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F. W. Wakefield Brass Company (Vermilion, Ohio) - MS 4

Introduction | Agency History | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory

Introduction

The records of the F. W. Wakefield Brass Company, which operated from 1910 to 1966, were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in 1972 by Theodore D. Wakefield, the son of F. W. Wakefield. The company also operated under the names of the Wakefield Company, the Wakefield Corporation, and Wakefield Lighting Ltd., in Canada. The company was a manufacturer of gas, incandescent, and fluorescent light fixtures.

Included are minutes of stockholders', board of directors' and executive committee meetings, common and preferred stock certificates, various memos, correspondence and a bound scrapbook. The collection covers the years 1910-1925 and 1930-1966 and consists of approximately seven and one-half linear feet.

The collection is available to the public for historical research. There are no restrictions on access, and property, literary, and duplication rights have been dedicated to the public for research purposes. The register was completed by Michael McCleese, graduate student in the Popular Culture Department, Bowling Green State University.

Agency Sketch

The F. W. Wakefield Brass Company was incorporated in Vermilion, Ohio, on June 28, 1910, for the purpose of manufacturing gas and incandescent lighting fixtures, household hardware, and metal novelties. The original board of directors included Frederick W. Wakefield, Albert C. Hofruchter, Ernest H. Wakefield, Arthur J. Copeland, and Walter T. Dunmore. The company continued its manufacturing in Vermilion until its sale in 1966.

The original factory burned on December 24, 1924 and a new factory was built on the same location. F. W. Wakefield died in 1932 and control of the company was transferred to his three sons, Albert F. Wakefield, George Wakefield, and Theodore Wakefield. During the Second World War the company was very active in the productionof lighting fixtures for various U.S. naval vessels.

After World War II the company shifted its emphasis away from incandescent lighting and began producing fluroescent fixtures for suspended and luminous ceilings. Wakefield Lighting, Ltd. was formed in 1950 for the assembly and sale of their products in Canada. It was headquartered in London, Ontario. On April 6, 1955, the name of the company was changed to the Wakefield Company.

On April 28, 1961, the Wakefield Company was simultaneously merged with the Abrasive and Metal Products Company of Detroit and Art Metal Company of Cleveland. Even though corporate headquarters were moved to Detroit, the name Wakefield corporation was adopted by the new company. With the merger, the Wakefield Corporation once again began the manufacture of incandescent lighting fixtures and also made electric heaters.

The Wakefield Corporation was split into the Abrasive Products Group, including the Peninsular Grinding Wheel Company and the Sterling Grinding Wheel Company, and Electrical Products Group including Sta-Warm Electric Company of Ravenna, Wakefield Lighting Divisions of Vermilion, Wakefield Lighting Ltd. of London, Ontario, Art Metal Lighting Division and Stuttgart Electrical Products Company.

The Stuttgart Electrical Products Company of Stuttgart, Arkansas, was a pilot project of the Wakefield Corporation to investigate the possibilities of a corporate move to Arkansas in an attempt to escape the high labor cost of the North.

The Wakefield family was not pleased with the attitude of those board members from the Abrasive Products Group and invited the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation to make a bid for the purchase of the company. On February 24, 1966, the Wakefield Corporation was sold to the ITT-Wakefield Corporation for the sum of $12,023,406. A company known as the 729 Meldrum Corporation was formed to handle the remaining business affairs of the Wakefield Corporation. It was dissolved on June 30, 1966. At the time of the sale, Theodore D. Wakefield was president and Carl Schroeder was secretary of the corporation.

Scope and Content

The manuscript collection of the F. W. Wakefield Brass Company documents the business history of the company from its date of incorporation in 1910 to its sale to the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation in 1966. The strengths of the collection are those items dealing with stockholders' meetings, stock certificates, minutes of the board of directors and minutes of the executive committee. In addition there is a separately stored scrapbook dated 1960.

The minutes of the board of directors meetings are the most informative of the records. They are complete for the years 1910-1925, 1942-1951, 1960-1966. Of particular interest are the minutes from 1942-1951 where the statements and reports of the company's officers are fully and colorfully reported. This was the period of World War II and its aftermath and the effects, thoughts, problems and beliefs about the war and its shortages and government restrictions are graphically recorded. The return to full peace-time production is also particularly well documented.

