The Marmon Motor Car Company, featured here in a HI article from 2012, began as a manufacturer of millworking equipment in 1851. In 1851, the company was named the Nordyke, Ham, and Company and was headquartered in Richmond, Indiana. Daniel W. Marmon joined the company in 1866, and the name changed to Nordyke Marmon & Company.
In 1875, Nordyke Marmon & Company relocated to the west side of Indianapolis to obtain better manufacturing and shipping facilities. In 1902, Daniel’s son, Howard, an engineer by trade, began tinkering with an automobile design based on his dissatisfaction with the automobiles available at the time. He produced his first experimental car in 1902, and another in 1903. By 1904, Nordyke Marmon & Company sold six cars designed by Howard and his brother Walter, mostly to family and friends.
Production increased to twenty-four cars in 1905, and Nordyke Marmon & Company officially began automobile production. In 1911, the Marmon Wasp, driven by Ray Harroun, won the first Indianapolis 500. In 1926, the company’s name was changed to the Marmon Motor Car Company.
This 1928 advertisement features the Marmon Straight Eight, the model which would dominate Marmon’s inventory for the next few years. In 1931, Walter joined forces with an ex-military engineer named Arthur Herrington to form the Marmon-Herrington Company, which focused on the production of military trucks.
In 1963, the Pritzker family, who also own the Hyatt hotel chain and the Royal Caribbean cruise line, bought the Marmon-Herrington Company, discontinued the production of military trucks, and renamed the company the Marmon Group. The Marmon Group, now owned by Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway, produces electrical components and transportation equipment.