Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Farrell-Cheek Steel Company

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Herbert Farrell arrived in Sandusky and founded the Farrell-Cheek Steel Company in 1910. The firm manufactured small and medium weight steel castings, which were used “to meet specific requirements for automotive, truck, railroad, mining machinery and structural industry uses.” Cheek was the name of Herbert Farrell’s father-in-law, Joel O. Cheek, who was best-known as the founder and owner of the Maxwell House Coffee Company.

Farrell-Cheek provided employment for hundreds of individuals, including many who moved here from the Southern states to find a better life. At its peak, the factory employed over eight hundred local residents.

The World War II era was an eventful time for the company. During the war, many women were hired to work at the plant, as local men were called to serve in the Armed Forces. Because many of the products manufactured at Farrell-Cheek were essential to the war effort, in 1944 the federal government briefly took control of operations in the factory, in response to a labor dispute. Also during the war, Dr. Lyle Steen Hill, a Sandusky radiologist, worked as a physician during the day, and worked third shift in the engineering department of Farrell-Cheek, testing the steel products in the lab. He joined Farrell-Cheek in November 1942, expressly to help in the war effert. Dr. Hill was an electrical engineer, as well as a physician and radiologist.

Beginning in January of 1920, the company started publishing the “Farrell Cheek News.” (An example is shown above.) The newsletter offered biographies of employees, cartoons, recipes, along with tips for health and safety. Later the publication was called “Sparks from the Ladle.” (You can find Dr. Hill's story in the October 29, 1943 issue.)

The Farrell Cheek newsletters are part of the Business Collection of the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. If you have company publications from local businesses of the past or present, consider donating them to the Archives Research Center so others can learn more of the local history of Sandusky and Erie County.


Norma said...

What a wonderful, well-written blog. Thanks for alerting me and I will certainly note it on my blog.

robart said...

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