Frederick Douglas Patterson: Pioneering the Road of African American Automotive Innovation

Frederick Douglas Patterson: Pioneering the Road of African American Automotive Innovation

Historically A Wear Legacy in Threads: Frederick D. Patterson

In the early 20th century, as the automobile industry was gaining momentum, a trailblazer emerged, defying the odds and changing the course of automotive history. Frederick Douglas Patterson, the visionary behind C.R. Patterson and Sons Company, made history as the first African American to manufacture motorized cars. His remarkable journey, marked by innovation and determination, is a testament to the indomitable spirit of African American entrepreneurs during challenging times.

A Legacy of Innovation

Frederick Patterson's journey into the automotive world began with a family legacy. His father, Charles Rich Patterson, established C.R. Patterson and Sons Company in Greenfield, Ohio, in 1865, crafting fashionable carriages. Upon his father's passing, Frederick inherited the company and set his sights on a new horizon—motorized vehicles. In 1915, the Patterson-Greenfield, the first Patterson automobile, rolled off the assembly line, heralding a new era of automotive excellence.

Frederick D. Patterson

The Patterson-Greenfield: A Vision Unveiled

Named in honor of the renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Patterson's groundbreaking creation, the Patterson-Greenfield, bore the promise of a brighter automotive future. Priced at $850, this automobile boasted a robust forty-horsepower Continental four-cylinder engine and a top speed of fifty miles per hour. Its reputation for superior quality and craftsmanship challenged even the mighty Model T, Henry Ford's iconic creation. Unfortunately, by the time the Patterson-Greenfield arrived on the scene in 1915, the Model T had already captured the lion's share of the American car market.

Challenges and Triumphs

While the Patterson-Greenfield showcased exceptional craftsmanship, it faced an uphill battle against the Model T's dominance. Ford's vehicle, initially introduced at $825 in 1908, had slashed its price to $360 by 1915, leaving competitors struggling to keep up. Despite this challenge, C.R. Patterson and Sons managed to produce 150 Patterson vehicles between 1915 and 1920, featuring both two-door roadsters and four-door touring cars. The company's slogan, "If it's a Patterson, it's a good one," reflected the unwavering commitment to quality that defined both their carriages and motor vehicles.

The Transition and Legacy

As the 1920s dawned, the company shifted its focus to buses and trucks, rebranding as the Greenfield Bus Body Company. The competition from Detroit's automotive giants intensified during the 1930s, making it increasingly difficult for independent manufacturers to thrive. Sadly, in 1939, after 74 years of contributing to fine transportation solutions, C.R. Patterson and Sons Company closed its doors. 


Frederick Douglas Patterson's legacy endures as a testament to innovation, determination, and the enduring spirit of African American entrepreneurship. His pioneering efforts in the automotive industry paved the way for future generations and remind us that, even in the face of formidable challenges, visionaries can leave an indelible mark on history. Frederick Patterson, the trailblazer who dared to dream of a brighter automotive future, will forever hold a place of honor in the annals of American innovation.


About Historically A Wear

Historically A Wear

At Historically A Wear, we believe in the power of fashion to tell stories, ignite conversations, and celebrate history. Our mission is to honor the rich and diverse contributions of the African diaspora to the world, one garment at a time. With a deep commitment to education, empowerment, and community engagement, we go beyond clothing – we create wearable history. Our collections pay homage to the remarkable individuals, events, and innovations that have shaped our world. Whether it's celebrating black inventors, showcasing cultural heritage, or shedding light on lesser-known historical narratives, every piece we offer carries a message of pride, resilience, and inspiration. Join us in wearing history and making it a part of your everyday journey. Together, we continue to rewrite the narrative, one thread at a time.

Elevate your style while celebrating black inventors with our "We Made It" collection! Explore our range of products, including cozy sweatshirts, trendy kids' clothes, and engaging puzzles. Embrace history, inspire the future, and shop now to proudly wear the legacy of innovation. Every purchase supports our mission to honor remarkable inventors. Don't miss out! #WeMadeItCollection #WearYourHistory #ShopNow

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