MS 4 - F. W. Wakefield Brass Company (Vermilion, Ohio)
|Title||MS 4 - F. W. Wakefield Brass Company (Vermilion, Ohio)|
|Subject||Business & Commerce|
The records of the F. W. Wakefield Brass Company, which operated from 1910 to 1966, were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in 1972 by Theodore D. Wakefield, the son of F. W. Wakefield. The company also operated under the names of the Wakefield Company, the Wakefield Corporation, and Wakefield Lighting Ltd., in Canada. The company was a manufacturer of gas, incandescent, and fluorescent light fixtures.
Included are minutes of stockholders', board of directors' and executive committee meetings, common and preferred stock certificates, various memos, correspondence and a bound scrapbook. The collection covers the years 1910-1925 and 1930-1966 and consists of approximately seven and one-half linear feet.
The collection is available to the public for historical research. There are no restrictions on access, and property, literary, and duplication rights have been dedicated to the public for research purposes. The register was completed by Michael McCleese, graduate student in the Popular Culture Department, Bowling Green State University.
The F. W. Wakefield Brass Company was incorporated in Vermilion, Ohio, on June 28, 1910, for the purpose of manufacturing gas and incandescent lighting fixtures, household hardware, and metal novelties. The original board of directors included Frederick W. Wakefield, Albert C. Hofrichter, Ernest H. Wakefield, Arthur J. Copeland, and Walter T. Dunmore. The company continued its manufacturing in Vermilion until its sale in 1966.
The original factory burned on December 24, 1924 and a new factory was built on the same location. F. W. Wakefield died in 1932 and control of the company was transferred to his three sons, Albert F. Wakefield, George Wakefield, and Theodore Wakefield. During the Second World War the company was very active in the productionof lighting fixtures for various U.S. naval vessels.
After World War II the company shifted its emphasis away from incandescent lighting and began producing fluroescent fixtures for suspended and luminous ceilings. Wakefield Lighting, Ltd. was formed in 1950 for the assembly and sale of their products in Canada. It was headquartered in London, Ontario. On April 6, 1955, the name of the company was changed to the Wakefield Company.
On April 28, 1961, the Wakefield Company was simultaneously merged with the Abrasive and Metal Products Company of Detroit and Art Metal Company of Cleveland. Even though corporate headquarters were moved to Detroit, the name Wakefield corporation was adopted by the new company. With the merger, the Wakefield Corporation once again began the manufacture of incandescent lighting fixtures and also made electric heaters.
The Wakefield Corporation was split into the Abrasive Products Group, including the Peninsular Grinding Wheel Company and the Sterling Grinding Wheel Company, and Electrical Products Group including Sta-Warm Electric Company of Ravenna, Wakefield Lighting Divisions of Vermilion, Wakefield Lighting Ltd. of London, Ontario, Art Metal Lighting Division and Stuttgart Electrical Products Company.
The Stuttgart Electrical Products Company of Stuttgart, Arkansas, was a pilot project of the Wakefield Corporation to investigate the possibilities of a corporate move to Arkansas in an attempt to escape the high labor cost of the North.
The Wakefield family was not pleased with the attitude of those board members from the Abrasive Products Group and invited the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation to make a bid for the purchase of the company. On February 24, 1966, the Wakefield Corporation was sold to the ITT-Wakefield Corporation for the sum of $12,023,406. A company known as the 729 Meldrum Corporation was formed to handle the remaining business affairs of the Wakefield Corporation. It was dissolved on June 30, 1966. At the time of the sale, Theodore D. Wakefield was president and Carl Schroeder was secretary of the corporation.
|Scope and Content|
The manuscript collection of the F. W. Wakefield Brass Company documents the business history of the company from its date of incorporation in 1910 to its sale to the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation in 1966. The strengths of the collection are those items dealing with stockholders' meetings, stock certificates, minutes of the board of directors and minutes of the executive committee. In addition there is a separately stored scrapbook dated 1960.
The minutes of the board of directors meetings are the most informative of the records. They are complete for the years 1910-1925, 1942-1951, 1960-1966. Of particular interest are the minutes from 1942-1951 where the statements and reports of the company's officers are fully and colorfully reported. This was the period of World War II and its aftermath and the effects, thoughts, problems and beliefs about the war and its shortages and government restrictions are graphically recorded. The return to full peace-time production is also particularly well documented.
Other strong points of the collection are the records of the 1960s. Included in this are the reports and results of the merger in 1961 with the Abrasive and Metal Products Company of Detroit and the discussion and subsequent sale of the company to the International Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1966. Most of the collection is from the late 1940s to 1966. Major weaknesses include the fact that there are no records at all covering the years 1925-1930 and all the pre-1925 material is contained in only one volume of minutes of the board of directors. No reason has been found for this lack of documentation of these years.
Additional material includes minutes of stockholders' meetings for the years 1935, 1943-1945, 1947, 1954-1955, 1958-1965, preferred stock certificates from 1937, 1939-1955, 1957-1958, and 1961, common stock certificates from 1935, 1938, 1940-1941, minutes of the executive committee 1960-1965 and specifications for their lighting fixtures products from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The collection also includes correspondence with stockholders, proxies, correspondence with legal counsel, organization manuals, articles of incorporation and various inter-office memos.
The minutes of the stockholders meetings contain little information other than resolutions offered, result of votes and election of officers. No records of discussion were kept. The correspondence with stockholders consists mainly of form letters about upcoming meetings and stockholder requests to buy or sell shares. The correspondence with legal counsel primarily deals with various changes in the articles of incorporation and discussion of subsequent merger and details of the sale in 1966.
MINUTES--BOARD OF DIRECTORS
COMMON STOCK HOLDERS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
WAKEFIELD LIGHTING LTD.
WAKEFIELD PRODUCTS SPECIFICATIONS MANUAL
THE BRASS WORKER NEWS