Edward Gowen Budd (December 28, 1870 – November 30, 1946) was an American inventor and businessman.
Edward G. Budd
Edward Gowen Budd
December 28, 1870
|Died||November 30, 1946 (aged 75)|
|Resting place||West Laurel Hill Cemetery|
|Employer||Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company|
Edward Gowen Budd was born in Smyrna, Delaware, on December 28, 1870. He studied engineering in Philadelphia in 1888. He took correspondence courses and studied at the Franklin Institute.
He worked as an apprentice in a machine shop. In 1899, he moved to Philadelphia to finish his apprenticeship with the Bement Machine Company. He then took his knowledge of pressed steel to the railroad industry. He worked with the Pullman Company on a contract for Pennsylvania Railroad, building the first all-steel car.
From 1900 to 1902, he worked for the American Pulley Company as a shop superintendent. He then worked for Hale & Kilburn, designing railroad car seats and interior trim. He resigned in 1912 after the firm showed lack of enthusiasm in moving into the automobile body business.
His company was soon supplying an all-steel sedan body to auto manufacturers. Following discussions between them which began in 1913 Budd's first big supporters were the Dodge brothers, who purchased 70,000 all-steel open touring bodies in 1916. They were soon followed by an all-steel Dodge sedan. The brothers had not believed such a thing possible but they were persuaded to allow Budd to go ahead with the design, die-making and press-installation needed for actual production to begin. Other US manufacturers soon followed Dodge's lead. Closed bodies outsold open bodies from 1923 on.
To hold all this steel together, Budd also pioneered the use of arc welding in automobile manufacturing.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, Budd pioneered the fabrication of stainless steel and helped create the Pioneer Zephyr, a streamlined train for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Budd stainless steel railway cars were very successful for many years. During World War II, Budd was also the original maker of the Bazooka projectile and the rifle grenade. He and his company were also instrumental in the development of the radial disk brake and the automatic wheel line.