Saturday, February 15, 2014

Joseph Bromich.

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Joseph Bromich, one of Topeka's most successful business men, and proprietor of the Topeka Steam Boiler Works, one of the largest and best equipped west of the Mississippi River. This concern enjoys a very large local trade, and has shipped extensively to all points in the West.

Mr. Bromich was born near Birmingham, England, December 25, 1847, and is a son of Benjamin and Emma Bromich, both life-long residents of England. Joseph was the youngest of four children born to his parents, and began working during his boyhood days, his education being such as he could procure at night after his hard day's work had ended. He learned the trade of a boiler-maker in Birmingham, England, and there followed it until he reached his majority in 1868. Then after his marriage, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean
to seek his fortune in the United States. He located in New York City a short time, then went to Florida where he obtained work in the railroad shops. After a few months in Florida, he embarked for the West Indies.

After visiting many seaports and places of interest, he took passage on the Peruvian naval ship "Maranon," joining the navy as boilermaker and blacksmith aboard ship. Tiring of the navy, he returned to Liverpool, England, arriving there November 30, 1869. He was employed for a time in the phosphorus works of Albright & Wilson at Birmingham, and then determined to return to the United States. On February 23, 1870, he started on the voyage, his family following in November of the same year. Upon arriving in this country he engaged with Lowell & Rose, of Rancocas, New Jersey, to build a phosphorous works. After its completion, he journeyed West to Topeka, Kansas, arriving in July, 1871, and here obtained work the first day at the old Kaw Valley (now known as the Western) Foundry, conducted by Babcock & Cleland.

He remained with this concern two years; during the latter part of this period it was owned by Andrew Stark. He then worked at the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway shops under Master Mechanic Faries until in partnership with R. L. Cofran, ex-mayor of Topeka, he purchased the Kaw Valley Foundry property, which had been destroyed by fire. Although it was the time of the panic and also of the disastrous grasshopper visitation, these thrifty gentlemen made a success of their venture and soon found it necessary to enlarge the plant. At the end of three years, our subject disposed of his interest in the business to his partner and established the Topeka Steam Boiler Works, and success has crowned his efforts ever since. He manufactures all kinds of boilers, according to specifications furnished, and conducts the largest and most complete plant west of the Mississippi, with the exception of the Union Iron Works of San Francisco, but not excluding those of St. Louis.

His boiler shop, which in dimensions is 140 by 140 feet, has about 32,000 square feet of floor space, and ncludes in its equipment all of the most modern machinery money can procure. It has labor-saving machinery of every description, run economically by electric power; 500 volts are required when the plant is in full operation. So complete is the equipment that a single man can handle large plates of iron, and the plant is so arranged that a boiler can be loaded in two minutes time with the aid of cranes. In connection Mr. Bromich carries a complete stock of steam and water supplies, handling the very best goods. He is one of the most public-spirited men of the city, whose welfare he has at heart.

Mr. Bromich was married in England in 1868 to Mary Ann Allton, a native of Birmingham, and of six children born to them, three are living: Maria, formerly bookkeeper and stenographer for her father, who is the wife of Edward McGinnis ; Walter, who attends to mechanical affairs connected with his father's business; and Henry, who handles the financial end of the business. The family home is north of the plant, and Mr. Bromich also owns considerable other city property.

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