Marshalltown

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In 1890, Jesse and Lester Williams started a small machine shop on East Church Street, repairing bicycles and automobiles, and fulfilling occasional tool orders for local contractors. One local plasterer asked that they customize some tools for him. The customer was pleased with the improved product and more requests trickled in. The Williams brothers made a few more trowels and put them on the market. Word travelled fast and they began receiving orders from outside of the state. Their small shop quickly grew into a manufacturing and mail order business, and the brothers thought they were doing quite well. The men needed more space and they moved to South 8th Avenue in 1902. They built a two-story machine shop, blacksmith shop and automobile shop, as well as a boiler and engine room and office. They began specializing in trowels and referred to that part of business as “Marshalltown Trowel Works.” Sales increased. The brothers and salesman Albert Higgin officially incorporated “Marshalltown Trowel Company” in 1905.