Vintage Metal TV
History of Stewart Warner Guages
Stewart Warner is perhaps the most recognized name in vehicle instruments in the history of the U.S. automotive industry. In fact, the brand dates back to 1905 when John Stewart founded Stewart & Clark Company. Stewart brand speedometers were first used on original Ford Model Ts, after which the company established itself as a market leading supplier of instruments. Seven years later, in 1912, Stewart and Edgar Bassick joined forces to create a new company to manufacture vehicle instruments and horns. Bassick, whose acquisitions included the Alemite Company, and Stewart also acquired the Warner Instrument Company and, as such, the Stewart-Warner Instrument Corporation was born.
Started in Chicago, the firm erected a manufacturing plant on Diversey and over time, the operation expanded outwardly in all four directions, thus becoming a massive complex with over one-million square feet and six floors. Prominently situated in the middle of the factory, towards the front, was a huge clock tower featuring the words "Stewart" and Warner". Off to the right was another tower, also featuring the words Stewart Warner, that could be seen for miles around. Today, the old clock resides in front of an apartment complex on Diversey as the only reminder of this once sprawling facility.
Over the years, Stewart Warner supplied a majority of the instruments, hourmeters and senders used by not only the automotive industry, but also by the heavy-truck and off-highway markets. The firm also supplied a wide range of unusual products like radios and refrigerators. In its heyday, Stewart Warner was a powerful corporation that employed thousands of people.