The Kissel Motor Car Company | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

The Kissel Motor Car Company

The Kissel Motor Car Company | Wisconsin Historical Society

Brook Park, Hwy. 60, intersection of Sumner St. and Marine Dr., Hartford, Washington County 

The Kissel Motor Car Co. was located across the river from this site, manufacturing one of the world's first custom-built cars, originally called "Badger," then "Kissel Kar," and finally during World War I, "Kissel." The Kissel family's own steam car inspired brothers George and William to begin the businesswith a capital of $50.00, acquiring a state charter on June 5, 1906. The company, years ahead of the industry in design, produced coupes, limousines, semi-touring and semi-racer types, and trucks priced from $1,500 to $45,000. The Gold Bug, Kissel Speedster, and White Eagle Speedster models achieved international acclaim and brought celebrity purchasers to Hartford. The company reached its peak during the 1920s, having a capital stock of over $1,000,000 and producing in one year over 6,000 "Kissel" cars and trucks. Car production ceased in the late 1930s, during the Depression. The car is now a prized collector's item. Erected 1965

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[Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]