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The Adams Brothers Co.

EDITOR’S NOTE–This is another article on Findlay-area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.

 

 

By R.L. HEMINGER

 

 

One of Findlay’s best known industrial concerns for many years was the Adams Brothers Co., located on West Main Cross Street, just east of the railroad at the Hurd Avenue intersection.

The company manufactured bridge and structural iron work and also produced gas and oil well supplies, boilers, steam pumps, portable and stationary engines, pumping powers and jacks. It was widely known and its business came from a wide area in northwestern Ohio. “The Adams Foundry,” as it was known, occupied a prominent role in the company’s economy.

The officials of the company for many years were James T. Adams, president; Newton M. Adams, vice-president; John A. Meeks, secretary; and Joseph Kwis, superintendent.

The president, James T. Adams, came to Findlay in 1854. He had been born in Perry County, Pa., in 1825. His father, the Rev. William Adams, was a minister of the Church of God and died in Findlay in 1882. The son began to learn the tinsmith’s trade at Massilon at the age of 14, when he was already providing for his own maintenance. He went to Plymouth, Ohio, for a time and then came here. He continued to work as a tinsmith until 1864 and then opened a general hardware store which he conducted for about six years. He sold out to go into the manufacturing of linseed oil.

 

 

HE CONTINUED TO manufacture linseed oil until 1878 when in association with his brother, Newton, he organized the Adams Brothers Co. as manufacturers of foundry and machine products. A building on West Main Cross Street was constructed to house the enterprise. The business was incorporated in 1890.

Mr. Adams, after 45 years of identification with Findlay’s interests in a business and civic manner, died in 1906. He was actively interested in the community and its affairs and served for a period of 16 years on the city council. This is one of the longest records of council service in the history of the municipality. Additionally, he was a member of the Findlay board of education and served for a number of years on this board. Adams Elementary School bore his name.

In 1902, Mr. Adams erected the building at the southeast corner of South Main and East Crawford streets. For a number of years this building was known as the “Adams Block.” At the time of its erection it was the tallest such structure in the city, with its five stories. It subsequently became known as the “Ewing Block” when P.W. Ewing acquired the property.

Newton M. Adams, a brother of James T. Adams, was a native of Plymouth, Ohio, where he was born in 1844. He was 19 years younger than his brother.

He went to Corunna, Ind., when a lad of 14 years. He was employed as a clerk in a store there until he enlisted for the Civil War. He took part in the memorable march of Gen. Sherman into the south.

 

 

MR. ADAMS RETURNED TO Corunna after the war, embarking in the stove and tin business. In 1871 he moved to Findlay and joined his brother James in business. He became treasurer of the Adams Brothers Co., which his brother headed.

He became a community leader and was named president of the City Banking Co., predecessor of the Ohio Bank and Savings Co. He also served as a member of the city council and was a trustee of the gas company which served the city. In those earlier days, the community’s fire department was on a volunteer basis and the chief always was a prominent citizen. Mr. Adams held this post for some time.

The Adams company continued in business under that name for a number of years after the deaths of the two Adams brothers. Later the Bluffton Manufacturing Co. bought the Adams property and subsequently the Centrex Corp. acquired it.

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