Early Peoria County Manufacturing

MANUFACTURES: By Martin Kingman.

There was comparatively little manufacturing in Peoria prior to 1850. We note, however, in "Drown's Record of Peoria," issued in 1844, mention of flouring mills as early as 1830, to which reference will be made under the proper heading. At the present time Peoria ranks first in many industries, and, as a whole, is second in the State. The attempt will be made in this article to give, as near as possible, a classified history of all manufacturing industries from the beginning to the present time. The data available for this purpose as to early history are rather meager, being compiled, for the most part, from "Drown's Directory" of 1844 and 1851. The issue of that publication for 1844 is quite complete, and notes all of the industries of that time. The issue of 1851 is not so complete, however, mentioning only the industries which advertised in that issue, embracing only a small portion, according to census returns and tabulated data.

Early in 1851, Mr. Mark M. Aiken furnished to the "Peoria Republican" what he called a list of the manufactures exported from Peoria during the year 1850, which was as follows:

Plows, Fanning-Mills, Corn-Shellers, Sash, Doors and Blinds, Stone and Marble Products and Chemicals


33,753 barrels
5,685 barrels
1,300 dozen
Value per package


Only a small portion of these industries are mentioned in "Drown's Directory" of 1851. The report of the Illinois State Census of 1855 presented a list of the leading manufactories of Peoria, with the value of their output for the year ending July 1, 1855, as follows:

4 Flouring mills..............................................................$650,000.00
3 Distilleries....................................................................502,800.00
5 Sash, door and blind, saw and planing mills ................. 296,300.00
9 Cooper and barrel factories......................................... 137,620.00
7 Wagon and carriage factories...................................... 103,536.00
2 Potteries ........................................................................ 8,200.00
3 Foundries .................................................................... 75,000.00
4 Furniture factories ........................................................ 67,500.00
3 Plow manufactories ...................................................... 60,600.00
4 Fanning-mill and corn-sheller factories .......................... 28,000.00
16 Boot and shoe factories ............................................. 36,514.00
5 Harness factories ......................................................... 36,000.00
3 Bar soap and candle factories ...................................... 26,300.00
3 Cut stone and monument factories................................ 29,800.00
5 Breweries ................................................................... 24,900.00
5 Brick yards ................................................................. 20,750.00
1 Fish oil factory ............................................................. 13,500.00
6 Cigar and tobacco factories......................................... 12,550.00
1 Lightning rod factory ................................................... 10,500.00
1 Lucifer match factory ..................................................... 7,500.00
3 Agricultural and threshing machine factories ................... 7,000.00
2 Merchant tailoring factories. .......................................... 6,500.00
3 flat and cap factories. .................................................... 3,500.00
 Miscellaneous, not enumerated......................................... 9,300.00

From this it will be seen that Peoria was even then quite a manufacturing point, although no itemized data is presented as to the owners or operators of each individual plant or industry. Root's City Directory for the year 1856 was very complete, giving the names of proprietors, their location and kinds of industries, but it does not furnish any data as to capacity, number of employes, etc. The next source of information is a special edition of "The Peoria Transcript," issued January i, 1859, which notes the larger industries. The remainder of our informa- tion has been obtained from individuals who resided here, and were actively engaged in the manufacturing business in Peoria in the early '60s. We are under obligations to the following gentlemen for valuable information and data furnished: Mr. Barnhart Meals, Judge David McCulloch, Mr. Stacy B. Hart, Mr. Alban B. Fink, Mr. August Hesler, Mr. Nathan Giles, Mr. Leslie Robinson, Mr. Johnson, L. Cole, Mr. Horace Clark, Sr., Mr. William G. Murray, Mr. Horace G. Anderson, Mr. John C. Proctor, Mr. William P. Lazell, Mr. William H. Sammis, and to Mr. E. B. Rhea for great assistance in getting together and compiling material for this article.


The manufacture of implements for agricultural purposes in Peoria began very early, and has continued to be one of the leading industries of the city. Among the early manufactures the first appears to have been fanning-mills, which really belong to implements, although at this time used chiefly by seed and grain dealers. The first concern to manufacture fanning-mills in Peoria was established in 1837, by William M. Nurse & Son, being located, at that time, about the upper end of Main Street, near the foot of the bluff. The next was established in 1844 on Hale Street, near Main, by Ezekiel A. and John C. Proctor. Both of these gentlemen are still riving, the former having retired, while the latter is still actively engaged in business, being, at the present time, President of the First National Bank, and of the lumber firm of J. C. Proctor & Co. In early days fanning-mills were largely used, and, in addition to the above concerns, there were several other shops where they were manufactured. This continued up to the time of the perfection of the combined grain-thresher, separator and cleaner, and since then the tanning- mill has been made only in limited quantities, for grain and seed dealers. During the same period, the manufacture of wire-screens, used quite extensively in agricultural pursuits, was carried on here to a considerable extent.

The manufacture of steel plows was also one of our early industries, and we find that Tobey & Anderson were the first in this line, commencing in 1843, on Water Street between Liberty and Fulton.  In those early days, every- thing was made by hand. This firm started then with one forge, and their product, at first 200 plows per annum, eventually reached 10,000 per annum. The mould-boards and shares, at that time, were all made of what was known to the trade as Bessemer steel, and these parts were cut out on the anvil with a chisel and sledge. The holes were drilled by hand, and the mould-boards and shares shaped by hand on an anvil, as also was the plating of the shares and shovels. The wood parts came in plank, and were cut out by hand. The plows were ground and polished by horse power, and both Messrs. Tobey and Anderson took turns in holding the plows to the grindstones.  In those days, the farmer paid from $15.00 to $20.00 for an ordinary walking plow, which, at this time, can be bought for from one- half to two-thirds of that amount. This concern continued in business at the above stand for a number of years. A great deal of the information which we have obtained in reference to this firm was furnished by Mr. Barnhart Meals, who started with them as an employe in 1854, and afterwards became one of the partners of the concern. Mr. Meals is still living in Peoria, and is quite active, being President of the Board of Education, and also President of the People's Loan and Homestead Association. The firm of Tobey & Anderson was dissolved in 1862, and a new organization formed, consisting of William Tobey, Lorin Grant Pratt and Barnhart Meals, under the name of William Tobey & Co., their copartnership continuing for five years. Their
business continued to grow, and at the end of five years, Mr. Tobey having withdrawn, the firm became L. G. Pratt & Co., being composed of L. G. Pratt, Barnhart Meals and James Duff.  Later another copartnership was formed, by taking in Eugene Pierce, and joining with Plant Brothers, of St. Louis, when the style of the firm became Plant Brothers, Pratt & Co. They erected a large and commodious factory at the corner of Water and Walnut Streets, equipped with all the latest machinery, and established a branch house in Kansas City to distribute their output. This business was continued for several years, and was quite successful; but when the hard times came, they were compelled to make an assignment, and the plant and equipment were bought in by the Second National Bank of Peoria, which made an arrangement with Messrs. Meals and Pierce to work up the stock on hand. In this they were engaged for several years, when the Peoria Steel Plow Company was organized by Messrs. James Seery, Barnhart Meals and Pierce—the last two as managers.  Mr. Seery soon withdrew, but the concern was continued by Mr. Meals and Mr. Pierce until 1886, when their establishment was destroyed by fire. Having repaired the buildings and machinery, they resumed business, continuing until 1888, under the name of the Peoria Steel Plow Co. In 1890 they sold out to Milliken, Cisle & Co., who ran the plant for a few yearns, but not successfully, and finally the business was closed out. Their building still stands, and is occupied as a stamped tin- ware factory. There were several other plow factories in existence in early days, among which may be noted Thomas & Lazell, established in 1850 by Elias Thomas and William Penn Lazell, at No. 12-14 Bridge Street. Mr. Thomas soon retired and removed to California, but the business was continued for twenty-two years by Mr. Lazell, who is still residing in this city, having lived continuously in the same place since 1848. Mr. Lazell is still quite active, but takes no part in any business, except the management of his large land interests.

There was also a plow factory established in 1856, by M. Durfee, who manufactured plows in a small way, his output being about 500 per annum. No data have been found showing the exact location of his factory, or who was Mr. Durfee's successor. The old plant of Tobey & Anderson, after lying idle for a number of years, was started up in 1870 by Buckley, Hanny, Estes & Co., and did quite an extensive business, employing from twenty-five to thirty men, and manufacturing from 3,000 to 5,000 plows per annum. This business was continued until 1876, when the firm was dissolved. Mr. Buckley is still living, and runs a small establishment, manufacturing plows for local trade at 515 South Washington Street.

There seem to have been a great many small plow-making establishments in Peoria in early days, of which it is now impossible to obtain full details as to their history or magnitude. Among these, however, may be mentioned that of Mr. Allison, who was an extensive vehicle manufacturer, and commenced the manufacture of plows in 1859. He made a failure in this branch of his business, but there will be occasion to speak of him more fully in connection with the manufacture of buggies and carriages.

Among other manufacturers of agricultural implements in those early days, we may note William E. Hopkins, who ran a foundry on Water Street, between Harrison and Liberty, and about 1843 began the manufacture of threshing machines.   (Hopkins' concern will be mentioned more fully under the head of "Foundries.") From an advertisement in Drown's Record, May 1i, 1844, we find that he had ready to put together eighteen 4-horse power, and eight 2-horse power threshing machines, the prices quoted for 4-horse power machines being $150, and for 2-horse power, $100. This business soon died out on account of the combined threshing machine, separator and cleaner being placed upon the market. William Peters, who ran a foundry and machine shop at the corner of Water and Walnut Streets, established in 1850, also manufactured threshing machines, horse-powers   and   corn-shellers. Charles Denton also ran a foundry and machine shop, started in 1850, at the corner of Harrison and Water Streets where he manufactured threshing machines, horse-powers and corn-shellers, as well as clover-hullers and reapers. The writer remembers Mr. Denton well, and was personally acquainted with him. He afterwards became associated with A. J. Hodges, who established a header factory at Pekin, Illinois. Mr.
Denton was Superintendent and Master Mechanic, and to his inventive genius is largely due the invention of the Hodges header.

From Drown's Record of 1856, it appears that the output of steel plows for Peoria, for that year, amounted to about 8,500; their value $82,000; capital employed, $40,000; men employed, 65. In addition to the above, other implements not enumerated were manufactured in the same year, swelling the total to $235,000.

About the year 1856, Robinson & Dunham manufactured, in a small way, on Washington Street, between Fulton and Liberty, corn-shellers and horse-powers, their output amounting to about $9,000 per annum.

In 1857, James Selby came to Peoria and began the manufacture of grain-drills, in which he had been previously engaged at Lancaster, Ohio, at first locating on the river bank, just below the Union Depot. A year later he formed a partnership with George W. Jones and Isaac G. Lombard (the latter now of Chicago), which lasted two or three years, having, in the meantime added the manufacture of a corn-planter to the product of his factory. He remained at his first location only about one year, when he moved to the corner of Washington and Oak Streets, which continued to be the location of the factory up to 1899. M. D. Spurck was associated with Mr. Selby for many years, under the firm name of James Selby & Co., until 1896, when Selby sold out his interest to the Messrs. Spurck who organized the Union Corn-Planter Company, which is still in operation. The company did a large business for many years, turning out 1,500 to 3,000 corn-planters per year, according to "Ballance's" History of Peoria (1870), doing the largest business in this line in Peoria.

We also find that Hearst, Dunn & Co. established a corn-planter factory, in 1864, at the corner of Washington and Oak Streets. Their business was quite extensive, as they sold their output all over the Western States where corn was grown. They continued in business until 1896.

In 1879, S. B. Hart & Co. commenced the manufacture of grain-drills on Washington Street, just west of Oak, the copartnership consisting of Stacy B. Hart and Frank Hitchcock. In 1880, they moved to the corner of Washington and Chestnut Streets, into the building known as the Voris foundry, which was destroyed by fire in 1881. They then incorporated as Hart, Hitchcock & Co., with a capital of $105,000. The officers were Frank Hitchcock, President; S. B. Hart, Vice-President and Manager; and Alban B. Fink, Secretary and Treasurer.  They manufactured grain-drills,  broad-cast seeders, stalk-cutters, sulky hay-rakes, hay stackers and sweep rakes. This business grew to be one of the leading industries of our city, and continued until July, 1884, when they sold out to Selby, Starr & Co., of whom further mention will be made later on.  At the present writing, Peoria has come to be one of the largest centers for the manufacture of agricultural implements in the world, and almost everything in the implement line is now being made in this city. In the following pages some of these large industries will be described in detail.


