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The Thomas B. Jeffery Company initially used the name "Rambler" for an automotive brand between 1900 and 1914.

In 1916, Charles W. Nash purchased Jeffery, and from 1950 to 1954, Nash Motors brought the brand back to the automotive industry. Nash-Kelvinator received the "Rambler" trademark registration on March 9th, 1954 for use on vehicles and components.

In 1954, Nash and the Hudson Motor Car Company amalgamated to become American Motors Corporation (AMC). In American markets through the 1969 model year, and in foreign countries through 1983, the Rambler series of automobiles was still in production.

In honor of the original site and the main manufacturing facility in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Rambler automobiles were sometimes referred to as the "Kenosha Cadillac."


The Rambler automobile was first known as a Rambler in 1897, when Thomas B. Jeffery of Chicago, Illinois, who invented the Rambler bicycle, created his first prototype.

After his goods were warmly welcomed at the 1899 Chicago International Exhibition & Tournament and the first National Automotive Show in New York City, Jeffery decided to launch an automobile business. Jeffery sold their bicycle firm to the American Bicycle firm while preserving the rights to the Rambler name when his Rambler colleague R. Philip Gormully passed dead suddenly. He acquired the former Sterling Bicycle Co. building in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and started his company there in 1900.

Thomas Jeffery and his son Charles experimented with early technological innovations like a steering wheel (instead of a tiller), left-hand driving, and the placement of the engine under the hood rather than under the seat, but it was decided that such features were too advanced for the motoring public of the day. The single-cylinder engine was mounted under the seat in the original Ramblers, which were tiller-steered and right-hand-drive vehicles. Rambler pioneered a number of design elements and was the first automaker to give automobiles a spare wheel and tire assembly. This made it possible for the driver to replace the flat tire with the spare wheel and tire rather than mending it.

By the end of the year, Jeffery had built 1,500 motor vehicles for $750 (about $25,367 in 2022), or about one-sixth of all the cars made in the United States. Jeffery began mass-producing autos for the commercial market in 1902. At the time, after Oldsmobile, The Thomas B. Jeffery Company was the second-largest automaker.

Jeffery produced 2,342 Ramblers in 1904. There were now two-cylinder models with front-mounted engines that had higher power and steering wheels. In 1905, three bigger two-cylinder variants with prices ranging from $1,200 to $3,000 were introduced in place of the single-cylinder type. In 1906, a Rambler four-cylinder was released.

The Right Car at the Right Price, June Time Is Rambler Time, and other evocative lines were contributed in the commercial language by new employee Edward S. Jordan, who would subsequently work for Jeffery as his secretary and general manager. By 1906, Rambler was regarded as a leader in the industry and had one of the best-equipped car plants. Thomas Jeffery got into a pattern of creating 2,500 Ramblers annually since he had no interest in large-scale mass manufacture.

All Ramblers were now medium-priced four-cylinder vehicles in 1910. Thomas B. Jeffery passed away from a heart attack while on vacation in 1910, and his son Charles took over the newly formed Thomas B. Jeffery Company. With the introduction of new Ned Jordan model names including Cross Country, Country Club, Knickerbocker, and Valkyrie for 1912, Charles expanded yearly output by around 500 vehicles. The Cross-Country roadster and touring car, an Inside Drive coupe, and the Gotham limousine were the final Rambler-branded vehicles for 1913. These vehicles ranged in price from $1,650 (equal to $48,856 in 2022) to $2,750, which is similar to $81,426 in 2022.

The Rambler brand name was changed to Jeffery in 1914 by Thomas B. Jeffery's son Charles T. Jeffery in memory of his deceased father.

Charles W. Nash bought the Thomas B. Jeffery Company in 1916, and the company changed its name to Nash Motors Company the following year. At the time of the transaction, the Jeffery brand name was discontinued, and production of cars under the Nash nameplate began. Through a merger with the significant appliance manufacturer in 1937, the company became the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation.

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