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, December 17, 1995, pg. 18

How would you like to be able to own your very own cement casket? Well, thatís what you could do during the 1910s and 1920s here in town by purchasing a locally-produced one from Albionís very own: Cement Casket Company. This is part of a series this month on some early 20th century industries in Albion.

The Cement Casket Manufacturing Company was organized in 1914 by F. O. Downer of Battle Creek. The firm purchased the building of the former Cook Manufacturing Company on the northwest corner of N. Huron and E. Mulberry Streets for the price of $4,000. The Cook Company was closed on January 1, 1912 as part of the scandal and failure of the Albion National Bank. The Casket firm produced a full line of caskets which were shipped across the United States. During the 1920s its annual sales topped $100,000. F. N. Arbaugh served as president of the company, H. B. Lumberg vice-president, and F. H. Swift as secretary-treasurer. The firm closed its lids in the mid-1920s.

The wooden building at Huron and Mulberry subsequently became the headquarters of the newly organized Decker Screw Company in 1927. A year later, the Albion Machine & Tool Company also had its start here under the direction of its founder, Albert Beatty. The structure eventually was acquired by the expanding Union Steel Company, which demolished it in November, 1956.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a drawing of the layout of the Cement Casket Company plant, taken from the 1918 Insurance Map of Albion. Does anyone have a photograph or postcard of the Casket Company showing the sign on the top of the building? Let me know and we can feature it in the future here in our Historical Notebook.

Layout of the Cement Casket Company plant


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