Community A - L: Manufacturing History
manintroIn the late 1800's and early 1900's a variety of industries developed to meet the needs of the communities. Vestaburg, Carson City, Greenville and Stanton all had barrel factories. Wagons were built by blacksmiths in many locales. At one time buggies were built in Stanton. Lakeview had a snow plow factory, a pickle factory and a chair factory. Cement burial vaults were manufactured in Coral. The cheese factory in Sidney and creameries in Vestaburg and Carson City were among a number that at one time existed in the county. The Hudson Knife Factory in Howard City manufactured quality steel knives. Later it was known as the Joslin and then Olsen Knife Factory. Gas and oil wells sprang up around the county in the 1930's with a very large gas field in Belvidere Township and oil wells around Crystal, Edmore, Greenville and other communities. Some of these industries thrived for many years while others disappeared when the need for them ceased.

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Christensen Glover Works, Greenville, 1900's

The Christensen Glove Works, in Greenville, was started by Niels Christensen in 1904. In 1920 it was purchased by G.A. Krause and the business expanded into a three story building on Lafayette St. In 1922 it was sold to the company which became Wolverine World Wide, the maker of "Hush Puppies". The Greenville plant closed in 1975.
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RJ Tower Co. which manufactured the Gordon Hollow Blast Grate 1896.

Samuel Tower was an early Greenville entrepreneur who started a machine shop and foundry in 1874. His son Isaac and later grandson, Ray J. Tower, joined him. This family owned business flourished and eventually became known as R. J. Tower Iron Works. It manufactured products used in lumbering and agriculture and later expanded to motor trucks, furnaces, street signs, metal stampings and many other products. At one time the R. J. Tower Electric Company supplied electricity to the city of Greenville.

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Ranney Refrigerator Co., Greenville 1896.

Refrigerators were manufactured in Greenville beginning in the early 1890's with the Ranney Refrigerator Company. Hardwood trees, which remained after the white pine trees were gone, were used in the manufacturing of wooden refrigerators. In 1908 Gibson Refrigerator was founded and a tradition of refrigerator manufacturing was established in Greenville.

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Early photo of the Skinner & Steenman Sideboard Factory, Howard City.

The Skinner & Steenman Sideboard Factory began in 1889 in Howard City. It was the largest exclusive sideboard factory in the world and employed around 200 people. In 1905 it moved to Greenville and closed several years later.