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Massillon History: Industry: Russell & Company

Nahum, and Clement Russell arrived in Massillon in 1838 to start their general carpentry trade. It began in a two-story frame building, where they ran machinery by horse-power. They made plows, threshers, and other agricultural implements, built houses and furniture, manufactured burial cases, and more.

Clipping from the Massillon Weekly American, c.1860

Clipping from the Massillon Weekly American, 1853

Clipping from the Massillon Weekly American, January 1854

Clipping from the Massillon Weekly American, January 1854


The Russell and Company was officially founded in 1842 as C.M. Russell and Company. They were very successful at harnessing the power of the canal and railroad for its shipping needs. Its large buildings lined several blocks along the canal. Russell and Company was quick to add railroad spurs to their grounds for additional transportation options.  The company employed a large percentage of the town’s population. When C.M. Russell died, the remaining six Russell brothers renamed the company Russell and Company and incorporated in 1878.

Departments included machinery, painting, engineering, pattern-making, blacksmiths, brass, iron and tin foundry, boilers, tools, repair, testing, carpentry, erecting, mounting, and administrative. These different shops worked together to create engines and equipment to be sold across the world, to places like Germany, Russia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Russell and Company engines in front of the factory, 1908
Collection Massillon Museum

Russell and Company engines on train cars, shipping across the country, 1883
Collection Massillon Museum


In 1912, as Russell and Company was in decline, and it merged with New Jersey’s Griscom-Spencer Company. They created parts for Naval vessels during World War I, and earned an Army-Navy “E” for excellence during World War II. In 1962, the company was purchased by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Company and the Massillon plant closed its doors, laying off 800 employees (10% of the city’s workforce).

Today, many collectors enjoy showing their restored Russell steam engines at shows, restoring newly discovered engines, and sharing their research. For more information on the Russell Collectors Association, visit their website

Russell and Company Virtual Resources:


Russell and Company: Virtual Exhibit

Enjoy all of the photographs from the MassMu archives online, organized by subject.

Russell and Company annual catalogs

Several Russell and Company sales catalogs by year, with more being uploaded on a regular basis.

Russell Family Photos

Russell family, descendants from Charles M. Russell, and his sons "the 7 Russell Brothers."

Owners and operators of the Russell & Company (1842-1962). See other virtual galleries of the company.





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