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Friday, July 4, 2014

Dodge: It started in Windsor

It was 100 years ago this week that the Dodge brothers founded the brawny car brand that still bears their name. But few have heard the tale of how the two-fisted brothers started their business in Canada.

John and Horace Dodge spent nearly eight years working in Windsor as machinists, founding their first company here, filing their first patents, and learning how to mass produce manufactured goods.

The Evans & Dodge Bicycle Company is nearly forgotten now. But it taught the brothers how to run a leading-edge technology business – which it was in those days, says Windsor automotive historian Mickey Moulder.

After selling out to CCM in 1900, the brothers took $7,500 in capital out of the little Windsor company back to Detroit and founded Dodge Brothers, machinists. So laid the foundation of the gigantic fortune they managed to produce before both dying in 1920.

What a pair the brawling Dodge brothers were, with their red hair, their barrel chests and propensity for heavy boozing and bar fighting. Horace was the quieter mechanical brain, doggedly working out problems on his work bench with a micrometer until midnight.

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