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150 Years of Industrial Ciiioinnati 
















From the collection of the 

z m 
T~> TT 

v iJibrary 


San Francisco, California 



15O Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Compiled and written by the 

Cincinnati Federal Writers 9 

Project of the Works Progress 

Administration in Ohio 

James Garfield Stewart, 
Mayor of Cincinnati, 
cooperating sponsor 


Published by 


Copyright, 1938 by 


Harry L. Hopkins, Administrator 

Ellen S. Woodward, Assistant Administrator 

Henry G. Alsberg, Director of Federal Writers' Project 

First printing: September 1938 

Printed and Bound in Cincinnati 



Preface, by Harry Graff, District Supervisor, 
Federal Writers' Project x i 

I Building A City 1 

II Transportation Ohio River and Its Floods 
Canals and Railroads City Carriers 
Motor Bus and Truck Systems -Air Lines . 19 

III Banking Building and Loan Associations 
Finance Companies Stocks and Bonds 
Insurance 53 

IV Pork and Beef Packing Sausage Making 
Cincinnati Stock Yards Machinery and 
Equipment Poultry Packing . . . 77 

V Soap Making Beauty Preparations Candle 
Manufacture Chemicals, Drugs, and Medi- 
cines Mixing of Paints and Varnishes . 99 

VI Brewing An Era of Drought Brewers' 
Equipment Wine Making Liquor Distill- 
ing Soft Drinks Cooperage . . . 131 

VII Boots and Shoes Tanners and Makers of 
Leather Sporting Goods The Story of 
Clothes 157 

VIII Heavy Industry Machine Tools Alumi- 
num Castings and Patterns Sheet Metal 
Products Iron and Steel Plants . . . 177 

IX Carriages and Wagons The Automobile 
A g e Fire Engines S a d d 1 e r y A i r c r a f t 
Making Gasoline Refining . . . . 211 


X Graphic Arts Daily and Weekly News- 
papers The Great Press Associations 
Newsmen Who Made News . . . . 241 

XI The Story of Advertising Magazine and 
Book Publishers Commercial Printers 
Lithographers Engraving and Electrotyping 271 

XII Food for Cincinnati The Chains Whole- 
saling Department Stores, Specialty Shops, 
Chain Drug Stores 301 

XIII Public Utilities Water Supply Telegraph 
Lines Fire and Burglar Alarms Gas and 
Electric Systems Telephone . . . . 319 

XIV Radio Broadcasting Receiving Sets Furni- 
ture and Office Supplies Music Instruments 

Watches Pottery and Glass . . . 345 

XV Over the Council Table 381 

Bibliographical Note . . . * . . 395 
Index 396 



Numbers beside credit line refer to photographs in plate, counting left to 
right, top to bottom; photographs not credited were taken by FWP staff 

Cover Drawing 

Earle Sargeant 

Building (Frontispiece) ii 

The Cincinnati Post 

Tower of Industry 9 

Procter & Gamble Company 

Fountain Square (1874, 1938) 10 

Cincinnati Street Railway Company (1) 

Unloading River Coal 23 

The Cincinnati Post 

Public Landing (1860, 1938) 24 

Andrew J. Lodder Collection (1) 

Greene Beats Betsy Ann (1928, 1930) .... 29 

The Cincinnati Enquirer 

Canal D'ays 30 

Cincinnati Street Railway Company (2) 

Evolution of Rails (1850, 1900, 1938) ... 35 

Cincinnati Street Railway Company (1, 2) 

The Gay 90's ' . 36 

Cincinnati Street Railway Company 

Horsecar, First Trolley and Parlor Car .... 43 

Cincinnati Street Railway Company 

City Transportation of Today 44 

Cincinnati Street Railway Company (1, 3) 

Bellevue Incline and Old Joe Bell 49 

Cincinnati Street Railway Company 

Lunken Airport 50 

The Cincinnati Post 

Early Commercial Paper 65 

Robert E. Moore 

Banking Quarters (1890, 1938) 66 

Fifth Third Union Trust Company 

Beef: Inspecting and Cutting .... 83 

Cooling and Slicing Bacon 84 


Packing . 93 

Sausages . . . . . 94 

Ivorydalc: City of Soap 103 

Procter & Gamble Company 

Early Soap Making 

Procter & Gamble Company 

Kettle Pattern 

Procter & Gamble Company 

Boiling, Cutting and Packing Soap 

Procter & Gamble Company 

Cakes and Bars 

Procter & Gamble Company 

Testing Soap 

Procter & Gamble Company 

Ribbons of Soap 

Procter & Gamble Company 

Chemical Laboratories 

Beer Bottling and Canning 

The Cincinnati Post 

Fermenting and Packing Whisky 

The Cincinnati Post (1) 

Inspecting and Packing . 

Shoe Pegging (1852, 1938) 

United States Shoe Corporation 

Cutting, Tacking, and Rolling Hides .... 

American Oak Leather Company 

Bait for the Batter 

P. Goldsmith Sons' Company 

For the Links and Diamond 

P. Goldsmith Sons' Company 

The Years Step Back 

The Cincinnati Post 

Tailoring . . . 

A. Nash Company 

Products of the Machine Tool 

Cincinnati Milling Machine Company 


The Cincinnati Post 

Precision Work: Machining and Testing 

The Cincinnati Post 

Iron Molders 

The Cincinnati Post 


Reaming Bars and Setting Molds 193 

The Cincinnati Post 

Polishing and Galvanizing 194 

The Cincinnati Post 

Trimming Sheets and Sewing Duct Elbows . . . 203 

The Cincinnati Post 

Soaking Ingots 204 

Andrews Steel Company 

Rolling Sheets and Tapping Furnaces . . . . 207 

Andrews Steel Company 

Limestone for the Open Hearth 208 

Andrews Steel Company 

Wagenhals' Auto and Its Ancestor 215 

Earle Sargeant (I) Robert E. Moore (2) 

Hearses Through the Years (1870, 1910, 1938) . 216 

Say era & Scovill Company 

Hearse Designing, Welding, and Assembly . . . 221 
Trailmobile: First and Latest 225 

