August 25, 1910 – The beginning of Yellow Cab Company

On this day in 1910, Walden W. Shaw founded the Shaw Livery Company to offer taxi services in Chicago. He hired and John D. Hertz as a manager, and he would later take control of the company. After finding success in painting their cabs yellow to attract would-be riders, Hertz reorganized as the Yellow Cab Company in 1915 with 40 cabs. He franchised the name to business folk in other big cities, including New York City, expanding his taxicab empire, but remained in New York, where the business later proved deadly. 

In 1920 Hertz created the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company to build his own cars, followed by the Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company in 1923 to build buses and other large transport vehicles. In 1924, he acquired a rental car company and renamed it Hertz Drive-Ur-Self Corporation. Throughout the 1920s Hertz faced serious competition from new taxi services in Chicago, especially Checker Taxi. The Chicago Taxi Wars were about to explode. In June 1921, Hertz declared, “We have gone just as far with the murderous methods of the Checker Taxi company as we intend to. It has only been comic opera, warfare until tonight, but from now on it is going to be a fight to a finish. We feel that we might just as well end the whole business right now.” Hit the link above to read many fascinating articles from the era.

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