Auto Specialties Mfg. Co.

Located on Tecumseh Rd. just east of Howard Ave. this massive plant is another part of Windsor’s long gone industrial might, replaced by the Medical Building, that runs from Hanna to Tecumseh Road.

A quick check on the Google, shows the company is still around today, in Benton Harbor, MI.

The ad above dates to the early 1960’s. Does anyone out there remember the company or have any relatives that worked there? Any idea when it left town?

44 Comments on Auto Specialties Mfg. Co.

  1. When at first glance this morning early, I thought it was an Austrailian company AUSCO or Austrian.

  2. I know they had a big long strike in around 1976 and closed not long after. Edumacated guess is 1977.

  3. In the mid 1970’s, there was a Mercedes-Benz dealership that later became an A.M.C. dealership at the corner of Howard and Tecumseh. Does anyone know if that building was part of this former factory? No one whom I’ve spoken to remembers hardly anything about Auto Specialties MFG. or anything else that was located on this corner before the medical complex was built, even though it is one of Windsor’s main intersections. Very odd.

  4. LArry, it wasn’t right on the corner. A Windsor Utilities office was where the Shoppers is today, this plant was behind that.

  5. there was a scrapyard at the north east corner as well. I recall it was Rivertown or River something. This was the very early 70’s. I also recall that AMC Jeep dealership as it eventually became a Chrysler dealership for a short time before relocating out to the east end and becoming Windsor Chrysler.

  6. My dad worked ther for 30 years in the office till they closed it in 1970.They had their own fleet of company cars and a mechanics garage to one side with full time mechanichs. I used to go there after hours when i was a little kid and hang out with my dad.I remember many co workers names and faces

  7. I recently picked up an old car jack that has Auto Specialties Mfg Co NO 46 on one side and St. Joseph, Mich on the other.

  8. There also was a plant in Hartford, Mi. My dad worked there for over 10 year before they went on strike and then closed.

  9. I have an old Auto specialities jack, it travels from 9-15 inches approx and uses two bevel gears to activate it. It’s a piece I have enjoyed for years and keep it on display in my home. It still works and has the number 21 on it’s side.

  10. I have found an old Auto Specialties Mfg. Jack in my garage it has a Patent Date of 1928 and a No.27, Drednaut Twin Lift. Does anyone know if this has any antique value? Any info would be appreciated.


  12. I remeber when i was a kid one of my friends grandfather was retired from that plantI don’t have a clear memory of it but it always seemed like a big black hulking building at Howard &Tecumseh

  13. My father worked at the Windsor plant from 1953 until closing circa 1970. Was payed piece work, pouring castings. After 17 years of service, received $14.00/month pension.

  14. I worked at the Hartford Mi plant in 1973 and signed off on paperwork in 1982. I’m trying to find out if I have any retirement coming..???

  15. My Dad was the Sales Manager of the jack division back in the 50’s. He was based out of the corp. headquarters in Benton Harbor. Remember as a kid, he was constantly in Detroit calling on the Big Three, they used Ausco jacks exclusively.

  16. I live in South Central Kansas and I collect tools and jacks. I have two Drednaut Jacks with DREDNAUT and Auto Specialties, St. Joseph Michigan on one. I have also just received a 6″ double box end wrench with STJOSEPH MICH on it. One end has both openings size 7/8″ and the other end is wide and tapered with a 5/8″ opening on the other side is 3/4″. It is in excellent shape. Since I am basically a Walker Jack collector and also repair them I haven’t done much with Dreadnaut, even though they made an 8 and 12 ton hydraulic jack at some time.

  17. My dad started working there at the age of 15, shoveling coals into the furnace…he became a superintendent years later. His father (my grandfather) also worked there as a laborer. Does the name Kovosi/Kavosi ring the bell??? I remember going with him on many Saturdays when he had to do some paperwork and I would come home very dirty and happy. I would love to see some pictures if any of you have them.

  18. Can anyone tell me if they only made jacks or is it possible that they also provided tire pumps and other accesories to auto manuf. in the late 20s early thirties, thanks

  19. My post above states G.mail it is actually yahoo mail as this post will reflect, I also am a tool collector, not for profit but for fun, I have been researching early automotive toolkits for some time now and any one of you guys that knew someone that worked at these plants would be of great interest to me to talk with. Please if you are avail respond to this e-mail address Thanks

  20. to who concern I need some information on a pention my father received from ( AUSCO ) auto specialties manufacturing co. he passed away my mother is getting it now ! she needs a statement of what is is receving for low income housing.we need up date information . and phnoe no.

  21. Enjoyed working there for many years in the 50’s. Married in 56 and still have Wedding gift
    received from Mr. H. Cantelon and staff. Remember names of many co-workers.

  22. Must have been a good jack to hang on for so long. I found one in my Dad’s old stuff. It’s pretty stiff but half of it still works!

  23. I have a Auto Specialites MFG CO old car jack and I’m interested in finding out what it’s worth. The only information on it is USA & Canada 8J (77?)

    Can anyone help me?


  24. I recently picked up an old car jack that has Auto Specialties Mfg Co NO 41 on one side and St. Joseph, Mich on the other. Have all parts are these worth anything?

  25. I have an American Car jack no. 45 made/patented by Auto Specialities Mfg Co St Josephs Michigan in 1926. It has been in my family since the early 1930`s. I`m in Brisbane Australia and wondering if it is a collectors item. Terry
    (If you copy and paste my link the photo is in there.)

  26. I have an AUSCO auto jack and am wondering if it has any antique value. it has Auto Specialities Mfg. Co, Patent Applied For, and St Joseph Mich on one side, and No. 27, Drednaut Twin Lift, SJ240 on the other side.

