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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

JORDAN, EDWARD STANLAW "NED" - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

JORDAN, EDWARD STANLAW "NED" (21 Nov. 1882-30 Dec. 1958), automotive manufacturer who changed American advertising, was born in Merrill, Wis., to John and Kate (Griffin) Jordan. He worked through the University of Wisconsin as a reporter, once disguising himself as a railroad yardman, boarding a presidential train, and getting an interview with Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, selling his interview for $20 to 150 newspapers. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1905, NEWTON D. BAKER† persuaded him to come to Cleveland, where he worked for the CLEVELAND PRESS. Jordan left Cleveland to work for Natl. Cash Register Co., then for Thos. B. Jeffrey Co., the automobile manufacturer who was the forerunner of American Motors. In June 1916, Jordan opened JORDAN MOTOR CAR CO. in Cleveland. With insight into merchandising, manufacturing, and advertising, Jordan broke out of the mold of technological advertising and tapped into more basic desires, luxury and "snob appeal," equating automobile models with certain styles of living. Jordan's management innovations included a profit-sharing plan; most employees owned stock in the company. Years later, when asked about the company's decline (which closed in 1931), Jordan explained, "We never were automobile manufacturers. We were pioneers of new techniques in assembly production, custom style sales, and advertising...." Jordan dissociated himself from the company before it closed, separated from his wife, and left for the Bahamas. Eventually he went to New York and worked in advertising/public relations for several firms. From 1950-58, Automotive News carried his column "Ned Jordan Speaks." Jordan was married to Charlotte E. Hannahs on 2 Feb. 1906. They had 3 children: Jack, Jane, and Joan. After leaving Cleveland, Jordan married a second time and had one other child.

Wager, Richard. Golden Wheels (1975).

Last Modified: 17 Jul 1997 02:43:29 PM

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