Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Studebaker. Who are these guys?

Interesting family story! The Studebaker family immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1736. John Studebaker married his wife -- don't remember her name -- and had 13 children; only ten lived to adulthood. John, a blacksmith, was too kind and quick to accept credit. For this reason, the family was always in debt and John moved the family west multiple times in order to start fresh.

In 1852, Clem and Henry Studebaker opened their own blacksmith shop and began producing wagons. They were later joined by their three brothers, John, Peter, and Jacob. By the Civil War, they were selling wagons to the U.S. Army and eventually they became the largest wagon manufacturer in the world! Their company motto was their father's motto: "Always give more than you promise."

In 1902, the Studebaker Brothers produced their first electric cars.

In fact, J.H. Studebaker was quoted:
"(Gasoline-powered vehicles) are clumsy, dangerous, noisy brutes which stink to high heaven, break down at the worst possible moment and are a public nuissance."

Only a couple years later, the company went on to produce those clumsy gasoline-powered vehicles. In 1954, Studebaker merged with Packard Motor Car Company -- beautiful cars! The Studebaker Company was around until 1966. You may have heard of the Avanti?

Although the Studebaker Collection is not as expansive as the ACD Museum, they have done a great job with signage and displays. The collection ranges from the early horse and buggy days (they even have the buggy Lincoln rode to the Ford Theater on that fateful night).

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