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Rockford Industries Gallery 2
The Rockford Boot & Shoe Manufacturing Company was incorporated on July 31, 1880 by John Lake, N. E. Lyman and E. L. Woodruff. The factory located at 129 North Wyman Street produced a line of men’s fine shoes. The company appears to have ceased operations in the early 1890's.
Skandia Shoe Manufacturing Company was organized in July, 1889 with the officers being, August P. Floberg, President; G. W. Swanson, Vice-President. N. P. Nelson, Secretary and Treasurer. They would build their factory on South Fifth Street and Seventh Avenue at the crossing with the Illinois Central Railroad. It was a brick structure, four stories high and 96 feet in length by 40 feet wide. The interior was designed in such a manner as to best accommodate the different departments, and the whole building being exceptionally well lighted. The first floor was the "sole leather room" where the sole-leather was prepared for shoes, soaked, split trimmed, shaped and fashioned. In the rear was the engine room where a 30 horse power Corliss steam engine which ran the company's machinery through shafting and belts. A Rockford made 50 horse power boiler was installed by the Forest City Boiler Works to feed steam to the Corliss. On the second floor the company's offices occupied the south front corner and the rest of the second floor was the shipping department. On the third floor was the stitching and cutting department where the shoes are cut out and stitched. The fourth floor was the bottoming department where the final assembly of the shoes took place. The company manufactured men's and women's footwear and had an output of 600 pairs per day. The business was sold in 1893 to the Rockford Shoe Manufacturing Company.
The Rockford Shoe Company was incorporated in 1880 located at 114 North Wyman Street in a four story stone structure across the street from the Grand Opera House. The building was 88 feet long by 44 feet wide. The company was equipped with the most up to date machinery and appliances for the successful production of all kinds of boots and shoes for men. Around 100 skilled employees were employed here turning out between 250 to 300 pairs of shoes daily. Their most popular brands were the hand welt kangaroo and calf skin products. Another brand that had high sales was their Goodyear welts. The company had six traveling salesman selling to the retail trade, covering the entire western, northwestern and southern states.
A. S. Charn, a Rockford tailor in the late 1800's, first started his business in a little tailoring shop on South Main Street. With financial backing from some wealthy Rockford men he formed the Globe Clothing Company. The company was incorporated December 13, 1889 by August Lundberg, president; C. A. Gustafson, vice-president and Axel Rydberg, secretary. The directors of the company were Aug. P. Floberg, Treasurer; C. J. Dahlin, Gust Lindblade, Gust Holm, Levin Eksell. They built a factory building 60 feet wide by 160 feet in length and three stories high, at the corner of located at the corner of Sixth Street and Tenth Avenue. The interior was brightly lighted and the company had forty large Singer Sewing Machines in operation, which were propelled by a thirty horsepower Corliss steam engine. The company employed around 100 people making suits, overcoats and pants.
The prosperous company would end its operations in 1895. It leased portions of the building out to the H. W. Buckbee seed company for warehouse space and the Union Shoe Company as a mail order facility. The thirteen year old plant burned to the ground on June 4, 1903.
Rockford Clothing Company, founded in 1887 by A. L. Brealey at 202-206 South Wyman Street. The company would build a large two story building in 1888 at the corner of Church and Chestnut Streets. The company would manufacture pants, overalls, working-jackets and shirts. They made a specialty of uniform shirts and supply the city police and firemen. The company also did a large jobbing business in suspenders and hosiery and in custom work. In 1906 the W. Shanhouse Company would buy out the assets of the Rockford Clothing Company.
The Union Overall Company was founded in 1897. The three story brick factory building was located at 201 North Madison Street, the majority owner of the company being the late State Senator A. J. Anderson. The company manufactured overalls, shirts, jackets and motor suits. The building caught fire in 1930 and the overall company went out of business the following year. The building was completely rebuilt and became home to Rockford Paint Manufacturing Company from 1931 until 1948 when the paint company moved to 200 Sayer Street, later they would be called Rockcote and Valspar. A. H. Puffer Company would then occupy the building, today the site of the former building is part of a parking lot for Trinity Lutheran Church.
The Forest City Overall Manufacturing Company was founded and incorporated in 1913 by Alex Johnson, who had been superintendent of the Rockford Overall Company for the past 24 years, as president and manager and his son-in-law David V. Nilson as secretary and treasurer of the company. It started operations at 1320 Woodruff Avenue in the former Rockford Novelty Manufacturing Company plant. By 1914 it became necessary to expand the plant to cope with the demands for more overalls and khaki pants made by the already flourishing company. A new building was erected for the company at 1220 Eleventh Street, 36 feet wide by 125 feet in length, two stories in height, located by the Illinois Central railroad tracks and was ready for occupancy in May 1914. The plant was a model overall factory, open to the sunlight on four sides and equipped with the most modern, high power machinery of the time. Thirty five girls, each a skilled operator, were employed by the company and the output of the factory was peddled to wholesalers and retailers by two salesmen who were on the road continually. The company became widely known for its overalls and khakis and motor suits of the best material, workmanship and wearing qualities. On December 16, 1916 a fire that originated in a storeroom in the basement resulted in the loss of one life and a portion of the first floor. The factory building was repaired and operations resumed shortly afterwards. In June 1918 the company expanded to the Belvidere area when it opened a factory in the old National Hotel located at North State and Hurlbert Streets which had been vacant for years. They would operate both factories until April 1921 when the Forest City Overall Company sold the Belvidere branch to Arthur Dempsey, Thomas William and Thomas Marshall of Belvidere who incorporated the business as the Belvidere Garment Company. The Forest City Overall Company would cease doing business in 1923 and the building was sold to the Hanson Clock Company.
Rockford Overall Company located at 640 South Main Street was founded in 1882 by Levi Rhoades as president; J. S. Ticknor as vice president and B. F. Lee as secretary and treasurer. The firm manufactured overalls, pants, jackets and shirts. The firm would later expand to 708 South Main Street in part of the old Emerson Carriage Company buildings on the waterpower. In 1925 they would construct a 16,800 square foot two story fireproof building at 212 Mill Street. Over the years there were several changes in management, and the company went out of business in 1928.
The Stonefield-Evans Shoe Company was the outgrowth of a shoe factory founded by R. Anglemire in 1873 located on North Wyman Street. Later the factory was sold and moved to a location on Sixth Street and was incorporated as the Union Shoe works in 1902, and re-incorporated under the Stonefield Evans name in 1909 by Sam Stonefield who started work in a Massachusetts shoe factory at the age of ten before moving to Rockford in 1905. The three story factory was located at 1115 Sixth Street at the corner of Tenth Avenue and was equipped with every known piece of labor saving equipment. The company only used the best quality of leather and highly skilled tradesmen. After the plant was reorganized in 1909 the company concentrated on making a high grade of men’s shoes exclusively and employed 140 highly skilled tradesmen. The daily output was 600 pairs of shoes. They manufactured a shoe line known as the "Certified Shoe for Gentlemen", and the trade mark was known nationwide. In July 1926 P. A. Peterson would buy the firm of Stonefield Evans but after his death on June 9, 1927 and he was the only stockholder in the firm, the company disbanded in 1928.
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