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Friday, March 22, 2013

Brown Manufacturing and Company

In the town of Zanesville, Ohio W. P. Brown founded the Brown Manufacturing Company in 1879.  Investment funding with the aid of O.C. Ong, James Herdman and others, the business developed the farm implement business manufacturing plows and other agricultural implements.   They also produced farm wagons of various makes often painted in a dark green with golden yellow lettering and striping.  The front of their wagons labeled Zanesville after the location produce along with side emblems painted Brown after the primary founder, W.P. Brown.
Brown Wagon owned by Steven Hull
W.P. Brown and O.C. Ong both died in late 1880's leaving W.P. Brown's nephew U.H. Brown as President of the firm.  U.H. Brown had grown up in the factory knowing every facet of the business from both an industrial standpoint to managing.  Shortly after the death of James Herdman in 1901, Brown Mfg Co. faced arbitration with the state of Ohio.  Brown refused to meet terms set forth by organized labor disputes which prompted a strike on October 16th when 45 wood workers walked out. Two days later,  28 painters walked out joined by 24 blacksmiths and 98 metal mechanics on the 21st of October.  W.P. Brown encouraged the employees to continue working though 195 men walked out on strike, 135 employees refused to join them.  By late November of that year, 35 had return and the Brown Mfg Co and the company hired 120 new members to their business.  Brown never gave into the Unions believing to treat each member of the business as individuals and paid accordingly to their skills and production nor rehired positions filled by new employees while previous members walked a picket line on strike.  
Business would returned to full strength manufacturing 5000 farm wagon per year and 50,000 farm implements, mostly cultivators shipped throughout the United States by 1905. Although a huge percentage of their products being sold in "Texas" due to the rapid increase of agricultural developments and settlements of new lands.  Annual payroll exceeding 180,000 dollars to the citizens of Zanesville, Ohio working at Brown Mfg Company.    
During the production period of Brown Mfg Company,  three total companies used the name (BROWN) which each ended up building bodies for automobiles: The Brown Body Company of Zanesville, Ohio, was marginally more successful as it had started life as the Brown Manufacturing Corporation.  Towards the turn of the century they added trucks to their product line, and by the late teens of the 1900's, they were building commercial truck bodies.

Brown Mfg. sold their truck body business in 1930 and the new owners established the Brown Body Company at 807 North 7th St. in Zanesville. Within the year the firm had reorganized as the Pioneer Body and Fender Company, a full service garage, service station and commercial body repair and manufacturing facility. D. W. Downing was General Manager of both firms. 
Brown Wagon, built by Brown MFG Co.  Zanesville, Ohio
Other interest of the town of Zanesville is that it is the birth place to Zane Grey, born in 1872 who is known as "The Father of the  Western novels."   Grey wrote more than 80 books. His study is re-created in a museum in Columbus, Ohio with the Ohio Historical Society. The collection includes many manuscripts and other personal memorabilia. Many years later, when all the posthumous works were finally published, it was discovered he penned about 60 which are Westerns, 9 concerning fishing, 3 tracing the fate of the Ohio Zanes, and the rest being short story collections, a biography of the young George Washington, juvenile fiction and baseball stories. His novels are still popular today.


1 comment:

  1. Bought a "salesman sample" wagon with BROWN on the side. To find out that it may have been made by this company makes it very special. Can send photo if you think you could verify that it is a Brown model.