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The Dodge Brothers - how they got their start

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The Dodge Brothers - how they got their start

The Dodge Brothers - how they got their start

Every vehicle line that exists today got its start somewhere and many of those humble beginnings offer insight and intrigue into the communal automotive history that has led us, in huge leaps and bounds, from the genius of those early innovators to the modern marvels. Dodge, now and for a long time a benchmark for great vehicle development has been affiliated with the Chrysler brand but the truth of the matter is that the company and its origins are equally remarkable.

Founded by brothers John and Horace, the Dodge Brothers brand helped shape the early days of the automotive revolution - earning the position just below Ford for size and revenue prior to the events that saw the Dodge Brothers company move in the direction of joining Chrysler.

Horace Elgin Dodge, Sr.

Born on May 17th, 1868, in Niles, Michigan, Horace's life seemed to have certain things in mind for him, being as it was that his father owned a successful foundry and machine shop and a polished skillset related to machinery and engineering. His upbringing mirrored many who comes from an innovative family and in 1886, he and his older brother John Francis Dodge moved to Detroit.

Horace took a job at a boilermaker plant, one he would continue to keep until being hired, along with his brother, at Murphy Iron Works.

Renowned racer and automotive enthusiast Ellis Brasher has been quoted saying this much of the John and Horace: "[They were] two red-haired urchins, who spent many hours at their father's side, learning the machinists' trade. John was the quieter of the two and the better machinist. Horace was the leader and financier, making sure the no one took advantage of the pair. The brothers were inseparable."

Ten years later, in 1896, Horace patented (and shared the credit with John) a dirt-proof ball bearing. That same period saw Horace marry Anna Thompson, and in the years to follow would move from one company to next, including working with famed inventor Fred S. Evans with whom they built the Evans & Dodge Company.

John Francis Dodge

Elder brother to Horace, John was born in 1864 on October 25th and shares many of the same story. It's worthy of noting, however, that John is remembered as the more entrepreneurial of the two, with a strong business sense and a charismatic personality. Briefly, the two lived in Windsor, Ontario, where they were employed as machinists at the Dominion Typography Company.

Back again to the ball bearing - an important patent at the time along with also being a stepping stone that the brothers were able to leverage to broker a deal with Fred S. Evans to start the bicycle shop.

In 1900 they were able to use the money to establish their own machine shop in the centre of Detroit.

The Dodge Brothers Company

The Dodge Brothers Company

In 1902 the brothers won a contract to build transmission for the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, another step forward in building their reputation and talents. While they were approached to renew their contract, the brothers decided against it - taking, instead, a share position with the Ford Motor Company - a decision that spearheaded them to incredible heights by 1910 - and enabling them to build a new manufacturing plant in Hamtramck, Michigan.

And that, my friends, is the history of where the Dodge Brothers began - an uphill battle that saw two brothers overcome immeasurable odds and build a company that, at the time of its sale (after their death), was the largest cash transaction in American history - in what would equate to $1.3 billion dollars today.

Join us at Coquitlam Chrysler today to learn more!

Further Reading:

https://www.allpar.com/corporate/bios/dodge-brothers.html

https://www.dodgemotorcar.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge

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