20 September 2023

Lakeshore Engine Works, Marquette, Michigan

Courtesy of Northern Michigan University NMU Commons. Found at https://bit.ly/45y4ljB

My great uncle, Burton L. Watt, worked for Lake Shore Engine Works in Marquette, Michigan for most of his life. My dad tells a story about Uncle Burt's work in his autobiography.

"Uncle Burt, upon graduation from high school in Marquette, started to work at Lake Shore Engine Works.  Eventually, he came to be Vice-President of the company and although they had no retirement pensions, as such, the President of the company saw to it that he received a monthly check, which he received right up to his death at the age of 101, even though the company management changed hands several times."

Lake Shore Engine Works, which was later Lake Shore Iron Works and other names, was built in 1890. It used to manufacture mining, milling, and general machinery.

Built for FORD MOTOR CO.

Postcard courtesy of William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Clements Library has a diverse collection of postcards that includes many from Lake Shore Engine Works. Ford Motor Company was a big customer of Lake Shore Engine Works. I remember my Uncle Burt talking about meeting Henry Ford and designing items for Ford's company.

Other images can be found through the Copper Country Historical Images at Michigan Technological University. Many of the images are of items manufactured by the company. I didn't realize how large the machinery produced by Lake Shore Engine Works was. I was thinking of small-scale items.

Lake Shore Engine Works Trade catalogs and literature are available at the National Museum of American History, Behring Center, part of the Smithsonian Collection. 

Lake Shore Engine Works was at 955 Lakeshore Blvd., in Marquette, Michigan. Demolition of the old factory was started in 2017.It had been in existence for over a hundred years, but fell into ill repair.

Burton L. Watt had four patents from 1938-1948. The drawings found during my search are amazing. There weren't computers to help with the drawings. These were drawn by humans. 

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