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 Horace Elgin Dodge, Sr

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Horace Elgin Dodge, Sr

Automobile Pioneer and Manufacturer. He, along with his older brother John Francis Dodge, founded the successful automobile firm Dodge Brothers Company. Born the youngest of four children in Niles, Michigan his father owned a foundry and machine shop. In 1886 he and his brother moved to Detroit, Michigan where they took jobs at a boilermaker plant. In 1894 they went to work as machinists at the Canadian Typograph Company across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario. While he was a gifted mechanic and inveterate tinkerer, his brother was the sales oriented managerial type. He invented the first dirt-proof ball bearing and in 1897 his brother arranged a deal for them to join with a third party investor to manufacture bicycles. Within a few years they sold the business and in 1901 used the proceeds of the sale to set up their own machine shop in Detroit. During their first year in business they began making parts for the automobile industry. In 1902 they won a contract to build transmissions for the Olds (Oldsmobile) Motor Vehicle Company upon which they built a solid reputation for quality and service. However, the following year they turned down a second contract from Olds in order to retool their plant to build engines for Henry Ford in a deal that included a share position in the new Ford Motor Company. By 1910 he and his brother were so successful they built a new plant in Hamtramck, Michigan. In 1913 Dodge Brothers Company terminated their Ford contract and devoted their energies toward producing a Dodge automobile. They began building motor trucks, ambulances and other vehicles for the US military during the arms buildup for World War I and in October 1917 they produced their first commercial car. At the end of World War I, their company manufactured and marketed both cars and trucks. A speedboat and yachting enthusiast, his keen interest in the vessel's engines led him to establish a marine division as part of their automotive business. In 1919 Henry Ford bought out the Dodge brothers' shareholdings in Ford Motor Company for $25 million. The following year he died of complications from the Spanish flu at the age of 52. In 1928 Dodge Brothers was purchased by the fledgling Chrysler Corporation for $170 million.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 287
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Horace Elgin Dodge, Sr (17 May 1868–10 Dec 1920), Find A Grave Memorial no. 287, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .