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Stearns-Knight Advertising Campaign (1928)

Stearns-Knight Ad (August, 1928) – For those who appreciate supreme achievement
Stearns-Knight Ad (August, 1928) – For those who appreciate supreme achievement
Stearns-Knight Ad (September, 1928) – Expressing distinction in a new dimension
Stearns-Knight Ad (September, 1928) – Expressing distinction in a new dimension
Stearns-Knight Ad (October, 1928) – Expressing a new note in motor car personality
Stearns-Knight Ad (October, 1928) – Expressing a new note in motor car personality
Images: Country Life; House & Garden
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Motor Cars of Quality
Mechanically speaking, Stearns-Knight automobiles were some of the best engineered cars of the prewar era, and beyond. While their styling wasn't much different from all the other automobiles that were being produced during that period, the level of their construction and fit and finish were well above the average automobile being produced, not only in America but in Europe as well.

The marketing men knew that, and they wanted to make sure the public knew it too. That is why the Stearns-Knight display ads that they created for the then-popular publications, such as Life, The Saturday Evening Post, Time, and The New Yorker clearly made reference to that fact.

As flaunted in this early 1930-era display ad, it states: "In Europe, Knight-motored cars are almost invariably chosen by such discerning motorists. In America, the De Luxe Stearns-Knight enjoys a similar acceptance among the connoisseurs of fine motor cars."

The bold, proud ad copy continued by affirming: "The masterful design of Stearns coachwork – the artistry with which this design is executed – win the instant admiration of the most critical – the most fastidious. An arresting grace of line, a deftness in the arrangement of interior appointments, a unity of craftsmanship, combine with superb performance to make the De Luxe Stearns-Knight the criterion of American automobiles."

But Stearns-Knight’s real signature feature was its unique sleeve-valve engine, for which it was well known throughout the world. Back in 1911, the F.B. Stearns Company bought the production rights to the English-developed Knight sleeve-valve engine, which it built under license at its factory in Cleveland, Ohio. It was an effective design, which featured rotating metal sleeves in each cylinder that incorporated specially shaped port holes that allowed the air/fuel mixture to enter and escape the cylinder as it rotated in-sync to the combustion cycle. Unlike the mainstream poppet-valve design, the sleeve valve was simple, durable, and a whole lot quieter during operation. And it was quite powerful, too.

Promoting this “breakthrough” engine, the display ad stated: “It is to be expected that Stearns, pioneer of the Knight engine in this country, should now offer an eight-cylinder Knight motor, and, complementing this supreme sleeve-valve engine, a Worm Drive Rear Axle – thus effecting a power transmission unit which is unsurpassed and which cannot be obtained in any American car.”

Unfortunately, the Depression hit, and Stearns-Knight, among many other auto manufacturers, simply could not survive. The last year of production was 1930, thus bringing to an end one of America’s most innovative independent automobile manufacturers.
Source: hemmings.com
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