Trailer Company of America 

Truck Assembly 226 

Old Joe Ross and Citizen's Gift 233 

Robert E. Moore 

Steam, First Motor, Modern Pumper . . . . 234 

Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Company 

Bomber, Aeronca, and Pursuit Plane . . . . 237 

Making Airplanes . . . . . . . . 238 

First Newspaper 245 

Ohio State Museum 

Hand Press to Rotary 246 

Earle Sargeant (1) Robert E. Moore (2) 

Reporter to Copy Desk 255 

From Composing Room to Street 256 

Speeding News by Teletype 265 

Going to Press 281 

On the Linotype and Monotype 282 

Inserting and Stitching . . . 287 

Folding and Binding 288 

Engraving Processes 297 

Department Store of 1884 313 

Robert E. Moore 

Market Day 314 

First Water Pipe and Today's Pumps . . . . 323 

Robert E. Moore (1) 

Power 324 

Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company 

Electricity: Production, Control, Distribution . . 337 

Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company 

Telephone (1879, 1913, 1938) . . . . . 338 

Cincinnati & Suburban Bell Telephone Company 

Switch Table to Dial Board (1884, 1938) . . . 341 

Cincinnati & Suburban Bell Telephone Company 

Radio . . 349 

Crosley Radio Corporation (1, 4-7) 

Broadcasting: First and Latest 350 

William Stoess (1) Crosley Radio Corporation (2) 

Soldering, Testing, and Finishing Radios . . . 359 
Radio Sets (1921, 1938) 360 

Crosley Radio Corporation (1) 

Upholstering 365 

Finishing 366 

First and Latest Pianos 371 

Louise McLaughlin (1) Baldwin Piano Company (2) 

Piano Woodworkers 372 

Chalet 375 

Gruen Watch Company 

Making Pottery 377 

Fine Glass: Polishing and Engraving . . . . 378 
Builder 385 

Charles Nerpel 

Waiting for Cargo 386 

The Cincinnati Post 

The Whistle Blows 389 

Procter & Gamble Company 


"They Built A City" is a record of 150 years of industrial life 
in Cincinnati; it tells about the things that the city's hands have 
made. A good many people have at some time or other wan- 
dered off into Cincinnati's curious byplaces, stood upon the hills 
and seen the river cutting the city's pattern, joined the music 
crowds at the symphony and at the Zoo opera, or paid random 
visits to its Barbary Coast and its beer gardens. They may won- 
der why this book stresses, to the exclusion of everything else, 
the fact that industry and commerce have built Cincinnati. We 
are not saying, "Thy merchants are the great men of the earth," 
or minimizing all other men and influences. The reason is 
much simpler. 

About a year ago the Cincinnati office of the Federal Wri- 
ters' Project started to look for facts about industry and com- 
merce to be included in the forthcoming Ohio Guide and Cin- 
cinnati Regional Guide. Available materials were amazingly 
scanty. Robert E. Moore, research assistant on the project, was 
assigned the task of scratching for facts, and soon enough good 
data was gathered to warrant a separate publication. We have 
therefore made other facts and more subtle influences wait for 
other publications, and concerned ourselves here only with a 
historic cross-section of the means by which Greater Cincin- 
natians have earned their livelihood. The book does not pre- 
tend to be literary; it is a compilation. We have laid our em- 
phasis not on the interpretations, but rather on the hitherto 
mislaid facts a'nd figures. 

The job itself has not been simple. Often the figures had to 
be freshly compiled from old ledgers, and desultory facts ar- 
rayed in some sort of order. At times only the expert aid of 
consultants has stopped us from going up blind alleys. We 
appreciate greatly the fine co-operation and assistance given us 
"by the many concerns who have entered the pages of this book. 

Particularly helpful and generous of their time have been 
John J. Rowe, president of the Fifth Third Union Trust Com- 


pany; Harry S. Brutton, Procter & Gamble Company sta 
Hudson Biery, Cincinnati Street Railway; "Bill" Bailey, Si 
tions WLW-WSAI; Elmer Dressman, Station WCKY; Fi 
Gruen, Gruen Watch Company; Ferd Overmole, Greater Ci 
cinnati Brewers Inc.; Carl D. Groat, Frederick Giesel, Fra 
Aston, William Dowdell, and Alfred Segal, The Cincinn 
Posf; Edward Steinborn, Robert Harris, and Jerry Hurter, Ci 
cinnati Times-Star; Kenneth Doris, Cincinnati Enquirer; Er 
and Willard Hess, Sayers & Scovill Company; Harold LeBlor 
Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Company; Louis Kahn, E. Kahn Soi 
Company; Jack Koons, Midland Advertising Agency; Jo. 
Warrington, advertising executive; George Rosen thai, S. Rose 
thai & Co. ; Willard Moharter, Standard Publishing Compan 
W. B. Wingo and R. J. Phillips, Western Union Telegra 
Company; M. L. Smith, Cincinnati & Suburban Telepho 
Company; A. C. Moorhaus, Cincinnati Gas & Electric Coi 
pany; J. C. Mashburn, Cincinnati Coca Cola Company; E; 
Johnson, United Press Associations; William Sachs, The Bi 
board; and Arnold Guenther, Acme Machine Tool Compar 
Robert Lehman assisted in the editing; Earle Sargeant 
responsible for the art layouts and Sam Kremer for many 
the photographs; and Robert E. Moore not only did t 
original research, but also was invaluable in designing a: 
making up the book. 

HARRY GRAFF, District Supervisi 

Chapter I 

Building A City 

NE HUNDRED FIFTY years ago the Ohio River 
wound a mysterious way into the green country far 
beyond the great wall of the Alleghenies. And men 
with a foothold on the Atlantic Coast pressed against 
the wall, peered over into the wilds, and wondered. The Revo- 
lution was over and they were tired. Many were bankrupt, 
many oppressed, many restless. Over the wall was a new adven- 
ture, a new land, a new freedom. They listened to exciting 
stories of traders, to highly colored accounts of land agents, to 
the eulogies of aesthetic souls delighted by the Ohio country. 
And they decided to gather their wives and children, pick up 
their belongings, and move on through fierce Indians, dire haz- 
ards of the journey, the terrible unknown. But their ancestors 
had braved the same dangers, and they were still not many gen- 
erations removed from their first American ancestral stock. They 
started towards the wall, to go up and over. By pack horse and 
ox-drawn covered wagon they pushed on, followed mud trails 
over slippery hills and through valleys that sent up the hills 
about them again in terrifying majesty, forded rivers and creeks, 
and reached Simrall's Ferry and Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) . Here 
the trails ended. 

