When you think about an automobile manufacturer like Dodge, you may picture certain cars that were produced by the company over the years. The name itself sounds like something generic that was contrived by marketing minds.
In fact, the company was named after its founders, Horace Elgin Dodge, and John Francis Dodge. When you talk about American success stories, you certainly have to mention the Dodge brothers.
Imagine being on the ground floor of the automobile manufacturing industry. This is where the Dodge brothers found themselves after they moved to Detroit from their hometown of Niles, Michigan.
The brothers were always together as children, and they were very tight as adults. Their father operated a machine shop and foundry, so they learned how to create mechanical components when they were young.
They went on to work as machinists, and they subsequently went into business for themselves. The Dodge brothers started building bicycles in 1897, and they sold their interests in the enterprise in 1901.
They used the money that they got from the sale to open a machine shop. If you are a machinist in Detroit around the turn of the century, what do you think you are going to churn out? As you might imagine, they started supplying automotive parts for the car manufacturers in the Detroit area.
Their first big contract was an opportunity to put together transmissions for Olds Motor Vehicle Company. They were successful, and people took notice. The Dodge brothers went on to make engines for Henry Ford, and in 1913 they struck out on their own. They wanted to make their own cars, and they did just that.
The company rose to become the second biggest producer of cars in the United States. However, in 1920, both Dodge brothers passed away. Their widows sold the company to Dillon, Read & Co. in 1925. They paid $146 million for the Dodge Brothers Company, and, remember, these are 1925 dollars.
John and Horace went from machinists to tycoons in a couple of decades. Their story is an amazing manifestation of the American dream. They may have been in the right place at the right time, but these things happen in America.
It has been over 90 years since the Dodger brothers passed away, and their family name is still associated with well-built cars and trucks that get people where they want to go.