Edward Gowen Budd (1870-1946) founded the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia in 1912. It merged with the subsidiary Budd Wheel Company in 1946 to form The Budd Company. Budd and his company pioneered in the design, fabrication and welding of light steel sheets. Budd's primary products were automobile and truck bodies and parts, but between 1934 and 1983, it was an innovative builder of railroad and transit passenger cars and it also produced some experimental stainless steel airplanes. In 1978, Budd became a subsidiary of Thyssen AG of Germany. The money-losing railroad car operations were first spun off to a separate Thyssen subsidiary, Transit America, Inc., in 1985 and then sold to Bombardier Inc. in 1987. Thyssen concentrated operations in Michigan and closed its last Philadelphia plant in 2002. The surviving company is now named ThyssenKrupp Budd Company.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of historical manuscript files, among them an extensive typescript entitled "The Life and Work of Edward G. Budd."; a report on The Budd Company facilities prepared for the Rover Company, Ltd., of Great Britain in 1925; a report on the Shotweld process prepared for the Civil Aeronautics Authority in 1939, and a facsimile of a 1914 letter from the Dodge Brothers about an early Budd order. The remainder of the file consists of clippings, tear sheets, press releases, and various letters and pamphlets, all dealing with company products, personnel or employee relations. Among these are letters from the Pennsylvania Railroad Company from 1944 and materials relating to the Pioneer III and Metroliner railroad cars. One of the tear sheets describes how company official Paul Pleiss and his German counterpart at Ambi-Budd smuggled the secret of the German army's innovative five gallon gasoline can out of Germany in 1939.