George B. Armstrong

History of Kent County, Page 358-359 - George B. Armstrong, vice-president and general manager of the Viking Automatic Sprinkler Company, with headquarters at 109 Campau avenue, northwest, in the city of Grand Rapids, has reason to take pride in his connection with the great Viking corporation, the operations of which are based on large capital and splendid executive personnel, and the industrial and commercial province of which includes the manufacturing of many high-grade products of great utility, so that the name Viking has become a symbol of standard excellence in the domain of American industrialism. The factory of the Viking Automatic Sprinkler Company is established at Hastings, Michigan, and the important concern is but one of many units in the great and far extended industrial operations of the Viking corporation. Mr. Armstrong, was born in Cannon township, Kent county Michigan, July 5, 1873, and is today one of the influential business men in his native county. He is a son of George W. and Anna E. (Wilson) Armstrong, and on the maternal side he is a grandson of the late Amos and Rachel (Brown) Wilson, who were numbered among the sterling pioneers of Kent county, Mr. Wilson having come to this county in 1842, about five years after the admission of Michigan to statehood, and having reclaimed and developed in Cannon township one of the fine farm estates of the county. One of the landmarks on the Cannonsburg road is the substantial old Wilson homestead, which was erected many years ago, this property being now owned by George B Armstrong, of the review, and being valued by him not only for its intrinsic financial worth but also by many gracious memories and associations, his mother having remained in the old homestead until her death, November 4, 1922, at the age of seventy-nine years, and her husband having passed away many years ago. The Armstrong family likewise gained a goodly measure of pioneer precedence in Kent county, where its first representatives settled in 1853, and where George W. Armstrong was a prosperous farmer at the time of his death. After his graduation in the high school at Cannonsburg, George B. Armstrong completed a course in the Welton Commercial College in Grand Rapids, and his first business service was in the selling of plumbing supplies. For several years he was Michigan state manager for the Globe Automatic Sprinkler Company, and through his extensive travels in negotiating contracts for automatic sprinkling systems in large factories, commercial houses, hotels and other buildings making requisition for such valuable fire-prevention service, he has gained a very wide acquaintanceship with leading men of affairs in virtually all parts of Michigan. When the Viking Automatic Sprinkler Company was organized, in 1923, Mr. Armstrong became vice-president and district manager of the corporation, and in this dual office his vigorous and progressive policies have worked admirably in developing the business of the company. This is the only Michigan corporation manufacturing a complete line of automatic sprinklers adapted to all kinds of buildings, the trade of the concern extending into all parts of the Union, and offices are maintained in all leading cities. On all products is stamped the word "Approved," as signifying a virtual trademark indicative of the approval of the Viking sprinklers by all leading fire insurance underwriting organizations of the country. Mr. Armstrong is an active and valued member of the Grand Rapids Association of Commerce, his Masonic affiliations include his membership in the Mystic Shrine, he is a member of the Peninsular, the Old Colony, the Highland Country and the Masonic Clubs, and he and his wife hold membership in Park Congregational church, his political alignment being with the Republican party. In the World war period Mr. Armstrong was active in the advancing of all patriotic movements in this home city and county. John J Armstrong, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was of Irish lineage and was one of the well known pioneer citizens of Oneida county, New York, at the time of his death. In 1895 George B Armstrong married Jeanie, daughter of John Muir, who was for many years a prominent business man of Grand Rapids. The death of Mrs. Armstrong occurred in 1903, and in 1905 Mr. Armstrong was united in marriage to Mrs. Elizabeth Bourne Sanders Owsley, of Frankfort, Kentucky, who is the popular chatelaine of their attractive home. Mr. Armstrong has no children.

Transcriber: Terry Start
Created: 4 March 2003