Breckenridge Texan

R.E. Dye Manufacturing celebrates 100th anniversary

R.E. Dye Manufacturing celebrates 100th anniversary
December 22
12:33 2019

In January 1919, Robert Edward (R.E.) Dye took a train from Frisco to Eastland on his way back home to Breckenridge. He was 19 years old and had been to Kansas to learn machining and welding before working for a brief time in Frisco.

When R.E. got off the train in Eastland, the streets were knee-deep in mud after several weeks of rain. He had just enough money for a train ride to Breckenridge. But, the young man didn’t want to come back home completely broke, so he walked the final 28 miles of his journey home, arriving with mud and oil up to his knees and 50 cents in his pocket.

When he got to Breckenridge, R.E. went to work at Court Garage, which he soon purchased from the owner, Ernest Duckett.  The name of the business was changed to R.E. Dye Welding and Machine Company and then R.E. Dye Machine and Supply. In 1957, the company was incorporated and the name was changed to R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corporation.

Jimmy and Nancy Dye, center, pose with their sons, Steve, left, and Coby, right, at the 100th anniversary celebration for R.E. Dye Manufacturing. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

On Dec. 16, 2019, R.E.’s great-nephew Coby Dye, stood in the assembly room and greeted employees, former employees and other community members at a 100th anniversary celebration for the company. He told the story of R.E. Dye – the man and the business.

During the past century, five generations of Dyes have worked for the company, including R.E. Dye; his father, John Dye; and current employees, R.E.’s nephew, Jimmy Dye, who is the CEO; his great-nephews, Coby  and Steve Dye; and Coby’s son, James Dye. Additionally, several other relatives have worked there through the years.

Dye Manufacturing has been in three locations since its beginnings. The original service garage was located in the 100 block of North Court Street. Then, in the early 1920s, it was moved to 107 S. Rose Ave. As the company grew, more space was needed, and in the early 1940s, it was moved across the street to its present location at 207 W. Williams.

The business mostly focused on automotive parts and welding work until World War II. Under pressure from the U.S. government, R.E. bid on some subcontracts and was awarded the company’s first aerospace contract in 1942. In addition to the military work, the company went on to produce parts for Bell Helicopter, Lockheed, General Dynamics, LTV and several oilfield companies.

In 1959, R.E.’s nephew Jimmy Dye graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He returned to Breckenridge and went to work for his uncle. Jimmy is now the CEO of R.E. Dye Manufacturing, and as the company celebrates its 100th year in business, Jimmy celebrates his 60th year with the company.

R.E. owned the business until his death in 1993, and then Jimmy bought it.

Over the past 100 years, much has changed in the way R.E. Dye Manufacturing gets the work done. Coby explained that R.E. started out using with tools such as the brace and bit and now the company uses CNC (computer numerical control) machines and is looking into the possibility of laser measuring devices and 3D printers in the future.

“I am proud to be a part of something that has lasted this long and been a part of this great community,” Coby, president of the company, told the crowd last week. “I would like to thank the community for the support it has given us during the past 100 years. I also would like to recognize the hundreds, probably thousands, of people who have worked at Dye’s over the past century, many of whom stayed 30 to 60 years. You are the reason this company has been able to accomplish so much and to endure so long.

“And, for our current employees, I am excited about the future and looking forward to meeting the challenges with you at the start of our second century,” Coby continued.  “Like our employees in the past, our current employees will be the reason we accomplish so much in our next 100 years. So, to the community and our employees, thank you. Now, let’s move forward together into the next century.”

At the company’s recent 100th anniversary celebration, employees and former employees of R.E. Dye Manufacturing gathered for a group photo. Jimmy Dye, right, is the CEO and has been working at the company started by his uncle R.E. Dye for 60 years. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Historical information provided by Coby Dye

Cutline, top photo: President of R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corp. Coby Dye talks to the crowd gathered in the company’s assembly room on Dec. 16. He discussed the history of the business started by his great-uncle R.E. Dye in 1919. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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