Lippman Kamprite Trailer Company
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William (Bill) August Lippman applied for a patent for his camping trailer on May 2, 1921 and was granted US Patent 1,564,257 on December 8, 1925. The Kamprite Trailer was manufactured in St. Louis, Missouri by the Lippman Kamprite Trailer Company. The company was closely affiliated with the well known Oscar-Lippman Piano Company with stores scattered throughout Missouri and Texas.
At first thought one has to ask, what does camping trailers and pianos have in common. Briefly stated both businesses were owned and operated by the same family members. The Oscar-Lippman Piano Company, formally known as the Jesse French Piano and Organ Company, was organized by Oscar Addison Field Sr. on October 10, 1887. Prior to 1887 it was known as the Field-French Piano Company. Oscar Sr. became its president on October 14, 1901 after serving as secretary and treasurer up until that time. The company's headquarters was located at 1114 Olive Street in downtown St. Louis.
Oscar Sr. was married to Maria Lumsden on August 29, 1882. They had two children, Lucetta (1883) and Oscar Addison Jr. (1887). The daughter, Lucetta, married Willam A. Lippman in 1905. On January 11, 1908 Oscar Sr. passed away leaving behind Oscar Jr. to direct the business. While the details remain unclear at the time of this writing sometime shortly before 1914 the company name was changed to Field-Lippman Piano Company where Oscar Jr. was president and W. A. Lippman was secretary and manager. It was during this time period that W. A. Lippman started showing an interest in the automobile as well as trailers and the roads traveled upon. Both Oscar and Bill made frequent auto-tour trips with their familes on vacation and made observations of road conditions for the use of the motorists' information bureau maintained by the Field-Lippman Company on Olive Street. Oscar Field would often tour the Texas stores by auto as well.
In early 1918 the Field-Lippman Company "startled" the music and automobile industries by adding a motor car accessory department to its business and a short time later adding a camping equipment department.The Field-Lippman Co. was an early pioneer of using the truck and trailer to make deliveries. As early as 1917 Victrolas and other smaller merchandise were delivered by a company owned trailer and Pianos were delivered by hiring a trucking company. W. A. Lippman understood the economics and savings of using a trailer or truck for deliveries. He also understood that better roads would further advance this new industry and was an advid "good road boosters" taking an active role in the movement throughout 1919 and 1920.
In early 1921 the Kamprite Trailer was added to the camping equipment product line. The Patent for the trailer was applied for on May 2, 1921 and the first AD found comes from the June 1921 Outdoor Recreation magazine. In 1922 the trailer was sold by the Lippman Kamprite Trailer Company, same address. I suspect Oscar Field Jr. focused more on the music business while W. A. Lippman ventured more into the camping and trailer business while staying connected to the music side as well. By 1923 the trailer company functioned as the sales agents for the Lamsteed KampKar. Business continued at least through 1925.
At the time of this writing further details about either businesses remains elusive. What is known is that Oscar Field Jr. died suddenly in March of 1929 in Denver, CO where he was working as an insurance agent. The article regarding his death mentioned him as the "former" head of the Field-Lippman Piano Company. Knowing it was a family business it can safely be assumed the business did not survive his departure from it. I tend to think the trailer business did not survive either.
W. A. Lippman and his wife Lucetta moved to Palms Springs, CA when their daughter and her new husband decided to make it their home. They both lived their until their deaths. Lucetta passed away on May 21, 1961 at the age of 77 while W. A. Lippman lived until April 19, 1975 passing at the age of 93.
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