Kissel Motor Car Company
Former type Automobile Manufacturing
Founded 1906
Founder(s) Louis Kissel
Defunct 1930
Headquarters Hartford, Wisconsin, USA
Industry Automotive

The Kissel Motor Car Company was an American automobile manufacturing company founded by Louis Kissel and his sons, George and William, on June 5, 1906 in Hartford, Wisconsin, USA. The company custom built high-quality automobiles, hearses, fire trucks, taxicabs, and utility vehicles from their plant at 123 Kissel Avenue, Hartford.[1] They offered trucks of 1½, 2, 3, 4, and 5 tons.[2] During World War I the company produced trucks for the military and prospered after the war but with stiff competition and the Great Depression, mounting losses, and an attempted hostile take-over by New Era Motors' president Archie Andrews forced Kissel to file for receivership protection in November, 1930.



1920's Kissel Fire Truck - 2008 Hartford, WI 4th of July Parade


Often called "Kissel Kars," of the 35,000 automobiles the company produced, only 150 are known to exist today. The Wisconsin Automotive Museum of Hartford has several of these remaining cars on display. The most famous car was one the company donated to Hollywood actress Anita King for her transcontinental trip in 1915 that marked the first-ever such trip by a female driving alone. The most popular Kissel model was the 1919 Speedster, nicknamed the Gold Bug. The two passenger Gold Bug was owned by famous personalities of the time such as actor Fatty Arbuckle and aviator Amelia Earhart. Beginning in 1927, Kissel also produced the sporty White Eagle Speedster.

Kissel used Mercury as its logo. In the late 1930s, Henry Ford requested use of the logo for a new marque the Ford Motor Company was planning to introduce, and permission was granted.

West Bend companyEdit

Kissel car factory Hartford Wisconsin 1921

The factory in 1921.

In 1935, the Kissels manufactured outboard motors and were major suppliers of Sears, Roebuck. In 1942 the business was sold to the West Bend Aluminum Company.


Kisselkar 1915-0223

A 1915 KisselKar Advertisement - Syracuse Herald, February 23, 1915

Kisselkar 1917

A 1917 KisselKar Advertisement - Automotive Industries, Vol. 37, 1917


  1. Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.127.
  2. Clymer, p.127.


  • Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925. New York: Bonanza Books, 1950.
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