Benson Manufacturing Company Records (KC0105)
Johan Albin Benson emigrated from his native Sweden to the United States in 1885 and eventually arrived in Kansas City in 1903, to work for the Prier Brass Company. In 1904, Benson established Benson Brass Works, but the company went broke the next year. Undaunted, Benson founded the Star Brass Works for which his eldest son, Arthur, began his career as a lathe operator, errand boy, and "general flunky." Again in 1907, it became the Benson Brass Works and business was good. Johan's sons Ernest and Edward started at the Works before World War I. With the War came a defense contract to make veterinarian instruments, and after the War, Johan's fourth son, Emil, joined the firm. Added to the fixture business was ornamental work for decorating buildings, including metal doors. The developing aircraft industry also offered Benson new areas of expansion. In 1938, when Johan Benson died leaving the business to his sons, 25% of its work was for the aircraft industry. The brothers operated the firm as a closely run family affair but early on decided that four brothers in the firm was enough and their sons were encouraged to pursue other professions. The company was eventually sold, and after a number of years of operation under the new ownership, it was disbanded.
These records contain research notes and reference materials, color sketches and drawings and catalogs relating to lighting equipment and architectural details designed, manufactured and distributed by the Benson Manufacturing Company. ca. 1920-ca 1945.
27 cubic feet and 22 folders.
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Monday, February 07, 2011
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