Halstead Harley Seeley

Halstead Harley Seeley was one of our club's original 15 founding members.  Mr. Seeley was born in Livingston County, Michigan on April 19 of 1876.  He attended Michigan State Normal College, now Eastern Michigan University, in 1895 and 1896, then went to the University of Michigan and graduated with a B.L. degree in 1899. In 1900 he met the inventor of a gasoline firepot, which was the basic principle for all blow torches and also offered the key mechanism for a gasoline lamp that was much brighter and more satisfactory than the kerosene lamps of that day.  
 
Seeley and his two brothers, Dana and Roy Seeley, organized the Superior Manufacturing Co. in Ann Arbor, Mich.  The business flourished and in 1911 the firm began production of automotive windshields in the old Krause Tannery Building. The Superior Manufacturing Company was the first to alter the design so that the windshields could be bolted directly to the cowl as opposed to being strapped onto cars. Among the cars that used the new windshield were the Lincoln, Cadillac, and Oldsmobile, and eventually the whole industry. In 1916 this company was merged with the Rand, Diamond, Vanguard, and Universal Metal windshield manufacturing companies. All the factories were sold except the plant at Ann Arbor. 
 
In 1919 Mr. Seeley became associated with Horace W. King, professor at the University of Michigan, and developed a dashboard fuel supply gauge from King’s hydraulic level indicator for power reservoirs. They formed the King-Seeley Corp. in Ann Arbor, and started production of the gauge in 1922 with capital of $16,000. Seeley became president of the company in 1925. In that year the Ann Arbor facilities of the Motor Products Corp. were bought and other dashboard instruments were added to the production. By 1936, when Seeley resigned as president, the company owned 66,500 square feet of floor space and employed 800 people. Mr. Seeley died on his birthday, in Ann Arbor, on Apr. 19, 1952 at the age of 76.
 

    Footnote:  King Seeley was purchased by Chrysler Corporation in 1968 and became GT Products.  The site ended its automotive life as part of Eaton Corporation in 1982 and in 2005 the site was sold for the adaptive reuse project now know as Liberty Lofts.  (Presented by Bob Mull, July 24, 2013)