Monday, October 10, 2011

Lake County Mini Profiles - Men at Work Part II

As mentioned earlier, the decades after the Civil War saw many rapid changes in the patterns of American life.  Know-how developed.  Specialized agriculture grew. Nurseries expanded. Improved soil management led to new markets.  Lake County played a major role as the twentieth century loomed.  Today we look at some other contributors whose ideas led to the new technologies of the day.

Coe-Wilkes -  In 1851 H.H. Coe and Leonard Anderson of Painesville formed a partnership to make steam engines and sawmill machinery.  They built their factory at Jackson and St. Clair Streets.  After the Civil War, Coe joined his new business partner Frederick Wilkes and the company expanded.  Wilkes had experience with Arcole and owned Geauga Furnace.  Together, they added new markets to their portfolios.  With gas streetlights on the horizon, they designed lamplighter machinery that could cut thin stock from giant logs and a clipper machine.  The rotary lathe, a roller drier and other fine precision machinery became a company benchmark.  After Wilkes retired in 1891, Coe's son Henry joined the Rt. 84  business and renamed the company Coe Manufacturing.  Travel down Rt. 84 and you will find that Coe still exists today.

Frank Burrelle - Born in Painesville in 1856, Frank Burrelle began his career as a NYC law clerk.  It was what he overheard two businessmen say in 1888 that led to his continuing fame today.  The businessmen were worried that they could not keep abreast of all the media and trends of the beginning industrial era.  From this concern, Frank and his wife founded Burrelle's Press Clipping Service.  They ran their business from their home until a fire nearly ended the company permanently.  Today known as BurrelleLuce, the company specializes in media and measurement services for major corporations.

George Henry Hopper -  Born in England, Hopper emigrated to the U.S. in 1841 at age 4 and settled in Cleveland.  He learned a trade and became a cooper. In time he started a business that manufactured product for the newly formed Standard Oil Company.  In 1879, he moved to Madison Twp. and settled in a home located on County Line Road.  Legend has it, that Hopper amassed a fortune perfecting a traveling tramp's formula to seal barrels of oil.  Hopper, remaineda Madison resident until his death in 1898.

J.H. King, C.M.Wheeler and H. Hinkley -  In the decade of the 1860's, Fairport Harbor's chief industry had nothing to do with imports, exports, or the port at all.  The chief industry was a nitroglycerine factory in two warehouses on the east  pier.  Owners King, Wheeler and Hinkley built storage facilities on the west bank and shipped explosives to the ore mines on Lake Superior and to the oil fields in Pennsylvania.  A terrific explosion wrecked the factory on November 1, 1870.  Village homes were ruined and every window in town was shattered.  The three owners made good on the damages but the nitro plant was never rebuilt.

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