The Acme Harvester Company, if not the largest, is one of the largest, manufacturing establishments in the world, being employed exclusively in the manufacture of hay and grain harvesting machinery. This concern was esta- blished in Peoria in 1881, being operated at first in a small way on Liberty Street, between Water and Washington Streets, by John E. Kirk, now deceased.  Mr. Kirk was born near Richmond, Missouri, in 1850. When about twenty-six years of age he became interested in the subject of hay-harvesting machinery, and commenced, in a small way, manufacturing haying machinery at Salisbury, Missouri, and gradually established a large trade. In 1881, he removed to Peoria, and started manufacturing, as stated above, on Liberty Street, making nothing, at that time, but hay-stackers and hay-rakes.  In 1884, William E. Stone, at that time Cashier of the First National Bank, but now deceased, became interested with Mr. Kirk, as also did Henry Binnian, one of Peoria's early merchants. Business increased, and, in 1890, this concern bought out the Hodges Header Works, at Pekin, Illinois, and removed to that point, where they began manufacturing on a large scale the Acme haying machines, Hodges headers, mowers, etc.  Later, Mr. Kirk disposed of his interest to Messrs. Stone and Binnian, and the management was assumed by William H. Binnian, son of Henry Binnian, and, in 1895, Harry C. Stone, son of William E. Stone— at that time a young man just from college— went into the office as an assistant of Mr. Binnian. Since that time, under the able management of these two gentlemen, their business has become one of the largest in the country.

During the last year (1901), they found that they would have to increase their manufacturing capacity to take care of their increased trade, and they concluded to remove to Peoria, where they purchased in the south end of the city, on the east side of the Peoria & Pekin Union and the Peoria & Pekin Terminal Railroads, along the banks of the river, 50 acres of ground, where they have erected a large and commodious factory, including lumber yards, sheds and other appurtenances. The main buildings are three stories high and consist of the following departments:

Machine shop
Wood shop
Tool room 
Engine room
Bolt room 
70 x 220 feet
70 x 220 feet
50 x 100 feet
40 x 100 feet
40 x 100 feet

The remainder of the buildings, being one story in height, are as follows:

Foundry No. 1.
Foundry No. 2 
Core room
Grinding room 
Wheel and forging room
Pattern room 
Boiler room 
Iron and steel storage
Box factory 
Planing mill
Storage warehouse for manufactured goods
80 x 300 feet
80 x 85 feet
56 x 80 feet
80 x 82 feet
60 x 310 feet
50 x 80 feet
50 x 80 feet
50 x 562 feet
50 x 40 feet
50 x 60 feet
300x384 feet

 In addition to the above, they have an elegant office building, two stories high, 65x80 feet. This factory is reached by four side tracks and is equipped with all the latest and most improved modern machinery. The present officers of the concern are:

William H. Binnian, President.
Harry C. Stone, Vice-President.
Oliver J. Hastings, Secretary and Treasurer;
Frederick W. Stith, Manager of Sales.
Herbert E. Hardin, Superintendent.
The Capital Stock is $500,000.00.

The concern gives employment—including travelers, office men and shop men—to 1,000 people, continually the year round.  The factory consumes annually 1,000 car-loads of material, producing 20,000 of the various kinds of machines, equal to 700 car-loads. The value of their annual production amounts to over $2,000,000. Their products are sold all over the world wherever grass or grain grows, and at least one-third of the entire output is shipped abroad, largely to Continental Europe, Australia, Russia and South America. They manufacture almost everything used in harvesting hay and grain, including headers, binders, mowers, sulky hay-rakes, sweep rakes, hay-stackers, etc.   The company have branch houses and distributing agencies all over the United States, includ- ing the following cities:  Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; Huron, South Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; Fargo, North Dakota; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Wichita, Kansas; Aberdeen, South Dakota; Spokane, Washington. They also have distributing points at Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; San Francisco and Los Angeles, California ; Dallas, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Walla Walla, Washington; Madison, Wisconsin; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Sioux City, Iowa; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Lincoln, Nebraska; Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Their European representative is George N. Silcox, at Brussels, Belgium.


This business was established in 1882, by Robert H. and Cyrus M. Avery, who moved to Peoria from Galesburg, where they had already been in the manufacturing business. They bought ten acres of land just within the upper city limits, below Adams Street, and running to the river. Here they erected a three-story brick building, foundry, blacksmith shop, etc., and brought with them a few car-loads of machinery, and began the manufacture of corn-planters, check-rowers and stalk-cutters, to which they gradually added cultivators and small tools. In 1883, the firm name was changed to the Avery Planter Company, a stock company having been formed, with a capital of $200,000.. In 1893, the company was re-organized under the name of the Avery Manufacturing Company, with a capital of $300,000.  In a period of less than twenty years, its business, originally amounting to $200,000 annually and employing. 150 men, has grown to about $1,250,000 annually and giving employment to over 700 men, and from the manufacture of small tools to that of a full line of threshing machinery, consisting of traction- engines from twelve to thirty horse-power, together with eleven different styles of separators, as well as wind-stackers, self-feeders, water-tanks, etc. At the present time the factory is turning out more than a train-load of goods each week, and, for each working day, a separator every two hours, a self-feeder every three hours, a wind-stacker every four hours, and a traction-engine every five hours. The number of employes, at this time, is 752.

The company have branch houses at Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; Indianapolis, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota, and St. Louis, Missouri. The present officers are:
C. M. Avery, President.
J. B. Bartholomew, Vice-president.
G. F. Carson, Secretary.
Frederick R. Avery, Treasurer::
W. P. Sisson, Superintendent.
F. P. Kinsey, Assistant Superintendent.
H. C. Roberts, Manager of Sales Department.
W. C. Mage, Manager of Collection Department.
The annual pay-roll of the concern amounts to $250,000.

The main factory consists of a building 143x183 feet, three stories high, and in the form of a square. In addition to the main factory is a separator-erecting shop and warehouse, three stories in height, in dimensions 67x238 feet; a foundry, 70x354 feet; a blacksmith shop and iron-working department, 44x388 feet, with ells, 44x236 feet; a separator warehouse, 28x533 feet; an engine erecting shop, 66x140 feet, with storage sheds for engines and separators (one story), 28x480 feet,—the whole making a grand total of floor-space occupied by the concern amounting to 227,000 square feet, and making it one of the largest manufactories in the world.

In addition to the trade enjoyed by the Avery Manufacturing Company throughout the United States, its manufactures arc constantly being shipped to many foreign countries, including South America, South Africa, Russia, and other countries in both hemispheres. The business is managed by young and progressive men, and is increasing rapidly. If the history of the manufacturing industries of Peoria shall be written fifty years hence, it is safe to say that the volume of business at present conducted by this concern, vast as it now is, will appear small in comparison with what it is destined to be, as the result of the development of another half century.


This concern was established in 1888, with a capital stock of $25,000, with S. B. Hart, President; D. S. Lee. Vice-President; W. C. Hanna, Secretary and Treasurer. In 1899, the capital stock was increased to $150,000, with the following officers, who are continued to the present time:

Stacy B. Hart, President
Walter B. Wilde, Vice-president.
David S. Lee, Secretary and Treasurer.

The factory was first located at 218-220 South Water Street, but the Company have recently taken possession of a new building at the corner of Eaton and Water Streets, specially erected for this purpose, and in which the factory is now located.  The building is four stories in height (above basement), 135x145 feet, containing a floor- space of 75,000 square feet, and is equipped with all the latest appliances for the manufacture of their goods, as well as the most modern conveniences.

This concern manufactures exclusively automatic grain-weighers for threshing machines. They employ from 150 to 200 hands, and manufacture 5,000 machines per annum, which are sold almost exclusively to threshing-machine manufacturers. who make them a part of the threshing-machine equipment, and are shipped all over the world. This firm controls a great number of valuable patents for grain-weighing machinery.


This company is one of the leading industrial enterprises of Peoria, as well as the State of Illinois. It is practically a new concern, situated in the village of Averyville, east of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, at the corner of Fairholm Street. The ground was broken for the erection of the first building of the new plant on April 7, 1899, and manufacturing was commenced in October of the same year.

The site upon which the factory is located consists of thirteen acres of ground, and the following buildings compose the plant at the present time, which it is the intention to gradually increase as fast as it is possible to do so:

One-story brick building, 160x50 feet, for the storage of bar steel and steel shapes.

One-story brick building, 128x40 feet, used for the storage of malleable iron, castings, bolts, etc.

The above buildings are reached by a side track running their entire length. Between these two buildings are the power plant, 78x70 feet; machine shop, 50x30 feet; pattern shop, 50x47 feet.

The manufacturing part of the plant consists of the following buildings:

One-story,  monitor-roof  building,  440x80 feet, which contains the blacksmith department, the fitting department, the grinding and polishing department, the wood department, the erecting department and foundry. It is of steel construction, and is without columns or posts throughout its entire length.

The next building to this is a two-story, slowburning construction, with automatic sprinkler throughout, 306x80 feet; the upper floor being used for offices and paint-shop, and the lower floor for the storage of goods.

Next to the last is a storage warehouse, four stories, 306x80 feet, reached by a side-track with a capacity of eight cars. It is used exclusively for loading out goods in car lots.

Other extensive additions are in contemplation.

The machinery is driven by a 300-horse-power Corliss engine, the plant being lighted throughout with electric lights, driven with an eighty horse-power automatic engine and dynamo. The steam for the power plant is furnished by three 150-horse power boilers, equipped with the latest smoke-consuming devices.  The entire plant is equipped with full system of water-works for protection against fire—high-pressure connected with the city water-works, and low-pressure connected with a 30,000-gallon storage tank.

In this connection, a brief description of the mode of manufacturing plows at this time, compared with that of early days, will not be out of place. The Kingman Plow Company's plant is one of the most modern in the country. Material is received into the storage sheds without any elevating whatever, and goes into each department of manu- facture with as little handling as possible, all being on the same level. The blacksmith shop is equipped with the most modern trip-hammers, drop-hammers, welding machines, automatic grinders, bull-dozers for bending beams and frames for plows, cultivators, etc. The process of hardening plows is also quite different from that in use in early days. This plant is equipped with one of the most modern furnaces for heating the steel, and, for cooling the tempering brine, they have a 30-horse power refrigerating plant. The plow-erecting plant is so complete that all parts are duplicated. In the grinding of plows, they use large, massive grindstones, driven by shafting from overhead, and the dust from these stones is taken away by exhaust fans and stored in a pit intended for that purpose. Another novel feature of this department is, that the stones are brought into this department from the grindstone yard on an over-head trolley system, which is a large step in advance of rolling them in, as a great many do.  The plant is equipped throughout with an overhead trolley system for moving manufactured goods from the blacksmith shop and the erecting department into the paint-shop, and the articles remain on this trolley until they are painted, striped and varnished, and finally bundled away ready for storage, when they are run up on the trolley into the storage warehouse, thereby saving a great many handlings.

The capital stock of this concern is $400,000, which will soon be increased to $1,000,000. The present officers are:

Martin Kingman, President.
Louis S. Kingman, Vice-President.
Gustavus H. Schimpff, Secretary.
Walter B. Kingman, Treasurer.
George E. Evans, Superintendent.

At the present time they employ from 260 to 300 hands, and manufacture annually about 30,000 complete implements of different kinds, such as walking-plows; lister-plows with drill attachments—both walking and riding; riding-plows, both single and gang; drag harrows, and a great variety of corn cultivators. Their trade extends over the Middle and Western States, and is handled by branch houses at the following points: Peoria, Illinois; St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Dallas, Texas. At these several points they employ some 350 men.

In addition to the domestic trade, the company have considerable foreign trade, and, at this writing, have an order booked for several hundred plows to be shipped to Vladivostok, Siberia.


