Fred Duesenberg

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Frederick Samuel Duesenberg (December 6, 1876–July 26, 1932) was a German-born American automobile pioneer designer, manufacturer and sportsman.


Fred Duesenberg was born in Lippe, Germany and emigrated to the United States with his parents and family when he was eight years old. The family settled in Rockford, Iowa. He was actually born as Friedrich Simon Duesenberg, and not with the middle name of Samuel as most sources say. Samuel was the middle name of his brother, August Duesenberg.

Entrance into engineering industry

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

Having raced their bicycles and motorcycles, it was natural that, as with other automobile builders, Duesenberg would use the Indianapolis Speedway as a laboratory, and for nearly twenty years his own entries participated in races...
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