As the automobile began to become more common and widely accepted during the early 1900’s, hundreds of new patent applications from inventors around the country began to flood the patent office. Thanks to many of these inventions, automobiles became more reliable, easier to drive, and easier to start among other things.

One invention to surface during this time would become a fixture on millions of cars between 1913 and the early 1930’s. It came about due to the need of internal combustion engines to maintain a coolant water temperature of just below 212 degrees Farenheit, which was essential to the engines’ proper functioning and longevity.

One man, Harrison Hurlburt Boyce, had a simple solution for helping make sure that the engine stayed at the proper temperature. By 1913, Boyce had received a patent for his device and had partnered with George H. Townsend, who was the president of the Moto Meter Company of New York.

The Moto Meter Company began manufacturing “Boyce Moto Meters” by the thousands, and thanks to the numerous patents the company owned, Boyce meters soon dominated the market. This however did not take place without a fight. During the early 1910’s the company sued several competitors, including Stewart-Warner, for patent infringement. The Moto Meter Company successfully won these suits, and many of its competitors were forced to stop manufacturing their own products. Even those competitor companies that did make their own similar devices never even came close to really competing with the “Boyce Moto Meter”. By the early 1920’s, Boyce Moto meters were standard equipment on over 50 of America’s foremost automobiles, including Packard and Stutz.

By 1927, ads for the “Boyce Moto Meter” boasted, “Today over 10,000,000 Boyce Moto Meters stand guard over motors throughout the civilized world.” The company employed over 1,800 people in six different countries. Despite the sheer numbers and popularity of the Boyce meters, sales of the items began to wane as more and more automobile manufacturers went to temperature gauges that were located on the dash.

Fortunately, George Townsend had the foresight to know what was coming and sold the Moto Meter Company for several million dollars in 1929 just before the Wall Street crash forced thousand of businesses around the country into bankruptcy.