Cover

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Title, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. xi

List of Tables

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p. x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

The roots of this book extend back to late 1980, when I wrote a brief history of the sprawling Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck, Michigan, before its demolition. This was my first venture into Dodge history and I quickly learned of the absence of any comprehensive history of John and Horace Dodge and the automobile company that bore their names. I discovered that Chrysler’s historical archives contained a great deal of material on Dodge Brothers before the Chrysler Corporation bought the firm in 1928. Once...

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Introduction

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pp. xiii-xv

Automotive historians are familiar with the lives and accomplishments of John and Horace Dodge, but most general readers are not. The Dodge brothers were relatively obscure figures to their contemporary public when they worked as manufacturers of parts for the Olds Motor Works and the Ford Motor Company from 1901 through 1914. They then manufactured their own automobiles for only six years, but by the time they both died in 1920, they had earned considerable recognition and respect...

Abbreviations

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p. xvi

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ONE: Growing Up in Niles, Michigan, and the Long Road to the Dodge Brothers’ Machine Shop in Detroit

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pp. 1-28

Two fiercely independent but inseparable redheaded brothers—John Francis Dodge and Horace Elgin Dodge—grew up in the small town of Niles on the St. Joseph River in Berrien County, which is in the extreme southwest corner of Michigan. The Dodge brothers spent most of their adult lives working as skilled machinists and manufactured complete automobiles for only a brief six years before their deaths in 1920....

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TWO: Automotive Suppliers to Ransom Olds and Henry Ford, 1901–1914

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pp. 29-60

John and Horace Dodge established a machine shop in Detroit in late 1900, operating under the name “Dodge Brothers.” They started as a general-purpose machine shop, but soon made the first of several crucial decisions that enabled them to become successful manufacturers and wealthy men. By late 1900, they supplied engines to the Olds Motor Works, the first substantial automobile manufacturer of any note in Michigan. Six months later, they were manufacturing transmissions for Olds...

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THREE: The First Dodge Brothers Automobile

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pp. 61-78

Over a remarkable eighteen-month span, John and Horace Dodge designed and produced an entirely new automobile, introducing a proud new nameplate that has survived to this day. They designed and tested a new mid-priced car that offered many advanced technical features. They decided which components to manufacture in-house, which to buy from outside suppliers, and which suppliers to use. Surviving records...

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FOUR: A Successful Car and a Successful Company, 1915–1920

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pp. 79-114

Over the final seven years of their lives, John and Horace Dodge transformed their company from the largest supplier of automotive parts in the United States to a large-scale producer of a popular mid-priced car of their own design. The Dodge Brothers automobile was not merely another mid-range offering on the market but an innovative product because it incorporated all-steel bodies supplied by the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia. Dodge Brothers developed an innovative, cooperative relationship with Budd in the process. The Dodge...

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FIVE: The Dodge Brothers in Perspective

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pp. 115-152

The story of John and Horace Dodge ended tragically in 1920 with their deaths. Their lives and personalities and identities were more intimately intertwined than any other pair of brothers I know. Each brother’s interests and talents complemented the other’s perfectly. Long after becoming extremely wealthy, John and Horace Dodge felt more comfortable among ordinary shop floor workers in the factory than with Detroit’s business and social elites. John’s instruction that the pallbearers at his funeral..

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SIX: Dodge Brothers under Frederick J. Haynes, 1920–1925

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pp. 153-180

Dodge Brothers survived without its founders and continued to produce cars and trucks profitably through most of the 1920s. Top executives seasoned during the 1910s and groomed to run the firm provided management stability and continuity. With Horace Dodge absent, the Dodge Brothers board of directors put Frederick J. Haynes...

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SEVEN: The Dillon, Read Years and the Merger with the Chrysler Corporation, 1925–1928

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pp. 181-204

During the three years the investment banking house of Dillon, Read & Company owned Dodge Brothers, the automaker’s performance suffered. Neither Clarence Dillon nor his handpicked manager, Edward G. Wilmer, had any experience in the automobile industry. They turned what had been a growing, profitable company in 1925 into an automaker struggling to sell its products in 1927. Declining profits and falling...

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Retrospective: The Dodge Brothers—The Men, the Motor Cars, and the Legacy

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pp. 205-208

Placing the lives and careers of the Dodge brothers in perspective can be accomplished by comparing them with contemporary auto industry pioneers and leaders. Their management style in running Dodge Brothers was quite distinct from that of contemporary auto industry giants such as Henry Ford (1863–1947), William C. (“Billy”) Durant (1861–1947), and Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (1875–1966). Their management...

Appendix: Early Dodge Family History in America

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pp. 209-210

Notes

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pp. 211-242

Index

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pp. 243-252