William Besserdich and Bernhard Mosling believe their two pioneering four-wheel-drive inventions together have the power to positively transform the performance of vehicles on the rugged roads of early 20th century America. Their groundbreaking designs include the automatic locking differential responsible for transferring power from the front axle to the rear axle (patented 1914) and the front driving axle with improved steering and drive capacity (patented 1915).
Besserdich and Mosling decide to present their four-wheel-drive designs to automakers Case, Ford, Jeffery, Kissel, Packard, Studebaker and others. Despite the promise of performance, the automakers decline the opportunity to produce vehicles using the Besserdich/Mosling components.
The rejections from industry leaders inspire Besserdich and Mosling to take charge of their ideas. They use the designs as the foundation for the Wisconsin Duplex Auto Company, founded May 1, 1917. The duo quickly obtains funding to develop and produce their first four-wheel-drive truck prototype, known as Old Betsy.
By 1920, the successful prototype propels the company's early growth. To meet the demand for the powerful first production series Model A truck, the Wisconsin Duplex Auto Company moves to a new, larger facility in Oshkosh, Wis. and becomes the Oshkosh Motor Truck Manufacturing Company. http://oshkosh100.oshkoshcorp.com/en/osk100timeline#