The Detroit Cadillac Motor Car Company was initially located at 232 Halsey Street. By 1917, it was located in a modern three-story building, at 536 Broad Street, designed especially for the automobile business and completely equipped for the efficient handling of sales and service. They provided free regular inspections as a service aid. These inspections were performed gratis for the first year. After the initial year was up, the Cadillac owners could continue these monthly inspections for five dollars per month.
The company had prepared a series of seven form letters so worded that they could cover practically every kind of repair that may be needed by a car turned in for inspection. Where necessary, one of these letters was sent to the owner with a report of his car’s inspection. By calling the owners attention to slight deficiencies in his car, the company was relieved of the responsibility for serious trouble that might have developed through the neglect of these deficiencies .Additionally, the owner was afforded an opportunity to cut down his repair bills by ordering the necessary repairs in time. Patrons could even select the date and time of an appointment to suit their schedule. Thus, the Inspection Department always knew in advance what cars it can expect on any day. Apparently, the use of preventative maintenance and high levels of service as a marketing tool are not new concepts.
The bronze token I have included in this blog heralds not only the hundredth anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, in 1909, but also, the introduction of the electric starter by Cadillac , in 1910. Up until that point, cars were started by the vigorous turn of a crank. Cadillac executives found an inventor, Charles Franklin Kettering, who had developed a reliable electronic ignition system. Kettering, later went on to form Dayton Engineering Laboratories, now know as DELCO. I wonder if the expression crank her up is a holdover from pre- electronic ignitions?
By the way, the bronze token was made by the famous Whitehead and Hoag.