#2 Boston Works

The second Allis-Chalmers complex to be examined is the Boston Works in Boston, Massachusetts. This was one of the many other factories part of the Allis-Chalmers firm.

In 1931, Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co. acquired the American Brown Boveri Electric Corporation and the Condit Electric Mfg. Co., together both specialized in turbines, steam engines, generators, switch gears and transformers. Allis-Chalmers chose the Condit Electric Mfg. Co. factory as the Boston Works branch of the Allis-Chalmers firm, where electric circuit breakers were produced.

Condit Electrical Manufacturing Company
Boston, MA

Condit Electric Mfg. Co. was a subsidiary of the American Brown Boveri Company. The latter was a branch the of the Swiss based company, Brown Boveri. The firm expanded in the United States in October 1925 in Camden, New Jersey. The company prospered during World War I by building ships and machines that were installed on the ships. They wanted to shift production to turbines, generators. transformers, and other electrical equipment. The Condit Electric Mfg. Co. of Boston was acquired for their production of electrical switch gears. The Condit Electric Mfg. Co. was known for oil circuit breakers, on both indoor and outdoor sizes. Other firms across the U.S. were also bought out to add more lines of equipment to the company.

The company was hit hard during the Great Depression and tariffs (tax) on imported goods were too high to be able to import material from Switzerland, so the firm decided to sell off its lines to cut losses. The electrical division was sold to the Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co. in 1931.

With the addition of this branch, Allis-Chalmers had acquired a line of mercury arc power rectifiers, generator voltage regulators, transformers, and heavy-duty electrical railway locomotive motor and control equipment. After the acquisitions, Allis-Chalmers became the only licensed firm in the U.S. to manufacture and sell turbo-blowers and turbo-compressors  designed by the Brown Boveri Company. By 1939 Allis-Chalmers became the third largest electrical manufacturer in the United States behind General Electric and Westinghouse.*

Allis-Chalmers Electric Equipment Ad

Allis-Chalmers had the largest toroidal winding and taping machines, which built transformer components, housed at their Boston Works. The plant also built large circuit breakers for switch gears that were installed and operated other automated factories. Allis-Chalmers claimed that their electrical equipment could “handle any size of power interrupting job.”*

Due to inefficiency and rising costs, Allis-Chalmers was forced to shut down and relocate some operations. I believe this was the fate of the Boston Works. I ran across some information that suggests that operations were moved from Boston to Jackson, Mississippi in 1973. I found a report from the Boston Historical Society that suggests that in 1974 the Boston Works was damaged by a fire ( the report said the building was vacant in 1974.) When I do find something I will be sure to update this post.

* Peterson, Walter F. An Industrial Heritage: Allis-Chalmers Corporation. Milwaukee: Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1976. Pages 302-304

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