Kewanee Boiler was one of the two great industries that were instrumental in making Kewanee the city that it became and still is.
Both Kewanee Boiler and Walworth Company had their origin in a company that was started in 1868 as Anderson Steam Heating, later Haxtun Steamheater and then Western Tube in 1891.
By 1891 the company produced boilers, pipes, tubes, radiators, valves and fittings—basically everything needed for a steam-heating system.
When Western Tube decided to stop manufacturing boilers, E.E. Baker and associates bought that portion of the business and thus was born Kewanee Boiler Company in 1892. Under his leadership, Kewanee Boiler became one the country’s leaders in the production of boilers.
Employment at the Boiler reached 1500 in the 1920s and again in the 1940s at the huge manufacturing facility that occupied 33 acres. A gradual decline began in the 1950s until Kewanee Boiler came to an end in 2002.
Meanwhile, Western Tube became Walworth Company in 1917. For many years it was the national leader in the production of valves and fittings employing as many as 2000. But it also came to an end in Kewanee, closing in 1978.