K. Ross Toole and Pat Morris
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.
Spokane, Washington; Indianapolis, Indiana; Auto mechanics; Automobile garages; Auto dealers; Road construction; Lead plug; Rose’s Automobile Company; Ford Model-T; Ford Model-A; Great Depression (1929-1939)
Harry Oscar “H.O.” Bell Interviews Oral History Project, OH 024, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula
University of Montana-Missoula. Mansfield Library
Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / email@example.com
Oral History Number
1 reel-to-reel analog + 1 transcript (26 p.: 28 cm.)
Bell, Harry Oscar, "Harry Oscar "H.O." Bell Interview, April 26, 1966" (1966). Harry Oscar “H.O.” Bell Interviews Oral History Project. 2.