The entrance to the West was a gateway of hills, through 
which the Ohio River rushed and turned, bent and rolled, on 
to the Mississippi and the Gulf. For weeks the men hammered 
together rafts and flatboats to carry their families and posses- 
sions over the waterway linking their old life with the new. 
In December 1788 a fleet of craft, carrying 26 persons, some 
livestock, and some foodstuffs, slithered into the Ohio's fast 
current and floated westward, past Marietta and Columbia, 
where, on the flatlands near the mouth of the Little Miami Riv- 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

er, a blockhouse was going up. Then they saw a slim river, the 
Licking, going off to the south, and on the right the land ran 
up in terraces to a lovely valley sheltered by tall hills. Plenty 
of water, good soil, and open space here was the place to 
spend their lives. After beaching their rafts and flatboats, they 
tore the vessels apart and clattered together the first crude homes 
in Losantiville. 

Cincinnati has come to maturity with a long experience of 
building up and breaking down. First, a frontier town was set 
up and the crops were sown. Next, banks were opened, minor 
manufactures were encouraged to become greater, and the 
wharves on the water front were made increasingly important 
to the great Ohio River traffic. By 1860 Cincinnati was on its 
way to becoming the nation's third largest city, and one of the 
leading gateways of northern commerce to the South. For an- 
other 40 years the swelling tide of commerce and industry con- 
tinued to force the city's boundaries far back into the hills. At 
the turn of the century Cincinnati dreamed of becoming a center 
of automotive production, but this industry was attracted to 
cities closer to the sources of steel and coal. In its place arose 
the highly complex, scientifically developed machine tool in- 
dustry. The financial collapse of 1929 was only a temporary 
halt to this gigantic industrial growth. Cincinnati has now re- 
sumed her work, fresh with a new faith in the future years. 

The Losantiville pioneers put seeds in the land and watched 
the crops grow. Occasionally they chased Indian snipers from 
the hills. Then, about 1800, they found that they were near 
coal, iron, wood, and limestone, and they turned slowly from 
agriculture to manufacturing. As early as 1791 the first horse- 
powered grist mill was proudly built, but, because everybody 
needed meal, it rarely managed to grind sufficient grain. In 20 
years the application of steam brought rest to horses weary of 
the treadmill, and a sudden surge of river commerce, emanating 
from pork packing, distilling, and other manufactories, began 
to shape Cincinnati into the "Porkopolis," "Ragtown," and 
"Floral City" of 1840-1900. 

Keeping pace with manufacturers were the merchants and 
wholesalers. Considering the difficulties of transportation, the 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

variety of stocks offered before 1800 is remarkable. In 1796 
Smith & Findlay, one of the early stores, put up for sale such 
articles as combs, handkerchiefs, shawls, whisky, brandy, im- 
ported Lisbon and Madeira wines, coffee, Bohea tea, loaf sugar, 
and chocolate. Cups, saucers, plates, looking glasses, and win- 
dow glass were also advertised that year. In 1791 the first gen- 
eral store was opened by John Bartell (or Bartal) at Front 
Street and Broadway. 

Before the Orleans some say the New Orleans throwing 
the first jets of steam up from the Ohio River (1811) paused 
at Cincinnati enroute from Pittsburgh to Louisville, all traffic 
on the Ohio River was carried in various kinds of flatboats. 
River trade fed industry, and it set on the river bank boatmen 
and passengers looking for hotels and inns. Cincinnati became 
a favorite stopover place. As early as 1792 the first ferry, Rob- 
ert Benham's, pushed to and from Losantiville and Newport. 
The only wagon road in the vicinity twisted from Newport to 
Lexington, and then eastward. 

In 1818 Cincinnati industry boomed as the Mississippi delta 
region opened to the colonizer. Men rushing to the Mississippi 
put factories on the banks of the Ohio. And the Kanawha, the 
Scioto, the Hocking, the Licking, the Miamis spilled boats and 
produce into the Ohio River. The Ohio washed them down to 
the Mississippi, and the Mississippi swung them up on its banks 
before it emptied into the Gulf. Cincinnati toiled and sweated, 
making goods for the people of New Orleans and immigrants 
to the South. Cincinnati was the wonder city of the West, 
knotting garlands beside the river. 

About 1825 the warehousing of merchandise shipped by 
boat became an important concern of the young city below the 
hills. Buildings walling the banks of the stream became storage 
depots for the trans-shipment of items. And so the river has 
borne goods to and from Cincinnati through the years and made 
the city, hundreds of miles from mines, today the world's larg- 
est center for the distribution of bituminous coal. 

Later the construction of wagon roads, turnpikes, and the 
Miami & Erie Canal took away its exports, brought it raw ma- 
terials and money, and made it grow. During the past hundred 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

years many other transportation facilities highways, railroads, 
electric streetcars, automobiles, motor trucks, and airplanes 
have helped build the city. 

Before 1800 crude sawmills and brickyards had been making 
building materials. Clothing and machinery came next among 
the trades, but for some years clothes were homemade as 
homespun as the people who made them. In 1810 Richard Fos- 
dick hit upon a rocksalt process for curing pork and revolution- 
ized meat packing methods. Great fields of glowing corn 
stretched along the rich Miami Valley, but there were no roads 
to take the crops to market. So the hogs grew fat on a corn diet, 
and Cincinnati was Porkopolis until the 1880's, when Chicago 
thrust itself forth among American packers. 

Whisky was another by-product of the corn crop which re- 
duced bulk and made for easy handling. Distillation of spirits 
and alcohol, and later the brewing of beer, became work for 
Cincinnati's hands; and they wove for their Queen by the river 
a rakish garland. 

