HENRY C. HART MANUFACTURING COMPANY
It has been reported in various sources that HENRY C. HART & COMPANY was established in 1877; however, no corroborating information has surfaced to date. The first listing for HENRY C. HART & COMPANY in the Detroit City Directory is in 1880.
On September 27, 1882 the DETROIT FREE PRESS commented on a new factory being built to be occupied by the CLARK HARDWARE COMPANY and the HENRY C. HART & CO. It went on to state that the two companies currently shared a facility. For the combined operation Henry C. Hart was listed as President, Clarence E. Bennett (Ex-Mayor of Detroit) Secretary, and John M. Rumney Treasurer. The CLARK CO. was devoted to the manufacture of hardware and the HART CO. to the manufacture of railway hardware. Total cost of the new building on Franklin Street was $50,000 to include 50,000 SQ FT of iron foundry, brass foundry, machine rooms, packing rooms, etc … It is believed that the new building was occupied by March 1883 as the ‘old’ CLARK HARDWARE COMPANY facility on Bates & Atwater was offered available for rent effective April 1883 for up to four years.
In November 1884 the CLARK HARDWARE COMPANY and the HENRY C. HART & CO. was succeeded by the HENRY C. HART MANUFACTURING CO. Their first toy banks were patented in 1885. During his early years in Detroit, Henry C. pursued various other business interests including: the DETROIT & MONTANA CATTLE CO., the DETROIT SEATING CO., and the HORTENSE MINING CO.. Most appeared to be short lived and not overly successful.
On August 14, 1891 there was a major fire resulting in a total loss. Damage was estimated at $115,000 of which $70,000 was covered by insurance. They reopened after several months. Between 1891 and 1895 they had several listing in the Detroit City Directory including manufacturers of TOYS and manufacturers of BANKs. It is probable that the business was experiencing financial difficulties or shift in focus as on November 15, 1894 HART signed over their entire railroad business to the DAYTON MANUFACTURING CO. of Dayton, OH.
As early as 1894 it was apparent that Henry C. was experimenting in a new field as he was granted Patent # 569,918 for a GAS ENGINE. It was the first of several engine patents. The HART MOTOR CO. was incorporated July 15, 1897. In October 1898, the IDEAL MANUFACTURING CO. of Detroit purchased the HENRY C. HART MFG CO. and adjoining property. The IDEAL COMPANY of Detroit was also known for making safe banks and cast iron toys.
The HENRY C. HART MFG CO. continued to exist on paper until 1899, and then was gone.
Henry C Hart died November 12, 1909. He is buried at the Oakwood Cemetery in Adrian, MI.