This Month in Edmonds History: Ford Automobiles Come to Edmonds

Yost Auto Company advertisement for Ford automobiles, printed in The Tribune-Review August 20, 1915.

My Edmonds News is proud to present a monthly look at Edmonds history, straight from the archives of the Edmonds Historical Museum. For the month of August, we’ll revisit 1915.

In 1915, the Ford Auto Company in Detroit announced that it sold 300,000 automobiles during the previous year.  An article published in Edmonds’ The Tribune-Review at that time, demonstrated the sheer volume of these vehicles by northwest standards.

“Take the 300,000 machines sold by the Ford plant, each machine 11 feet in length standing in a straight line end to end we would have a line of autos 3,300,000 feet in length, and dividing this sum by 5,280, the number of feet in a mile, and you have a line of autos 643 miles in length, or a line that would reach from Edmonds to Spokane and return, and have enough left over to reach from Seattle to the Canadian line and return and still have a mere bagatelle of 43 miles of autos left over, and all those were sold and delivered by one firm between August 1, 1914, and August 1, 1915.”

The Yost Auto Company in 1918.

These numbers must have been staggering to Edmonds, whose first full-time automobile agency, Yost Auto Company, opened its doors in March 1914. While several other garages existed in Edmonds, the Yost garage, run by George, Samuel and Jacob Yost, was among the first Ford dealers in the area, selling “the celebrated little Ford car.”  They later sold Buicks as well.  The agency, located at Fifth and Dayton, was a fixture in downtown Edmonds for many decades.

As the automobile was transforming communities like Edmonds, the 1915 article closed by praising Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company: “For years, possibly since Henry VIII, who did nothing worth mentioning except provide himself a number of wives, the name ‘Henry’ has not been in the best repute, but since Henry the Ford has loomed up we expect to hear of the next generation, all the boys named Henry and all the girls named Ford.”

9 Replies to “This Month in Edmonds History: Ford Automobiles Come to Edmonds”

  1. The speed limit in those days was probably pretty low. It was likely base on the newness of those new fangled machines and the condition of the roads to drive on. Unless we start fixing our roads we may need to lower the speed limit again.

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  2. That 52 car had to have more regular maintaince than the cars of today. Tires 20k mile vs 60k. Frequent tune ups (the the younger crowd, a tune up had nothing to do with your iPod) not the 100k we get today before even changing the plugs. My bet is when all cost are considers and adjusted for CPI the cost of a car today per mile of available usage would be less than the past.

    What was the wage levels or buying power back then vs now? Until the recient down turn it was likely more. So let fix those streets gang.

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  3. There you go again Ron. I did not say anything about levies but yet you tied me to that concept. I am sorry that you cannot wear a seat belt. For those who do wear seat belts and get into accidents the injuries are less costly to care for vs the injuries for those who do not or cannot wear them. Keeps our heath care cost lower with belts vs not. Really do not want to debate these issues under this article. It was meant to reflect on a different time but all to often we let things stray. I am sorry for my part of the straying. My folks had a 49 Plymouth 4 door when I was a teenager. Front and back seats in cars of those days were really large. No seat belts in those days and accidents could occur even when the car was standing still. … The other guys did not have as good a breaks as we do now. All the safety equipment we have know if much better than in the old days.

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  4. Ron, I am sure you can provide data to support your seat belt view and I do not have the time to spend on this issue. Data or not I will continue wearing my set belt. Look at reports when there is a high speed accident involving a death and most time the word appear in the report. “Deceased was not wearing a seat belt” I will not be responding to anymore seat belt comments, I have better things to do for our city. I plan to be working on city issues. There are other ways to pay for streets and I will be speaking about that in other posts but not here. This article is for historical old things. There are other places debate roads and all that other stuff. Bye for now.

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  5. My grandfather was Jacob Yost…the one in the article and I am wondering about his connection, if any, to the establishment of the ferry system. I have seen articles about the bus system and have a recollection of the ferries being somehow a part of it but could use a bit more information.

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