Some early records prove how quickly industry developed. 
In 1815 imports were valued at $534,880; by.1818 the valua- 
tion was $1,619,030. From October 1818 to March 1819, 
merchandise worth $1,334,080 was exported from the city. 
Flour at five dollars a barrel accounted for 650 thousand dol- 
lars of the total; pork at $15 a barrel brought 150 thousand 
dollars; hams and bacon at eight cents a pound amounted to 
about 22 thousand dollars; lard at 1 1 cents a pound totalled 
46 thousand dollars; and whisky, at 50 cents a gallon, account- 
ed for 40 thousand dollars. The value of products exported 
during the next six months of 1819 was almost as great. By 
1819 there were two foundries, six tinsmiths, four copper, and 
nine silversmiths, three whitesmiths and two gunsmiths, a nail 
factory, a fire engine maker, 15 cabinet shops, 16 cooperage 
shops, several ship carpenters and boat builders, 26 shoemakers, 
25 tailor shops, 25 brickyards, six tanyards, three grist mills, 
1 5 bakeries, two breweries, nine distilleries, five bookbinders, 
and seven soap boilers and tallow chandlers in Cincinnati. 
Among the craftsmen were a hundred bricklayers, 30 plasterers, 
15 stone masons, 10 barbers, and 10 street pavers. That year 

4 ' 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the combined industrial employment was 1,238, while valua- 
tion of the products amounted to $1,059,049. In the city were 
1,800 buildings, 214 of which were mechanics' shops, factories 
and mills, and more than a hundred warehouses. Of the retail 
establishments 102 were groceries, 14 drug stores, four confec- 
tioneries, six book and stationery shops, five printing offices, 
and five auction and commission houses. 

Although the Centinel of the North-Western Territory, the 
city's first newspaper, began publication in 1793, the commer- 
cial printing and publishing trades were not developed until 
1820, when the Methodist Episcopal Church of New York es- 
tablished the Methodist Book Concern in Cincinnati to supply 
its Western subscribers with religious literature. At the time, 
Cincinnati was gripped by its first financial panic (1820-1825), 
and, because local bank notes were valueless in New York, a 
printing press was carted over the hills to Pittsburgh, and then 
brought by packet to Cincinnati. Other printers and publishers 
arrived later to open shops, and soon a new industry was hiring 
its workers. Along came new processes color printing, lith- 
ography, photographic engraving, automatic typesetting ma- 
chines and the industry grew toward maturity. 

The building of carriages and wagons, begun in 1824, made 
Cincinnati in 1890 the world's center of the trade. Every kind 
of wheeled vehicle rolled from the great plants of the city; their 
basic designs the phaeton, the landau, the coupe are still 
used by the autobody industry. But the queen on a laden river 
did not meet the new century prepared for change. When the 
automobile came, she turned her back, and favored the wagon. 
And the automobile rolled on to Detroit and set a huge new 
city on the Michigan flatlands. Today, however, Cincinnati is 
an important automobile and motor truck center, the home of 
assembling plants for the nation's two largest producers; it has 
also a passenger body plant, two motor truck makers, and sev- 
eral truck and tractor-trailer body manufacturers. 

From 1830 to 1840 new industries strengthened. Among 
these were two soap manufactories, the M. Werk Company 
(1832) and the Procter fc Gamble Company (1837), now the 
largest producer of soap and allied products in the world. The 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

making of soap, started as early as 1814, has become part of 
Cincinnati's industrial backbone. Another venture of the time 
was the Thomas French Company (1840), which became in 
1842 the French-Bauer Company, the city's leading distributor 
of milk and dairy products. Thomas French pioneered in the 
wholesale collection and retail distribution of milk. Cincinnati 
was America's second city New York was first to operate a 
dairy under modern methods of marketing. Previously, milk 
had been sold in cans and buckets, and consumers had to buy it 
either in stores or directly from dairymen. 

In 1832 the river visited some of Cincinnati's homes, and in 
October business activity was suspended for 13 months after 
432 persons died of Asiatic cholera, carried by fleas scourging 
the Middle West. In 1850 the disease came again, but mildly. 
Although trade was not affected, business men and health au- 
thorities started a movement which led to the laying of sewers 
and to a general cleanup of mudholes and dank alleyways. 

Despite the bank riot of 1842, Cincinnati from 1840 to 
1850 tripled its population. But bank crises were becoming 
common, and when a severe financial crisis came in 1857, the 
city suffered. In 1863 approval of the National Bank Act by 
President Lincoln, and the subsequent establishment of govern- 
mental regulations for banks, eased the tension here. Laws came 
with the years and helped stabilize the city's banks. 

Cincinnati had been linked closely with the far South for 
many years before the Civil War, but she was a comparative 
stranger to her little neighbors just across the river until 1867, 
when the Suspension Bridge, connecting Cincinnati with Cov- 
ington, was opened. That year Cincinnati was the nation's 
third city in manufacturing, surpassed only by New York and 
Philadelphia. In 1869 Greater Cincinnati plants produced 187 
kinds of articles in three thousand factories, which employed 
55,275 hands. Total production was valued at $104,657,000 
and the capital invested in building and equipment amounted 
to $49,824,000. 

In 1868 Charles and Max Fleischmann made the first com- 
pressed yeast. At first only Cincinnatians knew its virtues, but 
its importance in baking soon widened the market. 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

By 1880 industry had recovered from the economic depres- 
sion of 1871-75 and Cincinnati was more than a provincial 
Western metropolis. But when she reached the quarter-million 
mark in population, Cincinnati rested. Until this time she had 
been the largest city west of Philadelphia. Suddenly American 
industry took up new dominant themes coal, iron, steel, rails. 
Cities like Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago, closer to raw ma- 
terials, now took the lead in America's industrial expansion. 
Cincinnati slowly adjusted her industries to the pace of the new 
industrialism. The new order brought more leisure to the work- 
ing man, and Cincinnati responded with increased opportuni- 
ties for entertainment and culture. Internationally known 
dramatists and bands played local theaters and concert halls, 
while across the canal along Vine Street the picturesque "Over 
the Rhine" district sounded a new note of gayety. 

In 1881, when the nation's center of population was eight 
miles southwest of Cincinnati in the northern part of Kenton 
County (near Taylorsport) , Kentucky, the city's factories em- 
ployed 20,944 males and 3,495 females at an average daily 
wage of $1.69 for men and 91 cents for women. Retail mer- 
chants hired 3,868 men and 542 women at a wage of $1.60 
and 91 cents per day. In outlying sections of Hamilton County 
the daily pittance was 80 cents. During the past 50 years retail 
methods have changed entirely, and in the stores of 1938 wo- 
men outnumber men by about three to one. 

