From Horses to Horsepower: Studebaker Helped Move a Nation
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Studebaker Mileposts

Brothers Henry and Clement Studebaker decide to go into business together and establish the H & C Studebaker blacksmith shop in South Bend, Indiana, on February 16, 1852.



Unable to fill a large wagon order, wagon manufacturer George Milburn of the Mishawaka Wagon Works turns to the Studebaker brothers for help. Milburn ends up subcontracting 100 wagons to the Studebakers.



Brother John Mohler leaves California for South Bend. Upon his arrival, he buys out Henry, and becomes involved in the business.



The firm includes a manufacturing shop, paint room, lumber yard, and office. It is also about this time that Studebaker produces its first carriages.



The Union begins placing orders with the Studebakers for wagons, gun caissons, and other war materials. While providing war supplies does not make the Brothers rich, it does position the company for success upon the War's end.



April 14th, Abraham Lincoln rides to Ford's Theater in the Studebaker carriage owned by the White House. The carriage is currently on display at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana.



March 26th, Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company is incorporated under the laws of Indiana.



The company proclaims itself to be the "largest vehicle builders in the world". In June of this year, a fire almost destroys the company, but the factory is quickly rebuilt.



August 24th, a second huge fire destroys two-thirds of the factory, which is again quickly rebuilt.



Studebaker wagons are exhibited at the Paris Exposition, where they win a silver medal for excellence.



The factory in South Bend experiences another big fire. The works again being rebuilt in record time.



Benjamin Harrison is elected to the Presidency. One of his first acts is to place an order with Studebaker to fully stock the White House garage with equipment.



The Spanish-American War erupts, and Studebaker is contacted to see if they can deliver 500 wagons - complete with special paint and decoration - in 36 hours, which they do.


1902- 1912

In 1902, the Studebaker Electric automobile is introduced. Sales are never very strong, and production ceases entirely by 1912.



Studebaker begins production of gasoline powered cars.



Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company purchases the Everitt-Metzger-Flanders Company, an automobile manufacturer in Detroit, and is renamed The Studebaker Corporation.


1911- 1915

Albert Russel Erskine joins the company, and rises to first vice president by 1913. He is made president in July, 1915.


1914- 1918

Studebaker enters World War I, when the British government places an initial order for 3,000 wagons. Additional orders come in from England and are joined by orders from France and Russia, and eventually the United States upon its entry into the War. Items supplied eventually include equipage ambulances, artillery carriages, bayonet scabbards, staff cars, and caterpillars.



All horse-drawn vehicle operations are liquidated in 1919 except for wagons, farm trucks, and harnesses. These final operations are discontinued in 1920. Meanwhile, automobile production is moved from Detroit to South Bend, Indiana.



Studebaker introduces four-wheel hydraulic brakes into its automobiles. This was considered controversial at the time, as it was thought by many to be unsafe to stop so quickly.



Studebaker celebrates its Diamond Jubilee on January 2.



The luxury car manufacturer Pierce-Arrow is purchased, and allows Studebaker to offer cars at all price ranges.


1933- 1935

Unable to avoid the effects of the great depression, Studebaker goes into receivership March 21, 1933. President Albert Erskine, despondent, commits suicide on July 1, 1933. Studebaker is finally released from receivership on March 9, 1935.



Raymond Loewy begins his association with Studebaker. Raymond Loewy Associates will hold the design account until 1955.


1939- 1945

Studebaker production supports allied demands in World War II. Starting with an order placed by the French government in November, 1939, for 2,000 trucks, Studebaker also supplies trucks to Belgium and Holland. Ironically, many of these trucks are used in the German army upon France's surrender in 1940. Trucks are also supplied to Russia as a result of the Lend-Lease Act. Upon the United States' entry into the War, passenger car production ceases on January 31, 1942 and Studebaker's assembly lines turn out military trucks, engines for Boeing B-17s, and an amphibious personnel carrier known as the Weasel.



Introduction of the famous "bullet nose" design.



Studebaker celebrates its first 100 years of business.



The "Loewy coupe" is introduced.



Studebaker merges with Packard.



Introduction of the Hawk line.



The last Packard is produced, but the name remains on the corporate banner until 1962.



The highly successful Lark is introduced.



Studebaker introduces the Avanti in May at the Indianapolis 500.



The South Bend plant is closed.



With closure of the plant in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Studebaker ceases vehicle production after 114 years.



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