Log In | Contact Us
Browse: Collections Digital Content Subjects Creators Record Groups

W.F. and John Barnes Company Records (Rockford)

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

Box 2

Box 3

"A Plan for Producing Production Machine Tools in Cooperation with the National Defense Commission" by William W. Barton (1 volume)

Record of Shipments (2 volumes)

Financial Charts (1 volume)

Development and Description of the Manufacture of Artillery Ammunition by Automatic Process (1 volume)

Oversize Drawer 16



Contact us about this collection

W.F. and John Barnes Company Records (Rockford), 1878-1963 | Northern Illinois University

Printer-friendly Printer-friendly | Email Us Contact Us About This Collection

Collection Overview

Title: W.F. and John Barnes Company Records (Rockford), 1878-1963

ID: RHC/RC/123

Extent: 3.5 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 02/05/1981

Subjects: Barnes, John, Machine-tools, Rockford (Ill.), W. F. & John Barnes Company

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The W. F. and John Barnes Company records collection represents a small portion of the documents usually generated by a large industrial firm.  Nevertheless, as the only surviving records of this important machine tool corporation, the collection is vitally important to the preservation of the industry’s history.

Records in the collection date from 1878 to 1963 with the bulk of the materials between 1940 and 1962.  The first series contains company histories, legal agreements and leases, minutes annual reports, and reports to stockholders detailing organizational changes such as the formation and dissolution of subsidiary industries.  Since there are no minutes pre-dating 1931, only the company histories reveal the industry’s beginnings.

Voting trust agreements, correspondence, interdepartmental memoranda, special reports on facets of industrial developments, and financial records comprise the second record series (1878, 1932-1960).  Of special note are two shipping registers (1919-1940) recording the names of the companies purchasing equipment, their location and the number or type of machine being shipped.  The books are valuable tools for studying the effect of economic conditions on company production and sales statistics.

The final series of the collection consists of printed materials such as catalogs, articles, news releases, and operation plans, architectural drawings, and photographs.  A large portion of the photographs portray exterior and interior portions of the factory and chronologically depict additions and alterations made during the 1940’s.  Another set of photographs show the construction of the Rockford Ordnance Plant in 1941-1942.  The architectural drawings not only detail company facilities, but also machine building specifications.

Researchers should note that there is an extensive company history available in Box 1, Folder 1.  The Regional History Center also holds a number of other industrial collections: Rockford Mitten and Hosiery Company, Rockford Chair and Furniture Company, Smith Oil and Refining Company, National Chair Company, Starline, Incorporated, and Westclox, Incorporated (RC 38, 42, 48, 59, 114, 116).  Researchers also might consult the local history reference collection for information on northern Illinois industries

Collection Historical Note

While working as a wood model maker for Emerson Talcott and Company of Rockford, Illinois, a manufacturer of harvesting machinery, John Barnes developed a foot powered woodworking tool.  When word spread of the invention and orders for the tool began increasing, Barnes sent for his brothers, W. F. and B. Frank, to come help manage the new business.  In 1872 the brothers formed a partnership; the W. F. and John Barnes Company incorporated in 1884. 

Although B. F. Barnes left the company in 1899 to open a similar company of his own--B. F. Barnes Company-- his brothers consolidated their ideas until they developed the first multiple operation machines for interchangeable parts in the world (1908) The next 30 years produced tremendous expansion in the company’s production line.  In 1929 a subsidiary, John S. Barnes Corporation, organized to furnish highly efficient hydraulic equipment.  In 1933 they made the first automatic progress-through machine for International Harvestor Company.  In 1934 Ford Motor Company ordered one of the first transfer type machines used for diamond-boring cylinders in the motor block.  And in 1939, a special honing machine designed for hydraulic cylinders brought in a large number of orders from the airplane industry.

The build-up of defense production in 1940 swelled the orders for machines to assist in the manufacture of guns and ammunition.  Barnes underwent several plant enlargements to maintain production levels.  Among the company’s newest achievements were: manufacture of a machine for making precision optical components used in gun sights; establishing a chemical division to produce a substance used with optical polishing machines; signing a contract with the War Department in 1940 to build a plant to produce armor piercing projectiles; developing electrical controls and designing circuits.  In addition, another subsidiary, Metal Cutting Tools, Incorporated, organized during the war.

After World War II Barnes resumed manufacturing machine tools for automotive and other high production industries.  The engineers also devised an extensive line of equipment for handling cans and jars in canning plants; Barnes began working with Quaker Oats, Campbell Soup, Kaiser Aluminum, and Dole Company.  Following an investigation of atomic energy, the company began manufacturing teletherapy equipment used in cobalt cancer treatment.

