The Men Cars Made Famous
MY EIGHTY YEARS ON WHEELS BY R. S. McLAUGHLIN—conclusion as told to ERIC HUTTON
R. S. McLAUGHLIN
“Sold,” said GM’s top men, and McLaughlin’s of Oshawa became part of a great growing industrial group. They almost bought Ford too and they produced the paint the author calls the biggest thing that happened to the automobile
ANYONE who attended the Oshawa town fair in the year 1907 might possibly have caught a glimpse of three dignified men in a carriage driving from the railway station toward the McLaughlin Carriage Company’s office and looking a little bewildered at the large crowds abroad so early in the streets of the little city.
The onlooker could not know that the pleasant-faced man with the darkbrown penetrating eyes, sitting in the middle, was carrying Oshawa’s destiny in the portfolio he balanced on his knee. The man himself, William C. Durant, did not know it. And certainly the McLaughlin partners with him did not know it.
The day before I had wired Durant, head of the young Buick company in Flint, Mich., to ask for help. The McLaughlin automobile, which we had started to make ourselves after I failed to arrive at a co-operative manufacturing arrangement with Durant and other U. S. car makers, had run into trouble. Two days before, with the parts of our first car laid out ready for assembly—and the components of one hundred more in various stages of completion—our engineer had suffered a severe attack of pleurisy. In my wire I asked Durant to lend us an engineer until our own man recovered.
Durant arrived, not with an engineer but with two of his top executives. He took up the discussion of our last meeting—when we had failed to get together on a manufacturing arrangement just as if we had merely paused for breath. “I’ve been thinking it over,” he said, “and I have the solution to the problem we couldn’t overcome in our figuring.” The deal he suggested was pretty close to what I had had in mind in the first place, and I said: “That will work.” Durant nodded. “I thought it would,” he said in that voice of his that was always so gentle - and always so much to the point.
We went into my father’s office with my brother George and Oliver Hezzlewood, who looked after our books, and in five minutes we had the contract/' settled. It ran just a page and a half and was "a model agreement for lawyers to study. Chiefly it covered the terms under which we had 15-year rights to buy the Buick engine and some other parts.
We would build and design our own bodies as we had always built carriages.
Nothing was said about the McLaughlin car, the hundred cars lying stillborn in the Mary Street building. Our contract with Buick meant, of course, that we would have to abandon those plans—and the partly built cars. We sold off the lathes and some other equipment, but much of the material and parts we had invested in had to be scrapped.
I have heard people regret that the coincidence of an engineer falling ill should have put an end to the project to produce an all-Canadian car. I may say that any regret on my part is tempered by the hard facts of the automobile industry, by the very great probability that if our engineer Arthur Milbrath had not become ill and we had proceeded with our plan to make our own cars, we almost certainly would have taken a header; and once having failed in our first effort we might never have got back into the automobile business.
No, the coming of Durant to Oshawa, not with an engineer to lend us but with a plan for co-operating with us in building cars, was a blessing. Even with the Buick connection we had to be lucky to succeed. We just happened to pick a car that was destined to make good. I have often wondered why some cars
succeeded and some failed. One of the strangest facts about the automobile business in North America is that in its fifty-odd years no fewer than 2,400 different makers have manufactured and offered cars for sale; in each case the designers and engineers put the best they knew into the car; each was launched with high hopes— and today you can count on the fingers of two hands the car manufacturers who have survived.
A contract with an American manufacturer was no guarantee of success in Canada, either—a few names that no longer exist are the Briscoe, made by Canada Carriage; the Everett, made by our good friends and competitors the Tudhopes of Orillia, and the Gray-Dort, made by the Gray Carriage Company of Chatham. In the carriage business Gray was actually bigger than we were at first, but we soon passed it.
The motor business is a volume business. If you don’t have volume you’re sunk. And that’s as true today as it ever was. It is unfortunate for
He Made Assembly Lines Go Faster
“If I were asked to name the one development that more than any other contributed to the incredible growth of the industry, my answer might surprise most people ... it has nothing to do with engines or design . . . My answer is the development of the Duco quick finish by Charles F. Kettering.” w
the smaller auto makers, but it is a hard fact that can’t be overcome. In that first year that we made McLaughlin cars with Buick engines—it was only part of a year really—we turned out 193. That’s not a high figure in terms of 1954 production, but it was quite a feat for a bunch of carriage makers who were ]ust cutting their teeth on automobiles.
Not long after he made his agreement with us Durant started to parlay Buick into General Motors by taking over or buying control of Oakland, Oldsrnobile, Cadillac and other companies making cars or car parts. Incidentally, in answer to people who sometimes wonder nostalgically “Whatever happened to the good old Oakland?” I would like to mention that nothing happened to it —except that a particularly popular model of the Oakland, produced in 1926, happened to be named the Pontiac and the company started concentrating on that model.
To me personally the arrangement with Durant meant much more than making cars in Oshawa. I was made a director of General Motors Corporation, and took part in the adventurous events of the early years of the industry—events largely sparked by the energy and enterprise of William Durant.
Durant was a daring, farseeing man, in my opinion the greatest in the auto industry of that time. Perhaps he was too advanced for his day, for his great plans and even greater forecasts of things to come often scared the bankers from whom he sought capital for expansion. Once he told a group of barkers: “The day is not far off when the United States will be producing 300,000 cars a year!” Such a “fantastic exaggeration” convinced the bankers that the man was irrational, and the loan was refused.
I suppose it is not generally remembered that Durant came within an ace of adding the Ford Motor Company to the General Motors family.
On Oct. 26, 1909, Durant called a meeting of the General Motors directors. He told us that he had called on Henry Ford and James Couzens, the Canadian who has been called the organizational brain behind Ford, at the Belmont Hotel in New York. Ford was ill with lumbago, so Durant talked business with Couzens. After the latter discussed the proposition with Ford, Durant came away with a 48-hour option to buy the entire Ford business for about $9,500,000.
In advance, Durant had lined up a group of bankers who had tentatively agreed to back him with a big loan, not only to finance the purchase of Ford but to put the expanding General Motors empire on a stable financial footing. In the two or three years since he had taken over Buick, Durant had added not only Oldsrnobile, Oakland and Cadillac to his new General Motors Corporation but a number of other businesses in the automobile and allied fields: Champion Ignition Co. of Flint, organized by the pioneer French
spark-plug designer, Albert Champion; Weston-Mott Co. of Flint, maker of auto axles; Reliance Motor Truck Co. of Owosso; Ranier Motor Co. of Saginaw; Michigan Motor Castings Co. of Flint; Welch Motor Car Co., of Pontiac, maker of large powerful luxury cars; Welch-Detroit Co.; Rapid Motor Vehicle Co., of Pontiac; Cartercar Co., of Pontiac, makers of a patented friction-drive car, and several other companies.
When the Thomas Flyer was bigger than the Ford
We voted approval of the Ford deal and Durant went back to the bankers, only to be informed: “We have changed our minds. The Ford business isn’t worth that much.”
Actually the statement “General Motors nearly bought Ford for $9,500,000” sounds far more spectacular in 1954 than it did in 1909. At the time
Ford was just another motor maker trying to establish a foothold in an industry filled with expendables. It is putting it mildly to say that in 1909 the auto industry was in a state of flux, that today’s sensation might become tomorrow’s bankrupt. At the time of the Ford negotiations, for example, General Motors was also considering the purchase of the E. R. Thomas Co., makers of the then-famous Thomas Flyer, and in automobile circles this deal was considered a much more important and promising one than the Ford negotiations.
In the early days of General Motors —I am speaking of the U. S. company of which I was a director before there was any General Motors of Canada— Durant was frequently in search of bank backing. Alexander Hardy, a General Motors director, used to tell of a meeting he had on a train with Durant and A. H. Goss, a large shareholder in the company. The latter two had visited bankers in the east, and then in the west, with little success.
“The train,” Hardy related, “stopped in Elkhart, Indiana, in a pouring rainstorm. Far down the dark and dismal street shone one electric sign: A BANK. Durant shook Goss, who was dozing dejectedly in a corner. ‘Wake up, Goss,’ he said. ‘There’s one we missed.’ ” Mr. Hardy liked to cite that incident as an example of Durant’s sense of humor and resiliency of spirit under pressure.
In the end a group of New York bankers agreed to lend us $15 millions, enough to straighten out the affairs of General Motors. But they did it on condition that they be permitted to name the chairman of the board and appoint the directors, which let the venturesome Mr. Durant out. He had to agree that he would not concern himself with the affairs of the company for five years.
But the bankers could not keep him out of the automobile business. He had Louis Chevrolet, an expert mechanic and daring racing driver, design a new car for him. Durant then formed the Chevrolet Motor Company, bought a plant on Grand Boulevard in Detroit—and started to make automobile history afresh.
One day I was in Durant’s office with Dr. Continued on page 63
Continued on page 63
The Men Cars Made Famous
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29
Edwin Campbell, a lifelong friend of mine who was born in Port Perry. Edwin had graduated in medicine in Canada while still too young to practice, so he went to Michigan and got a job doctoring the men in a lumber camp. While vacationing at Mackinaw Island he met, and later married. Wil-
liam Durant’s daughter. So it was that we both were interested when Durant raised the question of a new general manager for Buick to replace William Little, Buick’s original chief who had been forced to resign because of ill health.
I suggested that Charlie Nash, who was then general manager for DurantDort Carriage Company, would he good for the position. Dr. Campbell interviewed him and eventually * an agreement was made for Nash to become general manager of Buick, and after a holiday in Europe he started
his work. But, as events turned out, because of the new financial arrangements and Durant’s temporary departure from General Motors, Charlie Nash was to operate under a new financial committee headed by the late James J. Storrow, head of Lee, Higginson and Company. A year or two after taking over the Buick works Nash became president of General Motors Corporation.
Almost immediately he engaged Walter P. Chrysler as factory manager of Buick. On Durant’s resumption of control, Chrysler was taken to Detroit
operating vice-president of General Motors. Then, owing to a misunderstanding with Durant, he left General Motors and took on the job of rehabilitating Willys-Overland Company, receiving a stupendous salary, one unheard of before in the motor industry.
Later Walter Chrysler designed his own car and launched the Chrysler Motor Car Company. Charlie Nash left General Motors when Durant again resumed control and, with the aid of some prominent bankers, formed the Nash Motor Car Company.
Meanwhile in Oshawa production and sales of the McLaughlin models were rising steadily. There is some interesting history connected with the naming of our car which I don’t think has ever been told publicly. When we started making cars in 1907 the name on the radiator was, simply and justly, McLaughlin. There was more McLaughlin in the car than anything else. But in three ear four years the Buick started to take a big place in the U. S. public eye.
In 1909 Bob Burman, the famous racing driver, at the wheel of a Buick, won the first Indianapolis speedway race. An elaborate advertising campaign followed. Our own advertising men in Oshawa decided that it would be smart business to cash in on the fame of Buick, so they asked that the name of our cars be changed from McLaughlin to Buick. Not wanting to stand in the way of sales, I agreed.
Hov Durant Won Control
To the great chagrin of our “idea men” sales declined considerably. It was, therefore, some small recompense for the lost business for me—and particularly the Governor—to be reminded that the name he had built on quality vehicles meant more to Canadians than the name of an American car. Thereafter we compromised on the respective advantages of both names, and our cars became McLaughlin-Buicks. They remained that until General Motors of Canada came into being and the McLaughlin Motor Car Company ceased to operate.
