Independent Invention Mishawaka-born Wallace Harlow Dodge earned his reputation as an inventor when he patented the Magic Jack in 1878, which became the leading jack for performing wagon maintenance. With the help of his younger brother, William,…

Wilson Branches Out to South BendThe Wilson Brothers menswear business was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio by the four Wilson brothers, John, E. Crane, Hugh, and Milton, in 1864. They moved their headquarters to Chicago four years later, where they…

Origin of the Mills Although South Bend citizens remembers the Stephenson Underwear Mills as men’s and women’s underwear makers, the company started as a wool mill. In 1855, Alexander C. “A.C.” Staley and Jeremiah Sowry started milling wool --…

Singer: a Better Machine 1850-1868Isaac Merritt Singer refined existing sewing machines in 1850 by adding a presser-foot system. The system surrounds the needle with a foot-like part that forces the fabric to lay flat when being fed into the machine…

J.D. Oliver’s inspiration for CopshaholmJoseph Doty “J.D.” Oliver managed the finances for Oliver Chilled Plow Works, the business his father founded in 1857. J.D. Oliver’s mind for business was key to the company’s lasting success. He landmarked his…

Oliver Chilled Plow Works - 1835-1855 South Bend’s Oliver Chilled Plow Works manufactured some of the world’s most popular plows, calling themselves “Plowmakers to the World.” Immigrant and inventor James Oliver’s patented method of chilling the cast…

Clement Studebaker, co-founder and first President of the Studebaker company, chose to build a home that reflected his financial success. Chicago architect Henry Ives Cobb was chosen to design the Romanesque style mansion in 1885. Lavish New Home,…

By the 20th century, Studebaker began producing cars, competing against the top manufacturers in the country. In order to keep up, Studebaker hired employees to run huge factories, like the one where “Assembly 84” is located. The massive assembly…

Studebaker Plaza, today a city-owned public space, serves as a reminder of the humble roots of South Bend's industrial age. The enormous Studebaker corporation grew from a small blacksmith shop established on the corner of Michigan Street and…