John and Horace Dodge first broke into the car business in 1900 by supplying parts and assemblies to Detroit-based auto manufacturers, first for Olds Motor Vehicle Company and later, for Ford Motor Company, where they were early stockholders. The brothers eventually severed ties with Ford and introduced their first car in late 1914. The inseparable Dodge brothers wore identical tailored suits and had reputations for hard work and frequenting watering holes patronized by the working man. Here are some other interesting facts about the Dodge Brothers:
- When Ford starting making the Model T, he had 12 employees--the Dodge brothers had 135.
- By the time Horace and John cut ties with Ford, their company was actually making most of the components that went into the Model T.
- The Dodge brothers presented Henry Ford with numerous design ideas to improve the Model T, but Ford was unwilling to implement the improvements.
- The First Dodges to roll off the assembly lines in Detroit were twice as expensive as the Model-T. The Dodge Brothers were content to leave the lower price point market to Ford.
Horace Dodge contracted Spanish influenza while attending the New York Auto Show in January, 1920 and died ten days later. John was struck by the same influenza epidemic in December of 1920, and died shortly thereafter due to complications from pneumonia. Both Dodge brothers took Detroit by storm, died in the same year, and 100 years later, their competitive spirit lives on. Below, we have assembled two tributes to the Dodge brothers that are receiving plenty of airtime these days. Congratulations on 100 years worth of contributions to American automobile manufacturing!