Owen Magnetic automobiles were manufactured from 1915 to 1922. The R.M. Owen & Company manufactured their cars in New York City in 1915 and then in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1916 to 1919. They then moved production to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and manufactured automobiles there from 1920 to 1922.
Our collection proudly houses the 1916 Owen Magnetic O-36 Touring, a rare gem marking the second of its kind within our exhibits. Rescued from the confines of a barn in Alabama, this car was in need of a solid restoration. The restoration process is currently underway alongside our work on other Owens in the collection.
Justus B. Entz, the mastermind behind the electromagnetic transmission, ensured optimal control and efficiency. The Entz's patent, the cornerstone of its design, featured an electric starting mode where the dynamo, powered by the car's headlight battery, initiated the engine. The Owen Magnetic stood out with its electromagnetic transmission, a manual shift system that revolutionized the driving experience, eliminating the need for clutching or gear synchronizing. This automobile blended a 75-hp gas engine with a 24-volt generator and an electric traction motor, balancing power and technology. Noteworthy is the Owen Magnetic's introduction of regenerative braking, a concept ahead of its time and now commonplace in modern hybrids. A cockpit lever transformed the traction motor into a generator during braking, showcasing the foresight of Owen's engineering.