This collection includes two interviews detailing Harry Oscar “H.O.” Bell’s involvement in the early automobile industry and automobile mechanics. The interviews were conducted in 1965 and 1966 by K. Ross Toole and Pat Morris. The interviewee discusses early automobiles, the Ford Motor Company, and opening the first automobile business in Missoula, Montana. The original interviews are held as Oral History collection OH 024 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 2 interviews.
Harry Oscar Bell
Harry Oscar “H.O.” Bell describes working as a mechanic and race car driver in Indianapolis, Indiana, before moving to Spokane, Washington, where he opened Rose’s Automobile Company, the town’s first automobile garage, in 1906. He talks about moving to Missoula, Montana, in 1912 to open the first auto business there, providing service as a mechanic and selling Ford Model-Ts. Bell explains the mechanics of early automobiles as well as the dangers of early driving, including the volatility of gas and lack of battery powered lights. He describes how he helped invent a lead plug for a gas tank to remedy the issue of gas exploding, and he recalls the institution of the “7 percent system of highways” in 1926, due to the rising popularity of automobiles and the need for paved roads. Bell also describes how the Great Depression affected his business.
Harry Oscar Bell
Harry Oscar “H.O.” Bell relates his involvement with automobiles and the automobile industry from 1901 to 1966. He discusses early automobiles and talks about opening his own Ford dealership in Missoula, Montana, in 1915. Bell describes the attitudes of the Ford Motor Company towards product quality and advertising. He also talks about the effects of automobiles and automobile owners on the development of roads in Montana.