Page 259-530 - Elvah O. Bulman. In the year 1905 Elvah O. Bulman, with two employes, initiated a modest manufacturing enterprise that has been developed into one of the most substantial and important industries of Grand Rapids. The original manufacturing plant was in the barn at the rear of Mr. Bulman’s residence, on Eastern avenue, and today the industry has headquarters in its large and modern plant at 1719-25 Elizabeth street. This well ordered industrial enterprise is conducted under the corporate title of the E. O. Bulman Manufacturing Company. Mr. Bulman being president of the company, and the factory specializing in the production of light store fixtures of the best grade. The trade of the company has been extended into most diverse sections of the United States, and an appreciable export business has been developed in China, Russia, South America and Africa. George W. Bulman was born and reared in the state of New York, and there he continued his residence until he came to Michigan and settled on a farm near Burr Oak, St. Joseph county, when he later removed with his family to Grand Rapids. It was on the farm near Burr Oak that his son Elvah O. of this review, was born, in the year 1873, and the latter was sixteen years of age at the time of the family removal to Grand Rapids, where his public school discipline was not extended beyond the eighth grade. At the age of sixteen years Elvah O. Bulman found employment in a furniture factory, his assignment being to the work of nailing bed slats and his original emolument for this service having been $2.50 a week. He was eventually transferred to the machine department, where he learned to operate the various machines. Finally he found employment in the grocery store of James Stratton on Gold street, where he remained six years. During the ensuing six years he was employed in the circulation department of the Grand Rapids Herald. Mr. Bulman during these years maintained a little shop in which he indulged in his inclination to mechanical work and experimentation. He there invented a number of valuable mechanisms on which he received patents – some twelve in number – and finally, in 1905, as already noted, he established the little factory in the barn at the rear of his residence. There he engaged in manufacturing twine and holders for paper bags. Excellence of products and progressive policies caused the enterprise to expand in a substantial way, and finally larger manufacturing quarters were obtained in a building at the corner of Front and Fulton streets, where the number of employees was increased to six men. Later removal was made to the Chubb foundry building, and by this time the concern had two traveling salesmen engaged in the exploitation and sale of its products. In 1910 Mr. Bulman erected a factory building on Broadway, opposite the Imperial plant, this building having been 50 by 100 feet in dimensions. There operations were continued until 1920, when the building was sold and removal was made to the present modern factory building that had been erected for the purpose, at 1719-25 Elizabeth street. In 1910 Mr. Bulman effected the incorporation of the business under the title of the E. O. Bulman Manufacturing Company and with a capital stock of $20,000, the capital having been increased to $50,000 in 1924, to meet the demands of the constantly expanding business. The company still continues the manufacturing of twine and paper bag holders, but the important phase of the enterprise is now the manufacturing of complete lines of light fixtures for stores. Mr. Bulman, president of the company, has made a record of large and important achievement and has gained secure vantage ground as one of the reliable, progressive and influential business men and loyal and public spirited citizens of Grand Rapids.

Transcriber:  Nancy Myers
Created: 13 November 2002
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/bulman.html