Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bygone Business: McAleer Manufacturing - Part 3

ITT-Higbie plant in 1978 (Photo by Harold Mowat)
The post-World War II years were turbulent ones for Rochester's McAleer Manufacturing. Before the war was over in the Pacific, company officials had already plans for production of a new portable suction cleaner for automobiles.  The company had also just acquired the Bronson Reel Company of Bronson, Michigan; Bronson, now a McAleer subsidiary, claimed to be the largest producer of fishing reels in the world at that time.

On January 15, 1946, just five months after the war ended, owners Carlton and N. Bradley Higbie took their company public, offering 50,000 shares of preferred  McAleer stock at $10 a share and 50,000 shares of common stock at $5 a share.  The stock offering was intended to raise approximately $662,500 in new capital.

The following November, Carlton M. Higbie bought out his brother's share of the company and took his place as both president and chairman of McAleer.  Along with the announcement that N. Bradley Higbie was leaving the firm came the news that McAleer was ready to start production steel pressure tubing for the auto industry.  On May 5, 1950, company stockholders met and voted to change the name of the firm to Higbie Manufacturing Company.  Higbie was organized into four divisions: Avon Tube Company, McAleer Manufacturing, Bronson Reel, and the general crafts division. Two years later, the McAleer division was sold off, and the Rochester plant was solely devoted to the Avon Tube division.

In 1971, Higbie Manufacturing was acquired by International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) and became known as ITT-Higbie.  ITT-Higbie continued to produce tubing in the Rochester plant until 1994; the building was then sold for redevelopment and eventually became the home of the Rochester Mills Beer Company.

Miss the previous posts on this topic? Click here for Part 1 or Part 2 of the McAleer story.


  1. Where did ITT-Higbie move to???

  2. The 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act may have part in McAleer's "decision" from manufacturing chemicals next to a river, to making metal tubing....

  3. The last part of the article says that the ITT-Higbie building became Rochester Mills, but I think that's the building next door. Rochester Mills is the old Western Knitting Mills, and this ITT-Higbie building was razed (now an empty lot).