Started in Charlotte, the Duplex Truck Company in Lansing Helped Win WWII
Lansing was another Michigan city giving Detroit a run for its money.
Most history sites I found state the genesis of Lansing's Duplex Truck Company began in Charlotte in 1906 as the Dolson Auto Company. However, I believe it was earlier than that. I came across an old ad for the “Dolson for 1905”, dated January 1905. This leads me to believe the company was founded much earlier: 1904, maybe even 1903. You'll see the ad in the gallery below. This incarnation lasted until 1909 when the company was re-organized and re-named as the Duplex Power Car Company. After it's overhaul, the company decided to move to Lansing.
But where to put the plant? There were fifteen acres of prime land at the southwest corner of Mount Hope and Washington Avenues. In 1918 after construction was completed, the factory was eight hundred by sixty feet, with over fifty thousand dollars worth of equipment shipped from the former site in Charlotte.
Now called the Duplex Truck Company, the plant cranked out trucks for private organizations, the military, government, and was instrumental in providing vehicles for the troops during World War II. It has been cited on various history sites as being beneficial in helping the U.S. win that war.
The Duplex is considered to be the first 4x4 truck. Their banners read "On time all the time," "5 to 50 miles per hour" and "Capacity 3,000 to 5,000 lbs". They operated as a truck manufacturer until 1955.
The Warner and Swasey Company showed up in 1955 and bought out the company and was known as the Duplex Division of Warner-Swasey. It closed twenty years later in 1975.
Today the old factory still stands on the corner of Washington and Mount Hope, additions tacked on over the years, and different tenants. But it still retains the old flavor of the Duplex Truck Company.
The gallery below shows some old Duplex vehicles, blurbs, photos, and some from Charlotte's original Dolson line!
Lansing's Historic Duplex Truck Company
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