This is the name of a corporation organized in 1894, with Robert L. Rhea, President; Alexis B. Theilens, Secretary and Treasurer. Originally the projectors were wholesale manufacturers' agents for various lines of agricultural implements. In 1895, they erected a commodious warehouse at the corner of Chestnut and Water Streets, 170x60 feet, four stories high, with basement. They have gradually increased the capacity of their establishment, until, at the present time, they have over 80,000 square feet of floor-space, in addition to yard room for the storage of lumber, etc.   Their buildings are reached by side-tracks, and they have every convenience for the quick handling of goods. They commenced the manufacturing department in 1899, during that year making a limited number of force-feed end-gate seeders, and during the year 1900, brought out and began the manufacture of corn-planters. They are now making endgate force-feed seeders to the extent of 4,500 annually, as well as corn-planters, and the indications are that this will prove to be one of the leading manufactories of Peoria in the not distant future.


This company was first organized as a copartnership in 1885, succeeding Hart & Hitchcock, then located at the corner of Washington and Chestnut Streets. This firm consisted of Messrs. James Selby, Julius S. Starr and Alban B. Fink. During the same year the factory was destroyed by fire, when the concern removed to what is known as Glendale Park, in Averyville, erecting there a large and commodious factory, which covers a large area of ground, and where it is now located. In 1889, the company was incorporated under the firm name of Selby, Starr & Co., with the following officers:

James Selby, President.
Julius S. Starr, Vice-President and Treasurer.
Alban B. Fink, Secretary.

This corporation continued until 1898, when Mr. Starr bought out the interests of Mr. Selby and Mr. Fink, and has continued its management since that time. They are large manufacturers of corn-drills, broad-cast seeders, hay-rakes, drag-harrows, etc., etc. The concern employs from l00 to 125 men, their trade extending all over the Western as well as the Middle States. They have one of the best equipped and most modern plants in the State for the manufacture of agricultural implements, and enjoy a large and growing trade.


This is a corporation consisting of Charles J. Spurck, George A. Spurck, Walter L. Spurck and Edmond L. Spurck, and is the outgrowth of the firm of James Selby & Co., which began business in Peoria in 1857. In 1896, Mr. Selby retired, when the present corporation was formed. Three years later the concern removed to the corner of Water and Hamilton Streets, where it is still engaged in the manufacture of cornplanters.


This business was established in 1857, by Mr. Adam Lucas, in a small shop on Liberty Street, between Washington and Adams, making, at that time, vault-doors and locks. In 1859, he removed to Washington Street, between Fulton and Liberty; in 1863, to 207 Fulton Street, and in 1866, to 211 Fulton Street. In 1889, Mr. Lucas took into partnership his sons, Emil and Hugo, and the firm name was changed to A. Lucas & Sons. The factory was enlarged, and they commenced the manufacture of architectural iron, structural iron, ornamental iron, etc. Their business greatly increased, and, in 1897, the firm was incorporated, with A. Lucas, President; Emil Lucas, Vice-president; and Hugo Lucas, Secretary and Treasurer. In that year, they removed to their present location, at corner of Washington and Cedar Streets, erecting large and commodious buildings, which enabled them to increase their capacity four-fold. The firm, at present, employs 75 men, and, in addition to the above, manufacture iron bridges, besides designing and manufacturing steel-frame buildings as well as erecting them.  A large stock of structural steel. shapes is carried on hand. At the present time, Mr. Adam Lucas does not take an active part. in the business, being retired. The business is in the hands of the two sons, who are progressive and wide-awake business men.


This business was established in 1900, at 500 Main Street. Mr. U. C. Grooms was formerly a dealer in plate and window glass, paints, oils, etc. In 1900, he commenced the manufacture of art glass, and his business increased so that, in 1901, he had to seek larger quarters. He purchased a two-story brick building at Nos. 3118 to 3122 North Adams Street, where he is engaged in the manufacture of art glass exclusively, employing from 10 to 15 men.  His product is shipped all over the country.


The Peoria Artificial Ice Company, Charles Monniger, Treasurer and Manager, is located at 920 to 924 South Washington Street. The manufacture of artificial ice was commenced by this concern in 1897, when they erected a complete new plant, which is of the most modern type, having a capacity of 75 tons of ice per day, with a cold-storage capacity for 75 car-loads.  The capital stock is $80,000, and, during the selling season of ice, they employ 35 men. This is just a beginning of this business in Peoria, and the indications are that artificial ice will rapidly displace the natural product, as it is made from pure distilled water, perfectly free from foreign matter
of any kind.  We predict a large increase of this industry in the next few years.


This business was carried on in a small way as early as 1870, and, at this writing, is quite an extensive industry, especially in the manufacture of awnings. The following firms are now in the business:

Peoria Tent and Awning Company, 109 Main Street; Edward N. Woodruff, Proprietor; Ralph O. Kunkle,  Manager.

Western Awning Company, 117 Main Street.

XL. Tent & Awning Company, 124 Main Street.


At one time Peoria was one of the large manufacturing points for bicycles in the United States. Rouse, Hazard & Co, first began the business, in 1893, at the corner of Adams and Harrison Streets. This was in a limited way, but, in 1895, they built a large and commodious factory at Peoria Heights, which still stands, being utilized for other industries. Owing to the decline in the demand for this modern vehicle, Rouse, Hazard & Co. discontinued the manufacture in 1898. In the year 1896, this factory, employed as high as 350 men, and manufactured 7,500 bicycles.

The Ide Mf'g. Company commenced manufacturing bicycles in 1894, in the building known as the Watch Factory building, continuing the business successfully until 1899. They employed 300 men, and made 2,000 bicycles annually. Their machine was of the highest grade, and one of the highest priced on the market.

The Peoria Rubber and Manufacturing Company, organized in 1896, erected a large brick building at Peoria Heights, where they employed 600 men, and manufactured 10,000 bicycles and 25,000 pairs of bicycle tires annually. In 1899, they sold out to the American Bicycle Company, who closed this factory. The building is now occupied as a vehicle factory.

The Patee Bicycle Company was organized in 1899. and located on Main Street, between Water and Washington Streets. It employed from 40 to 50 hands, and made over 5,000 bicycles annually. In 1900, they removed to Indianapolis, Indiana. Luthy & Co. started a bicycle factory in 1895, at 606-608 South Washington Street. This factory prospered during the next three years, when bicycles were in demand, employing from 25 to
30 men, and making from 1,000 to 2,000 machines annually.


The Peoria Cordage Company, No. 1502-1504 South Washington Street, Martin Kingman, President; E. C. Heidrich, Vice-President and Manager ; G. H. Schimpff, Treasurer; E. C. Heidrich, Jr., Secretary, is one of our most important industries in Peoria. It was organized in 1888, by Kingman & Company and E. C. Heidrich, the latter removing here from Miamisburg, Ohio, where he had been interested in the manufacture of rope prior to the invention of the twine binder. The first factory (a small building erected for the purpose) contained a small number of spindles, but the demand for Peoria twine has so largely increased since then, it has been found necessary to enlarge the plant from time to time, and this mill has probably been operated more hours during its existence than any other mill in the United States.

Their factory building is a three-story brick, having a frontage of 220 feet by 346 feet deep, is equipped with modern machinery, and reached by commodious side tracks for the quick handling of goods, and contains over 400 spindles. The value of the raw material consumed during the year is $400,000. The concern employs 225 hands, and turns out an annual product of 700 tons, valued at $520,000.

Under this heading, a few words in regard to what binding twine is. made from will not be out of place. The mechanism of a self-binder is such that the twine has to be evenly spun and of even tensile strength of about 75 pounds to the strand; hence hard fiber is especially adapted to the manufacture of binding twine. The hard fiber hemps used are Manila and Sisal. There are a number of other hard fiber hemps that have been tested and found very good, yet the volume of production has not been sufficient to bring them into commercial use.

One of the chief industries of the Philippine Islands is the production and exportation of manila hemp. This hemp is especially valuable in the manufacture of all kinds of rope, from the heaviest hawser to the finest of twine, as well as binder twine. The manila tree belongs to the banana family, and grows best in volcanic soils, where the ground is dry and the moisture overhead, the most productive plantations being among the hills in volcanic countries. The trees are planted from shoots, require little cultivation, and grow to the height of from eight to ten feet, and from five to seven inches in diameter. When the tree is from three to five years old, it is considered sufficiently mature to be cut and stripped of its fiber. This stripping is a difficult process. The native cleaners who live in the valley go up into the hills and camp out during the season, their experienced eyes being able to tell at a glance whether the tree is old enough for cutting or not. The law and custom in the island is, before stripping the fiber from the tree cut down, to plant a shoot in close proximity to the spot where the former tree grew, thus providing a new tree to take the place of the old one.

The operation of gathering the fiber is, first to strip off the leaves, and when this is done, the bare stalk, some eight or ten feet in length and five to seven inches in diameter, is ready to be worked upon. The operator strips off the extreme outer skin, when the real work commences. In the center of the stalk is a stout pith, around which grow alternate layers of the fiber and a sappy vegetable matter. This fiber must be carefully stripped off at once to prevent the sap from rotting the same. After the fiber has been taken out, it is spread on the ground to dry. One tree will yield about a pound of fiber. The Filipino who does this work is not very industrious, and it takes him about a week to get fifty pounds of fiber, which he ties up, straps upon his back, and carries to market, where he disposes of it to what is called a "middle man." The "middle man" packs it in small bales and ships it to the coast, where it is sold to the European or American buyer, who grades and rebundles it. The grade depends upon the color, coarseness and length of fiber, and the product is sold on the market accordingly.  The annual shipment of manila hemp from the Philippines amounts to from 600,000 to 800,000 bales, averaging about 270 pounds to the bale, at an average of ten cents per pound, having a money value of $16,000,000 to $20,000,000.

Sisal hemp is grown mostly in the province of Northern Yucatan, and in a small way in portions of Southern Mexico. This plant grows wild in Yucatan. On the discovery of that country by Cortez, it was found that sisal was used by the natives for all kinds of purposes for which leather is used at the present time. There are two varieties of sisal—the Zacci, a white hemp, and, Yaxai, a green hemp, the first being considered the best. The sisal plant resembles the century plant—the leaves being from three to five feet long, two to three inches thick, and dark green in color. The plants are set out on a plantation from eight to ten feet apart, and when four or five years old, are ready for harvesting, the operation being quite simple. The natives use a large knife, similar to our corn-cutter, knock the thorns off the leaves, and then cut the leaves from the stalks and throw them into piles, whence they are taken to grinding mills, which resemble our cane-mills. These press the pulp and juice out of the leaves, leaving the fiber, which is then hung on strands of wire and dried in the sun. When thoroughly dry, they are taken down and pressed into bales of about 500 pounds each, and are then ready for market and shipment to this or any other country. Many plantations in Yucatan produce as many as 1,500 bales per month. In 1898, the total amount of hemp shipped was 243,968 bales, while the estimated production for this year will be about 500,000 bales, having a market value, at present prices, of about $20,000,000.


Boat building in the city of Peoria was, at one time, quite an extensive industry, but there are no data as to the builders.  We find in "Drown's Record" for 1851, a list of boats in the Illinois River trade, and note the following were Peoria built:

"Kingston"—a tow-boat, built in 1849, tonnage 145 tons.
"Avalanche"—a regular packet, built in 1848, tonnage 220 tons.

The first record we find of boat-builders was in 1856, when there were three firms engaged in the boat-building trade here, viz.; Joshua Barnes & Co., Deputy & Schlachter, and J. L. Simpson & Co. In 1856, Deputy and Schlachter built boats to the value of $20,000, employing 40 hands. During the same year, J. L. Simpson & Co. built the steamer "Lacon," but no data have been preserved showing the value of this boat, or the number of hands they employed. In 1857, D. Wiley was engaged in the boat-building trade, employing 40 hands. Barnes' boat- yard was on the river bank just above where the gas works now are, that of Deputy & Schlachter being in the same vicinity. The above concerns continued in business during the early '60s, and boat-building was a thriving industry until pushed aside by the rapid increase of steam railways. Within the last few years, Henry M. Rehder had a boatyard just across the river from the gas works.


