William Reid Manierre, I, industrialist & progressive politician

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William Reid Manierre, I

Birthdate: (77)
Birthplace: Chicago, IL, USA
Death: March 3, 1925 (77)
Chicago, IL, USA (injuries when hit by a streetcar)
Immediate Family:

Son of Judge George Manierre, I, Chicago pioneer and Ann Hamilton Manierre (Reid)
Husband of Julia Orr Manierre (Edson)
Father of George Manierre, III, inventor, engineer, manufacturer; Marguerite Brown; Julie E. Mann; William R. Manierre, II; Wilhelmine Rogers Whitelaw and 3 others
Brother of George Manierre, II, real estate broker; John Manierre; Jenny Manierre; Edward Manierre and Benjamin Manierre

Occupation: industrialist & progressive politician
Managed by: Private User
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About William Reid Manierre, I, industrialist & progressive politician

William Reid Manierre was born on March 26, 1847, in Chicago, IL, the second child (and son) of Judge George Manierre and Ann Hamilton Reid Manierre. He was a lawyer, businessman, and civic leader. His commercial interests involved imported teas, spices, and in the manufacturing of various food products and mechanical devices made of tubular metal. He was a very wealthy man, and a civic leader in the city of Chicago, serving multiple terms as an alderman.

William’s parents were Chicago pioneers. Their house sat on the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard when these streets were only dirt tracks, and the shore of Lake Michigan was little farther than the other side of the street. In 1850, three years after William was born, Chicago’s population was just under 30,000.

William enlisted as a private in Company D of the 134th Illinois voluntary infantry, on May 31, 1864. He was mustered out with the rest of his company several months later, Oct 25, 1864. An element of the draft, which began during the Civil War, was the provision for potential draftees to pay a fee to allow their obligation to be met in lieu of service. It appears that William’s service was unusually short, perhaps because his wealthy family paid the fee necessary to make it so short. This controversial provision of the draft was eliminated in future generations, for reasons that must be obvious.

Military records:

Name: William R Manierre Residence: Chicago, Illinois Enlistment Date: 5 Oct 1864 Rank at enlistment: Private State Served: Illinois Survived the War?: Yes Service Record: Enlisted in Company D, Illinois 134th Infantry >Regiment on 31 May 1864. Mustered out on 25 Oct 1864 at Chicago, IL. Death Date: 2 Mar 1925 Sources: Illinois: Roster of Officers and Enlisted Men GAR Dept of Illinois: Death Rolls

Name: William Manierre Residence: Chicago, Illinois Enlistment Date: 10 May 1864 Side Served: Union State Served: Illinois Death Date: 2 Mar 1925 Service Record: Enlisted as a Private on 10 May 1864. Enlisted in Company D, 134th Infantry Regiment Illinois on 31 May 1864. Mustered Out Company D, 134th Infantry Regiment Illinois on 25 Oct >1864 at Chicago, IL. Sources: 7,330

William Reid Manierre began his career at the Marine bank as exchange clerk, then he was assistant cashier at the U.S. Sub-Treasury at Chicago; then he traveled in Europe, meeting Julia Orr Edson, his future wife, aboard the ship that carried them to Europe. Taking such a trip to Europe to acquire knowledge of the world was a relatively new phenomenon, and so popular among the wealthiest members of society that it was commonly referred to as taking “The Grand Tour.”

William and/or Julia purchased a pair of bronze sculptures of birds during this time. They might represent Chinese game birds. William had experience as a hunter of birds. A French sculptor, Paul-Édouard Delabrière [or Delabrièrre] (French, 1829-1912), produced these in the 1860s. Delabrierre was one of the “Romantic” artists of a sort known as “animaliers” – sculptors of animals. The coincidence of William and Julia’s Grand Tour with the period of the sculptures suggests that William or Julia acquired the sculptures while in Paris. William and Julia placed them on their fireplace mantel, as did George and Katharine Manierre, and David and Suzanne Delahunt.

It’s unfortunate that William and Julia didn’t acquire some early Impressionist paintings while collecting art. Or perhaps they did, although George Manierre III did not inherit any.

