Barnes Manufacturing’s Innovative Designs Earned Patents 100 Years Ago

100 years ago, local inventor and manufacturing expert J. C. Gorman started the year off right by patenting two new inventions for the Barnes Manufacturing Company.

The Barnes Manufacturing Company was started by T. R. Barnes in 1895 for the manufacture of water pumps. In the early days of the company, the facilities were relatively simple: a foundry building for preparing the metal and a machining and painting shop for shaping and putting final details on pumps and other parts. Over time the operation became more complex and expanded its purview into enameled ware and a broader array of pumps, including designing its own schemas for new kinds of pumps.

A group of workers, likely in Barnes Manufacturing. Sherman Room Photo File 480.

By 1917, one James Carville* Gorman had begun working for Barnes Manufacturing. Apparently quickly finding place as a leader in developing innovative designs, Gorman received his first patent for the Barnes Manufacturing Company in 1919, for a diaphragm pump. That same year, when the Mansfield Daily Shield wrote a profile expounding the methods and processes of the Barnes facilities, Gorman was listed as the mechanical engineer for the company [1]. The plans and patterns for the pumps and operations of the facility, including his patented designs, were important and valuable enough that in 1908 Barnes had built a fireproof building specifically to house its patterns, which were under the care of Anthony Fuessner. Continuing his climb in the company, in 1922, Gorman was elected as a member of the board of directors after the death of a previous member, John Krause [2].

Apparently undeterred by the added responsibility of becoming one of the directors, Gorman received two patents for his designs in January of 1923. The Mansfield News announced that patent was granted “on a convertible power diaphragm and plunger trench pump of unique design. This new pump is much more simple and practical for draining excavations, trenches and the like, and is extensively used by bridge and sewer contractors”[3]. Within two months, Gorman had received another patent, this time for “a convertible open spout and plunger force pump” [4].

The Barnes Manufacturing Company closed due to bankruptcy in 1933 (although it would re-incorporate in 1934 as Barnes, Inc.), but Gorman was not yet finished with the field of pump manufacturing. He partnered with H. E. Rupp to create the Gorman Rupp Company, which was incorporated on April 20th, 1934 and manufactured power pumps [5]. The first factory space was in Alta, but the offices were at 330 East First Street in Mansfield.

Barnes Manufacturing Company Facilities Over Time

Click through the following galleries to compare how the Barnes Manufacturing facilities looked in 1897 and 1921.



*Carville was spelled several different ways in different sources. Carville, Carvil, Carval, etc.


  1. Mansfield Daily Shield, 25 May 1919
  2. Mansfield News, Jan 11 1922, page 3
  3. Mansfield News, 08 January 1923, page 12
  4. Mansfield News, 26 February 1923, page 18
  5. Mansfield News-Journal, 20 April 1934, page 8

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