Heritage \ Writings \ Industry: Lumbering

Lewis Manufacturing Company (1879-1973)
1102 Lafayette St., Bay City, MI.
Manufacturer of Liberty pre-cut homes.

Brief Historical Background:
-- The history of this company is nationally associated with the manufacture of “Liberty” pre-cut houses, which were first introduced by the Aladdin Company, however, the company had no manufacturing capability in the beginning and had to contract for this service from Lewis Manufacturing Co., technically the first to build a pre-cut home. It was only after the Aladdin Company had their own manufacturing plant, that Lewis Manufacturing Co. entered the market with their own pre-cut home prouct.

1905 History. - Added Aug., 2009.

History of Bay County, Michigan - Augustus H.Gansser, 1905

1102 Lafayette, Bay City, Mich.

Reference - from the biography of George Lewis.

Page 716.

Mr. Lewis was interested in other successful business enterprises. In 1879 he formed a partnership with Albert Miller under the firm name of Miller and Lewis, which did business until 1891, when it was reorganized as George Lewis & Company. This company operated a large shingle mill on 26th street, which had capacity and facilities for turning out 40,000 shingles a day. During this same period, Mr. Lewis became connected with the lumber firm of G. H. Merrill & Company, which developed into and still continues as the Lewis Manufacturing Company.

It is interesting to note the rise and development of large enterprises, typifying as they do the foresight and judgment of those who ultimately bring about their prosperity. The Lewis Manufacturing Company had its beginning in 1882, when Hyde & Trombley erected a planing mill at Lafayette and James streets, and that firm operated it for some two years. It then fell into the hands of the firm of Merrill and Campbell. The death of W. M. Campbell made a change in the firm style and for a time the business was conducted as G. H. Merrill & Company, George Lewis purchasing Mr. Campbell's interest. The status of the company continued thus until the death of G. H. Merrill, in 1895, when the Lewis Manufacturing Company was organized and incorporated, with George Lewis as president; G. H. Lewis as vice-president, and Adna G. Lewis as secretary and treasurer. The control of the mill remains in the hands of Adna G. Lewis, as manager. The business is the manufacturing of and dealing in all kinds of lumber, sash, doors and interior finishings. As a substantial, well-managed concern, it stands as a leader among the many great industries of Bay City.

1914 USA National Trade Mark. - Added Aug., 2009.

The Detroiter, by Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce, 1914

Bay City Firm First Outside of Detroit to Use Trademark

R. B. Lawrence, Vice-President and General Manager of the Lewis Manufacturing Company, of Bay City, Michigan, the first concern in the United States to actually manufacture a Readi-cut home, will be the first user in the United States outside of Detroit, to use the U. S. A. National Trade Mark for which the Board of Commerce awarded a $500 prize Tuesday last.

The trade mark is being used upon a beautiful book of Lewis-Built Summer Cottages, and they will therefore have the honor of being the first users of the U. S. A. Trade Mark on sales publicity put out in book form. Copies of this book will be on exhibition at the Board of Commerce next week and it should prove interesting as the first gun being fired in the adoption of the trade mark in a national way.

The Franklin Press, of Detroit, who are producing the work, are therefore also the first manufacturing printers in the country to use the national trade mark on their product.

1919 G.W. Massnick, sales/advertising. (Added Sep., 2010)

The M. S. C. Record, Vol. 25, Issues 1-22.
Michigan Agricultural College (1919)

Page 95.

G. W. Massnick, 2136 Sixth St., Bay City, writes, "Am connected with the Lewis Manufacturing Co. of this city in the capacity of general sales and advertising manager. The business is enjoying a remarkable growth. We produce the nationally advertised Lewis Built Homes, shipping the complete material for the home all manufactured direct to the home builder.

Lewis Built Homes Catalog (Google Books)

Additional Notes:

    1890 Bay City Directory:

  • Lewis, George (G.H. Merrill & Co., Miller & Lewis, Joseph Turner & Co.) res 1207 Broadway.
  • Merrill, George H. (G H Merill & Co.), res 204 Michigan ave.
  • Merrill, G.H. & Co. (George H. Merrill, George Lewis), planing mill, cor 23d & F&PMMRR.
  • 1896 is usually stated as year Lewis Manufacturing Company was founded, however, prior to this date of incorporation, the George Lewis was manfacturing the same products under the firm name of George Lewis & Co. He actually entered the planing mill business in 1879 in partnership with Albert Miller under the label of Miller & Lewis. Therefore we recognition the later firm as the initial beginning of what was to become the Lewis Manufacturing Company.
  • In 1913 the company entered the pre-cut homes with their own designs, which they produced until they went bankrupt in 1973. They sold around 60,000 units during that time.
Relate Notes & Pages

Ad 1914

Lewis Mfg. Process

{Lewis Built Homes}

1922 Catalog
Google Books

Related Pages:
Aladdin Company
Lewis, Adna
Lewis, George
Miller, Albert
People Referenced
Campbell, W.M.
Hyde, Mr.
Lawrence, R.B.
Lewis, Adna G.
Lewis, George
Lewis, George H.
Massnick, G.W.
Merrill, George H.
Miller, Albert
Trombley, Mr.
Turner, Joseph
Subjects Referenced
Aladdin Co.
Aladdin pre-cut homes
Bay City, MI
Detroit, MI
Franklin Press, Detroit
G.H. Merrill & Co.
Hyde & Trombley Mill
Joseph Turner & Co.
Lewis Manufacturing Co.
Liberty pre-cut homes
Merrill & Campbell
Miller & Lewis Co.
Internet Resources
Article (pdf) by Robert Schweitzer, "The House That Lewis Built," includes detailed history & images.
Images from Lewis Mfg. Catalogs, 1922 & 1935.
The historical Sutherland Bungalo in Plymouth, MI, was built by Lewis Mfg.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.