Samuel Manierre gave Michael Delahunt a lithograph by Honore Daumier (1808-1879), Tu m’èmbete mon épouse!…, in the 1980s. Sam identified a Chicago Manierre as the person who had given him this fine print, though that person's name has been lost. Perhaps William and Julia acquired it on their Grand Tour.

William and Julia were married April 20, 1875. Their first child, George Manierre III, was born on May 15 of the following year.

After his return from Europe, William attended and graduated from Union College of Law, and subsequently joined a classmate to form the law firm of Manierre and Prendergast.

In 1877, William Reid Manierre was one of the organizers and officers of the first “District Nursing System to the Sick Poor.” This later grew into the Visiting Nurse Service.

In the U.S. Census record of June 3, 1880, William and his household are described on page 7, supervisor’s district number 1, enumeration district 190, for the city of Chicago, in the county of Cook. William R. Manierre is the head of the household at 399 Superior Street, age 30, a lawyer, born in Illinois, his father (340) born in Rhode Island [other records show that George Manierre I was born in Connecticut], his mother born in Scotland. Julia, William’s wife, age 24, born in New York state, her father born in Vermont, her mother born in New York state. Their children are George Manierre at age 4, and “Marg.” at age 1, The Manierres have four servants residing at this address: Mollie Cummings, age 30, born in Ireland, parents both born in Ireland; Uline Broben (sp?), age 30, is divorced, born in Norway, her parents both born in Norway; Mary Fahey, age 23; and Alice Fahey, age 20. Both of the Faheys were born in Ireland, and their parents were too.

In 1881 William Reid Manierre purchased the Central Warehouse, a federally bonded warehouse, which had been built in 1872. (The “Great Chicago Fire” devastated much of the city October 8-10, 1871, when WRM was 24. It would be interesting to learn more about the fire’s impact on WRM’s life.) It was also in 1881 that W.R. Manierre and Henry B. Porter applied for a patent on an "Electric Lock." Their Patent No. 246525 was approved on Aug. 30, 1881. Evidence has yet to be found of either of these men manufacturing this device. Someone (who?) has claimed that W.R. Manierre used the Central Warehouse for a business involving teas and coffee (processing, packaging, distributing?), but evidence of this business has yet to surface. There is much evidence, however, of W. R. Manierre's use of the Central Warehouse for other business ventures. In 1891 W. R. Manierre started a department for the manufacture of syrups, preserves, and related products. Purchasing a competitor, L. G. Yoe & Company, he consolidated the businesses as the Manierre-Yoe Syrup Company, which he continued until 1908, when he sold the business to the Corn Exchange Refining Company.

Chicago’s first skyscraper was built in 1881-2 — the Montauk Building, designed by Daniel H. Burnham and J.W. Root. It made use of spread foundations to carry its ten-story load-bearing walls. Many more were to follow. Burnham was born just six months before William R. Manierre. He led the architects who thrived in the building boom that followed the fire of 1871. As their father had been, William R. and his brothers were involved in the real estate business along with other interests, so they rode the crest of the wave of Chicago’s growth.

From 1884-1909 William, Julia and their children resided at 399 Superior Street or 890 East Superior Street. (I believe this is one location, and that the street address numbering system changed at some point. The first number is from the 1880 census. Perhaps there is either an error in citing the second address, because there is no contemporary address higher than 500 East Superior Street. Lake Michigan is to the east of 500 East Superior Street. I am eager to find photos of this building and neighborhood. – MRD)

William Reid Manierre was a Republican city alderman of the old 18th ward from 1883 to 1889. (This was during the mayoral administrations of Carter Henry Harrison, Sr., mayor from 1879-1887, a Democrat; and John A. Roche, mayor from 1887-1889, a Republican.)