It is believed that the first book-binder in Peoria was one Davis, a brother of Samuel H. Davis, who was editor of the "Peoria Register and Northwestern Gazetteer" about 1837. The first-named Davis had built for himself a small one-story shop on the lower corner of Liberty and Washington Streets, which, in order to ren-der it more conspicuous, he attempted to have painted of different colors on the several sides, but ended by having one side white and another black, which obtained for it the name of "the speckled building." A copy of a book bound by
Mr. Davis, in 1839, is still in existence in this city, the cover being a very common blue pasteboard, with a back of ordinary sheepskin, and corners protected by the same. There is some doubt whether any book was printed here previous to 1844, when Drown's Peoria Directory (under date of May 1st, of that year) was issued by S. DeWitt Drown. Drown was his own printer, publisher and binder, doing all the work himself. It will be seen that Davis' book-binding antedated the appearance of Drown's work by five years. In Drown's Directory, of the year mentioned, appear the following advertisements of concerns engaged in printing and book-binding at that time:

Samuel H. Davis, corner Main Street and  Printers' Alley.
Thomas J. Pickett, corner Main Street and Printers' Alley.

Printers' Alley of that time was the alley between Water and Washington Streets, and received its name on account of the printing houses adjacent thereto.

We also find an advertisement of Zieber & Sloan, who were located at the corner of Main and Washington Streets. Later, Benjamin Foster ran a book-bindery on Main Street. In 1856, C. Chapin was doing business as a "book-binder and book-maker" at No. 4 Fulton Street. So much for the early history of this industry, which, at the present time, is quite large in the city of Peoria.

We note the following concerns in operation at the present time:

J. W. Franks & Sons, who are located at the corner of Fulton and Water Streets, in a large and commodious brick building, built especially for their business, which consists of printing, lithographing and book-binding. This is an incorporated company, with a capital stock of $55,000. The present officers are Gerald B. Franks, President; Samuel D. Reynolds, Secretary and Treasurer. It was first established in 1872, at 211 Main Street (up stairs), whence they removed across the street, to 210, and again to 206 South Jefferson Street, and thence to their present location. They consume raw materials per annum to the amount of $25,000, employ 86 hands, who earn, approximately, $1,000 per week. The total value of their annual product is $100,000.

The B. Frank Brown Company, located at no South Washington Street, has for its officers B. Frank Brown, President; E. H. Zarley, Secretary; and M. B. Cook, Treasurer. This concern does job printing, and also manufactures blank books. It is an incorporation, with capital of $13,000; value of plant, $10,000. It has been in operation since 1890, and has increased from a very small beginning to an annual output of $35,000. The company employ about 35 hands, whose wages amount to a total of $225 per week.

Messrs. Rodney Mitchell & Co., 204 South, Washington Street, manufacture blank books exclusively. The value of their output amounts to $20,000 per annum, employing 15 hands.

Edward Hine & Co., 400-402 South Adams Street. This concern is engaged mostly in commercial printing, but does some book-binding. The value of their product is about $35,000 per annum, employing 25 hands, with an annual payroll of $15,000.


Owing to the necessity of a low temperature in the brewing process, all beer made in Peoria, at an early day, was made in the winter months and stored in caves or cellars which were dug along the brow of the bluffs. Later when the business of harvesting and storing ice began to be prosecuted on a .large scale, brewing was continued through the entire year, the product being kept cool in ice-houses. At a still later period the introduction of the artificial ice-machine displaced the natural ice, and a well equipped brewery now-a-days manufactures its own ice, the machinery for that purpose having become a large part of the modern brewery. The first brewery of which any account appears on record was that of Frederick Miller, established as  early as 1840—probably earlier, as the newspapers of 1838, show that he was advertising for barley during the latter year. His establishment was located on the corner of Water and Hudson (now Bridge) Streets, which is believed to have been the same ground now occupied by the present Gipps Brewing Company, and which has been so occupied from the beginning.

The next brewery established was located at the corner of Water and Irving Streets by Huber, Raush & Kolb in 1849, and this location has been occupied as a brewery continuously since that time. It has changed hands many times since then, coming into possession of the present own ers in 1884. The Leisy Brewing Company who now conduct that concern is an incorporation, with a capital of $250,000, Edward C. Leisy being the President, Albert E. Leisy, Secretary and Treasurer, and John W. Leisy, Vice-President.   This brewery is the largest in the State outside of Chicago, employing no hands and having a capacity of 150,000 barrels of beer per annum. It is run continuously the year round, night and day. The main building is five stories in height with a frontage on Water Street of 490 feet and 134 feet on Irving Street. It has boilers of 450 horse-power capacity, engines of 150 horse-power, and a refrigerating plant of 150 tons capacity for every 24 hours.

According to Drown's Record of 1856 there were at that time in Peoria five breweries with an annual output valued at $25,000.

The next brewery we find an account of was established in 1858 on Washington Street below Cedar, by Weber, Lutz & Co., who were succeeded by Lutz & Lincoln.   This place has changed hands many times since its original establishment, coming into possession of the present owners, the Union Brewing Company, in 1885. The last named Company was incorporated with a capital of $200,000. The present officers are Jacob Woolner,  President; S. J. Woolner, Vice-President; E. H. Woolner, Treasurer; K. S. Woolner, Secretary. Soon after coming into possession of this brewery the present proprietors built large additions to it and have since added a malt-house, bottling works and boiler-house. At the present time they occupy numbers 1701 to 1709 South Washington Street, and have one of the best equipped and largest plants in Central Illinois, having an annual capacity of $115,000 valuation, employing 30 hands with an annual pay-roll of $17,000, and consuming raw material of the value of $38,000 per annum.


It has been difficult to find any data as to the early manufacture of brick in Peoria, but as there were brick-masons and brick-houses here as early as 1840, the probabilities are that there were brick-yards at that early date. In fact, there is evidence that brick was manufactured in 1834-35 for the first brick Court House erected during those years—the yard being at the foot of the bluff just east of Knoxville Avenue. The first record of any yard in any of the directories or records appears in 1863, when Sidney Pulsifer conducted a yard here. This appears to have been about the site of that used for the manufacture of brick for the Court House in 1834-35. This yard was continued as late as 1870. Later, in 1867 we find that J. R. Miller had a yard on Elizabeth Street, just north of High Street, also A. Heppler, on Main Street, just east of Elizabeth. There is no doubt that yards were scattered all over the bluff from a very early date. The present manufacturers of brick in Peoria include the following: Albert E. Giles, corner of Gale Avenue and Broadway. This concern was established in 1890 by Mr. J. B. Pierce, whom Mr. Giles succeeded in 1898. Mr. Giles employs twelve men, and his annual output is about 1,800,000 brick.

F. R. Carter, East Peoria, 111. This business was established in 1890 by the Spurck's Street Paving Brick Company, who operated it until 1899, Mr. Carter at that time succeeding. Mr. Carter manufactures building and paving brick, and the yard has a capacity of from 8,000,000 to 10,000,000 brick per annum.

We also note the following manufacturers who have been asked to furnish data as to their plants for this work, but from whom no replies have been received: Jos. B. Pierce, Hamlin Avenue near Gordon Avenue; John Madigan, Seventh Avenue near Sterling Avenue; Kanne Bros. & Co., Aiken Avenue near Sterling Avenue; William Fox, ion North Elizabeth Street; J. H. Flannigan, Hamlin Avenue near Gale Avenue.


Although no data are accessible as to the early manufacture of brooms in Peoria, we find in Drown's Record for 1850 that there were shipped from this city in that year 1,300 dozen brooms.  The first broom factory of which any mention has been found in any of the old directories was operated in 1859 by Bowen & Childs, No. 264 South Adams Street. In 1863 we note the following factories in this line:

A. S. Conover, on High Street, near Main.
Edwin Storey, 21 Fulton Street.
Henry R. Van Epps, 52 South Water Street.
Adam J. Neill, 269 Hamilton Street.

The two last named continued in business for a number of years. Mr. Van Epps still lives in Peoria and conducts a wire factory, and Mr. Neill is still engaged in the manufacture of brooms at 317 North Street.


It has been impossible to get any exact information as to what these industries amounted to. The following concerns, not already mentioned, are engaged in this line of manufacture at the present time: George C. Brooks, 1007 East Nebraska Avenue; John Kirkman & Son, 102 North Bourland Street; William J. Heath, 424 New York Avenue.

Some time prior to 1860 an entire quarter-section of land on the bluff west of Western Avenue was planted in broom corn. An experiment was tried by Messrs. Moss, Bradley & Co. in the manufacture of whisky from the seed, which was measurably successful, but the product was nauseating to the taste, which rendered it unfit for use as a beverage and the experiment was not repeated. The manufacture of brooms here about that time was quite extensive.


The Cereal Food Company (Incorporated), of which Normand K. Smith is President and Wyllys K. Smith, Secretary, is located at 300 North Water Street and has a capital stock of $20,000. Their business was established in 1896, and was first located at 202 South Water Street, afterwards removed to 415 South Washington, and thence to the present location where they have large and commodious manufacturing facilities.
They consume raw material to the value of $35,000 per annum, and their annual product is about $85,000, which has gradually increased from a beginning of $16,000.  The company employs 75 people and has an annual pay- roll of about $10,000. They manufacture lye hominy, which is put up in cans ready for table use.

The firm of Steward & Merriam is a co-partnership concern, originally composed of H. B. Steward (now deceased) and F. G. Merriam. Its works are located at 519 North Water Street, the capital invested being $150,000. The value of the plant is about $100,000, which consists of a large brick building equipped with the latest modern machinery. This business was first established in 1872 at Akron, Ohio, and later removed to Peoria. They employ 20 people in the manufacture of oat-meal and rolled-oats, which they put up in bulk and also in cartons, and in which they have an extensive trade.


The Allaire-Woodward Company is an incorporated concern with a capital stock of $150,000, located at no Main Street. Its present officers are: James A. Smith, President; H. J. Woodward, Vice-President; J. N. Ward, Secretary; Eliot Callender, Treasurer.  The business was established in 1873 at the corner of Water and Hamilton Streets and later removed to its present location.  The company manufacture fluid and solid-fluid medical extracts, sugar-coated pills, and grind, powder and press all kinds of staple botanic products. Their goods are shipped to Europe, Australia and to every State and Territory in the Union. About 400,000 pounds of roots and herbs are manipulated annually. Their sales aggregate $70,000 annually. They employ 90 persons. The domestic roots and other raw products employed in their manufacture come principally from the Southern States, a great portion being from North Carolina. The business of the concern has increased gradually from the beginning.


Peoria is one of the leading producers of cigars in the State. One of the early manufacturers prior to 1844 was Geo. W. Hickey, located on Main Street between Washington and Adams. Later (in 1856) Justus B. Fleck had an establishment at 13 Main Street. In 1858 John R. Day was engaged in the business at 29 Hamilton Street, and in 1859 Callender & Day were located at 39 Hamilton Street. Many changes in this industry have taken place since that time, of which it is not necessary to make mention here. At the present time we find the following concerns in operation: Chas. B. Hoffman, 411 South Adams; Jacob Hoffman, 217 South Washington; Frank P. Lewis, 207 North Jefferson. The latter is the largest cigar factory inPeoria, and was established in 1885 at 226 MainStreet. Later Mr. Lewis purchased the building once occupied as a residence by the late Robert G. Ingersoll, and converted it into one of the most modern and hygienic cigar factories in the world. The building stands by itself and has light from the four sides; is also equipped with reading and waiting rooms for the employes, lavatories and every convenience.   The concern employs 125 hands and consumes annually 150,000 pounds of tobacco, the product amounting to 5,500,000 cigars per annum, which is sold all over the Middle, Southern and Western States. Mr. Lewis also conducts a retail store at 323 Main Street. He was the originator of the process of packing cigars in tin-foil packages, in which he now has many imitators. Another large factory is that of Springer Bros., located at 114-116 North Washington Street. This is a co-partnership concern, consisting of Joseph Springer and William H. Springer, having a capital invested of $12,000. Their business was established in 1885 in block 1400 South Adams—later removed to its present location. They employ 47 hands, consume raw material per annum amounting to $21,000, with an annual product of $55,000.   Their business has increased .from a few thousand, dollars per annum and from a force of nine hands to its present capacity.


