ASHLAND -- First named Kauffman & Beer, the Kauffman Manufacturing Company started business in 1895. The plant was built along the A & W Railroad and was three stories high.
It was located at 264 East Fourth Street and bordered on Faultless Alley and Rubber Street.
The company was originally started by S. W. Beer and J. J. Kauffman. But after Beer passed away, Kauffman purchased his interest in the company. Kauffman’s sons J. E. and Harry S. along with his son-in-law Fred Edwards served on the board.
According to local Historian Will Duff in 1915, the company was “one of the oldest and most reliable in the list of Ashland industries.”
At that time, the company employed only 20 men and five salesmen, but they quickly rose to success and were considered pioneers in the manufacture of their items.
The company made woven wire mattresses, spring beds, cots, cribs, cradles, folding camp chairs, stools, folding beds, clothes racks, ironing boards and eaves trough fasteners. They also acted as a wholesale provider of stands, parlor tables, pedestals, stools, kitchen cabinets and library tables which were shipped factory direct from manufacturers in Wisconsin and Michigan.
During their first year, the company produced 2,000 springs but after becoming well-established they made 70,000 to 80,000 springs a year, which required about 300 tons of wire and an enormous amount of lumber, usually maple.
Kauffman Manufacturing remained in business until the early 1930’s, closing due to poor economic conditions during the Great Depression. In 1936, Simmons Manufacturing, a company from Cleveland moved its entire operation to the building.
Simmons Manufacturing was the largest independent manufacturer of replacement parts for Ford and Chevrolet. They primarily made bumper jacks and steering parts.
The building was later used by the Faultless Rubber Company as a warehouse until it became structurally unsound. It was razed on March 31, 1987 when it was 88 years old.