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March 12, 1831 – Clement Studebaker is born

Clement Studebaker, born on this day in 1831, and his older brother Henry founded H&C Studebaker Company in 1852 in South Bend, Indiana to build wagons and provide blacksmithing services. By age 14 Clement had become a skilled blacksmith after apprenticing under his father. Henry sold his interest in the company to their younger brother John in 1858 when the business was busy building wagons for the U.S. Army. This was likely a conflict of interest for Henry, who was a Dunkard, a committed pacifist. 

Above: Portrait of Studebaker brothers. Left to right, (standing) Jacob; (seated) Peter, Clement, Henry, and John.
Top: 1963 Studebaker Avanti. By Kevauto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Thomas Edison in his 1903 electric Studebaker

The younger two brothers were joined by two more brothers and they created the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company. The business soon became the world’s largest wagon manufacturer. Notably, it’s also the only manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles to successfully transition to automobile production, which they began to do in 1897. The first production automobile from Studebaker featured an electric motor and hit the market in 1902. Thomas Edison drove one.

Studebaker wagon ad.


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