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TJ"OW many people are there in Toledo who are aware of the fact that the Willys-Overland plant. out Central avenue, is the biggest, individual factory in the entire automobile industry in the world? It is safe to assume that but a small percentage of the 108,000 people of this city know it, and yet it is an un disputed fact, recognized throughout the automobile in dustry where the genius of man who built the great plant is recognized. John H. Willys, to whom Toledo owes so much, is looked upon wherever automobiles are owned as being at the very head of an industry whose strides into pro minence have been the marvel of a marvelous age. A few short years ago lie was an obscure automobile salesman in New York—one of the thousands. Today lie is more than a mere captain of industry, lie is a great general, if the rise into prominence of the auto mobile has been swift, the career of Mr. Willys has been swifter. When the telephone became a commercial possibility opportunities opened to the young and energetic men of the country who had brains and knew how to use them. It was the same when electricity was harnessed and made to serve the people. The possibilities of steam, as applied to locomotion, gave us our Vander bilts and Goulds, and the introduction of steel supplied our Schwabs and Carnegies. The Kockefellows and Roger ses came out of the ground, as it were, when oil was discovered and our Morgans made theirappearance when the era of mergers and consolidations came. Big Opportunities The introduction of the horseless car. has supplied as great opportunities for executive ability, pluck, energy and determination as any of those thai have gone be fore and its development has been more rapid. It has grown from nothing to unbelievable proportions almost in a night. To keep upon the crest of such a surging, foaming wave has demanded rare ability. None bu 1 the greatest could survive such a test. Big ligures have appeared for a day and then sank back into the depths. never to be heard of again. Only a few have remained. J. N. Willys is one of the few, and every day lie keeps growing bigger and bigger, lie had no Morgan millions behind him to push him along or to keep him in the forefront. He had to do it all with his brains. Five years ago lie had nothing. Today thousands of men are working for him and he is turning out finished automo biles about as fast as you can count them. He went into Indianapolis with a few hundred dollars and bought a sm 11 automo bile plant that had failed because' it could not pay its small weekly wages to its hand ful of workmen. He built up the plant until it attracted the attention ofthe whole middle west. One would think that would satisfy an ordinary man and it would, but Mr. Willys is not an ordinary man. He is an industrial Napoleon and organizing genius. As soon as the Popes failed he saw another opport unity to add to his business stature. He came to Toledo and bought the local plant from the receiver. At that time the Pope factory was supposed to be one of the largest in the automobile world, but Mr. Willys has so increased its size that those who knew the old plant would not recognize it. It was a big plant before, but but now it is a leviathan. AVhen the Pope operated it the factory was an important industry now it is a whole section of the city—a great settlement where-thousands of men find steady employment. The Central avenue plant was first started as a bicycle factory owned by the Loziers and after the col lapse of the bicycle craze it was closed. The Popes then opened it and manufactured the Pope-Toledo car. They more than doubled its size and even in its Lozier days it was regarded as a big plant. After Mr. Willys got the factory he started in to en large it as though it were but a small affair. He kept, adding immense buildings until it now occupies a ground space of over 30 acres and a good many times 30 acres in the air. The first four cylinder car made ii.i America was put together in this plant by the Popes and now the factory 1 The GREATNESS Of The OVERLAND PLANT As Taken From The Toledo Daily Blade turns out 20.000 cars annually. or at least it will turn out that number this year. Most of the cars are now I mi It and remain only to be assembled. This assembly room is -loxllo feet in di mensions and is but part of the final assembly room, where a force of 102 men finish in one day's time 150 completed motor cars ready to move out on the ship ping platform to go to the four corners of the country and to many foreign lands. What is most impressive about this fact is that with so few men in such a small--pace so many cars can be completed. It is simple proof that the cars are so completely standardized, that is to say. the parts are so exact and so uniform and the cars go together with so little trouble that no finish tiling or fitting is necessary. This means in the finished product a car perfectly balanced, a car that runs smoothly and quickly and without preeeptible wear, and, what is still more important, it means that the buyer secures a machine that is as perfect as it is pos-ible to make it at prices that are even lower than is asked for assembled cars. Work to Fine Points. The old Pope plant had a great reputation for build ing line cars, for finishing tlieni well, and in their shop practice for working to very "close limits of tolerance," which is the term for tinenc-s uf lit. They worked to as close as one one-thousandth part of an inch. It is common shop practice now at the verland to work as fine in the fitting of the cylinder, piston rings and cam shaft as one half of one-thou-uidtli of an inch. The bearings, such as the connecting rods and main O 1 crank shaft, are ground to mirror smoothness and fit ted finer than the one-thousandth of an inch. It is a fact that no factory in the world, not even the makers of the highest priced cars, work to the close limits of tolerance in their shop practices as does the Overland. It was John X. Willys who made such perfection of lilting at the great. Overland factory. There is not a man in his employ works a- hard as he. His hand is never from the reins of management, and every detail of the business comes under his scrutiny. nly a man with a wonderful executive ability could keep so much in his head and always know just "when* lie is at." The average individual visiting the immense plant OVERLAND MODEL 51 WITH FORE DOORS for the first time would be lost in the maze of buildings, to say nothing of the wilderness of whirling machinery and the thousands of employees, but Mr. Willys knows every man in his employ and his face is as familiar to them as are the features of any of his executive staff. That the motor-buying public of the country is fully -alive to the perfection of the work turned out at the Overland plant through tlie energy and ability of Mr. Willys is best evidenced by the fact that shipments now are considerably ahead of the shipments of last year, and 1910, by the way, was supposed to be the better year in the in dustry. 