Michigan Transportation History

Russel Wheel & Foundry Company

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Russel Wheel & Foundry Co., advertisement, Hardwood Recorder, October 25, 1906, p. 44.

The Russel Wheel and Foundry Company was established in 1876 by George H. Russel and Walter S. Russel, sons of George B. Russel.1 The factory was located at the foot of Walker Street but relocated in 1892 to Chene Street. The firm incorporated in 1883. By 1884, the Russell Wheel had produced some 36,000 car wheels. During 1883 alone, the company made some 2,600 tons of castings. It specialized in log, lumber, and mill-yard specialty cars (as seen in the advertisement at right). Russel Wheel also contracted for specialty car wheels, architectural ironwork, and other machining. In 1909, the firm employed some 700 workers.

The officers of the company seemed to rotate among the brothers. George H. Russel and Walter S. Russel took turns as president and vice president and superintendent; and John R. Russel?, was at one time both secretary and treasurer, but later treasury duties were taken over by A. W. Russel?; and C. W. Russel? was the assistant manager. George, Walter, and John were sons of George B. Russel.2

After the turn of the twentieth century, the company was producing more structural steel and changed the name to Russel Steel Construction Company to reflect the change in focus. A notable structure for which Russel Steel provided material was Detroit's Hammond Building. Russel Steel closed during the Great Depression.


1. Farmer; but note that the Compendium History claims that the works was started in 1880 (p. 189).

2. Farmer listed George as President and Burton listed Walter. Farmer did not list either A.W. or C.W. as having positions.


Silas Farmer, History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan: A Chronological Cyclopedia of the Past and Present, 3rd ed. rev. and enl. (Detroit: S. Farmer & co. for Muncell & co., New York, 1890), 806.

Clarence M. Burton, Compendium of History and Biography of the City of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan (Chicago: Henry & Taylor, 1909), 189

Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "Russel Wheel & Foundry Company," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2020), www.michtranshist.info/.

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Page last modified on January 07, 2020, at 05:26 PM EST

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