Dana Corporation today celebrates its founding on April 1, 1904. On that day, an engineer named Clarence Spicer began producing his encased universal joint, which effectively replaced the sprocket-and-chain power transmission of the day.
Spicer's product was protected by two patents he earned while studying engineering at Cornell University. When his patents were published in the early automotive and patent journals, motor vehicle manufacturers quickly demanded the product. Attorney and financier Charles Dana became involved in 1914 and expanded u-joint production and added axles, frames, transmissions, and engine products to the company's product offering.
The risks Spicer and Dana took led to the Dana Corporation, which today ranks as one of the world's largest suppliers of products and systems for the vehicular industry.
For the first time since Clarence Spicer, the Dana Corporation is again led by an engineer, Mike Burns. "Clarence Spicer engrossed himself in a vexing problem for the early auto makers -- transmitting power to the wheels -- and developed a unique solution," said Burns, Dana's CEO and president. "Solving customers' problems with new technologies remains a key to Dana's success more than a century later."