Among the early coopers of Peoria prior to 1844, we note Elijah M. Applegate on Adams at the head of Gay Street, Uriah Shook on Jefferson Street, between Fulton and Liberty, and James Soles on Madison Street between Main and Fulton.  There is reason to believe that the product of these early concerns was confined chiefly to the manufacture of wooden cisterns, flour-barrels, wash-tubs, horse and well-buckets and other articles of domestic use. At a later period, when distilleries began to be established and multiply, distillers, as a matter of economy in their business, soon began to manufacture barrels for their own use, and thus large coopering establishments grew up and have now become a leading industry. The value of barrels manufactured here in 1856 was estimated at $130,000.

The first steam barrel factory of which mention is made was established in 1856 under the name of the Billings Barrel Factory, and it is noted by Drown that the proprietor had one of Trapper's famous barrel machines, which had a capacity of too barrels per day. Of course this is small compared to the output of the factories of the present day, of which we note the following:

Madigan & Walsh Co., a corporation, with Peter Casey, President and Treasurer; T. H. Wentworth, Secretary, and J. E. Murphy, Manager ; located on Chicago Street between Washington and Water Streets; capital invested, $150,000; value of plant, $120,000. This business was established in 1884 at the rear of No. 110 Elliott Street, and has increased from 40 barrels per day to 1,500 barrels per day at the present time.  They consume raw material per annum to the amount of $500,000, and employ 125 hands with an approximate pay-roll of $70,000, and turn out an annual product valued at $600,000. They manufacture all kinds of cooperage, which they sell largely to the distilleries of this city.

The Empire Cooperage Company (incorporated), located at South and Water Streets; M.  H.  Ritzwoller,  President, and Adolph Raffman, Secretary and Manager. This concern manufactures what is known to the trade as. "slack barrels." Their capital stock is $6,000. They have recently installed  machinery by which they manufacture barrels by steam, and now have a capacity of 1,000 barrels per day.

National  Cooperage & Wooden  Ware Company.  Its main shop, formerly known as the Hutchinson, is located on Washington Street, extending from Apple to Warren, also operates what was formerly known as the Peoria Cooperage Company works, located on Cedar Street between Washington and Water. This concern is incorporated with a capital stock of $500,000, being organized in 1898. The present officers are: J. B. Greenhut, President; Adolph Woolner, First Vice-President; Max Rosenow, Second Vice-president; Max H. Ritzwoller, Secretary ; E. J. Kahn, Treasurer. This is, no doubt, the largest cooperage concern in the world, having a daily capacity of 2,000 whisky, 3,000 glucose and 1,000 oil barrels, besides a large quantity of lard tierces, small buckets, etc., for jelly, glucose and like products. The company employ at Peoria 650 hands, arid their annual product is valued at $2,000,000. In addition to their cooperage plant located at Peoria, they own their own stave plants, which are located in Arkansas and Missouri.


This industry was of early date in Peoria .  As early as 1844 G. A. Besemen, located on Water Street between Main and Hamilton, made Boston and water-crackers for the retail trade. At the same date, George Kagee, located on Main Street between Washington and Adams, manufactured all kinds of crackers and confectionery.

The first steam bakery was established in l850 at 8 South Water Street by William J. Ferren, who manufactured a full line of crackers for the wholesale trade. James Stewart was also a manufacturer of crackers and confectionery in the early '5os, being located at 42 Main Street. The first large steam cracker and confectionery factory in  Peoria was established in 1858 by Frank Field & Co. at the corner of Sixth and Franklin Streets. The business was continued by Field, who .will be well remembered as a live, progressive citizen of Peoria from that time forward.  He was succeeded in 1876 by Kellogg & Davis. Their factory was three stories high, built of brick and had the latest improved machinery. It consumed 30 barrels of flour per day and 15 barrels of sugar, producing in the same time 60 barrels of crackers and 1,500 pounds of confectionery. They employed an average of 30 hands
with three traveling men, their annual business amounting to $150,000. The business' was continued by the same firm for several years at this location, but later removed to Washington Street, .and was finally sold to the National Biscuit Company. In 1865, M. J. Lathrop conducted a wholesale cracker and confectionery business at 19 'South Washington Street. Mr. Lathrop will be Temembered by many of the early settlers as a wide-awake business man. He continued in business for a number of years, until his decease, when the concern was closed out.   In 1867 Harsch Bros. engaged in this business at the corner of Franklin and Adams Streets, and later removed to 310-312 South Washington Street. This grew to be quite an extensive concern, manufacturing 60 barrels of crackers per day, besides a large amount of confectionery.

The following are the principal concerns engaged in this line of industry at the present time:

National Biscuit Company, located at 408-410 South Washington Street, is a branch of the National Biscuit Company, of New York. They consume 60 barrels of flour per day and 1,500 pounds of sugar, manufacturing 500 boxes of crackers and 2,000 pounds of confectionery. They employ on an average 150 hands and 10 traveling men.

William P. Gauss, confectioner, 112-114 Liberty Street, has a capital of $30,000 invested in his business, which was established in 1895 at the present location.  This concern consumes raw material to the amount of $25,000 per annum. It employs an average of 40 people, with an approximate pay-roll of $32,500 per annum and an annual product cf $75,000.

Thomas & Clark, a co-partnership, consisting of Albert V. Thomas and Robert B. Clark, at 306-312 South Washington Street, is engaged in the manufacture of crackers only. This concern has adopted as its "slogan," "Not in the Trust." It enjoys a large trade throughout the Middle and Western States, and is represented on the road by six traveling men and employs an average of 85 people. It consumes 60 barrels of flour per day in the manufacture of 500 boxes of crackers. Messrs. Thomas & Clark manufacture all kinds of crackers, fancy biscuit and sweet goods, comprising some 155 varieties.


The Marsden Company, whose main office is at 850 Drexel Building, Philadelphia, with E. G. Bruckner, President, and A. G. Winter, General Manager, is the representative of this new and important industry in Peoria. Besides their Peoria factory, they have plants at Owensboro, Ky., West Point, Va., and Linden, Ind. The Peoria plant, of which T. S. Ayers is the Superintendent, is the largest of the several plants owned by the company. It is located midway between Peoria and Pekin, in other words, in South Bartonville, a suburb of Peoria. The Company have half a mile of siding connected with both the Peoria & Pekin Union and the Peoria & Pekin Terminal Railroads, which gives them access to all railways entering Peoria. This concern has for its object the utilization of cornstalks—chiefly the pith—in the manufacture of various products for mechanical and commercial purposes, which will be explained more fully later on in this article.

The plant occupies 36 acres, nearly one-half of which is already covered with buildings so arranged that they can be enlarged as the business requires. The cornstalks received at this plant are shipped from Midway and Lincoln, Illinois, in enormous freight cars, owned by the Marsden Company, which, by the way, are the largest freight cars in existence.  Peoria was chosen for the location of the plant on account of the superior railroad facilities and the cheapness and close proximity of the coal supply— mines being located at each end of the property and within 500 yards of the engine room. It is with no small degree of pleasure—in fact, with much pride—that the author of this article calls attention to the above mentioned enterprise. It can be pointed to as an enterprise which has developed a new line of industry and opened up a new source of profit to the agricultural industries of the country. The investment of $200,000 capital in this city and the employment of a large number of men in an entirely new industry, in addition to enhancing the value of corn land, and increasing the value of the corn crop with little addition- al outlay and very little additional labor to the farmer, are important considerations. This has been made possible by Mr. Mark Marsden, who, some years ago, after a long series of experiments, demonstrated that cornstalks, by various processes, could be made into a dozen or more products, the principal one of which was Cellulose, which could be put upon the market with a wide margin of profit, after prices had been paid for the raw material which seemed ridiculously high. The mechanical equipment of this plant is something remarkable, being made up almost wholly of inventions of the Marsden Company. The most gifted scientists and inventive geniuses of the world have been employed, with the result that the process has been so perfected that, from the time the stalks are placed into the gigantic cutter at one end of the works, they are never again touched by workmen until a dozen or more products are turned out in almost as many different parts of the factory ready for shipment. The Cellulose proper is carried into a deep receptacle and is there pressed with a 72-ton hydraulic press, which is over 600 feet from the original cutter, without having been handled by any other agency than this machinery. This enables the Marsden Company to operate a very large plant with not over fifty men.

A brief description of the manner in which Cellulose is made will be of interest here. The stalks are received in the factory tied into bundles as large as a man can handle. They are next thrown upon a carrier by which they are conveyed to the cutting machine, wherein they are chopped into pieces half an inch long, the leaves and husks passing through without being pulverized. All the stalk is cut up, and in the cutting process a considerable portion of the outside shell is torn from the pith. The mass then passes up an elevator and is discharged into large revolving reels, covered with mesh-cloth of sufficient size to permit the pith and shell and smaller particles of leaf and husks to pass through the coarser portion of the husks and leaves, passing over the reel and tailing from its end, are caught up by an exhaust-fan and conveyed through pipes to another part of the works, where they are shredded and baled as cattle food. The material passing through the meshes of these reels is again elevated and thrown into another pair of reels, which are covered with wire and revolving at a high rate of speed. The flat pieces of shell, leaf and husks escape between them, thus bringing about the second cleaning of the pith, which falls into a hopper under the reels, and this material is drawn up by exhaust fans and carried to the attrition mills and is there ground to a fine meal, making the new corn product.

The principal product obtained from this process is Cellulose, which is the pith of the stalk, and which, after being chemically treated for fire-proofing, is sold almost entirely to the Government for packing coffer-dams of war ships, to prevent them from sinking when pierced by shells. Not only has it been adopted by our own government, but by the Italian, English, Russian and the French Governments also, after exhaustive tests of its merits. The Marsden Company, at the present time, is far behind its orders for the product, and is placing all it can turn out with these Governments. The United States Government keeps an inspector continually at the works, who takes samples of the material, places it in an iron pan with perforated bottom and drops into it an iron rivet heated to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If the Cellulose simply chars without blazing, it is then passed as satisfactory. It then goes to the packing department, where it is pressed by means of a 72-ton hydraulic press into six-inch cubes, weighing from 12 to 17 ounces. Each cube is packed into a pasteboard box and the boxes, having been packed into water-proof cases, are then ready for shipment. The reason for placing in water-proof cases is, that if one of these six-inch cubes should come in contact with water, it will swell to twenty-five times its original bulk. This will explain how the packing of the hull of a war ship with Cellulose will prevent the vessel from sinking when pierced
by a shell.

The following are a few of the by-products, which are made from cornstalks, in addition to Cellulose:
1. Pyroxylin varnish, or Cellulose in liquid form—An article which greatly improves the quality of every article manufactured from wood-pulp, and may also be applied as a coating for all exterior surfaces and used for many
other purposes.
2. Cellulose used for nitrating purposes—especially for smokeless powder and high explosives : The pith, after being treated with a diluted alkali, is easily nitrated into all the various forms of material made from cotton, and at far less cost. Its especial advantage for these explosives is its perfect keeping properties.
3. Cellulose for packing—this being the most perfect non-conductor of heat or electricity, as well as protector from jars or blows.
4. Paper pulp and various forms of paper made therefrom—the shells or shives of cornstalks, under proper treatment, yield a pulp that ,can be used either as, a base or alone in the manufacture of fine grade paper.
5. Stock food—made from the ground outer shell or shives of the cornstalks, and also from the nodes and joints. The leaves and tassels also furnish a shredded or baled fodder for stock.
6. Mixed food for stock—containing fine ground shells or shives as a base and, in addition thereto, nitrogenous meals, concentrated food substances, similar in character to distillery glucose refuse, sugar-beet pulp, apple pomice and other by-products.
7. Poultry foods of two types—namely: Type 1, containing nutriment for laying hens; and type 2, containing nutriment for fattening purposes.


