About Kewanee Boiler

Kewanee Boiler was founded in 1868 by Valerius D. Anderson, who was a manufacturer of steam pressure cookers. In the early 1870s, his company started producing boilers for heating use in homes and other buildings. He handed over the reins to his company to William Haxtun in 1875, who renamed the business to the Haxtun Steam Heater Company. Haxtun patented a new type of boiler in 1875, which soon after he expanded into manufacturing tubes, pipes, and the various valves associated with boilers. Soon, two gentleman, John Pierce and E.E. Baker, would join the company.

Haxtun retired in 1891 and sold his share to the National Tube Company. They renamed the company from Haxtun Steam to Western Tube Company, and the company ceased manufacturing boilers. Instead the company would focus on manufacturing valves, pipes, and tubes. John Pierce was the leader of the Western Tube Company, followed by E.E. Baker.

E.E. BakerE.E. Baker, and various employees, formed a spinoff of the Western Tube Company, known as the Kewanee Boiler Company. E.E. Baker would be the leader of this business until his death in 1929, and E.E. Baker (also known as "Double-E Baker") served philanthropic duties in his community, including developing the Kewanee Park fund.

At the turn of the century, E.E. Baker moved manufacturing to a new facility located at 101 Franklin Street, Kewanee, Illinois. It would be at this location which Kewanee Boiler would produce all of their boilers until their closing in 2002.

Kewanee soon developed a smokeless boiler in 1906 and would offer major contributions to both World Wars in assisting with producting wartime materials, such as locomotive and ship boilers.

In 1917, the Western Tube Company sold the Kewanee facility to the Walworth Valve Company of Boston. Walworth, a leading manufacturer of valves, produced the valves and other various fittings used on most Kewanee Boilers until the company closed their doors in the late 1970s.

In the late 1920s, the Kewanee Boiler Company was purchased by American-Standard, a company which produced (and, although under new ownership, still produces) plumbing fixtures and heating equipment. American-Standard would later sell the company in 1972 to individual owners, which would retain ownership of the company until the mid-1980s, when the Burnham Boiler Company would take over, leading to the demise of Kewanee Boiler.

During World War II, the company was responsible for manufacturing boilers and pressure vessels for use aboard ships.

While Kewanee Boiler went defunct in 2002, and the plant at 101 Franklin Street lays empty and partially demolished, Kewanee Boilers can be found in many places, still performing the job as well as they did on day one. Kewanee Boilers have been spotted in the Jerome Grand Hotel (Jerome, Nev.), numerous military bases, and even in international locations. Most hospitals, schools, and military buildings, and even many churches and sky rises, have Kewanee Boilers still producing efficient, safe, and reliable heat as well as they did on the day they were installed. (A Kewanee Boiler also made a cameo appearance in the 1980 film "Blues Brothers.")

Kewanee Historical Society

A special "thanks" goes out to Larry Lock and the Kewanee Historical Society. Some of the information furnished on this site was provided by the Kewanee Historical Society .The Kewanee Historical Society has a display case in their museum dedicated to the Kewanee Boiler Corporation and E.E. Baker. (Below: Photos, submitted by Larry Lock, of the Kewanee Boiler display at the Kewanee Historical Society Museum at 211 North Chestnut Street, Kewanee, Illinois 61443. Photo of E.E. Baker also submitted by Mr. Lock.)

KHS Display

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