The History Of The Studebaker Corporation

3046 words - 12 pages

Have you ever wondered about old brands of cars that aren't being produced anymore? That is my main reason that I decided to explore the history of the Studebaker car company. I wanted to learn how the corporation started, the types of vehicles that they produced, how the corporation was run, and what led to the corporation's demise. There have been many changes throughout the history of the Studebaker Corporation; they will be discussed in detail throughout this paper. To learn how the company was started I decided that some family background was needed. The earliest ancestors of the Studebakers are known to have originated in Germany around the Ruhr Valley region. This region was highly regarded for its iron work and blade making. The Studebaker brothers Peter and Clemens decided to leave the region because of heavy taxation and religious intolerance. Since the two brothers belonged to a labor guild they were forced to find a new occupation for 5 years before they could leave Germany for the New World. After the brothers had served their 5 years they decided to sail to the New World. Their journey by sea was taken on a ship named Harle, they landed in Philadelphia on September 1, 1736. As soon as they arrived in the U.S. they started farming in Pennsylvania. (DeWitt, 1) The two brothers that started the Studebaker wagon business were Clement and John.Clement was born in 1831, and John was born in 1833. Their parents were John and Rebecca Studebaker. John Studebaker owned his own farm and blacksmith shop, but was pulled into debt by a religious sect that he belonged to and was forced to sell his farm and move to Ashland, Ohio. He was again forced to sell out and this time he moved his family to South Bend, Indiana. In South Bend he started a blacksmith shop in which he and hisAnderson 2sons worked from 4 A.M. to 9 P.M. every day. The sons received no pay, just a place to stay and food to eat. (Critchlow, 20) In 1852 after their father died Clement and John opened up a wagon building business with a starting capital of $68.00. Clement had received all of his training from his father to be a blacksmith and a wagon builder. (Bailey(Clement Studebaker), 1) While Clement had been working as blacksmith with his father, John had traveled to California during the gold rush to seek his fortune. Instead making money from gold he made about $8,000.00 by selling wheelbarrows to prospectors. When John returned to South Bend he invested his $8,000.00 in the Studebaker company to help with expansion. (Bailey(John Mohler Studebaker), 1) The South Bend location proved to be ideal for 4 main reasons : there was the river which connected Michigan and Indiana, a railroad connected South Bend and Toledo, Ohio, by 1856 four trains were stopping daily, and by the outbreak of the Civil War there was 90 manufacturing firms in the area. (Crithlow, 21) After John had returned from California the brothers received an order to make 100 wagons in 90...

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