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jtstj

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In 1888, Henry Parsons Crowell was approached by Frank Drury to build, and market, a 'lamp stove'. The two men discussed the practicability of such an item. A patent was applied for; the Cleveland Foundry Company began building and then selling the stove. The 'Perfection Stove Company' was born.

In 1888 the Cleveland Foundry Company was formed. They manufactured a line of oil lamp stoves, along with many lamp companies such as Bradley & Hubbard and Miller. In 1894, the plant started producing portable heaters.  These heaters used the "store lamp" wick that had been standardized by Rochester in 1884. In 1901 Francis Drury approached John D. Rockefeller of Cleveland owner of Standard Oil Company. At the time Standard Oil was delivering kerosene to homes and businesses for use in kerosene lamps. Rockefeller knew that with use of the Drury Stove the demand for this kerosene would increase substantially and it did. Rockerfeller selected the company to design, develop and manufacture for it a complete line of stoves which were to be sold under the name "Perfection" to dealers by a group of 300 Standard Oil salesmen. This arrangement was continued by other oil companies. 

 

The Perfection product lineup was extremely important to the growth of American civilization.  By 1918, over 5,000,000 heaters were in use.  By 1922, over 3,000,000 Perfection kitchen stoves and ranges were in use in American homes!  A sizeable percentage of households used a Perfection product on a daily basis.  Before WW I, oil companies had horse drawn carts with large tanks of kerosene that would go through the larger cities of America. Fasten to the sides of these tankers were Perfection stoves and heaters that the deliverymen would sell off the cart. Following Standard Oil's breakup in 1916, the oil companies decided to concentrate on the gasoline business and gave up marketing stoves. 

 

Following the merger with Cleveland Metal Products Co. in 1917, Cleveland Foundry assumed the name of Cleveland Metal Products Co. In 1925 the name was changed again to Perfection Stove Company. In the years from 1920 to 1940 the company expanded its line of kerosene burning appliances to include water heaters, space heaters, power burners, furnaces and absorption refrigerators. The "Cleveland Foundry" began to offer stoves, first single burner "Ivanhoe" models, then graduating to multiple burners and finally complete kitchen ranges.  These used the 331X wick.  Later, as the Perfection Stove Company, they offered hot water heaters, refrigerators, etc.  The smaller units used the 331X wick while the largest units used the 441 "Giant Superfex" wick. 

 

During the Second World War, production of civilian products was stopped. A line of military heating equipment for operations in the Artic was developed and manufactured, and contracts were obtained for the production of other military goods such as aircraft parts and army field ranges. After the war, production of kerosene-burning appliances was resumed and augmented over the years by the addition of gas space heaters, furnaces, gas and electric ranges, gas fired infrared heating equipment, and air conditioners.

The "Golden Age" of the Perfection Stove Co. lasted from 1916 until the middle 1950's.  While FDR's rural electrification program was announced in the late 1930's, it was not until well after WW II that electric power lines were finally strung throughout rural areas.  And by the 1950's, the cost of electricity in cities had been reduced significantly.  Combined with the post-War economic boom, this spelled the end of easy, virtually automatic sales of kerosene powered stoves, ranges, hot water heaters and other appliances sold by the Perfection Stove Company.  In 1954, the company opened a plant in Georgia, taking over an existing 156,000 sq ft factory near Waynesboro. In 1955, it changed it's name to Perfection Industries, Inc. and was purchased by Hupp Corporation. n 1967 White Consolidated Industries, a major appliance manufacturer, bought Hupp Corporation and operated it until 1981 when it was sold to Bernd Schwank of Cologne, Germany. Scwank's father developed the infrared heating system and special ceramic tiles that convert gas-fuel flame to usable infrared rays. Perfection began to manufacture Schwank's products in 1955 under license of the German company. A quarter of a century later, Bernd Schwank would purchase the Waynesboro plant and Perfection would mark it's 100th anniversary.  It was believed that production of Perfection Oil Stoves and parts apparently ceased in 1981 but it has not. ( pls see below post)

In 1988, The company name was changed to Perfection-Schwank, Inc. In addition to retail space heaters and wall furnaces that are fueled with either LP gas, oil, or natural gas, the company produces infrared heaters for commercial and industrial use.

 

Thanks to Miles Stair of Miles Stairs Wick Shop for this information http://www.milesstair.com/

jtstj

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Reply with quote  #2 

I have learned that the original equipment is still in everyday use in Berne Indiana. It is used for making the stoves , wicks and most of the later stove parts. ( Cooking Stoves) Its owned by Elmer Schwartz of Schwartz manufacturing.  The heater side of the business was offered to Schwartz but he did not continue it.

 

 Thanks to Larry H for this info!!  He says he as been there and and has seen all the huge stamping machines from the original plant for wicks and burner parts.

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