A big event in the lives of the McLaughlins occurred in 1915. I went to the auto races at Sheepshead Bay, N.Y. But it rained so hard that the races were called off, so I went on to New York City. It was my custom whenever I was there to have lunch with Edwin Campbell. On this day in 1915 I found myself lunching not only with Dr. Campbell, but with Mr. Durant and another Chevrolet stockholder, Nathan Hofheimer. Durant owned the Dominion Carriage plant in West Toronto and right then it was in the process of being converted into a plant to make Chevrolet cars. I had been interested—perhaps concerned is a better word—in that project since I heard it was under way. It sounded like strong competition, for Chevrolet had gone over big from the start. In fact, a few months later when Durant’s five-year banishment was up he was back in control of General Motors. The newcomer Chevrolet Company actually controlled General Motors, through the holdings of Durant and his friends.
So this day at lunch I asked Durant casually how the Chevrolet project was coming in Canada. Before he could answer Hofheimer shot at him: “Why don’t you give that to the McLaughlin boys, Billy?”
Durant and I looked at each other and we both laughed. “Well, Sam, do you want it?” he said.
I certainly wanted it. But there were two obstacles that had to be overcome.
First, how did we stand with our Buick contract if we took on another line of cars? More important, could we persuade the Governor to sell the carriage business? Certainly if we undertook to make a car with the volume Chevrolet promised in Canada we couldn’t go on making carriages. And if the Governor decided against abandoning the business that was his life we couldn’t take on Chevrolet.
George and I would abide by the Governor’s decision. Apart from any considerations of filial loyalty, Robert McLaughlin was still the boss. Sam might be the president of the McLaughlin Motor Car Company but the Governor was the president of the McLaughlin Carriage Company—and the carriage coznpany owzied the motorcar company. As a znatter of fact, by buying up the stock of our outside shareholders I actually owned control of the McLaughlin Carriage Company but that fact was ziot considez'ed for a moznent as my father, George and I always worked as a teazn. There | was no doubt that, fz'om a business i viewpoint, it would be a smart move to dz*op carriages and take on Chevrolet. By 1915 carriage sales were declinizig steadily, automobile sales were rocketing. I calculated that there would be only three or four more years in which carriage production would show a profit.
Durant asked zne: “How long will
it take to make up your mind?” I asked him for two days. I telephoned Geoz-ge in Oshawa and asked him to cozne down immediately to New York. Durant and I went to his office and talked to John Thomas Smith, later to become vice-presidezit of General Motors in charge of the vast legal office. Smith gave us his opinion that the Buick contz'act would not be affected by an arrangement to make Chevrolet.
Boldly, on the chance that the other obstacle—the Governor’s attitude toward selling the carriage busiziess—could be overcome, we went ahead and drew up a tentative contz'act. Our expez'ience in arriving at the Buick contract eight years before made it not too difficult to reach terms. The Chevrolet contract wasn’t quite as favorable as the Buick deal—but then both Durant azid Smith thought the McLaughlins had got much the best of that Buick deal.
My brother Geoz'ge tz'aveled all day by train and got to the Vanderbilt Hotel on Sunday evening. Tired as he was, we talked into the early hours of Monday, mulling over the agreement with Duz'ant. In the morning we went to see Durant again, talked over the contract agaizi, suggested a couple of changes, then we agreed to it all around. We got on the train that night and came home.
George said to me on the way to the office in Oshawa: “You will have
to talk to the Governor.” I knew how he was feeling—I was feeling that way myself. I said: “We’ll both talk to
him.” Geoz'ge looked unhappy at that.
“I know what a shock this will be to him,” he said, “and I can’t face him.”
So I was elected.
I walked into the Governor’s office and told him all about my trip and what was in the wind. I said we couldn’t run three businesses, and that the carriage business was dying. I quoted him our own figures to pz'ove it.
It hurt to have to do that. But to my surprise he took it calmly. “Sam,” he said, “I’m about through. George is thoroughly in accord with this?”
“Absolutely,” I assured him. We called George in and reviewed the whole matter briefly. We assured the Governor that if he said the word we
would abandon the Chevrolet project; after all, he had started the business and felt a deep sentiment for it. We shared that sentiment too. The Governor shook his head.
“Do what you think best,” he said.
