James L. Murray

Page 661-663 - Among the men prominently identified with the industrial interests of Michigan, none is more worthy of mention in the history of Kent county than James L. Murray, executive head of the Grand Rapids Brass Company. He has not only achieved success in business, but has gained distinction in the management of large affairs and well deserves a place in the front rank among the leading business men of the country. The Grand Rapids Brass Company, of which he is president, stands forth as one of the many important and well-ordered industrial concerns of this city, and its present prosperity may be attributed in no small degree to Mr. Murray's executive ability and untiring efforts. This notable enterprise had its inception in Grand Rapids nearly half a century ago, when, in the early eighties Daniel W. Tower, here established a small brass foundry and engaged in its operation on a modest scale. His original products were represented in four samples that he presented for the approval of the furniture manufacturers of the city, and the wonderful expansion of the enterprise is best indicated in the statement that the Grand Rapids Company now manufactures approximately 6,000 different products, largely for use by furniture and refrigerator manufacturers. At the time of the incorporation of the company Mr. Tower became its president and George F. Sinclair its secretary and treasurer. Mr. Tower continued as the executive head of the company until 1919, when he sold the greater part of his interest in the business. In 1909 there came to this company a young man who was destined to assume much of leadership in its affairs, and particularly in its development to its present important status. It was in that year that James L. Murray assumed the position of salesman for the company and became its representative throughout the United States and parts of Canada. He thus continued his efficient and successful service until 1916, when he was advanced to the office of sales director, his energy and ambitious purpose in advancing the business having been such that he still continued to travel extensively in the interest of the company, in special exigencies and in the handling of matters of major importance. In 1918 he assumed still greater responsibilities, upon his election to the office of vice-president of the company, for he still continued his service as sales director. In 1922 he became president and general manager of the company, and under his administration in this executive capacity the business of the concern has become four times as great as that controlled when he formed his initial alliance with the corporation, in 1909. The original capital stock was $100,000, and is a concrete idea of the wonderful expansion of the business is conveyed when it is stated that operations are now based on a capital stock of $1,250,000, the concern being one of the largest of its kind in the United States. The large and modern manufacturing plant of this progressive corporation covers the north half of the block bounded by Shawmut, Scribner and Front avenues, northwest, with adequate offices at 66-90 Scribner. Since Mr. Murray assumed the office of president and general manager the organization has become one of distinctive harmony and loyalty, and employees have given the most effective co-operation in the upbuilding of the business. The other officers of the corporation are: H. M. Bertelson, vice-president, and Carlton Austin, secretary and treasurer. Mr. Bertelson has been associated with the company since 1903, and has advanced from the position of order clerk to that of vice-president. Mr. Austin has been with the company since 1899, except for the interval of 1919-21, his orginal service having been in the capacity of bookkeeper. Both are practical business men, and with Mr. Murray are devoting their time and energy to the upbuilding of the enterprise. Mr. Murray was born in Chicago, February 2, 1872, a son of James L. and Margaret (Johnston) Murray, and was a lad of five years at the time the family moved to Traverse City, Michigan. He has made for himself a secure vantage place as one of the progressive


Transcriber: Gloria Paas
Created: 22 March 2003
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/murrayjl.html