Monday, October 17, 2011

Mercury Buses, Penn Yan Buses Division, Hammondsport, NY- School Buses -- 1945 -48

It all started two weeks ago when I received an email from my friend Vern Tyler asking me to please check a web site and look at a picture there. This is what I found --

And so since they made school buses, that plaque lead to a two week intense search for any information about the company mentioned. The quest ended today with my finding some old newspaper articles relating to the formation of Mercury Buses of Hammondsport.

Also, until last week, no pictures of the school buses made by Mercury existed on the web -- I put an end to that with a call to Mercury Aircraft and the help of Laura Chandler.

So I guess now I will put the story of Mercury Buses, Penn Yan Buses Division of Hammondsport, New York into proper perspective I hope.

In 1945, Mercury Aircraft purchased Penn Yan Bus Bodies Inc. of Penn Yan, New York.

Penn Yan Bus Bodies was located on Liberty St. in Penn Yan and was formed when Whitfield and Sons Coach Builders of Penn Yan went bankrupt in 1933.

Whitfield and Sons Coach Builders of Penn Yan, New York had been building coach and bus bodies since 1885.

Willet Wetmore bought the bankrupt Whitfield and Sons Coach Builders and leased property from Penn Yan Boat Co. on Liberty St. in Penn Yan, New York to form Penn Yan Bus Bodies Inc. of which he was president.

In 1941, Penn Yan Bus Bodies Inc. was seriously damaged in a fire which may have lead Willet Wetmore to seek a buyer of remaining equipment.

This is where Mercury Aircraft steps in according to the  article from the Geneva Times,Thursday, Septemer 20th 1945,  and purchases remaining equipment belonging to Penn Yan Bus Bodies Inc. of Penn Yan, New York. They opened a new facility in Hammondsport -- Mercury Buses, Penn Yan Buses Division.

From 1945-48 Mercury Buses employed aircraft building techniques to manufacture 250-300 school buses. They utilized aluminium frames and riveted aluminium bodies. Mack and Brockway supplied most chassis along with Dodge and White. I also believe Ford chassis were used too.

Karl Kreutziger, sales manager of Mercury Buses, bought the Penn Yan Buses Division from Mercury in 1948 to fulfill Mercury's contract for 100 unfinished Mercury Buses. From that purchase, what was to become Coach and Equipment Mfg. of Penn Yan was formed.

To see all pictures relating to Mercury Buses, click on any picture above ----


  1. I like those old pictures of trucks. Did vehicles like that really exist before? Your collection is very rare; something that is not often seen on TV and on the internet. You seem to have a deep passion with trucks. Congratulations!

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