Aurora Manufacturing Company Profiles

Aurora manufacturing firms were leaders in several industrial segments. Individual highlights of these firm histories, which are indicated below, are developed to complement the more comprehensive individual company histories of many of the firms. They include some individual views and reflections as examples to facilitate and encourage others to add personal views or recollections of significant aspects of each company and its role in the Aurora business community.

Heavy Construction Equipment

Heavy construction equipment in Aurora begins with the relocation of Western Wheel Scraper to Aurora in the 1870’s, which led to Austin Western. How Stephens Adamson founders met and worked with Webster manufacturing is prelude to Stephens Adamson highlights. How two young S-A entrepreneurs were intent on building their own company will begin the story of Aurora’s third powerful construction equipment firm, Barber-Greene.

1877-1978 Austin Western

1901-1964 Stephens Adamson

1915-1985 Barber Greene

Metal Office Equipment, Shelving, Storage

Aurora’s leadership in this industry begins with two entrepreneurs who founded Lyon Metal in Chicago and then moved it in 1905 to Aurora. From this we move to 1912, when young entrepreneurs left Lyon to form All Steel. Tom Dunham’s move from motorcycle sidecars to steel shelving in 1913 launched Equipto. Durabilt came next and other firms that complete this Aurora industrial sector such as Durand, Aurora Steel and Durand will be covered as they relate to larger Aurora industrial firms.

1901-2005 Lyon Metal

1912-1993 Allsteel

1913-1993 Equipto

1922-1952 Durabilt

Hattwick Allsteel Lyon Equipto

Other Metal Based Firms

In other metal based Aurora Industries, American Well Woks dates from 1868 and spawned Aurora Pump in 1920, before reuniting recently along with Walker Process as sister Aurora based firms. Richards Door Hangars and Wilcox Sweepers were united in 1910. Aurora Metals was founded in 1899 and continues to this day. Thor's power began with bicycles and became prominent in motorcycles before discontinuing this line in 1918 to concentrate on pneumatic tools. Stoner's vending and pinball machines from 1933 were metal based, but more akin to video games today than metal furnishings. And Pines Engineering was emphasized capital equipment design and production rather than finished metal good sales.

1868- 2005 American Well Works

1920-2005 Aurora Pump

1945-2005 Walker Process

1870-2005 Richards Wilcox

1899- 2005 Aurora Metals

1903-1991Thor Power Tool

1933-1965 Stoner Manufacturing

1940- 1970 Pines Engineering

Other Industrial Companies

R&M Kaufmann became Aurora’s and for a few years, the country’s largest dress maker, continuing the textile and apparel tradition in Aurora dating from the Stolp’s woolen mills and through the large corset factories. McKee Door became Aurora’s largest specialized producer serving the construction industry. Processed Plastics grew during the era of plastic and petrochemical dominance after World War II and still struggles on today facing ever heightened foreign competition, which led to apparel, and other industrial production both from Aurora and the US. Even though Henry Pratt started with valves in 1901, it’s entry to Aurora was not until 1964 when they moved in to Equipto facilities at the time all other Aurora Industrial firms were at or reaching their peaks.

1922-1992 R&M Kaufmann

1928-1992 McKee Door

1948- 2005 Processed Plastics

1964- 2005 Henry Pratt

Back to Aurora Industry



Catalyst:Early Companies and Resources of 1800's

Success: Profiles of Aurora Industrial firms Dominant through the 1950's

Evolution: Where Did Everyone Go?

Transition: The Phoenix Rises

How We Recall: Personal Reflections and Recollections of Our Times

How We Connected: Links of Individuals as Key to Greatness