The years from 1875 to 1890 wrought new marvels. Two 
wonders now taken for granted, electricity and the telephone, 
were put to use. Almost overnight the old-time handcraft was 
superseded by huge, cold masses of steel and iron; precision ma- 
chines replaced manpower. The Knights of Labor, afraid that 
mechanization and low wages would throw labor from its 
jobs, called a nationwide general strike (1886). The walkouts 
proved to be the opening wedge in labor's struggle for an eight- 
hour day, and from the ashes of the K. of L. rose the American 
Federation of Labor. 

Meanwhile in 1876 the first telephone exchange, with 18 
subscribers, had been opened, and the "hello girl" appeared. 
The success of the instrument speedily established telephone 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

companies in competition with the telegraph systems, the first 
of which had been started here in 1847. 

About 1880 the first electric lights were used here. The gen- 
eral use of electricity for power came in 1888, when an experi- 
mental electric trolley line trundled passengers in Walnut Hills. 
Industry and the city had been dependent on gas jets, oil lamps, 
and candles for light, and on steam for power; electric pow- 
er was a boon. The touch of a finger set gigantic wheels to 
turning, and lighted up homes, factories, and offices. 

During the same period many other new enterprises were 
founded in Cincinnati. Among them were in 1880 the United 
States Playing Card Company, now the world's leading manu- 
facturer of playing cards; in 1883 the modern retail food chain 
store, typified by the Kroger Grocery and Baking Company, 
second largest organization of its kind in the world. In 1887 
the modern machine tool industry began with the R. K. 
Leblond Machine Tool Company, to be followed two years 
later by the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company, now the 
world's largest producer of milling and grinding machinery. 

By 1891 Cincinnati was the carriage and -wagon center of 
the world, bicycles bumped along the cobbles and the country 
roads, and horses and pedestrians jumped at the racket of the 
horseless carriage. That year 1,292 industrial establishments 
operating in the city had a combined capitalization of 

Since 1900 industry and commerce have slowed down, but 
the city has undertaken the motor truck and body trades, laun- 
dry machine making, and the production of overalls, aluminum 
products, insulation material, articles made from papers and 
fibre, chemicals and beauty preparations, automobiles (1915), 
sporting goods, electric washers and refrigerators, and radio 
receiving sets. A definite revival in production has been noted 
in the tailoring and dress trades and in the making of women's 
shoes, office fixtures and furnishings, and quality home furniture. 

By 1909, though still convalescing from the 1907 money 
panic, Cincinnati had the world's largest playing card plant, 
trunk factory, and tannery; the nation's leading theatrical poster 
printery, compressed yeast factory, iron tube and pipe works, 



FOUNTAIN SQUARE (1874, 1938) 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

printing ink establishment, harness and saddlery works, theat- 
rical publishing house, women's shoe factory, and desk and 
office furniture plant, and the Middle West's biggest piano 
factory. The city was also America's leading bituminous coal 
distributing center and diamond cutting center, the Middle 
West's capital for the manufacture of men's clothing, and 
Ohio's top wholesaling market. 

In 1910 the automobile was still a rich man's plaything; 
Old Dobbin was losing few good oats and little affection. That' 
year, because the American banking system had failed to keep 
stride with industry and commerce, Washington set out to find 
a permanent cure for periodic financial panics. From a mass of 
proposals came the Federal Reserve Bank Act (1913), designed 
to maintain an elastic national currency. The beneficial effects 
of the new banking laws were immediate, local industry once 
more began to grow, and, with the beginning of the World War 
(1914), Cincinnati's machine tool industry rocketed the city 
upward again. 

Almost overnight the local metal trades got busy. Orders for 
war materials piled up; employers vainly tried to meet produc- 
tion schedules by working their plants on a 24-hour day. Fac- 
tory space and facilities were doubled, then tripled. Shortage of 
trained operatives thrust wages to an all-time peak. Cincinnati 
workers suddenly found their pay envelopes stuffed with crisp 
bills, and they immediately began spending their increased 
earnings for luxuries they had always wanted. Retail trade 
soared, and to meet the increased demands manufacturing 
schedules grew long. 

In 1917, when the United States entered the War, the hurry 
and the noise of machines were even greater. Locally, and else- 
where in America, employers had to replace male workers who 
had joined the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Women, whose 
wage-earning activities until that time had been limited to 
offices, stores, and the needle trades, trooped to the factories. 
They operated all types of machines and helped to keep supplies 
moving to the front. 

Meanwhile a movement for beer and liquor reform reached 
a climax in the approval by Ohio voters (November 1918) of 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

a state prohibition law. A few days later the War ended, arid 
Cincinnatians joined the world-wide celebration. By July 1919, 
when beer and liquor dispensaries, breweries, and distilleries 
locked their doors because of the state dry act, a national reces- 
sion in manufacture and wholesale and retail trade was begin- 
ning to be felt. Locally the stringency of unemployment caused 
by the cancellation of war orders and the closing of alcoholic 
beverage plants became more acute as soldiers were demobilized. 
They had left during a period of prosperity; they returned to 
find industry furloughing workers. This condition led to con- 
siderable unrest; through it all ran the resentment towards 
employers for failing to rehire workers who had gone to "save 
the world for democracy." 

Such was the condition of Cincinnati industry in 1920. 
Beginning in 1921, the automotive trades and radio broadcast- 
ing and manufacturing helped break this post-war recession. 
In soaring to success they proved helpful to other units, espe- 
cially steel production and transportation; and the pickup in 
commerce and trade was a spur to lagging industrial activity. 

The motor car industry, following the adoption of almost 
revolutionary production methods, found a ready market for 
its improved and cheaper products. In 1919 the radio industry 
began in Cincinnati when the Midwest Radio Corporation 
started manufacturing crystal receiving sets. About the same 
time the Precision Equipment Company started regular broad- 
casts of musical programs over Station WMH. In 1921 Powell 
Crosley, Jr., got interested in radio, and*by July 1922 he was 
the world's leading manufacturer of radio receiving sets, pro- 
ducing five hundred a day. 

Meanwhile other local industries and commercial firms had 
recovered from the post-war recession, and they began sky- 
rocketing their schedules. Pacing this upward swing were the 
automobile trades. In Cincinnati, besides the Ford assembly 
plant (1915), other automobile manufacturers had added sales 
and distribution facilities; four local factories were producing 
trucks; and the Sayers & Scovill Company was one of the 
nation's foremost manufacturers of motor hearses and ambu- 
lances. In 1923 the Chevrolet Motor Car Company and the 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Fisher Body Company, both General Motors Corporation units, 
opened assembly and manufacturing plants in Norwood. 

