When Tom Lyle Williams (1896 - Sept 1976) was 18 years old, he observed his older sister, Mabel, enhance her eyelashes with burnt cork and Vaseline. With the help of a chemist, he created a black substance that would stick to the eyelashes but not harm the eyes. He sold this product in small kits with a tiny brush under the brand name of Maybelline at Woolworth 5 & 10 at a beginning price of 10 cents each.
He was wealthy by the time he was 20. In the book "Maybelline" (published in 2010) the authors, Sharrie Williams and Bettie Youngs, on page 26 tell how Tom and his brother took the train to Detroit to the Paige Automobile Co. "Most Beautiful Cars in America" with a drawing of his dream car (a car that reminded him of cars that many of his idols had; such as Rudolph Valentino`s Stutz Bearcat but in a clever way could be turned into a 4 door touring car.
Tom had a tight knit family he'd be transporting). This car proved to be rather complicated in converting from a roadster to a touring car. Tom eventually gave the car to his brother Noel. Tom did buy the Rudolph Valentino estate after the famous actor died. Noel and his wife Francis must have found it difficult to convert the car and appear to have never removed the back panels, but always drove the Paige as a roadster. Thus the mahogany cabinet and leather of the back seat and arm rests appear like new today.
Robert Pass, of Passport Transports, purchased several cars from the Jim Grundy Sr. estate. The Paige was in the group, but Robert had no desire to keep it. I, Nevy Clark, purchased it because I thought it "cool". I tried to trace the car's history. I was not even able to find evidence that another like it was ever made. Neither Mrs. Grundy Sr. or Jim Jr. had any knowledge of where the car had come from. Apparently Mr. Grundy had owned it many years. So at that point I was sure I had hit a dead end. He is the registered owner in the Paige roster of 1978.The AACA Antique Automobile magazine volume 73, # 5, Sept/Oct. 2009, page 68 -69, ran an article on this car because of its unique design which allowed it to transform from a racy 2-seater to a rather impressive all-weather touring car. The article even contained a photo that I found in the rear compartment of the car, which turned out to be a picture of Francis Williams driving the Paige (although unknown to me at the time). A year later, the Antique Automobile Magazine Editor, West Peterson, called to advise me to buy the book "Maybelline" for in it are pictures of the Paige and how it came to be and the evidence that it was designed by and built for the founder of Maybelline.
I have had numerous conversations via emails with the book's author, Sherrie Williams, and have received many photos of the Paige with not only Tom Lyne Williams but several other members of the family as well.
Before I knew of the car's unique history, I had replace the pigskin leather on the front seat (the old had become harded) and added an overdrive. The later was not necessary as the car drives 50 - 55mph easily without it. With the OD, no telling. I've never pushed it.
The body paint is original but I believe the fenders have been repainted: most likely when owned by Jim Grundy in the 70s or 80s.
Tom Lyle Williams and his new 1917 Paige
Younger sister Eve & fiance (about 1925)
The car was owned by Jim Grundy for many years.
A book by Sharrie Williams with Bette Youngs describes the history of the Maybelline Paige
Impressed by the "Maybelline Page"? This amazing car is available on the HCCA.org Classifieds. You can check out the pictures and make it yours Here
|Click to Become||an HCCA Member|
© 2016 Horseless Carriage Club of America