|ALVAN MACAULEY &
PACKARD DIESEL POWERED
STINSON "DETROITER", X7654, 1929
|Alvan Macauley (left), and Col. Charles A. Lindbergh
with the original Packard diesel-powered Stinson "Detroiter", 1929
(Smithsonian photo A48319D.)
PRESIDENT OF THE PACKARD MOTOR CAR CO.
by Dr. Robert B. Marvin, Webmaster/Designer
The PACKARD MOTOR CAR Center
James Alvan Macauley, probably the most important person in the history of the Packard Motor Car Company, was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1872. He was the son of James Alexander Macauley and Rebecca Jane Mills Macauley. To avoid name confusion with his father, he chose to be called Alvan Macauley, and he is almost always referred to by that name. In 1895 Alvan Macauley married Estelle Littlepage of Washington, D.C. A year later, in 1896, he became a patent attorney for the National Cash Register Company. His training has provided him with an analytical and well-organized mind and a sound understanding of the law and especially as it related to patents.
In 1910 Alvan Macauley is offered an opportunity to work at Packard which must have electrified him. In 1910, Packard was under the direction of Henry Joy, and it was a period of great growth with Packard's reputation spreading both wide and far. J.W. Packard was Chairman of the Board then, and, with Joy as President, plus the explosive growth of the company, Alvan Macauley most certainly must have realized that Packard held the key to his future. And, of course, he was right. Just a year later, in 1911, In 1928 he became President of the Automobile Manufacturers Association. He served in that post until 1945.
Alvan Macauley was also responsible for many outstanding achievements such as the first diesel engine to lift a plane from the ground. He was also responsible for extensive efforts to test all of the products made by Packard. The Packard Proving Grounds, for example, were the finest test facilities available anywhere in the world, and the track, called the "Fastest Speedway In The World", held many world records some still standing as late as 1952.
In 1939, when the 67 year old Alvan Macauley gave up the presidency and became Packard's Board Chairman, Max Gilman became President of Packard. Alvan Macauley stayed active until April 19, 1948, when he retired as Packard's Chairman of the Board. He was then 76. I was a student trainee at Packard in 1948, and I remember how it was when Mr. Macauley retired. He was a legend and not enough can be written to pay him proper homage. He was not like Henry Joy or any of the other Packard Presidents who had a job at Packard. Packard was Mr. Macauley's whole life. It was his family, and he gave the company everything that he had to give. He was truly fine and noble person, and he personified what the Packard company was all about.
I heartily recommend it to you for serious research or just for fun.- Ralph Cooper
September 1: Col. Lewis Brittin founds Northwest Airways as a Michigan corporation with operations based at Speedway Flying Field (site of today's Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport). Harold H. Emmons of Detroit is the first president; Col. Brittin is vice president and general manager.
October 1: Northwest Airways takes to the sky, carrying air mail from the Twin Cities to Chicago with a "fleet" of two rented, open-cockpit biplanes - a Thomas Morse Scout and a Curtiss Oriole.
November 2: Northwest introduces the nation's first closed-cabin commercial plane - the three passenger Stinson Detroiter.