Auto & Bike

Museum Artifact: Turtle Wax "Hard Shell Finish" Auto Polish, 1950s

Made By: Plastone Company / Turtle Wax, Inc., 4100 W. Grand Ave. [West Humboldt Park] and 1800 N. Clybourn Ave. [Lincoln Park]

On June 4, 1956—just five years after the first bottles of Turtle Wax “Miracle Auto Polish” hit the consumer market—Chicago workmen began installing a new, ludicrously enormous advertisement for the product, situated atop the roof...

Museum Artifact: Adlake Semaphore Truck Lamp, c. 1910s

Made by: Adams & Westlake Co., 320 W. Ohio St. / 319 W. Ontario St., Chicago, IL [River North]

Much like one of today’s showbiz power couples, the partnership of Chicago railroad supply magnates John McGregor Adams and William Westlake produced its own linguistic portmanteau in the late 1800s, as the name “ADLAKE” (combining ADams and WestLAKE) soon evolved into their comp...

Museum Artifacts: TootsieToy Die-Cast Cars: No. 4655 Ford Model A Coupe and No. 4629 Sedan, c. 1928

Made By: Dowst Brothers / Dowst Manufacturing Co., 4537 W. Fulton St., Chicago, IL [West Garfield Park]

Chicago-based brothers Charles and Samuel Dowst were arguably as foundational to the toy car industry as Henry Ford was to the real thing. It was work on a significantly smaller scale, obviously, but it was also refreshingly d...

Museum Artifacts: Cretors Popcorn Wagon Steam Engine, 1908, and Pop Corn Carton, 1920s

Made By: C. Cretors & Company, 600 W. Cermak Road, Chicago, IL [East Pilsen]

Cretors’ Pop Corn is the most pleasing of any in the world. No other novelty gives such a degree of enjoyment and satisfaction for the money. Relished by all, young or old—rich and poor alike, during all seasons of the year—it wins instant success everywhere, and p...

Museum Artifact: Gold Eagle Radiator Seal, c. 1940s

Made By: Gold Eagle Products Co., 1050 W. Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL [Near West Side]

In the early 1990s, when a lot of Chicago’s remaining “mom and pop” manufacturing businesses were reluctantly cashing in their chips, the family-owned Gold Eagle Company was bucking the trends—50% annual revenue growth, to be specific, with tailwinds into the 21st century. So, how did a rela...

Museum Artifact: Monark Silver King "Roadster" Girls Bicycle, 1950s

Made By: Monark Silver King, Inc., 6501 W. Grand Ave. [Belmont Cragin]

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Museum Artifact: Schwinn "Hollywood" Bicycle, c. 1970

Made By: Arnold, Schwinn & Co. / Schwinn Bicycle Company, 1718-1740 N. Kildare & 1856 N. Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL [Hermosa]

The last Chicago-built Schwinn bicycle rolled off the assembly line in 1982, and while the brand name is still embossed on the badges of various Chinese imports, anybody who buys a new one is bound to hear the inevitable cranky lament from a passe...

Museum Artifact: "Little Giant" Ratcheting Screw Jack, c. 1917

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Made By: William E. Pratt Manufacturing Co., 35 W. Lake St., & 190 N. State St., Chicago, IL [Downtown / The Loop], Foundry in Joliet, IL

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On the great Venn diagram of Chicago industry, at the sliver-sized intersection of Model T Fords, decoy ducks, and the atomic bomb, you can find the unique domain of the Wm. E. Pratt MFG Co.

The artifact in our museum collection...

Museum Artifact: 999 Polish for Automobiles, Pianos & Furniture, 1920s

Made By: Damon MFG Co., 325 W. Ohio Street, Chicago, IL [River North]

“Oxidation, it is pointed out by the manufacturer of Damon’s 999 automobile and furniture polish, is the reason for loss of luster and deadened appearance in any varnish finish. It is claimed 999 polish keeps the surface waterproof and airtight with pure wax, preventing oxygen from affect...

Museum Artifact: Motorola Volumatic AM Car Radio, 1956

Made By: Motorola Inc. / Galvin MFG Corp., 4545 W. Augusta Blvd., Chicago, IL [Humboldt Park]

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Arnold, Schwinn & Co. / Schwinn Bicycle Company, 1718 N. Kildare & 1856 N. Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL [Hermosa]

These days, a head badge on the front of a bicycle is basically just an identification tag—a flat plastic hood ornament for lazy brand recognition. As you can tell by this flashy metal Schwinn "Majestic" badge from the deco era, however, even a small, functionally irrelevant bike part used to get the full VIP trea...

Museum Artifact: Simoniz Car Wax Tin, 1940s

Made By: Simoniz Company, 2100 S. Indiana Avenue, Chicago, IL [Near South Side]

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

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Company Histories

A.B. Dick Company

A.L. Hansen MFG Co.

Abbott Laboratories

Ace Fastener Corp.

Adams & Westlake Co.

Addometer Co.

Addressograph Company

Adjustable Clamp Co.

Admiral Corp.

Airguide Instrument Co.

Albert Dickinson Co.

Albert Pick & Co.

Allied MFG Co.

American Automatic Devices Co.

American Bird Products Inc.

American Cutlery Co.

American Family Scale Co.

American Flyer MFG Co.

American Metal Ware Co.

American Shoe Polish Co.

American Varnish Co.

Ampro Corporation

Anacin Company

Angel Dainty Dye Co.

Armour and Company

Arrco Playing Card Co.

Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co.

B. Heller & Co.

Bally MFG Co.

Bambino Products Co.

Bell & Howell

Benjamin Electric MFG Co.

