A Bit of David Bradley Personal History

| July/August 1992

  • Mr. David Bradley

  • Plant
    Half of this plant still stands today, although occupied by another company.

  • Mr. David Bradley
  • Plant

Mr. David Bradley, late president of the David Bradley Mfg. Co., sat for this portrait a few days previous to the completion of his 87th year, and was the oldest plow maker in the United States.

He worked at the plow business in Syracuse, N. Y., in 1832. In 1835 he came to Chicago, which then numbered about 2500 inhabitants and a camp of several thousand Indians, to help erect the first foundry established there and was the first man to bring pig iron into that city. In connection with the foundry was a machine shop and the establishment soon began, with other business, the manufacture of plows. Over half a century ago, he worked at the bench wooding 'Garden City Clipper' plows whose name and fame have become world-wide. Going on from this he soon after had a plow shop of his own, and for fifty years saw it growing to larger and larger proportions, right in the very heart of Chicago, within ten minutes walk of the Court House, until it is one of the largest manufacturing establishments of agricultural implements, and until lack of room and the impossibility of getting suitable adjoining property compelled him to get larger ground space elsewhere, which he finally did in this town, which saw fit to honor his coming by taking upon itself his name.

He had the pleasure in these later days of reviewing a well spent life with few, if any regrets concerning business successes. He saw his sons actively engaged in the management of the company, one as Vice-President and Treasurer and the other as Superintendent, while some of his 'children's children' were growing up in a business which he founded and which he saw grow up to such agreeable proportions.


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