PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM
THE HOOVEN & ALLISON COMPANY, manufacturers of twine and cordage, at Xenia, Ohio, has one of the leading factories of this kind in the country. A company was organized in 1869 for the purpose of making what is known as handmade twine, which enterprise was being successfully prosecuted when Robert A. KELLY came to the city and became connected with the concern. He had worked with the American hemp fibre with which he had experimented quite largely regarding the production from it of twine by machinery. In the spring of 1876, he suggested the feasibility of this to Messrs. HOOVEN & ALLISON, who being convinced that a better and cheaper twine could thus made than by the hand process which they had been using, at once set to work to get appropriate machinery for the purpose. From the beginning made on the evening before Christmas, 1876, when the first spool of hemp twine was manufactured in Xenia, the plant of the above company has grown to great proportions.
Mr. HOOVEN died in 1881, after which time Mr. KELLY formed a partnership with Mr. M. C. ALLISON, the firm name continuing HOOVEN & ALLISON until the death of the latter, May 3, 1888. Two months thereafter a stock company was organized, the incorporators being Jacob HARBINE, J. D. STEELE, W. B. HARRISON, R. A. KELLY and Mrs. Fanny ALLISON. The capital stock is $150,000 and the officers are J. H. HARBINE, President; W. B. HARRISON, Vice-President; J. D. STEELE, Secretary; R. A. KELLY, Superintendent. The officers still retain the same positions, controlling a business which furnishes employment to from two hundred and twenty-five to two hundred and fifty hands, sending goods to all parts of the United States. They manufacture hemp, jute, manilla and sisal goods, as well as cotton goods, and besides their large establishment in Xenia, operate a cotton mill in Zanesville under the same charter. This mill was purchased by HOOVEN & ALLISON in 1879.
R. A. KELLY, Superintendent of the mammoth concern above mentioned, was born in Guilford, County Down, Ireland, October 16, 1838. He was brought up in the flax and linen concern of DUNBAR, MCMASTER & CO., leaving his native land in 1855, to enter the employ of FINLAYSON, BONSFIELD & CO., manufacturers of linen thread at Johnston, Renfrewshire, Scotland. In July, 1859, he emigrated to the United States, his first employment here being with the DOLPHIN Manufacturing Company, of Patterson, N. J. He was also engaged in the manufacture of flax, sisal and manilla rope machinery in the same city. In 1864, he was sent to Delaware, Ohio, by Messrs. TODD & RAFFERTY to erect and superintend the works of the Delaware Manufacturing Company. They manufactured twine and seamless bags during the war, afterward converting the flax mill into a bagging mill for the manufacture of bagging for covering cotton.
Mr. KELLY built the first five laying machines and finishing machines for laying and finishing hemp twine in Delaware, Ohio, which machines he brought to Xenia in the fall of 1876, placing them in the factory of the HOOVEN & ALLISON company. The further history of that establishment has been already given, in so far as our brief notes can tell the story of a mammoth business concern whose instigators and managers are constantly proving their possession of the powers of combination and command necessary for the successful prosecution of an enterprise in which many men must be employed.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio
Chapman Bros., Chicago. Copyright 1890.