The Haymarket Riot, May 4, 1886, occurred in Chicago during this period. It is also known as the Haymarket affair or Haymarket massacre, and began as a rally in support of workers who were striking for an eight-hour working day. An unknown person threw a bomb at police as they dispersed the public meeting. The bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and an unknown number of civilians. In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were tried for murder. Four were put to death, and one committed suicide in prison. The trial has been characterized as one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in United States history. Most working people believed Pinkerton agents had provoked the incident. In 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned the three living defendants, after having concluded all eight defendants were innocent. The governor said the real reason for the bombing was the city of Chicago's failure to hold Pinkerton guards responsible for shooting workers. The police commander who ordered the dispersal was later convicted of corruption. The bomb thrower was never identified.

The Haymarket affair is generally considered to have been an important influence on the origin of international May Day observances for workers. In popular literature, this event inspired the stereotype of "a bomb-throwing anarchist." The causes of the incident are still controversial.

From 1890 to 1902 William Reid Manierre was county commissioner and chairman of the committee on judiciary of the city of Chicago. (This was during the mayoral administrations of DeWitt Clinton Cregier, 1889-1891, a Republican; Hempstead Washburne, 1891-1893, a Republican; and Carter Henry Harrison, Sr., 1893, a Democrat, assassinated in office; George Bell Swift, 1893, a Republican, and Mayor Pro Tem; John Patrick Hopkins, 1893-1895, a Democratic; George Bell Swift, 1895-1897, a Republican; Carter Henry Harrison, Jr., 1897-1905, a Democratic.)

The World's Columbian Exposition (also called The Chicago World's Fair) was held in 1893. Carter Henry Harrison, Sr's career and assassination are closely connected with the World's Columbian Exposition, and are discussed at some length as a subplot to the two main stories (about the fair and serial killer H. H. Holmes) in The Devil in the White City, a 2003 non-fiction book by Erik Larson presented in a novelistic style. Carter Henry Harrison, Sr's death came October 28, 1893, two days before the scheduled close of the fair, the celebration of which was cancelled in lieu of a large public memorial service for Harrison. WRM is likely to have attended this.

The World's Columbian Exposition celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World. The fair had a profound effect on architecture, the arts, Chicago's self-image, and American industrial optimism. The Chicago Columbian Exposition was, in large part, designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. It was the prototype of what Burnham and his colleagues thought a city should be. It was designed to follow Beaux Arts principles of design, namely, European Classical Architecture principles based on symmetry and balance.

The Exposition covered more than 600 acres, and featured nearly 200 new buildings of classical architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and cultures from around the world. Over 27 million people (equivalent to about half the U.S. population) attended the Exposition during its six-month run. Its scale and grandeur far exceeded previous world fairs, and it became a symbol of American nationalism.

In addition to recognizing the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the New World, the fair also served to show the world that Chicago had risen from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire, which had destroyed much of the city in 1871, including the home where William Reid Manierre’s mother lived, and where he had grown up.

During Chicago’s World’s Columbian Fair, William Reid Manierre was a member of the fair’s auxiliary committee on labor.

Notable firsts at the fair

  • Cracker Jack
  • Elongated coins
  • Ferris wheel — 264 feet high, with 36 cars, each of which could accommodate 60 people
  • Juicy Fruit gum
  • Quaker Oats
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Shredded Wheat
  • Aunt Jemima pancake mix
  • The hamburger was introduced to the United States
  • Milton Hershey bought a European exhibitor's chocolate manufacturing equipment and added chocolate products to his caramel manufacturing business.
  • The United States Post Office Department produced its first: Picture postcards and Commemorative stamp set.
  • United States Mint offered its first commemorative coins: a quarter and half dollar.
  • The term "midway" came into common use to define an area where park rides, entertainment and fast food booths are concentrated at parks and fairs, after the area of that type located on Chicago's Midway Plaisance at the World Columbian Exposition.
  • Contribution to Chicago's nickname, the "Windy City." Some argue that Charles Anderson Dana of the New York Sun coined the term related to the hype of the city's promoters. Other evidence, however, suggests the term was used as early as 1881 in relation to either Chicago's "windbag" politicians or to its weather.
  • Scott Joplin's performance at the Exposition introduces ragtime to new audiences. The Exposition attracted attention to the Chicago ragtime scene, led by patriarch Plunk Henry and exemplified in performance at the Exposition by Johnny Seymour.
  • Violinist Joseph Douglass achieved wide recognition after his performance there, and became the first African-American violinist to conduct a transcontinental tour, and the first to tour as a concert violinist.
  • The ensemble of musicians with a dancer known as Little Egypt was the first exposure to Middle Eastern culture for many Americans.
  • A group of hula dancers led to increased awareness of Hawaiian music among Americans.

