Nearly from its beginning, Batavia was an industrial city. Farm implement and windmill factories provided employment for many. The first products manufactured in Batavia (flour, ice, lumber, paper, stone) found markets in Chicago.
Batavia’s significant industries are identified with the following Categories. Click any category from the menu above for the history and involvement of companies from Batavia.
Batavia aided greatly in the production of war materials during World War II. Foundries had big orders, but the largest producer of armaments was the Batavia Metal Products Company. It began in 1941 when brothers Henry and Murray Garsson received a contract to produce 300,000 mortar shells for the military. In 1942, they acquired the U. S. Wind Engine and Pump Company and later the Challenge Company buildings in which to produce the shells. Within three years, they formed the Batavia Metal Products Company and employed 800 men.
Following the war, the company attempted to change from war to commercial manufacturing. However, things fell apart in 1946 when the War Department began looking at their books. The department questioned the sort of profits the company paid out during the war. It objected to the high salaries of the Garssons. They found that the brothers had not invested a cent of their own money into companies they now owned.
The brothers and some of their political associates were brought to trial in Washington in May 1947. Three months later a jury found them guilty of conspiracy to defraud the government and of war-bribery. The brothers were sentenced to federal prison for a period of eight months to two years.
In May 1948, Batavia Metal Products was declared insolvent. The old buildings were sold. Three years later, the United States government bought the property. In 1959, the old U. S. factory was sold to Batavia Enterprises, Inc. In 1961, the new owners razed the buildings to make way for the a shopping center.