For more than 100 years, Browning Manufacturing and the pulleys it made were mainstays of the local economy.
According to Browning family members, a man named Sprinkle came to the United States from Germany with the knowledge of how to manufacture wood split pulleys and later moved to Pennsylvania where he interested individuals with capital in building a plant to make them.
After about nine years, the owners decided to move west and Sprinkle was loaded on a flatboat with whatever machinery the plant possessed.
The flatboat tied up in Maysville in 1895, and the owner of the enterprise, J.T. Long, with Sprinkle, decided to locate in Maysville.
Long purchased the site of Maysville's first pulley factory on Feb. 5, 1895. The tract included about 70 on both sides of Clark Street.
Long sold the business to the Ohio Valley Pulley Works on Feb. 3, 1896. A corporation was formed with a capital stock of $50,000 divided into 500 shares of $100 each. Long retained 120 shares, and he was joined by T.A. Keith, E.P. Browning and J.W. Fitzgerald.
In the early 1900s the Browning family began to consolidate stock. By 1913, the Brownings were the sole owners and remained so until 1923.
In the late 1930s, the company, formerly known as The Ohio Valley Pulley Works took on the Browning family name.
Over the next decades, the company continued to grow and expand its products and became what was the largest employer in the area. Many people also thought it was the best.
The company was sold to Emerson in 1968.
In June 2012, Emerson Industrial Automation officials announced both manufacturing locations in Maysville would cease production by the end of 2013.