Here's a biographical profile of the White brothers who built steamers and trucks and developed a reputation for unique marketing concepts. "The Fight of the Century" took place in 1910, pitting Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight boxing champion against Jim Jefferies who was white. The fight was shrouded with racial tension and gave rise to the term "Great White Hope," referring to the need to find a white man capable of defeating the black champion. Jeffries, the unbeaten but retired former champion stepped forward. Walter, Windsor and Rollin White, owners of the White Company of Cleveland, the world's largest producer of steam cars and a recent convert to gasoline-powered automobiles, saw a great marketing opportunity with a play on their name. They offered a gasoline powered White automobile to Johnson and another White car to Jeffries, to use as pacing cars for their morning workouts. Jeffries lost the fight. Johnson became a wealthy celebrity-athlete, and the White Company of Cleveland went on to become one of the nation's four largest truck manufacturers.
©2008 Daniel Alef; (P)2008 Daniel Alef