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Horace Elgin Dodge

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Horace Elgin Dodge
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Wikipedia: Horace Elgin Dodge

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Born: 17 May 1868
Died: 10 December 1920

One of the co-founders of Dodge with John Dodge.

Biography

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Horace Elgin Dodge page on 17 June 2019, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

He was born in Niles, Michigan, on May 17, 1868. His father owned a foundry and machine shop. Horace Dodge and his elder brother John Francis Dodge were inseparable as children and as adults. In 1886, the Dodge brothers 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.

In 1896, Horace Dodge married Anna Thompson, a Scottish immigrant born in Dundee. The couple had a son, Horace Jr., and a daughter, Delphine. Thompson later married actor Hugh Dillman after the death of Dodge.

While brother John Dodge was the sales-oriented managerial type, Horace was a gifted mechanic and inveterate tinkerer. He invented the first dirt-proof ball bearing; in 1897, John 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, the Dodge brothers' company began making parts for the automobile industry.

In 1902, they won a contract to build transmissions for the Olds 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 (Oldsmobile) to retool their plant to build engines for Henry Ford in a deal that included a share position in the new Ford Motor Company. They had invested in Ford's business and eventually Ford would be in debt to the Dodge Brothers. By 1910, Horace Dodge and his brother were so successful they built a new plant in Hamtramck, Michigan.

For ten years, the Dodge brothers' company was supplier to Ford, and John Dodge worked as vice president of the Ford company. In 1913 the Dodge brothers terminated their Ford contract and devoted their energies toward producing a Dodge automobile. They began building motor trucks, ambulances and other vehicles for the United States military during the arms buildup for World War I and in October 1917 they produced their first commercial car. At war's end, their company manufactured and marketed both cars and trucks.

He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1981.


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
3 November 1916DODGES SUE HENRY FORD.The New York Times


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