Project Leader: Steve Luck, Godfrey Illinois
Subject: History of Industry
Champion: Jeff and Shirley Kitchen- Century 21, Breuer Metal Craftsman Inc.
Location: Boost Mobile
- Rowell Manufacturing, established in 1855, made plows and repaired threshing machines. Intent on improving old methods Rowell manufactured a cultivator that also seeded. By 1861 the company was selling seeders, drills, cultivators, harrows, hay rakes, fanning mills, and the renowned ‘Tiger’ threshing machine.
- With his roots in Germany, Ben Breuer immigrated to America in 1920 as a trained locksmith and found employment at Western Malleable Iron Foundry. It was his son Bernard who, having learned metal working skills from his father, founded Ornamental Brass and Iron Works in 1946, which became Breuer Metal Craftsmen Inc.
- Paramount Knitting Co./Bear Brand Hosiery moved to Beaver Dam from Waupun in 1911. Owner Henry Pope built a concrete dam and spillway on the site, which had formerly been occupied by a cotton mill. A worker strike in 1934 dealt the death blow to the company when the owner, having been spit upon, moved the entire operation to Gary Indiana.
- Weyenberg Shoe Mfg. Co, opened in 1937, occupied the building left vacant by Bear Brand Hosiery. At its height the factory employed about 750 local workers with an annual payroll of more than $700,000. The plant closed in the 1990s, reputedly the last shoe manufacturing plant operating in the United States.
- Beaver Dam Overall Mfg. Co., opened in 1906, manufactured jackets and overalls using foot-powered sewing machines. Two years later water power was harnessed to operate the machines. In 1913 electric power was introduced and the work force increased from 15 to about 25 workers. The company closed in 1920.