Michigan Iron Works

Michigan Iron Works Ad

William T. Powers & Son, Proprietors, Michigan Iron Works Ad

Foot of Louis and the Grand River

The Michigan Iron Works was established by Williams & Smith in 1871, and purchased by Henry D. Wallen, Jr., March 1, 1876. In 1878 he erected a large addition of brick, 44 x 100, three stories high, and in the fall of 1881 erected one 60 x 130, one story high, the main building is 50 x 150, and two stories high. Manufacturer of steam engines, saw mill and shingle machinery, engines, boilers, logging cars and general machine work. Seventy hands are employed, at an average of two dollars per day to each man; sales average $100,000 annually. A market is found in Northern Michigan and Minnesota, but mostly in this State. Assessed valuation of works, $60,000. William C. Voorhees was the bookkeeper.

“The Michigan Iron Works have been prominent among foundry and machine shops since they were started by Williams & Smith in 1871, on the southeast corner of Pearl and Campau streets.  In 1872 C. W. Watkins was added to the firm.  In 1873 the erected the building now used, and James G. McElwee was taken into partnership.  The business was carried on at a loss for a short time and the plant was purchased by Crawford Brothers, who sold out in 1874 to Henry D. Wallen, Jr.  From this till 1882 there was no change until a stock company was then organized, known as the Michigan Iron Works Light and Power Company, capital $100,000, with George W. Cass President, Henry D. Wallen, Jr., Vice President and General Manager, W. R. Shelby Secretary and Treasurer.  In January, 1885, William T. Powers & Son, the present proprietors, purchased the ironworks business.  The manufacture consists of engines, heavy castings and mill machinery, and amounts to about $80,000 a year.  They make a specialty of veneer cutting machines, which are sent to all parts the country.  The capital invested is $65,000.  They have 21,000 square feet of shop space, on which fifty or more men work for an aggregate average of about $2,400 monthly.” — Albert Baxter 1891

Timeline:
1884 Mar 15 – Grand Rapids Electric Light & Power Company purchases Michigan Iron Works Electric Light & Power Company (Street Light and Interior Incandescent Lighting) from Henry D. Wallen
1884 Apr 13 — Henry D. Wallen along with new investors form Brush–Swan Light & Power Company
1885 Jan — William T. and William H. Powers purchase Michigan Iron Works from Grand Rapids Electric Light & Power Company

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