1904 - 1924 Entering the Auto Industry



Arthur O. Smith incorporates A. O. Smith Company in Milwaukee.




Henry Ford orders 10,000 steel automobile frames, leading the company to develop the world’s first mass production process for assembling frames. Within four years, A. O. Smith is North America’s largest frame manufacturer.




A. O. Smith introduces the Smith Motor Wheel, a gasoline-powered device for bicycles. Three years later, it developed the Smith Flyer, known as “the world’s first sports car.” This technology was eventually sold to Milwaukee's Briggs & Stratton Company.




As part of U.S. war effort, A. O. Smith engineers develop a coated welding rod, a breakthrough that influenced the development of arc welding as a mass production method. The Company remained in the welding products business until 1965.




Under the direction of L. R. “Ray” Smith, A. O. Smith unveils “the Mechanical Marvel,” the world’s first fully-automated automobile frame assembly plant. Capable of making  a frame every eight seconds (10,000 frames a day), the plant operated until 1958.