My grandfather was born in 1886 in Richland Center, Indiana, and died in 1945 in Delta, Ohio, having lived through two world wars and the great American depression, a time when unemployment reached thirty percent. Not too many are yet alive who remember what the great depression was like. Those who did not live through it can hardly conceive of how terrible those times were. My mother stated that if it had not been for the assistance of her parents she doesn't know how our family would have survived. She told of how a young girl carrying a baby came to the house one day and asked for an apple or a slice of bread, but my mother had to turn her away because there was nothing in the house to give her.
It was during this very tumultuous and difficult time in our history that mygrandfather was raised and raised a family of his own. At that time it was relatively easy for those with initiative and a flare for inventiveness to develop ideas for new products, however, only a very few of those products resulted in long-term manufacturing success. For most inventors of the time it was necessary to try and try again to develop even a single product which might bring financial reward. This usually involved working for others while attempting to accumulate the necessary funds to strike out on one's own. This was the case with my grandfather. He was employed as an engineer for the Packard Motor Company and then the De Vilbiss Company of Toledo, Ohio prior to designing his first automobile, the Cyclomobile. In 1919 he and several others incorporated the Toledo Cyclomobile Manufacturing Company to manufacture the Cyclomobile with initial orders for 20,000 cars. Shortly thereafter he designed a second automobile for the company's product line, the Manexall.
Prior to the depression there were many individuals who attempted to manufacturer automobiles. Early automobiles were of very simple design and almost anyone with engineering or mechanical ability could put together some type of self-propelled vehicle. Actually establishing a manufacturing plant was far more difficult. Historical records show hundreds of automobile names that existed for only a short time. Undoubtedly there were many hundreds more that never even made it to the point of being recorded. The Cyclomobile and Manexall were limited to a few prototype models for demonstration purposes and never went into full production. No records exist of either car being made after 1920.
Although the Cyclomobile and Manexall joined the list of many other failed automotive ventures, my grandfather's next project was to meet with outstanding success - the Air-Scale. In February of 1924 he filed a patent for an air pressure regulator. The device was designed to supply adjustable air to an air-containing member such as a pneumatic tire of an automobile. In May of 1925 he followed up the first patent with a second which included the design of the world's first ever tire inflation mechanism, later to become known world-wide as the Air-Scale. The Air-Scale Company was originally located in Delta, Ohio near the city of Toledo. A variety of models of the Air-Scale were marketed including a ceiling-mounted hose reel model. Several models of the Air-Scale are now on display at the Sears gas station museum, 201 N. George Street, Rome New York.
During the latter part of his life my grandfather established the Morley Specialty Company, also located in Delta Ohio, and began production of a line of garden tools. At the time they were considered to be the finest available within the United States. My grandfather passed away in 1945 and now has more than two dozen living descendents. He is interred in the Greenlawn Cemetery, Delta Ohio.