Braun Industries Inc.-1971-1976 - Lithopolis, Ohio  1976-2001 - Oakwood, Ohio - 2001-present - Van Wert, Ohio


   

Braun Industries Inc. not related to Braun Corp. although they both convert vans and minivans into invalid cars and ambulances. Go to the Braun Corp. page for more information on the Winamac, Indiana firm.

The Company known today as Braun Industries, Inc., or Braun Handcrafted Ambulances did not begin as an ambulance manufacturer at all, nor did it begin in Van Wert, its present home in Northwest Ohio.

Braun Industries began as a pattern shop in Lithopolis, Ohio, a small community southeast of Columbus, Ohio -- the year was 1961.

As the pattern making industry began to soften, it became apparent that Braun Industries needed to diversify.  The Village of Lithopolis, located in Bloom Township, requested bids for a new ambulance in 1972.  It was a natural.  The idea for the very first Braun handcrafted ambulance was born.  The customer loved their new Braun ambulance and the direction that Braun Industries was to take became very clear.

In the ambulance field there was an ever-growing need for a high quality, custom built product.  The Braun family had the technology to build a handcrafted ambulance with that superior design and quality.  Twelve Braun ambulances were designed and custom built that first year, 1972.

The demand for high quality Braun handcrafted ambulances grew, and by 1975 more production capacity was required.

Braun had previously sold an ambulance to Oakwood, Ohio and commented on their need to expand when the Oakwood ambulance was delivered.  The Oakwood CDC made a large manufacturing facility available and in June of 1976, the transition began.  By November 1976, Braun was in full production at the Oakwood facility.

Thirty-three employees were on the payroll at that time.  In 1977, the Company's first full year in Oakwood, production had grown to fifty-nine vehicles.  Seventy-seven ambulances were produced in 1978 and by 1984 production had climbed steadily every year to the point where one hundred and sixty superb, handcrafted ambulances were produced.  By this time, Braun Industries' reputation had grown to the point where Braun ambulances were considered by customer and competitor alike to be unmatched in the industry.   As the Company continued to grow, additional production capacity was again required and in 1985 the module welding and fabrication departments were moved from the main plant in Oakwood to two buildings just west of Oakwood.  Remounting capabilities were also added to the Braun service.  The move created ten additional assembly bays in the main plant, paving the way for increased vehicle production.  

In 1995, Braun built two state-of-the-art down draft, heated paint booths and added a large CNC router to cut out body parts with .0004 repeatable accuracy.  Expansion of facilities and refinement of the production processes continued as prime objectives of the Company.  Computerized handling of all processes and streamlining of all production methods have pointed the way to continued growth and production at Braun.

In 1999, Braun again out grew its multiple production facilities.  At this same time, Charles J. Braun, founder of Braun Industries, retired and sold the business to Phil and Charma Braun.  Their new management team agreed that if the Company was to continue to grow a new modern manufacturing facility with all phases of production under one roof was necessary.

In May 2000, Braun Industries, Inc. broke ground for a new state-of-the-art, 76,000 square feet manufacturing and Corporate office facility in Van Wert, Ohio.  By January 2, 2001, Braun was in operation in their new facility.

This should be the last time Braun Industries has to move.  The thirteen acres the new plant was built on will allow it to quadruple the size of its new building -- up to 300,000 plus square feet -- as sales and production requirements continue to grow. 

 

    For more information please read:

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional car Society)

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Carriage Museum of America - Horse-Drawn Funeral Vehicles: 19th Century Funerals

Carriage Museum of America -  Horse Drawn - Military, Civilian, Veterinary - Ambulances

Gunter-Michael Koch - Bestattungswagen im Wandel der Zeit

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Ambulances 1900-1979: Photo Archive

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M. P. McCall - The American Ambulance 1900-2002

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

Thomas A. McPherson - Eureka: The Eureka Company : a complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Superior: The complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Flxible: The Complete History

Thomas A. McPherson - Miller-Meteor: The Complete History

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

Hearses - Automobile Quarterly Vol 36 No 3

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Automobile Manufacturers Worldwide Registry

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999

 



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