The 1950’s brought both prosperity and decline for the W. F. and John Barnes Company. The product line continued to expand, but following the Korean War orders began to slow down.  By 1960, Barnes sold their stock interest in John S. Barnes Corporation and Metal Cutting Tools, Incorporated.  The Food and Container Division also began to cut back and in April, 1960 ceased operations.

Early in 1963 the Babcox and Wilcox Company began exploring the establishment of a manufacturing facility capable of producing the component parts of a nuclear industry.  Barnes’ experience with atomic energy led Babcox and Wilcox to negotiate an agreement with Barnes.  On November 1, 1963 Babcox and Wilcox purchased Barnes’ principal assets, acquired the personnel and facilities of the company, and acquired the W. F. and John Barnes company name.

Subject/Index Terms

Barnes, John
Machine-tools
Rockford (Ill.)
W. F. & John Barnes Company

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Kimball L. Finkenstaedt

Acquisition Method: Kimball L. Finkenstaedt, Rockford, Illinois, donated the W.    F. and John Barnes Company records to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on February 5, 1981.

Related Materials: The Regional History Center also holds a number of other industrial collections: Rockford Mitten and Hosiery Company, Rockford Chair and Furniture Company, Smith Oil and Refining Company, National Chair Company, Starline, Incorporated, and Westclox, Incorporated (RC 38, 42, 48, 59, 114, 116).  Researchers also might consult the local history reference collection for information on northern Illinois industries.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Volume 1: "A Plan for Producing Production Machine Tools in Cooperation with the National Defense Commission" by William W. Barton (1 volume), 1940],
[Volume 2-3: Record of Shipments (2 volumes), 1919-1940],
[Volume 4: Financial Charts (1 volume), 1936-1940],
[Volume 5: Development and Description of the Manufacture of Artillery Ammunition by Automatic Process (1 volume), 1945],
[Oversize Drawer 16],
[All]

Box 1
Folder 1-4: Historical Information
Folder 5: Ten Years of Automation at the Rockford Ordnance Plant, 1955
Folder 6: Government Contract, 1948
Folder 7: Intercompany Agreements with Metal Cutting Tools, Incorporated, 1954-1961
Folder 8: Working Papers for Main Plant Lease with John S. Barnes Corporation, 1954-1962
Folder 9: Leases and Working Papers with John S. Barnes Corporation, 1953-1961
Folder 10: John S. Barnes Corporation Information, no date
Folder 11: B. J. Svenson Materials, 1950-1960
Folder 12: Agreement with John S. Barnes Company Odin Corporation and E. J. Svenson, 1941
Folder 13: Agreement contract and correspondence, B. F. Barnes Company, 1907-1920
Folder 14: B. F. Barnes Company Articles of Incorporation and Dissolution Agreement, 1899, 1920
Folder 15: B. F. Barnes Company Minutes and By-Laws, 1912-1916
Folder 16-19: W. F. and John Barnes Company, Minutes, 1931-1961
Folder 20: Annual Reports, 1949-1954, 1958, 1960
Folder 21: Reports to Stockholders, 1946-1949
Folder 22: Irving Pratt Stock Purchase, 1940, 1947
Folder 23-24: Voting Trust Agreements, 1957-1959
Folder 25: Correspondence, 1933-1962
Folder 26: Interdepartmental Memoranda, 1949, 1953-1958
Folder 27: Finkergstaedt correspondence and notes, 1924-1963, 1975
Folder 28: Special Report on. Canning Machinery, 1954
Folder 29: Report on the Manufacture of a Rare Earth Oxide for Precision Lens Polishing Purposes, 1949
Folder 30: Report for Insurance Coverage, 1953
Folder 31: Special Report on Sales Products and Development Projects, 1953
Folder 32: Defense Plant Corporation Status Reports, 1943
Folder 33: Report to Olin Industries, 1954

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Volume 1: "A Plan for Producing Production Machine Tools in Cooperation with the National Defense Commission" by William W. Barton (1 volume), 1940],
[Volume 2-3: Record of Shipments (2 volumes), 1919-1940],
[Volume 4: Financial Charts (1 volume), 1936-1940],
[Volume 5: Development and Description of the Manufacture of Artillery Ammunition by Automatic Process (1 volume), 1945],
[Oversize Drawer 16],
[All]


Page Generated in: 0.182 seconds (using 322 queries).
Using 6.86MB of memory. (Peak of 7.15MB.)

Powered by Archon Version 3.21
Copyright ©2011 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign