Gabriel® History

Gabriel® - over 100 years in the making.

It all began in 1900, when an entrepreneur named Claud H. Foster decided to combine his two greatest passions, tinkering with automobiles and playing the trombone. Foster invented a multi-tone automobile horn using the concept of a trombone, calling it “Gabriel’s Horn.” Taking the name from his invention, and using $1,500 he had saved, he founded Gabriel® - a company that would go on to revolutionize automobile suspension systems.

The independent spirit was born.

In 1907, Foster created his most acclaimed invention, “The Snubber,” a direct acting shock absorber for automobiles, and the first of its kind, an achievement that throughout the years would become commonly associated with the Gabriel name. The company continued to prosper and went on to sell direct acting shock absorbers to both OEM and replacement markets.

With the same pioneering and independent attitude that founded the company, Gabriel’s continual advancements in technology and innovation lead to them becoming a company of “firsts”; creating the first automotive hydraulic shock absorber; the first adjustable shock absorber; the first air-adjustable shock absorber – the industry leading Gabriel HiJackers®; creating the first Position Sensitive (Groove Tube) Technology; the first U.S. produced twin-tube shock absorber – the Gabriel Gas Ryder; introducing Velocity Sensitive Technology for shocks and struts – a new advancement and innovation in ride control technology; and branching out into the heavy-duty industry in the 1950's.

The standard in quality, performance and comfort.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Gabriel name became synonymous with technology-advanced products. Struts were added to the product line in the early 1980’s and the company became a worldwide competitor. Strong consumer advertising programs led Gabriel to the top of the market as one of the only US-based suppliers. Gabriel has become the standard for quality, performance, and comfort in both the light and commercial vehicle market, as well as for the commercial, specialty, industrial, and recreational vehicle OEM market. In 2007, Gabriel joined an elite club of iconic American brands by celebrating its 100th anniversary. Gabriel continues to expand with a product line that offers coverage of 96 percent of vehicles on the road today, with additional coverage constantly being introduced.

From humble beginnings to one of the nation’s most trusted aftermarket and original equipment manufacturers, Gabriel still remains the same groundbreaking, independent American company that retains the principles of its founder, Claud H. Foster—who believed that integrity and honesty were fundamental in life and in business. That’s why, to this day, Gabriel is the only full-line ride control manufacturer to offer super-finished chromed piston rods on every shock and strut it makes – across all levels; good, better, best and premium. It’s the right way to do business and the kind of quality you would expect from the company that created the first automotive shock absorber – the Original Gabriel.

The independent spirit rides on.

The future holds nothing but possibilities and as Gabriel continues to write its history, it does so with new financial strength, a growing and continuously expanding product line, and a renewed commitment to its customers and retail partners. The independent spirit that made Gabriel an innovator is alive and well.

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