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Manufacturers Index - Charles E. Francis & Brothers

Charles E. Francis & Brothers
Cincinnati, OH; Rushville, IN, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery

Last Modified: Nov 26 2019 2:42PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

This company was in business from 1889 (and probably earlier) to at least 1941. They made a variety of woodworking machinery, especially veneer presses.

Over the years the name changed as follows:

  • Charles E. Francis
  • Charles E Francis & Bro.
  • Charles E. Francis & Bros.
  • Charles E. Francis Co.
The last name change seems to coincide with a move from Cincinnati, OH to Rushville, IN, and occurred in 1913.

Information Sources

  • Rushville Republican Newspaper, 22 Oct 1940.

    Established in the year 1880 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Chas. E. Francis company offers a perfect example of commercial expansion of particular interest to Rushville and Rush county.

    Headed by Charles E. and Harry G. Francis, the firm, manufacturers of presses and all types or glueing machinery, built its original plant in what is now the heart of the business district of Cincinnati, and it was the expansion of the metropolis which was the primary reason for the firm‘s removal to this city, in 1907.

    In 1898, however, nine years before Rushville was selected for the site of the new factory, George Griesser entered the Francis brothers’ organization. Today, Mr. Griesser, who is well known locally, is the president of that firm.

    When the company was established, it employed only a dozen men. Now, seventy-five employees form the backbone or this industry of engineers, founders and manufacturers. M. A. Francis, A. L. Francis, Mr. Griesser, Will Beard and Wilbur Wilson—all of this city—are the only five surviving members of the staff that migrated with the firm from Ohio. However, E. G. Daley, secretary and engineer, and formerly of Cincinnati, has been affiliated with the Francis organization for eleven years. In Cincinnati, the organization occupied a small two-story building, approximately one-fifth of the size or the company's headquarters as it stands today.

    Serving the entire world in both war times and in peace, the local concern is, at present, busily engaged in preparing plans for a new coating machine for painting metal aircraft parts.

    The current overwhelming demand for airplanes has revealed the need for such a machine and at the request of a western manufacturer, the Francis company is conducting a series of experiments along these lines. Too, the new and revolutionary ideas of constructing the entire aircraft fuselage from plastic Bakelite has brought forth the need for a press to be used in this construction. and it's in this type of work that the firm specializes.

    For example, only recently an order was shipped to India. The machine—a beam press used for glueing airplane wings. was supposedly headed for China, via India. for the manufacture of airplanes.

    Over fifty years of progressive improvement gives the Chas. E. Francis company—which also operates the Dill foundry—an enviable reputation, and Rushville a manufacturing firm of which it may well be proud.

  • Listed in 1889 Cincinnati phone directory as "Charles E. Frances & Bro."
  • Ad in the May 1889 issue of The Wood-Worker. "Chas. E. Francis. Wood working machinery and supplies for furniture, chair, coffin, box, wagon, and carriage factories, planing mills, pattern and car shops, etc." The ad depicts a large scrollsaw with ceiling-mounted upper blade holder.
  • We have a report of a laminate press from this maker, with an 1898 date on it. We have also seen a couple of glue spreaders in a 1920 catalog.
  • An email correspondent reported a laminate press from this maker. It is labeled "Chas. E. Francis & Bros, Cincinnati, Ohio"
  • The 1920 catalog of Wm. H. Field Co. shows a No. 3 and a Model G glue spreader. The latter model is labeled, "Chas. E. Francis Co. Rushville Ind." That same catalog shows No. 19 glue heater and an Improved glue cooker that are believed to be from the same maker. A couple of veneer presses are definitely from Francis; one of them is labeled, "Chas. E. Francis & Bro. Cincinnati, Ohio / Patented Aug 14, 1894 / Nov. 22 1898".
  • A patent search has turned up about twenty patents that are believed to have been used by this firm. The patents span 1894 through 1939.