C.R. Patterson Company

The C.R. Patterson Company was the only black-owned and operated automobile manufacturing enterprise known to have existed.

Charles Rich Patterson was born a slave in West Virginia where he learned valuable blacksmithing skills. He settled in Greenfield in 1865 and in 1873 he went into business with J.P. Lowe making about 28 different types of horse-drawn vehicles (buggies, backboards, phaetons, rockaways, surreys). Patterson took over the business a decade later at the death of his partner. It is not clear as to when the first Patterson-Greenfield automobile was built; some report as early as 1902, others in 1915. Probably no more than 150 automobiles were built. Deciding that there was a better market in custom bodied vehicles, his son Frederick ceased production of automobiles in favor of buses, hearses, moving vans, and trucks for hauling ice, milk, and baked goods.





The Greenfield Historical Society
PO Box 266
Greenfield, Ohio 45123