Other strong points of the collection are the records of the 1960s. Included in this are the reports and results of the merger in 1961 with the Abrasive and Metal Products Company of Detroit and the discussion and subsequent sale of the company to the International Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1966. Most of the collection is from the late 1940s to 1966. Major weaknesses include the fact that there are no records at all covering the years 1925-1930 and all the pre-1925 material is contained in only one volume of minutes of the board of directors. No reason has been found for this lack of documentation of these years.

Additional material includes minutes of stockholders' meetings for the years 1935, 1943-1945, 1947, 1954-1955, 1958-1965, preferred stock certificates from 1937, 1939-1955, 1957-1958, and 1961, common stock certificates from 1935, 1938, 1940-1941, minutes of the executive committee 1960-1965 and specifications for their lighting fixtures products from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The collection also includes correspondence with stockholders, proxies, correspondence with legal counsel, organization manuals, articles of incorporation and various inter-office memos.

The minutes of the stockholders meetings contain little information other than resolutions offered, result of votes and election of officers. No records of discussion were kept. The correspondence with stockholders consists mainly of form letters about upcoming meetings and stockholder requests to buy or sell shares. The correspondence with legal counsel primarily deals with various changes in the articles of incorporation and discussion of subsequent merger and details of the sale in 1966.

Series Description

PROCEEDINGS

MINUTES--BOARD OF DIRECTORS
1910-1966
Arranged chronologically
Contains statements and reports by the company's officers; of particular interest are those which discuss the effects of World War II and the return to peace-time production.

MINUTES--EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
1960-1966
Arranged chronologically
Contains information on stock sales, employee appointments, purchases and appropriations, etc.

MINUTES--STOCKHOLDERS
1935-1965
Arranged chronologically
Contains mostly information on the voting and election of officers, shareholder proxies, etc.

CORRESPONDENCE

COMMON STOCK HOLDERS
1930-1961
Arranged chronologically
Consists mostly of form letters about upcoming meetings and stockholder requests to buy or sell shares.

INCOMING/OUTGOING
1935-1961
Arranged chronologically
Contains correspondence with legal counsel primarily dealing with changes in the articles of incorporation and discussion of a subsequent merger (1961).

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
1962-1966
Arranged chronologically
Letters containing suggestions and comments on topics discussed at Board Meetings.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
1963-1965
Arranged chronologically
Contains letters with suggestions and comments on meetings of the Executive Committee.

SUBJECT FILES

WAKEFIELD LIGHTING LTD.
1948-1966
Arranged chronologically
Contains information and files on taxes, building programs, stocks, employees, financial papers, meeting minutes and correspondence.

REPORTS

MISCELLANEOUS REPORTS
1944-1961
No arrangement.
Includes reports on plant and office development, share transfers, sale of stock, annual reports, treasurer's reports and reports and results of the 1961 merger with the Abrasive and Metal Products Company.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

STOCK CERTIFICATES
1935-1961
Arranged chronologically
Includes both preferred stock and common stock certificates.

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS

STATEMENTS
1945-1954, 1961-1965
Arranged chronologically
Includes items such as bank account statements, data sheets and financial statements associated with the company's stock sales.

SCRAPBOOKS

SCRAPBOOKS
1942-1960
No arrangement
Two oversize volumes containing photographs, programs, etc., covering events in the company's history.

PRINTED MATERIAL

WAKEFIELD PRODUCTS SPECIFICATIONS MANUAL
n.d.
No arrangement.
A lengthy manual which lists various specifications for production.

THE BRASS WORKER NEWS
November 1942-September 1965
Arranged chronologically
A company newspaper discussing events and progress at the Wakefield Brass Company (Volume 1, Number 1-Volume 20, No. 2; some issues are missing).

