New Book About Unique Chicago Suburb Features Shaker Client OTTO Engineering

A new book “The Historic Business District of Carpentersville,” is a photographic history of the buildings in the Chicago area suburb of Carpentersville that once housed Illinois Iron & Bolt Company, Star Manufacturing Company and that the Shaker client OTTO Engineering occupies today.

The book, written by Phil Aleo, begins with the story of Julius Angelo Carpenter, the founder of Carpentersville who built its business district, managed the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company, and founded Star Manufacturing Company.

Carpenter was an entrepreneur who in 1868, who expanded Illinois Iron & Bolt Company, by constructing new buildings for the company to manufacture pumps, locomotive jacks, lawn vases and other iron products.

Later on in 1873, Carpenter founded Star Manufacturing, which made agricultural equipment. IIBC and Star Manufacturing later merged in 1912.

The book than moves on to cover the restoration OTTO recently completed on its Carpentersville headquarters with structures that are more than 100 years old.

Several years ago, the business underwent a renovation that cost millions of dollars. As part of the project, the Roesers took over abandoned buildings were which were run down with overgrown weeds, old train rails and a swamp.They fixed the roofs, cleaned the buildings’ outer bricks and redid the floors.The renovations were completed in 2011.

The sources for the book were the Dundee Township Historical Society, OTTO President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Roeser, public records and the Carpenter family’s personal journals.

In 1968, Jack Roeser (Tom’s father), owner of OTTO Engineering, moved his company headquarters to Carpentersville from Morton Grove.

OTTO Engineering is a $100 million company which manufactures two-way radio accessories, joysticks, operator controls and control switches. OTTO is the largest employer in the village, with more than 500 workers.  OTTO’s business comes from the military, aerospace, public safety, industrial and hospitality worlds. Some of its biggest clients are Motorola, Boeing and John Deere.

The book is dedicated to the residents of Carpentersville — past and present. Shaker salutes OTTO Engineering for their foresight and dedication.

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