As soon as I left his office I put in a telephone call to Jim Tudhope, president of Carriage Factories Ltd., in Orillia. That company, an amalgamation of five or six carriage companies, had tried to buy McLaughlin’s many times. It had never been for sale.
I said to Jim Tudhope right off: “Do you want to get rid of your
largest competitor?” “Do you want to sell the business now?” he asked in reply. I said, “Yes, she is for sale if we can get quick action.” He asked what had happened and I told him. We even agreed, in that one telephone call, on the basis of sale, including the taking over of inventory at a reasonable discount. We agreed to meet next morning at the Queen’s Hotel in Toronto, as soon as he could get his directors together.
We met and arrived at a tentative agreement , which was signed two days later in Oshawa. The terms
included the right to use the McLaughlin label on the carriages for one year. We started shipping stuff out within twenty-four hours. We had to finish three thousand sleighs which were under construction, but all the carriage materials and equipment were out within three or four weeks.
The McLaughlin Chevrolet operation was as successful on its own scale as Mr. Durant’s enterprise was in the U. S. As with Buick, we made our own bodies to my designs—and we always tried to design and finish them just a little better than those across
The McLaughlins Had to Stay
the line. I remember once a General Motors executive visiting in Oshawa was particularly impressed by one model of Buick. He asked us to send one to the New York office to let the boys there see what we were doing in Canada. We sent it and before long it came back. Presently we learned why. Alfred Sloan had seen it parked in front of the New York showroom and ordered;
“Get that thing out of here, and quick. It’s gathering crowds—and it’s no more like one of our Buicks than a St. Bernard is like a dachshund!”
The year 1918 saw our final big decision—to sell the McLaughlin business to General Motors. There were a lot of factors involved; My wife and I had been blessed with five daughters, but we had no son to carry on. George was anxious to retire; he had never been strong and he had worked hard all his life. His sons had tried the business but had not taken to it. Those were the personal reasons. On the business side there was the fact that if we decided to stay in the automobile business we would almost certainly have to make our own cars from the ground up. As I have said, I had managed to make an agreement with Buick that was too favorable to us for them to renew on the same terms —when the 15-year agreement was up in three or four years. Chevrolet was now part of General Motors—their best seller—and we could scarcely expect GM to allow us to continue making just one of their models.
Those were our business reasons. Equally important was the fact that McLaughlin’s had become by far the largest employers in Oshawa. My father had always felt, and George and I had come to feel, that the business was as much Oshawa’s as it was ours. If Oshawa’s motor industry became a General Motors operation, expansion and employment opportunities were assured. If we had to venture into making a car of our own in Canada, failure and unemployment might well result.
Years before I had had to sell George on the idea of going into the automobile business. Now I had to sell him on the idea of going out of it by selling to General Motors. My argument took this form: “We are through when the Buick contract expires. We could go on until then, but I wouldn’t have anything to do with attempting to make a new car when that time came.”
I didn’t have to argue much with George before he agreed. So I went down to New York and saw the top men of General Motors; Mr. Durant, Pierre DuPont, of the great American industrial family, and John J. Raskob, the noted financier. I told them the basis on which we would sell. As had happened so often before in our major deals, this one was closed very quickly. It was no more than five minutes before Durant, DuPont and Raskob said, “Sold.”
But the three men added: “We will buy on one condition, and one condition only—that you and George will run the business.” I cannot deny that it was wonderful to hear those words of confidence from those great figures of the automobile world. Their proposition suited me; I was young and vigorous and full of energy, and certainly, at forty-seven, had no inclination to retire. I told them how I felt, but added that I could not speak for George, who I believed did not want to carry on much longer. I became president, and as a result of the condition of sale George accepted the
WI1 of vice-president of the new General Motors of Canada and remained in that capacity until his retirement in 1924.
When that happened I felt a sense of shock. We had worked and fought together for so many years. His going left me lonesome for someone to scrap with. But by scrap I do not mean quarrel. Long ago we had made an agreement never to quarrel with each other, no matter how great the pressure under which we worked—and we never did.
