The Carter Motor Car Corporation

Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, Maryland

Carter Motor CarThe “Carter Twin Engine” and the “Washington” automobiles were manufactured by the Carter Motor Car Corporation at Hyattsville (later changed to “Edmonston”), Maryland. The company, whose general offices were in Washington, D.C., was an established manufacturer before moving to Hyattsville. They established offices in Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and other cities.

In 1907 the officers of the company were seeking a Maryland location for a new manufacturing plant. Business leaders in Berwyn, Maryland were anxious to have the factory located in their town. In June of 1907 the Board of Directors decided to reject all bids from the leaders of Berwyn and to locate the factory at Hyattsville, Maryland. Reasons given for the selection of the Hyattsville site were: closer proximity to Washington, better shipping facilities, and larger area of the site offered.

The plans announced called for the building of three separate structures of brick, steel, and concrete measuring 60′ x 200′. Buildings were to cost approximately $10,000 each. The three buildings and machinery were estimated to cost $100,000. A company spokesman claimed that it would be the most modern automobile factory in the world. Plans were to produce 3,000 automobiles per year with a value of $9,000,000. Other revenue was anticipated from the manufacture and sale of auxiliary equipment.

In addition to automobiles, trucks, ambulances, and fire engines were to be made. A large force of skilled workmen were to be employed. Construction started in mid-1907 under the direction of their own engineer and a supervising architect. Building materials were bought in Baltimore and Washington.

In mid-1908 the first building was completed and equipped with lathes and other necessary machinery for automobile production. Gasoline engines were used to power the machinery and also an electric generator which was used for lighting the factory, offices, and tool room.  The first cars to be made in the Hyattsville plant were listed as 1909 models. Roadsters, tourings, and limousines were made in the Carter line with a price tag of $4,000, $5,000, and $6,000, respectively. A unique feature of this car was the use of two separate four cylinder engines, each having its own ignition system and cooling system. This was advertised as being the most dependable car on the market. The car could be driven by either engine separately or both combined. By using only one engine, fuel consumption was greatly reduced.

In addition to the “Carter Twin Engine” automobile, the firm also manufactured a lower priced line of automobiles called the “Washington.” Prices ranged from $850 to $2,500 according to style and horsepower. Engines ranged from an 18 horsepower, double opposed model to a six-cylinder model which developed 60 horsepower; the larger engine being used in the seven passenger car.

Production of the Carter Twin Engine automobile seems to have been discontinued in 1909. The Washington was continued with improvements and at higher prices. By 1911 the touring Model D-40 was listed at $2,250 and the limousine at $3,250.  Engines used in 1911 were 40 horsepower with a bore of 4 1/8 inches and a stroke of bV< inches, the cylinders being cast in pairs; ignition by magneto and batteries; multiple disc clutch; sliding selective three speed transmission; drive by shaft. Internal expanding brakes were used on rear wheels; steering wheel was on right; tires front and rear 36″x4″ on quick detachable rims; frame of pressed’ steel; springs, front semi-elliptic, rear, three quarter scroll elliptic; wheelbase 118 inches.


Maryland Automobile Manufacturers

In 1912, the last year of automobile production, prices were reduced, the roadster being listed at $1,750, the four passenger at $1,775, the five passenger at $1,800, and the seven passenger at $1,850. Model designation was E-40 on all body styles. Specifications were almost the same as for the 1911 models, Bosch magneto and Rayfield carburetor were used. Both internal expanding and external contracting brakes were now used on the rear wheels. A three-ring disc clutch was now used. This was a large car, the chassis without body weighing 2,500 pounds. Equipment offered was a speedometer, five lamps, gas generator, horn, tool kit and jack. Baumann and Lilly, Catonsville (Baltimore suburb), Maryland were agents for the Carter and Washington automobiles. Commercial vehicles were manufactured in the Hyattsville (Edmonston) plant until 1917.