INDUSTRIES OF CONNERSVILLE.
Any effort to paint a picture of Connersville and Fayette county as it appears at the present time involves
the artist in difficulty. Simplicity seems to have disappeared. The thousand and one things which we demand in
our daily life of today were not known a hundred years ago, The farmer of the early days of Fayette county, were
he to return to one of the well improved farms in Fayette county in 1917, would hardly be able to recognize any
of the implements used by his grandson. He would see the simple corn knife replaced by a corn harvester; his cradle
by a binder; his flail by a threshing machine. His wife would likewise see in the kitchen of her granddaughter
a score of utensils which would provoke her curiosity; she would hardly see any. relation between the fireless
cooker and the old fireplace in which she cooked her, corn pone.
Truly the times have changed, but we would not go back to. the simple days of our forefathers if we could. We would
not exchange the electric lights for the old tallow dip; nor would we trade our automobiles for the old ox cart,
In another chapter the story has been told of the life of the people of the county as they Eyed in other days.
There are certain aspects of life which cannot be expressed in words, It is possible to set forth the material
life of the countyits schools, churches and industrial life are matters of record; the civil life of the county
with all its ramifications is easy to express. There are some things which resolve. themselves into figures, while
there are others which cannot be measured with a foot rule. It is easy to set forth the number of churches and
school houses in the county, but it is a much more difficult thing to express the religious life of the people
or show the concrete results flowing from the public school. In other words, there is such a thing as the morale,
of the people which is difficult of definition and it is only by the use of most general terms that this can be
THE ROMANCE OF FIGURES
Material progress, as has been stated, may be given more definite expression, The story of one phase of Fayette
county's life as it appeared in 1916 is revealed in the annual report of the county recorder to the state statistician,
The person who can invest figures with a degree of imagination should be able to glance through this report and
see in it definite facts concerning the people of the county. Here, for instance, is a page covered with figures
and vet on this one page is a hint of the thriftiness of the people. It tells of the liquidation or the reduction
of mortgages on farm loans and when the reader sees the figures $286,099, he will understand that this amount has
been applied to the indebtedness incurred by people of the county, in former years; in other words, these figures
in a measure indicate the thriftiness of the. people. Bank deposits are another indication of thrift.
The annual report of the recorder gives, in a general manner, an idea of how the people of Fayette county are running,
their, business, what, they have made during the year what they, have spent, the debts they have paid off, and
the amount of money they have spent for education, for roads, for bridges, for a thousand and one things, There
are other official reports of the county which set forth the number of cases tried in the courts of county and
their disposition and from this the careful student of social conditions may draw his conclusions as to whether
the county is getting better or worse. There are reports giving the number of marriages, the number of divorces,
the number of children born and there may be traced something of the home lives of the people of the county,
Other unofficial reports help to explain how the county lives. The many churches of the county issue annual statistical
statements to their various national organizations, A study of these reports will show how many people belong to
the church and just how many united with it during the previous year; they will also show the number enrolled in
the Sunday school and the other auxiliary church organizations, Thus if the "goodness" of a people can
be expressed in figures, it is possible to draw certain definite deductions by a study of these church statistics.
In other words a study of the statistics of the county will reveal the life of its people in a striking manner.
Even so prosaic a statement as a delinquent tax list tells an interesting story. But the people of today are so
much concerned with their daily efforts to provide for themselves and those depending upon them that they do not
have the time to take a retrospective view of the life about them. As someone has stated, we keep our nose so close
to the grindstone that the dust gets in our eyes and obscures our vision, thereby rendering us unable to see what
is going on around us, There is certainly more than a modicum of truth in this statement,
A HALF MILLION DOLLAR STORY,
The following brief summary, compiled from the county recorder's annual report to the state statistician for
1916, shows in a concise manner a number of interesting facts pertaining to the county. It Might be called a half
million dollar story.
Deeds to the total value of eight hundred and forty eight thousand one hundred and twenty dollars were taken and
entered of record throughout the county.
