Curtis Building - 1870
811 N 2nd Street
This three story brick building with segmental arched windows and cast iron ground floor was once home to Curtis & Company, a family-owned foundry and machine shop. The company's beginnings started on 1st Street in 1854 making saws for lumber mills, and in 1875 moved its offices here at 811 N 2nd. During this time there were 26 saw companies in St. Louis making over 80% of the saws manufactured in the United States. Over the next 150 years the company has been a leader producing high quality, world-class industrial equipment. In 1914, the company was divided into three divisions, the Curtis Saw and Saw Mill Machinery Co. and Curtis Pneumatic Co. producing high quality air compressors, and St. Louis Steel Foundry.
World War I
During the First World War the role of Curtis changed, when it began making 8" and 9 1/2" howitzer shell casings for the military. Over the course of the war, the company produced over 2 million shell casings and developed a new casting process that speeded up production. The company had patented the process and turned it over to the government so that other companies could help with the war effort.
Following the war, the company received the coveted "Ordnance Department Flag". This was a proud moment for the company and its 2,090 men and women working three shifts to keep production moving. The workforce was reduced to approximately three hundred men when the war ended.
In 1919, the company was manufacturing machinery, air compressors and a limited amount of saw blades. This year also saw the the production of the Model B series compressor. There were six models in this line at this time. Today, FS-Curtis remains a leader in the industry.
The Curtis Building is also known as the Pain Court Building.