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E. T. Barnum Iron Works letterhead · 1905

Location: Detroit

Barnum Wire & Iron Works advertising card
The E. T. Barnum Wire & Iron Works
27, 29 & 31 Woodward Ave, Detroit, Mich.
  • 27, 29 & 31 Woodward Ave
  • "corner of Howard st. and Wabash ave."
  • 1905: "City Offices & Salesrooms, 82 Washington Avenue"



  • E. T. Barnum, President and General Manager
  • Philo Parsons, Vice-President
  • F. H. Leavenworth, Secretary 1883-4
  • R. W. Yeats, Secretary 1905
  • C. F. Purdie, Superintendent
  • C. J. Gilbert, General Agent
  • Chas. A. Allen, Gen'l Agent, Elmira, N.Y.


"The E. T. Barnum Wire and Iron Works, of Detroit, Mich., is one of the foremost and representative manufacturing institutions of the country, and is probably the largest wire and iron works in the world. Their mammoth factory at the corner of Howard street and Wabash avenue, recently completed, is a four-story brick building, 240×350 feet, and contains about 330,000 square feet of floor surface. In this immense factory about 700 hands are employed, the majority of whom are skilled mechanics, while every floor is filled with the most approved power machinery.
The goods manufactured embrace all kinds of iron and wire work; wrought iron fences, all kinds of builders' iron work, bank and office railings and elevator enclosures receiving special attention. Then, among other things, may be mentioned window guards, flower-pot stands, lawn furniture, and crestings, tower ornaments, weather vanes, iron doors and shutters, stable fixtures, iron and brass bedsteads, iron grating and illuminating sidewalk lights, jail work of all kinds, wire signs, window screens, wire netting, housekeepers' wire goods of all kinds and grades of wire cloth for fanning mills, thrashing machines, cotton gins, etc., while their patent balcony fire escape and Fire King fire extinguishers are in great demand by practical and economical people.
This escape, as illustrated above, has not been in use for over five years, and has stood the test of fire and all other elements, and it has been demonstrated by actual use to meet all the requirements, and this, too, when nearly all other escapes have been rejected. It combines all of the essential requisites, viz.: Safety; always ready; accessible from every door and window, and from the ground and roof; it is made of iron and will not burn, and it will stand up as long as the wall stands. The feeblest and youngest, or the most timid can escape by means of it without fear or danger, as they can not fall off; it requires no previous training, as all that is necessary is to step out of the door and window and walk down a flight of ordinary stairs.
The house has just issued a new catalogue of 226 pages, in which is illustrated most of the goods which they manufacture. It is handsomely printed and bound and should be in the hands of every merchant and others who wish any kind of iron or wire works."
Detroit Free Press, May 16, 1884


1905 letter from E. T. Barnum Wire & Iron Works to M. J. Carnahan, Esq., of Washington, Indiana
Sept. 8, 1905.
M. J. Carnahan, Esq.
Washington, Ind.

Dear Sir:-
We understand that the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery has decided to purchase an iron fence and we desire to have some one represent us in the matte and secure sufficient information to enable us to submit a price on the work.
Are you in a position to handle this for us or if not, could you refer us to some reliable person whom you think would do so?
Upon receipt of a favourable reply we shall be glad to mail a copy of our iron fence catalogue and full information.
On any event we request as a special favor that you advise us of our decision on the enclosed card.
Thanking you in advance for a prompt reply, we remain,
Yours very truly,
E. T. Barnum
Wire & Iron Works
per R. W. Yeats

Highest Award at World's Fair
Jail Work of Every Description · Wire and Iron Fences · Iron Crestings, Tower Ornaments
Bank and Office Railings · Fire Escapes and Balconies · Lawn Vases, Fountains and Statuary · Wire Signs, Wire Cloth, Nettings etc. · Brass Wickets & Grilles · Window Guards, Stable Fixtures · Grave Guards, Cemetery Fences, Vault Gates · Sash Bars, Elevator Enclosures · Iron Shutters, Iron Stairs

Newspaper Ads:

Ad for E. T. Barnum Wire & Iron Works in The Atlanta Constitution, Sep 21, 1883
Manufacturers of Wrought Iron Fencing,
Roof Cresting, Weather Vanes, Balcony Railings
and Ornamental Iron Works.

E. T. Barnum, President,
Philo Parsons, Vice-President
F. H. Leavenworth, Secretary

Messrs. Thomas M. Clarke & Co. have taken the Atlanta Agency of the above well-known establishment, the largest of the kind in the country. Ornamental Iron Work is all the rage the country over, and is being introduced on many of Atlanta's new buildings. Mr. C. J. Gilbert, the General Agent for the Works, will be in Atlanta some weeks to receive bids, estimates, specifications, etc., and can be found at THOS. M. CLARKE & CO.

The Atlanta Constitution, Sep 21, 1883

Ad for E. T. Barnum Wire & Iron Works in The Detroit Free Press, Mar 1, 1884
E. T. Barnum Wire and Iron Works
Detroit, Mich., U. S. A.
Manufacturers of Wire and Iron Work of Every Description
Wrought Iron Fences.
Roof Crestings.
Tower Ornaments.
Builder's Iron Work.
Jail Work.
Brass & Iron Beds.
Elevator Inclosures.
Weather Vanes.
Iron Doors and Shutters, etc.
Flower Pot Stands.
Lawn Settees.
Chairs. Vases.
Summer Houses.
Fire Extinguishers.
Balcony Fire Escapes.
Side-Walk Lights.
Wire Fences.
Grave Guards.
Wire Signs and
Wire Cloth for Cotton Gins,
Fanning Mills, etc.
We make a specialty of Bank and Office Railing, and have fitted up many of the finest banks and offices in the country. We make a specialty of Wire Signs. We make a specialty of Wire Cloth for Flouring Mills, Fanning Mills, Cotton Gins, Malt Floors, etc., and make all kinds and grades. We issue a Special Catalogue for each class of work. Send for one. All work warranted first-class. Address all correspondence to
E. T. Barnum Wire & Iron Works, Detroit, Mich.
Works and General Offices, HOWARD STREET,
Cor. Wabash ave.
Chicago Branch—110 Lake st., Chicago, Ill.
Canadian Branch—65 Sandwich st., Windsor, Ont.
Detroit Free Press, Mar 1, 1884