During 1916 those residing outside the city gave mortgages on farms to the amount of $337,043 and in the city and
towns, mortgages amounting to $397,371. To the casual observer this would look as though but little progress was
made, the debts incurred nearly equaling the amount of property acquired.
But this is the item that counts: "Satisfactions," that is, the liquidation or reduction of mortgages
on farm loans amounted during the year to $286,099. On city or town property the satisfactions amounted to $212,517,
a net liquidation of $537,403. Subtract this from the total amount of mortgages for the year which includes chattel
mortgages and school fund and liens totaling $812,220 and the net indebtedness of the county is $274,817.
On the other side of the ledger, however, loans represented in deeds up to $848,120 were taken, Deducting the net
indebtedness from this shows a net gain in real estate wealth of well above half a million dollars.
As showing that the people have traveled far since the days when the state school fund, in the hands of the county
auditor, was the main source from whence farmers and, some others could obtain loans, the 1916 report shows that
during all of 1916, but $8,225 was borrowed from that fund! When it is added, as the report shows, that "satisfaction"
of more than the amount borrowed, or $9,400 was made to that fund, it is difficult to see how the state school
fund can be a revenue producer for prosperous counties like Fayette,
The filing of liens, on buildings principally, swelled the total amount of the mortgage total by $11450. Nearly
half of this, or $5,348, had been satisfied. Another item increased that total by $57,331, of which $29,039, or
more than half, has been paid. This is chattel mortgages, largely on horses and household furniture, and in no
way has to do with real estate property or transactions.
The report indicates many deals in real estate during the past year. The giving of mortgages on real property is
not an indication of stringency, but the reverse. Men venture only, as a rule, when they are hopeful and see inducements
for venturing in the near future.
This report of the recorder includes, of course, the city of Connersville which is an integral part of the financial
history of the county, but it is necessary to treat more of the city in detail.
CONNERSVILLE'S PECULIAR QUALIFICATIONS,
If John Conner could return in 1917 to the city where he had his little trading post in 1817 he would be more
surprised at the transformation which one hundred years had wrought than Rip Van Winkle was when he awoke from
his long slumber, His saw mill and grist mill have long since disappeared; the old blockhouse has met a similar
fate; the Indian has long since been gathered to the Happy Hunting Ground. The Connersville of today has but a
landmark or two to link it with the Connersville of Conner's time; probably the old Buckley house and a part of
Heinemann's grocery store are the only two buildings in the city in 1917 upon which the eyes of the founder of
the city ever rested.
As has been said in another chapter John Conner arrived about 1808 or 1809 on the site of the city which now bears
his name. It has been said that there were only three houses in the village in 1816 and there certainly were not
more than eight or ten at the time the little village was selected as the county seat in the early spring of 1819,
The village grew slowly until the forties and then with the promise of the canal it increased by leaps and bounds.
The story of its growth has been told elsewhere, but as it is a part of this particular story to tell why it has
become the city it is today it is necessary to say a word in this connection about its history within the past
The size of any urban community depends on a number of factors, chief of which is its location. A New York or a
Chicago cannot come into existence at any place - not even in Fayette county. Proximity to the sea or to a navigable
lake or river is always a large contributing factor in the growth of a city. A central, inland location, such as
is enjoyed by Indianapolis, contributes to a healthy growth, And there are other factors which enter into the development
of a city.
The question naturally arises in this connection - What are the peculiar qualifications possessed by Connersville
which has made it the city it is in 1917? It is not on the sea, neither on a lake nor on a navigable river - even
the old canal is gone. There does not appear any good geographical reason to account for its prosperity, True,
it is in the center of the county, and a county seat town; and it is also true that it has excellent railroad connections,
but these facts, contributory though they may be to the city's growth, do not sufficiently explain its prominence.
Some cities seem to possess every natural advantage which a city ought to have, and then they do not grow; while,
on the other hand, other places seem to lack these same essentials to urban growth and yet prosper without them.
