topimg

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.

 

Below is a listing of just a few businesses that called South Bend and Mishawaka home.

The Oliver Corporation

The company started by James Oliver, the creator of the Oliver Chilled Plow.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fresearch-history%2Foliver-history%2F||”]
Abstract & Title Company

Started by South Bend resident Andrew Anderson.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fabstract-title-corporation%2F||”]
A.C. Staley/Stephenson Mills

One of many woolen mills located on East Race in South Bend.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fstephenson-underwear-mills%2F||”]
Studebaker Manufacturing Company

The world-famous wagon and car manufacturer.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fthe-studebaker-manufacturing-company%2F||”]
Bendix Manufacturing Corporation

World famous for braking systems and automobile starting systems.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fbendix-corporation%2F||”]
The Birdsell Manufacturing Company

What is a clover huller? Click Read More to find out.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fbirdsell-manufacturing-company%2F||”]
Campbell Box&Tag Company

Makers of cardboard and wood shipping boxes and labels.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fcampbell-box-and-tag-company%2F||”]
C. E. Lee and Company

Suppliers of paint, wallpaper and interior decorating supplies since 1872.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fc-e-lee-company%2F||”]
Indiana&Michigan Electric Company

This local power company was started by a former school superintendent.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Findiana-and-michigan-electric-company%2F||”]
Meyer's Hardware Store

Founded by G.E. Meyer, a native of Germany.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fmeyers-hardware%2F||”]
The Dodge Manufacturing Company

Established in 1878 by Mishawaka’s own Wallace Dodge.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fdodge-manufacturing-company%2F||”]
Kamm&Schellinger Brewery-Mishawaka

One of the more popular breweries in St. Joseph County.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fkamm-and-schellinger-brewery%2F||”]
Mishawaka Woolen Company

Eventually renamed Ball-Band Rubber Company.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fmishawaka-woolen-company-ball-band-rubber%2F||”]
Wheelabrator - Frye Company of Mishawaka

Creators of the first successful airless blast cleaner.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fwheelabatorfryeamerican-foundry-equipment%2F||”]
Amplex/Simplex Motor Car Company

Yes, there was another car manufacturer in St. Joseph County.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Famerican-simplex-motor-car-company-mishawaka%2F||”]
Muessel/Drewry's Brewery

A local brewery that was taken over by a Canadian brewer.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fmuessel-drewrys-brewery%2F||”]
O'Brien Paint & Varnish Company

Patrick O’Brien was a carriage painter for Studebaker.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fobrien-paint-and-varnish-company%2F||”]
Sibley Machine Tool Company

Makers of industrial drills and machining equipment.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsibley-machine-tool-company%2F||”]
Singer Sewing Machine Company

Singer’s cabinet manufacturing plant was located in South Bend.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsinger-sewing-machine-company%2F||”]
South Bend Brewing Association

Another brewery in South Bend producing Hoosier brand beer.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsouth-bend-brewing-association%2F||”]
South Bend Chilled Plow Company

Believe it or not, there were two chilled plow companies in South Bend.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsouth-bend-chilled-plow-company%2F|||”]
South Bend Woolen Company

Not to be confused with Stephenson Woolen Mills of South Bend.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsouth-bend-woolen-company%2F||”]
South Bend Bait Company

Makers of the famous Bass-Oreno artificial fishing lure.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsouth-bend-bait-company%2F||”]
N.P. Bowsher and Company

Makers of the finest feed mills money could buy!

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fn-p-bowsher-and-company%2F||”]
Paper Mills in St. Joseph County

Several paper mills were located throughout St. Joseph County.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fpaper-mills-in-south-bend-and-mishawaka%2F||”]
Miller-Knoblock Wagon Company

Developed into much more than a simple wagon company.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fmiller-knoblock-wagon-company%2F||”]
South Bend Toy Company

Early manufacturer of croquet sets and other children toys.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ el_file=”” button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsouth-bend-toy-company%2F|||”]
South Bend Watch

Makers of South Bend and Studebaker pocket watches.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsouth-bend-watch-company%2F||”]
Ellsworth's Department Store

One of the earliest department stores in downtown South Bend.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fellsworths-department-store%2F||”]
Robertson's Department Store

One of the favorite department stores in downtown South Bend.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Frobertsons-department-store%2F||”]
Bantam Bearings Company

The first U.S. company to produce a catalog for bearings.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fbantam-bearings-company%2F||”]
South Bend Range Company

Started as the Malleable Steel Range Company.

[TS_VCSC_Icon_Flat_Button button_switch=”true” button_style1=”ts-dual-buttons-color-pumpkin-flat” button_hover1=”ts-dual-buttons-preview-wet-asphalt-flat ts-dual-buttons-hover-wet-asphalt-flat” button_radius=”ts-flat-buttons-radius-medium” icon=”ts-brankic-book2″ button_change=”true” icon_change=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fhistorymuseumsb.org%2Fsouth-bend-range-company%2F||”]
[TS_VCSC_Info_Notice panel_type=”warning” panel_icon=”ts-awesome-exclamation-circle” panel_size=”0″ panel_spacer=”0″ panel_title=”Notice:”]Users may download material displayed on this site for noncommercial, educational purposes only, provided all copyright and other proprietary notices contained on the materials are retained. Unauthorized use of the Northern Indiana Historical Society d/b/a The History Museum’s logo and Web site logo is not permitted.The contents of this site may not be used for commercial purposes, without written permission of the Northern Indiana Historical Society d/b/a The History Museum. To obtain permission to reproduce information on this site, submit the specifics of your request in writing to Director of Marketing & Community Relations, The History Museum, 808 West Washington Street, South Bend, Indiana 46601 or If permission is granted, the wording “provided with permission from the The History Museum” and the date must be noted. However, permission is not required to create a link to the The History Museum’s Web site or any pages contained therein.[/TS_VCSC_Info_Notice]
WP_Footer()