The distilling interest of Peoria has long been, one of the largest industries of the city, and, at this time, Peoria produces more spirits and high wines than any other city in the world. Ten years before the advent of railroads this branch of industry was started, and has since been the basis of a number of large fortunes.  About the year 1843, Almiran S. Cole, a merchant doing business  on  Water  Street, between Main and Fulton, built the first distillery— a zoo-bushel house.  This distillery was located on the river bank where the Peoria & Pekin Union Railroad freight house now stands, and was operated by Mr. Cole for two years, when he sold out to Sylvanus Thompson, the latter to Richard Gregg, and Mr. Gregg to Charles R. Carroll. Johnson L. Cole, a son of A. S. Cole, states that there was a placard on this distillery in 1844, which read as follows: "10 cents for white corn, 12 1/2 for yellow corn." At the present time (January, 1902) the market price for corn in Peoria is 60 to 62 cents, and there is little doubt that the price of corn in the Peoria market has been enhanced to some extent by the demand for distilling purposes. From this time 3n the distilling business has more than kept pace with the growth of Peoria. Mr. Cole entered into the distilling business a second time in 1850, erecting a new building which, at that time, was the largest building in the Mississippi Valley. The location of this building was at the foot of Cedar Street where the charcoal works now, are. Its cost was $128,000, and the establishment had a capacity of 1,000 bushels of corn daily, making 4,000 gallons of high wines. The capital invested was $200,000 and value of annual product $600,000. In 1859 it is estimated that two-thirds of $1,000,000 was invested in the distilling busines in Peoria. There were then six distilleries in operation, besides two alcohol works. Moss, Bradley & Co. were probably the largest operators, having an investment of $144,000 in the business. For the year ending April 30, 1859, their statement shows a'consumption of 294,623 bushels of grain.  They employed theirty-eight men. Several of the distilleries of that period have been burned and some were never rebuilt. The manufacture of high wines and spirits in 1878 was the largest in the history of Peoria up to that date, and was considered something phenomenal as to the consumption of grain and aggregate product. In that year, there were fourteen distilleries in Peoria of the following capacities: Union No. 7 (Woolner Bros.), 2,201 bushels; Zell Schwabacher & Co., 4,222; Clarke Bros., 1,538; Great Western, 6,200; Peoria Distilling Company, 5,000; Manhattan, 2,150; G. T. Barker,
3,330; Fermenich Manufacturing Company, 1,500; J. W. Johnson, 2,000; Woolner Bros., No. 8, 5,932; Monarch, 8,000; Bush & Brown, 2,300; Great Eastern, 3,000; Standard Distilling Company, 1,200; total, 48,569. The Monarch, which at that time had a capacity of only two-thirds of what the Great Western now has, was considered the greatest distillery in the world. It is not to be inferred that these distilleries were at anytime all running to their full capacity, otherwise the product would have greatly exceeded the demand. Since then, by the combination of capital into fewer hands, and by the erection of larger plants and fewer of them, the production can be more readily confined within the demands of the trade. These combinations are frequently called "Trusts."

At the present time (January, 1902), there are in operation in Peoria the following distilleries :  The Great Western, capacity, 12,000 bushels daily; Monarch, 5,000 bushels capacity daily; Manhattan, 3,000 bushels capacity daily.

These concerns are all controlled by the American Spirits Manufacturing Company. The Atlas Distillery, with a capacity of 8,000 bushels daily, is controlled by the Standard Distilling and Distributing Company. Both of these concerns are members of what is known as the "Whisky Trust." In addition to these trust houses, one of the largest concerns is that of Clarke Brothers & Co., with a capacity of 3,000 bushels daily, located in Lower Peoria, capital stock, $500,000, with Charles D. Clarke, President; Chauncey D. Clarke, Vice-President; William S. Parry, Secretary and Treasurer; Robert D. Clarke, Manager. Their business was established in 1899, and at present employs 100 hands. Clarke Brothers & Co. also have a rectifying house at the foot of Johnson Street, where they rectify whiskies, gins, and manufacture a large variety of cordials. Mr. William E. Hull is the general manager of this part of the business. The concern of Corning & Co., at the foot of Sanger Street, has a daily capacity of 6,000 bushels. These are independent industries, and have no connection with the Whisky Trust. The Great Western, already mentioned, with its capacity of 12,000 bushels per day, is the largest distillery in the world.   Figuring the cost of corn at the present market price, it consumes $7,200 worth of corn daily, producing 60,000 gallons of high wines, on which the Government receives a revenue of $1.10 per gallon, making $66,000 paid to the Government daily as tax on the production of this one distillery alone.


The Diamond Meter Company is a corporation organized and established in business in 1897, for the manufacture of Electric Meters and Transformers, based on a capital stock of $50,000. The value of the plant is estimated at $30,000, and the amount of the first year's business at $50,000. The present officers of the company are E. H. Couch, President; A. B. Fink, Secretary and Manager, and W. F. Heyle, Treasurer, and the present location of the factory, 926 South Adams Street. The concern employs an average of too hands, receiving approximately $35,000 in wages per annum. The estimated value of the raw material used during the past twelve months is $50,000, while the output for the same time has amounted to $120,000.


This business was first established in Peoria in 1856 by J. T. Shoaff at 41 Main Street, who continued in business for a number of years. At the present time there is the Peoria Electrotype Company, located at 109 Main Street.


According to .Drown's Record of Peoria, published in 1850, the first flouring mill in this vicinity was erected in 1830 by John Hamlin and John Sharp on the Kickapoo Creek, about three miles west of the Court House, being the first mill in this section of the State. This mill had two runs of stone, manufacturing about fifty barrels of flour per day of twenty-four hours. A large amount of this flour was sent by flatboats to the New Orleans market, commanding in that market $1.37 1/2 and $1.50 per barrel. This was the only mill in this section until 1838, when Hale Brothers erected what was then considered a large mill about two miles above the Hamlin & Sharp mill, on the same stream, which, according to Mr. Drown, had two runs of burrs for wheat and one for corn. It continued to run until about the year 1867, when it was converted into a distillery and, not long afterwards, was burned. There was soon afterwards another mill erected on the Kickapoo some distance lower down, known in later years as Monroe's Mill, which continued to be operated by James Monroe until 1865 or later.

The first mill erected in the city was that familiarly known as the "Red Mill," afterwards called the "Central City," and still later "Fort dark Mill," at the foot of Harrison Street, where the Transfer Company now is. It was built by Orin Hamlin about 1844, passed into the hands of John, Hamlin in 1846, and about 1850-51 into the hands of James McFadden, who operated it at the rate of 150 barrels per day for several years. He was succeeded in 1855 by the firm of William A. Thrush & Co., the partners being Joseph P. McClanahan and Charles Raymond. Thrush retiring in 1859, the firm became McClanahan & Co., who were succeeded in 1863 by James T. Robinson and George Field, under the firm name of Robinson & Co., who operated it for many years.

Soon after the erection of the "Red Mill," John Rankin and his two nephews, John H. and James Rankin, erected a mill on the east corner of Washington and Fayette Streets, long known as the "Farmers' Mill." The Rankins were succeeded in 1853 by Elias C. and John Hinzey, who in 1856 sold to George Field and Thaxter Shaw, who in 1861 sold to Peterson & Wood.

About the year 1853 or 1854 a neat little brick mill was erected by Charles P. Billon on the northeasterly side of Hamilton Street, below Washington. In 1855 it passed into the hands of George Wilmot, and was for some time operated by the firm of Wilmot, Dudley & Stone, consisting of George Wilmot, D. P. Dudley and Samuel W. Stone. In the course of two or three years it was burned and never re-built.

About 1857 or 1858, a mill was erected on Water Street, between Gay and Clay Streets, by a corporation under the name of the "Peoria City Flour Company," of which little is known for the first few years. About 1865 it passed into the hands of George Field and James T. Robinson, under the firm name of George Field & Co., by whom it continued to be operated for several years. It was known as the "City Mill."

About the year 1865 Frank Field and George H. McClallen erected quite a large mill on the north corner of Washington and Hamilton Streets, which they named the "Diamond Mill." The firm was subsequently changed to Field, Russell & Co., and later to Field, Maynard & Co. It continued to be operated for several years. Sometime prior to 1870 Henry I. Chase, E. D. Chase and P. F. Chase erected a custom mill on the corner of Adams and Elm Streets, which continued to do business for several years, but the building has long since been converted into other uses.

Of the mills existing here prior to 1870 the Globe Mill, the Fayette Mill (now the Vienna Mills), and the Home Mill (now known as the custom mill of Horace dark and Sons) are the only ones still running. The first of these (the Globe Roller Mills), located at the corner of Main and Globe Streets, was built in 1856 by Burnham & Gregg, who ran it for several years. About 1862 they sold out to Frank Field, who used it to make flour for his hardtack
bakery—he having at that time a contract for supplying the Government with hardtack for the army. From about 1865 to 1879 this mill was practically idle. In 1879 it was purchased by the present owners, J. W. Gift & Co., and, in 1881, was thoroughly remodeled, changing it from the mill-stone to the roller process, making, it the first roller-mill to grind winter wheat in the United States. It has been run steadily since. Mr. J. W. Gift is a born miller, his father and grandfather preceding him in the business, locating as early as 1840 in Marion County, Ohio. Mr. Gift has associated with him his sons, F. H.  and C. H. Gift. Their product is almost exclusively white flour. They have a capital invested of $50,000, employ an average of fifteen hands, and are represented on the road by three traveling salesmen.

About the year 1856 William C. Moore erected a mill on the present site of the Vienna Mill on Eaton Street, which was, for many years, known as the "Fayette Mill." A year later, Isaac Moore became a partner. This firm was succeeded in 1859 by Willard M. Randall, in 1860 by Randall & Hughes, in 1867 by Randall & Potter. The mill a short time before this (being a frame building) had been burned down, but was replaced by the present brick structure. Randall & Potter operated it for several years, then sold out to Phelps & Co., who, in 1879, sold to Cox, Bruner & Co., from whom it was purchased in 1882 by the present proprietors, Donmeyer, Gardner & Co. It is now known as the Vienna Mills. Its present capacity is 200 bushels per day. It is equipped with all the latest improvements in machinery and employs 15 hands, besides two traveling men.

The Clark Mill, built as the "Home Mill" in 1864, at the head of Walnut Street by Clark Hanna & Co., was run successfully for some years when, having been burned down, it was rebuilt on a somewhat smaller scale. It has been operated for many years by Horace Clark &. Sons as the "Custom Mill," also doing a large jobbing business in Minnesota flour.

For twenty years, dating from 1850, milling was one of the principal branches of business carried on in the city. In 1865 the product was 33-753 barrels of flour, averaging $4.50 per barrel. The mills named were all in operation as late as the year 1870, but in consequence of the opening up of the great wheat fields of the Northwest and the erection of the immense mills on the Upper Mississippi and elsewhere, the milling business soon afterwards began to decline, until as it is said only one, "The Home Mill," remained in Peoria.

In addition to the foregoing, the distilleries for some time carried on the milling business in connection with the production of spirits and many of them were known as mills. At first the great distillery of Moss, Bradley & Co. was simply an addition to a flouring mill located on the same spot.


The pioneer foundryman of Peoria was William R. Hopkins, who started in business in 1840, his location being on Water Street between Liberty and Harrison. He made all kinds of farm machinery and plow-castings, as well as castings for threshing machines; also manufactured hollow ware, cooking and cannon stoves, etc. The next foundry was established in 1845 by, William Peters, who was located at the corner of Water and Walnut Streets.  In connection with his foundry he manufactured steam engines, mill machinery,  distilling machinery, horse powers and threshing machines. He had a capital of $21,000 invested, and employed fifteen hands, the value of his annual product being about $18,000. This business was conducted for a number of years, and finally came into the possession of Nicol, Burr & Co., who greatly enlarged the plant, and, for a number of years after the Civil War, were doing a foundry business, being the largest of its kind in the State. They employed from forty-five to fifty men, their yearly  output amounting to from $75,000 to $100,000. This business was continued until about 1890, when the firm dissolved, the building now being used for a threshing machine storehouse, and sickle and knife factory.