And such a place is Connersville. Possessing few of the essentials which go to make a city, yet it has grown to
a thriving municipality of ten thousand. Some one has said that God made the country and man made the town. Thus
it is with Connersville. The questioner who seeks after the underlying causes of the present prosperity of the
city is told that the credit belongs to a very few men. A study of other municipalities reveals the fact that a
half dozen wideawake and progressive men can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and make a prosperous
city despite geographical disadvantages. And such men Connersville possesses.
EARLY INDUSTRIES OL THE CITY,
The founder of the city of Connersville was a good business man and it is to such men as Conner that the city
owes its present condition. For many years prior to the Civil War, and even for some time after that struggle,
the main industries of the town were milling, pork packing and woolen manufacturing. Today two of these industries
have disappeared entirely and the other, milling, is only a minor industry. The milling industry is the only one
which has been in continuous operation since before the Civil War, the manufacture of blowers dating from 186o.
Of the score of industrial plants now in operation practically all of them, have come into existence within the
past thirty years. Until the nineties the manufacture of vehicles and furniture constituted the chief industries
in addition to the milling and blower industries, The three largest industries of the Civil War period milling,
pork packing and woolen manufacturing - gave way to the manufacture of buggies and carriages and furniture in the
eighties. The woolen mill burned in the seventies and was never rebuilt.
The extensive flour mill of A. B. Conwell on Eastern avenue was erected in 1846, shortly after the completion of
the canal, and had a capacity of manufacturing up to two hundred barrels of flour a day. It continued to operate
until 1866, when its waterpower was destroyed by the great freshet of that year. Later the Triple Sign Company
occupied the building until it burned. A part of the foundation of Conwell's mill is still standing.
Pork packing engaged the attention of a number of citizens of Connersville for about twenty five years following
the construction of the canal, Several extensive factories for the carrying on of that industry in its various
branches were erected, and hog slaughtering and pork packing ranked with the leading industries. A. B. Conwell
& Sons, George W. Frybarger, Daniel Hankins, Holton, Simpson & Company, Caldwell, McCollem & Company
and the Fayette County Hog slaughtering & Pork packing Association, were among the firms engaged in the industry.
The killing in 1846 amounted to 6,000 hogs; in 1836 about 11,000 were slaughtered and packed by the firms of A.
B. Conwell & Sons and J. Holton & Company. The price paid was $6 a hundred. In 1852 Conwell & Sons
killed for Daniel Hankins, and by all firms there were over 25,000 hogs slaughtered in the town. In 1863 the firm
of Caldwell & Company slaughtered upward of 13,000 hogs, the average being 242 pounds each. The Fayette County
Hog slaughtering & Pork packing Association was organized in February, 1862, the capital being $18,000. Bezaled
Beeson was president and James Heron secretary of the association. They took over the old Frybarger building, where
the industry was carried on while they remained in business. Pork packing ceased in 1874, Caldwell & Company
being the last firm engaged in the business, killing in 1872-3 upwards of 28,000 hogs.
The pork packing houses and large flour mills required thousands of barrels, most of which were manufactured in
the town, thus creating another industry of considerable importance. This branch of trade was begun in 1845 by
Valentine Michael between Fifth and Sixth streets and carried it on until 1864, when John Uhl succeeded him, the
latter doing an extensive business up to 1870, when he was followed by Henry Weitsel. Uhl, while in the business,
turned out about 18,000 barrels a year. Florentine Michael, a son of Valentine, started barrel making in 1865,
in the southern part of the city and produced some 12,000 barrels a year,
The tanning business was active from the very beginning of the village of Connersville. Conwell, Reese and others
were engaged in the industry for many years. In the early forties Brown & Burdrant operated a tannery. Later,
the yard passed into the hands of John L, Gilchrist, who continued the industry for some years. About 1883 Myer
Brothers started a tanyard on a small scale, but the business soon became unprofitable and was discontinued,
BEGINNING OF THE BLOWER PLANT,
William F. Gephart, of Dayton, Ohio, came to Connersville about 1846 and erected a large brick building in which
he installed a stove foundry. The building later became a part of the Roots blower plant. Gephart continued to
manufacture stoves for about ten years and then sold out to William J. Hankins. Prior to selling out, however,
