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A Legacy of Innovation and Adaptability

William Dunkle and James Kilgore began what is now known as Delphi Body Works in 1848. The products produced at that time were wagons and plows. As the business grew, the began to manufacture steam engines. In 1872 they made the Dunkle and Kilgore steam engine, which was known for its light weight and great power. The "Little Corporal" up-right steam engine was used in printing offices to run the presses.

"Dunkle and Kilgore" manufactured the first plows and two horse wagons made in this part of Indiana. As their steam engine business grew, demanding more of their time, they turned the wagon and plow business over to Fisher and Hare, two of their employees.

Fisher and Hare continued in the wagon industry as "Fisher" until 1888. At that time William Bradshaw, one of "Fisher & Hare's" investors, purchased the interest of Mr. Hare, and the partnership became "Fisher & Bradshaw". The company soon became known as "Delphi Wagon Works"

As the demand for farm wagons declined, the bulk of the product became mail delivery wagons until 1899. At this time, Delphi Wagon Works built a school conveyance wagon (or school wagon). As far as can be determined, this was the first in the United States. These horse drawn conveyances were manufactured up through the 1920's. With the introduction of the gasoline engine came a truck chassis capable of carrying large capacities. These school bodies were then fitted to the chassis and the horse drawn units were discontinued.

At around 1929 the name was changed to "Delphi Body Works" and steel was introduced as the primary component, although some wood products were still used in the floors and some other areas.

Between 1930 and the mid 1940's the body line expanded to all steel bus bodies, public utility service bodies, insulated dairy and bakery bodies, as well as trailers for the utility industry.

As times changed and the United States became involved in WWII, Delphi Body Works began to manufacture precision military airplane parts and other war items. One of those was a body for General Electric Mobile X-Ray Equipment. These units played an important part as they traveled around the United States to different communities to perform tuberculosis testing.

Delphi Body Works has continued to produce products for the utility industry, municipals, and contractors to the present date. We play a massive role with other manufacturers of aerial lifts and cranes in their installation and service maintenance of these vehicles. Delphi Body Works has been selling aerial towers since 1979 and in 1991 acquired the "Challenger Aerial Tower" line. These Aerial towers have increased their market into the ever changing traffic signal, sign, and light rail industries.

Delphi Body Works prides itself with a long family history and ability to change and meet the needs of their customers.