Auto-Kamp Equipment Co.

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The Auto-Kamp Equipment Company was founded in early 1916 and was located in Saginaw, Michigan. According to May 17, 1916 Motor magazine "the Auto Kamp Equipment Co., organized with a capital stock of $15,000. Automobiles, trailers, and other vehicles and appliances will be bought, sold and manufactured. The incorporators are C. W. McClure, Harry E. Oppenheimer, Allen D. Jackson, and W. O. Sustins." $15,000 in 1916 is equivalent to $318,450 in 2012.

Harry E. Oppenheimer and Charles W. McClure, both prominent business men of Saginaw, backed the company financially. Harry E. Oppenheimer was the president and manager of the Oppenheimer Cigar Company which his uncle Samuel Oppenheimer had founded years earlier. Harry E. Oppenheimer believed strongly in investing personal funds in home industries resulting in large holdings of local manufacturing and commercial stocks. His investment in Auto-Kamp Equipment Co. was one such example. Charles W. McClure was president and general manager of the McClure Company, formally known prior to 1913 as the Farmersí Handy Wagon Company, founded by his father William C. McClure in 1898. The company was best known for the manufacturing of the Saginaw Silo.

Walter O. Sustins and Allen D. Jackson were the founders of the company. Walter O. Sustins was the chief engineer of The Argo Electric Vehicle Company, formed in 1910 in Saginaw by local business men. It can be assumed that during this time he became associated with Allen D. Jackson. The Electric Vehicle Service Company was organized in September of 1913, Allen D. Jackson was the president and Walter O. Sustins was a director on the board of the company. Later he would assume the role of secretary and treasurer. Both Walter and Allen were entrepreneurs and it can be assumed that during this time they became aware of the emerging trailer industry and decided to capitalize upon it.

The company survived the years during the First World War, April 1917 to November 1918. Sometime shortly after the war James A. Dean and his wife Daisy Dean joined the company. James served as president, Daisy served as secretary and treasurer, Walter became the vice-president and Allen served as the sales manager. The entire capital stock of the company was now owned by these four persons. The latest advertisement found to-date is from 1929. One internet source claims the company closed its doors in 1930, a victim of the depression. Walter O. Sustin was still alive and living in Saginaw in 1940 according to the census records.

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