In 1924 I became the last McLaughlin active in the business my father had founded in his driving shed at Tyrone fifty-seven years bqipre. For in 1921 we had suffered a in the passing of the He had been acti capacity until th at last that hq days to live£dh* was chara fifteen of^
loss ?r. ’y
tiew or four mg which rHe sent for ployees, men who had wdjlfjjflffijfiKTim and with him for the greafiétëpart of their lifetimes, to bid them farewell.
My father Robert McLaughlin was a remarkable man. I refer not only to his achievements but to his character. He was one of those rare men who could be called, in the truest sense of the word, a good man. And he was incapable of doing anything into which he did not put his honest best.
Not long after George retired I reached a decision. I had worked hard for many years; the growing business with its ramifications was becoming a great load. I wanted to ease off a little. I told Alfred Sloan, president of the parent company, that I wanted a general manager—and selected my own choice for the position, K. T. Keller, who later went from Oshawa to become president of The Chrysler Corporation.
For many years now I have been chairman of the board of General Motors of Canada, in addition to being vice-president and director of the parent company. For many years I have been telling my associates that I would stay at my desk only as long as I could be of some value to the company—only as long as I did not get in the way. I would not be human if I did not appreciate the fact that in my 84th year they still seem to think that I have a contribution to make.
It is almost half a century since I first put my hand to an automobile, so I suppose that gives me the longest experience of any living man with all phases of the motor age—from designing cars to forming a company to make them. I have been intimately concerned with theif* growth from converted carriages in which a single cylinder delivered uncertain power to an exposed chain which in turn drove carriage-type wheels with solid rubber tires, up to the present magnificence of the all-automatic car which practically drives, stops and steers itself. But if I were asked to name the one development that more than any other contributed to the incredible growth of the industry, my answer might surprise most people, for it has nothing to do with the advance in engines or the design and structure of the car, great as the developments have been in those fields. My answer is—the development of Duco finish by Charles F. Kettering, General Motors’ great research chief, who also, of course, invented the selfstarter, Ethyl anti-knock fluij designed the first V-8 engines ica as used in Cadillac Diesel locomotives.
Up to 1914 au with the used on c to fifteen
ed lshe8 uired up That finish
took up to three weeks to dry in fine weather, as much as a month when the climate was humid. The magnitude of that paint-job bottleneck can well be imagined and the present huge production would have been an utter impossibility, because there would not have been space enough to store the bodies during the drying process. Undoubtedly Kettering’s development of a finish that could keep pace with production lines was, more than anything else, what made possible the motor industry as we know it today.
When in 1924 I decided to “ease off”
I found there were many avenues of new interest. From my bicycling days I had loved speed—competitive speed. When I grew up I became the proud possessor of a fast motor boat —fast for those days, because it would speed from the Oshawa waterfront to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto in an hour and a half. Late in 1925 I commissioned an R-class yacht to be built in an attempt to bring the international Richardson Cup, emblematic of the championship of the Great Lakes in that class, to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club of which I was a member.
She was designed by Bingley Benson, built at Oakville, and named after my youngest daughter, Eleanor. Norman Gooderham skippered Eleanor in the 1926 races against yachts from Chicago and Cleveland, and won handily.
Ditor that year I bought a big beautiful three-masted schooner, the Azara, which led to a strange incident. Azara was registered in the U. S., and since that country was in the throes of prohibition we were liable to seizure if we sailed into any American port with liquor aboard. This put a crimp in entertaining on cruises so my lawyer,
Strachan Johnson, tried to have Azara’s registration changed to British, but failed. Finally we learned that the only way to get the registration changed was to have the ship “libeled” for nonpayment of a liability, put up for sale, and sold to a British subject.
By coincidence the captain of Azara decided about that time that I owed him $140 for some reason I cannot remember. I refused to pay; Azara was “libeled” and put up for auction. A British subject by the name of Sam McLaughlin was the successful bidder —at $140. Then I could fly the blue
ensign and carry supplies for the sick and ailing into any port I chose.
