Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores
Beginning of Aldrich Company
An article published in the August 30, 1939 Wyoming Post Herald began with this sentence,â€Wyoming has an opportunity to secure the location here of a manufacturing enterprise which at the present time is employing upwards of fifty men every day, and which, at the present rate of growth will be employing 100 or more before the end of another year.â€
The manufacturing enterprise was the Aldrich Company of Peoria. Lloyd Aldrich and his partner W.A. Hale owned and operated the company that manufactured oil burners. The burner had been designed by Aldrich in the basement of his home. For a time, the manufacturing was done in his basement. Aldrich would take the burners in his car and sell them to interested persons. In 1935, the company moved to larger space. from that time the business grew until in 1936 gross sales totaled $115,528.47.
In 1939, a decision was made to move out of Peoria to what was seen as a more favorable climate and work force. Wyoming was seen as such a place. The city would be required to furnish a site 600' X 200' , put in a side track from one of the rail lines, provide sewer and water service and put up a cash bonus of $10,000. The meeting was told that an answer was needed shortly because they had other sites in consideration.
An immediate response came in the form of a fund raising effort, within a very short time the bonus was oversubscribed. Ground was broken on September 27, 1939. A contract for construction was given to Amos Stahl of Princeville and by mid March, 1940 the plant was in operation. On a personal note, Florence Colgan was the person hired to keep the books. She worked for the company for 55 years.
The land was purchased from Alva G Murray at the cost of $1,000. Added land for storage was purchased in March 1940 the additional building contract was given to Amos Stahl. Raymond Liggett was the lawyer who provided the legal services.
The list of persons and businesses that subscribed to the bonus fund reads like a whoâ€™s who of Wyoming. The subscribers were told that certificates of investment would be issued in the amount of their subscription.
Aldrich Company broadened their manufacturing to complete boiler systems. Lloyd Aldrich added his design of a burner that sprayed the oil for burning with the use of slip switches to provide a safe operation, and a double universal joint between the motor and the pump.
Gerry D Scott, Editor of the Wyoming Post Herald published reports of the progress of the endeavor nearly every week from the first meeting to its completion in March of 1940. This is an indication of the manner in which the community responded to Aldrich Companyâ€™s proposition.
The company was sold to Breese Corporation in 1947. Breese operated out of the addition on the East side and used office space for a time. The space is presently used b y Lane Energy Systems. They purchase Aldrich boiler systems and ship them to customers.
Ned Howard came to work for the company as a designer in 1948. He worked in sales prior to becoming General Manager. He purchased the company September, 1972. Fred Howard came to work in 1973. Fred and Suz became owners operators of the company in 1972.
I took a walking tour with Fred when no one was working. I was impressed with equipment and modernizations. I went on a walking tour with Jason Howard, Quality Control, when the plant was working. It is a busy, noisy place. I did not get to see the rolling machine imported from Italy in operation. Jason showed me that testing apparatus that checks the boilers and support machinery. An inspector visits the site twice a month to check the safety and operation of each boiler.
I thank Fred Howard and his employees these visits and for the information supplied.
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