Ford Cars in Hawaii

In 1903, a man started a car company in Detroit, Michigan. Within ten years, he would innovate business management theory and enable mass production on the assembly line as we know today. Henry Ford further developed the assembly line method: each worker on an assembly line specialized in a single role to mass-produce cars. Through the assembly line, the Ford Motor Co. can realize economics of scale–cost savings–and by specializing, the worker works efficiently and learns to do his job well by experience.

Ford cars debuted in Hawaii two years later in 1905, six years after the first car in Hawaii went around Honolulu. Carriages were still popular in Honolulu, and Schuman Carriage Co. sold carriages. But owner Gus Schuman knew the horseless cars, known as “automobiles,” would ultimately supplant carriages.

Schuman may have owned Hawaii’s first Ford car, as he brought it to Hawaii in January 1905. To test the car, Schuman “cruised” around the Oahu island four times.

Four months later in April 1905, Schuman Carriage introduced Ford automobiles to Hawaii when it opened a showroom with twelve Ford cars and a repair garage. The showroom on Merchant St., downtown Honolulu, formerly showcased Schuman Carriage Co.’s carriages for sale and housed a repair garage for carriages.

A few weeks later in late April, Schuman Carriage moved its showroom to the Young Building and started advertising Ford cars in local newspapers.

Only a month after the introduction, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser proclaimed the car as “the favorite car for Honolulans”: “Its reliability makes it popular and it possesses many points of excellence unknown to other makes.”

Four years later in 1909, Schuman Carriage bragged about its Ford cars in an ad:

The Ford leads. More than twice as many Fords sold in Honolulu than any other car. Low up-keep, easing riding on rough roads, high power and easy handling. … The cost of maintenance is less than that of a horse. Select the roughest road you know of and the Ford will travel over it easier at equal speed than cars costing two or three times the price.

No car will climb hills or cover muddy roads , sandy stretches or rough country better than the Ford. No car has a wider ranger of speed, three to forty-five miles without changing a gear. No car approaches it in flexibility–in ease of control in crowded streets, difficult situations, and various emergencies. The control of Model ‘T’ is the simplest ever devised for an automobile.

For the next ninety-nine years, Schuman Carriage sold Ford cars and trucks, and the Model Ts and Tauruses ended up on Honolulu’s roads. In 2004, the long-time Kamaaina company closed after serving Hawaii’s residents for 111 years.

– Alice Kim

Search Strategy: ford automobile (state: Hawaii)

Ads from Chronicling America


Ford car, Schuman Carriage Co., Ltd.
Pacific commercial advertiser, May 10, 1908, Image 9
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85047084/1908-05-10/ed-1/seq-9/


Ford car, Schuman Carriage Co., Ltd.
Evening bulletin, Dec. 23, 1908, Page 7
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016413/1908-12-23/ed-1/seq-7/


“The Ford leads. More than twice as many Fords sold in Honolulu than any other car. Low up-keep, easing riding on rough roads, high power and easy handling. … The cost of maintenance is less than that of a horse. Select the roughest road you know of and the Ford will travel over it easier at equal speed than cars costing two or three times the price.
“No car will climb hills or cover muddy roads , sandy stretches or rough country better than the Ford. No car has a wider ranger of speed, three to forty-five miles without changing a gear. No car approaches it in flexibility–in ease of control in crowded streets, difficult situations, and various emergencies. The control of Model ‘T’ is the simplest ever devised for an automobile.
“Schuman Carriage Co.”
Evening bulletin, May 20, 1909, Image 14
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016413/1909-05-20/ed-1/seq-14/


Get a New Ford — Schuman Carriage Co., Ltd.
Hawaiian star, June 19, 1909, Page 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015415/1909-06-19/ed-1/seq-3/


Ford Wins
The Hawaiian star, June 26, 1909, Page 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015415/1909-06-26/ed-1/seq-3/


Fords on Sale
The Hawaiian star, July 10, 1909, Page 12
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015415/1909-07-10/ed-1/seq-12/


Ford Schuman Carriage
Honolulu star-bulletin, February 14, 1914, Page 16
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014682/1914-02-14/ed-1/seq-16/


Ford Touring Car, Ford Roadster — Schuman Carriage Co., Ltd.
Ford Schuman Carriage 2
Honolulu star-bulletin, January 30, 1915, Page 7
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014682/1915-01-30/ed-1/seq-7/


Ford — Kauai’s Universal Car. Nawiliwili Garage, Ltd.
The Garden Island, September 7, 1920, Page 5
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015411/1920-09-07/ed-1/seq-5/


Ford car, Nawiliwili Garage, Ltd.
The Garden Island, July 19, 1921, Page 8
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015411/1921-07-19/ed-1/seq-8/


Ford Ton Truck, Nawiliwili Garage, Ltd.
The Garden Island, November 29, 1921, Page 10
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015411/1921-11-29/ed-1/seq-10/


Ford Touring Car, Ford One-ton Truck, Fordson Tractors, Ford Sedan. Nawiliwili Garage, Ltd.
Nawiliwili Ford Car 3
The Garden Island, January 3, 1922, Page 8
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015411/1922-01-03/ed-1/seq-8


Ford Touring Car, Nawiliwili Garage, Ltd.
The Garden Island, Nov. 21, 1922, Image 5
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015411/1922-11-21/ed-1/seq-5/

Articles from Chronicling America

“For Racing Purposes Only”
Free press, July 25, 1903, Image 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84029696/1903-07-25/ed-1/seq-3/
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84029696/1903-07-25/ed-1/seq-3/#date1=1903&index=5&rows=20&words=automobile+Ford&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1903&proxtext=ford+automobile&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

“Schuman Opens Well-Equipped Automobile Shop”
Evening bulletin, March 25, 1905, Image 1
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016413/1905-03-25/ed-1/seq-1/