20,000 Cars this Year The Overland Co. shipped last year over 1G.000 cars, which means a business of approximately $20,000,000. This year the company will turn out 20,000 cars, as has already been stated. Practically all of these cars are now finished, or, at any rate the company has on hand the material, most of which is ina finished state, to complete this number. This will mean a business of approximately $25,000,000. It might be interesting to know how many people in this city appreciate the act that the Overland pay roll amounts to a lout $75,000 per week, for something like $3,500,000 per year. Imagine what this means to the merchants of Toledo. I will have a Model 51 as a De monstrator within a few days. Those who have been connected with the automobile in dustry since its inception and have been through every plant of any note in the country do not hesitate to assert that the Overland factories are the largest, most complete, best equip ped and modern of any in the United States. It is a fact that no manufacturer in the world makes as much of the completed car as does the Overland company. This concern has its own drop forge plant, which is by far the largest in the industry. Most automobile factories buy their drop forgings outside. As an example of the saving this drop forge plant means to the company it might be mentioned that in the beginning of the Overland, when Mr. Willys was obliged to buy some of his parts from outside, the front axle forge alone cost him $21, whereas he now makes these forgings for $7, and they are a good deal better and of finer material. Another little part is made in the forge room. He formerly bought this outside at a cost of $7, and it was never satisfac tory or uniform at that. He is now making these same parts in his own forge plant at a cost of $1, and all machines used there were invented by men in his eniDloy. All Made in Toledo These parts are absolutely perfect and each is exactly like the other one. These items are mentioned merely to show what it means to the consumer to have an equipment to make such parts. The frames ordinarily bought by other manu facturers outside are made by Mr. Willys, as are the radiators and guards, even the oilers and in fact, everything that enters the cars, except only the tires, are made right in Toledo by Toledo men. When the Central avenue plant is in full operation it em ploys about 3,500 men No one better than the citizens of Toledo know how completely dead this plant was after the failure of the Popes. When Mr. Willys bought it, the ivy had already commenced to grow over the bricks and the boys had stoned out most of the windows. In fact, the plant had commenced to resemble a ruin. Certain it is that the whole section of Toledo within a radius of half a mile of the plant looked like a deserted city. The streets out that vay, now teeming with life, were deserted. The thousands oi little cottages had "For Rent" signs in th'windows. It is next to impossible now for a workman to find any place for rent within a mile of the plant, though many new houses have gone up in the past two years. This speaks more eloquently than anything else for the importance of the Willys-Overland plant to the city of Toledo. And all of this has been built up by Mr. Willys from ab solutely nothing. He is today without exception the biggest man in the automobile industry. He is building as many cars as even the biggest trust controlled by Morgan, which is the United States Motor Co. with all its combined plants, and he is building more cars than the General Motors, which is another Wall street institution. Bigger Than Morgan Combines In other words, Mr. Willys, individually and alone and without capital to start him, has built UD a bigger business than all the Wall street in terests combined have been able to get together with their millions. The Willys Overland Co.. is a strictly one man concern. Mr. Willys built up the concern. He owns the business, he financed it and he puts in more hours and works harder than any man on the job. Mr. Wiliys has the faculty of surrounding himself with men who can do things. Geo. W. Bennett, the sale manager, began as a boy away back in the bicycle days with Gormurley & Jef fries and grew up with them through the various stages as manager the east and then on until he was in charge of the sales of Rambler cars after that company embarked in the automobile business His success with the Rambler com pany is one of the traditions of the trade. He put into force with that company probably the most thorough complete and effective sales plant and organization, which have not up to this time been excelled- Mr. Bennett was afterwards with the Knox Co., where he made another record. He next went with the White Co. When Mr. Willys began to cast about for the best man for the important business of selling his product he induced Mr. Bennett to come to Toledo, and Mr. Bennett now has built up around him probably the most effective sales organization in the industry. Next to importance to manufacturing the cars better than the other fellow so as to sell them at a less price is the pro blem of selling them. It is not simply sufficient to make the best car in the world for the least money. It is absolutely vital to make the public see it that way. This is Mr. Bennett's problem: To find buyers for the cars as fast as the factory can make them, which is pretty fast when it is considered that the final assembly department can put out 150 cars per day. After the keenest of competition for the contract of handl ing the advertising business of the Overland, the award re cently was made to the Fuller Advertising Agency of Detroit. M. V. Kelly, formerly of this city, now connected with the Detroit concern, engineered the deal for his firm. Many thousands of dollars are spent yearly by the Overland people in extolling the good qualities of their cars.