About R. Williamson & Co

From Light, V9, Feb 1910, P407

The House Of Williamson

The business of this well known house was founded by Mr. Richard Williamson in 1882, who, forseeing the the immense magnitude and the demand that would be made for lighting fixtures, opened a small plant on the Northwest side of the city of Chicago. on Milwaukee avenue. The entire space occupied by them at that time was fifteen hundred square feet. By instilling into this small business those characteristics for which he is famous - pluck and energy - in a short time he was enabled to move into larger quarters, and in 1889, having outgrown the Milwaukee store, he moved to what was then the heart of Chicago, 205 Randolf street.

By this time, the house of R. Williamson & Company had taken rank as one of the leading light fixture houses in the city of Chicago; but even this rapid progress was to be eclipsed, and in 1891 this firm was again forced to seek larger quarters, and located in a large warehouse on Lake Street, near State, which place they occupied until 1986, when this ever growing firm decided to build what was then considered one of the largest Lighting Fixture plants in the western country; and the western section of the present mamouth institution was erected.

The story of the rise of R. Williamson & Company will hardly find an equal in the Lighting Fixture business in this country.

The best evidence in the world of the rapid strides of this great enterprising concern is best followed by going into the facts and figures:

In 1882 their floor space was 1500 square feet.
In 1889, their floor space was 3000 square feet.
In 1894 their floor space was 6000 square feet.
Today, in their present mamoth structure, this firm occupies more than 115,00 square feet and empolys more than 500 hands, in the different departments.

There is not a state in the United States that is not covered by the travelling representatives of this concern. There is not a civilized country on the globe to which they do not ship goods.
There is not an article in the whole lighting fixture business that this firm does not make.
There is not an article, whether it be of the highest or cheaper quality, this is not manufactured in this up-to-date plant.
They are the largest importers and purchasers of glassware of all qualities for lighting fixtures in this country.

Article kindly supplied by Jim Engel

From Good Lighting, V2, #3, P.69, March 1914


The death of Richard Williamson, president of R. Williamson & Co., fixture manufacturers, Chicago, came as a shock to his many friends. Mr. Williamson some months ago injured his ankle. He seemed to be getting along well when blood poising set in. His death occured March 16th at 4 p.m. following a rapid decline. Mr. Williamson was very widely known. He was a man of decisive character and his word was accepted, during his long and active business career, by all who knew him intimately enough to know that he was a man who meant what he said. Mr. Williamson was born in Ireland sixty-two years ago. He came to this country as a boy of sixteen, for a while being employed by a fish dealer in New York City. Having relatives in Chicago, he went there shortly afer arriving in this country and worked on a farm. Later he went into the gas fitting trade. With the development of gas lighting, he became interested in this industry with Bassett & Beaver, chandelier manufacturers of Chicago, and in 1883 went into business in this line with a Mr. Schroeder. A few years later he organized the concern which is known today as R. Williamson & Co. He is survived by a son and a daughter. One of the dearest friends that he had, and one with whom he has had intimate business relations for many years, is James S. Brannen of Horn & Brannen Manufacturing Co., Philadelphia, Pa.

Article kindly supplied by Jim Engel