Edward G. Budd

Inducted 1985

Established Edward Budd Manufacturing Company in 1912 and campaigned for the use of all-steel automobile bodies

Founded the Budd Wheel Company in 1916 and led the United States in the development of wire-spoke wheels

It wasn’t a magician who turned wooden auto bodies into steel. It was Edward Budd. From his job as an apprentice machinist at the G. W. and S. Taylor Iron works in his native Delaware through the founding of his own manufacturing firms, Budd understood the value and strength of metal, especially for automobile frames. Besides saving time (wood bodies required a 10 to 15-day varnishing process), Budd argued, a sturdy metal frame could save lives. In 1914, after building steel bodies for Packard and Peerless, Budd received an order from America’s newest auto barons, the Dodge brothers. A few years later, Dodge staged a phenomenal promotion by plunging a new Dodge car over a cliff. The steel-bodied car rolled several times before the driver stepped out safely and, miraculously, the car was driven away. Budd’s strength of conviction was as strong as the product he created, and his contributions were summed up in a Philadelphia Record obituary tribute: “Edward G. Budd dealt not in words but in the materials that created goods for the masses…”

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Class of 1985

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