By 1925 the valuation of Cincinnati industrial products 
totalled $460,823,827; in Greater Cincinnati they aggregated 
700 million dollars. Leading the list were soap, metal products, 
clothing, meat, printed matter, motor cars and trucks, bakery 
products, boots and shoes, and paints and varnish. Through 
1927, through 1928, and through the first nine months of 
1929, this blithe era of expansion went along, while a few 
economists wagged warning fingers, preaching the "day of retri- 
bution." At the time America was the world's center for capital 
and trade; its technological superiority assured an increasing 
number of orders, and Cincinnati workers, as elsewhere, were 
going home on pay days with bulging pockets. 

The national buyer's market continued unchecked until Sep- 
tember 1929. Then prices on the nation's securities exchanges 
slumped, and men realized that they had stretched the American 
economy to the breaking point. Efforts to avert a major financial 
disaster proved temporarily successful; investors recovered their 
earlier losses, started another surge toward getting rich quick on 
market stock. The stage was set for the biggest economic fiasco 
in United States history. 

The debacle came suddenly. In the morning of October 29, 
1929, Cincinnatians went about their daily tasks unsuspecting. 
At 9 a. m., when markets opened, the overnight break in prices 
caused panic, and the hysteria spread as thousands tried to save 
at least a portion of their investments by selling. By noon the 
country's financial and security markets showed scenes of bed- 
lam; wild confusion swirled in brokerage and investment offices 
and on the floor of the Cincinnati Stock Exchange. Issues of 
even the most conservative Cincinnati manufacturers, along 
with the more speculative stocks, skidded downward to record 
lows. By 7; 30 that evening, when local newspapers published 
extras screaming the day's final stock prices, national investor 
losses exceeded 20 billion dollars. Overnight efforts to "peg" 
the market proved unsuccessful, and during the following week, 
though the rate of decline was less abrupt, security prices 
continued to drop. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

So began another commercial and industrial depression. In 
Cincinnati business bumped along,. ^during the remainder of 
19*29. Despite financial, losses, the year ended with business 
reporting the largest aggregate earnings in the community's his- 
tory. The valuation of industrial products alone totalled 
$933,290,890, and 114,068 factory workers received 
$157,583,726 in wages both an alltime peak. 

But early in 1930 local industry and commerce began to feel 
the effects of a major depression. Payrolls were cut and thous- 
ands of operatives laid off. Across the nation rolled a wave of 
bank failures. The conservatism of Cincinnatians helped to ease 
the shock in financial circles here, and only three banks suspend- 
ed payments. In 1931, as the economic upheaval reduced indus- 
try and commerce to debris, unemployed workers and profes- 
sional people, their savings exhausted, were forced into the 
breadlines. In Cincinnati, as elsewhere, unskilled labor bore the 
brunt of the depression. Soon the alarming increase in the num- 
ber of persons on public relief rolls made additional funds 
sadly needed. 

Help came from State and Federal Governments. Federal 
funds, first appropriated by Congress in 1933, were expended 
for work projects sponsored by municipalities. The first of these 
programs, the Civil Works Administration (CWA) , at its peak 
(January 1934) gave employment to 23,162 men and women 
in Hamilton County. Total expenditures were $5,486,476. 
Later the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) , 
a direct relief organization augmented by a work program, took 
over the work, and completed those projects left unfinished by 
CWA. At its highest rate of operation the FERA gave employ- 
ment to about 4,500 men and women in the county. Then the 
Public Works Administration (PWA) was set up to help com- 
munities make public and semi-public improvements and in this 
way aid workers in the building and construction trades. At the 
same time the expenditures for materials boosted production in 
the durable goods industries. Soon after PWA began function- 
ing, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was organized 
to give work to employables on the direct relief rolls. Since late 
in 1935 the WPA has spent several millions of dollars for the 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

continuance of its program in Cincinnati. Other Federal projects 
which have helped lessen unemployment are the Federal Hous- 
ing Administration (FHA) , sponsor of Laurel Homes, a seven 
million dollar model homes and slum clearance project; and the 
National Resettlement Administration (NRA) , in charge of 
constructing Greenhills, a ten million dollar model town built 
on a tract of farm land near Mt. Healthy. 

These huge expenditures of Government funds helped stave 
off economic collapse. In 1933 Greater Cincinnati industrial 
payrolls and production reached their lowest level; the 1,619 
establishments reported a total of 67,257 employees, who 
earned $64,608,254 in wages, while valuation of products was 
$396,242,147. This represented a loss of 55,811 in employ- 
ment and $537,048,743 in valuation compared with the peak 
year of 1929. The percentage of loss in commerce and the pro- 
fessions equalled those of industry. Post office receipts of 
$5,374,933 and the $19,324,339 valuation of new mortgages 
were record lows. 

The uncertainty and discouragement of 1933 are apparent 
in headlines excerpted from local newspapers: 

Trading is Slow in Local Market. 

See Scrip as Possibility. 

Deposits Declared Safe as Withdrawals are Cut: Trade 

Goes on as Usual. (5 per cent per month withdrawal 


Ford Branch Here to Halt Operations. 

Hoarding Prohibited as Fourteen Local Banks Reopen. 

But the city muddled through. After the national "bank 
holiday" in March, the Federal Reserve Bank Act was revised 
to prevent future recurrence of financial panic. Fear was 
checked, and Cincinnatians started rehabilitation. Beginning in 
1934 the steady flow of money from work relief payrolls, 
coupled with the spurt given business activity by resumption 
of work in the brewing and distilling industries (April 1933), 
brought gradual improvement. As Cincinnati industry began 
recalling former employees, wholesale and retail sales also 
jumped ahead until the fall of 1937. Then another economic 
recession hit the country. The steel and automobile industries, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

which had paced other units of manufacturing during the up- 
ward climb, led the downward swing and bore the heaviest 

In Cincinnati business activity was spotty. Until December 
1937 retail sales and bank clearings continued to gain, while 
general industrial activity registered losses in some cases as high 
as 10 per cent. Statistics compiled by the Cincinnati Chamber 
of Commerce show that local business activity for 1937 was 
11.4 per cent higher than in 1936 and less than 12 per cent 
below the 1929 record. 

