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Encyclopedia Dubuque



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Stock certificate, Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
CARR, ADAMS AND COLLIER COMPANY. This local manufacturer was the predecessor of one of the world's largest woodworking companies. Manufacturers of Bilt-Well Woodwork, the Carr, Adams and Collier Company's history began with the formation of the CARR, AUSTIN AND COMPANY on lower Main Street.
Advertising matches.
With a workforce of two men, the company produced building woodwork until destroyed by fire in 1871. The company was rebuilt on Iowa Street and expanded to employ fifteen men. In February 1879, W. H. Austin sold his interest in the company to his partners. (1) The new company was renamed W. W. CARR AND COMPANY. (2) Fire again destroyed the firm in 1879, but the company relocated along Jackson Street between Ninth and Tenth STREETS.

The company was incorporated in 1887 as Carr, Ryder and Wheeler Company with a capital stock of $125,000. By February 16, 1890, continued expansion of the company led to an increase in the capitalization to $150,000. The firm's name was changed to Carr, Ryder and Engler Company. The need for more power led to January 1892 when the company had to close for three days while the bed under the new 500-horsepower engine settled.(3)

Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
The company's name changed again in 1897 to Carr, Ryder and Adams Company. This name remained until 1938 when the firm's name became Carr, Adams and Collier Company.

During WORLD WAR II the company's war effort included the manufacture of footlockers and ammunition boxes in addition to its more traditional supplies to military bases. Progressing through the series of changes in name the company eventually became CARADCO.

Advertising measuring tape. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Advertising model. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Jim Massey
Metal ash tray.



1. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, February 18, 1879, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18790218&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. "W. W. Carr and Company," Dubuque Herald, February 26, 1879, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18790226&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, January 26, 1892, p. 4