In 1904, an engineering student named Clarence Spicer left Cornell University to launch a new business in the vacant corner of a New Jersey factory.
While still a student, Spicer had earned a patent for his groundbreaking design of the first practical universal joint to power an automobile. Spicer's innovation would quite literally unchain the automobile, which had previously relied on chain-and-sprocket drives to transmit power. But at its outset, his new venture was a decidedly bold step.
A talented engineer and inventor, Spicer had neither business nor manufacturing experience. And although the automobile was destined to become a global institution, its future was still far from certain at the turn of the 20th century.
It was from these uncertain beginnings that Dana Incorporated emerged as one of the world's most influential automotive suppliers. Founded on Spicer's designs, and fueled by the business acumen of attorney, politician, and financier Charles Dana, the company proceeded to expand its product array, technological expertise, and geographic scope throughout the century. Along the way, Dana also fostered a progressive, people-oriented culture that has added a unique dimension to the products and services the company provides.
Building on these strengths, Dana Holding Corporation products have helped to drive history's greatest vehicles - from the Model T and the World War II-era Jeep®, to London taxicabs, 18-wheel rigs, giant earth-moving machines, and every car on the NASCAR® racing circuit.
Dana's presence in China dates to 1991 and includes 10 sales, engineering, and manufacturing facilities where Spicer® drivetrain products, Long® thermal products, and Victor Reinz® sealing products for the automotive, commercial-vehicle and off-highway markets are produced.
Well into its second century, Dana continues to build on this proud heritage. Dana people continue their passionate pursuit of innovation. And the company continues to deliver on its commitment to advancing the science of mobility for the benefit of its global customers.
Clarence Spicer, a 29-year old engineering student from Edelstein, Ill., leaves Cornell University to manufacture universal joints in Plainfield, N.J. Within two years, customers include Buick, Wayne, Mack, Olds, Stevens-Duryea, American Motor Car, Diamond T, and E.R. Thomas.
Charles Dana, 1930s. In 1914, Dana joined Spicer Universal Joint Manufacturing Company, bringing his business expertise and capital to the growing company. In 1916, he was named president, and in 1948 he became chairman of the board.