Name: Cupples Company
Category: St. Louis and the West
Description: Cupples Company was begun in 1851 by 19-year old Samuel Cupples, who sold wooden buckets, churns and similar items that were manufactured in Ohio.
By 1855, the company had twice moved to larger quarters from its original location at No. 9 Locust Street and had expanded territories and product lines. Asa Wallace joined the company that year, and two brothers, Robert and Harry Brookings, became partners in 1874.
The company was first incorporated in 1882 as Samuel Cupples Woodenware Company. It became a distribution giant that dominated its field. Thousands of items from over 200 major suppliers were distributed to wholesalers of household products internationally.
In 1890, Robert Brookings´ concept of a warehousing complex covering eight square blocks above the Terminal Railroad tracks was completed. This allowed for the efficient mass movement of freight directly to and from the premises, rather than having to haul traffic through the narrow, cobbled streets from the levee.
In 1900, the partners donated this highly profitable property to Washington University. Cupples Company had its headquarters in the complex at Seventh and Spruce until the site was cleared in 1965 for Busch stadium. The remaining buildings have been declared historic landmarks.
After the turn of the century, the company began manufacturing some of its major products, including rubber, charcoal and paper products. By 1917 Cupples Company, Manufacturers became its new name. [The St. Louis Portrait, p. 204]
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