Inventory

Box 1

Folders
  1. Articles of Incorporation, 1910; 1925; 1935; 1943; 1952; 1955; 1957
  2. Common Stockholders' Letters, 1930-1932; 1935; 1940-1941; 1945-1948; 1950-1954; 1961
  3. Common Stockholders, 1934-1935
  4. Shareholders' Meeting, 1935
  5. Correspondence--Incoming, 1935
  6. Correspondence--Outgoing, 1935
  7. Proxies and Meetings, 1936-1940
  8. Correspondence--Incoming, 1939; 1943
  9. Correspondence--Outgoing, 1938-1940; 1943
  10. Final Report on Plant and Office Development, 1944
  11. Correspondence--Incoming, 1952
  12. Agreements, Power of Attorney, Correspondence, Regulations, and By-laws, 1925; 1940-1941; 1949; 1952-1953; 1956; 1961
  13. Common Stockholders' Annual Meeting, 1943-1945; 1947
  14. Financial Statement, 1945-1954
  15. Roll Calls, 1948-1953
  16. Statement of Income & Expense Per Employee, 1947-1951
  17. Correspondence--Outgoing, 1951-1953
  18. Permits to Purchase Stock & Lists of Outstanding Stock, 1952
  19. Improvement Program Progress Report, 1952
  20. Common Shares Transfer Record Report of Mary Wakefield Estate Stock Split, 1952
  21. Board Meetings and Related Papers, 1952
  22. Inter-office communication, 1952
  23. Proxies, 1952
  24. Papers related to General Manager's Contract, 1941; 1948-1949; 1952-1958

Box 2

Folders
  1. Capital Stock, 1910; 1912-1913; 1915; 1917-1924; 1929-1930
  2. Preferred Stock Certificates, 1925-1931; 1933-1936

Box 3

Folders
  1. Authorization for Payment of Dividends to Joint Tenants, 1952-1956; 1958
  2. Stockholders Transactions, RE: transfers, waivers of dividends, notes, 1952; 1954-1959
  3. Documentary Stamp Tax for Stock Transfers, 1942; 1952; 1955; 1958-1960
  4. Stock Transfers, 1952; 1954-1957; 1960
  5. Inquiries and Reports of Sale of Stock, 1952-1960
  6. Report to Board of Directors on "22" Process, 1953-1960
  7. Common Stockholders Meeting and Related Correspondence, 1954
  8. Sale of Additional Stock to Stockholders & Issue of Warrants, 1955-1957
  9. Issuance of Warrants for the Purchase of Stock & Related Correspondence, 1955
  10. Receipts for Stock Delivered, 1954-1957
  11. Stockholders' Meeting, 1955

Box 4

Folders
  1. Employee Stock Option Plan, 1955-1957
  2. Stock Correspondence, 1955-1961
  3. Code of Regulations, 1956
  4. Record of Sale of Common Stock, 1956
  5. Stock Warrant Transactions and Correspondence, 1956
  6. Sale of Stock to Shareholders by Warrants, 1956
  7. Treasurer's Report, 1956-1957
  8. Proxies, 1957
  9. Exhibit Book, 1958
  10. Director's Meeting and Exhibit Book, 1960

Box 5

Folders
  1. Common Stockholders' Meeting, 1958-1959
  2. Secretary's File of the Wakefield Company, 1956; 1958-1959
  3. Directors' Meetings, 1958-1959
  4. Stockholders List and Mailing List, 1955; 1958-1961
  5. Common Stockholders' Meeting, Related Correspondence, and Proxies, 1960
  6. Secretary's File of the Wakefield Company, 1960
  7. Correspondence Relating to Central National Bank, Transfer Agent, Dividend Disbursing Agent, Registrar, 1960-1961
  8. Merger between Wakefield Corporation and Abrasive and Metal Products Company, Detroit, Michigan, 1960-1961
  9. Receipt of Preferred Stock Certificates for Redemption, 1961
  10. Secretary's File of the Wakefield Company, 1961
  11. Stock Transfer and Proxy Procedure, 1959; 1961
  12. Annual Report, 1961
  13. Call of Preferred Stock, 1961

Box 6

Folders
  1. Special Stockholders Meeting, Common and Preferred Stock and Related Correspondence, 1961
  2. Proxies of Common and Preferred Shareholders--Stockholders Meeting, 1961
  3. Miscellaneous Financial Papers, 1961-1962
  4. Financial Statements, 1961-1962

Box 7

Folders
  1. Common Stock and Retired Stock, 1946-1955

Box 8

  1. Common Stock Certificates and Retired Stock, 1956-1960
  2. Registered Convertible 3% Twenty Year Note, 1936-1941
  3. Common Stock Certificates Samples, 1955

Box 9

Folders
  1. Preferred Stock Certificates and Retired Stock, 1937; 1939-1955; 1957-1958; 1961
  2. Common Stock Certificates and Retired Stock, 1935; 1938; 1940-1941; 1943-1945