From 1895 to 1897 William Reid Manierre was alderman of the old 24th ward. (This was during the mayoral administrations of George Bell Swift, 1895-1897, a Republican. Although there would be two later Republican mayors, there have been none since Big Bill Thompson, who was mayor for twelve years during Prohibition. In 1927, Al Capone's support allowed Thompson re-election. Pledging to clean up Chicago and remove the crooks, Thompson instead turned his attention to the reformers, whom he considered the real criminals.)

The Municipal Herald of Chicago, “containing a [record] of the city of Chicago, consisting of portraits of the mayor, city treasurer, city attorney, city clerk, members of the city council, and the leading officials of the George B. Swift administration of 1895-96 and all desirable information regarding same,” was published by John C. Sterchie, and contains a brief article about William R. Manierre:

"WILLIAM R. MANIERRE, Republican Alderman of the 24th ward, is one of the leading businessmen of the North Side, conducting an immense establishment at the corner of Rush and North Water streets. He was elected to the City Council on April 2, 1895, as an Independent Republican, and winning perhaps the most memorable political battle in the history of that ward, defeating not only the Regular Republican and Democratic candidates, but also three others, receiving 2,126 votes, and defeating the highest of his five opponents by a plurality of 453. He is regarded as one of the people's best representatives in the Council, and is a member of the Judiciary and other important committees."

Cycling in the early 1880s was dominated by an unstable model called the “high-wheeler,” also known as an “Ordinary.” This design positioned a large wheel in front and a smaller one in back. Its high seat and forward center of gravity presented notorious safety problems. The second half of the decade saw the development of a number of design improvements. These included the diamond-shaped frame, equally sized wheels, pneumatic tubes and chain drives, all of which were common in the century that followed. “Safety” bicycles with these features were not just safer, they were markedly faster and more comfortable. Their huge popularity in the 1890s resulted in a great boom in the manufacturing of bicycles. Although cycling had previously been a sport of the wealthy, mass-produced models made it possible for many people with more modest means to purchase them. It appeared that demand for bicycles would increase tremendously because they could be so useful to commuters, postal workers, policemen, and soldiers, while they encouraged exercise and tranquil mobility, and reduced the noise, stench, and filth produced by horses.

In 1902 William R. Manierre purchased the charters of the Fowler Cycle Works (Fowler Cycle Manufacturing Company, Chicago IL, 1896-1898, Fowler Cycle Works, Chicago IL, 1899-1900), the Manson Cycle Company (1895-1900), and the Sherman Cycle Company (1896-1900), and consolidated all three as the Fowler-Manson-Sherman Manufacturing Company, 241 South Jefferson Street (later at 45-47 Fulton Street), Chicago, with himself as the proprietor. Making this purchase and consolidation possible may have been the end of the great boom in bicycle sales that came at the close of the nineteenth century. This company occupied William R. Manierre’s attention until his death.

Published news of and advertisements for this company reveal that it was for some or all of its life a manufacturer of motorcycles, as well as or instead of bicycles. See, for instance, Automobile trade journal, Volume 10, 1906, pp. 556 and 600 [posted to Geni is a photo of the Fowler-Manson-Sherman Cycle Mfg. Co. advertisement on page 600]. A paragraph in the trade journal "The Motor Way," Volume 12, 1905, page 418, published by L.L. Bligh, described a two-wheeled vehicle called the Manson: "Manson. Made by Fowler-Manson-Sherman Cycle Company, Chicago. Frame, 22 inches; G. & J. 2 inch tires; 46 inch wheel base; single cylinder, 2 19-32x3 inches; 1 3/4 horse power motor; chain driving with compensating and yielding sprocket; battery mileage, 1,500; fuel mileage, about 75; grip control; weight, 110 pounds; speed from 5 to 50 miles. Made with Thor parts." The "Motorcycle Compendium" places the span of the manufacture of the Manson as "1905? - 1908?" (Downloaded 2010 from http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/compendium/M.htm )

William’s son George had graduated from Harvard College in 1900. Perhaps this young man’s decision to go into mechanical engineering influenced his father’s decision to manufacture bicycles. After George's return to Chicago, he attended (later to be renamed ITT) to study mechanical engineering. The first two of George's twenty-eight patent applications reveal that he was working for his father during this period.

