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Saginaw Washboard Company

Saginaw Washboard Company

Posted: 8 Apr 2005 1:06AM GMT
Seeking any available information of the Saginaw Washboard Company. When was it formed? Where was it located?

I found reference to this in the obituary of Henry Mead Hammond, a former Saginawian who died in 1948. He was born in Saginaw in 1880s and left for Chicago sometime after 1900.

Any leads would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

jan (View posts)
Posted: 21 Apr 2005 5:10AM GMT
Not sure if this is related, but in the late 40's, early 50's I remember there was a place we called the "tub factory" on the corner of Macauley and Arnold St. between Hess and Williamson, in south Saginaw. I don't ever remember it being active, but then, I didn't pay much attention.
Jan

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

louisee (View posts)
Posted: 25 Apr 2005 3:44AM GMT
Dear Tim-
Saginaw Barrel Co founded in 1871. Fire destroyed the plant in 1882. Reorganized as Saginaw Manufacturing in 1883. A new building was built and equipped with its own power plant and belt-driven machinery. Located at 1322 King, Saginaw.
Always made wood products but as the demands for barrels declined the company confined its manufacturing line mostly to laundry appliances-washboards, ironing boards, clothes bars and clothes baskets. The company became the largest producer of washboards in the world, with average daily output going from 350 dozen daily to 125,000 a day by the early 1900's.Company also produced a wood-split pulley, invented by Henry Gilbert who was vice president of the company. Shipped carloads of products to Europe and Australia and had a branch in New York City.
In 1949, company experienced a slump in washboards sales. Military action in Southeast Asia (Korean War) determined that materials used in the manufacture of washboards were more necessary for the military. The company's allocation of brass, zinc and copper was cut. Saginaw Manufacturing was forced to sell its interest in washboards to the National Washboard Co, Memphis, Tenn. Local company continued to make ironing boards, laundry baskets, clothes-drying racks and wooden toys. The latter proved to be very popular.
Ownership of Saginaw Manufacturing changed in 1953 when it was acquired by Howard J. Doss. Other changes occurred when Doss could not meet financial obligations. For a while it was home to the West Side Knights of Columbus. By 1962 it was the site of Saginaw Steel and Iron Works. Today it is Valley Steel Co.
Articles from local Saginaw Newspapers.

City Directory of 1922 lists National Washboard Co. officers with H. M. Hammond (Chicago, Ill) Sec., 122 King.
Some addresses changed over the years.

Hope this is of some help.

louisee

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

Tim Stark (View posts)
Posted: 25 Apr 2005 12:37PM GMT
Louisee,

Thank you for the great information. I grew up in Saginaw and was totally unfamiliar with this firm.
My interest was kindled last December when I had the opportunity to meet a distant cousin who just celebrated her 107 birthday. She brought some old photos of Saginaw and reminised about a cousin, Henry Mead Hammond (the same H.M.Hammond you found in the city directory). The two had maintained strong ties via correspondence until Henry passed away in 1948. It was she who told me about the washboard company, but she couldn't recall the name.
Henry was born in Saginaw in 1882 and was originally hired by Arnold Boutell (Sag.Mfg.) as a bookkeeper and stayed with the firm until his death. From his obituary, I learned that Sag.Mfg was indeed the parent of National Washboard. Henry was president of the subsidiary at the time of his death.
Again, thank you for helping me. I truly appreciate it.

Tim

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

louisee (View posts)
Posted: 26 Apr 2005 1:20AM GMT
Tim-
You are welcome. Glad to have been of some help.

107 years old. My, oh my.

louisee

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

Posted: 16 Jun 2005 6:15AM GMT
Hello Tim. My name is John and I also grew up in Saginaw and now live in Ithaca, New York. A few years back I went to a yard sale here in Ithaca and I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted an old wash board that mentioned "Saginaw" on it. For about 5 dollars' I knew it was steal. The frame of course is made of wood but the scrubbing piece is made of glass. Above the glass it reads: National Washboard Co./ #512 /Trade Mark Reg. U.S. Pat Off. Made in U.S.A./Saginaw, Chicago, Memphis In the middle of it all' the word "NATIONAL" reads in big red letters. On the back side' I can make out the word "VICTORY" in large red letters. I sure would like to find out a year of manufacture. I'm thinking maybe during World War 2. By the way' the wash board is in great shape. Let me know what you think.

John Ricklefs

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

Tim Stark (View posts)
Posted: 16 Jun 2005 1:18PM GMT
John,

Thank you for responding to my query.

I would bet that those folks never envisioned there product being such a collector's item. I have noticed that there are many for sale via the internet.

I recently took a trip back to Saginaw and spent some time at Hoyt Library, searching for more information on the washboard company.

What I learned from old city directories was that the company occupied buildings at the corner of Perry & King Streets on the westside of the river. The address was alternately listed on each street, but I am convinced that it was the same place each time - probably some good reason for this.

I have now started to search for descendants of Henry Mead Hammond, the cousin mentioned in my earlier postings. His obituary from 1948 indicated there was a son and five grandchildren.

By coincidence, one of the other officers of Saginaw/National Washboard, Mr. Gilbert, also has descendants still living in Saginaw - and one of those attended high school with me and we were on the school wrestling team. I have sent a message to him to see if he has anything to contribute to this, too.

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

Posted: 20 Jun 2005 1:28PM GMT
Edited: 20 Jun 2005 3:37PM GMT
Hello,
I have been doing research on the history of washboard playing, since I have been playing the instrument since 1966. I lived in Saginaw for 44 years before moving to Ann Arbor in 1991. I have many Saginaw Washboards and did quite a lot of research on the company. What information are you looking for?
Fred Reif

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

Posted: 20 Jun 2005 7:16PM GMT
Edited: 5 Oct 2005 6:18PM GMT
Hello Fred. What I'm trying to locate is a year that my washboard may have been manufactured. From what the other responses are saying' I'm assuming that my washboard may have been manufactured around the time of the Korean War but I'm not sure. It says on the front of it "National Washboard Company" and then Saginaw, Chicago & Memphis. No. 512 Thankyou for wanting to help.

Re: Saginaw Washboard Company

Posted: 16 Apr 2006 12:08AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello, Fred

I am from Saginaw originally and now live in Royal Oak. Are we related?? My family originally from Frankenmuth

Wayne Reif
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