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History - Factory

Company History

Packard Manufacturing Co. founded in 1932 and named after the Packard Avenue in Fort Wayne. The company was established just before America went to war in the old Marmon motor car manufacturing plant in Indianapolis, but the new Packard company was not active in the phonograph business until the latter half of the 1940s.

Another company, the Capehart Automatic Phonograph Corp., founded by Homer Earl Capehart early in 1928 had been active with a series of "Orchestrope" models with cabinets built by furniture manufacturers in Huntington in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The company, however, had moved into new factory facilities in Fort Wayne built by the wealthy lawyer and investor Charles M. Niezer, but had taken a net loss of about $370,000 around 1930/31.

The founder, Homer Earl Capehart, left the corporation (now often referred to as the Capehart-Farnsworth) late in 1932, and became connected to The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. as general sales manager during the following seven successful years until 1939. After the war, when Homer Earl Capehart had become senator of Indiana (elected to the Senate late 1944 and served through 1962), the Packard company was revived and headed by the founder's son Thomas Charles Capehart.

Thomas C. Capehart
Thomas Charles Capehart (1924 - †1960)
The new jukebox series "Packard 7 Pla-Mor" (pronounced play more) and "Packard Manhattan" with matching speakers was produced until the spring of 1949. The "Packard 7 Pla-Mor" was design patented by Robert L. Ardner, and Russell E. Brandenburger Sr. was responsible for the design of the "Packard Manhattan" introduced in January, 1948. Edward E. Collison, who constructed most of the mechanical parts for "Packard" jukeboxes together with Paul U. Lannerd, had as early as 1941 assigned several nicely designed speakers and remote controls to Homer Earl Capehart, among them was the "Packard Butler" remote control unit. The design of the "Butler" is in fact also part of a complete functional patent

The Packard Manufacturing Co. was taken over by The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. early in September, 1951.
Thomas C. Capehart died, together with his wife, in a plane crash on his 36th birthday on January 21, 1960.
history information credited to: Gert J. Almind (The history of coin-operated phonographs - unpublished manuscript, November 8, 2010)
Packard Manufacturing Corporation Factory Location: 113-115 North Noble Street (now College Avenue), Indianapolis, IN 46202