Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Warder, Bushnell & Glessner

This is the first of two postings giving a brief overview of John Glessner’s company. 

In 1850, Benjamin Warder of Springfield Ohio paid $30,000 for the patent rights to a reaper and formed the firm of Warder, Brokaw & Child, which became Warder & Child by 1860.  John Glessner was hired as a bookkeeper by the firm in 1863.  Three years later, the firm was reorganized as Warder, Mitchell & Company and John Glessner, then just 23 years of age, was taken in as a junior partner along with Asa Bushnell.

John Glessner was made vice president in 1870, and immediately after his marriage to Frances Macbeth on December 7 of that year, moved to Chicago where he established the main sales office for the firm on Clinton Street.  The building survived the Great Chicago Fire the following year.  The final reorganization of the firm took place in 1879, when it became known as Warder, Bushnell & Glessner.

Isaac Scott was hired to design a new headquarters for the firm in 1883.  Unfortunately a portion of the building collapsed during construction, the result of a contractor’s negligence, not Scott’s design, but Scott was replaced by architect William W. Boyington, who completed the building later that year.  The building (shown above) still stands at 130 S. Jefferson Street and is now known as the Glessner Center.

Benjamin Warder retired from the firm by 1886 at which point he moved into his newly built house in Washington D.C. designed by H. H. Richardson.  Asa Bushnell was made vice president and John Glessner the sole vice president.  Asa Bushnell later served as the governor of Ohio from 1896 to 1900.

Next week:  International Harvester is formed

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