Another of the early foundries and machine shops was Moore, Springer & Co., established about 1850 at the corner of Adams and Eaton Streets. This firm was succeeded about 1863 by Messrs. Moore & Anderson, later the business; being managed by Mr. H. G. Anderson, who continued it until about 1870, when it was closed out. Sometime before the Civil War, the Voris family erected a very fine foundry and machine shop on the corner of Washington and Chestnut Streets, where the Central Railway power-house now is. The premises afterwards passed into the hands of Hart, Hitchcock & Co., who added an extensive factory of farming implements. This concern is noticed more fully under the head of "Agricultural Implements." At the present time, in addition to the foundries running in connection with the various other manufacturing concerns, we have the following individual foundries : Excelsior Foundry Company, 101-105 Pecan Street; Washington Foundry, M. O'Rourke, proprietor, 2317-2323 South Washington Street; Peoria Foundry Company, 1306-1312 South Washington Street.

A branch of the foundry business is the manufacture of brass castings, which was one of the early industries of Peoria, being carried on usually in connection with iron foundries. As early as 1844 Henry Hahn made to order and supplied all kinds of brass castings. His shop was off Water Street above Main. At the present time we have in Peoria an industry of this class that would be a credit to any city. Reference is had to the Kinsey & Mahler Company, located at the corner of Adams and Harrison Streets. They have warehouses on Water Street in block 200, South.  This company is incorporated with a capital of $100,000, the present officers being Samuel A. Kinsey, President; Mrs. Emma Mahler Wilson, Treasurer, and Warren Kinsey, Secretary. The concern employs 80 hands and pays wages to the amount of $40,000 annually. This business was established in 1850 by Loker, Seller & Company, and Messrs. Kinsey & Mahler became the sole owners in 1866. Their location was at 83 to 85 South Washington Street until 1872, when they removed to their present location. They were incorporated in 1884. They manufacture all kinds of brass castings as well as plumbers' supplies for water, steam and gas; also build and install stills, etc., for breweries and distilleries, having equipped many of the largest distilleries in this country and in Mexico.


At one time Peoria was one of the largest producers of furniture in the Middle West, but owing to the concen- tration of the industry near the base of supplies—such as suitable timber— the business at this time is limited. Among the early factories here prior to 1844, was that of James Beck, located on Washington Street between Main and Fulton, and that of Conrad Boelling, on Washington Street, between Fulton and Liberty. The latter advertised that he had a horse-power turning lathe attached to his establishment. William L. Evans was located at the corner of Liberty and Printers' Alley. In 1845, furniture manufacturing began to be carried on on a larger scale. The first large factory was that of Fridly & Lincoln, located on the river front where the Union Freight Depot now is. This concern at that time had a capital of $30,000, employing fifty hands, and producing annually furniture to the value of $40,000. Later, Dredge, Hester & Keyes established a large factory at the corner of Water and Liberty Streets, and about 1858 the two last named factories appear to have been merged into one under the name of Dredge & Lincoln, who erected a new factory, 120x30 feet, employed steam power, and had a salesroom at the corner of Fulton and. Washington Streets. About this time Hesler & Tjaden had a factory on Main Street in Block 100, using steam for power and employing fifteen men. The "Peoria Transcript" of January 1, 1859, among other items made mention of the fact that the furniture manufactories of Peoria were among the best—manufacturing furniture from mahogany, rosewood, black walnut and cherry—and that their furniture would rank with any in the country, as elegant as could be found in the parlors of the most wealthy and aristocratic families of the East.

At the present time Peoria has only one furniture factory—the Peoria Lounge and Mattress Company, located at the corner of Fayette and Eaton Streets. It has a capital of $15,000, with officers as follows: J. S. Heffner, President; C. L. Doty, Vice-President; R. M. Blair, Secretary and Treasurer. They manufacture upholstered furniture and mattresses. The business was established in 1892 and, from a very small beginning, they at this time produce annually manufactured goods to the value of $42,000, consuming raw material of the value of $25,000, employing 25 hands with an annual pay-roll of $10,000.


Another industry of modern invention in which Peoria is largely engaged, is the manufacture of glucose and its products from corn. This invention was first perfected at Buffalo, New York, about the year 1864. About 1879 two competing companies were organized at Peoria, attracted hither by the superior quality of water, abundance of cheap fuel and nearness to the great corn-producing belt of the Middle West. On June 29, 1879, the "Peoria Sugar Refining Company" was chartered with a capital of $150,000, for the manufacture of sugar, syrups, starch and glucose, with William T. Jebb and Thomas Jebb, of Buffalo, as subscribers to one-half the stock, the other half being taken by business men of Peoria. William T. Jebb, Thomas  Jebb, James M. Quinn and E. S. Easton were made Directors. Their factory was erected where the Glucose Works now are, but, although the land seems to have been purchased and the buildings erected by that company, yet for most of the time it has been operated in the name of the "American Glucose Company," of which Cicero J. Hamhn was President and William Hamlin Secretary, with other members of the Hamlin family, all of whom had come from Buffalo, holding subordinate positions. It is now operated in the name of the "Glucose Sugar Refining Company," which seems to be a foreign corporation, of which W. B. Evans is the agent. The main building, located at Sanger Street and Monarch Avenue, is 104x196 feet and six stories in height. It has a capacity of 30,000 bushels per day and consumes, approximately, 23,000 bushels, yielding 1,200 barrels of glucose and employing 700 hands. For reasons best known to the parties interested, the Jebbs went to Iowa and established another factory in that State.

On October 13, 1879, the "Peoria Grape Sugar Company" was incorporated for the manufacture of grape sugar and glucose, with a capital stock of $50,000, which was taken principally by the Woolner brothers, of Peoria, E. F. Drake, of Buffalo, Jacob Dans and E. Meyer. A large factory was erected at the corner of Water and North Fayette (now Eaton) Streets, with a large warehouse between the railroad and the river. The capital stock was shortly afterwards increased to $100,000. This plant was successfully and largely operated for many years; but, owing to disastrous fires which destroyed first the warehouse and afterwards the main factory, it ceased to operate only a few years ago.


This business was established at an early day in Peoria, Thomas Hardesty, located at the corner of Water and Fulton Strets, and David W. Hage, on Main Street between Washington and Adams, being among the earliest manufacturers in this line. In 1850, Bender & Frederick was the leading firm in this branch, their place of business being on Washington Street between Main and Fulton. This establishment is still in existence, although it has changed hands several times in the past fifty years. It is now located at 324 South Adams Street, with a collar factory attached in the rear and running through to Washington Street. The style of the firm is H. N. Frederick & Sons. The business is now successfully conducted by t'he sons, William D. and Edward J. Frederick. There are also the following factories which manufacture, as well as wholesale, this class of goods; Ducker & Foster, 213. Main Street; Rehfus Brothers, 227 Main Street, and Case & Kroenlein, 112 South Washington Street.


Among the early rfhil-wrights of Peoria were Anson Durst, who was a burr millstone maker, and William Greenwood and Augustine Greenwood—the shop of the latter being located near Spring Hill, which the inhabitants of the present day know as Hickey's Hill.  Later, Isaac G. Reynolds established himself at 124 North Adams Street, manufacturing grain separators and flour packers. At the present time Hagerty, Graber & Co. carry on this business successfully at 915-917 South Washington Street, and are contractors for flour mills, elevators and distilleries.


The first record we find of monument manufactures in Peoria is in 1850, when Kent & Jewell established this business on Hamilton Street between Washington and Adams. This firm was succeeded by J. Jewell, and in 1856 R. Campbell carried on the business on Fulton Street between Adams and Washington, as also did A. N. Parkhurst, at the corner of Perry and Franklin Streets.  In 1854 Otto Triebel established a monument business at the corner of First and Franklin Streets, and this concern is still in existence under the name Triebel & Sons—a partnership consisting of Henry Triebel and William H. Triebel. Their salesrooms are located at 124 North Adams Street, and their yards at Perry and Caroline Streets. The firm have a capital invested of $30,000. Also at the  present time, John Merkle & Sons, a partnership consisting of John H. Merkle and Charles F. Merkle, are doing business in the same line at 216-218 Bridge Street. The capital of the last named concern is $25,000, the business having been established in 1854 by John Merkle. Their annual sales amount to $40,000.


Truefit Manufacturing Company (incorporated), with William Goodheart, President; H. T. Bloom, Secretary and Treasurer, located at 222-224 South Adams Street, manufactures a full line of shirts, overalls and pants—capital invested, $50,000, established in 1889, at 115-117 Washington Street. The business has increased gradually from the original establishment to the present time. The concern employs 125 hands, with an annual pay-roll of $27,500.  Also, C. J. Scranton & Co., 230 South Washington Street, a co-partnership consisting of Charles J. Scranton and Vincent F. Sheldon, are engaged in the same line. J. N. Ward & Co. (incorporated)—officers, J. N. Ward, President; Wesley S. Dowe, Treasurer; W. C. Jueig, Secretary; located at 316-318 South Adams Street—manufacture the Royal Brand of pantaloons, overalls and jackets, shirts, etc. They have capital invested amounting to -$100,000, Their business has increased from its establishment in 1880 to the present time, their annual product now amounting to $250,000. They employ 370 hands, with an annual pay-roll of $50,000 to $60,000.


The Archarena Company was organized in 1896 for the manufacture of Parlor Game Boards, of which three styles have been put upon the market. It was located at No. 100-106 Main Street under the management of E. L. Williams, President, with a capital stock of $50,000, the value of the plant estimated at $6,000. The value of the output, at first small, has increased rapidly, the cost of the raw material consumed during the past year being estimated at $45,000 in the manufacture of $175,000 worth of goods. The average number of hands employed during the year is reported at 75, to whom wages approximating $26,000 were paid. A part of the last year's product was manufactured at South Bend, Ind., to which place the factory was removed near the close of the year.


Among the early potters prior to 1844, we find Samuel B. King, who was doing business on Monroe Street between Fayette and Jackson. He made all kinds of stone and earthen ware, as well as flower pots, both plain and fancy. In 1856 Loudon & Long ran a pottery on upper Grove Street, their product for that year amounting to $7,000. In 1859 the American Pottery Company v/as established on North Adams Street above Caroline Street. The company was composed of Decius W. Clarke, Christ W. Fenton, Thomas W. Johnson, George W. Lascell, Amos M. Johnson and William Barker. Later, the name of the eompany was changed to the Peoria Pottery Company, and at one time it was a very nourishing industry, employing fifty hands. At the present time they are manufacturing almost exclusively table or white ware, both plain and decorated. Their product is of the very best grade. This concern has recently changed hands and, at the present writing, the new organization has not been completed.


The pioneer manufacturer in this line was Benjamin Foster, who was located for a great many years at in Main Street. He was later succeeded by his son, Edgar Foster, who finally became interested in a strawboard mill, and closed out the paper box business. The present manufactory is the Peoria Paper Box Factory, located at 207 Livingston Street.


Peoria is the home of one of the largest factories of this character in the world. Its machines are sold in the princi- pal towns and cities throughout the entire United States, besides being exported to other countries, the output being equal to that of all other factories of this kind combined.   This concern is the Bartholomew Company, composed of J. B. Bartholomew, President; C. A. Bartholomew, Vice-President; O. Y. Bartholomew, Treasurer, and E. M. Voorhees, Secretary. The factory is located at 117 Fredonia Avenue, with branch houses at Des Moines, Iowa; Cincinnati, Ohio, and Philadelphia. In addition to peanut roasters, the concern manufactures coffee-roasters, both small and large; automatic corn-poppers, waffle machines, etc. They have a capital invested of $60,000. The concern was established in 1883, its first year's business amounting to $1,000, since when it has
increased to the present time to almost $100,000.  The firm employs about sixty hands, with an annual pay-roll of $25,000.


We find manufactories in existence here under this head as early as 1844. Among the first was the firm of Aiken & Sutton, who were located at the head of the quay on Water Street.   They manufactured patent shingles.  The first door, sash and blind factory of which there is any record, was established about 1850, under the name of the Peoria Sash Factory, superintended by a Mr. Piper. About this time Charles S. Painealso established a factory on Water Street. In 1856, we find Bramble & Barr in business on Washington Street, between Hamilton and Fay- ette; Charles Ulrichson, on Water Street, between Walnut and Chestnut; and William Truesdale, on Water Street, at the foot of Fayette. Mr. Truesdale continued in business for a number of years, the concern later being known as the Truesdale Manufacturing Company, which, at that time, was one of the principal mills in this line in Central Illinois. At the present time, we note the following concerns doing business: Bush Brothers Manufacturing Company, 1717 South Washington Street; The Garside Manufacturing Company, Washington, at the corner of Oak Street; Todhunter & Alfs, 210 Walnut Street; and the Wahlfeld Manufacturing Company, 1101-1109 South Washington Street.