Gephart had leased a part of the building to John Ensley, of Richmond, who began the manufacture of threshing machines,
steam engines and other kinds of machinery. Ensley built up a profitable business and about 1855 associated himself
with James Mount and Josiah Mullikin, and the firm at once erected a large brick building which is still standing
On Eastern avenue near the Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western Railroad station. The new firm continued in the
manufacture of machinery, but shortly afterward Ensley retired and the firm became Erwin, Mount & Mullikin,
The new owners disposed of the business about 1866 to Wetherald & Sons, although prior to the disposition of
the plant in that year Mullikin, about 1860, had rented the foundry building, built in 1846 by Gephart, which had
later been sold to Hankins. Mullikin continued to manufacture machinery for a short time, disposing of the plant
to the firm of E. & E. L. Mullikin. The latter firm continued the business until the close of 1863, when it
The building was sold in January, 1864, to P. H. & F. M. Roots, who at once began the manufacture of a rotary
force blast blower. The firm has continued under this name down to the present time, although the brothers, Philander
H. and Francis M., have long since passed away. The blower was patented by the Roots brothers in 1859 and was manufactured
in machine shops in the city on a small scale until 1864 when they went into the building before mentioned. The
brothers took out several patents on the blower, being granted not less than fifteen between 1860 and 1870. Since
that time a great many more patents have been taken out.
It should be stated that the Roots blower was the first blower in the world and that all blowers which have been
made since 1860 have been based upon patents and models developed by this company. The products of the company
are shipped to all parts of the world. They are found in Canada, Mexico and South America: throughout Europe, South
Africa, the continent of Asia and in the islands of Japan and Australia. Roots blowers are found wherever manufacturing
on a large scale is to be found. The products of the company are catalogued under a wide variety of names, but
they may all be summed up under the general title of rotary positive pressure machinery. They include blowers for
foundries, smelters, oil furnaces, mine ventilation, pneumatic service, steel converters and the like: gas exhausts
for foul gas pumping service, high pressure booster service, corrosive gas handling, etc.: water pumps for cooling
towers, condensors, irrigation, etc.; vacuum pumps for heating systems, condensers, sugar mills, paper mills, vacuum
cleaning. etc.: Acme blowers for oil furnaces, forges, tuyere irons, laundries, gas appliances, fire beds, etc.:
Acme vacuum pumps for hotels, clubs and private homes: flexible couplings for power transmission; governors, valves
for wing gates. gas valves, by pass valves, quick opening blast gates. etc., etc:
The officers of the company are as follow: E. D. Johnston, president and general manager: George C. Hicks, Jr,.
vice president and engineer: J. M. Shade. secretary and treasurer William C. Basse, superintendent. The company
employs an average of two hundred and fifty men, practically all of whom are skilled mechanics.
OTHER BLOWER CONCERNS.
In 1893 a group of business men of the city organized the Connersville Blower Company, and from a very small
beginning it has grown steadily until it is now producing blowers for all parts of the world. The company has several
large buildings equipped with the latest improved machinery and is in a position to manufacture all kinds of water,
air, gas and vacuum pumps.
The United Vaeuum Appliance Company was organized in 1910 for the manufacture and sale of vacuum cleaner's. The
company makes exclusive use of the blowers of the Connersville Blower Company and has built up an extensive business
during the six years it has been in operation. It manufactures a number of sizes and designs, which find a ready
market for use in factories, public buildings, business blocks, theatres, residences, etc.
THE OLD ROOTS WOOLEN MILL,
The Connersville Woolen Mill, a very important industry between 1847 and 1875, was established in the former
year by A. & H. P. Roots. The senior partner, A. Roots, retired in 1852 and was succeeded by P. H. & F.
M. Roots, who ran the business until 1871, when the name of the firm was changed to P. H. Roots & Company.
Early in 1875 P. H. Roots withdrew all his interests in the business and Charles P. Roots, his son, became owner
and business manager and the firm was then styled Roots & Company. The products of the factory - flannels,
robes, hosiery, jeans, waterproofs and worsted bagging - had a market throughout the United States. Forty persons
on an average were employed the year around. It was estimated that for twenty eight years an annual average of
150,000 pounds of wool was consumed, and the products during the same period were valued at $4,500,000. Fire destroyed
the factory on June 13, 1875.
