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Manufacturers Index - Wm. B. Mershon Co.
Last Modified: Oct 23 2018 4:22PM by Jeff_Joslin
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This business's roots go back to 1876 when 28-year-old William Butts Mershon established a planing mill, operating as Wm. B. Mershon. A few years later, his younger brother Edward C. Mershon finished his schooling and joined the business, which recapitalized to the tune of $50,000; the company name became Wm. B. Mershon & Co. At that time they decided to design and manufacture band sawmills. E. C. proved to be a creative and increasingly skilled machine designer as they designed new band mills with thin kerfs.

Over the years the company's product portfolio expanded to include single- and twin-head saws in a range of sizes from the most enormous all the way down to the merely "very large".

From January 1909 "The Packages"

The day-to-day running of the company fell largely to E. C. Mershon as W. B. Mershon focused more on the family lumber business. Although it was W. B.'s name on the company, E. C. became widely known as a respected industry expert, and the company's ads sometimes featured a photo of E. C. (we have never seen an ad with a photo of W. B.) E. C. died in 1919, at age 60, and his brother took over the day-to-day operations of the company, at least for a while. Following the loss of E. C., the company continued in a low-key way. By 1943—the year of William B. Mershon's death—the company name had become W. B. Mershon Corp., and they were working with the "Murray Company" of Boston (which was, in fact, S. A. Woods Machine Co., whose rabidly anti-union president had refused union workers as ordered by the government which resulted in S. A. Woods being operated by the Murray Co. during the war), which was providing parts and support services. By the end of World War II, W. B. Mershon Corp. was based in Boston. The company seems to have disappeared altogether by the late 1940s with S. A. Woods taking over parts and support. We suspect that by the beginning of the war the company was no longer making new products but existed solely to service their existing machines.

Information Sources

  • The January 1886 issue of Manufacturer & Builder mentions E. C. Mershon's 1886 planer cutter patent.
  • November 1902 The Canada Lumberman. "One of Saginaw's great industries are the works of W. B. Mershon & Company situated on the east side of the city. They make a specialty of band saws and band-sawing tools and machinery. They are making extended improvements and additions to their extensive works. Special machines for the manufacture of screws and bolts, all electrically driven, are in operation in their machine shop. One hundred men are kept busy in this shop at the band re-saws and pony band log mills. The different shops are veritable hives of industry. Three railroad companies have tracks through the works and the docking facilities are ample. Mr. E. C. Mershon is the business head of the machinery establishment, and by his keen business foresight and aptitude has built up a splendid reputation."
  • December 1919 Barrel and Box.


    On Nov. 30, following a long illness, occurred the death of Edward Clark Mershon at Saginaw, Mich. He was born at East Saginaw, Aug. 29, 1859, a son of Augustus H. and Helen Johnson Mershon, and spent most of his life in his natal city. In 1876 his brother, William B. Mershon, following the traditions of the family, started a planing mill, and shortly afterward was joined by E. C. Mershon. With a capital of $50,000 they founded the firm of William B. Mershon & Co., which became one of the largest woodworking industries of the Saginaw Valley. From its inception Edward C. Mershon had personal charge of the mechanical end of the company’s business, and in that position rapidly developed the peculiar genius which was his. It was the pressure of an unusually large contract for box shooks which first aroused E. C. Mershon to the great waste of time and material under the old methods and started him on the train of study and invention which resulted in the perfection of his first band resaw.

    This new tool marked the beginning of a series of inventions developing the use of thin saw blades, which has placed the name of Mershon in lumber mills throughout the world. The great firm of William B. Mershon & Co., manufacturers of band saw machinery, has grown from that beginning. Mr. Mershon became president of that company, and was also a director of the Saginaw & Manistee Lumber Co., of Williams, Ariz. For the last four and a half years, however, he had not been active in the business. Until recently he had been a director in the Mershon-Eddy-Parker Co., prominent box and lumber manufacturers of Saginaw.

    Mr. Mershon was known to his more intimate friends as a lover of music and other fine arts, and was active in promoting philanthropic projects. Imbued with a gentle, kindly disposition, he was greatly beloved by business associates and fellow citizens, and leaves a wide circle of friends to mourn his death. Mr. Mershon never married. He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Helen Mershon; one brother, William B. Mershon; and two sisters, Miss Elsie Mershon and Mrs. W. J. Wickes; all of Saginaw.

  • E. C. Mershon also wrote a 94-page book, "Use and Care of Band Resaws"; we have seen a Ninth Edition copy (1911) on eBay, so it must have been fairly successful.
  • "Mershon" was mentioned by Batory as a line of Yates-American products that they stopped supporting in 1989 (see p. 32 of his first book).
  • Seen on eBay: a catalog of "Mershon Band Sawing Machinery", W. B. Mershon Co., described as ca. 1910.
  • The patents listed below were granted to E. C. Mershon; the patents were not assigned, but W. B. Mershon was a witness on one of them, and the products are consistent with W. B. Mershon's product line. In addition, we have lately seen a couple of machine plaques on eBay. One says, "Standard / W. B. Mershon & Co / Saginaw, Mich. / U.S.A." and another, from the same machine, says "Patented by E. C. Mershon" followed by eight patent dates. The patents are all related to band resaws.