Historic Truck Brands
Day-Elder (1916-1937), also known as D-E, was a manufacturer of trucks in Irvington, New Jersey. The company’s president was Charles P Day, who founded the company with F G Elder and Theo McMarsh.
The company originated from the earlier National Motors Manufacturing Company, also of Irvington, but specialised in trucks, where National concentrated on cars, with notable racing success before World War I.
The first D-E trucks were the D-E Junior and D-E Senior. Elder-Day trucks used proprietary engines, from Buda or Continental; Muncie or Brown-Lipe transmissions and Sheldon, Columbia or Timken worm-gear rear axles.
The Timken smooth final drive had sufficient perceived market advantage for a worm-gear diagram to be adopted as the brand’s logo.
The company announced plans to build 1000 1250lb-capacity D-E Junior trucks and 300 2000lb-capacity D-E Senior trucks by June 1917. It is unlikely that actual production met that target, but the trucks were well made and well received by the market.
In 1917, the Day-Elder Motors Company was reorganised as the Day-Elder Motors Corporation with significantly increased capital stock. A new range of D-E worm-drive motor trucks was announced with sizes of 3/4-ton, 1-ton and 1-1/2-tons capacity.
The range of trucks was changed again by 1918 to include five models from 1-3/4-tons to 7-tons capacity.
In 1919, the truck name was changed from D-E to Day-Elder, although in advertisements the reference to D-E Worm Drive continued for a few months. The range of truck models and sizes continued to expand through 1919. Their New York debut was at the Armory in February 1919.
By 1920 the range was up to six standardised models, of one, two, three and six tonnes capacity.
In the early 1920s, Day-Elder had a national distribution network in America and some sales in Canada.
Most of Day-Elder’s early expansion was east of the Mississippi River, but as early as 1920 their farm trucks were being advertised on the West Coast. The brand’s market then began to shrink and they were once again confined mostly to the East.
Day-Elder introduced a Continental-powered, six-cylinder range, dubbed the ‘Super Service Sixes’, in July 1930. This range, comprising eleven models, had fully enclosed ‘all-weather’ cabins and chrome exterior fittings.
To compete with other manufacturers, Day-Elder added heavier trucks of up to 8-tons capacity and engines from Hercules and other makers were available.
1931 Day-Elder Pumper – Mr Choppers
Day-Elder also produced fire trucks and some chassis were body-built as taxicabs in New York City. Day-Elder also produced a bus chassis to compete with Brockway in the local markets of New Jersey and New York City.
None of this sufficed however, and Day-Elder ended up shutting its doors in 1937, as they could not weather the Great Depression.
Some Day-Elder trucks found their way Down Under and we’re planning to write up a recent Victorian restoration of a 1916 D-E, later in 2022.