Spears Axle Co. in Wheeling
William Spears became the first axle manufacturer in Wheeling when he opened his Wheeling forge and axle works. His son, Ralph R. Spears, who had been involved in the business since the age of 13, took over the factory following his retirement in 1880. In 1887, Ralph became associated with T. W. Phinney and A. D. Howe. "History of the Upper Ohio Valley: with family history and biographical sketches," Brant & Fuller, 1890, states that Spears "in the same year became dissatisfied and sold out his interests to those gentlemen. He then organized a stock company, and in January, 1888, began the erection of the present [Spears Axle Co.] works, on the corner of Main, Water and Twenty-seventh streets, covering an area of 100x200 feet. The buildings are one story in height, and are stocked with the latest and most modern axle machinery. Over fifty men are carried on the pay rolls of the company, and an immense amount of material is turned out which finds a ready sale in all the markets of the west, northwest and south."
In 1909, according to the publication "The Iron Trade Review," (November 4, 1909, pg. 803) The Spears Axle Co. constructed a new plant in Warwood, near Wheeling, W. Va., retaining the 27th street location as a storeroom.
In 1920, the Spears Axle Co., which at that point was a division of the Standard Parts Co. in Cleveland, merged with The Wheeling Axle Co.
▶ Read the Wheeling Hall of Fame entry for Ralph R. (Reed) Spears
▶ 27th Street, between Water and Main St. (no longer standing)
▶ Spears Axle Co. Builds Warwood Plant, 1909
▶ Articles about the 1920 merger with Wheeling Axle Co.
Resources in the Library:
▶ Wheeling Hall of Fame induction ceremony (November 26, 2000), Hall of Fame Board, 2000. Wheeling Room, non-circulating, ask for access at the reference desk. Call#: Wheeling 975.415 Whee 2000