Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : American Car & Foundry Co.
American Car & Foundry Co.

American Car & Foundry Co.

The firm of Wells, French & Co., which made railroad cars and bridges, was established in Chicago in 1866. By the early 1870s, with about 300 workers, the annual output of its plant on Blue Island Avenue surpassed $1 million. By 1880, Wells, French & Co. employed more than 400 men. In 1899, Wells, French & Co. was one of about a dozen American railway equipment producers that merged into the new American Car & Foundry Co., which had offices in Chicago but was headquartered in New York City. During the early 1900s, American Car employed about 1,500 people at its Chicago facilities, which specialized in the making of rail loaders, snowplows, and graders. American Car, like many firms in the railroad industry, suffered from the rise of the automobile and the airplane; the Chicago plant closed in 1950.