ANOTHER DEPARTED INDUSTRY.
In 1873 the Western Hosiery Mill was established by Leonard Brothers, with W. H. Caswell as superintendent.
In the beginning two machines were used, which were operated at the superintendent's house. In 1881 Superintendent
Caswell obtained a patent for driving knitting and other machinery by power and applied the same to the Lamb machines
then in use. From June, 1882, to October, 1883, the firm was Chenoweth & Ralph. In the latter month Ralph purchased
the interest of his partner and a joint stock company was organized, with J. N. Huston as president; Melvin Ellis,
secretary; A. J. Ralph, manager and W. H. Caswell, superintendent. A. J. Ralph sold his interest to Hub Thomas
and retired from the mill in 1884. The mill found employment for upwards of one hundred female operatives. The
concern finally failed and its building is a part of the Connersville Ice Company's plant.
BEGINNING OF THE FURNITURE INDUSTRY.
In May, 1863, Connersville witnessed the inception of the manufacturing of furniture - an industry which has
since become so extensive as to command a market in all the principal cities of the United States. In the year
mentioned. Warren Wanee, a carpenter, and A. C. Cooley, a cabinetmaker, joined their business interests and began
the manufacture of furniture, but in the fall of the same year the partnership was dissolved. Shortly afterwards
A. C. Cooley, George W. Gregg and William Newkirk formed a company for the manufacture of furniture and continued
together until 1869. In addition to the factory they had a retail business in the town. When they dissolved Newkirk
had possession of the factory building and machinery and Cooley and Gregg had the retail property. Some six months
later Gregg sold his interest to Alexander Morrison. and in 1870 Cooley, Morrison & Company began operations
as a furniture manufacturing concern on Eastern avenue, where they continued until July of the same year, then
moving to Central avenue and there continued until 1874, when the concern was merged into a stock company.
The Cooley-Morrison furniture factory was on the corner of Seventh and Mason streets and was a substantial four
story brick building. Curtis Wright was president of the company and J. T. Rittenhouse acted as secretary and treasurer.
They employed about one hundred hands and manufactured all kinds of household furniture.
In 1869 William Newkirk formed a partnership with Herman Munk in the manufacture of furniture. In 1874 Newkirk
sold to James E. Roberts and the firm became Munk &Roberts. The factory was located in the northwestern outskirts
of the city, along the track of the White Water Valley railroad. The company employed, on an average, one hundred
and fifty workmen. Newkirk, on selling his interests to James E. Roberts in 1874, formed the Indiana Furniture
Company, with the following named incorporators: William Newkirk, J. B. McFarlan, John W. Ross, J. M. Wilson, B.
F. Claypool, G. C. and F. A. Hanson. The officers were W. Newkirk, president; W. H. Wherett, secretary and treasurer.
The original stock of $50,000 was later increased to $100,000. The factory was located at the south end of Eastern
avenue. A second building was erected in 1876 and a further addition made in 1878. The manufactured articles were
confined exclusively to ash, walnut and cherry sets.
The Indiana Furniture Company continued in business until 1908; although for some time prior to that date it had
not been doing much business. In 1908 the Krell Auto Grand Piano Company acquired the entire plant of the Indiana
Furniture Company and has been engaged in the manufacture of pianos and piano players since that year.
Edwin B. Pfau has been the general manager of the piano factory since it came under the present management.
CONNERSVILLE FURNITURE COMPANY.
In 1869 John Wanee started a coffin factory on the site of the present Connersville Furniture Company. Subsequently
J. T. Parry was associated with him in the enterprise. In October, 1874. J. H. Bailey and Samuel Beck acquired
an interest in the business, and early in 1875 a stock company was formed with a capital of $57,000. The new firm
at once constructed a five story brick building, forty by eighty feet, at a cost of $13,700. In May, 1879, part
of the factory was destroyed by fire and as a consequence about ninety employees were thrown out of employment.
