The Hammer-Bray Company manufactured stoves and other metal goods in Oakland. It was started by George Hammer, and Howard Watson Bray, son of Watson A. Bray and brother of Emma Bray Cohen.
The company began in 1902 manufacturing metal products including wood and coal stoves. They started manufacturing gas stoves in 1913. By 1920, they were so successful they had to enlarge their manufacturing plant on 26th Avenue at East 12th. 1 A relative says Howard Bray started the company as the Eastern Stove and Range Co. in San Francisco, then changed the name pre-1906. 4 This is confirmed by The Statutes of California and Amendments to the Codes of 1905 which indicates the name was changed on January 17, 1905. (see page 20 of the PDF)
They were best known for their Spark Stoves. and even created a cookbook for customers. 2 The Franklin Furniture Company at 1552 Franklin Street gave away copies to lure customers to its new stove department in 1924, and the ;Spark Lid-Top Gas Range was selling for $98.50. 1
California Secretary of State records indicate that a Nevada corporation named Spark Stove Co. Inc. was registered in 1923. Other records indicate that Hammer-Bray Co. Ltd. was a Nevada corporation, but the Secretary of State does not have any records for an entity by this name, so it is likely that the 1923 date is when Hammer-Bray incorporated, and the company changed its name sometime later to match its major product.
Howard Bray retired from the business in 1937. George Hammer continued running the business until his death in 1941. The company continued making stoves at least into the 1950s, and the last ad for them in the Oakland Tribune was pre-1959. 1 A newspaper ad from 1965 refers to 2619 E 12th Street and says "Old Spark Stove Factory".
A 1952 patent, #2,163,663, was assigned to the Spark Stove Company of Oakland, California.
Circa 1912, the company had a baseball team. 3
- George Hammer, president (ref)
- Howard Bray, co-founder, vice-president (ref)
- Sydney Beck, c. 1921, sales and advertising manager (ref)
- F. A. Garich, c.1928, vice-president (ref)
- L. F. Garich, c.1928, secretary-treasurer (ref)
Little has been found about this model, so please add info to this page if you know it!
In addition to the better-known gas Spark Stoves, the company also produced wood-burning Modoc Stoves.
The stove shown in the photos below belonged to the DeLucchi family, and was in found the carriage house / garage of a house in Mountain View, California, constructed in January 1912. The stove could be older than the house.
Links and References
- Oakland's Spark Stove sales caught fire in the 1920s Contra Costa Times June 22, 2008
- Spark Lid-top Gas Stove Cookbook by Lela Adams, 1926 via UC Library
- Billiards 3, Hammer-Brays 2 San Francisco Call December 2, 1912
- Bray Family on Genealogy.com
- Business Filings Result from California Secretary of State for Spark Stove Co. Inc.