Douglas County Historical Society's 1921

1921 Milburn Light Electric Brougham
Photo courtesy of DCHS
Owner: Douglas County Historical Society
Email: Judith Sweets, M.H.A.M.S., Collection Manager (snowak-at-watkinsmuseum-dot-org)
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Serial number (oval plate): 2-2235-7
Motor number (title): 1041242
Body number (square plate):  
Model: 1921 model 27L
Wheels: Wire
Color: Brewster Green (Other choices: Deep Royal Blue, Pullman Brown, Peacock Blue), with black running gear and cream wheels.
Upholstery: Soft finished wool gray body cloth, with specially designed and patented cushion springs.
Seating capacity: 4/5 -- Rear seat for 2 or 3; auxiliary, fold-down front seats for 2 additional under the windshield
Windows: Windshield and back glass, as well as door windows, lower into the body by means of leather straps, making it a "delightful summer car."
Steering control: Lever-operated; tiller bar uses two ball thrust bearings on a vertical shaft.
Speed control: Lever
Top speed: 25 mph
Range: 60 to 90 miles on a battery charge
Forward speeds: 4
Reverse speeds: 3
Length overall: 138"
Width overall: 66"
Height overall:  
Wheelbase: 105"
Tires: Cord, 33 x 4 SS; recommended air pressure: 60-70 lbs.; 12- to 15,000 miles of service before replacement; front and rear wheels are not the same, and no spare is included. (Present 33 x 4, 4-ply tires were purchased in 1974 from Universal Tire Company, Elizabethtown, Pa.)
Tread: Standard
Brake systems: Woven lining, internal (emergency brake) and external (service brake) on rear wheels; emergency electric brake on controller. (A safety feature: if the car is in any gear except neutral, the Klaxon horn will blow when emergency brake is applied.)
Curb weight:  
Instrumentation: Speedometer, amp meter
Lights: Large, powerful head lights with switch for dimming; tail light; two interior Pullman lights.
Motor: 4 horsepower General Electric, special design (GE 105 1E2 W12); armature on ball bearings; rated at 60 volts + 50 amps at 1725 rpm. Motor connected through a short, flat drive shaft directly to the pinion shaft. No clutch or transmission is used.
Drive train: Worm Drive; ratio: 9 3/4 to 1; has large brass ring gear made by Timken. (Refilled with castor oil, the original lubricant, because other oils would damage brass gear ring.)
Controller: Special Milburn design; entirely enclosed; lever operated. (It has practically the same function as an accelerator pedal on a regular car, controlling the flow of current to the motor.)
Springs: Chrome vanadium steel; front is semi-elliptic; rear is cantilever ("found only in expensive European gas cars.")
Axles: Front, drop-forged I-beam; rear, three quarter floating, designed and manufactured in the Milburn plant for "noiseless operation."
Batteries: 40 cell, 13 W T X I plate "rapid exchange" (making it possible to replace a discharged battery very quickly); front 48 volt (3 trays of 8 cells each) and rear 32 volt (one tray of 16 cells).
System voltage:  
Equipment: Electric horn; speedometer (showed 16,495 miles when the restoration began in 1973) and ampmeter on dashboard; tool box under floor rug, right of brake pedals; two aluminum running boards (these have been replaced).
Price, new: $2,485 f.o.b. Toledo, Ohio
Owner's remarks: The car once belonged to Mrs. Arthur (Eleanor) Henley, wife of a Lawrence, Kansas, industrialist. It was donated to the city by the Henley estate in 1937, and was on display at Leavenworth for many years. It was brought back to Lawrence when local officials refused to sell it to Leavenworth. The car was rebuilt by the Lawrence Antique Auto Club during 1973-1975 after sitting neglected for years at the city water plant. When restoration was complete, the car was donated to the Douglas County Historical Society and was put on display in the Elizabeth M. Watkins Community Museum. (See, also, owner's remarks on their own website.)