Owned by Tenneco, the Monroe brand of shock absorbers is one of the oldest. The history of the shock absorber started in 1916 with the creation of Brisk Blast in Monroe, Michigan, USA, a company founded to manufacture tyre pumps for the growing automotive sector. In 1919, the company perfected for the legendary Ford T, the first self-oiled, single barrelled tyre pump, sales of which climbed to over 2 million per year as motorists found themselves faced with frequent flat tyres. The company was renamed the Monroe Auto Equipment Company in 1919 and in 1926 introduced the world’s first shock absorber, then called the shock eliminator, to replace sales of its tyre pumps as these were impacted by the advent of the spare tyre and the arrival of free air in the increasing number of service stations.
Monroe continued to innovate, inventing the world’s first two-way hydraulic shock absorber in 1929. By 1951 the Monro-Matic was the best-known shock absorber in the world and remained the standard for both the US car industry and the aftermarket throughout the 1950s. The company’s overseas expansion began in 1964 with the opening of a manufacturing plant in Sint-Truiden, Belgium, which today houses the Monroe Technological and Engineering Centre (METC), one of the company’s global centres of R&D excellence in advanced suspension systems. The Monroe Auto Equipment Company company was acquired by Tenneco Inc. in 1977 and today has grown to one of the largest suppliers of original equipment and aftermarket shock absorbers in the world. When it comes to shock absorber – there is only one well known quality brand: Monroe, technology driven safety.
This is accomplished by turning the kinetic energy of suspension movement into thermal energy, or heat energy, to be dissipated through the hydraulic fluid. Shock absorbers are basically oil pumps. A piston is attached to the end of the piston rod and works against hydraulic fluid in the pressure tube. As the suspension travels up and down, the hydraulic fluid is forced through tiny holes, called orifices, inside the piston. However, these orifices let only a small amount of fluid through the piston. This slows down the piston, which in turn slows down spring and suspension movement. The amount of resistance a shock absorber develops depends on the speed of the suspension and the number and size of the orifices in the piston. All modern shock absorbers are velocity sensitive hydraulic damping devices – meaning the faster the suspension moves, the more resistance the shock absorber provides. Because of this feature, shock absorbers adjust to road conditions.