Register :: Login
Manufacturers Index - J. C. Born & Bro. / Columbia Manufacturing Co.

J. C. Born & Bro. / Columbia Manufacturing Co.
Belleville, IL, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: May 25 2016 1:42PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

John Charles Born, a shoemaker by trade, moved from Germany to Belleville, Illinois in 1839. In 1860 he was working as a shoe seller. Some time after that date, Born opened a machine shop with two of his sons, John Charles and William F. John Charles was granted a patent for steam engine pump. He died in 1886 and the sons continued the business. In 1907 it was operating as the J. C. Born & Bro. Machine Works.

In 1917 the business incorporated as the J. C. Born Machine & Foundry Co with a capital stock of $10,000; the incorporators were John C. Born, William F. Born, and E. W. Twenhoefel. In 1919 the captial was increased to $30,000 and the name was changed to Columbia Manufacturing Co. At this time or shortly after, the Born brothers sold out to Gustave A. Metzger, who became company president. Data points on Columbia abruptly cease after 1922 and it appears that the business either went under or was absorbed by another business.

Information Sources

  • 1915 Standard Iron-Steel-Metal Directory lists "J. C. Born & Bro. Est. 1883. J. C., and Wm. F. Born, props. Products: Steam and hoisting engines."
  • 1917-11-01 The Iron Age: "The J. C. Born Machine & Foundry Co., Belleville, Ill. has been incorporated with a capital stock of $10,000 to by John C. Born, W. F. Born and E. W. Twenhoefel.
  • The Biennial Report of the Secretary of State, to the Governor of Illinois for the two-year period ending 1918-09-30 lists new incorporations: J. C. Born Machine and Foundry Company, Belleville; capital stock $10,000, statement filed Oct 26, 1917.
  • January 1919 Chilton's Automobile Directory lists Columbia Manufacturing Co., Belleville, Ill., as a maker/supplier of arbor presses ("for pressing off gears"), metal polishing and buffing machines, tire polishing and buffing machines, and axle straightening machines.
  • 1919-09-01 Automobile Trade Journal, in their "New Equipment and Devices" section, has an illustrated writeup of the Born polishing and buffing machine.
  • 1919-09-04 The Iron Trade Review.
    Belleville, Ill.—The J. C. Born Machine & Foundry Co. has increased its capital from $10,000 to $30,000 and has changed its name to the Columbia Mfg. Co.
  • 1919-09-04 The American Contractor.
    The Columbia Manufacturing Company of Belleville, Illinois, formerly the J. C. Born Company, announces an increase of capitalization from $10,000 to $30,000. The manufacture of steam engines, countershafts, polishing machines, grinding machinery, table saw mandrills and Belleville shockmovers will be continued.
  • February 1920 Industrial Distribution.
    The Columbia Manufacturing Co., Belleville, Ill., has a new 3½ by 6-inch catalog—Grinder Book No. 26—of 26 pages, describing its grinders and buffers, countershafts and presses for the heavy hardware, mill supply and auto trade.
  • April 1920 American Garage and Auto Dealer.

    Latest Catalog of the Columbia Mfg. Co. Ready for Trade.
    A copy of the latest catalog of the Columbia Mfg. Co. covering grinders and buffers, countershafts and presses for heavy hardware, mill supply and the automobile trade, has just been received.

    Among the descriptions, which are accompanied by good, clean-cut illustrations, are those of the Crescent grinder No. 4-A, which is complete with guards and rests, well adapted for the variety of miscellaneous grinding to be done in a repair shop: Crescent grinder No. 4 which has an extra long spindle and extra long bearings; the No. 4 disk grinding attachment to be used on either the No. 4 or No. 4-A grinder and designed for sharpening disks or coulters up to 36 inches in diameter; columns and guards for grinders; and exceptionally strong and durable countershafts.

    The Columbia Mfg. Co., Belleville, 111., will gladly mail copies of the catalog to those writing to it, mentioning the American Garage & Auto Dealer.

  • 1921 Farm Implement News Buyer's Guide lists Columbia Mfg. Co., Belleville, Ill., as makers of power emery grinders, circular wood sawing machines, disc grinders, and corn shock movers.
  • 1922-03-16 Motor Age has a writeup on Columbia Mfg. Co.'s pedestal grinders and buffers.
  • April 1922 Hardware Dealers' Magazine has an article on the model E60 pedestal grinder-buffer from Columbia Mfg. Co.
  • May 1922 The American Machine & Tool Record.
    Columbia Mfg. Co., Belleville, Ill., is putting out a motor-driven buffer and grinder, which, when used as a grinder is intended for sharpening tools and performing general light grinding. The motor is of ? hp. and operates at a speed of 1800 r.p.m. The machine is equipped with adjustable tool-rests and guards for the wheels, and wheels 8 ins. in diam., either 1- or 1¼ in. thick, are used. When the machine is employed for buffing purposes the guards and other fittings are removed.
    Columbia Mfg. Co., Belleville, Ill., has issued Supplement A to Grinder Book No. 26, giving list prices of the electric buffers and grinders made by this company.
  • 1922-09-09 The Prairie Farmer has an ad for the Belleville shock-mover. Columbia Mfg. Company, 605 Lebanon Ave., Belleville, Ill.
  • 1922 Engineering Directory lists Columbia Mfg. Co., Belleville, Ill., as makers of "Crescent" countershafts, electric bench and/or floor grinders, "Crescent" surface grinders and tool grinders, "Crescent" polishing and buffing machines, "Crescent" saw mandrels, and straightening presses.
  • Certified List of Domestic and Foreign Corporations for the Year 1922 lists Columbia Manufacturing Company, 600 Lebanon Ave., Belleville; president G. A. Metzger, 213 N. Jackson St., Belleville; secretary E. W. Twenhoefel, 300 N. Jackson St., Belleville; authorized capital stock $50,000.
  • The 1928 edition of Engineers lists "Columbia Mfg. Co. (Grinding, polishing and buffing machines, etc.) Gen. Office 600 Lebanon St., Belleville, Ill."
  • Bob Poole brought this maker to our attention and provided the following biography.
    Born had emigrated from Germany in 1839 and was a shoemaker by trade -- the 1860 Street Directory lists Born Boot & Shoe Dealer in the first block of N. High St. He also served as a city alderman and city marshal. Born changed careers and opened a machine shop with two of his sons, John Charles and William F. They lived and worked at 123 N. Church St., and the original house was expanded twice before they built a new machine shop at 222 East B St. in 1885. John Charles was the patent holder of six inventions of steam pumps, polishing lathes, and grinders. Charles Born died in 1896, and in 1920 J.C. Born Machine Co. was sold to Columbia Manufacturing Co.
  • Belleville's Labor and Industry Museum is located in a house that once belonged to Born. The Museum page on the building history provides background and photographs.