How a Street Trolley "Sparked" an American Dream

Behind every successful invention is an interesting story. Budge's begins in 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first city to regularly operate trackless trolleys. Better known today as trolleybuses, these public transportation vehicles offered many benefits over track trolleys with one possible exception: sparks from the overhead electrical wires. This was no small concern for one West Philly man who was intent upon keeping his new car pristine, despite the fact that he had to park it along a trolley route. So, he resolved to find a way to effectively shield his vehicle from sparks, as well as other big city grime. Could a regular old shower curtain, modified with elastic edging suffice? Indeed, the prototype worked! The newfangled car cover quickly captured the attention of neighbors and passersby (who wanted car covers of their own).

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Budge was primarily a company that made and sold vinyl car covers and automotive seat covers. Seat covers by Budge—available in various natural and synthetic fabrics in a wide range of popular colors and patterns—were in high demand for affording a luxury look while protecting factory upholstery notoriously susceptible to tearing and staining.

Budge had plenty of other ideas up its sleeve when Detroit started using more durable materials, such as nylon and vinyl, and demand for seat covers declined. Rapid advances in the development of technical textiles were the ticket to the company's continued success. Budge began to develop strategic relationships with material experts in order to leverage the amazing qualities of new 'intelligent' materials, such as DuPont™ Tyvek®. In the 1990s, Budge was the first company to offer car covers made from DuPont™ Tyvek® (SpunbondOlefin ), a revolutionary material offering a balance of physical characteristics that combine the best properties of paper, film and cloth. Using such advanced technologies, Budge continued to focus on enhancing the protective qualities of existing products, as well as to introduce novel new consumer products and customized protective solutions for industrial end-users.

Today Budge Industries has grown to become the most recognized name in vehicle protection with a comprehensive line of protective products for automotive, outdoor sports, outdoor living and marine. Budge products are sold in over 25,000 retail stores in the United States and Canada—including AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, Carquest Auto Parts, O'Reilly Auto Parts, NAPA, Balkamp and Walmart. Additionally, Budge sells in both the domestic and international markets via numerous warehouse distributors, e-tailers and catalogs.

Beyond our retail presence, Budge also manufactures specialized protective covers for Automakers (OEM), Industrial, Government and Military applications.

The corporate objective of our privately owned company is to satisfy consumers' needs for superiorly engineered and technologically advanced protective products by applying our 70 years of expertise and leveraging our excellent working relationships with material experts like DuPont and Polymer Group, Inc.

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In 1940, Budge Manufacturing Company was formed. The original owners (Buddy and George, hence the name "Budge") realized the kind of success that goes hand-in-hand with the introduction of a novel product that solves an unmet need.