“The automobile owner uses his car six days a week either in direct pursuit of his business or as a means of quickly transporting himself and others to and from that place of business.”
“The fact that he may take his family out on a Sunday is not a pleasure trip, but a necessary recreation in order, to ‘keep fit’ for his work.” (McAlpine, Schuman Carriage, Honolulu Star Bulletin, November 3, 1907)
“The automobile is here to stay. If we had better roads there would be more automobiles sold, naturally.” (Gustav Schuman, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 24, 1916)
Gustav Adolph Schuman was born July 6, 1867 in Dresden, Germany to Charles and Martha (Schmalden) Schuman. (His father was a state highway inspector.) Mr. Schuman attended the public schools until he was fourteen.
He left school and started as an apprentice to learn furniture making in Germany. In 1884, he followed an older brother to Hawaiʻi and took a position as a carriage trimmer (upholsterer) with the Carriage Manufacturing Co.
Four years later, he started a carriage shop of his own, and in 1896 he disposed of it to enter the livery business (boarding and care of horses) with the purchase of the Club Stables. In 1900, he built the Territorial Stables on King Street, which he sold two years later.
“Gustav Schuman in 1897 started a business in carriages and harness on Fort Street above Hotel. All of the goods sold at the time were American made, and the business steadily increased year by year.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 24, 1916)
“The business carried on by G. Schuman has been incorporated, and from this time the name will be G. Schuman, Ltd. The corporation will have the right to do all kinds of merchandising, handling real estate, and do a livery and sale business”. (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, September 6, 1901)
“The principal attention will be given to the carriage and harness lines, and the hacks which have been run for several years by Schuman, the sales of animals and their hiring, will be carried on only as before, there being no intention to expand at this time.”
“The declared objects of the company are to deal in carriages and all kinds of conveyances and vehicles, in grain, provisions and feed, horses and real estate, and to have stables for the purpose of keeping horses to hire.”
“While there is little chance that the company should go into general livery business, there are many members of the company who foresee that there will be some difficulty in the future, if they try to keep out of this all the time.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, September 6, 1901)
“At the time of the organization of the business the concern covered 2,000 feet of floor space. There is now 80,000 feet of floor space in the new building.”
“In 1897 there were two employees busily engaged in handling the business. Today the establishment is a veritable beehive, with upward of 100 employees carrying on the business that is forty times larger than that of less than twenty years ago.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 24, 1916)
“From a modest beginning in the days before the ‘horseless carriage,’ the Shuman Carriage company has developed into a concern known throughout the territory and with dealings in every part of the island.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 31, 1917)
“Mr Schuman visited the world’s exposition at St. Louis in 1904, and brought back the first car with him. It was a (gasoline powered) Ford. Mr Schuman drove this car, and the first year eight of the cars were sold. One of the features of the sales was that the Club Stables bought four cars to be placed in the rent services in 1905.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 24, 1916)
“The Schuman Company was a going concern before the auto invaded the ‘Paradise of the Pacific.’ Foreseeing the possibilities of the gasoline engine, Gus Schuman took up the auto and soon it superseded the wagon and carriage business in importance.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 31, 1917)
“During the early years in the automobile business Mr Schuman, like many other men, believed that the automobile was merely a fad, and expected it to die out in time.”
“But as the fad grew to be a necessity he took advantage of the opportunities and went into the automobile business with a purpose, and as a result the sales average about one car per day at the present time.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 24, 1916)
The company grew and at a point was the largest privately-owned automobile concern in the Territory, and the agent for Ford, Lincoln, Hudson and Essex cars, Federal and White trucks, Goodrich tires, tractors and various automobile accessories. (Nellist)
“The various departments, including the motorcycle, bicycle and accessories, are connected. … Other departments are: automobile accessories and tires, including all supplies; carriage and wagon materials; farming implements; auto repair shop; carriage shop, which includes woodworking, blacksmith and trimming and painting departments; garage, including the Associated Garage on Bethel and Merchant streets, where a service is still retained for automobile owners.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 24, 1916)
Over the years, it was situated in several locations. One notable site was at the corner of Beretania and Richards, Schuman bought it in the mid-1920s. Before he modified the building it had been the Central Union Church (they needed more room and built a new facility down Beretania Street.)
The Schuman display room had stained glass windows. (Schuman later moved down Beretania for his later, and last, Honolulu facility. Schuman Carriage closed its dealerships in 2004.) (The first autos that appeared on the streets of Honolulu on October 8, 1899 were Woods electric cars (this story is about later cars with internal combustion engines. (Schmitt.))