The estimated loss was in the neighborhood of $70,000, the company having 7,000 coffins in stock at the time. The
firm went out of business with the fire and three years later the Connersville Furniture Company was organized
and occupied the site.
The Connersville Furniture Company was organized as a joint stock company in February, 1882, with the following
officers: Francis M. Roots. president; Charles Mount, vice president; N. W. Wright. secretary; E. V. Hawkins, factory
superintendent. The first factory was six stories high, and in the early days gave employment to one hundred and
fifty workmen. On January 3o, 1884, a fire occurred which did considerable damage. The insurance adjustment resulted
in the payment of $14,500.
The original capital was $55,000, which was subsequently increased to $75,000. The rapid growth of the company's
business demanded additional space and capital, and in 1911 the latter was increased to $200,006 and a building
of solid brick, eighty six by two hundred fifteen feet, erected. The company employ two hundred twenty five men.
The company's products are shipped to all important centers in America. The officers of the company are: E. V.
Hawkins, president; M. L. Hawkins, vice president; E. P. Hawkins, secretary, and F. J. Snider, treasurer. E. V.
Hawkins is the only one of the original incorporators now with the company.
MANUFACTURE OF CARRIAGES AND AUTOMOBILES.
Until about 1850 but little was done in the way of carriage building. In the year mentioned the firm of Drew
& McCracken began the manufacture of buggies and carriages on. Central avenue, near Sixth street, but their
operations were of short duration. In 1851 William P. and Andrew Applegate began the same branch of business on
Central avenue, near Fifth street. The first kept running until 1870, when the first named partner died, and the
plant was sold to Henry & Swikley, and they in turn after a short time sold to J. B. McFarlan. While the Applegate
plant was running about fifteen hands were employed during the year.
In 1851 the firm of Ware & Veatch opened a carriage factory on Sixth street, and continued in business for
several years. Later, Charles Veatch became the proprietor and he operated the business until 1857. In the latter
year J. B. McFarlan established a carriage and buggy factory under the name of the McFarlan Carriage Company. The
old Veatch place fell into his hands and was the place of the beginning of his extensive operations, the buildings
being on Sixth street and Central avenue. The company, comprising J. B., C. E., J., W. W., and J. E. McFarlan,
was formed in 1883, and at that time employed about seventy five men throughout the year. The company continued
the manufacture of vehicles until the automobile industry forced them into that field.
The McFarlan Motor Company is an outgrowth of the carriage industry and was the pioneer in the automobile industry
in Connersville. In 1909 it placed on the market the first medium priced six cylinder automobile in the United
States. The company manufactures only high priced pleasure cars and special closed bodies: they also make some
fire trucks, hose and ladder wagons, patrol wagons, funeral cars, hospital ambulances, limousines and other cars
for special purposes.
CONNERSVILLE BUGGY COMPANY.
The Connersville Buggy Company, organized in December, 1883, was first located on the corner of Eastern avenue
and Charles street, the premises being formerly occupied as a planing mill. The first. officers of the company
were J. N. Huston, president; J. D. Larned, treasurer; L. T. Bower, secretary; John W. Pohlman, superintendent
of manufacture. Within a short time Bower became superintendent and so continued until May, 1892, when he became
president, continuing in this capacity until his death in 1912. In 1892, when Bower became president, Scott Michener
was elected secretary treasurer, a position he filled until the death of Bower in 1912. Mr. Michener then became
president, his brother, E. M. Michener, becoming secretary treasurer at the same time. This plant, like all vehicle
factories in the country. was practically forced out of business by the automobile industry. In 1914 the company
entered into a contract with the Van Auken Electric Car Company, of Detroit, for the manufacture of electric trucks.
They manufactured a number of the trucks in that year, Harry K. Tarkington being superintendent of construction.
During 1915 and 1916 the company manufactured automobile bodies. In January, 1917, the company was absorbed by
the Dan Patch Novelty Company, the latter company occupying the extensive plant of the old buggy company.
