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Richard Oakman was the president of a cutlery and silverware company in Greenfield, Massachusetts, but he wanted to expand into the new field of automobile manufacture and sales. Oakman saw Max Hertel, a former classmate of Carl Benz (of Mercedes-Benz in Germany) piloting a gas powered car on a Chicago Street in 1895. Impressed and intrigued, he hired Hertel to oversee production of the Oakman Automobile. This Oakman Motor Vehicle Company ad emphasized the car's easy operation (the woman drives with one hand on the tiller) and its carriage-like elegance. Manufacturing expenses doomed the Oakman Automobile; it cost four times more than Henry Ford's assembly-line-produced Model T, of which Ford sold over 248,000 by 1914.