Manufacturing Dodge Motor Cars, ca 1917

Get ready for a treat! Here is a film that the Dodge Brothers company made to promote their brand in 1917.  Copied at 16 frames per second from a 35mm tinted print preserved by the Academy Film Archive from source material provided by the New Zealand Film Archive. Running Time: 28 minutes (silent, no music, incomplete).

In the 1900s, brothers John and Horace Dodge of Detroit became the major suppliers of drive trains to the Ford Motor Company. They achieved such a stellar reputation for quality that when they decided to manufacture their own automobiles, incorporating as the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company in 1914, 13,000 dealers registered to sell the new vehicles before a single auto had been produced. In 1915, Reed Brothers was franchised as a Dodge dealership and service facility; less than one year after the first Dodge automobile rolled off the assembly line.

In 1916, the company created a film department to promote the Dodge brand. This film appears to be one of its first products. It shows the company’s assembly line in action, demonstrating to viewers the workmanship and care invested in each vehicle. The beginning is missing, lending credence to the hypothesis that the film may be the three-reel profile of the company’s production process distributed in 1917 to Dodge dealerships. The film finishes with close up looks at the Dodge Brothers’ models of the day: the Sedan, Coupe, Roadster and Touring Car.  It also demonstrates Dodge’s capabilities in the snow and on steep hills (particularly fun to watch!).

If you have a half-hour to spare, kick back and enjoy this rare treat! You will get a true insider’s look at how the very first Dodge automobiles were made!

Source: National Film Preservation Foundation

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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

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