, money ran out and new investors took over, changing the direction by building larger, more modern motor cars.

The De Tamble high-wheel business was sold off variously to the More Brothers in Wisconsin, H.K. James of Lawrenceburg, Kansas, and the Jewel Carriage Company of Carthage, Ohio (not to be confused with the Jewell and later Jewel high-wheel car made in Massillon, Ohio).

The Carthage De Tamble descendant was given the name “Breeze” and, in contrast to the other offshoots, was modernized with a short, artistically tilted false radiator. The result, as explained by the late historian Beverly Rae Kimes, “…didn’t have the ungainly appearance of most high-wheelers.” Ungainly or not, it failed to last more than one season.

The car offered here has been attributed to Edward De Tamble and a tire manufacturer named Miller. The provenance centers on a tag stamped “De Tamble & Miller No. 1,” found under the seat. It is believed De Tamble and Miller assembled this car in order to market their respective businesses and as a forebear to De Tamble’s efforts later in the decade. Among other enigmas are a Selden Patent plate attached to the false radiator and a planetary transmission from a 1905 Model F Ford.

Acquired by the Merrick Collection in 1999, it was previously owned by Helms Antique Autos in Milford, Pennsylvania. In thoroughly original condition, it has a front-mounted, two-cylinder air-cooled engine.