The beef and pork-packing business was regularly established in Peoria in 1837 by Mr. E. F. Nowland, who later (in 1839) erected a new packing-house and was the first to introduce steam appliances for packing in this city. His establishment was located on the river where the present Clarke Brothers rectifying house stands, and had a capacity of 600 hogs per day. In 1841 John Reynolds began the slaughtering and packing trade, killing 350 hogs per season. From that time until the present there have been many changes in the packing business in the city of Peoria, and at present we note the following: Peoria Packing and Provision Company (a corporation), John Wilson, President; F. S. Wilson, Vice-president; W. C. Bush, Secretary and Treasurer, located at the foot of South Street, packers of beef and pork, producers of packing-house products ; capital invested $300,000, employ about seventy-five hands. E. Godel & Sons (incorporated), Frank G. Godel, President; Mrs. Elizabeth Godel, Vice-president; D. H. Teessen, Secretary and Treasurer; located at the foot of South Street, packers of beef and pork, and producers of packing-house products, capital stocky $50,000; employ 50 hands.


Under this head mention must be made of William R. Hopkins, early foundryman, already noticed under the head of foundries, who also manufactured heating and cooking stoves, and was probably the pioneer in this line. At this time we have the Cutter & Proctor Company, located at Water and Fayette Streets. This concern has been esta- blished for a number of years, and manufactures a full line of stoves and ranges of the very best quality. Another manufactory is the Western Stove Works, incorporated, located at 102-108 Commercial Street; Otto Hofer, President; Joseph F. Ossenbeck, Vice-President; Jacob H. Ossenbeck, Secretary and Treasurer capital stock, $30,000. They manufacture a full line of heating stoves and ranges, amounting to 1,600 annually, valued at $30,000, and employ 25 hands.


This business was first established in Peoria, in 1857, by H. Dunn & Co., on Water' Street, between Fulton and Liberty. At the present time, we have one of the largest manufactories in this line in the country—the R. Herschel Manufacturing Company—factory located on Walnut Street, between Water and Washington, with salesrooms at 314-320 South Washington Street. This business was established, in a small way, in the rear of 400 South Adams Street, by H. R. Herschel, and from this small beginning it has grown to the present proportions. In addition to the manufacture of sickles, knives, sections, etc., the concern are jobbers in agricultural implement supplies. They have branch houses at Minneapolis, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri ; and Wilmington, Delaware, selling their products throughout the United States, as well as exporting to foreign countries. The present officers are Robert H. Herschel, President; Paul E. Herschel, Manager; John I. Black, Secretary.


Under this head, we note that John B. Bender as early as 1844 conducted a factory on Fayette Street. Later, Carpenter & Whittlesey were engaged in the same line at No. 3 Fulton Street. Next we note. in 1856, Woodruff & Wilson, at lower Grove Street, and. in 1857, J. C. Armstrong, at Armstrong Avenue, on the East Bluff. Hughes 22 & Bunch, on Bridge Street, near Water, in the year 1856, manufactured soap, candles and similar products, valued at $26,600. At the present time, we have but one manufactory in this line. The Mexican Amole Soap Company, engaged in the manufacture of toilet soaps, at 117-121 South Water Street. The officers are A. Brayshaw, President and General Manager; William Brayshaw, Vice-president; and B. W. Brayshaw, Secretary and Treasurer. They have a capital of $40,000 invested. The concern, originally established in 1884, now do an annual business of $100,000, consuming $50,000 worth of raw material during the year, and employ 42 hands, with an  annual pay-roll of $22,500.


At the present time, Peoria is without a starch factory, although at one time this was a leading industry. As early as 1856, Tucker, Mansfield & Co. established a starch factory near the Dobbins and Gregg distilleries, which, for those days, was very extensive—the main building being 248 x66 feet, and three stories high, costing $40,000.

Power was furnished by a 100-horse-power engine, the establishment having a capacity of 6,000 pounds of starch per day, and employing 40 hands. The officers consisted of H. Mansfield, President, and N. S. Tucker, Secretary, both of whom will be remembered as prominent citizens of Peoria. Later, the Peoria Starch Company was established, and began active operations in the fall of 1865, with George F. Harding, President, and E. S. Wilson, Superintendent and Manager. This factory was located near the river, about two miles south of the Court House. It had a capacity of 150 bushels of corn per day, which was later increased to 600 bushels per day, turning out 6,000 pounds of starch daily. Their factory was consumed by fire in November, 1879, but immediately rebuilt on a larger scale—the new factory having a capacity of 1,500 bushels of corn per day, and employing 100 hands. At that time, Peoria starch was known throughout the United States and parts of Europe. This factory
having been again destroyed by fire, was never rebuilt. At this time. there are no manufactories in Peoria under this head.


The manufacture of boilers is first noted in Root's City Directory for 1856.  In that year, William Mendenhall established himself in the business on Liberty Street, near Water. Later (in 1858) William G. Ashdown opened a shop on Water Street, below Chestnut; the same year John Fitzpatrick also opened a shop on Water Street, near the P. & 0. Depot. These were all small shops, each having a capacity of about one boiler per day. We find that, in the year 1859, William Phelan started a shop at 410 South Adams Street, but later removed to 339-341 South Water Street, where John Kelly became associated with him. This shop became the largest of its kind in the city, and, in fact, about the only one. Mr. Phelan continued in business for a great many years, having numerous partners. As early as 1870, this business had become quite extensive (there being, at that time, as many as five shops), and has continued to grow up to the present time. While there are not so many shops at this time as in earlier days, the volume of the output is much larger. We note the following shops at this time: McAleenan Boiler Company, at the corner of South Washington and Cherry Streets, is an incorporated company, with William McAleenan, President, and M. A. McAIeenan, Secretary and Treasurer; capital stock, $25,000. Their business
was established in 1877, under the name of McAleenan & Cody, on Water Street, between Oak and Chestnut, afterwards removing to the present location, where they built a large and commodious plant, in which they employ 75 hands, and manufacture a large line of boilers and tanks. They do a great deal of contract work, such as erecting tanks for the storage of petroleum, their business in this department extending as far west as California and as far south as Texas. Joseph Cody & Son, located on Oak and Washington Streets, also do a local business in the same line.


According to Drown's "Peoria City Record" for 1853 there were two marble factories here at that date—one operated by Parkhurst & Pillsbury, at the head of Franklin Street and the junction of Seventh and Perry Streets, and that of J. Jewell, at the foot of Fulton Street. It was estimated that these furnished employment to 20 workmen, besides ten or a dozen traveling agents. At the present time, Peoria has the following concerns connected with the stone industry:

Central City Stone Company—Charles F. Jaus, President; John H. Merkle, Secretary and Treasurer ; works located at the foot of Green Street; capital invested, $12,000; established in 1892, in which year they did a business of $5,000, which has increased, to the present time, to about $14,000. They manufacture building stone of all descriptions, and employ eight hands, with an annual pay-roll of $5,400. The Peoria Steam Marble Works—H. Sandmeyer, Sr., President; August Pfeiffer, Secretary and Treasurer; H. Triebel, Vice-President; Charles H. Isele, Superintendent; located at 1800-1818 North Adams Street. They manufacture a full line of cut-stone and marble for interior work; capital stock, $30,000; value of plant, $200,000; business established in 1884, in which year they did a business of $30,000, which has since increased to $150,000 per annum. The plant has been enlarged four times since starting; they consume about $50,000 worth of raw material per annum, and employ fifty hands, with an annual pay-roll of $40,000. Their business extends all over the United States, embracing a large amount of interior marble-work.


Under this head, at the present time, we have the Peoria Straw Board Company—William H. Binnian, President; E. C. Foster, Secretary; W. E. Stone, Treasurer; location, Averyville on North Adams Street. The company manufacture all kinds of plain and mill-line straw board. The capital stock is $300,000, and the value of the plant, $250,000. The business was established in 1890, the output for that year amounting to $250,000, which has since increased to $300,000 per annum. The consumption of raw material per annum amounts to $175,000, furnishing employment for an average of 100 hands, on an annual pay-roll of $80,000.


The Lion Vinegar Works, located at 1202 - 1208 Garden Street, is the only concern distinctively engaged in this line in Peoria. They manufacture vinegar and bitters, and have a capital invested of $8,000.  Their annual product amounts to $10,000, employing five to six hands, with an annual pay-roll of $2,500.


In early times, wagons were manufactured to order only, and, while Peoria was not a large producer, it had a large number of wagon-makers. Among those here prior to 1844, we note the following: Allan Collings, corner of Adams and Fulton Streets; P. C. Merwin, Washington Street, fronting Market; and Gideon W. Smith, whom we shall have occasion to mention among the manufacturers of buggies and carriages. In fact, in these early days shops manufactured all kinds of vehicles, including wagons, buggies and carriages. At the present time we have the Peoria Wagon Manufacturing Company, which is owned and controlled iTy the Avery Manufacturing Company, who are noticed more fully under the head of "Agricultural Implements."  The business of this concern was established in 1888 under the style of the Hanna Wagon Company, by E. B. Rhea, President; M. E. W. Wheeler, Secretary and Treasurer, and W. A. Hanna, Superintendent—the business being removed to Peoria from Henry, Illinois. Later it came into the possession of the present owners, and is one of our leading industries. They manufacture a full line of farm wagons of various sizes to the extent of 3,000 per annum, employing 80 hands.

Among those distinctively engaged in the manufacture of buggies and carriages in Peoria, it is believed that Gideon W. Smith was the earliest, his establishment being located on Fulton Street, between Adams and Jefferson, where the business is still conducted under the name of. G. W. Smith's Sons. In early days this concern did a large business, manufacturing fine buggies, carriages, wagons, etc., but at this time they confine their business to repairing buggies and carriages and the manufacture of delivery wagons to order. Perhaps the pioneer exclusive carriage builder in Peoria was Alexander Allison who commenced business in 1847 and continued for 25 years at the same location on Washington Street, between Main and Hamilton. His manufacture was of a high grade, and no doubt some of his handiwork is still in existence in the city of Peoria. He was 'succeeded in 1882 by David L. Bigham, who continued in the same location until 1894, when he retired. Mr. Bigham was a worthy successor to
Mr. Allison and kept up the high standard of his product equal to any and surpassed by none. There were a great many small factories about this time which made a varied line of buggies, carriages, etc. Among these we note in 1856 that of Philip Rohman & Co., and in 1857, O. C. Parmely, who afterwards, for a great many years, conducted a stage and omnibus line. At this time there is no exclusive manufacturer in this city except the Peoria Buggy Manufacturing Company, who manufacture medium and high-grade buggies, surreys, etc., for the wholesale trade. It is an incorporated company with J. P. Brownlee, President and General Manager, and J. C. Firth, Secretary and Treasurer. They have a capital stock of $100,000, and were originally located at 900 South Washington Street, where their first year's business amounted to $86,000.  In 1900 their growing business compelled them to seek larger quarters, and they removed to Peoria Heights, where they occupied a building which had been erected for the Peoria Rubber & Manufacturing Company, to which reference has been made under the head of "Bicycles." This building was remodeled and new and modern machinery for the manufacture of buggies was installed, The company are in a prosperous condition, employing about 100 hands, with an annual pay-roll amounting to $30,000 and an annual product of $450,000.


The Bunn White Lead Company, at 1822 South Washington Street, with William E. Bunn, President, and Charles H. Bunn, Secretary and Treasurer, is engaged in the manufacture by a new process of white lead for painters' use.


The Keystone Woven-Wire Fence Company, located at South Bartonville, with Peter Sommer, President, and P. W. Sommer, Secretary and Treasurer, has a capital invested of $150,000. The business was established in 1889, and consists in the manufacture of a full line of woven wire fence of all descriptions. The concern employs 90 hands, turning out an annual product of the value of $400,000.

From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Edited by David McCulloch, Vol. II; Chicago and Peoria: Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1902.


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