Seeing the possibilities that the auto industry had to offer, A. L. Dyke established the first automobile supply business, as well as supply catalog, in the country in 1899. With the industry still in its infancy, Dyke was without actual parts and supplies to sell at first, but developed an arrangement with the St. Louis Motor Carriage Company to sell parts made in their factory under the Dyke name. With extensive advertising in automobile magazines and trade journals, The St. Louis Automobile Supply & Parts Co. prospered quickly, offering tools, parts, supplies, and clothing for the everyday motorist.
Dyke also became a pioneer in the kit car business, supplying all the components, blueprints, and working drawings for people who wanted to build their own cars priced between $600 and $1,000. Between 1899 and 1907, Dyke offered three complete cars for sale, as well as a variety of books on the subject of automobile repair and maintenance.
"All Dyked Up"
A. L. Dyke’s auto supply store was located on Locust Avenue on Automobile Row in St. Louis. On entering the store, visitors were greeted with a life-size mannequin dressed in a touring robe, cap, and goggles. Legend has it that A. L. Dyke coined the phrase “all Dyked up” to describe someone fashionably dressed for the rigors of the road. The expression later changed to “all decked out.”
Dyke's Auto Supply Store, ca. 1903
1902 Dyke Kit Car
This ca. 1902 single-cylinder kit car was sold from the Dyke Automobile Supply Company in St. Louis to Mr. Hagenlocker of Erie, Pennsylvania. After he passed away it sat untouched in the second story of a building until 1953, when it was purchased from the Hagenlocker estate. Over the next few decades the car passed through several hands and many different states of repair before being brought it back to its original home in St. Louis.
Postcard advertising motoring fashions at Dyke Automobile Supply Co., ca. 1900.