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Clarage Fan Company Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3901


The collection is composed of a series of company newsletters titled the Clarage Air Line, and publications date from 1948 into the late-1960s.


  • Creation: 1948-1960


Biographical / Historical

The Clarage Fan Company was founded in 1915 from Clarage and Sons, a company that made shafting, hangers, pulleys, mill machinery, architectural iron work, and steam engines, and traced its origins to 1885. In 1913 it was located at 619 Porter Street in Kalamazoo. Clarage had both its manufacturing facilities and its administrative offices at that location until 1959. In that year, Clarage purchased the former site of the Kalamazoo Stove and Furnace Company located in an industrial complex off Fisher Street. The Clarage Fan Company would rename the drive that leads to this complex Clarage Place. Clarage would raze most of what remained of the Kalamazoo Stove and Furnace Company and build a modern office building and industrial plant. Clarage’s operations were moved there from the Porter Street location in 1961. Business continued at that location. There were a series of labor strikes at Clarage from the 1960s into the 1980s. Clarage saw weaker profits starting in the mid-1960s, and in the late 1960s there was a lengthy court battle to determine whether Clarage should be sold. In 1967, Clarage Fan was bought by Zurn Industrial, and became the Clarage Division of Zurn Industrial. Operations continued until 1980, when a tornado struck downtown Kalamazoo. Clarage’s plant was damaged, and the estimated cost of repair was over $2 million. The plant had been losing money prior to the tornado, and the damage inflicted by the storm sealed Clarage’s fate. In 1983, Clarage Fan closed and its remaining employees were terminated.


1 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection amounts to 0.25 cubic feet and is composed of 49 editions of the Clarage Air Line, an internal newsletter published by the Clarage Fan Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The collection is in remarkably good condition and is well preserved. Each issue of the Clarage Air Line measures 11” x 8.5”. It is all black-and-white printed material, with the exception being some colored covers. Everything contained therein is legible. There is some discoloration in a couple of the issues dating from 1948, but the rest of the collection is remarkably well-preserved. There is some handwriting on a couple of the issues. Also included is artwork and a photograph.

Clarage Fan Company Collection Finding Aid
Matt Decker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490