Chicago, IL - Here is an excellent PDF document, published by the current Crane Co. and detailing the history of the company better than we ever could.
We should note here that our search of newspapers.com for "R. T. Crane" in Illinois (only) yielded over 2,000 results between 1855 and his obituary in 1912. Mr. Crane was either a Director or Officer of virtually every civic and trade association known during those times, and the amount was substantial. He built hospitals, ghetto housing and parks, and a plethora of various community projects during his life. He donated (and managed) technical institutions inside Chicago's public school systems and even produced traning manuals. His thoughts and motiviation for this was:
to give the students a knowledge of how to use his head and hands in conjunction with each other, and to give him a means of doing that thing for which all education is intended - earn a living for himself and for the family he will, or should have.
In order to further this purpose, he founded the Crane Technical Institute. At the time of his death, he held an estimated net worth of $20,000,000. The newspapers of the day are littered with stories of the institution of values and employee loyalty by R. T. Crane, to which his success was credited. One story relates the hiring of a man from outside the company while Mr. Crane was away on travel. The man accomplished extraordinary things on behalf of the company during his brief tenure but, upon his return, Mr. Crane promptly scolded his staff and made them generously compensate the man for his work, ensure placement with another concern, and fire him. He further told them to hire the man from within the company whom is next in line for this work. In his obituary, he is referred to as "The Ironmaster."
On July 4, 1954, The Chicago Daily Tribune (may require subscription to view) published a tribute article to the Crane Company, laying out it's history. Here is a synopsis of the important points of that article:
Richard Teller Crane (R. T. Crane) made his way to Chicago in 1855 after losing his job in a printing press factory in NY at the age of 23. He immediately set to work building a foundry at Canal & Fulton Sts., by himself. On July 4th, 1855, Mr. Crane started his furnace and began producing his first order, brass couplings for lightening rods. Shortly thereafter, the foundry was producing rod points, brass castings, railroad engine trimmings, and wrought iron pipe and fittings.
In The Chicago Tribune of March 25, 1859, there is an advertisement for R. T. Crane & Brother. Their products seem to fit Crane's mold being: boiler flues, valves, cocks, oil cups, steam whistles, gauge cocks, etc.
By 1867, the newspapers refer to R. T. Crane as President of the Northwest Manufacturing Company. The current Crane Co. history page notes this company emerged in 1865.
On February 14, 1865, R.T. Crane & Brother was incorporated in Chicago and changed its name to the North Western Manufacturing Company
Upon the retirement of Charles S. Crane in 1872, R.T. changed the name of the firm to Crane Brothers Manufacturing Company out of respect for his brother.
The 1/1/1879 edition of The Inter Ocean (may require subsctiption to view) carries an advertisement for the Crane Brothers Manufacturing Company. R. T. Crane - Pres.; C. S. Crane - VP; S. W. Adams - SEC; J. W. Skinkle - TREAS. See above paragraph on Crane & Brother for listed products, and add wrought iron pipe, steam pumps and steam passenger and freight elevators.
Finally, the name of the firm was officially changed to Crane Company on January 29, 1890, and became commonly known as Crane Co.
January, 1901 - the first reference to the Crane Elevator Company appears.
Trade Names and Brands from Trade Publications:
- Crane (Bench, Pipe)
R. T. Crane ca. 1900