The Fleckenstein Visible Gasometer Company

Page 266-267-268 The Fleckenstein Visible Gasometer Company  which was organized and incorporated in 1917, has made a definite and valuable contribution to the industrial activities and prestige of Grand Rapids, where its main factory is established, the mechanical equipment of the plant being of the best modern order, with much special machinery and with all requisite accessories for the manufacturing of products of the maximum efficiency. The Visible Gasometers manufactured by this corporation are widely recognized for their efficiency and accuracy of operation, the patents on the device, one of the most improved order, being owned and controlled by the company, and the products being in demand in every state of the Union, and in foreign countries, while the large Canadian trade has brought about the manufacturing of the product in the city of London, Ontario. The Fleckenstein Visible Gasometers have been adopted as standard equipment by some of the leading oil companies of the United States and the devices are to be found in effective service in all sections of the United States, as well as in most of the Canadian provinces, in Cuba and elsewhere. Within a period of less than a decade the business of this progressive company has expanded from one of modest order into one of broad scope and importance, and the concern has proved a worthy addition to the great industrial activities of Grand Rapids. Upon its re-incorporation, in 1922, the company gained the following executive personnel: Alexius P. Fleckenstein, president and general manager: John F. Wagner, vice-president; Russell L. Edison, secretary and treasurer, and Jackson Fleckenstein, sales manager. Alexius P. Fleckenstein, president of the company, was born at Faribault, Minnesota, July 9, 1870, and there he attended the public schools until he was fourteen years of age, when he found employment in a local dry goods store, at the phenomenal salary of two dollars a week. At the age of sixteen years he entered the employ of Nonotuck Silk Company, in St. Paul, and at the age of eighteen years he was made the company's salesman for the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and for other towns in the vicinity. At the age of twenty years he initiated his service as a traveling salesman for this company, with Iowa and Nebraska as his assigned territory. He gave thirty years to successful service as a traveling salesman through the western states, and in 1904 he established his residence and the family home at Ionia, Michigan. Not mere paternal pride but also practical business discrimination and judgment led him to appreciate the intrinsic value of the visible gasometer invented and patented by his son Jackson, and finally he turned his attention to promoting the organization of a company for the manufacture of the device upon a consistent commercial scale and basis. Within a period of nine weeks he so presented the matter to personal friends in whom he had confidence and who had confidence in him, that he succeeded in enlisting the requisite capitalistic support, to the amount of $40,000, and it was with capital stock of this amount that the company was incorporated in 1917. He has since continued president and general manager of the company and his long and varied business experience makes him a resourceful and progressive executive well fortified for the development and upbuilding of the substantial industry of which he is now the administrative head. Jackson Fleckenstein, the inventor of the Fleckenstein visible gasometer, has much of native mechanical and inventive talent, and this was developed effectively by his course of study in the celebrated Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He conceived and developed the idea that resulted in his inventing and patenting of the Fleckenstein visible gasometer, his patents having been obtained in 1916. In the following year, when the nation became involved in the World war, he enlisted in the aviation corps of the United States navy, and his service therein continued until the armistice brought the war to a close. After receiving his honorable discharge he returned to Michigan and became actively associated with his father in directing the affairs of the newly organized Fleckenstein Visible Gasometer Company of Michigan , of which he has since continued the vital and successful sales manager, besides maintaining a general supervision of the factory operation. Jackson Fleckenstein was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1897, and was seven years old at the time of the family removal to Ionia, Michigan, where he attended the public schools until he entered the Kentucky Military Institute, at Lyndon, Kentucky, in which he was graduated in 1915, he having later continued his studies in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the city of Boston. Russell L. Edison, secretary of the company, was born and reared in Grand Rapids, and in 1921 he was graduated in the engineering department of the University of Michigan. He is a representative of one of the old and honored families of Michigan, his father, the late Charles M. Edison, having long been identified in a prominent way with business enterprise in Grand Rapids, and having been a son of James R. Edison, who was one of the sterling pioneers of Kent County.

Transcriber: Gloria Paas
Created: 21 January 2003