Box 10

Folders
  1. Share Transfer Ledger, May 20, 1952
  2. Stock Transfers, 1959; 1964-1966; 1975

Box 11

Folders
  1. Secretary's File Copy--Operation Kent, 1950
  2. Record of Proceedings of the Stockholders and Directors of the Wakefield Brass Company, 1951
  3. Director's Exhibits, 1960

Box 12

Folders
  1. Record Book and Minutes, 1910-1925
  2. Record of Proceedings of the Stockholders and Directors of the F. W. Wakefield Brass Co., 1942-1946
  3. Record of Proceedings of the Stockholders and Directors of the F. W. Wakefield Brass Co., 1946-1951

Box 13

Folders
  1. Meeting Minutes--Board of Directors, 1961
  2. Meeting Minutes--Board of Directors, 1962
  3. Meeting Minutes--Board of Directors, 1963
  4. Meeting Minutes--Board of Directors, 1964
  5. Meeting Minutes--Board of Directors, 1965
  6. Meeting Minutes--Board of Directors, 1966
  7. Meeting Minutes--Executive Committee, 1961
  8. Meeting Minutes--Executive Committee, 1962
  9. Meeting Minutes--Executive Committee, 1963
  10. Meeting Minutes--Executive Committee, 1964
  11. Meeting Minutes--Executive Committee, 1965
  12. Index to Committee Minutes, 1961
  13. Meeting Minutes--Stockholders, 1960-1965
  14. Correspondence--Board of Directors Meetings, 1962-1966
  15. Correspondence--Executive Committee Meetings, 1963-1965

Box 14

Folders
  1. Data Processing, 1964-1965
  2. Stock Purchases, 1961-1964
  3. Cost of Calling Preferred Stock, 1963-1964
  4. Securities, 1962-1963
  5. Combination of Peninsular and Sterling Operations, 1963-1964
  6. Capital Additions Expenditures, 1964-1965
  7. Administrative Expenses, 1961-1962
  8. Appropriation Requests, 1961-1965
  9. Stock Options, 1962-1965
  10. Insurance Coverage, 1962
  11. Bank Accounts, 1963
  12. Papers and Correspondence Concerning Stocks and Bonds, 1954-1964
  13. Papers Concerning the Abrasives Group, 1961-1965
  14. Financial Records--Electrical Products Group, 1961-1965
  15. Financial Data Sheet, 1962-1965
  16. Annual Report to Stockholders, 1961-1963
  17. Investments--Executive Office and Sta-Warm, 1963
  18. Titan Abrasives Company, 1956
  19. I.T.T.--Wakefield, 1965
  20. Meldrum Corporation Liquidation, 1966
  21. Bonus Records, 1962-1965
  22. Salary Adjustments, 1963-1966
  23. Profit Sharing, 1962-1963
  24. Charitable Contributions, 1963
  25. Over-All Salaried Pension Plan, 1963
  26. Employee Inventions, 1963-1964
  27. Reimbursed Personal Expenses, 1963, n.d.
  28. Employee Benefits, 1963-1964
  29. Personnel, 1961; 1963
  30. Public Relations, 1961-1965
  31. Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1962-1966
  32. Miscellaneous Papers

Box 15

  1. Organization Manual
  2. Wakefield Lighting Ltd.--Taxes, 1962-1964
  3. Wakefield Lighting Ltd.--Building Program, 1953; 1961; 1965
  4. Wakefield Lighting Ltd.--Employee Compensation, 1962-1965
  5. Wakefield Lighting Ltd.--Papers Concerning Stocks, 1960, n.d.
  6. Wakefield Lighting Ltd.--Financial Papers, 1962, n.d.
  7. Wakefield Lighting Ltd.--Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1954; 1961-1964
  8. Wakefield Lighting Ltd.--Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1953-1965
  9. Wakefield Lighting Ltd.--Miscellaneous Papers, 1953-1966; 1948-1965

Box 16

  1. Specifications for Wakefield Products

Box 17

  1. Specifications for Wakefield Products

Wrapped Volumes

  1. Scrapbook, 1960
  2. Scrapbook, including photographs, programs, etc., 1942, 1943, 1945
  3. The F. W. Wakefield Brass Company--The Brass Worker News (Volume 1, Number 1--Volume 20, Number 2) (some issues missing), November 1942-September 1965

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