The History of S. Freeman & Sons Manufacturing Company

 

The S. Freeman & Sons Manufacturing Company, one of the foremost business enterprises of Racine, was established in 1867 by S. Freeman, who in a small way began manufacturing and repairing boilers. A few months later he entered into partnership with William E. Davis and opened a little machine shop. In 1868 they admitted John R. Davies to a partnership, at which time Mr. Davies was operating a foundry in the old Star mills, located where the William Pugh coal yards are now found. At that time the firm name was Davies, Freeman & Davis. After a brief existence the new undertaking faced failure. In the fall of 1869 Mr. Freeman again established business on Bridge Street, where he opened a machine shop and foundry and conducted a small boiler shop. He became engaged in the manufacture of grey iron castings in connection with his work of boiler making. In 1871 the firm of J. I. Case & Company began the manufacture of boilers and engines for threshing machines and Mr. Freeman took a contract to build the boilers. This business became a very large and profitable enterprise and he continued to manufacture boilers for the company throughout his remaining days. In 1875 he also began the manufacture of a fanning mill, patented by G. E. Clark, and gradually he added other implements until the output now includes a large line of farm implements and machinery. In 1886 the business was incorporated under the name of the S. Freeman & Sons Manufacturing Company, with S. Freeman as the president, Charles Freeman as secretary and Michael N. Freeman as treasurer. Their first factory was on Bridge Street, near the plant of the Case Company, and in 1894 they built a boiler plant at the foot of Reichert Court, facing Hamilton Street on the north. In 1895 the entire plant was removed to the present location, where the company has six acres of land. The buildings cover three acres and some of the buildings are two and three stories in height and are of brick and steel construction and equipped throughout with a sprinkler system. The company has its own electric plant, also a hydraulic and pneumatic power system and the plant uses machinery of three hundred and fifty horse power. They employ three hundred men, mostly skilled labor, and their product is today sold all over the world. They manufacture boilers, both power and heating, of the tubular type, also boilers internally fired and of the water tube type. Their product includes all kinds of steel pipe, smokestacks, ensilage cutters and carriers, corn shellers, steel windmills and towers, fanning mills and broadcast seeders.


Source: Racine, Belle City of the lakes, and Racine County, Wisconsin : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement; Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916, 1216 pgs.

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