This site is currently under construction, and the emphasis has been to complete the other sections before completing this one. As a preview of what is to come, here are some picture of the early days.

Figure 1. Construction of laced boom assembly in main fabrication bay at the Washington Boulevard plant.  Notice the boom is a combination of rivet and arc weld construction.  Arc welding was at its earliest stages when this photograph was taken.  Also notice line shaft for flat belt drive system suspended from overhead structure.  Large mechanical iron worker with a fly wheel can be seen in the rear of photograph.

Photograph circa 1925

Figure 2. Downs Brothers double drum mechanical winch.  This style winch had many applications: truck cranes, derricks, and early floor cranes.  Notice the hand brake on the near side; this is one of the earliest winches to incorporate any independent braking system.

Figure 3.  Early advertising art for Downs Brothers.  Early emphasis of business was on blacksmithing and hand forging.

 Photograph circa 1922


Figure 4.  Photograph of truck crane built on flatbed truck body; taken along side machine shop building at Washington Boulevard plant.  Crane design is based on a standard Downs Brothers derrick.  Crane features two independent hand winches, one for boom and one for hoist.  A Downs rigid guide loop plate grip hangs from the hoist hook.  Although difficult to read on this page, the truck door reads “City of Beverly Hills Engineering Department, No. 9”.  At the time of this photograph, Beverly Hills was still out in the country, filled with horse ranches along what are now Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive. 

Photograph circa 1930


Figure 5.  Crane mounted bottom dumping hopper.  All electric welded construction, lever operated gate mechanism.  Downs Brothers offered a standard line of various size and style hoppers.

Figure 6.  Rail mounted side chute style hopper.  This equipment features all electric welding, adjustable height hopper, and close side clearance wheel assemblies.


Figure 7.  Adjustable asphalt scrapper, for removing old asphalt road, typically dragged behind a tractor or truck.  Downs Brothers employed several blacksmiths who hand forged the ends of the scrapper tines and hot formed the adjustable height skids.

Figure 8.  Original Downs Brothers shop building, sign in front and on building advertises; blacksmithing, welding, and machine work.

 Photograph circa 1922

Figure 9.  Assortment of Downs Brothers standard line of sheave blocks.  Notice the open hammer forged shackles.

Figure 10.  Shop crew shown at the Washington Boulevard plant with an assortment of large sheave blocks.  Arthur Downs is standing far right in photograph, John Downs, in vest, is kneeling next to him.

Figure 11.  Partial view of the yard area at Washington Boulevard plant shows a flat bed truck being converted for mounting a boom assembly.  Notice the border around the photograph, a special commemorative border for the construction of the Los Angeles Coliseum and 1932 Olympics.

 Photograph circa 1932

Figure 12.  Downs Brothers designed and manufactured many innovative machines.  This unusual looking device is used for burying a grounding cable.  The lift truck carriage looking component between the large wheels digs a trench and then buries the cable.  The large specialty built wheels are for running across sand.  The monorail beam and hand hoist were for loading the cable reel.

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Last modified: February 21, 2011