The True History Of Paintless Dent Repair
Repousse and Chasing
Although Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) can tie its origins to Repose and chasing, which in antiquity can date its origins back to the 3rd Century BC with Gold, Silver, Copper, and Tin. We don’t see our current techniques being used until the 1300s in Florence. Respousse which in French means to “lie to rest”, “put back, or to restore” from Florence in the 1300s which was thought to have originated.
The Father of Dent Removal Procedure
Modern Paintless Dent Repair was started by Frank T. Sargent. His first manuscript was published in 1931 and was refined to include more Paintless Dent Repair procedures in 1935. In 1939 the manuscript changed its name and was updated even further The Key to Metal Bumping. He literally maps out and explains in detail the entire process with dozens of photos, the tools used, and how to push metal to avoid creating additional problems.
“Restores the damaged panel, or panels, approximately to their original state”
Frank T. Sargent
The First Major Public Display of Paintless Dent Removal
We see our first glimpse and public display of a more modern version of Frank Sargent's method by Oskar Flaig in February of the 1960 “International Motor Sports Show” which is today called SEMA, in New York City. Oskar Flaig was an ordinary member of staff at Mercedes. His job was to take care of the paintwork of all the show cars presented at trade fairs. Damage, scratches on the paintwork and small dents, produced by the public during the day, needed to be re-painted at night, so the vehicles would be in perfect condition the next day. At the trade fair in New York City, Oskar Flaig used a hammer handle to push out small dent and dings, so he would need to apply less filler before auto body repair. Nevertheless, the result already looked perfect, leaving the factory finish, after pushing and the metal popping back out. Frank T. Sargent called this the “Fairmount Method” nearly 20 years earlier.
First Company On Record USA
Juergen Holzer from Minnesota. He was a BMW factory PDR tech from Germany who moved to Minneapolis in about 1978 and started Dent Kraft there. He traveled all across the US, like Lido in those early days repairing high line cars. He does not have the corporate documentation to be able to refute DW’s claim here as being the original.
Second Company On Record USA, but may have been First
In 1986 Dent Doctor was formed when Tom Harris, a successful American businessman stumbled upon the talents of Darwin Sanders and the 2 joined forces. Darwin’s roots go back to his body shop days, and he claims to be an original here in the US. The modern-day Mecca of PRD is Springfield, Missouri. A large group of guys that worked at Springfield Acura there started into the PDR trade in about 1990. They included Jerry Powell, Scott Clifton, Jerry Blehm, and a few others. I’m sure there are many others who claim some type of originality, but the ones listed above have the most substantiation.