Newsletter, one page from a Hart & Cooley newsletter with images of bowlers.
The following history comes from Robert Swierenga's book Holland Michigan: From Dutch Colony To Dynamic City, pages 866-869.
"The Hart & Cooley Co. had its roots in the Hart & Cooley Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, founded in 1892 by Howard S. Hart and Norman P. Cooley.... The firm was the first to manufacture steel—instead of cast iron—furnace registers, regulators, and related heating parts.
The steel registers found an immediate market, especially at the Holland Furnace Company headed by August Landwehr. Landwehr arranged in 1924 for Hart & Cooley to buy the Federal Manufacturing Co. of Holland...to supply the popular warm air registers
By the time Hart retired in 1935, he personally held the record for register patents. Hart & Cooley established itself as the world’s largest manufacturer of furnace registers and grilles, and this reputation enabled the firm to maintain its three-hundred-employee payroll through the depression decade. By 1941 employment topped five hundred, and the next year, the firm purchased the former Hollander Inc. candy manufactory on Sixteenth Street just west of Van Raalte Avenue
During the war, Hart & Cooley shifted production from registers to 60mm mortar-shell casings, many of which were made by women who worked in shifts round the clock. In 1942, Hart & Cooley moved its Fafnir Bearings division from Connecticut to Holland and devoted half the factory floor to manufacturing ball bearings for the military. Until Fafnir closed at war’s end in 1945, millions of bearings rolled off the assembly line. Employment peaked at one thousand.
When furnace manufacturers replaced gravity flow with forced air furnaces in the 1950s, Hart & Cooley designed a line of registers, grills, and diffusers for the new systems. The workforce held steady at four hundred in these years. In the 1960s the firm developed award winning vents for gas-fired appliances, under the name Metelvent, which accounted for 16 percent of sales.
In 1978 Hart & Cooley became a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Interspace Corp., a building and construction equipment conglomerate. In 1981 new president C. Jonathan Hauck determined to double sales in five years; he spent $250,000 for a new stamping machine in 1984 to boost production of its stamped steel grills, registers, and diffusers for the heating and cooling industry. The industrial complex at 500 East Eighth Street then had 14.5 acres under roof and its 760 employees produced seventy thousand finished products per day.
A sixteen-day strike that summer by six hundred members of Local 1418, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists (IAM), militated against those goals and led to a reduction in force of twenty-nine salaried workers.
In 1986 Hart & Cooley became part of Chicago-based Eagle Industries, which invested $1.5 million in new equipment in 1987 and another $2 million in 1988. Along with the infusion of new capital, Eagle demanded higher productivity and implemented cost control measures. The workers took umbrage at the changes, and in August 1990, the 460-member Holland IAM local, in a repeat of 1984, went on strike, again to the detriment of client relations and sales."
The plant left Holland for Grand Rapids ca. 2004.
Gift ofMott, Cheryl