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GLMS 72 - Upson-Walton Collection, 1873-1977


The core of the Upson-Walton Collection was donated to Bowling Green State University on May 17, 1995. The collection was originally part of the holdings of the Canal Park Marine Museum in Duluth, Minnesota. As Upson-Walton was a Cleveland-based company, it was determined that company records would have a better home with the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes. Additions to the collection came from Labadie, as well as William O'Brien, Director of the Great Lakes Historical Society.

Literary and property rights were dedicated to the public. Copying from the microfilm is permitted for research purposes.

Agency History

Joseph E. Upson and John W. Walton opened a chandler and grocer business on River Street in Cleveland in 1871. Due to Cleveland's location as a port on the Great Lakes, Cuyahoga River, and Ohio Canal, the Upson-Walton Company was well-positioned to build and expand a marine supply business. The company gradually expanded in to the manufacture and sale of rope, cable, tackle blocks, fitting-out materials, sails, rigging, and other marine accessories. Many 19th century vessels had their sail and rigging work done by the skilled craftsmen of Upson-Walton. The firm invented several types of wire ropes that became widely used for marine applications, especially one designed for towing on the Great Lakes. After ninety years of business in its original building, the Upson-Walton Company was taken over by the Samsel Rope and Supply Company, which closed down the original location. Later, Upson-Walton became part of Muncy Industries, which still retains the Upson-Walton name for manufacturing and branding products.


Box 1

  1. Boat Oar and Canoe Paddle Catalog, n.d.
  2. Product Catalogs For 1900, 1908, 1915, 1920, 1933, 1935, 1956
  3. Celebration Catalog, 1909
  4. Wire Rope Assemblies Catalogs and Photographs, 1958-1970, n.d.
  5. Brattice Cloth Brochures and Samples, 1946-1948
  6. Tackle Blocks Catalog, 1962
  7. "Where Manila Rope Comes From" Booklet, 1900
  8. Upson-Walston Company Marine Division Price Lists and Catalogs, 1959-1967
  9. Partnership Agreement (Photocopy), 1878
  10. Annual Report, 1950
  11. Press Release About the Sale of the Company, 1962
  12. "Retrospective" By Upson, 1931

Ledgers of Account, 1879-1901, 9 Volumes

Invoice Journals, 1881-1909, 6 Volumes

"Duck" Sailing Cloth, 1902-1906, 1 Volume

Work Book, 1913-1926, 1 Volume

Account Book, 1873-1874, 1 Volume

Inventories, 1895-1914, 10 Volumes

Cash Journals, 1875-1919, 32 Volumes

Hull Contracts, 1918-1920, n.d., 6 Volumes

Vessel Contracts, 1907-1919, 8 Volumes

Specification Books For Ship Canvas G-M and N-S, 1913-1930, 2 Volumes

Cash Transactions 1877-1898, 2 Volumes

Rope Invoices, 1875-1910, 3 Volumes

Shipping Articles, WILLIAM P.  COWAN, 1914, 2 Volumes

Invoices, Wholesale Purchases, 1885-1899, 3 Volumes

Sales Books, 1874-1896, 15 Volumes