Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
In 1852, two of Studebaker brothers, Henry and Clement, opened a blacksmith shop in South Bend. After the three younger brothers joined the business, it became the world’s largest maker of wagons and buggies.
In 1902, the company made its first electric car. Two years later, their first gas car hit the market. Studebaker co-built self-propelled and horse-drawn vehicles until 1920, when the horse-drawn vehicles were discontinued. The company did well, but took a big hit in 1933 when the Great Depression hit, causing the company to go into bankruptcy. President Albert Erskine committed suicide that year.
After new management took over, the company took back off until the mid 1950s. The main factory closed in 1963, and the final plant closed in 1966.