Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Dwyer, Jeremiah and James

Before Detroit was the Motor City, it was the largest manufacturer of stoves in the world. Much of this success was because of brothers Jeremiah and James Dwyer. Jeremiah, the elder of the two, was born August 22, 1838 in Brooklyn, N.Y. and came to Springwells, outside Detroit, with his family. Forced to work at a young age because of the death of his father, Jeremiah was an apprentice and journeyman at several foundries before winding up as a foreman at Geary & Russel. With the knowledge he gained, he and his younger brother James formed the J. Dwyer & Company foundry in 1861, making the first stove in Michigan.

As the elder brother, Jeremiah took the lead in the company. He met Charles DuCharme, a wealthy Detroit hardware dealer and with his support, the brothers incorporated the Detroit Stove Works in 1864 at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Helen Street.

The Dwyer brothers were the first foundry operators in the region to use modern engineering practices, hiring a mechanical engineer to develop metal mixtures for the stoves. Other stove makers and foundries quickly followed their lead.
In 1869 Jeremiah sold his interest in Detroit Stove Works to James, to travel south because of poor health. Returning to Detroit in 1871, he joined with others to incorporate the Michigan Stove Company. He would go on to organize the Art Stove Company and sit on the board of several corporations. Jeremiah and his wife Mary Long had nine children, eight of whom were male and wound up in the stove business, either at stove manufacturers or foundries. At the time of his death on January 29, 1920, he was known as “The Stove King.”

James developed the Eureka Iron Works, in Wyandotte, Michigan, under the aegis of James Dwyer & Company, and in 1881 formed the Peninsular Stove Company. The 1889 Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office lists several patents for cooking and heating stoves under James’s name.

The Dwyer brothers were lauded for running well-organized companies which treated their workers fairly. Because of them, foundry work became a new industry in Detroit, making the city the “Stove Center of America.”



Jeremiah Dwyer's leather fire helmet

Jeremiah Dwyer's business card

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