Arcade Manufacturing Company History

I had to do my own research on the history of Arcade Manufacturing Company because there were just not much information about the company.  In order to fully understand what kind of company Arcade was and the stories behind their Arcade coffee mills, I thought it would be best to dig into the history of the manufacturer.

Arcade Manufacturing Company From "History of Stephenson County"

The Arcade Company has always made a specialty of coffee mills, but it turns out a variety of goods.  Besides the dozens of coffee mills of different designs the Arcade turns out hinges, screen door hinges, stove pipe dampers, lid lifters, cork extractoers, corkscrews, and numerous small notions and novelties.  A large number of children's toys have also been manufactured, such as toy coffee mills, miniature trains, swings, doll carriages, etc.

The Arcade Company believed in producing the best quality products in the market.  Everything was made from the finest material obtainable, and by skilled workmen.

Arcade Manufacturing Company

1868 : Morgan Brothers, Charles Morgan and Edward H. Morgan founded the Novelty Iron Works on the corner of Chicago and Jackson streets in Stephenson county, Chicago Illinois with 10 employees.

1874 : The old buildings were torn down and a brand new, $25,000 manufacturing facility was built on the same spot with more advanced features such as machine shop, foundry, and engine room.

1877 : J.P. Easeter joins the company as a partner and the company began manufacturing a variety of castings as Novelty Iron Works.  One of the most dominant castings manufactured was plows and pumps.

1885 : The company went out of business in 1885.  Edward Morgan, Charles Morgan and Albert Baumgarten reorganized the company as the Arcade Manufacturing Company in the same facility where the Novel Iron Works company was.   The company grew too fast and it was crowded.  They moved to a new factory in East Freeport.

1891 : The company moved again to a building which was previously owned by the Emory and Williams Canning Company.  It was a perfect building for Arcade because of the machinery that were already installed. Charles Morgan's design of coffee mill was patented on October 20, 1891 (No 461,784)

1892 : The new location was burned down to the ground.  No one was able to identify the cause of the fire.  The fire was the knockout punch to the rapidly growing company.  Basically everything burned including all supplies and new equipments.  Not only that, about 40,000 finished coffee mills were destroyed by the fire.  The Arcade Manufacturing Company was accrued a deficit of over $20,000.

L L Munn1893 : The company was quickly reorganized and recovered from the deadly blow and successfully built a new factory at a place now known as the Arcade Addition.  The Arcade Addition was a land that belonged to the Keller- Wittbecker farm.  A portion of the land was sold to the Arcade Manufacturing Company.   Loyal.L. Munn (who later became the principal stockholder with heavy investment) became a partner.

1897 : Started manufacturing a variety of wall coffee mills.

1900 : The United States Patent Office grants Charles Morgan the patent (No 652, 323) on a new type of wall coffee mill, which is known as the Crystal No 1.

1908 : The animal banks launched with a horse figure.  Later expanded production by adding lion, seal, pig buffalo, cow, rhinoceros, and rat.

1909-1933 : A variety line of toy products were produced such as the famous Yellow Cab and Fordson.

1935 : Arcade introduced a line of inexpensive home-shop tools (Arcade Craft Tools and Craftmaster)

1941 : Arcade introduced the Homecraft line of woodworking machinery.

1946 :  Arcade was purchased by Rockwell Manufacturing Company main for their foundry and machining facilities.  Sadly none of the Arcade products were continued.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Hiner March 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm

We have an Arcade Mfg. Co. wooden coffee grinder — label also says it is “Favorite No. 67”. It once belonged to my husband’s grandparents. It’s in good condition. Don’t see this particular No. 67 on any for sale on eBay. Any ideas for a value for selling price? The label is in good shape — also says 1898, Freeport IL. Thanks!


al December 25, 2015 at 12:01 am

I have a imperial mfg. arcade model 707 according to their web site is worth $175.00


Clyde Davis October 17, 2016 at 12:25 pm

I have a Crystal No. 3 Coffee Grinder that has need passed down through the family. It was mfg. by Arcade Mcg. Co. I could use an approximate age of my grinder if someone has any idea. Please E-mail me.


Diane Bernards November 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Question: the arcade 4/40 why are some labeled with 4 and others 40, also the difference between the mount 2 screws on each side or the screws behind the catch cup or the coffee bean canister


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