Brendan O'Shaughnessy '93 | July 21, 2015
In 1852, Clement Studebaker and his brother started a blacksmith forge in South Bend, Indiana, with assets of $68 to their name. Over a half-century, the family business grew into the world’s largest maker of horse-drawn wagons and buggies. Studebaker sales were nearly $3 million in 1897 when Clement’s son informed him that times were changing.
“We better produce a motor car or we’ll be ancient history,” said Clement Jr. “Nonsense,” his father replied, according to one company historian. The horseless carriage was a “novelty,” and no carmaker had made even $300 that year. But the younger generation kept pushing, and Studebaker produced its first automobile within a year of Clement Senior’s death in 1901. His brother John, the last of the founders, still wasn’t convinced, pronouncing motor cars “clumsy, dangerous, noisy brutes which stink to high heaven, break down at the worst possible moment and are a public nuisance.” Yet John presided over the company’s timely transformation.
Read more at Notre Dame Magazine.