Reed Brothers Auto Glass & Body Shop

Reed Brothers Dodge Auto Glass and Body Repair Shop 1968

Circa 1968, the concrete ramp on the left leads up to the Auto Glass and Body Repair Shop

With a surge in automobile purchases in the early 1900’s, and an equal amount of car accidents and breakdowns, Reed Brothers began offering collision repair services. Just as the automobile has gone through numerous transformations over the last century, so has the auto body repair industry. When Henry Ford first mass produced the car in 1908, it was so new and unlike any other means of transportation at the time, that no one, outside of the few people who designed and built the old Model T Fords, was really qualified to do repairs. In the early years, many people turned to a machinist or even a bicycle repair shop for car repairs. As the popularity of the automobile grew, so did the demand for experienced and reliable mechanics and auto body specialists.

By the 1920s, there were a great deal of cars on the roads, which meant that manufacturers and dealerships needed to provide drivers with the means of repairing their vehicles in the event of a collision or breakdown. To meet this demand, manufacturers started making standardized parts that could easily replace damaged components of a vehicle. Dealerships were now able to employ mechanics that were able to easily repair vehicles using the prefabricated parts provided by the manufacturers. This method of auto repair lasted into the 1930s and 40s, though production and demand for repairs did hit a major decline at this time due to the Great Depression and World War II.

Reed Brothers Dodge Body Shop

As business expanded, Reed Brothers began to explore additional opportunities within the automobile repair industry. In 1947, Reed Brothers added a separately maintained glass shop in their service department which was equipped to replace all types of automobile glass. The glass installations were done by an experienced glazier who had enough work to keep him busy full-time. It eliminated a good deal of the confusion and overlapping which sometimes occurred when glass orders were mixed in with the usual repair work. A separate work area was set up for the glazier and he always had an adequate supply of glass in boxes to be cut down to the needs of any job, ground and polished.

In addition to auto replacements, glass was also cut for mirrors and table tops. Another innovation of the repair department was a separate paint and body shop which was located next to the glass shop. Reed Brothers was capable of repairing all makes and models from all manufacturers with factory-prepared paints available to match any color of car. They had the ability to give all around service except upholstery work and tire recapping.

In 1930, Reed Brothers added the Plymouth line and soon after Dodge trucks. Hand in hand with straight sales was the growth of the service department which at that time had six factory trained mechanics who had full knowledge of automobile needs and how to take care of them. Reed Brothers also owned and operated their Gulf gasoline and service station which was adjacent to their salesroom and repair shop.

By the 1970s, Reed Brothers Dodge Body Shop used state of the art equipment in the repair and refinishing process on all vehicles. Their Chief frame machine utilized a laser measuring system to ensure precision alignment of all body and frame components. The Blowtherm downdraft booth with bake cycle produced a “factory cured” finish that lesser equipment simply cannot match.

Reed Brothers Dodge had computer downloaded specifications for practically every vehicle made and they color match all paints in-house, with world renowned Spies Hecker paint and mixing system. The skilled “plastic surgeons” of the automobile world, their technicians were all formally trained professional with ASE and I-CAR, which kept them up to the minute with the latest technology.

BLOWTHERM downdraft booth

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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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