The Davis, Howe & Co. was founded in 1873 when Nathan Davis and Amos Howe became partners. Nathan Davis was approached to build the baptismal font for the St. George Temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. He contacted Amos Howe and in 1873 they became partners and founders of Davis, Howe & Co.
The Davis, Howe & Co. is of interest to me, and is in my family history focused blog because Amos Howe is my 3x great grandfather. In reading about the lives of Amos Howe and his family, I found that this foundry was an important part of history in Utah, within the L.D.S. Church and even had influence in the foundry business well outside of Utah.
Brigham Young provided the general design of the font, and Davis, Howe & Co. was responsible for translating the design into patterns and and building it. The same design was used in several other temples, and Davis, Howe & Co. worked on those as well.
The initial design was was rejected and a multi state hunt for the perfect oxen was made. Once the "perfect" oxen was found, it was brought to the foundry where a special stall was built for it to be housed in while models were made.
Picture from www.lds.org (link)
Amos' portion of the company was passed from him to his son, George Edward Howe, my 3and remained in operation until it closed during the great depression.
|George Edward Howe|
One of the things that the foundry created was a new design for the Fire Hydrant - as described in this article published in the Deseret News on 25 February 1875.
This hydrant was manufactured in the late 1870s by Davis, Howe & Co, a foundry that produced milling and mining machinery and other wrought and cast ironwork in Salt Lake City. The company was founded in 1874 and, in 1876, in partnership with then superintendent Thomas Witton Ellerbeck whose is largely credited with the construction of Salt Lake City’s waterworks system and gas plant in the 1870s. Ellerbeck, who was chief clerk for President Brigham Young, designed the hydrant with Amos Howe, which reportedly “differ[ed] from any other hydrants in the world” to permit access to the main valve, below ground, by passing through a hatch into a cavity constructed of 2” thick wood; in other words, it required no digging for repairs. The cavity also served as a means to prevent the freezing of pipes by creating an air pocket around the lower barrel and main valve. Many of these hydrants are still in service today, with the first having been installed in February of 1876. (Link to Picture and Article)
I enjoyed finding out that some of the things I saw growing up, and some that are still around, were produced by my ancestors. Some of the things designed and/or made at Davis, Howe and Co. include:
- Several baptismal fonts in Mormon temples in Utah
- Steel roof on the Salt Lake City Mormon temple
- ZCMI Facade in downtown Salt Lake City
- Gateposts for temple Square in Salt Lake City
- Base plates for Hotel Utah
- Many, many fire hydrants.
Deseret News - accessed on www.newspapers.com
Utah Historical Quarterly, Spring 1995, Volume 62, Number 2, The St. George Baptismal Font, Margaret M Cannon (link)