Irish Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles About the Old Neighborhood

Irish Helped Develop Iron and Steel Here

100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland, 38th of a Series
by Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, February 13, 1951

Among the Irish pioneers of Cleveland there were several who left a lasting imprint on the growth of manufacturing.

Anthony Carlin and David J. Champion, who pioneered in rivet making, belonged to this category of Irish early settlers. Both married daughters of Mr. And Mrs. Peter Daly, one of the earliest Irish families in Cleveland.

Anthony Carlin was born at Tonduff, county of Donegal, Ireland in 1857. At the age of 15, in 1872 he came to Cleveland and learned the practical side of the iron foundry business.

In 1881 he established a concern named the Viaduct Foundry, employing bug a few men. Soon thereafter he enlarged his plant and in 1885 his enterprise became known as the Standard Foundry & Mfg. Co.

Firm Grows Fast

To it he added in 1897 the Standard Steel Range and in 1900 he completed the concern by merging the Standard Register Co. By this time the Carlin plant employed 400 men. In 1918 the firm was incorporated as the Anthony Carlin Rivet Works, 2717 E. 75th St. The founder of the firm died in 1938.

His sons, John and Clarence directed the rivet-making operations until a year and a half ago when the plant was sold. The Carlin family's interests today are mostly in real estate.

The ancestors of David J. Champion stood high in the county of Tipperary, Ireland. When Mr. Champoin's grandfather left the Church of England and together with his wife and children became Catholic, he lost all his possessions.

He had to begin life anew and in his 55th year he emigrated with his family to Springfield, Mass. One of his grandfather's sons, Thomas, married in Springfield in 1847 and the couple came to Cleveland, being among the pioneer Irish families in this city.

The youngest of the five children born to Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Champion was David. After attending Spencerian College, he first worked for the Telegraph Supply Co. and then started working with the Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. where he stayed 19 years.

By the time he was 35 years old, Champion had a few hundred dollars saved and his wife, the former Rose Daly, also saved part of her salary as teacher. This was the basis of the company which he founded in April, 1895, in association with Wilson B. Chisholm. They had 15 employees in the first ear of operation.

Devises New Rivets

Previously practically all rivets were made of wrought iron. David J. Champion believed that better and cheaper rivets could be made of steel. From coast to coast he traveled, selling the steel rivet idea to boilermakers and promising a prize of $1 for every rivet head that popped off. Only one man claimed this bounty and he received six silver dollars.

When Mr. Champion's youngest son, T. Pierre became the firm's vice president in 1930, he persuaded the elder Champion to add the making of coated electrodes to the firm's rivet making.

David J. Champion died in 1935, 13 years after the death of Mrs. Champion. Their surviving children are Mrs. Thomas Kegg of Houston, Tex.; Mrs. C. P. Diemer; T. Pierre Champion, present head of the Champion Rivet Works and Miss Beatrice Champion.

The firm now has two plants, one in Cleveland and the other in Chicago. They employ 250 persons.