Reynolds Wire Company

The REYNOLDS WIRE plant operated here for more than 67 years before closing March 21, 1962 and except for the action of Charles H. Hughes, a Dixon booster, the manufacturing facilities would have been located in Sterling or Rock Falls. Hughes came to this area in 1846 and in 1886 was elected county treasurer. From 1895 to 1900 he was mayor of Dixon and was later a state representative and a state senator. He first located in Palmyra but later moved to town. About 1905 he purchased Hazelwood from Fred H. Page.

Horace G. Reynolds left his home in Cortland NY in the spring of 1894 to search for a plant site to manufacture wire cloth with loom which he and his brother had invented and patented. He had decided to settle his new plant where good water power existed and in or near a small thriving city and upon reaching Chicago, he learned the best unused water power was long the Rock Rover between Rockford an Sterling.

While in Chicago, Reynolds was persuaded o correspond with G.W. Dillon of Sterling to determine where water power was available. Reynolds did so and was invited to come to Sterling which he did in April 1894. Reynolds found Sterling people very interested in his firm and so he made immediate arrangements to have a sample loom shipped to Sterling where it was set up in the Lawrence Brothers luilding in Rock Falls and the public was invited to view it.

At this time it seemed almost certain Reynolds would locate his facility in Sterling. On one trip back from Chicago with Dillon, Reynolds was introduced to Hughes, who before the train reached Dixon had induced Reynolds to stop off and visit thsi city overnight. Hughes introduced the New Yorker to many leading citizens of the town and took him on a tour of this city and gave him a good view of the available water power here and showed him the then empty building located along River Street near Artesian Place.

Following this, a group of local business leaders were brought together to discuss how to induce Reynolds tolocate his plant in Dixon and decided to raise funds to give him financial assistance. The formal founding date of the Reynolds Wire Co., was Oct. 12, 1894. The first order of business was to remove the model equipment from Rock Falls and install it in Dixon.

In May 1951, the company issued a statement which reported H.G. Reynolds chose tolocate in Dixon mainly because it was located in the center of a hardware jobbing area with good rail facilities and adequate water power from the Rock River, as well as the fact there was an old grist mill building available. After WW II, the company was sold to National Standard Brands, Inc. and that company closed the plant on March 12, 1962.

The Dixon Evening Telegraph Feb. 28, 1976

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Reynolds Wire

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