TRIPLE SIGN COMPANY.
Manufacturing companies come and go in Connersville and one that was a flourishing industry for several years,
but has come and gone, bore the unique title of the Triple Sign Company. This company was not exactly a company,
but rather a voluntary association of two business men of Connersville, Theodore Heinemann and Francis T. Roots.
In the latter part of the eighties Heinemann secured a patent on an advertising sign of an unusual character, now
known all over the civilized world, and in 1888 associated Francis T. Roots with himself in the manufacture of
the sign. They continued in business until the death of Roots in 1908, the other member of the firm disposing of
the business at the same time because of his health.
During the twenty years that the sign was being manufactured in Connersville it did a business in excess of a million
dollars. Roots secured the orders and Heinemann had charge of the manufacturing end. At one time the firm employed
fifty men in order to take care of the large amount of business which was secured through the efforts of Roots.
One order alone - to Lever Brothers, Limited, of England, soap manufacturers - amounted to fifty thousand dollars.
Another heavy user of the sign was a well known soap manufacturer in this country. The signs of this local concern
found their way into all corners of the world and were printed in scores of different languages.
With the dissolution of the firm in 1908 the business was sold to the Dan Patch Novelty Company of Connersville,
but the new firm did not meet with the success which attended the efforts of the old firm. At the present time
very few of the signs are being manufactured. But the history of the industrial life of Connersville would not
be complete without an account of a business which once was the best advertisement that the city enjoyed.
THE ANSTED INDUSTRIES.
The next stage in the industrial history of Connersville opens in the early nineties, when E. W. Ansted established
a spring factory in the city. When he started his factory here in 1891 only vehicle springs were made and it was
not until four years later that the manufacture of axles was added. The Ansted Spring and. Axle Company, the first
of the many industrial plants established in Connersville by E. W. Ansted, has grown to be one of the largest plants
of its kind in the United States. Starting with this one plant Mr. Ansted has established a series of industrial
concerns in the city, all of which at the present time are correlated with the Lexington Howard Company.
The story of E. W. Ansted's connection with the industrial life of Connersville is the story of a man of unusual
business ability. During the twenty six years he has been connected with the city he has undoubtedly done more
for its industrial life than any one other man. For several years after coming to the city he devoted all his time
to the manufacture of axles and springs for vehicles. It was not until 1898 that he began to extend his operations.
In that year he organized the Central Manufacturing Company for the manufacture of vehicle wood work. In 1903 this
plant began the manufacture of automobile bodies for the Cadillac Motor Car Company. In 1907 the company began
to manufacture metal bodies for automobiles and is still engaged in that line of manufacture. They have added building
after building in order to meet the demands of their increasing business and are now making metal automobile and
buggy bodies, and selling only to manufacturers. The plant absorbed the Connersville Wheel Company in 1915. They
make all the bodies for the Lexington-Howard Company and for a number of other automobile factories. It might be
mentioned that the Connersville Wheel Company had a contract with the Empire Automobile Company of Indianapolis
to construct cars for that concern and was thus engaged from 1912 until absorbed by the Central Manufacturing Company
in the latter part of 1915.
The third industry started by Mr. Ansted was the Indiana Lamp Company which was incorporated in 1904 for the manufacture
of automobile and vehicle lamps of all kinds. The lamps are sold through jobbers and automobile supply houses throughout
the United States. In 1913 Mr. Ansted established the Lexington-Howard Company, which succeeded to the manufacture
of Lexington cars, commenced by an earlier and less successful company in 1908. During the four years which this
company has been in operation it has built up a business which has made the name of the Lexington car known all
over the United States. This company, as has been stated, is the center of the group of Ansted industries in Connersville.
