03 April 2011

Spotted: Vierling, McDowell & Co Iron Works

This foundry stamp is on a building in Kewanee, IL. Can you guess what the building is used for today?
Vierling, McDowell & Co Iron Works
If you guessed Mexican restaurant you guessed right. The currently red and green stamp reads "Vierling, McDowell & Co Iron Works, Chicago." According to The Book of Chicagoans published in 1905, Vierling, McDowell & Co was organized in 1882 and incorporated under Illinois law in 1884 by Robert Vierling with help from his brother Louis. Robert was president of Vierling, McDowell & Co and Louis was secretary and treasurer. Both of the Vierlings had experience with iron works from a very young age; they started working at N.S. Bouton & Co in Chicago as boys, until they started their own company.">1 The plant was two acres large and had a foundry, erecting shop, and pattern shop, which together employed 220 people and fabricated over 22,000 tons of iron annually.2
To see an original advertisement for Vierling, McDowell & Co click here.

In 1885, Robert helped organize Paxton & Vierling Iron Works in Omaha, Nebraska. He was vice-president and Louis was secretary and treasurer. That company is still around today, as Paxton and Vierling Steel 3, which is a division of Owen Industries. 4 As of 2010, the Vierling family was still very involved with the Paxton & Vierling company. 5

Going back to Vierling, McDowell & Co, when Robert died in 1906, 6 Louis became president of Vierling, McDowell & Co and their sister, Catherine Josephine, or C.J., was vice-president.7 The company changed its name to the Vierling Steel Works in either 1917 or 1918. 8   Eventually control of the company would be transfered over to Duane T. Molthop, who was probably the brother of Charlotte Bowen Molthop (Louis' wife).  According to the Chicago Blue Book, he lived at their address in 1913. 9  The company still existed in 1968, as seen in an ad from The Milwaukee Road Magazine (page 37). By then Vierling Steel Works had bought Burkhardt Steel of Denver, Co. In the next twenty years the two companies would both be closed. 10