Washington Gardner.

History of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) online

. (page 55 of 74)
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It was a comparatively easy matter to secure the necessary men from
other cities, but there were not enough vacant houses to be found in the
city to accommodate them. The company was finally obliged to con-
struct thirty houses on its property, adjacent to the factory. These it
maintains for the benefit of its employees, who are unable to find homes
elsewhere.

The Albion Company's plant, as it is today, is one of the largest
malleable iron plants in the country and there is probably not another
institution of its kind so complete and modern in equipment. Its output
is sold to many of the largest and best known concerns in the country
and goes not only all over the United States, but to practically every
country in the world.

Its present board of officers and directors is composed as follows:
"Warren S. Kessler, president and general manager; Harry B. Parker,
vice-president and assistant general manager; M. B. Murray, secretary
and treasurer and Washington Gardner and Benjamin D. Brown, di-
rectors.



IIISTOHY OF (WLIIOrX COrXTY 453

The Union Steel Screen Comi-any
By George E. Dean

The Union Steel Screen Company was organized and incorporated
under the laws of Michigan in January, 1903, in the city of Battle Creek,
Michigan.

Early in 1904, Jackson capital was interested and the company moved
to Jackson where they remained until October 30, 1905.

The company was organized originally to make sand and gravel
screens under patent covering special construction which applied to this
line of work.

Later, through the suggestion of Detroit parties, the then so-called
screens were adopted to the use of gas stove ovens, making an article
called oven racks and broiler racks; both being used by the manufac-
turers of gas stoves in their ovens and broiler pans.

In the fall of 1905, through the efforts of C. Owen Brownell, then
mayor of the city of Albion, Albion capital was interested and Jackson
parties were bought out and tlie concern moved to Albion where they
continued to manufacture oven racks, sand screens and added concrete
reinforcement. All racks up to this time being manufactured under what
is kno\ra as the Agnew Patent for screens.

When the company moved to Albion they were employing approxi-
mately ten people including the office force.

For about a year tilings did not go very smoothly with this company
so that in September 1906 there was a re-organization and change of
officers and the company put on a better financial basis.

In October of this year the new board of managers decided, in order
to make the company a success, that it was necessary to add new lines
and also to add new articles which would go along with racks they were
already making.

They decided then to make a complete line of oven racks and broilers
of all styles and description which would meet the demand of the stove
manufactui'ers.

Immediately after this decision special machines were made up and
the factory equipped to handle a complete line of oven racks and broil-
ers so that early in the year 1907 the factory was pretty well equipped
to handle the large volume of business which they were able to pick
up from the stove manufacturers all over the United States.

This addition added about fifteen more men to the company's pay roll.

Improvements were being made all the time to the oven racks and
broilers and new patents taken out ou this product so that by the year
1908 the Union Steel Screen Company was probably the largest manu-
facturer of oven and broiler racks in the United States.

In June, 1908, the management decided to handle another line, this
being the manufacture of refrigerator shelves to go to the refrigerator
manufacturers.

The addition of this department up to the present time has added
about thirty more men to the company's pay roll.



454 HISTORY OF CALHOUN COUNTY

With the installation of the woven wire, or refrigerator shelf de-
partment, the companj' installed their own tinning plant.

Previous to this time all the tinning that was necessary to be done
on the company's product was sent to Jackson and then reshipped to
customers from thei'e. .

The addition of this tinning plant added about five more men to
the pay roll and placed them in position to handle their own product
in a much more satisfactory manner and also placed them in a position
to meet competition.

Early in the year 1909 the company added another line known as the
brass department. This department now manufactures fan guards such
as ai-e used to protect desk fans, and in fact are a part of desk fans such
as are used in offices or any place where an electric fan is desii-ed.

This company turns out large (juantities of these, guards made out of
solid brass, finished, lacquered and furnished to the largest manufactures
of electric motors and fans in the United States.

The addition of this department added about fifteen more men.

A little later in this same year the company ]mt out a sanitary bread
rack and shelf which went to the baker, and a large out-put and demand
for this shelf has been such that a department for the manufacture of
this line has also been added, employing about fifteen more men.

Early in 1910 another department was added, known as the channel
iron, or wire and iron working department. This has been gradually
growing and special men were procured to handle this line so that today
the company is getting to be quite a factor in the manufacture of wire
and iron goods.

This line consists of office railing, bank railing, large wire signs, mre
baskets, and in fact all kinds of wire e



Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 55 of 74)