With its strategic location along the main line of the New York Central, the village attracted many new industries. Here are some of the first ones.
In 1899 the Buchanan Brass Works, which manufactured brass hardware, built a plant on North Lincoln Road near the railroad. They moved from Buchanan, Virginia. A short time later, the Brainerd Brass Manufacturing Co. was organized to purchase the factory. It grew quickly. In 1904, its payroll amounted to $20,000 a year. By 1909, the factory was too small for the 50 men they employed, and additional salesmen were added. William F. Brainerd and Co. then moved to a modern concrete building erected on North Washington and Monroe streets. Brainerd’s two sons joined the company after finishing their college education.
​During World War II, the U.S. Navy contracted with Brainerds for special brass handles to be used in the operations of submarines.
In 1953, Brainerds was purchased by Harry Lipman. John Ferrimani, plant manager worked for Brainerds for 57 years, starting when he was a sophomore in the East Rochester High School. After 99 years of operation, the company was sold to Liberty Hardware of Chicago and moved its operations to China.
In 1900, the Ontario Drill Works purchased the vacant Buchanan Brass Buildings and started to manufacture farm machinery such as grain drills, seeders and planters. The plant was run by the Thistlewaite family. In 1904, an addition to the original plant was built by T.Joseph Mitchell. After steady growth the plant contained a foundry, a wood shop, an assembly shop, a paint shop and office. The New York Central ran a spur to the plant to aid in the shipping.
In early spring the farmers of many localities brought their old drills to be repaired and reconditioned. Made to last, the drills only needed yearly updating. What a different philosophy from today’s markets. While the industry was not a large concern, employing only 60 men, its products were shipped to all parts of the U.S. There was a period when trade with Australia was very brisk. During WWII, certain sub-contracts for the government were completed here.
For 60 years the plant did a thriving business in Despatch and East Rochester. Ontario Grain Drills have been shipped all over the world. This machine allowed farmers to plant the huge fields of corn and wheat that dot the countryside of today.
The business was carried on by descendants of the founding families until 1961 when it was sold to a Rochester group. Under the name of “The Ontario Corporation,” it was moved to Medina, New York.