Among California's most widely known manufactured products are the Wedgewood stoves and ranges, which are generally
regarded as the best in the country, a reputation which they have just merited through forty five years of use.
They are made by the James Graham Manufacturing Company, of Newark, which has become one of Alameda county's most
noted industrial concerns. The business was founded by James Graham, who was a native of Ontario, Canada, where
he was reared and educated. Later he located in the eastern states, where he learned the trade of an iron moulder.
In 1877 he went to Alvarado, Alameda county, and worked for the George H. Tay Company, iron founders. Later he
came to Newark at the request of Senator James G. Fair, who at that time was the owner of a railroad, the shops
of which were at Newark. Mr. Graham came here to make castings for the railroad, and was so employed until the
road was sold to the Southern Pacific interests and the shops were moved to Sacramento. In the meantime Mr. Graham
had invented what is now known as the Wedgewood stove and finding himself out of a job he began in a small way,
with limited capital, to make these stoves. They gained recognition as the best cookstove on the market and soon
there arose a steady demand for them. Beginning alone in 1882, in four years Mr. Graham was employing thirteen
men, and the growth of the business may be inferred from the statement that now four hundred and fifty men are
employed, the James Graham Manufacturing Company being the largest stove manufacturers in the west. The factory
at Newark is complete in every way, and a branch is maintained at Los Angeles, with a warehouse and showroom in
San Francisco. From time to time certain improvements have been introduced in the stove, which is made in various
patterns and in different colors, but always the uppermost thought has been to maintain the stove's efficiency
from the standpoints of "Quality, Fuel Economy and Service." The New Super de Luxe Wedgewood range is
the ne plus ultra of its class, for it is not only a thing of beauty and a real ornament to any home, but it cooks
and bakes better than any other gas range ever made. With it cooking experience is unnecessary, for the control
of the oven heat is automatic, and cakes come out regular in shape, light and delicately browned, while an additional
feature is the Rutz lighter, which is always dependable and a great time saver. In connection with the gas range
is a kitchen heater, which has a large and heavy duplex firebox and a drop feed door for use in burning wood. It
has a cosed top, which gives more cooking space and saves the waste of heat, while the double top makes it absolutely
fumeless. It is made with a rust proof gun metal finish, which never changes, and thus, with all these advantages,
the Graham company offers America's finest gas range at no greater cost than is charged for inferior ones.
James Graham remained at the head of his business until his death, in 1902, since which time the business has been
managed by his sons, G. E. Graham and C. R. Graham, who are progressive and enterprising business men, and are
fully maintaining the prestige so worthily won by their father.
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928
Alameda County, CA
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