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Business History

By the early 20th century the city of South Bend and Mishawaka were the leading industrial manufacturing centers of the Midwest. One of the main reasons factories started or were founded in South Bend was because of the East and West Races.

 

Although the idea of digging a mill race was put forth in 1835 it was not until 1843 that a dam and the East and West Races were construction along the St. Joseph River downtown South Bend.  These races provided water power for factory machinery prior to steam, electricity, and petroleum based power sources.

 

You can learn more about the industries that called South Bend and Mishawaka home by navigating the sliders below.

Oliver_Corporation_Shield_Logo-2
The largest plow manufacturer of the 19th century.
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Started by resident Andrew Anderson
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A woolen mill located on the East Race at South Bend.
Studebaker_thumb
Give more than you promise.
bendix_plant_original
The largest brake manufacturing plant.
ph826
What is a clover huller? Click to find out.
mcampbell
Providers of shipping boxes and labels.
IM-PowerTMB1
Started by a Superintendent of South Bend schools.
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Founded by G.E. Meyer, a native of Germany.
wallace-drawing
Established in 1878 by Mishawaka's Wallace Dodge.
Kamms-Pilsener
One of the more popular breweries in St. Joseph County.
ballb
Creators of Red Ball Jets athletic shoes and later renamed Ball Band Rubber.
wheelabratorThumb
Creators of the first successful airless blast cleaner.
amplexthumb
Yes, there was another car manufacturer in St. Joseph County!
Drewrys-Extra-Dry-Beer-Labels-Drewrys-Ltd-USA_2827-1
A local brewery that was taken over by a Canadian beer giant.
Fuller-OBrien
A company that started in South Bend and eventually became Fuller-O'Brien Paints.
1239-A
Makers of industrial drills and machining equipment.
115-1
South Bend plant made the fine wooden cabinets for the sewing machine.
Hoosier-Bock-Beer-Labels-South-Bend-Brewing-Company_72107-1
Brewers of Hoosier brand beer.
SouthBendChilledPlow
There were two chilled plow companies in South Bend.
sbrange
Started as the Malleable Steel Range Company
sbwoolen_thumb
Not to be confused with Stephenson Woolen Mills of South Bend.
SBBait_Thumb
Makers of the famous Bass-Oreno artificial fishing lure.
npbowsher_THUMB
Makers of the finest feed mills money could buy!
mill
Several paper mills called South Bend and Mishawaka home.
millerknoblock_thumb
Developed into much more than a wagon company...
sbtoy
Early manufacturer of croquet sets and other kids toys.
sbwatch1
Makers of South Bend and Studebaker pocket watches.
ellsworth2
One of the earliest stores in downtown South Bend.
robertsons
One of the finer department stores located in downtown South Bend.
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The first U.S. company to produce a product catalog for bearings.

Questions?

Do you have a question about any of the businesses you’ve seen here or possible products they produced? Contact Travis Childs, Director of Education at
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