Brownell & Company
picture of boilerpicture of boiler

The firm of Brownell, Roberts & Lee was established in December, 1864, and was composed of John R. Brownell, James H. Brownell, Elijah H. Brownell, George J. Roberts, and Josiah Lee. The business of the firm consisted in the manufacture of machinery and a general foundry business, and it was located at Number 437 East First Street. On May 8, 1865, Frederick J. Brownell was admitted to the firm, and on November 1, 1867, it was re-organized under the name of Brownell, Roberts & Company, with the following members: George J. Roberts, Frederick J. Brownell, Josiah Lee, Samuel C. French, Andrew Roher, C. H. Kielmeier, and James H. Brownell. Several changes occurred in the firm during 1869 and the early part of 1870, and on June 1st, of this year, John R. Brownell bought James H. Brownell's interest. On February 21, 1871, George J. Roberts retired from the company, which was then incorporated as the Brownell & Kielmeier Manufacturing Company with a capital stock of two hundred thousand dollars, each share being worth five hundred dollars. The officers of this company were C. Ii. Kielmeier, president; John R. Brownell, vice-president and general superintendent; and James Anderton, secretary and treasurer. The incorporation continued until 1878, when, on account of the panic of that year, it made an assignment. At the sale John R. Brownell bought two thirds and Martin Schneble one third of the property, and continued the business until February, 1884. In this year Mr. Brownell bought out the interest of Mr. Schneble and ran the business alone under the name of Brownell & Company, until January, 1888, when the present company, known as "Brownell & Company" was incorporated with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, all paid in. The officers of this company are John R. Brownell, president and superintendent; D. H. Dryden, vice-president; E. A. Vance, secretary and treasurer. The business remained at its original location until September 12, 1888, when a fire occurred, destroying buildings and machinery. The business was then moved to Findlay Street, just north of First, where a portion of the boiler plant had been since 1883. The entire plant at this new location, as it stands to-day, consists of a two-story machine shop, 200x60 feet, with a three-story office, 30 feet square; a foundry building, 200x60 feet, with an “L" 50x30 feet; a boiler shop, 200x50 feet, with two “L's," 50 feet square; and a recent addition to the boiler shop, 70x227 feet. Four steam engines are in use-one of sixty horse-power, two of twenty horse-power each, and one of fifty horse-power. The works have a capacity of upward of one million dollars' worth of work annually and of five hundred men, while three hundred men are employed, and during the last year six hundred thousand dollars' worth of work was turned out.

  • Harvey W. Crew. History of Dayton, Ohio. United Brethren Publishing, House Publishers, 1889.