Iron and Steel Foundry and Machine Companies, 1850-1950
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This page was last updated on November 15, 2019.
(This is a work in progress; research continues.)
Information about the foundries and machine shops in Utah, 1850 to 1950, that helped form Utah's industrial base, especially the mines, mills, and factories. These were the companies that make machines that make machines. They make "big iron" that keeps industry going.
As a side note, the railroads in Salt Lake City (Union Pacific, and Rio Grande) had their own foundries and machine shops. In Ogden, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific shared a large shop facility until 1927, when UP built a new roundhouse and back shop, leaving SP in the previously shared facility.
The Silver Brothers shop was in Salt Lake City. Their address was 540 West Seventh South. Although Silver Brothers itself is gone, that original building is still there, with numerous additions that were added over the years.
The Silver Brothers Iron Works began with William J. Silver, an early Mormon pioneer, born in London, England, who founded one of the earliest foundries and machine shops in Utah. The company created many significant works, such as the cast oxen for the Salt Lake City LDS Temple and the iron fence surrounding the Brigham Young cemetery. Silver's three sons took over the company and renamed it the Silver Brothers Iron Works and began to manufacture machinery for Utah's sugar beet industry.
The steam engine for the Kate Connor lake boat was built by William J. Silver at his Silver Iron Works in Salt Lake City. Mr. Silver had come to Utah in 1859 and had opened his iron works "three years later" in 1862. He built the first steam engine in the territory, and he also built the first steam engine to be used on Great Salt Lake. The boat was called the "Kate Connor" and was built for General P. E. Connor. In 1893, when he bought the old Sun Foundry in Provo and put it into operating condition, Silver was the only member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in the Utah territory. In later years, Silver Iron Works became Silver Brothers Iron Works, being managed by Silver's three sons, John, Hyrum and Joseph. William Silver was born in London, England, came to Utah in 1859 and died at age 86 on November 6, 1918. (Daily Enquirer, June 6, 1893; Salt Lake Herald, May 6, 1897; Salt Lake Mining Review, November 15, 1918)
July 24, 1897
"One of the important manufacturing enterprises of Salt Lake City, and one which has added much to the prosperity of the city, is the iron works of Silver Bros., 149 West North Temple street. The plant is one of the largest in the West and is thoroughly equipped in every particular." "The Silver brothers manufacture steam engines, boilers, mining, milling, smelting machinery and implements. They also manufacture building fronts and other iron work for large buildings. In the line of general machine work this firm is prepared to undertake contracts of any nature, simple of intricate." "The business was established in 1863 by Mr. W. J. Silver, the present firm succeeding him. The members of the firm are Messrs. Joseph A., Hyrum A. and John A. Silver. They came to Salt Lake in 1859 when in boyhood." (Deseret Evening News, July 24, 1897)
In 1898, the Silver Brothers Iron Works Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, was incorporated to manufacture machinery structural iron and steel work. John A. Silver was president, Hyrum A. Silver vice-president and Joseph A. Silver treasurer, secretary and manager.
June 15, 1899
"At the Silver Brothers Iron works company Manager Joseph A. Silver was so busy that he could hardly take time to tell The Review what his company had been doing during the past two weeks, but it was learned that during this period the concern had filled an order for a friction drum for the Swansea company; a beet wheel for the Utah Sugar company, a mining cage for the Victoria mine, ten ore cars for the Grand Central, besides which 30,000 pounds of casting had been turned out for the Highland Boy smelter." (Salt Lake Mining Review, June 15, 1899)
Silver Brothers moved from their location on West North Temple street, to a larger location at 7th South and 5th West (today's 600 West). (Salt Lake Herald, November 5, 1915)
August 18, 1912
The first steel made in Utah was by Silver Brothers in 1912. Silver Brothers was where Copper Belt sent its wrecked Shays for repairs on at least three occasions.
Silver Brothers Iron and Foundry Works was reorganized in November 1915 as the Salt Lake Iron & Steel Co., with members of the Silver family still as members of the board. James W. Silver was to be general manager of the new company. The articles of incorporation were to be filed "today." (Salt Lake Herald, November 5, 1915)
(John A. Silver died on March 22, 1916.)
The reorganization of the company was due to debt and other losses. One of the grandsons of the original William J. Silver, James Watson Silver, although named as general manager, left the company in May 1916 and moved to Ogden and founded the Ogden Iron Works, which manufactured machinery for the sugar beet and mining industries. He was apparently the last of the Silver family associated with the former Silver brothers company, after Joseph A. Silver retired earlier in 1916. Ogden Iron Works went out of business in 1991.
(At about this same time, November 1915, there are newspaper references to the Salt Lake Boiler & Sheet Metal Works, showing the address as 710 Portland Avenue in Salt Lake City. A photo of a recently completed special boiler was published in the January 21, 1917 of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper, stating that the company had opened in 1915, and was located on Fourth West between Seventh and Eighth South, with E. L. Murphy as president. This remained as the address in advertisements as late as November 1918, when a news item mentioned that the company was "building a 50x200 addition to its plant on West Seventh South street, in order to be better prepared to take care of its boiler building" for upcoming government contracts. This may have been when the company purchased the earlier Silver Brothers Iron and Foundry Works, i.e., 545 West Seventh South. The site on Fourth West remained as the company address. An ad in a September 1919 newspaper shows both Salt Lake Iron & Steel company, and Salt Lake Boiler & Sheet Iron Works, without showing each company's address.)
On January 1, 1924, Salt Lake Iron & Steel Company was taken over by Pittsburg Boiler Machine Co. of Pittsburg, Kansas. (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 30, 1923)
June 15, 1924
"W. H. Sagstetter, president of the Salt Lake Iron & Steel Co. announced a few days ago that his company had began the purchase of pig iron from the Columbia Steel Corporations works at Ironton, the first carload having been delivered on the June 2nd. Mr. Sagstetter's company will use about 100 tons of this Utah pig iron a month to begin with and in the near future it is expected the plant's requirements will call for 250 tons a month and more. This Utah iron product will be utilized in the fabrication of castings and materials used by local and intermountain concerns in construction work and industrial purposes." (Salt Lake Mining Review, June 15, 1924)
June 28, 1924
A receiver was appointed for the Salt Lake Boiler & Sheet Metal Works. The business had been depressed for the past two years, and was in danger of shutting down completely due to debts totaling $40,000. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 28, 1924; June 29, 1924, "yesterday")
July 3, 1925
Structural Steel and Foundry company was organized by Utah men, including Thomas F. Pierpont of Provo (president of Provo Foundry and Machine company), to "take over the plant of Salt Lake Boiler and Sheet Metal Works at Seventh South and Fifth West streets, and has purchased in addition an adjoining tract of land." (Ogden Standard Examiner, July 3, 1925)
Other officers of the new company were also officers of the American Foundry and Machine company. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 3, 1025; Salt Lake Mining Review, July 15, 1925)
The site at 545-547 West 700 South was sold by Salt Lake Boiler and Sheet Metal Works, to American Foundry Company, which opened the site as a subsidiary company known as Structural Steel and Forge Company. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 25, 1937)
Structural Steel and Forge Co. expanded the old steel and iron works, including a new addition to the west, 75 feet wide and 280 feet long, including a 25-ton electric crane running the entire length of the new addition. The addition also included a new brick front along 7th South. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 25, 1937)
As late as April 1937, there were references to Structural Steel and Foundry being at 545 West Seventh South. The property was sold to Wasatch Ball Foundry in August 1940.
There were numerous references to Structural Steel and Forge company as early as August 1937, at the same address as the former Salt Lake Boiler and Sheet Metal Works; 545-547 West Seventh South.
Structural Steel and Forge Company was reorganized as the Structural Steel and Forge Division of Eimco Corporation. Members of the Rosenblatt family controlled both companies, and the change was to consolidate their interests. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 30, 1957)
At the same time, in 1957, Eimco Corporation was sold to the Ogden Corporation. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 29, 1969)
The Ogden Corp. sold Eimco to Envirotech Corporation. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 29, 1969)
The former D&RGW Salt Lake City shops were purchased by Eimco soon after D&RGW stopped running stream locomotives. Eimco used the former railroad shops in the manufacturing of underground mining machinery. The family of Eimco founder Nathan Rosenblatt sold the Eimco company in 1957 to the Ogden Corporation, which in-turn later sold it to Envirotech, which later sold it to the Baker-Hughes Company. The Eimco name was derived from "Eastern Iron and Metal Company," with Rosenblatt saying when he started his company, nobody would buy from any company with "Western" in its name, so he called his company "Eastern" which sounded more important. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 17, 1991)
From a history of Jews in Utah:
Nathan Rosenblatt came to the United States at 14 from Russia, first going to Denver and then to Salt Lake City, where Fred Auerbach gave him a pushcart to sell items. Nathan would go to various mining towns like Alta and Park City. Not wanting to come back with an empty cart, he started collecting scrap metal.
With his sons Simon, Morris, and Joseph, Nathan bought mining machinery, opened an iron foundry and machinery business.
By 1920, he was the proprietor of a steel mill and Simon was the manager of the iron foundry. Simon later ran American Foundry and Machine. Morris headed the Structural Steel and Forge Company and Joseph presided over the Eastern Iron and Metal Company, changing its name to EIMCO in the 1930s.
In 1918 Nathan Rosenblatt renamed American Foundry and Machine company to Eastern Iron and Metal Corporation. In the 1930s they shortened the name and called the company EIMCO. The first reference in online newspapers was on December 30, 1918.
American Foundry and Machine company was located at 840-876 South Fourth West in Salt Lake City. (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 15, 1918)
From the finding aid for the Joseph Rosenblatt papers at University of Utah:
Nathan Rosenblatt, Joseph's father, emigrated from Russia in 1880 and eventually made Salt Lake City his family's home where he founded Utah's first steel mill and created the American Foundry and Machine Company. After graduating from the U of U, Joseph commenced working with his father and two brothers and in 1946 became president of Eimco, one of the many Rosenblatt family concerns. Under Joseph's leadership, Eimco emerged as a major international producer of underground machinery for the extraction of coal and minerals as well as for the building of highway and railroad tunnels. By the time of Rosenblatt's retirement in 1964, company divisions had been established in France, Great Britain, Italy, South Africa, and Australia making Eimco a multi-million dollar industry.
December 27, 1925
Eastern Iron and Metal Company purchased the buildings and site of the Salt Lake Iron and Steel company. Morris Rosenblatt was a principal employee, along with Nathan Rosenblatt, founder of Utah Junk company and Utah Steel corporation. (Salt Lake Telegram, December 27, 1925)
By 1938, Morris Rosenblatt was general manager of Eimco, and vice president of both American Foundry and Machine company, and Structural Steel and Forge company. Nathan Rosenblatt was president of all three companies. By April 1942, the three companies were advertised as being part of "The Eimco Group." (Deseret News, May 19, 1938; Salt Lake Tribune, May 1, 1941; April 2, 1942)
January 21, 1948
Simon Rosenblatt passed away. In memory, the three companies (Eimco Corp., American Foundry and Machine, and Structural Steel and Forge), were closed all day on January 23rd. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 23, 1948)
May 1, 1951
Eimco took possession of the D&RGW steam locomotive erecting shop in Salt Lake City. The sale was announced on April 20, 1951. The purchase included 200,000 square feet of shop space, along with all equipment, such as lathes, cranes, rolls, shears and derricks. D&RGW announced that after the sale, all steam locomotive repair work would be done in the roundhouse. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 21, 1951)
During the end of the 1970's, EIMCO shifted towards the Process Equipment Division due to a slow down in mining equipment and tractor orders from its Mining Machinery Division.
In 1982 EIMCO was acquired by Baker International which later merged with Hughes Tools Company in 1987 to become Baker Hughes. Several name changes occurred with EIMCO during this time frame including; EIMCO BSP, EIMCO Process Equipment Company and Baker Process.
Lundin & May Foundry & Machine Company, "since 1912." Changed to May Foundry & Machine Company in 1963 when Jack F. May bought out the Lundin family interests.
Lundin & May Foundry, along with Silver Brothers Iron Works (later as American Foundry & Machine), and the Galigher Machinery Company, was one of the big three go-to companies for anything big, heavy and industrial in Salt Lake City.
Galigher Machinery Company
Galigher Machinery Company filed its articles of incorporation on September 9, 1909. "An important enlargement of one of the old business concerns of the city in order to keep pace with the growth of the city and the constantly increasing business. The old company, which has been known as the Utah Mining Machinery and Supply company, is located at 230 South West Temple street just south of the Dooly block, and was started in 1902." "No other change will be made in the company. The location will be retained as at present, there being ample space in which to expand in the present building, and the stockholders and officers of the company will be the same." (Salt Lake Tribune, September 10, 1909)
Galigher Machinery Company was located at 224-234 South West Temple street, and on the same block at 141-163 Pierpont Avenue. "It is the largest and most important business of its kind between Denver and San Francisco." (Salt Lake Herald, November 26, 1911)
The Galigher company was the supplier of Ingersoll-Rand compressors and tools for mines throughout the Utah, Nevada and Idaho markets.
Galigher Machinery announced on August 31, 1916 that it was moving to facilities at 8th South and 5th West, east of the Portland cement works. The company had been at its location on Pierpont Avenue for the past 13 years. The new site was 330 feet by 330 feet, and the new machine shop building would be 330 feet by 60 feet, with a new warehouse measuring 250 feet by 260 feet. "The Galigher Machinery company manufactures mining and concentrating machinery, and also that used in sugar manufacturing." Plans were to start using the new facilities after January 1st, 1917. The move took place in late February. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 31, 1916; September 24, 1916, with illustration; Salt Lake Mining Review, February 28, 1917)
The successor company, Prime Machine, Inc., is still in business today at the same location on 8th South, between 5th and 6th West.