CHISHOLM, WILLIAM (12 August 1825 – 10 January 1908) was an industrialist who pioneered processes to make screws, nails, other fasteners, and shovels. He was the brother of HENRY CHISHOLM who was one of the principle figures in the creation of Cleveland’s iron and steel industry.
William was born in Lochgelly, Fifeshire, Scotland, the son of Stewart Chisholm, a mining contractor. Following his father’s death Chisholm (at age 12) apprenticed in the dry goods business in Kirkcaldy. Two years later he went to sea, traveling the globe as a working sailor for the next five years.
In 1847 he settled in Montreal joining his brother who had immigrated there in 1842. He again became a sailor, working on the Cleveland-built steamer Sebastopol in which Henry, who had moved to Cleveland, had a half interest. After the ship wrecked near Milwaukee on its fifth voyage in 1855, he salvaged its engines and restored them in Cleveland.
While Henry stayed in Cleveland, William moved to Pittsburgh and then returned in 1857 to assist his brother in the management of the CLEVELAND ROLLING MILLS (at that time known as Chisholm and Jones). Within three years he struck off on his own, establishing firms that manufactured horseshoes, spikes, and bolts. He developed a process to make screws from Bessemer steel (rather than iron) which, by 1865 was being produced by the Rolling Mills, and established the Union Steel Screw Company to handle production in 1871. In 1879 he established the Chisholm Steel Shovel Works, once again transitioning a product from iron to steel and patenting (1878) a new method for stamping finished shovels out of plate steel.
Chisholm would go on to build steam engines and create devices to move bulk materials such as coal and ore from ships to railroad cars, as well as construct segments of railroad lines, bridges, and docks.
William Chisholm married Catharine Allen(the sister of Jean Allen his brother Henry’s wife) of Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1848. They had five children: George W. , Stewart F., Henry Arnott, Catherine A., and William J. After Catherine’s death in 1881 he married Mary C. Stahl in 1884. Chisholm is buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.