American Radio Cabinet Company

The American Radio Cabinet Company represents one of the unique and more recent of the many and varied industrial concerns that contribute to the acknowledged precedence of Grand Rapids as an important industrial and commercial center. This company had its inception in 1919, when Harold Worm and Robert S. Brown formed a partnership and engaged in the manufacture of a one-string violin, an interesting and effective musical instrument that had been developed and invented by Mr. Worm. The manufacturing was initiated under the firm name of the Sangtoy Company, and the little factory was opened in the building that is now the manufacturing and commercial headquarters of the American Radio Cabinet Company. Alfred J. Brown, father of Robert S., became a silent partner in the business a year after operations had been instituted. In 1921 the name was changed to the Grand Rapids Toy Manufacturing Company, the business having been incorporated under the latter title in December of that year. The principal product was the toy violin of one string, which met with favorable reception, but gradually the scope of the enterprises was extended. Soon after the close of the World war industries in Germany were sufficiently revived to make the German-made toys once more measurably popular in the United States, and this importation of toys from Germany cut into the demand for those of American manufacture. It was with recognition of these conditions and of the possibilities of developing a prosperous cabinet-manufacturing enterprise in direct line with the wonderful advancement and growing popularity of the radio science and industry, that this Grand Raids company made a wise economic and commercial change when it instituted the manufacturing of radio cabinets of high grade and attractive design. In 1924 the name of the corporation was changed to its present form, the American Radio Cabinet Company. In the company’s factory thirty-five skilled artisans are now retained in the manufacturing of these cabinets, and the business has become one of substantial order, with trade extending throughout the United States and into the various Canadian provinces. Robert S. Brown is president of the company, T. Hershel Brown is its vice-president, and A. R. McCammon is secretary and treasurer. All of these executives are vital and resourceful young business men of marked progressiveness, and under their management the success of the business is certain to be cumulative. Robert S. Brown, president of the company, was born in Grand Rapids, September 10, 1899, and in the public schools he here continued his studies until his graduation in the Central high school. He then entered the University of Michigan, but within a very short time thereafter the nation became involved in the World war, with the result that he enlisted for service in the United States navy. Ill health soon made him ineligible, and he was given an honorable discharge. Upon his return to Grand Rapids Mr. Brown took a position in the wholesale seed establishment of his father, Alfred J. Brown, who has long been one of the representative business men of this city. He learned the details of this line of business, and when he became impressed with the excessive prices paid by the concern for seed cabinets, he prevailed upon his father to install the requisite machinery and to manufacture the cabinets in an independent way, the new venture proving a success. It was largely through this association with practical mechanics that Mr. Brown was attracted to the musical toy invented by Mr. Worm, as already noted, and their alliance proved the basis for the successful industrial enterprise that is now carried forward by the American Radio Cabinet Company.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 20 February 2005