Walter P. Chrysler, a working man who rose to the top as an industrialist, pioneered many improvements in the auto Industry and in 1925 he founded Chrysler Corporation which became the second largest automotive company in the world. 1875-1940.
Walter was born in Wamego in 1875 and two years later his family moved to Ellis. His father was an engineer for the Kansas Pacific Railroad and after much pleading by Walter his dad relented to let him work at the railroad yard. He started as an engine wiper and worked his way into an apprenticeship. His interest and ability grew and he worked his way to a manager's position with the American Locomotive Co. In 1908 Walter attended the Chicago Auto Show and ended up buying his first car which he immediately took apart in order to see how it worked.
Walter Percy Chrysler seated at a desk in his home in
1924. Photo courtesy Walter Chrysler Boyhood Home.
Chrysler's automotive career began in 1911 when Charles W. Nash, then president of the Buick Motor Co., hired Walter as production chief. Taking a 50% pay cut, Walter took the job with Buick in
In 1916, William C. Durant, who founded General Motors in 1908, had retaken GM from bankers who had taken over the company. Durant persuaded Chrysler to stay on with an unheard of salary offer and gave him complete control of managing Buick. Chrysler ran Buick successfully until 1919 when he resigned after a series of disagreements with Durant. Not wanting Walter's shares of GM to go on the open market, Durant bought them for 10 million dollars. Walter had started at Buick in 1911 for $6,000 a year and left one of the richest men in
After six months of retirement, Walter was hired to attempt a turnaround of the Willys-Overland Motor Company in
The same year he financed the construction of the
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Chrysler and www.kshs.org/portraits/chrysler_walter.htm and Chrysler - The life and times of an automotive genius by Vincent Curcio.
POINTS OF INTEREST ABOUT WALTER P. CHRYSLER IN KANSAS
Walter Chrysler Boyhood Home. Photo courtesy Keith Stokes
1950 Chrysler. Photo courtesy Wamego Hist. Society