Locomobiles in Hawaii

Queen Liliuokalani’s retainer and private secretary, Heleluhe drove the first Locomobile car in Hawaii. In 1900, automobiles were a rare sight in Honolulu, so people definitely noticed when Joseph Heleluhe drove by in his Locomobile–a four-wheel black automobile — run by gasoline with no horses but steam coming out.

Heleluhe, a member of Hawaiian nobility, drove the car for a little more than a year at most before dying of tuberculosis in 1900.

Afterwards, Heleluhe’s wife offered the Locomobile for sale, running an ad in The Independent from March 1901 through January 1902:

“One New Locomobile, No. 377 Style 2, made by The Locomobile Co. of America, of Newton, Mass. U. S. A., patented Nov. 14, 1899. Very little used, the property of the late Joseph Heleluhe, and run by gasoline. …

“For particulars, apply to Mrs. Heleluhe at Washington Place, or to F. J. Testa, this office.”

By 1902, four people drove a Locomobile in Hawaii: Queen Liliuokalani, Prince David Kawananakoa, F. J. Amweg, and Normal Halstead. At least one of them may have driven recklessly as the Locomobile gained a reputation for running people over. In July 1902, a Pacific Commercial Advertiser cartoon (right image) titled “Make Way for the Locomobile” depicted a man on a Locomobile running over a pedestrian. In the same month, the PCA also commented on how Halstead’s Locomobile zoomed through Fort Street, downtown Honolulu, and called it a “noise maker”:
“Up and down the main business street the locomobile moved morning and afternoon and at every revolution of its wheels and cogs and escape of steam horses endeavored to break out of their shafts and run, and on one or two occasions runaways were narrowly averted.”

The first Locomobile dealer in Hawaii, Schuman Carriage sold Locomobiles from 1909 through 1929 in its downtown Honolulu office and ran ads in the local newspapers. In 1929, the Locomobile’s parent company Durant Motors went out of business.

– Alice Kim

“‘30’ Locomobile — This shaft-drive car, which has just been received and is now on exhibition at the Schuman Garage … Schuman Carriage Co.”
Hawaiian star, September 10, 1909, Page 9

“Locomobile — Safety in automobiles is everything. … The Locomobile is a safe automobile. Its record is clean, strong, heavy axles — Locomobile construction. Second growth hickory wheels — immensely strong, cannot come off. Substantial, safe steering mechanism — Locomobile construction. Bronze steering wheel — no aluminum. Powerful brakes — 2 independent sets — durable and dependable.
When you and your family tour in a Locomobile you feel safe — you enjoy every mile. You are free from worry. Schuman Carriage Co., Ltd.”
Hawaiian star, January 17, 1910, Page 7

Locomobile — Schuman Carriage Co.
Evening bulletin, December 31, 1910, Page 7

“The Locomobile Six — The advantages of six cylinder Locomobile: Locomobile shaft drive six, six cylinder motor, carbureter, clutch, transmission, rear construction, appearance … The Locomobile Co. of America. Schuman Carriage Co., agents for Hawaii.”
Evening bulletin, April 15, 1911, Page 14

“The Locomobile for 1912. The ‘48’ six cylinder $4,800. The ‘30’ four cylinder $3,500.
“The Locomobile Co. of America. Schuman Carriage Co. agents Hawaiian islands.”
Evening bulletin, June 24, 1911, Page 11

Locomobile 38
Evening bulletin, December 9, 1911, Page 19

“The acme of perfection — the 1913 Locomobile. … The six ‘48’ touring car. … Royal Hawaiian Garage.”
Honolulu star-bulletin, January 18, 1913, Page 15

“Locomobile Touring Cars — A motor car developed through eleven years specializing in automobile manufacture. ‘Rome was not built in a day.’ Years of thought and labor were required for its building. It required elevent years to produce the 1910 Locomobile–eleven years of actual manufacturing and developing in the Locomobile plant. These years of labor were fruitful. The 1910 Locomobile combines all the refinement and perfection that can result only from long years of specializing in automobile construction. Two types– ‘30’ shaft-drive, ‘40’ chain-drive. Limousines, landaulets, touring cars, roadsters. Schuman Carriage Co.”
Evening bulletin, July 5, 1910, Page 6

“Locomobile touring cars — RELIABLE
The ‘30’ shaft drive Locomobile Touring Car. 120 inch wheel base. Four speeds and reverse.”
Evening bulletin, April 14, 1910, Page 10

Images in the Article
“Make way for the Locomobile.”

Locomobile Cartoon
Pacific commercial advertiser, July 9, 1902, Page 9

“Autoists, we offer you this high-class machine, the product of the Locomobile Company of America, Bridgeport, Conn. This car has demonstrated its right to the proud position of Top-Notch Car of American manufacture today. It leads in reliability and durability, the qualities most desirable in an automobile.”
Evening bulletin, February 8, 1909, Page 6