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HISTORY OF THE CHRYSLER HOME
HOW TO VISIT THE HOME
HISTORY OF WALTER P. CHRYSLER
50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
AUTOMOBILE COLLECTION
MUSEUM COLLECTION
CHRYSLER'S SPACE INVOLVEMENT
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HISTORY OF WALTER P. CHRYSLER

Chrysler's Early Years
Walter P. Chrysler was born in Wamego, Kansas and moved to Ellis when he was three years old in 1878. As a boy, Chrysler milked cows and peddled the milk door to door. He also worked in a grocery store and sold silverware around town. There was time for fun too. Shooting marbles and playing softball was entertainment for Chrysler and other boys of that era.

As he grew older, his interest turned more and more to machines. His first job as an apprentice paid 5 cents an hour. While studying as a machinist's apprentice, he forged and tempered steel to make his own tools.

"Tools That Money Can't Buy"
One factor that separated him from others was the quality of the things that he made. A reputation for quick, quality work rapidly moved Walter from sweeping floors to master mechanic.

He married Della Forker in Ellis in 1901. Chrysler worked for many railroads until 1909 when he went to work for the American Locomotive Company in Pittsburg, PA.


 


Railroad Shops Where Walter Worked.

Chrysler's Later Years
Charles Nash of the Buick division of General Motors offered Chrysler a job. He took the job and relocated to Flint, Michigan as a plant manager of Buick in 1912. Walter Chrysler became the president of Buick in June 1916. In December of that year he became vice president of the corporation. Drawing on his mechanical knowledge and organizational skill, he turned Buick around as an efficient producer of quality cars. He retired from Buick in 1920 at age 45.

In the 20's the Willis Overland company of Ohio was facing financial difficulties. Walter Chrysler was asked to become Executive Vice President at Willis Overland company and he in turn reversed their financial woes. Chrysler became known as "the car doctor".

Maxwell and Chalmers Motor Car Company Inc., persuades Chrysler to become chairman of its reorganization and management committee in 1920 to revitalize the struggling company. He cuts costs, improved quality and marketed cars more effectively.

In 1925, Maxwell Motor Car Company becomes Chrysler Corporation with Walter Chrysler as President. Chrysler corporation buys Dodge Brothers in 1928, increasing the corporations production capacity and begins producing the Plymouth. By 1929 Chrysler becomes one of the big three automobile makers.


First Chrysler Car 1924

Walter P. Chrysler resigns from the corporation in 1935, but remained chairman of the board. He died on August 8, 1940.