Since 1935 the building trades, which reached a peak in 
volume of construction and wages in 1929, have shown signs 
of revival. The principal stimulant has been the huge Govern- 
ment expenditure for the slum clearance and model homes 
projects. Although the present shortage of homes is acute, real 
estate and building experts blame the lack of construction activ- 
ity on the high cost of materials and labor. The construction 
industry in Cincinnati is subject to so many ups and downs 
that the status of the industry is often hard to determine. 

In 1937 the average yearly wage of the nearly 100 thousand 
industrial workers in the Cincinnati area was about $1,380. 
This about equalled the peak average of 1929. In 1933, when 
factory activity reached its lowest depression level, the average 
was only $945 for Cincinnati's 68,247 industrial wage earners. 
By 1935 it had jumped to $1,130. In 1937 for every dollar 
spent in wages about $2.75 was added by manufacture to the 
value of the finished article. In 1935 it was $2.53; in 1929, 

Because of the wide variety of its industrial activity, Cincin- 
nati does not have so seasonal a life as cities with fewer import- 
ant manufactories. The city is represented in nearly 250 of the 
319 industrial classifications listed in the census compiled by 
the United States Department of Commerce. It leads the world 
in the production of soap, machine tools, playing cards, and 
sporting goods, and takes high rank in the manufacture of 
office furniture, laundry machinery, printing inks, text books, 
women's shoes, work clothing and men's wear, sheet metal 
products, engineering appliances, coffins and burial caskets, lam- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

mated bakelite, overalls, printed work, meat, radio sets, beer and 
liquor, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and industrial chemicals. 

Its muster roll of products is a round-sounding list of what 
America uses: pottery; watches and watch cases; hall clocks; 
jewelry; home and office furniture; neon and electric advertising, 
signs; electrical appliances; time-recording instruments; butch- 
er's store supplies and equipment; store and office fixtures and 
supplies; marble, granite, slate, and other stone products; com- 
mon and face brick; patent and proprietary medicines or com- 
pounds; photo-engraving work; electrotypes; paints, lacquers^ 
and varnishes; barber and beauty salon chairs and supplies; 
planing mill products; plumbers' supplies; hardware; cooper- 
age; bungs; railroad repair and boiler shops; fire apparatus and 
equipment; hearses, ambulances, automobiles, trucks, and bod- 
ies; rubber goods; stamped and enamel ware; surgical and 
orthopedk appliances; glassware; window and door screens; 
paper and cloth shades; stoves, ranges, furnaces, and air condi- 
tioning equipment; awnings, tents, and waterproofed products; 
non-alcoholic beverages; boots and shoes; butter and dairy 
products; cigars; compressed and liquefied gases; concrete prod- 
ucts; condensed and evaporated milk; confections and candies; 
glue, animal foods and fertilizers; flavoring extracts and syrups r 
flour and other grain mill products ; various food products, teas,, 
and spices; woolen goods; electric and artificial ice refrigerators; 
electrical machinery; aluminum products; pressure pumps and 
machinery; gasoline, oils, and greases; and many other articles. 

In addition, such novelties as parachutes, toys and skates 
are manufactured; feathers and down are reclaimed, and gold- 
fish raised successfully. The manufacture of a typewriter with 
characters in Braille, invented and perfected by two Cincin- 
natians, Mrs. Cecelia Dooin Wiedemann and George Grosse, 
a mechanic, was about to be started in 1938. The machine 
looks and operates like a typewriter. An electrically driven 
motor supplies the power for the operation of a cylindrical 
wheel which punches out the characters. Transcription is con- 
trolled by a keyboard. 

Through 150 years Cincinnati has come to be seventeenth 
among America's citks in size, thirteenth in the value of its 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

products. About 475 thousand persons live within the city 
proper, over 72 square miles; while industrial Cincinnati, com- 
prising Hamilton and Butler Counties in Ohio, and Kenton and 
Campbell Counties in Kentucky, a total area of some five hun- 
dred square miles, has a population of almost a million. More 
than fifty million people live within the overnight trading 
territory of 350 miles. In 1935 the 1,742 establishments in the 
Cincinnati area produced more than 10 thousand articles, val- 
ued at $625,779,625, and a total of 86,941 factory wage earn- 
ers were employed, with payrolls aggregating $98,927,191. 
That year the city's 6,948 retail stores had net sales of $196,- 
867,000, employed 26,517, and paid wages of $24,776,000, 
while the 1,383 wholesale businesses had net sales of $477,- 
189,000, gave employment to 13,090, and paid $22,505,000 
in wages. The combined manufacturing, wholesale, and retail 
trade was more than $1,300,000,000, while total business 
transactions, including professional and executive services, 
aggregated about two billion dollars. 

At these dimensions Cincinnati has arrived, after 150 years. 
The city has reached maturity; its pattern is set. And the newer 
city in the hills calmly watches the industry that gave it life 
throw up smoke in the basin and along Mill Creek. From 
thousands of homes clustered on the bluffs above the old city 
her people still can watch the Ohio River turn between the hills 
on its way to the great "Father of Waters" who draws together 
our nation. 


Chapter II 

Transportation Ohio River and Its 
Floods Canals and Railroads City 
Carriers Motor Bus and Truck Sys- 
tems Air Lines 

HE OHIO RIVER first brought supplies on hand- 
propelled boats to Cincinnati. Then steam-driven 
paddles began to churn and the river bore packets 
gunwale-deep to the lusty young city on its north 
bank. The city was grateful; it sang songs of the river and 
made the boatmen its heroes, the deckhands its poets, Then 
the roads, the canals, and the railroads came; and the city forgot 
the river. But the Ohio had a long memory of trade and story 
and song; and today it relives its memory in a new tradition 
and bears a new commerce to an old city. 

