Kissel Kar Company Records, 1905-1935, 1961


Louis Kissel and his two sons, George and William, formed the Kissel Motor Car Company on June 5, 1906 in Hartford, Wisconsin. Cars built by the Kissel family emphasized old world craftsmanship and attained international renown for their advanced design and outstanding performance, which helped the company to prosper. The Kissel Kar Company was part of a group of industries in Hartford owned by the Kissels which included the Hartford Plow Company, the Kissel Manufacturing Company, and the Hartford Electric Company.

During World War I the Kissel firm went into the production of trucks for the Army, and during the later months of the war devoted itself almost entirely to the production of trucks. During the war the Kissel plant employed as many as 1400 workers.

George and William Kissel suffered serious financial losses during the Great Depression, which all but wiped out the Kissel name from the automobile industry. In 1935, they organized Kissel Industries, which primarily made outboard motors for Sears, Roebuck and Co. Upon the death of George Kissel in 1942 the company was sold to the West Bend Aluminum Company.