Three Fun Facts About the Dodge Brothers
We’ve seen Dodge’s commercials that feature the company’s founders. While we certainly get an understanding that Horace and John Dodge enjoyed cars and partying, we don’t get a whole picture on the duo. Luckily, we’ve compiled several facts about the brothers that you may not have known.
The company has evolved into one of the biggest brand’s in the automotive industry, and that certainly wouldn’t have happened if not for some of the stories you’re about to hear below. Before you head out to a Dodge dealer in Miami, get a better understanding of the Dodge brothers and the company’s roots…
Roots Started in Boat Engines
The Dodge family’s North American roots started back in 1629 on the east coast. Ezekiel Dodge moved from Massachusetts to Michigan in 1830, repairing boat engines to make money. His son, Daniel, eventually took control of the business, evolving the companying into an engine-repairing and building service.
Daniel’s sons, Horace and John, soon picked up on their father’s enthusiasm for motors. They followed their father around the shop, learning all they could about mechanics.
AllPar.com notes that the pair 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.”
Brothers Were (Mostly) Always Together
“The brothers were inseparable.”
That couldn’t have been truer, and there certainly wasn’t any sibling rivalry. The two briefly worked separately in the late 1880s, but they were soon job hunting together. They eventually joined Detroit’s Iron Works in 1886. Before the turn of the century, the duo also worked for Fred S. Evans in an attempt to produce a bicycle using the Evans and Dodge nameplate.
Around the same time, Horace’s patent for dirt-proof ball bearings was a hit in the industry, but he didn’t take the full credit… he shared the bill with John. This surely convinced the brothers that they should be opening their own business, and the duo opened their own Detroit-based shop in 1902.
The pair sold car parts to several automakers, and their high-quality products soon caught the eye of Ransom Eli Olds. The producer of the Oldsmobile (and the innovator of the assembly line) tasked Horace and John to produce “thousands of engines and mechanics” to help improve the Oldsmobile. With the brothers on board, the sales soon bumped to unbelievable numbers.
Of course, the inseparable duo may have let their teamwork get a bit to their head. They often wore the same suits, and they refused to read mail that wasn’t addressed to the two of them. AllPar.com also notes that the pair were fans of boat racing and partying.
They Built an Unprecedented First Facility
The brother’s first facility was unprecedented for the time: it housed thousands of workers (who earned more than $6 million in payroll) and was more than 24-acres large. The multi-story Hamtramck plant took only five months to build. The plant was intentionally built next to a pair of railroad lines, including one which was connected to Ford’s plant.
Dodge has been around for 116 years, and this long-lasting company certainly wouldn’t have been so successful if not for the teamwork of Horace and John. The two were innovators, and they helped to revolutionize the industry.