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Manufacturers Index - Vulcan Iron Works Co

Vulcan Iron Works Co
Oswego, NY, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

History
Last Modified: Jan 3 2018 1:25PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

In 1848 or 1853 (depending on which source you believe), William Smith and John King established the partnership of Smith & King to operate the Vulcan Iron Works. In 1862, Smith retired and the business became John King In 1867 the works burned down but were rebuilt with double the capacity. In 1871 Robert G. Holbrook joined the business as treasurer and the business reorganized as John King & Co. In 1875 a new stock corporation was formed, the Vulcan Iron Works Co. The business continued until New Years Day of 1895, when the works burned to the ground and seem to have not been rebuilt.

In their early years, the Vulcan Iron Works made mill machinery, including the Austin patent shingle mill; it appears they gained the New York State rights to this machine in 1873 when the Oswego-based inventor moved to Michigan to establish the Ionia Shingle-Machine Manufacturing Co. At some point they began making both marine and stationary steam engines, a product line which continued until the business ceased. In 1860 they began making dredges, which became their mainstay business.

Information Sources

  • Ad in 1873-01-23 Oswego Daily Palladium. "Vulcan Iron Works. West Second and Bridge Streets, John King & Co. / Manufacturers of / All kinds of Dredge Machinery, Mahler's Improved Turbine Water Wheel / Machinists and Founders. Also, Manufacturers of / Austen's Improved Shingle Machine. / ... Mattison's Flour Packers. ... / John King / R. G. Holbrook."
  • The 1877 book History of Oswego County, New York.
    VULCAN IRON-WORKS.—-This business was established in 1853 by Smith & King, and continued by them until about 1860, when it passed into the hands of John King, and was continued by him as sole proprietor until about the year 1863, when the firm became John King & Co. This firm managed the business until 1875, when a stock company was organized and the name of the establishment changed to the Vulcan Iron-works. The present officers of the company are as follows, viz.: John King, president; R. G. Holbrook, treasurer; George K. Orrell, secretary. At the beginning of business the annual product amounted to about twenty thousand dollars, and has increased until at the present time it amounts to the sum of one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. Employ one hundred and seventy-five men. At these works are manufactured dredges, excavators, derricks, marine and stationary steam-engines and boilers, steam-pumps, saw-mills, water-wheels, etc., etc.
  • Ad in 1877-80 Oswego City Directory: "Vulcan Iron Works Co., John King, Pres't, R. G. Holbrook, Treas., Geo. K. Orrell, Sec'y. / Manufacturers of Dredges and Land Excavators, Steam Engines, Boilers, Mill Gearing, &c., Oswego, N. Y."
  • Ad in 1878 Important Events in Oswego. "Vulcan Iron Works Co., Manufacturers of Dredges & Land Excavators, Steam Engines, Boilers, Mill Gearing, &c., Oswego, N. Y. / John King, President, R. G. Holbrook, Treasurer, Geo. K. Orrell, Secretary.
  • 1890 Railroad, Telegraph, Electric and Steamship Builders' Buyers' Guide and Directory, lists Vulcan Iron Works Co. of Oswego under Castings, railway; Chains; Contractors, railroad; Derricks machines; Dredging contractors; Engines, marine; Engines, steam; Excavators; Iron founders; and Steam shovels, excavators and derricks.
  • The 1895 book, Landmarks of Oswego County, New York, ed. John C. Churchill.
    Another industry of considerable importance was founded in 1848 under the name of the Vulcan Iron Works, by William Smith and John King, who established the present plant on the corner of West Bridge and Second streets. Mr. Smith retired from the firm in 1862 and from that year until 1871 Mr. King carried on the business alone. In 1871 R. G. Holbrook became a partner under the firm name of John King & Co., and continued until July, 1875, when the Vulcan Iron Works Company, a stock corporation, was formed with a capital of $60,000. Under this title the business continued until January 1, 1895, when the works were burned and have not since been rebuilt. Until 1860 the product consisted almost exclusively of mill machinery, but about that time the manufacture of steam dredges was commenced, and a very large portion of the dredges used on the lakes, since that time have been turned out by this establishment. The works were burned in 1867, and rebuilt with doubled capacity. The dredging and excavating machinery made here are the inventions of John King. The present officers of the company are David B. Page, president; Robert G. Holbrook, treasurer; Robert H. King, secretary.
  • 1896-97 Railroad, Telegraph, Electric and Steamship Builders' Buyers' Guide and Directory, lists Vulcan Iron Works Co. of Oswego under Castings, railway; Chain; Contractors, railroad; Derricks, steam; Engines, marine; Engines, steam; Excavators; Iron founders; and Steam shovels, excavators and derricks.
  • January 1898 Engineering Mechanics lists Vulcan Iron Works, Oswego, N.Y., as steam engine manufacturers. They were one of ten identically-named businesses so listed.