F.H. Smith MFG Co., est. 1892

Museum Artifact: “The Universal” Cast Iron Rivet Setter, c. 1910s

Made By: F. H. Smith MFG Co., 3017-47 W. Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL

Half a century before Rosie the Riveter turned a once tedious trade into a patriotic call-to-arms, Chicago inventor and businessman Fred Herbert Smith was already ahead of the curve, if only lacking in proto-feminist iconography.

Smith (1858-1908) grew up near Boston,

Adams & Westlake Company, est. 1857

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

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

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 company’s primary identity.

Sanford Ink Company, est. 1857

Museum Artifact: Sanford’s Ink Eraser by Sanford MFG Co., c. 1910s

Made By: Sanford MFG Co. / Sanford Ink Company, 846-854 W. Congress Street, Chicago, IL

“Have you handled Sanford’s ink eraser yet? Every office needs it and every stationer should carry it in stock. It does the work of erasing ink from paper and stains from cloth perfectly. It is put up in a handsome round corner package and is made by the Sanford Manufacturing Company,

Calumet Baking Powder Company, est. 1889

Museum Artifact: Calumet Baking Powder Tin, c. 1913

Made By: Calumet Baking Powder Co., 4100 W Fillmore St., Chicago, IL

This five-pound canister of Calumet Baking Powder might seem like a cute artifact from a old-timey diner or a small town general store, but make no mistake, you’re looking at a relic from a war . . . the Baking Powder War.

Oliver Typewriter Company, est. 1896

Museum Artifact: Oliver Typewriter No. 9, model year: 1917

Made By: Oliver Typewriter Co., 159 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL / Factory: Woodstock, IL

“Simplicity, durability, speed, manifolding power, and visible writing are conceded to be the five great essentials in a typewriting machine. We present to the public THE OLIVER as the most striking embodiment of these features, and the most radical departure from other methods of construction.”

Scholl MFG Co., est. 1906

Museum Artifact: Scholl’s Arch Fitter, 1910

Made By: The Scholl MFG Co. / Dr. Scholl’s, 213 W. Schiller St., Chicago, IL

The rather intimidating metal clamping device pictured above was manufactured around 1910, and represents one of the earliest inventions of a young Chicago podiatrist turned entrepreneur named William Mathias Scholl.

Now wait a minute . . . Does this mean that the ubiquitous pharmacy icon “Dr.

F.W. Planert & Sons, est. 1898

Museum Artifact: Planert Ice Skate Sharpening Jig, 1910s

Made By: F.W. Planert & Sons, Inc., 939 N. Robey Street (aka N Damen Ave.), Chicago, IL

Patented in 1910, this elegantly rustalgic ice skate clamping device, or “jig,” was used to keep a skate stabilized while its blade was hand sharpened—cuz that’s what the kiddos had to do back in the day. The manufacturer,

Triner Scale & MFG Co., est. 1903

Museum Artifact: Triner Precision Postal Scale, 1910

Made By: Triner Scale & MFG Co., 2714 W. 21st St., Chicago, IL

It’s a rare treat that an artifact from the Made In Chicago Museum can actually introduce itself in its own words, but such is the case with our Triner “Precision” 4LB postal scale. When this design was first patented and sent to market in 1906,

Abbott Laboratories, est. 1888

Museum Artifact: Menthol Pill Bottle, c. 1910s

Made by: Abbott Labs / Abbott Alkaloidal Co., 4753 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

Established during the “Wild West” era of the pharmaceutical industry—when everybody and their brother seemed to have a cure-all potion to peddle—Chicago’s Abbott Alkaloidal Company managed to strike a unique, calculated balance between carnival-barker salesmanship and scientific legitimacy. As a result, even as hundreds of other early drug companies were vanquished during the quackery purges of the 20th century,

Burke & James, Inc., est. 1897

Museum Artifact: Rexo Junior Camera, 1910s

Made By: Burke & James, Inc., 240-58 E. Ontario St., Chicago, IL

By 1915, New York’s Eastman Company had adopted a recurring tagline in most of its magazine advertisements: “If it’s not an Eastman, it’s not a Kodak.” This was a not-so-subtle way of reminding the American public that—while there were an increasing number of new,

The Standard Brewery, est. 1892

Museum Artifact: Standard Brewery “OaKay” Export Beer Bottle, c. 1910

Made By: The Standard Brewery, W . Roosevelt Rd. and S. Campbell Ave., Chicago, IL

It might seem like we’re currently living in the golden era of the regional micro-brewery, what with upwards of 3,000 “craft beer” producers now in operation in the U.S., and about 70 inside the Chicago city limits alone. The “brew-pub” phenomenon,

Essanay Film MFG Co., est. 1907

Museum Artifact: Charlie Chaplin Collectible Postcard, Essanay No. 1 , 1915

Made By: Essanay Film MFG Co. / Essanay Studios, 1333 W. Argyle St., Chicago, IL

On a quiet, tree-lined street in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, just north of the old St. Boniface Cemetery and around the corner from the Green Mill jazz club and the long-shuttered Uptown Theatre (once one of the world’s great movie palaces),

American Varnish Company, est. 1883

Museum Artifact: Floorene Varnish, c. 1910s

Made By: The American Varnish Co., 1138 N. Branch Street, Chicago, IL

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