August Duesenberg

August Duesenberg

August Duesenberg

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August Samuel Duesenberg (12 December 1879–18 January 1955) was a German-American automobile pioneer manufacturer.


Duesenberg was born in Kirchheide, Lippe-Detmold. His large family emigrated to the United States when he was five, settling in Rockford, Iowa.

In the 1890s, August Duesenberg started building and racing bicycles with his brother Frederick. In 1900, they then began playing with gasoline engines and also motorcycles. In 1906 the brothers obtained financing to manufacture cars from Edward Mason, an Iowa lawyer. F. L. Maytag, washing machine and appliance magnate, bought 60 percent of the company. The result was the Maytag-Mason Motor Company at Waterloo, Iowa. But neither Maytag nor Mason were experienced in the car business and the company gradually folded. The Duesenberg brothers went off to St. Paul, Minnesota to work on racing car engines and in 1913 they founded Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company, Inc. to build engines and racing cars.

With the coming of World War I the Duesenbergs had cause to change many of their engineering ideas. The catalyst was a Bugatti engine. This straight-eight engine consisted of two straight-four engines. They were mounted in series on a common crankcase with two flat crankshafts which were both linked at 90 degrees to form a single shaft. The Duesenbergs were granted an American contract to produce the engine for the French government, and it was their experience with the Bugatti masterpiece that led...
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