On May 25, 1901, "George Manierre, III, of Chicago," applied for a patent on "Closure for packing and storing vessels." His Patent No. 689896 was approved on Dec. 31, 1901. W. R. Manierre's Manierre-Yoe Syrup Company could use such a device as this. The patent document claims, “This invention relates to closure for cans and other vessels and more particularly to that class which employ a screw-cap and a compressible gasket; and it has for its primary object to provide an improved closure in which a common band of commerce may be employed as a gasket without danger of entangling the band with the screw-threads, resulting in not only destroying the band but preventing the closure from forming a perfect or hermetic seal.” The text describes additional objects to the invention.

George Manierre, III, filed the application for Patent No. 743533 on "Filling Machine," May 31, 1901. It was approved in 1903. William R. Manierre's Manierre-Yoe Syrup Company could certainly use this machine, because it would help the company manufacture, package, and distribute syrups —maple and corn sweeteners, some of which were flavored so that they could be used at soda fountains across the country. With this machine the company could fill multiple containers at once, then change fittings so that the machine could fill containers of different sizes. George designed this machine several years before his marriage to Katharine Newbury, although the two had enjoyed each other’s company in the summer resort town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, where both of their families had cottages.

By 1915, George had married for nearly a decade, was employed as an engineer for a company in Milwaukee, and the bicycle manufacturing portion of the elder Manierre’s business had changed considerably. It had evolved into the manufacture of “stands for about all of the office appliance machines, typewriters, duplicating machines, etc.” produced by companies in the Midwest.

W. R. Manierre's office machine stands could be moved about on castors. He paid two men to design improvements to such wheels. In 1912 Otto A. Kibbe and Bert Salvage, of Chicago, Illinois, were joint applicants for a patent on "Castor raising and lowering device." Documentation for Patent No. 1129429, approved on Feb. 23, 1915, shows the inventors assigned all rights to W. R. Manierre.

William Reid Manierre was an organizer and director of the Bureau of Justice, which provided free legal services to men, women, and children in need. In 1905 this organization merged with The Women's and Children's Protective Agency to become The Legal Aid Society, and later the Legal Aid Bureau of United Charities of Chicago.

William Reid Manierre secured the appointment by the mayor of Miss Jane Addams and Miss Ellen Gates Starr as tenement house inspectors. Jane Addams is considered a founder of the social work movement. Her Hull House is today a museum on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, dedicated to preserving the memory of her work.

William Reid Manierre supported and voted for the appointment of the first women matrons in the police stations under the auspices of the woman’s club. He supported and voted for the confirmation of the first woman appointees for the school board, and was an advocate of the appointment of women visitors in the county agent’s office. He is one of the founders and was vice-president of the Ethical Society and of the Henry Booth Settlement House. Visit the web site of what is now called the Ethical Humanist Society of Greater Chicago at http://www.ethicalhuman.org/.

William Reid Manierre was one of the organizers and chairman of the “Series of Economic Conferences” between capital and labor.

He was one of the founders and a member of the executive committee of the Civic Federation, and was a member of the first Board of Naval Reserves.

William Reid Manierre was the third arbiter selected for the settlement of a strike led by Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926).

(Was this the 1893 strike led by Eugene V. Debs’ American Railway Union against the Great Northern Railroad, that was settled after 18 days with a contract signed which met virtually all of the union’s demands? Or was this the next great strike that Debs led, which was so unsuccessful that it broke his union’s strength for years to come?)

