Francis W. Dickey is president of the Central Storage Company and is also prominently identified with other business interests. He was formerly secretary and treasurer of the E. P. Dickey Racine Fanning Mill Company. He was born in Racine, February 6, 1863, a son of Edwin P. and Gertrude L. (Fratt) Dickey. The former, a native of Geneseo, New York, came to Racine in the fall of 1844, joining his uncle, A. P. Dickey, who had arrived in this city in 1840. For a short time he worked for his uncle and then began the manufacture of fanning mills under his own name, while later the business was reorganized under the style of the E. P. Dickey Fanning Mill Company. Before leaving the east Edwin P. Dickey had engaged in the manufacture of fanning mills in New York. In 1840 he became a resident of Marshall, Michigan, where he turned his attention to the manufacture of wire cloth. In 1844, as previously stated, he arrived in Racine and here he was connected with wire cloth manufacturing, principally for Case & Company, until 1850, when he resumed the fanning mill business. To him, perhaps, belongs the credit of the invention of the process of separating grain in the sieve, for Mr. Dickey invented the adjustable grader for grading, and hurdle for separating oats from barley. In 1881, yielding to the necessity of more room and more extended operations, the corporation was formed with a capital of five thousand dollars, with E. P. Dickey as president and F. W. Dickey, secretary and treasurer. In addition to fanning mills the company took up the manufacture of the Badger State milk safe and the Improved Star feed cutters and further extended the scope of their activities by buying out the right and title to the Little Chief fanning mill, formerly the property of Daniel Bull. The capacity of the plant was twenty-two hundred machines a year and these were shipped throughout the United States and also supplied a large export trade. The proprietors gave their personal attention to each article sent out and based the growth of their business upon the substantial quality of their product. E. P. Dickey, the founder of the business, died in 1896, after which the business was carried on until 1911, when the company ceased the manufacture of fanning mills and entered the storage business.
Francis W. Dickey, who had been the active associate and became the successor of his father in the fanning mill business, obtained a public school education and received his business training in connection with the fanning mill manufactory. He was active in the management and control of that business until 1911, when he ceased, the manufacture of fanning mills in order to concentrate his energies upon the storage business. The Central Storage Company was organized by him in 1890 and is now conducting business at Nos. 517-21 Center Street. The building is of mill construction, forty by sixty feet, three stories and basement. They furnish storage for household goods, merchandise, pianos, automobiles, etc., and the business has now reached extensive and profitable proportions. He owns much valuable improved realty, including apartment houses and other properties.
On the 6th of January, 1895, Mr. Dickey was married to Miss Ida A. Fuller, a daughter of William Fuller, who for many years was a conductor on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. The three children of this marriage are Alice G., Doris and Edwin. Fraternally Mr. Dickey is connected with the Royal Arcanum, while his religious belief is indicated in his membership in the Presbyterian Church. His political allegiance is given to the Republican Party and he is neglectful of none of the duties of citizenship, but he concentrates his time and energies upon his business and by close application and unremitting energy is meeting with well deserved success.