Pacific Stove & Range Mfg Co

Based in St Johns, OR beginning in 1909

The following information is a collection of all the data I've been able to find regarding the Pacific Stove & Range Company of St Johns, OR.  While researching a stove that I purchased at a garage sale, I found that there appears to be little information about this company, and none of it is in one easy to access spot.

This page attempts to change that.

You may notice that the majority of my information comes from the St Johns Review, which was the local paper serving the bustling industrial community of St Johns.  The papers archives until 1922 are online at the University of Oregon's Historical Oregon Newspapers archive.  

St Johns boasted quite a few industries, from lumber to ship building and, yes, a stove manufacturer.  It was annexed into Portland in 1915.

This is by no means an exhaustive history, and is pieced together from bits I found online.


The Pacific Stove & Range Co was founded in February 1909, with William G Brown as president, J.H. Cook as vice-president, and Ulic S. Dodge as secretary, later manager. [1]

The company set up their manufacturing plant at the "foot" of Richmond St, in what is now North Portland. [2]  It's not clear exactly what is meant, but a quick look at Google Maps, plus some additional details found in the various sources about being close to rail and the water, [11] would indicate that the plant was where Richmond street ends at the South. In addition to the foundry, there was a nickel plating facility on-site.

Manufacturing began on October 20th, 1909 [2], and according to the October 22nd edition of the St Johns Review, they employed 16 workers, with more to be added as needed.  Orders were "coming in thick and fast," indicating a positive response to the products.  [3]

By November 5th, 1909, business was moving along well.  They were able to produce 6 steel ranges and 25 heaters a day, plus an unknown (though probably in the neighborhood of 10) cook stoves. [4]  On November 12th, 1909, it was reported that the very first heating stove turned out by the factory was delivered to Hendrick's Hardware store, with the mayor of St Johns selling the stove to a Mr. Page the previous Saturday (Nov 6th).  [5]

Little is recorded about the company during 1910, but business appeared to be going well, as in early 1911, they purchased the half block adjacent to their original location. [6]  It is thought by myself that this purchased gained them access to at least one four-room cottage at the corner of Crawford and Charleston streets, which was put up for rent by the company [8], furthering my thoughts of the original facility being at the South end of Richmond street.

1911 was a busy year for the company, as they were apparently involved in a pay dispute with the Molders union (these being the folks that create the cast molds for pouring the molten iron), which resulted in a strike lasting 2 full years. [9]  Even though I've yet to find much mention of the strike in the newspapers, it was not totaly without it's newsworthy events.  In March, 1911, one of the workers, a Paul Farman, was arrested for drawing a gun on three striking union members, for fear they would jump him. [7]

The company responded to the strike by simply hiring additional non-union workers, and apparently continued manufacturing stoves and ranges. [10]  The link on citation [10] provides the most in-depth look at the companies workings that I've been able to find, and is well worth the read.

After that, the company appears to drop from view.  Aside from a note in 1913 that the strike was ended amicably, I can find no additional references to indicate that the company continued operations past 1913.  Indeed, it's possible that the company was unable to shoulder the burden of a strike, along with competition from many other stove makers of the day, and closed it's doors.

If anyone has any additional information about this company, it's ultimate fate, and/or the stoves it produced, please drop me a line at taborj@jontabor.tk

Lastly, I leave you with the a few images of their stoves from the period, as shown in advertisements by the Calef Bros. Furnishers.  All of these advertisements were taken from the St Johns Review, from the amazing archives at http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu

Click for larger versions

Garnet 22 closeup


References

[1]  The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912, Volume 3  Link
[2] The St Johns Review, October 8th, 1909  Link
[3] The St Johns Review, October 22nd, 1909  Link
[4] The St Johns Review, November 5th, 1909  Link
[5] The St Johns Review, November 12th, 1909  Link
[6] The St Johns Review, January 13th, 1911  Link
[7] The St Johns Review, March 10th, 1911  Link
[8] The St Johns Review, July 14th, 1911  Link
[9] International Molders' and Foundry Workers' Journal, Volume 49  Link
[10] The St Johns Review, September 29th, 1911  Link
[11] The Metal Worker, Plumber, and Steam Fitter, Volume 72, Part 2  Link