Swab, The Great American Wagon Company

Swab WagonElizabethville, Penn. – Carriage brands that might have been around during, say, the time of Little House on the Prairie would be gone. Perhaps most are, but one wagon brand is still around. It’s the company Swab Wagon Co., makers of fire and rescue trucks, pumpers and animal transports.

Swab Wagon Co. is perhaps the oldest, motor vehicle companies in the world. The company started by making carriages, but today makes bodies for fire, police and EMT use, as well as other commercial customers.

A bit about Swab (not Saab), which is over 130 years old:

At the close of the Civil War, Jonas Swab returned home and was employed for five months at the implement factory in Pillow where he learned blacksmithing.  In the spring of 1867 he took a trip as far westward as Omaha, Nebraska, and worked for a while in several places.  He returned home in December of 1867, and on March 8, 1868 purchased a tract of land from H. W. Schreffler in Elizabethville, present location of the firm.  It was here he opened his blacksmith shop, which later became Swab Wagon Company.

Jonas Swab married in Elizabethville, December 4, 1869 to Ellen S. Mattis.  Three children were born of the marriage, but only one daughter lived past childhood.  Etta M. (Margerum) Swab died February 9, 1968 at the age of 80.

Mr. Swab was widely known as a reliable and enterprising manufacturer.  His wagons were classed second to none throughout the East.  The demand for Swab Wagons was so great that for a period of 30 years, the plant was closed only three days, exclusive of Sundays and legal holidays.

Swab Wagon Co.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

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