In 1904 William Reid Manierre ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for county commissioner on the Progressive Party ticket. The “Progressive Party” knew several incarnations in the 20th century. Its earliest national importance came in 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt (President from 1901-1909) ran unsuccessfully as the Progressive Party’s presidential candidate. He nicknamed it the “Bull Moose” party. Considering closely William Manierre’s 1910 likeness resembles President Roosevelt’s — mark the mustache and pince-nez – it seems plausible that Manierre was sympathetic to the Rough Rider.

Among the most notable progressives of the period were

   * Jane Addams
   * Horatio Alger
   * William Jennings Bryan
   * James Branch Cabell
   * Andrew Carnegie
   * W.E.B. Du Bois
   * Henry Ford
   * Lewis Hine
   * Robert M. La Follette, Sr.
   * Walter Lippmann
   * Jack London
   * Gifford Pinchot
   * Jacob Riis
   * John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
   * Theodore Roosevelt
   * Margaret Sanger
   * Upton Sinclair
   * Lincoln Steffens
   * Ida Tarbell
   * Frederick Winslow Taylor
   * Thorstein Veblen
   * Booker T. Washington
   * Woodrow Wilson

Among the reforms progressives successfully promoted at the national level included the income tax with the Sixteenth Amendment, direct election of Senators with the Seventeenth Amendment, Prohibition with the Eighteenth Amendment, and women's suffrage through the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Progressives shared a common belief in the ability of science, technology and disinterested expertise to identify problems and come up with the best solution.

Progressives moved to enable the citizenry to rule more directly and circumvent political bosses. About 16 states began using primary elections. In Illinois, Governor Frank Lowden undertook a major reorganization of state government. Characteristics of progressivism included a favorable attitude toward urban-industrial society, belief in mankind's ability to improve the environment and conditions of life, belief in obligation to intervene in economic and social affairs, and a belief in the ability of experts and in efficiency of government intervention. Government programs known as Square Deal, New Deal, Fair Deal, New Frontier, Great Society, and Barach Obama’s agenda all trace their origins to this approach.

On a late winter day in 1925, WRM was struck by one of Chicago’s electric streetcars, and died of complications from this injury on March 3rd. See his obituary in the Chicago Tribune, May 4, 1925, page 12.

William Reid Manierre’s home from 1909-1925 was a handsome brownstone at 1507 North Dearborn Parkway, in an area known as the “Gold Coast” because of the great wealth of the neighborhood’s residents. See the photos of the house that were printed as postcards in the early 20th century. The building was still standing in the early 2000s.

William R. Manierre bought a summer home (see photo) in Harbor Springs, Michigan, and transported his family here for many relaxing summers. His son George, meanwhile, met his future bride in the vicinity. Her family’s cottage was located in the adjacent village of Wequetonsing.

William R. Manierre owned several important parcels of real estate in the city of Chicago, the most valuable of which was the site of the Central Warehouse. It can be seen in each of these photos. It’s the one with the water tank on its roof. Its prime location was on the Chicago River immediately west of the Wrigley Building (1920-21), the white-glazed terracotta building behind it in these views. William R. Manierre operated his several businesses in the Central Warehouses. The property is described as “cut off by the white wall and the Chicago River after the sale to Marshall Field III.” This same land was occupied by the Chicago Sun-Times building from about 1955-2005. Donald Trump is building Trump International Hotel & Tower on this site (bordered by the Chicago River, East Kinzie Street, North Wabash Avenue, North Rush Street) constructed 2005-2008. Designed by the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architects, it will be 1,362 feet tall (415 m), with 96 floors. “An abandoned freight tunnel, roughly 40 to 45 feet under the surface, runs partway below the site.”


