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Rockford Small Business Collection


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

Box 2

David Goldman: Shipping Book (1 volume)

Box 3

Box 4

Box 5

Box 6

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Rockford Small Business Collection, 1906-1961 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Rockford Small Business Collection, 1906-1961

ID: RHC/RC/057

Extent: 3.25 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 03/30/1979

Subjects: Anderson Coal Company, Behr, Joseph, Cabinetwork, Carmichael Family, Coal trade, Dairying, Erlander, John, Furniture industry and trade, Goldman, David, Industrial Gages, Incorporated, Joseph Behr and Sons, Kettlewell Milk Company, Midway Amusement Company, Midway Theater, Peterson, P. A., Rockford (Ill.), Rockford Dairy Company, Rockford Period Furniture, Royal Mantel & Furniture, Scrap metals., Skandia Coal and Lumber, Tagit Company, Theater, Union Furniture Company, Washing machines, Winnebago Radio Cabinet Company

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The records in this collection partially document the operations of eleven small businesses in Rockford, Illinois during the period 1906 to 1961:  John Anderson Coal Company (1944-1950); Joseph Behr and Sons (1954-1958); David Goldman (1920-1958); Industrial Gages, Incorporated (1955-1960); Kettlewell Milk Company (1929-1930); Midway Amusement Company (1927-1938); Rockford Dairy, Incorporated (1929-1930); Royal Mantel and Furniture (1913-1938); The Tagit Company (1916-1961); Union Furniture Company (1906-1952); Winnebago Radio and Cabinet (1928-1932).

Although many of the daily records of these businesses have been lost, the records in this collection provide excellent information on the origin, operation, and dissolution of these eleven firms including articles of incorporation and dissolution, stock registers and capitalization reports, minutes of special board and stockholders meetings, legal documents, and information on product lines.  Thus the researcher can construct a basic historical sketch for each of these businesses which could be filled in from other sources.  Most of the records fall in the period between 1920 and 1950 and offer insight on the vicissitudes of commerce and manufacturing in Rockford during the Great Depression and World War II.

Collection Historical Note

John Anderson Coal Company Martha E. Anderson, Esther C., and Roy A. Rolander organized the John Anderson Coal Company as the first stock subscribers and corporate directors on October 23, 1944.  On September 5, 1950, the Skandia Coal and Lumber Company of Rockford purchased the Anderson Company's stock and fixed assets terminating Anderson's brief existence as a Rockford business.

Joseph Behr and Sons Joseph Behr left Poland with his wife in 1903 and eventually moved to Rockford, Illinois where he began running a scrap yard for rags, paper, iron, and other metals.  Behr also ventured into the field of manufacturing, turning out bottled ammonia, horse radish, and bluing.  The scrap business, however, continued to be his main enterprise.  In 1928, with a capital stock of $30,000, the company was incorporated.  It consisted of the iron and steel division, metals, and rags and fpaper division.  Joseph Behr died in 1940 and his oldest son, Isadore, became president of the firm.

David Goldman David Goldman came to Rockford in 1899 as a single man of 23 from Elgin, Illinois.  He was born in Russian Poland in 1877, and came to the United States with his family.  He remained with his parents until 1899, when he came to Rockford and started dealing in junk, handling all kinds, including paper and rags.  By 1911, he had built a large and profitable business.  David Goldman was a member of the Ohave Sholom Synagogue for over 50 years.  Fraternally, he belonged to the Royal Arcanum.

Industrial Gages, Incorporated Industrial Gages incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois March 5, 1955.  The company's first Board of Directors included Gordon A. Cedarleaf, Homer B. Johnson, Everett C. Alex, Harry J. Rowley, and Clayton C. Andrews.  The company sold precision gages and components and furnished and inspection and maintenance service.  In 1960, Industrial Gages changed its name to Orvac Products, Incorporated.

Kettlewell Milk Company The Kettlewell Milk Company was organized under the laws of the State of Illinois in May 1929.  The initial subscribers to capital stock in the Kettlewell Milk Company were Henry Carmichael, Eva A. Carmichael, Leroy C. Carmichael and William C. Peterson.  The company manufactured, sold, and distributed milk, cream, ice cream, butter, and other dairy products.

Midway Amusement Company C.W. Behlen, John Wester, Otto A. Milliorn, and Charles F. House organized the Midway Amusement Company on February 15, 1928, to operate the Midway Theatre, a motion picture house at 725 East State Street.  The initial capitalization was $25,000.  After a brief nine years of operation, Rockford Enterprise, Incorporated, purchased the assets of the Midway Amusement Company in 1937 for $1725.

Rockford Dairy Company Carl G. Johnson, Mary V. Johnson, and Shelby Large organized the Rockford Dairy Company on May 20, 1929 with a capitalization of $5600 to purchase, process, distribute, and sell dairy products.  Dean Milk, a large Chicago-based dairy business, purchased the Rockford Dairy Company in May, 1929 for $40,000 of Dean Stock and $50,000 cash in deferred payments over a period of twelve months.

Royal Mantel and Furniture The Royal Mantel and Furniture Company was incorporated on May 10, 1892 with a capital stock of $100,000.  The following officers were elected: R.C. Lind, president; J.P. Lundell, vice president; D.R. Peterson, secretary and treasurer.  On July 6, 1938, the Royal Mantel and Furniture was dissolved.

The Tagit Company F.L. Borchert, John McCanna, and George W. Sherer created the Tagit Company on January 12, 1916 with a capital stock of $10,000.  The business manufactured laundry and dry cleaning, marking tags, and tag affixing machines.  A year after its creation, the company increased its capital stock to $25,000, and for the next forty years it remained a small, successful, family-owned business.  On March 25, 1961 the shareholders voted to dissolve the corporation and cease operations.

Union Furniture Company Jonas Peters, John Erlander, John Pehrson, and James Sindquist created the Union Furniture Company in 1876.  Soon after its beginning, one of Rockford's most important industrialists, P.A. Peterson, joined Union as corporate secretary, a position he held for over forty years.  After the first factory burned in 1889, the company relocated to a large plot on Rockford's southeast side.  By 1900 Union Furniture employed over 200 men.  It proved to be not only one of Rockford's most important furniture manufacturers but also one of the longest lived, lasting over seventy-five years.

Winnebago Radio Cabinet Company On July 28, 1928, C.J. Stuart, Elsie Broitzman, and Mrs. Marie Bowman incorporated the Winnebago Radio Cabinet Company with $50,000 of stock "to manufacture, buy, and sell radio cabinets and other wooden case goods."  The company changed its name to Rockford Period Furniture Company on December 10, 1932.

Subject/Index Terms

Anderson Coal Company
Behr, Joseph
Carmichael Family
Coal trade
Erlander, John
Furniture industry and trade
Goldman, David
Industrial Gages, Incorporated
Joseph Behr and Sons
Kettlewell Milk Company
Midway Amusement Company
Midway Theater
Peterson, P. A.
Rockford (Ill.)
Rockford Dairy Company
Rockford Period Furniture
Royal Mantel & Furniture
Scrap metals.
Skandia Coal and Lumber
Tagit Company
Union Furniture Company
Washing machines
Winnebago Radio Cabinet 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: Hugh D. Hammerslag

Acquisition Method: Hugh D. Hammerslag donated the Rockford Small Business Collection to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on March 30, 1979.

Related Materials: Researchers using these materials may wish to consult other manuscript collections held by the Regional History Center pertaining to Rockford business and industry:  Rockford Mitten and Hosiery (RC 38); Rockford Chair and Furniture (RC 42); Smith Oil and Refining (RC 48); and National Chair Company (RC 59).

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Volume 1: David Goldman: Shipping Book (1 volume), 1920-1958],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],

Box 3
Volume 1: David Goldman: Estate Records/Payroll (1 volume), 1950-1956
Folder 3a: David Goldman: Estate Papers, 1956-1957
Folder 3b: David Goldman: Photographs: David and Anna Goldman; Goldman Wrecking Sign (4), 1947, 1956, no date
Folder 4: Industrial Gages, Incorporated: Legal Documents, 1958-1959
Folder 5: Industrial Gages, Incorporated: Stockholder Meeting Minutes, 1957
Folder 6: Industrial Gages, Incorporated: Corporate Report, 1956
Volume 2: Industrial Gages, Incorporated: Corporate Record Book (1 volume), 1955-1960

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Volume 1: David Goldman: Shipping Book (1 volume), 1920-1958],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],

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