Our History

 

The Bromwell Company is the oldest retailer in the city of Cincinnati, and has a rich history. Indeed, it is part of the pioneering legacy of the American Midwest.

Bromwell's has been in continual operation since its inception in 1819. It has always been family owned and managed remarkably, by only 3 families over the course of its almost 200 year history.

The Bromwell family can be traced back nearly 400 years, to the beginning of US history, starting with Isaac Bromwell. He was a master of the ship, Assurance, that brought in 220 colonists to Virginia from England in 1635. In the late 1700's, descendents hailing from Baltimore learned the trades of wire goods making and lumber harvesting from England. One family member, Jacob Bromwell (1785- 1866), settled with his family in Cincinnati to start the Bromwell wire weaving business in 1819. For historical perspective, Ohio had become the 17th state of the Union just 16 years before, only forty years had passed since the American Revolution, and 30 years since the establishment of the Constitution.

Cincinnati quickly grew and became a gateway to Westward expansion. Bromwell's grew with it, supplying pioneering families a multitude of household goods. The Gold Rush brought business in tin cups, pie tins and pans. By 1850, Bromwell's made and sold many items: screens; strainers; animal traps; bird cages; cheese graters; buckets; and popcorn poppers. A local publication touted Bromwell's as a business, “possessing ample means and of the highest grade of credit, with sales approximating one quarter of a million dollars per annum. Its elegant 5-story store with cut-stone front…forms one of the ornaments of the mercantile portion of the city.”

Jeff McClorey bought the Bromwell's business in 2005 from the Gerwe family, ushering in only the 3rd family to run the company. The Gerwe family had been stewards of the brand through many years and changes. The McClorey family bought Bromwell's because they were impressed with the legacy of outstanding service, quality products, and family atmosphere that the Gerwe family had nurtured. Plus, Jeff McClorey believes passionately in working to revive the downtown Cincinnati area, particularly 4th street.

Today, Bromwell's has the same commitment to seeking out and presenting "best of class" products that make the lives of Cincinnatians better and more beautiful. We are proud to be purveyors of quality, authentic goods for the hearth and home.