John Maxwell Stowell (1824-1907)
The business now conducted under the name of The Stowell Company, founders and manufacturers, was organized in 1886, in Milwaukee, by S. H. and E. Y. Moore as the Moore Manufacturing Foundry Company and the factory was located in the Menominee valley. In the early 90s the plant was removed to South Milwaukee, where the manufacture of hardware specialties, such as barn door hangers and rail, elevator door fixtures, tackle blocks, hot air registers, etc., was continued. In 1896 the Hon. John M. Stowell, one of the founders of Filer Stowell and one-time mayor of Milwaukee, purchased the business and changed the name to the Stowell Manufacturing Foundry Company. The corporation continued the manufacture of the same lines, and also did contract work in grey iron castings. In 1899 a malleable iron foundry was added and some new hardware specialities introduced, such as malleable clevises, malleable shoe lasts and stands, wagon and carriage malleable hardware. In 1901 the concern increased its holdings with a second malleable foundry and the specialty lines continued with the addition of link belt chain, hay tools and some other agricultural specialties.
In 1904 the Midland Iron Works of Racine, Wisconsin, was purchased and its line of automatic fire door equipment, barn door, warehouse and railroad hangers became a part of The Stowell Companys output. The molders strike came in 1906 and the company was crippled for some time, being required to build up an entirely new foundry organization. This, however, was accomplished and the financial panic of 1907 was successfully weathered. In 1908 the Hon. John M. Stowell died and his son-in-law, the late Charles E. Sammond, who had for many years been manager, was made president. During the depression of 1913 and 1914 a reorganization was planned and a new corporation known as The Stowell Company took over the properties in 1916. The new company discontinued many of the specialty lines that had previously been manufactured and confined its operations largely to malleable hardware, malleable clevises, shoe lasts and stands and link belt chain. During the war the plant was listed as a one hundred per cent plant, manufacturing only those lines which the war industries board listed as essential to the successful prosecution of the war.
In November 1919, the land and buildings of the Pelton Steel Company, located on Chicago road and Elliott place in Milwaukee, were purchased, and in 1921 the Pelton Steel Company was absorbed. The buildings were remodeled, new ones added and the plant made into a factory for the production of malleable iron castings. This was called The Stowell Company Plant, No. 2. Under normal conditions, The Stowell Company employs from six hundred to seven hundred men. It is a member of the American Malleable Castings Association and is listed by this association as a manufacturer of certified malleable castings. Only those plants are so listed which continuously in their daily process produce material which is in accord with the requirements of the American Society for Testing Materials. The principal products of The Stowell Company are malleable iron castings, grey iron castings, electric steel castings, brass castings, link belt chain, malleable clevises and malleable hardware. The following are the officers and directors: Fred W. Rogers, president; Rupert A. Nourse, vice president and general manager; Thomas E. Ward, secretary and manager of purchases and sales; Henry J. Van Beek, treasurer; and Fred Vogel. Jr., William H. Schuchardt, Fred L. Sivyer and T. H. Spence, additional directors. Besides his identification with The Stowell Company, Mr. Nourse is the president of the Midland Company of South Milwaukee, manufacturers of saddlery hardware, automobile accessories and wrought chain.
Source: History of Milwaukee, City and County, Vol. 2, 1922