Washington Iron Works, Inc.
(400 E. Lamar, Sherman)
|In 1875 Solon Totten (1847-1932) made two trips on horseback to Texas from Quincy, Illinois, looking for better
conditions for the family blacksmith business. Finding stage companies operating out of Sherman and requiring
blacksmith services, he persuaded his father and family to move here. In 1876 Solon and his brother Levi Totten
(1844-1915) opened "Totter Bros. Blacksmith" on Cherry Street. The business produced wheels for freight
wagons and stagecoaches and repaired the vehicles.|
Levi and Solon Totten, Noah Swain, Adolph and Max Seisfield and L. L. Roussell were the original stockholders. The name changed in 1881 to "Washington Iron Works." In 1890 the firm moved to East Lamar Street and settled at this site. By 1893 the Totten brothers and their father Joseph (1821 - 1906) had gained full ownership. It remains in the Totten family. By 1904 Solon operated the company with his sons Harry (1877-1964) and Jesse (1880-1946) until he retired in1922. Harold Totten (1900-1969) operated the company with his father Harry after Jesse's death.
The foundry section closed in 1918. During World War II, the shop made gun barrel molds. This industry, the oldest in Sherman, has expanded to a worldwide service for oil and gas processing, petrochemical plants, power generation and marine interests.