Bersted MFG Co.

Bloomfield Industries

Bremner Biscuit Company

Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co.

Bunte Brothers Candy

Burke & James

C. Cretors & Co.

C. H. Hanson Company

Cable Piano Company

Cadaco Inc.

Calculator Machine Company

California Beverage Co.

Calumet Baking Powder Co.

Carl Goldberg Models Inc.

Central Waxed Paper Co.

Central Wholesale Grocers Inc.

Chas. A. Brewer & Sons

Chess Records

Chicago Electric MFG Co.

Chicago Flexible Shaft Co.

Chicago Hardware Foundry Co.

Chicago Mail Order Co.

Chicago Printed String Co.

Chicago Roller Skate Co.

Chicago Specialty MFG Co.

Chicago Telephone Supply Co.

Citation Hat Co.

Citrus Products Co.

Claire MFG Co.

Clipper Products Co.

Columbia Medallion Studios

Compco Corp.

Cracker Jack Company

Crane Company

Curt Teich & Co.

Curtiss Candy Co.

D.B. Fisk & Co.

Dad's Root Beer Co.

Damon MFG Co.

Denoyer-Geppert Co.

Detect-O-Ray Company

DeVry Corporation

Ditto Incorporated

Dowst Brothers Company

E.B. Millar & Co.

E.C. DeWitt & Co., Inc.

E.H. Sargent & Co.

E.J. Brach & Sons

E.K. Pond Company

Ekco Products Co.

Electric Clock Corp. of America

Electric Corp. of America

Elgin National Watch Co.

Empire Spice Mills

Essanay Film Mfg. Co.

Eugene Dietzgen Co.

Excel Projector Corp.

F.B. Redington Co.

F.H. Smith MFG Co.

F.W. Planert & Sons

Fidelitone Inc.

Fitzpatrick Bros.

Flavour Candy Co.

Florsheim Shoe Company

Foley & Co.

G. Felsenthal & Sons

Gateway Engineering Co.

General Television & Radio Corp.

Geo. B. Carpenter Co.

Geo. W. Diener MFG Co.

Gold Eagle Products Co.

Grossman MFG Co.

Hallicrafters Co.

Halsam Products Co.

Halsey Brothers Co.

Hammond Organ Co.

Hanson Scale Co.

Harmony Company

Hedman MFG Co.

Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co.

Hump Hair Pin MFG Co.

Illinois Bronze Powder Co.

Illinois Cosmetics Co.

Indestro MFG Co.

J.C. Deagan Co.

J.P. Dieter Co.

J.W. Allen & Co.

Jas. P. Marsh Corp.

Jays Foods, Inc.

Johnson Publishing Co.

Kelling Nut Company

Kellogg Switchboard & Supply

Kling Bros. & Co.

Kraft Foods Company

L. H. Thomas Co.

Langson MFG Co.

Liberty Dairy Products Co.

Lincoln Logs

Ludwig Drum Co.

Lyon & Healy

M.A. Donohue & Co.

Mall Tool Company

Mars Incorporated

MasterCrafters Clock & Radio Co.

Maybelline Company

Metal Moss MFG Co.

Mid City Uniform Cap Co.

Monark Silver King Inc.

Morton Salt Company

Motorola Inc.

National Washboard Co.

Nestor Johnson MFG Co.

Northwestern Beverage Co.

O-Cedar Corp.

Oliver Typewriter Co.

Olson Rug Co.

Page Boiler Company

Paymaster Corp.

Peerless Confection Co.

Pelouze Scale & MFG Co.

Peter Hand Brewing Co.

Playskool MFG Co.

Princess Pat Ltd.

QRS Music Company

Radio Flyer

Rand McNally & Co.

Reed Candy Company

Regal Musical Instrument Co.

Reid, Murdoch & Co.

Reliable Paste Co.

Replogle Globes, Inc.

Revere Camera Company

Rival Packing Co.

Rock-Ola MFG Corp.

S&C Electric Co.

Sanford Ink Company

Scholl MFG Co.

Schulze Baking Company

Schwinn Bicycle Co.

Sherman-Klove Co.

Shotwell MFG Co.

Shure Brothers, Inc.

Signode Steel Strapping Co.

Simoniz Company

Simonsen Metal Products Co.

Slingerland Drum Company

Spartus Camera Corp.

Sprague, Warner & Co.

Standard Brewery

Steele-Wedeles Company

Stenographic Machines, Inc.

Stewart-Warner Corp.

Stone Medicine Co.

Sunbeam Corp.

Swanberg MFG Co.

Swedish-American Telephone Co.

T.C. Gleason MFG Co.

TootsieToy

Triner Scale & MFG Co.

Turner Brass Works

Turtle Wax Inc.

U-C Lite MFG Co.

Union Publishing House

United Razor Blade Corp.

Universal Medicine Co.

Vail MFG Co.

Val-A Company

Valmor Products Co.

Van Cleef Brothers

Vaughan Novelty MFG Co.

Vee-Jay Records

Victor Adding Machine Co.

Victor X-Ray Corporation

W.D. Allen MFG Co.

W.F. McLaughlin & Co.

W.M. Welch Scientific Co.

Webster-Chicago Corp.

Westclox

Western Electric Co.

Western Fluorescent Light Co.

White Cap Co.

William Cooper & Nephews Inc.

Williamson Candy Co.

Wilson Jones Company

Wilson Sporting Goods

Wm. E. Pratt MFG Co.

Wm. Meyer Co.

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company

Woodstock Typewriter Company

Zenith Radio Corp.

Zeno MFG Co.

 

 

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