[Following is from "The Book of Chicagoans: a biographical dictionary of leading living men of Chicago," 1911, edited by Albert Nelson Marquis, p. 456. Downloaded 2010 from http://books.google.com/books?id=riITAAAAYAAJ&dq=Manierre+Glencoe&source=gbs_navlinks_s]

MANIERRE, William Reid, warehouseman: born Chicago, Apr. 25, 1847; son of George and Ann Hamilton (Reld) Manierre: educated at Snow's School, Chicago; Lake Forest Academy, old Chicago Univ., and graduated, 1878. Union College of Law, Chicago; married New York City, Apr. 20. 1875, to Julia Orr Edson: children: George, Marguerite, Julie Edson, William Reid, Jr.. Wilhelmine, Edson, Aline, Harold. Enlisted in 1864, in the 134th Illinois Volunteers, and served until close of war. During war served in the Marine Bank under J. Y. Scammon, and later was assistant cashier in U.S. sub-treasury. Chicago; member of the law firm of Manierre & Prendergast, 1878-81; since 1881 proprietor of Central Warehouses; organized. in 1898 the Manierre-Yoe Syrup Co., and is its president; also proprietor Fowler-Manson-Sherman Cycle Manufacturing Company. Alderman old 18th Ward (afterwards 24th and now 21st), 1883-9: alderman 24th Ward. 1895-7; county commissioner, 1891-3. Republican. One of organizers, and presiding officer for economic conferences between business men and working men. 1889: member of the World's Fair committee on labor, 1893; arbitrator in "Debs Strike," 1894; member of the Civic Federation, and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. Clubs: Saddle and Cycle, South Shore Country. Residence: 1507 Dearborn Parkway. Office: S.W. corner of Rush and North Water Streets.


William Reid Manierre and Henry B. Porter applied for a US Patent May 23, 1881 for an "Electric Lock. Their patent No. 246525 was approved on August 30, 1881. See a scan uploaded to Geni of the patent document bearing the inventors' drawings, description, and signatures.

The second name on patent was Henry B. Porter. [Perhaps this man is the "Henry B Porter (1852 - 1920)" ancestry.com has in its records (2011).]

A model was submitted. Where is WRM's model of his electric lock? [In 1908, Congress sought to dispose of the more than 150,000 models that still existed. Many had been on display in the Patent Office Museum, but fire and space issues caused the majority to be hidden away in storage. The Smithsonian selected 1,061 associated with famous inventors, and an effort to auction off the remaining models resulted in the transfer of only 3,000 others. The rest, packed in oak crates, went back to storage until 1925, when Congress devised a plan to give those historically important models to the Smithsonian or other institutions, and dispose of all others by any means possible. The great majority ended up in private hands, not in historic collections. Even though they may have been dispersed to mantelpieces all over the globe, it is conceivable (and largely guesswork) that as many as half of the patent models created may still be in existence today.] Inquiries at the Smithsonian, various other museums, and vendors of patent models in 2011 have yielded no hint of the model for #246525's current location or status.

It is curious that William R. Manierre was engaged in this electric lock endeavor. It was around this time that he purchased the "warehouse" beside the Chicago River. It would be amusing to find evidence that WRM, Porter, or someone else went into the production of this device. What is the history of comparable devices being invented and put into use?

Although Thomas Edison devised his first successful electric light bulb on October 18, 1879, he was still was still in the midst of developing them for several years. His patents in 1881: #238,868 for “Manufacture of Carbons for Incandescent Lamps” and #251,540 for “Bamboo Carbons Filament for Incandescent Lamps.”

Source: A scan of this patent's documentation was downloaded Sept. 2011 from Google's collection of patent documents by Michael R. Delahunt.

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A listing for the summer home (1918) of Mr. Wm R. Manierre, Miss Aline Manierre, and Mr. Harold Manierre, Mr. & Mrs. Wm B. Mann (Julie E. Manierre), and Mr. & Mrs. Rufus B. Rogers (Wilhelmine Manierre), "Millside," Harbor Point, Michigan, phone number 40

Source: Downloaded November 2, 2012, Social Register, Summer, Social Register Association, 1918, page 421, from GoogleBooks at http://books.google.com/books

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William Reid Manierre, I, industrialist & progressive politician's Timeline

March 26, 1847
Chicago, IL, USA
May 15, 1876
Age 29
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
November 17, 1878
Age 31
March 29, 1881
Age 34
Chicago, IL, USA
August 31, 1885
Age 38
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
October 2, 1890
Age 43
November 19, 1892
Age 45
Chicago, IL, USA
September 9, 1895
Age 48
January 22, 1897
Age 49
Chicago, Cook, IL, USA