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.