The Lexington-Howard Company assembles the car, the parts of which are manufactured by the subsidiary plants composing
the group. All the iron castings for the Lexington are made by the Hoosier Casting Company; the springs and axles
come from the Spring and Axle Company; the tops from the Rex Manufacturing Company, while the lamps are the product
of the Indiana Lamp Company and the hoods and fenders from the Metal Auto Parts Company, of Indianapolis, another
Ansted company. Thus, many of the parts which go into the Lexington car are manufactured by the Ansted factories
in Connersville. It is said there is no automobile that is so wholly under the supervision of one man as is the
The increased demand for the Lexington car during the past year made it necessary for all of the Ansted factories
to increase their output. It was not so long ago that the Lexington-Howard Company was turning out only one car
a day and two years ago the company was only producing an average of six cars daily. During 1916 the plant was
enlarged so that it is now possible to produce twenty five cars daily and the company plans to produce at least
seven thousand cars during 1917. Since the Lexington-Howard Company was organized in 1908, E. W. Ansted has been
endeavoring to build up such a system of auxiliary plants in Connersville as would enable him to produce a high
grade automobile at the lowest possible cost of production. It was in accordance with this plan, that he organized
the Hoosier Casting Company in May, 1915, with a capital stock of $35,000, since increased to $100,000. This company
is headed by W. H. DeVaney, who was formerly mechanical and production engineer with the Interstate Foundry of
Cleveland, Ohio. The company makes automobile, stationary and marine engine castings and a general line of light
and medium weight gray iron castings for all purposes. The company bought the plant and building, sixty by one
hundred and thirty feet, of the old Connersville Safe and Lock Company. All the old machinery was cleared out and
a new equipment consisting of a cupola, core of ovens, pattern shop and all molding accessories. At the end of
seven months they built a brick and frame addition, sixty six by seventy five feet, and at the end of fourteen
months from date of organization, the present building was started, which covers the entire square from Seventh
to Eighteenth street. on the east side of Columbia avenue. The company now employ over two hundred men in the factory,
exclusive of the office force and management. The products of the company are shipped to many important points
in the United States, including North Tonawanda, New York: Detroit, Poughkeepsie, New York, and Chicago.
SOME OTHER LOCAL INDUSTRIES.
Another flourishing industry of Connersville is the manufacture of leather specialties. This industry is in
charge of the George R. Carter Company and has been in operation in the city since 1903. It had previously been
located at Williamsburg, Ohio, where it was established in 1897. The company manufactures gimps, welts, automobile
top straps, cut leathers of all kinds to patterns for the carriage and automobile trades and furnishing special
leather designs of every description. They do not cure or tan the leather, but confine their attention to the manufacture
of products from the finished leather.
In 1911 the H. Cain Company began the manufacture of steel tank and troughs in Connersville, although the company
had been in business since 1895, in general tinning and sheet metal work. In 1911 they installed machinery for
the manufacture of steel tanks and troughs of all sizes and shapes and are now turning out several thousand each
year. They make watering, storage, tower, dipping and wagon tanks, and poultry and stock watering troughs. They
also install furnaces, do all kinds of galvanized iron work and take contracts for metal roofing and eaves troughing.
There are two large flour mills in the city, the McCann Milling Company and the Uhl-Snider Milling Company. Mining
is one of the oldest industries of the city and has existed practically from the beginning of the county.
George M. Fries is engaged in the manufacture of drain tile and has one of the best equipped plants in the state.
His plant was totally destroyed in the flood of 1913, but he immediately rebuilt and is now operating on a larger
scale than before the flood. He was the originator of the State Association of Drain Tile Manufacturers. G. P.
Ariens & Son have an extensive brick plant adjoining the city.
There are four lumber companies in the, city: The Connersville Lumber Company, Fayette Lumber Company, Thomas H.
Stoops Lumber Company and. W. H. Sherry & Son.
Ice cream and artificial ice are produced by the Bell Ice Cream Company. The Carnation Support. Company manufactures
and sells wire supports for flowers and also is engaged in jobbing in all kinds of floral supplies. The Connersville
Ice Company manufactures distilled artificial ice and ice cream. J. L. Heinemann has been engaged in the manufacture
of mirrors for nearly a quarter of a century and has one of the busiest plants in the city. He finds a ready market
for his output in the furniture factories of Connersville and through the Lexington-Howard Company.