Muddy Waters - 1881
724-730 N 1st Street
Great Western Wire Products Company has been a “family business” even before 1914 when it was here at 724 N 1st Street. Its origins date back to 1907 when the uncle of the company’s founders invented a machine that made woven wire fabric. The patent on this machine is considered by some historians to be the original precursor to today’s chain link fence.
Soon the woven fabric was used as a bed spring, marketed by the “Great Western Wire Fence and Manufacturing Company.” Their slogan, “Never Sag Knitted Wire Bed Spring” gave a lifetime guarantee and became part of the furniture lines of several St. Louis stores and national wholesale hardware companies. By the 1930's the bedspring mattress was phased out and the company moved to Lafayette Square.
The family inventor Ira J. Young also applied for a patent in 1912 on a machine for forming split pins, later to be known as Cotter Pins. He manufactured Cotter and Split Pins under the name of Wire Manufacturing Company. Now a century later, the cotter pin, offered in a wide variety of metals, shapes, sizes, and finishes, has continued to be one of Western Wire’s primary products.