From humble beginnings with the invention of the ‘Brisk Blast’ tyre pump in 1919, through to the development of the first original equipment passenger vehicle shock absorbers, Monroe has continued to lead the way in ride control component innovation and design. Monroe’s shock absorber developments have enhanced the road safety of millions of road users worldwide.
Monroe remains unstoppable when it comes to ensuring improved road safety through new ride control technology and there is a Monroe shock absorber product to suit almost every vehicle on our roads.
In the beginning
In 1916, cars still rode on unforgiving and uncomfortable carriage springs. After all, early drivers had bigger things to worry about than the quality of their ride, like keeping their cars rolling over the rocks and ruts that often passed for roads. Flat tyres were frequent and service stations were not. Drivers had no choice but to patch and reinflate their own tyres along the roadside.
For a young entrepreneur named August F. Meyer, this was an opportunity too great to pass up. It seemed logical to Meyer that, with all those flat tyres, there should be quite a market for tyre pumps. Meyer established the Brisk Blast Manufacturing Company in Monroe, Michigan. Under Meyer’s leadership, Brisk Blast soon became a leading producer of tyre pumps.
The Monroe Auto Equipment Company
In 1918 a local Dodge dealer named Charles S. McIntyre became Meyers’s partner and vice president. The company continued to grow and diversify and Brisk Blast became the Monroe Auto Equipment Company.
The Monroe spirit of innovation was already hard at work when the company perfected the first self-oiled, single-barrelled tyre pump. Sales climbed from 5,000 per week to over two million a year.
A vision becomes a revolution
By the mid 1920s, Monroe was busy applying the technology of the single-barrelled tyre pump to a purpose no one else had yet envisioned: providing a better ride for drivers.
In 1926, the first Monroe shock eliminator was introduced. Within 25 years, the Monroe-Matic, the first double action shock absorber, was the best known shock absorber in the world, used by most American car makers through the 1950s.
The company went international in 1964 and in 1974, to better serve the expanding world market. Monroe purchased Unamuno, S.A., a leader in the Spanish shock absorber market, and MAP Auto Pecas S.A. in Brazil.
Monroe became renowned as the world leader in both original equipment and aftermarket ride control, making shock absorbers for specialty vehicles from golf carts to high-speed railroad cars.
In 1977, Monroe became part of Tenneco Inc. Tenneco’s many diversified and multinational resources allowed for new opportunities on a global scale.
Struts and gas charged shocks
In 1980, Monroe began manufacturing its first struts and soon, thereafter, Monroe produced its first gas charged shock absorber.
Monroe in Australia
Monroe’s global expansion continued in 1985 with the acquisition of W.H. Wylie & Co., a manufacturer of tools, metal pressings, precision machine components, household items and motor vehicle parts. The company was renamed Monroe Australia Pty Ltd.
Monroe in Europe
In 1989, the company gained increased visibility in Europe when Monroe acquired the suspension division of Armstrong Equipment PLC of the United Kingdom. The move enhanced Monroe’s presence in the UK and improved customer service throughout Europe.
Groundbreaking products such as Sensa-Trac and Reflex first came to market during the 1990s, cementing Monroe’s position as the global leader in ride control. The first great product breakthrough of the new century in the ride control sector was Monroe’s popular Quick-Strut in 2003.
Continuous Control Electronic Suspension (CCES)
In 2007, Mercedes Benz introduced the first vehicles featuring Continuous Control Electronic Suspension (CCES). Monroe’s game-changing, innovative system allows the suspension to change almost instantaneously from a comfortable ride to a firmer, more sporty type, depending on the driving conditions. Today, the world’s most demanding car manufacturers – Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus – demand it. It’s sold over a million units as original equipment and it’s helped win both the Paris to Dakar Rally and the World Rally Championships… twice.
In 2019, Monroe’s parent company Tenneco Inc. separated into two independent, publicly traded companies, Tenneco Inc. and DRiV Incorporated. DRiV Incorporated has become one of the largest global multi-line, multi-brand aftermarket suppliers and one of the largest global original equipment (OE) ride performance and braking suppliers to aftermarket, light vehicle, and commercial vehicle customers. Its stable of well-respected, enduring brands includes Monroe®, Champion®, Öhlins®, MOOG®, Walker®, Fel-Pro®, Wagner®, Ferodo® Rancho®, Thrush®, National®, Sealed Power®, Axios® and others.
We can’t say for sure what the future of the automobile holds, but you can be sure Monroe will be there with the innovations that continue to provide motorists across the globe with enhanced safety and control.