Miller Carriage Co. -Bellefontaine, OH

Advertisement for Family-Trap-Surrey by The Miller Carriage Co., published in The Hub, April 1875

Advertisement for Family-Trap-Surrey by The Miller Carriage Co., published in The Hub, April 1875

The Miller Carriage Company was established in 1853 by four brothers – Amos, Davis, Samuel, and Jacob Miller. As a young man, Amos Miller left home and went to Cleveland, OH to learn the carriage trade. In 1853, in pursuit of a suitable location for his own factory, he settled in Bellefontaine, OH, where he was joined by his brothers in a partnership that lasted for 45 years.

The brothers were respected as innovative pioneers within the carriage trade. They were perhaps best known for their “eureka” shifting-seat buggy. In January 1875, The Carriage Monthly said this about the design:

“There has been a demand for a first class jump or shifting seat carriage, which can be changed in a few minutes time, from a two to a four-seated carriage, and which, in either position, will present a neat and desirable appearance. The Eureka fills this demand, being strong, not liable to get out of repairs, and in a few moments can be changed into eight different positions, presenting one of the most desirable carriages on the market.”

Although other companies produced similar styles of jump-seat buggies and carriages, the

Full-page advertisement for Miller's Eureka Shifting-Seat Buggy, published in The Hub, April 1875

Full-page advertisement for Miller’s Eureka Shifting-Seat Buggy, published in The Hub, April 1875

eureka used a unique set screw fastener instead of the more common spring lock. This gave the Eureka buggy a durability and solidness, and prevented the rattling that often plagued other shift-seat buggies. In addition to selling full vehicles, the Millers also sold the eureka irons on their own, which were often used by other manufacturers on their own vehicle bodies.

The Millers continued building high-quality, innovative vehicles until their retirement in 1898. During their careers, they even ventured into the field of auto body manufacturing.

Amos Miller’s youngest son established A.J. Miller & Co. in 1884. He began his career manufacturing carriages bodies, but soon transitioned into automobiles as the demand shifted. By the early 1900s he had contracted with Meteor Motor Company for hearse work. Meteor excelled in manufacturing all-steel bodies for funeral cars and ambulances.

The Miller firm remained in business, with various partnerships, until its last plant closed in 1979.