From Bog Iron Ore
to Elevator Manufacturing in Warsaw, NY
(Typed from hand written notes of unknown author 8-17-05)
Elevator manufacturing was once the leading industry in Warsaw. These operations continued until 1966 when production was moved to a new plant in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Lewis Bishop researched the beginnings of the company and found that it was Warsaw's oldest industry and had a most varied and interesting history.
Spafford's Gazette printed in 1824 states that Warsaw had bog iron ore which works easily and yields good iron. Bog iron ore comes from the leaching of iron bearing rock by surface water. It was raked from the bogs. The lumps varied in size from that of a marble to as big as a man's head and sometimes as large as a good sized water melon. Research indicates that there is such a bed east of Wethersfield Springs.
At the furnace or foundry, iron was melted in a pot ash kettle lined with clay and dipped by ladles. Sleigh shoes and plow points were two of the first things made.
The business was moved from Perry Avenue and Buffalo Street in Warsaw to South Main Street Stoves, plows and machinery were manufactured. The census of 1845 credits the Warsaw Foundry with using raw material valued at $500.00 to a value of about $2300.00 after the iron was processed. In 1845 the firm advertised that it had wagon axles, ploughs, sleigh shoes, cutter shoes, wagon boxes, hollow ware andirons, wheels, wheel barrows, plough points and did custom work of almost every kind. After the firm entered the stove casting business, the furnaces were enlarged and could cast six or seven stoves a day. The firm was acquired by Gates and Garretsee and eventually turned out about $15,000 to $20,000 worth of products. There is a Gates and Garretsee stove made in Warsaw on exhibit at the Farmers Museum at Cooperstown.
In 1882 the name Warsaw Furnace was changed to Variety Machine Company. The Warsaw salt boom of the 1880's and 1890's led the firm into manufacturing castings for salt operations.
In 1889 the firm began producing arches (sic) for the maple sugar operations and began producing elevators after the firm received a patent on its hand elevator. The name of the firm was changed from Variety Machine to Warsaw Elevator Company in 1892.