IN MEMORIAM - MAY 2020
During recent months MotometerCentral™ experienced the sorrowful loss of several friends and contributors to our hearts, well-being, camaraderie and knowledge base. Herein we mark their passing and express our joy for knowing them and sadness for losing them.
Most recently we lost Maureen Baker, Walter Miller a few months before and in 2015, Art Bell. Below are a few short memories and character statements about these tremendous individuals that sincerely touched us.
MAUREEN O'CONNELL BAKER
MotometerCentral™ Founder, Francis G. Clax met Maureen at the Ontario County Historical Society Museum in Canandaigua, New York. Maureen served as the museum's receptionist and was the first person everyone entering the historic building met. Her trademark was a big, warm and welcoming smile and friendly greeting that made everyone appreciated.
Francis recalls numerous conversations shared about their experience in the motorcycle accessories business during the 1980s. Maureen was the first female sales territory representative for the Tucker Rocky Motorcycle Accessories Sales Company whose products Francis used personally -for on-road travel and professional road racing- and professionally purchased for the motorcycle business and its customers. Maureen worked a different territory than Francis' but he knew of her fine reputation from other reps.
Maureen provided an abundance of assistance in ensuring that Francis and staff could curate the February 2018 Francis G. Clax Motometer exhibition timely and as efficiently as possible. Maureen also was fundamental in placing event promotional notices in several regional publications throughout the duration of the exhibit.
Francis and Maureen apparently shared many "quirky" humorous moments that brought them together and formed their mutual bond of appreciation and friendship.
Maureen delighted Francis when she explained that before the motometer exhibit that she did not know much about these gauge-devices but "now" started to see them "everywhere" and could "now" recognize an authentic one!
Maureen passed on April 10th, 2020 after battling a three year long illness. Courageous, clever, cheerful, kind and generous, Maureen is sorely missed and our sincerest condolences are extended to her husband and surviving family members.
The name Walter Miller is most famous and recognized as the empresario of antique and vintage automotive literature, brochures, catalogs, manuals, pamphlets and all sorts of ephemera and auto manufacturer related artifacts. Walter (or "Wally") was a true "life-long" auto industry collector including owning a fine array of automobiles, operating the "AutoLit" auto document supply business and his own museum, the Museum of Automobile History in Syracuse, New York.
Walter began collecting auto catalogs, brochures and pamphlets in his pre-teen years, (age six) back when dealerships placed loads of them in showrooms for to perk interest particularly in the new year models and his keen interest (and acumen) grew from there.
MotometerCentral™'s Founder Francis recalls first being introduced to Walter after online purchasing a rare motometer sales pamphlet then engaging in numerous telephone conversations for several years after. Francis adds, "Walter would always immediately take my calls and find something rather unusual for the collection. He had a photographic memory of seemingly everything his company possessed immediately accessible in his mind's catalogue. He was fun to talk with because he knew so much."
Reminiscing, Francis continued to say, "[B]efore I moved to New York's Finger Lakes region, Walter would constantly invite me to come with him on a drive in one of his many collector cars or to spend time with him at the annual AACA Hershey Swap Meet but, Walter was a "big wig" and lots of people were always vying for his limited time so I would not usually bother him when he was "holding court" or being "courted" by celebrity or other V.I.P. He would then playfully scold me for not interrupting."
Walter Miller succumbed on November 15th, 2019 from a hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer. Car enthusiasts around the world were struck by his passing and numerous auto industry publications, such as Hemmings.com very favorably marked his death.
On the Hemmings.com website Francis left the following condolences.
Regrettably, Francis never got that ride with Walter.
ARTHUR "ART" JOHN BELL
Known more to members of the Model T Ford Club of America (MTFCA) than perhaps other similar groups, this June 18th marks the two-year anniversary of Arthur John Bell’s passing.
While none of us at MotometerCentral™ had the pleasure of making Art’s acquaintance or communicating with him directly, MotometerCentral™ Founder, Francis Clax credits Art with being his biggest motometer researching contributors. According to Francis, "Art really knew the patents and was always 'spot on."
Born on July 18, 1934 during the Classic Car period of grand automotive styling, it is unclear how or when Arthur John “Art” Bell attained so much intricate knowledge on all things automobile-related including motometers. Art’s acutely demonstrated automotive history and topic expertise was uncanny, precise and always right as if he and he alone possessed a secret encyclopedia of disparate info and facts not otherwise published in a single place unless someone had extensive access to the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian and best automotive museums and info repositories.
Bring up an automotive topic and Art could entertainingly discuss it with anyone of any expertise or experience level. Art was most known on the MTFCA Discussion Board for simply leaving the links to access the exact and precise patent reference to everyone’s questions as to what a particular part was, who or when it was invented, or, how it was to be used.
He was never wrong and the only person to usually leave such a reference or mark. Art was considered an “Intermediate 3” poster on the MTFCA discussion board as a regular contributor, however he was easily so much more than that. Art’s was quick and on the mark with patent posts, providing irrefutable evidence or an answer to the abundance of automotive questions. Francis considered Art a “national treasure and passionate automotive industry historian.”
His last known post to the MFTCA Discussion board was that of the patent reference for the “Action Twins” Radiator Cap Ornament of 1931, simple signed off as “Regards Art.” The knicknamed “Action Twins" are a hood ornament/automotive mascot that featured two figures that propelled by the air rushing over the hood of an automobile appeared to be cranking a propeller as shown. Their "Action Twins" knickname stemmed from the two figures appearing to crank their propeller alonf with the fact that the ornaments were manufactured by the Action Ornament Company of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Art left us in 2015 at the age of 80-years which reminds us just how important it is for every history enthusiast and passionate collector or artifact preservationist to identify key knowledgeable persons, like Art Bell and to document as much of their stories, experience and expertise as possible so that it is not otherwise lost or forgotten. Surviving Art is a daughter, son and two grandchildren.
So far no one on the Model T Ford Car Club website has stepped up to fill the information void left by Art.
On the fifth anniversary of Arthur J. Bell’s passing we remember and thank him for his many generous contributions to our knowledge base and putting us on the right path to a wealth of indispensable knowledge.
Art may physically not with use but he left a lasting impression and influence upon many.
May Arthur John "Art" Bell's legacy be that he continues to inspire others
who enjoy automobiles the way that he did.