  27. I recently bought a #21 Auto Specialties (Saint Joseph Michigan) jack at a garage sale. Paid a buck for it. Noticed one was sold on ebay for $19.00.

  28. My father worked at autos for 30 yrs. His name was Fred Haywood. If anyone has any info on pension plan or if anyone is still drawing pension from auto specialities that was in St. Joseph Mi please give me a message on my web page.

  29. I have a auto jack with markings auto spec mfg co patented july 20 1928 st joseph mich
    drednaut twin lift no37. can any
    body give some info or history on this jack what its worth when it was made thank you

  30. My brother-in-law has a 4000# floor jack Model #7600 manufactured 4/1970. He needs some seals to repair it. Do you have any or can you tell me where to find some?

  31. I just found an employee badge from the Windsor plant with the number 216 stamped on it. Does anyone know how old it would be or who the emplyee could be? Thanks.

  32. i have a drednaut auto jack no64 does anybody no about what year it was made st joseph mich…windsor ont is on the side r.j 130 thank you

  33. Hi Bruce L. I’m sure you won’t remember me but you probably remember my Dad Basil W. He started on the furnaces in the mid 40’s and became watchman until the plant closed (just weeks short of his retirement date). I remember Mr Cantelon, Bert Foote, Joe P and so many others. Yes, they had a few co. cars, made other parts besides jacks, the junk pile belonged to the plant (scrap came by railcar) and the co. fishing camp was on Clear Lake in Muskoka. I spent so much time there growing up, the men taught me how everything worked, how never to touch the huge presses, how to chew the salt tablets, to squint when the pour was on,to use the “modern electron microscope” in the lab. I watched with sadness the transformation from a manual process to all automated. I even learned to read the “secret” blueprints. All great childhood memories of good men working for a good company.

  34. I can’t comment on the value of your pieces (jacks) but I can tell you a bit about the foundry. My grandfather Albert F Dexel was the ‘right hand man’ to the owners — the Tiscornia family.’Dex’ as he was known was called down there at all times of the day or night, and held many titles and positions over the years — it was different back in the 50’s and 60’s than companies are today.

    Anyway, grandpa Dex would take me down there on Saturdays (everybody in the place knew Dex) and we would ‘make the ’rounds’ as he would call it. I even learned to drive a stick shift in one of their day shift parking lots in 1969-1970 ….. Dex had access to all the company salesman’s cars. He should, he made the deals to buy every one of them since sometime in the late 40’s The St Joseph plant was literally ‘next door’ to the original Whirlpool machine shop (and one of their main assembly plants) for washing machines — which started their company (The Upton family started Whirlpool as far as I know) One half block down ‘Graves Street’ next to the Whirlpool machine shop was the front guard gate for Auto Specialties

    Didn’t remember the Windsor plant, but its been 50 years since I started going down there on Saturdays. There was also a plant on Riverside Rd in Benton Harbor Mi (I can still see some of the slab and the barb-wire fence where the plant was demolished) and also another small plant in Hartford Mi (about 20 miles from St Joseph / Benton Harbor) There is still some form of an operation on Pipestone Rd in Benton Harbor to this day, but no foundry.

    By the mid-late 70’s the foundry closed and eventually was demolished. Wish he was still alive —– many, many great stories.

    I believe the company also made brake parts castings, but I can’t remember if there were brake master cylinders and wheel cylinders made there. The Jacks were certainly their main product as I recall.

    my apologies for such a long-winded post —– just couldn’t resist :-)

    Andy West

  35. I’m not aware of any membership and it’s not exactly a forum (though I’ve read on here that there was one, at one point). I enjoyed reading your story and I didn’t realize that Whirlpool was started in Michigan, and yes by the Upton brothers, according to Wikipedia. Thanks for sharing!

  36. It was the Riverside plant in Riverside Michigan. My father Gerald Flanery worked there almost 20 years until it closed down in 1979 or 80. There’s also a Plant in Hartford Michigan. The plant in Riverside is Gone now. They tore it down and there’s nothing but a field there now.

  37. I worked at the Hartford Michigan Plant in 1973/74. The Main plant at the time was in Benton Harbor/St Joseph Michigan. I know at one time there was a plant in Canada. The Hartford Plant at that time made bottle jack parts, garden tractor brakes, a brake used for a cherry picker arm (Nu-Way Brake), and I beleive a brake that was used on an older US fighter jet. The Hartford plant had on display some samples of bomb shell casings etc. that AUSCO made during World War II for the US govenment.

  38. Dear Sirs. I have to found a jack, Auto Spec Mfg. Co., St. Joesph Mich, DREDNAUT, No. 961, Sj. 1243. I would like any info. you have on this jack, Iss in very good shape, even down to the pin and chain on the top U shape bracket on the top of it!
    Thank you, Kirk Davis

  39. I have a double box end wrench with “DREDNAUT” on one side and “ST JOSEPH MICH” on the other. No other markings. Is it for the Drednaut jack? Anything special about this old wrench? It is 6″ long.

  40. So glad to see this! My grandfather worked here for about four decades. He and Grandma lived on Marentette Avenue, right behind the foundry. I remember often going out their back yard and across the alley to the fence and having him hand me a small apple pie (did they have a cafeteria? I’m guessing that’s where he bought it) when I was visiting. When I stayed overnight I’d hear the trains shunting throughout the night. The smoke from the coal-fired furnaces drove my grandmother nuts because she liked to hang her laundry outside (except in the dead of winter) and of course a certain amount of very fine coal dust drifted around the neighbourhood. Grandpa was there, working at a variety of jobs, until the plant closed in the 1970s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.