The man from whom I had bought Azara, Jesse M( tcalf, head of a large American industry, was away when all this happened. When he returned and heard part of the story, he was deeply concerned that the McLaughlin fortunes had fallen so low that I had lost the schooner for a $140 debt.
For many years up to 1950 the name McLaughlin was probably known to as many people interested in horses as in automobiles. The family had always owned horses; I liad spent thousands
of boy-hours feeding and grooming our horses in the days before we got a hired man. During World War II, when most executives were fretting over the difficulty of driving even to their offices with the small gasoline ration allowed, I solved that problem by putting up my car and driving to the plant in a carriage.
It was logical, therefore, that when I decided to “ease up” one of my hobbies should be horses. At first they were show horses—hunters, jumpers, saddle horses. I had the advantage of a fine team of riders that I had
raised in my own home—my daughters Eileen, Mildred, Isabel, Hilda and, FJeanor.
We first entered the Cobourg Horse Show in 1926, and thereafter for more than ten years my horses—and daughters—competed at shows and fairs throughout Ontario and Quebec, as well as in the U. S. The names of some of my best horses revive memories for me, and perhaps for others—My Delight, Sharavogue, Sligo, Michael, Punch, Rathmore, Kl Tigre.
The racing stable came later. It wasn’t a case of dropping show horses in favor of racers at once, but in the Thirties the change gradually took place. For one thing, my daughters were get’jâug married and I felt it wasri’^yl^V' take them away from the4rrj[^jpib¿s fjp, ride; for another, I had a ,^i#ypyr, Robson, who
was a pe^^uu^g, i^iyocate of horse
racing. ' Itosfââfe *;Bit .
Success in a^sO^jÇipg, Robson maintained, depen4ii^,|ipf\,,sp.u('h on the judge’s personal opip^Qj^ about conformation and performance; judges were only human, and humans were fallible. Now horse racing, he insisted, was the real sport—“when a horse gets his nose under the wire first—he’s won !”
We could scarcely complain that we liad suffered at the hands of the judges, considering that our horses had won a total of 1,500 ribbons and more than 400 pieces of plate. But there was much good sense in what Robson said, and 1 proceeded to build up the breeding and racing stable known as Parkwood.
I am not going to go into any great detail concerning my racing career, which is such recent history. There were thrills and highlights galore, including the winning of three King’s Plates by Horometer, Kingarvie and Moldy.
I love horses and racing, but in 1950 I sold my farm, racing horses and all equipment with the understanding that the beautiful farm that had given me so' much pleasure would continue as a stud farm for the promotion and improvement of the thoroughbred. My horses, of course, had not always won, but T believe the public knew they were trying all the time.
One of the Parkwood Stable’s feats in racing was winning the Orpen Cup and Saucer stake three times. The prize for this race is a solid-gold cup and saucer. After I had collected three, F red Orpen, owner of Dufferin and Long Branch tracks in Toronto, rounded out the set with a gold teapot and cream and sugar pieces. Now who can own a gold tea set and resist having a tea party? So we held one.
For the benefit of anyone who would like to know what it’s like to drink tea out of a gold cup, I know the answer. It’s terrible. The precious metal conducts the heat and burns your mouth painfully. Tea-drinking is pleasanter out of a ten-cent china cup.
And so it is, I’ve found through the years I’ve just told you about, with all the rest of the business of living. The things I cherish are harder-wearing than gold: the solid worth of lifelong
friendships with men of good faith; the men whose names have cropped up in this story and the others whose names would be here if the story were as long as my memory; the worth of a lifetime spent working at a job that drew the best from me and the men I worked beside—an association with a great industry and a great enterprise; a long life-'óf J?Ood health, and sport in the OdBÎwÀfeove all these, I treasure the low □ my wife and the affection of h»jfifti#HlyJFlloae are the things of real w;Mr,jtawmjpWq :
I own I don’t
drink out of ítjmjqfe fo f$0ff ‘ ’-orge