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Manufacturers Index - Sweet & Clark Manufacturing Co.
Last Modified: Jun 2 2012 8:37AM by Jeff_Joslin
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In 1867 Miles Sweet was working for William P. Kellogg & Co., maker of curry-combs and also boring and mortising machines. In 1869 Sweet was granted a pair of patents: one for a portable timber boring machine and one for a curry-comb. We don't know what he did for the next few years, but in 1873 he established a new curry-comb manufactory in Troy. At the beginning of 1874 he entered into a partnership with William W. Harrison and operated as Sweet & Harrison, but Harrison parted ways that December and Jay Willard Clark replaced him, the firm now operating as Sweet & Clark. In 1882 they incorporated as Sweet & Clark Manufacturing Company.

In 1888, Sweet & Clark built a large factory in Marion, Indiana. By the late 1890s they got into financial difficulty and went into receivership. Although they won a court battle to prevent the banks from shutting them down, it appears that they were not able to recover and were out of business by about 1898.

Information Sources

  • Seen on eBay: a boring machine labeled as follows: "THE SWEET BORING MACHINE / No. 2 / APR 13 -69".
  • An 1883 patent for an improvement to the original design was granted to Sweet and assigned to Sweet & Clark Manufacturing Co. According to Chuck Zitur's web page on Sweet, Sweet's wife's maiden name was Clark, so his partner may have been a brother-in-law or father-in-law.
  • The city of Troy and its Vicinity, by Arthur James Weise, 1886, provides this history:
    SWEET & CLARK MANUFACTURING COMPANY has its curry-comb works on the north side of Pine Woods Avenue, immediately east of the intersection of Pine Woods and Pawling avenues. The senior member of the company, Miles Sweet, in 1873, established a curry-comb manufactory on the Hollow Road, now Spring Avenue. In January, 1874, he and William W. Harrison formed the firm of Sweet & Harrison. On its dissolution, in December, that year, Jay Willard Clark became associated with him in the business; the firm taking the name of Sweet & Clark. On July 5, 1875, the works were located on the present site. The Sweet & Clark Manufacturing Company, Miles Sweet and Jay Willard Clark, was formed in July 1882. Besides making all kinds of curry-combs, the company manufatures curry and hrse cards, boring machines, malleable iron Cooley whip-racks, crown whip-racks, patent door fasteners, stove lifters, garden trowels, butter and lard knives, and hardware specialties. Miles Sweet, since 1845, has been engaged in the manufacture of curry-combs. His long experience in the business has enabled the company to secure an extensive sale for its goods.
  • Ad from the January 1887 issue Facts magazine for their "Security Door Hasp". The magazine was "Devoted to Mental and Spiritual Phenomena, including Psychometry, Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Mesmerism, Trance, Inspiration, and Physical Mediumship; Prayer, Mind, and Magnetic Healing; and all Classes of Psychical Effects."
  • The Chi Phi Yearkbook for 1897 lists an obituary for Augustus Lope Craig, class of 1894, died July 3, 1896. "He was a native of Troy, New York... a member of the class of '94 at the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute... After leaving the institute he was employed at the old Bessemer Steel Works, at Troy, and later accepted a position as cehmist with the Walter A. Wood Company... Nearly a year ago Mr. Craig went to Marion, where he accepted a similar position with the Sweet & Clark Company, which he held at the time of his death."
  • The Empire State: Its Industries and Wealth, by American Publishing and Engraving Co., 1888, provides a similar, if wordier, version of the above history
    Sweet & Clark Manufacturing Company, Manufacturers of Curry Combs and Hardware Specialties, Pine Woods Avenue.—Although there are manufaturing centres in the United States of more prominence than Troy, yet from a critical examination it is very doubtful if any community of like size can exhibit so great a diversity in the character of the industries carried on and promoted as are found in active operation in this city. A representative house it its special line of industry is that of the Sweet & Clark Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of curry-combs, whose works are located on the north side of Pine Woods Avenue, immediately east of the intersection of Pine Woods and Pawlings Avenues. The foundation of the business was laid by Mr. Miles Sweet in 1873, on the Hollow Road, now Spring Avenue. In January 1874, he and William W. Harrison formed the firm of Sweet & Harrison, which was dissolved in December of that year, and Mr. Jay Williard Clark was admitted to partnership under the firm name of Sweet & Clark. On July 5, 1875, the works were located on the present site. In July, 1882, the co-partners formed the present company, and have since continued the busines with steadily increasing success. The works are extensive in proporations, finely equipped, and every modern facility is afforded for conducting all branches of the business under the most favorable conditions and upon the largest scale. The curry-combs manufactured here have acquired a national reputation on their merits alone, and are universally popular with the trade wherever introduced and tested. Besides manufacturing all kinds of curry-combs, this company produces curry and horse cards, boring machines, malleable iron cooley whip-racks, crown whip-racks, patent door fasteners, stove lifters, garden trowels, butter and lard knives, and a fine line of hardware specialties. Always pursuing a policy embracing the cardinal elements of success—the highest possibie standard of products at the lowerst prics consistent with perfect workmanship—the Sweet & Clark Manufacturing Compay may be regarded as one of the most reliable and liberal of Troy's industrial concerns. Mr. Miles Sweet has been continually identified with this branch of manufacture since 1845, and his lengthened experience in, and comprehensive knowledge of, all the details and requirements of the business, enable him to confer advantages and benefits upon his customers that are readily appreciated and rarely met with elsewhere. Mr. J. W. Clark is well and favorably known in this city as a useful and honorable citizen and trustworthy business man, combining to form an organization of wide popularity and solid worth.
  • The Indiana Department of Geology and Natural History, Sixteenth Annual Report, Maurice Thompson and S. S. Gorby, 1888, has this data: "Sweet & Clark Manufacturing Company, of Troy, New York: Cost of plant, $60,000. Working capital, $150,000. Will employ 600 men. Will manufacture malleable iron goods. These works are not yet in operation, but they are rapidly approaching completion."
  • A lawsuit that reached the Supreme Court of Indiana on January 25, 1898 was "SWEET & CLARK CO. et al. v. UNION NATIONAL BANK OF TROY, N. Y." The bank was attempting to foreclose a mortgage and appoint a receiver. The defendants appealed the appointing of a receiver. One John C. Tibbits was "trustee or assignee of said company". Apparently Sweet & Clark had two mortgages or their property in Marion, Indiana, one to the Troy bank and one to a Marion Bank. The value of the business as an ongoing enterprise was sufficient to secure the mortgages, but the value of the property was not. Sweet & Clark and Tibbits successfully argued that the receiver should operate the business, collecting rents and profits to redeem the mortgages.