Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, January 14, 2007, pg. 6

In the November 19 edition of this column we featured the Corning Glass Works “Gaffer News,” one of several industrial magazines produced for local factories in town. Recently a copy of the Brooks Foundry News has surfaced, thanks to Anna (Waito) Neitzka.

The Brooks Foundry News was first published on October 15, 1953, and was edited by local writer/editor Rae Corliss. The first issue contained a history of this once vibrant area manufacturer, begun in 1933 by Ralph Brooks (1905-1993). Brooks Foundry specialized in gray iron castings and industrial counter weights. It was closed in February, 1989. Mr. Brooks was one of the original investors who helped bankroll the Journal of Albion newspaper which Rae published for many years from 1956 until his death in 1989.

This monthly magazine was printed on glossy paper, such as the Journal of Albion used to be printed. Unfortunately, very few copies of the Brooks Foundry News were saved by its employees, and any surviving copies are rare today. This was no doubt the “smallest company paper” from amongst Albion’s factories, and was probably published only during the 1950s. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the April, 1955 edition of this rare title, Volume 2, Number 7.

The first page contains an article about stock being still available for purchase for the new Bank of Albion which was about to be opened. Ralph Brooks was one of the original incorporators. Pictured are Brooks office workers Louise Brooks, Ellen Griffin, “Jo” Dailey, and Eileen Fick. A Brooks truck and trailer is shown in the center, while the new foundry addition for the squeezer department is pictured for the first time.

Other pages feature articles and photos about the squeezer line, workers receiving tuberculosis chest X-rays, and individual photos of family members of employees. There is an editorial by Ralph Brooks about being competitive, where he states, “If we are to survive, we have to do a better job and at a cheaper price, than our customers could expect to make in their own foundries.” A spiritual devotional by Rev. Walter Merzdorf, pastor of the Salem Evangelical and Reformed Church is found on page 4.

I am still looking for other copies of the Brooks Foundry News for my Albion History archives. Does anyone have any?

April 1955 edition of the Brooks Foundry News


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