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Manufacturers Index - Goodell & Waters
Last Modified: Sep 19 2013 9:29PM by Jeff_Joslin
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The firm of Goodell, Braun & Co. was established in the mid-1860s as a maker of carpet looms. The principals of this firm were were Austin W. Goodell and John Braun. One or both of Samuel and D. L. Waters joined that firm in 1869, and the name changed to Goodell, Braun & Waters between April 1873 and June 1874. By the time of that latter date, they were a well-established company with a full product line and 95 employees. Some of that capacity was used in making 6,000 lawnmowers that year, and they were also making woodworking machinery.

The name of Goodell, Braun & Waters proved to be short-lived: in July of 1876 John Braun left the firm, and the company was renamed to simply Goodell & Waters. The following year, Braun established the Pennsylvania Lawn Mower Works, and, with his two sons, became quite successful.

In 1878 Goodell & Waters bought out E. C. Tainter & Co., which was an operation that had operated under a series of names; see the Power, Tainter & Co. entry for more information.

In 1897 the company merged with ten others to form the behemoth American Wood Working Machine Co. A 1985 book, Planers, Matchers, & Molders in America, says that Goodell & Waters contributed to the merger their small surfacers and molders, plus "a number of shop machines such as saw tables, etc."

In 1902 the former Goodell & Waters operations were purchased back from American Wood Working Machine Co. and resumed business as a separate concern under the name Creswell & Waters. "Creswell" was David S. Creswell, owner of the Eagle Iron Foundry, which was co-located with Creswell & Waters; The Eagle Iron Foundry had been in business since 1840. A search turned up numerous mentions of Creswell & Waters during 1902 to 1904 but the mentions suddenly disappeared and we assume that they ceased doing business by late '04 or early '05. The Eagle Iron Foundry continued doing business until at least 1915. David S. Creswell died in 1911.

Information Sources

  • The 1868 edition of Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory lists John Braun of Goodell, Braun & Co. as residing at 1035 Nectarine;
  • Listed in the 1874 work, Wiley's American iron trade manual of the leading iron industries of the United States: "1507 Pennsylvania Avenue. Wood-working machinery, planers, moulding machines, mortising machines. 75 hands.
  • The 1876 work, Draft-book of Centennial carriages, displayed in Philadelphia, at the International exhibition of 1876, mentions "Goodell, Braun & Waters, Philadelphia", as a medal-winner for woodworking machinery at the Centennial Exhibition.
  • An 1883 article in Manufacturer & Builder discusses the company's latest catalog: "The catalogue describes four classes of machinery, namely, planers, car machinery, sash and door machinery, and miscellaneous machines and tools. The division devoted to planers is particularly full, and the manufacturers refer to it with special pride. In this class are comprised pony planers, roll-feed, lowering-bed planers, Woodworth planers, and endless-bed planers."
  • The names of the principals came from an owwm posting by Robert Bernstein, whose source was the 1875 book, Manufactories and Manufacturers of Pennsylvania in the Nineteenth Century, available at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Another data point: Austin W. Goodell received patents in 1881 and 1896. And John Braun received patents in 1865, 1866, and 1873. The 1873 patent was assigned to Goodell, Braun & Co.
  • From the Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography, 1921:
    BRAUN, John,
    Manufacturer, Humanitarian

    Among those nineteenth century business men of Philadelphia whose forms loom large in the retrospective vision of those who have already entered upon the second decade of another hundred years was the late John Braun, founder and for many years head of the widely known firm of John Braun & Sons, now carrying on business under the title of the Pennsylvania Lawn Mower Works.

    John Braun was born December 4, 1825, in Luxembourg, and was a son of Matthew Braun. In 1848 or 1849 he came to the United States, settling first in New England and associating himself with the Russell and Erwin Lock Company, of New Britain, Connecticut. After a time he formed a connection with the Crampton Loom Works, of Worcester, Massachusetts, later identifying himself with the Furbush Loom Works, of Camden, New Jersey. After severing this connection Mr. Braun went into business with his brother and brother-in-law, afterward becoming a partner in the firm of Goodell, Braun & Waters, manufacturers of carpet looms. The business later developed into the manufacture of wood-working machines.

    On July 1, 1876, Mr. Brown withdrew from this concern, and after a year's preparation established himself, August 15, 1877, at the northwest corner of Twelfth and Callowhill streets under the name of John Braun. This style became John Braun & Sons in 1888, and in 1916, sixteen years after the decease of its founder, the business was incorporated as the Pennsylvania Lawn Mower Works. In 1880, only three years after its organization, it was transferred to North Twenty-third street, where it has ever since remained. It was founded with a capital of $20,000 and with twenty-five employees. It now gives employment to many men and its products are shipped to all parts of the world. These products are famed for their quality, and in combination with the energy and honesty of the founder of the business constituted its basis and the source of its development.

    In the development of his lawn mowers Mr. Braun made a number of inventions, many of which were patented, though many were not, and are now used by practically all manufacturers of lawn mowers. Mr. Braun was the inventor of the open-revolving cutter in lawn mowers, which is now in universal use. He was the first to use the rivetted knife on lawn mowers, an application which made for greater rigidity. He was also the first to use spoke wheels, an innovation which was condemned by his competitors, who finally were forced to confess its superiority. As an employer Mr. Braun was invariably kind and considerate. His relations with his subordinates were fatherly, and they in their turn were devoted to his service, striving by all means in their power to further the growth and prosperity of the business. As an inventor he was a pioneer. Now, at the end of forty-two years, his inventions for lawn mowers are still the best.

    Mr. Braun married, September 15, 1861, Christine Lorey, born July 10, 1838, daughter of Friederich Wilhelm and Katharine (Altstadt) Lorey, and they became the parents of three children: Elizabeth, died in infancy; William P. M., whose biography and portrait follow this; and John F., whose biography and portrait also follow. Mr Braun was a man of strongly domestic nature, loving his home. He was active in the work of the Lutheran church. Mrs. Braun passed away Jun 10, 1885. The death of Mr. Braun, which occurred August 10, 1900, removed from that city a man in whose life marked business ability and humanitarianism had ever been well balanced forces

    The business founded and developed by Mr. Braun and now worthily carried on by his sons still embodies the ideas and principles of the man whose brain and initiative were its origin and the primal sources of its power. He was a man to be remembered, and Philadelphia will not suffer his name and the narrative of his deeds to fade from the pages of her business annals.

  • From a 1902 edition of the Lumberman comes the following snippet.

    The Creswell & Waters Company

    The Creswell & Waters Company, successors to Goodell & Waters, whose incorporation we briefly referred to last in month's issue of the Lumberman, is a strong consolidation of two old and reliable concerns, and one that will prove a potential factor in the manufacture of woodworking machinery

    On the first of January the firm of Goodell & Waters, of Philadelphia, announced in a circular sent out to the trade that they had purchased the control of their business from the American Woodworking Machinery Co....

  • From King's Views of Philadelphia by Moses King, 1900: a drawing of the factory, with caption, "Creswell's Eagle Iron Foundry. Creswell & Waters Co. Blaine and Ruffiner Street, Nicetown".