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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Business Card. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding.
Photo courtesy: Jim Massey
SMEDLEY STEAM PUMP COMPANY. Established around 1876, the Smedley Steam Pump Company manufactured all types of pumping equipment. One specialty was manufacturing mining machinery including pumps, boilers, engines, hoist compressors and pipes. The company also specialized in concentrating mills of all types. Foundry work of any kind was also accepted. The plant occupied an entire block at Garfield Avenue and Kniest STREETS. A branch office was located in Chicago.

With the growth of business, the company expanded in 1891 with the construction of a two-story brick building 40 x 100 feet, a large "pattern building," and new equipment. (1) In 1892 the company provided a pump at the EAGLE POINT water works station that had a capacity of three million gallons of water daily. (2) In January 1895 the company reported earnings at increased 10% and that a dividend of 6% would be declared. The company then had contracts for five or six water plants. (3)

The announcement was made in November, 1895 of the company's failure due to insufficient capital and heavy debts. A trustee was named. (4) It was soon discovered that the company had failed to refile as a corporation, but had continued to operate as one. Fears that the stockholders would be personally liable for the debts were soon put to rest. (5)

On March 22, 1900 the articles of incorporation of the Smedley Steam Pump Company were filed with a capital stock of $50,000. The incorporators incuded Peter KIENE, president; W. W. BONSON, vice-president; F. G. Hornbogen, secretary; Franc. W. ALTMAN, treasurer; and Edwin SMEDLEY, superintendent. The plant was immediately renovated. (6)

In 1905 the company began the production of a house boiler for steam and hot water which W. W. BONSON and his brother Robert BONSON invented. Many of the boilers were installed in prominent buildings in Chicago. (7)

Around 1911 the company was purchased by KLAUER MANUFACTURING COMPANY. (8)

The 1903 Dubuque County Rural Route Directory through the 1922 Dubuque Telephone Directory listed Garfield and Kniest.

The 1942 Dubuque Classified Business Directory listed 419 Garfield.



1. "Enlarging the Works," Dubuque Daily Herald, September 16, 1891, p. 4

2. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, September 14, 1892, p. 4

3. "Smedley Manufacturing Meets," Dubuque Daily Herald, January 17, 1895, p. 8

4. "Smedley Company Fails," Dubuque Daily Herald, November 30, 1895, p. 8

5. "Are Not Liable," Dubuque Daily Herald, January 1, 1896, p. 5

6. "Have Faith in Dubuque," The Dubuque Herald, March 22, 1900, p. 8

7. "Smedley Company Increases Output, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 3, 1905, p. 2

8. "Klauer Celebrates 100 Years," Telegraph-Herald, April 5, 1970 p. 27