Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Records

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Western Suspender Co.

Source:  RICHLAND SHIELD & BANNER:  14 September 1895, Vol. LXXVIII, No. 18


Submitted by Amy


Until 1870 there were no suspender factories outside of the New England states.  It was during that year that the first suspender factory was established in Mansfield by B.O. Foster and it being the first one west of the Alleghenies, it was christened the Western.  James Pollock was afterward associated with Foster in the business.  Foster sold to J.P. Rummel, who also purchased Pollock's interest in 1879.  In 1884 Capt. Rummel and H.W. Gurney formed a partnership, which existed until the recent organization and incorporation of the Western Suspender Co., at a capital of $50,000.  The officers of the company are:  John C. Larwill, President;  S.M. Douglass, Vice-President;  J.P. Rummel, Secretary and Treasuerer;  H.W. Gurney, Manager;  J.C. Larwill, J.P. Rummel, H.W. Gurney, John Wintrode, L.D. Arndt, S.M. Douglass, H.R. Dunham and S.B. Moll, Directors.

The original factory was in a room in the Stocking Building, at the corner of Main and Fourth, and was afterward removed to the Sherman House Block.  In 1882, Capt. Rummel built a factory 40x60 and three stories high on South Diamond Street.  In 1887 the factory was enlarged by extending the length to 80 feet, and in 1892 a three-story addition 40x30 brought the front of the building to the street line.  In the rear of the factory is a small building 26x38 utilized for box factory and printing department.

The factory is equipped with machinery specially adapted to suspender work.  Some of the machines were built to order according to designs conceived by Mr. Gurney.

In 1892 the company added a neckwear department which has rapidly grown until there are now 60 employees in that department.  The company makes a full line of gentleman's and ladies' neckwear from a plain string tie to the nobbiest teck or four-in-hand of the latest style.  There is only one other neckwear factory in Ohio and there are no others in the west outside of Chicago, so that trade in this line has rapidly increased and become an important factor of the concern, while the suspender industry remains unchanged.  The two lines go well together and the field of trade for this company covers about 13 states.

Mr. Gurney, when interviewed as to conditions of trade, said:  "Our business since July has been better than at any time during the past two years and the outlook for the fall trade is good.  We have increased every year in our neckwear business, even during the past two year, and have held our own in the suspender business.  We have added machinery which increases our product and have the same number of employees as before.  We have our ususal stock in store for the fall trade.  Our employees are principally paid on the piece-plan and our scale of wages remains unchanged.  We have never cut wages, not even during the past two dull years."

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