TSGS Cruiser Blog

Friday, January 20, 2012

"The Refrigerator Capital of the World"

In yesterday's TSGS Cruiser Blog, I featured the Dennedy family for the "Tombstone Thursday" feature. Today's blog is a follow-up of the father, James Howard Dennedy, one of the city's leading figures in Evansville's economic industry making it the refrigerator capital of the world!

[Click on image to enlarge!]


The above image of the news clipping about Evansville's industrial history is summarized below.

Excerpts from The Evansville Press, 03 Jul 1976: Our Industry ~ "From furniture capital to refrigeration, plastics" by L. D. Seits. William H. McCurdy, opened his Hercules Buggy Company on Morton Avenue in December 1903. McCurdy's contributions to Evansville's development would fill a book. In 1918, McCurdy formed Sunbeam Electric Manufacturing Company that in 1929 started producing Coldspot refrigerators for Sears. McCurdy, who died in 1930, was a key figure in launching Evansville on its way to becoming the refrigeration capital of the world after men like Mayor Benjamin Bosse made it the furniture capital of the world. But the man probably the most responsible for Evansville's rise to the top of the refrigeration industry arrived in the city about 1922. "He was a quiet man who came to Evansville at age 38, still a bachelor." He was James Howard Dennedy, a leading authority in the field of refrigeration, having grown up in the Detroit machine shop of his father, an Irish immigrant who had pioneered in industrial refrigeration. Young Dennedy had studied mechanical engineering, doing graduate work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He came to Evansville because a Sears executive had arranged for McCurdy's plant to produce an ice machine designed by Dennedy for the company that later became Servel. It was likely the best electric machine of its day and in 1924 was marketed through Sears.

Such was life in Evansville when it was nicknamed "The Refrigerator Capital of the World" — when Seeger, Servel and International Harvester made refrigerators here, providing jobs for more than 10,000 employees. This was before Whirlpool Corp. arrived in 1955 to merge with Seeger [formerly Sunbeam - JGW] and then buy Servel and International Harvester facilities as they closed. - From http://www.indianaeconomicdigest.net/main.asp?SectionID=31&subsectionID=135&articleID=53718 Indiana Economic Digest "The Last Refrigerator From Evansville" by Rich Davis, Evansville Courier & Press, April 2010

- Compiled by JGwest

No comments: