History of the Globe Iron Works


| April/May 1986



Gasoline Engine

4169 Rustic Place St., Paul MN 55126

The following traces the history of the Globe Iron Works Co. from the original founders to its finish. Many hours of research from newspapers and books went into this history, as no company records were available. Any additional information would be welcome.

The history starts in 1879 with Mr. Edward J. Kimball's name showing up in the Minneapolis city directory. Mr. Kimball is shown as working for the Farmers and Merchants Bank as a teller from 1879 until 1886. In 1884 Mr. Clarence O. White came to Minneapolis from Ohio, his occupation being machinist, and he was listed as being in partnership in the firm of White and Johnson general machine work. Mr. White started designing and experimenting and had applied for three patents by the end of 1884. In 1885 a family by the name of Gemlo appears in the city directory. The family had three sons: Charles, James, and John, who with their father, David, were all four employed by the Pray Manufacturing Co. as machinists and patternmakers.

In 1886 Mr. Kimball became cofounder in a bicycle and tricycle shop known as Heath and Kimball. Mr. White left his partnership and went to work as a machinist for the Minneapolis Plating Co. In 1887 the company changed its name to the Minneapolis Plating and Manufacturing Co. with Mr. White as proprietor. The Gemlos left Pray Manufacturing and founded the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. working as manager, machinists, and patternmakers. This lasted a short time and in the same year the Gemlos formed Gemlo and Sons Machine Shop, general machine work.

The year 1888 brought one more name change for the machine shop to that of D. W. Gemlo and Sons. In the same year Mr. Kimball left the bicycle business and went clerking for different companies. In 1892 Mr. Kimball worked as a clerk for the Enterprise Machine Co. while Mr. White started his own business called the C. O. White Manufacturing Co. The Gemlos moved to St. Louis and returned in 1893, working as machinists and patternmakers for different Minneapolis firms. Mr. Kimball became an agent in trust for the E. M. Wilson estate located in the Globe Bldg. in Minneapolis. The Gemlos started working at the Island Iron Works Co. located at the lower end of Nicollet Island in Minneapolis. It is not known if the Gemlos started this company or not but all four were involved as manager, machinists, and patternmakers.

In 1895 Mr. Kimballstill as agent in trust for the E. M. Wilson Estate became the manager and bookkeeper for the Gemlo Iron Works Co., formerly the Island Iron Works Co. Mr.White stepped down to become vice president of White Manufacturing Co., formerly C. O. White Mfg. Co. In 1896 the Island Iron Works Co. name was changed to the Globe Iron Works Co. In the directory ad Mr. Kimball is listed as manager, and the ad states that the company did foundry work in addition to being machinists and engine builders. Mr. White is listed as a machinist in the directory. In addition he had 19 patents to his credit by this time. In 1897 the directory ad stated 'Globe Iron Works Co., Makers of White gasoline engines and Excelsior machines'. Mr. Kimball was manager at Globe, Mr. White is listed as a machinist and also proprietor of the Clarence 0. White Plating Works. The Gemlos continued to work for Globe on and off until 1902 when they finally left the company for the last time.