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The History of Brown Engineering Co.

Ellis E. Brown founded the Brown Engineering Company in 1905 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Mr. Brown was a Worcester Tech engineer and designed several proprietary products which the company manufactured for many years. These products include the Mule Pull line-shaft clutches, quick-change vises, the high capacity Kushion-Torque flexible shaft couplings, and the Brown Sectional Storage Rack which is still being manufactured today.

*** During this time Brown Engineering became one of the first agents for Edison Lamp Works of General Electric. Recently some old inventory was found that included some Edison light bulbs, still in their original packaging! ***

The ownership of the company was passed on to Ellis’s son , Eugene, in 1952. Eugene continued to develop the company’s own products but also put more emphasis on developing the industrial supply part of the business. Some of the well-known lines represented then, and t o this day, are Schrader (now Parker Hannifin Corp.) Diamond Chain, US Rubber Co. (now Gates Rubber Co.), and Keystone Lubricants (now Total). Much of the company’s success can be attributed to the long-standing relationships with these and many of its other suppliers.

***Pictured here is a photo of the time clock that hung in our original location on North 3rd Street in Reading. We recently found that the clock, which had been carefully packed away for years, is still functioning! It is now on display in our new location on North 13th Street where we moved in 1996, along with many other parts, tools, drawings, signage, and accessories that were used over the years. ***

In 1970, Eugene H. Brown (known to many as Gene or Buzz) joined the firm and in 1975. A partnership was formed in order that continuity in the ownership and ongoing development of the business could be maintained. In 1978, the company incorporated under the name Brown Engineering Co., Div of Brown Engineering Co., Inc. Over the years, Gene did just about every job there was to do at Brown including making deliveries, machining parts in the shop, drafting drawings, and working with customers on site. In 1998, he became the 3rd generation president of the company.

Seven years later, in 2005, two significant events occurred. We celebrated our 1st Centennial and a 4th generation family member, Benjamin F. Brown, joined the company. Following his graduation from Clarkson University, Ben worked for five years at Pratt Whitney as a manufacturing engineer. His experience with a large manufacturer gives the company a new and different perspective as it moves forward into the 21 st century.

Another 10 years have passed. Over the last decade things have continued to change and evolve at Brown Engineering. Benjamin was named vice president and is heavily involved in outside sales, working with customers and addressing their needs on site. Ben’s sister Jillian Brown, also works for the company. Together, Gene and Ben are working to continue the idea that Brown is the place “Where Tradition Meets Technology t o Keep Your Gears Turning”!


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