In 1842, Francis W. Robinson opened a small machine shop on the northwest corner of Main and Third Streets and began to manufacture farm implements. In 1866, his son, Henry, joined the firm, and in 1889, the company was incorporated as Robinson and Company.

Saumel Swayne married one of Francis' daughters and came to work for his father-in-law in 1887, first serving as secretary of the company. Henry Robinson became president of the company on the death of Francis in 1897, and when Henry died in 1909, Sam Swayne became president.

In 1914 the name of the company changed to Swayne, Robinson and Company.

The company made most of its own parts, and in 1914 it built an expanded foundry to accommodate an increase in business. But soon after, it became evident that most of the agricultural manufacturing was being taken over by a few large companies, and the company wisely decided to expand its foundry production and manufacture parts for other comapnies. For much of the time between the World Wars, Swayne, Robinson provided most of the castings used by the local lawn mower manufacturers, Dille & McGuire and F & N Lawn Mowers.

During World War II, Swayne, Robinson turned over its production to war materials, particularly piston ring castings and parts for the manufacture of bombs. The post-war economic boom created a huge demand for new parts for new products.

Throughout its 155-year history, Swayne, Robinson was family run. After Samuel Swayne died in 1933, Henry R. Robinson took over as president, and upon his death in 1946, Charles K. Robinson took over. It was Charles who was forced to close the plant down in 1997 when the company could no longer compete.


Two years later the complex that covered more than a city block burned down in a spectacular fire.

The site is now home to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and Correctional Center, which opened in 2004.

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