Last Vestige of a Corporate Giant

By Eric Olson

March 20, 2013 Updated Mar 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- It towers above the single story homes that surround it at the corner of Creighton and Bowser Avenues, a six story brick bunker that is the last standing piece of what was a Fort Wayne industrial empire.

This is the sprawling 40 acre Bowser and Company manufacturing plant and this is the man who built it…Sylvanus Bowser...uneducated, born into poverty just outside Fort Wayne but inventor of a pump that measured out accurate quantities of oil, kerosene or gasoline…exactly what late nineteenth century industrial America needed. Founded in 1885 Bowser and Company’s annual sales would hit 12 million dollars by the 1920’s, so when it came time to build a new corporate headquarters in 1917, Sylvanus Bowser built the very best.

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