Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company

The Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company was established under its present form in 1903 by W. T. Lewis and W. M. Lewis, who began the manufacture of automobiles using the motor invented by John W. Bate. Long prior to this the name of Lewis had figured in connection with manufacturing interests in Racine. In 1834 Henry Mitchell, a pioneer wagon manufacturer, had established business here and later was joined in a partnership by his son-in-law, W. T. Lewis, who purchased an interest in the business in 1864. They were manufacturers of farm wagons and after the partnership had been in existence for two years the firm style of Mitchell, Lewis & Company was assumed: Although the company suffered losses through a disastrous fire which completely destroyed their factory in 1880 they at once rebuilt on a larger and better scale and the business was resumed with renewed energy. In 1884 the company was incorporated with Henry Mitchell as president; W. T. Lewis as vice president; Frank L. Mitchell, secretary; C. D. Sinclair, treasurer, and Henry G. Mitchell, superintendent. This was a close corporation, for aside from the Mitchells, father and son, the other two were sons-in-law of the founder. With changing conditions there developed the automobile industry and the Lewis Motor Company sprang into existence. The manufacture of wagons was continued and in 1910 the two companies were merged and consolidated under the style of the Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company. Today they have a plant covering twenty-five or thirty acres and on their pay roll are found the names of two thousand or more men. The buildings are of cement construction, supplied with a sprinkler system and equipped with electric power furnished from a central plant. This is one of the foremost productive industries of Racine, contributing in large measure to the city’s reputation as a manufacturing center.

Source: Stone, Fanny S. Racine, Belle City of the lakes, and Racine County, Wisconsin : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement; Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916.

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