On a steep hill in Eden Park overlooking a sharp bend of the 
river, President Herbert Hoover on October 22, 1929 dedicated 
a stone obelisk commemorating the completion of a system of 
locks and dams insuring a nine-foot channel, which permits 
navigation at all times on 980 miles of river. Proposals for the 
work had been laid before Government officials on October 8, 
1895, by the Ohio Valley Improvement Association. Now 
manufacturers can ship freight by way of the Ohio River and 
its tributaries, and at New Orleans transfer it to ocean-going 
craft. Several steamboat and barge-line companies have landings 
and warehouses along the river front at Cincinnati, and they 
operate steam and diesel -powered boats on regular schedule from 
the city. During the first eight months of 1937 merchandise 
received and shipped by boat at Cincinnati totalled 2,927,828 

Cincinnati, the division point, or terminal, for seven great 
railroads, owns the Cincinnati Southern Railroad (Southern 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Railway System), a 340-mile steam railroad from Cincinnati 
to Chattanooga, Tennessee, operated under lease by the Cincin- 
nati, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific Railway. 

A number of interstate and intrastate bus lines and motor 
truck drayage concerns operate routes penetrating to every corner 
of the country; an electric interurban line runs to Columbus; 
two airlines reach all sections of the nation; bus, electric streetcar,, 
and taxicab systems touch all major parts of the city and sub- 
urbs; and motor busses, electric trolleys, and five bridges connect 
the city with communities in northern Kentucky. In 1937 
Cincinnatians owned 88,668 passenger automobiles and 11,683 
motor trucks; 1 20 thousand vehicles were registered in Hamilton 

Cincinnati's combination of good rail and waterway facilities 
has helped make the city the soft coal capital and one of the 
leading coal distributing centers in America. Each year about 
three million tons of the fuel, carried by barge from West Vir- 
ginia and Kentucky mines, is handled in local yards. A yearly 
burden of some 32 million tons of coal is hauled by railroad 
through the city. 

How to transport merchandise safely and cheaply was one 
of the problems Cincinnati's pioneer manufacturers had to solve. 
Although they tried hard, their first attempts were rather inef- 
fectual; they set pack horses on bridle paths, clumsy wagons 
on roads, and crude boats on neighborhood streams and creeks. 
As early as 1792 the first commercial ferry was poled laboriously 
across the Ohio from Cincinnati to Newport; and the pioneers 
joyfully nailed together more wagons for Kentucky trade. At 
the time practically all the merchandise sold here was brought 
from Philadelphia; stock was sent for, or fetched in person, 
over a road which ran down through Lexington, Danville, and 
Crab Orchard, Kentucky, to Cumberland Gap, then shot north- 
east through Abingdon, Staunton, and Winchester, Virginia, 
to Baltimore, Maryland, and finally reached Philadelphia. Wag- 
goners making this trip were on the road for 30 days. 

More people, increased manufacturing, and improved farming 
soon piled up the need for better ways to and from market. 
Dirt roads were cut through the wilds, then turnpikes, and 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

iinally toll roads, and the infant city was no longer lost in the 
woods beside the river. But these roads did not fully meet the 
jieea. In 1825, therefore, the city started digging the Miami 8 
Erie Canal; for nearly half a century it was Cincinnati's main 
jroute to the interior of the state. 

After Cincinnati's streets were laid out, road building lagged, 
then picked up again about 1830 with the era of toll roads. 
These roads, constructed with private capital, had gates set at 
strategic places; waggoners had to pay fees before they could 
travel through. The toll ways bearing the heaviest traffic were 
the Cincinnati, Columbus, and Wooster Turnpikes, connecting 
Cincinnati with the National Road at Columbus; Milford Road, 
from Chillicothe to Cincinnati; and Harrison Road, from Cin- 
cinnati to Brookville, Indiana. Later these roads were taken 
over by the state and incorporated in the present state highway 

In the 1880's the electric streetcar took workers to and from 
their homes and sprinkled the suburbs with new homes. The 
introduction of auto busses (about 1916) also helped build 
outlying residential districts and new manufacturing zones. Al- 
most immediately local transportation systems chartered motor 
coach routes to accommodate the heavy traffic. During recent 
years several more auto coach routes have been added. 

During the past three decades the factory area of Cincinnati 
has been enlarged primarily because of the Greater Cincinnati 
switching district, a co-operative arrangement permitting inter- 
change of cars between competing railroads. About 1920 the 
introduction of motor trucks hastened expansion of new manu- 
facturing zones. Because of its greater speed in door-to-door 
delivery, the truck has almost entirely superseded the horse and 
wagon; it has brought about the quicker and cheaper exchange 
of light freight. 

Today all these major transportation systems serve Cincin- 
nati. The street railway system, with its electric streetcars, 
motor coaches, trackless trolleys, and taxicabs, and the indepen- 
dent bus and cab lines transport workers to and from homes, 
offices, and factories; the railroads and motor truck systems 
bear the heavy and light freight, bring in the raw materials 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

for factory workers to change into saleable merchandise, and 
along with the motor bus, the airplane, and the automobile, 
scatter Cincinnati salesmen everywhere. 

Transportation runs up big payrolls. In 1937 the railroads 
with terminal facilities in Cincinnati had about 5,200 employees 
and an estimated annual payroll of $9,400,000; the intercity 
bus lines employed about two hundred men, while wages 
amounted to 300 thousand dollars; the intercity motor truck 
freight lines gave employment to about 3,500 workers, earning 
an estimated $5,500,000; the airlines had about 30 employees 
and a payroll of $80,000; the packet and barge lines gave work 
to about five hundred, with an estimated payroll of $400,000; 
and the Cincinnati Street Railway Company and the indepen- 
dent bus lines had jobs for about 2,750, who earned more than 

The Ohio River 

KEEL BOATS, FLATBOATS and makeshift craft hewn 
from logs first transported freight and passengers on the Ohio 
and its tributaries. In this primitive way traders were able to 
ship upriver 4,457 barrels of flour from February to June, 1802. 

The first line of keel boats plied a regular schedule between 
the city and Marietta in 1794. Earlier, the flatboat had carried 
other cargo besides passengers, and often it was the retail store 
at which river town inhabitants bought their household stuffs. 
During the first eleven months of 1788 more than nine hundred 
boats descended the river, carrying a roughly estimated 1 8 thou- 
sand passengers, eight thousand horses, 2,500 cattle, a thousand 
sheep, and as many hogs. Many of the boats did double duty; 
when they reached Cincinnati they were torn apart, to become 
the lumber for homes, barns, furniture, and sidewalks. 

Shippers had to be satisfied for more than a decade with 
these uncertain methods of transportation. Then steam was 
applied to the propelling of watercraft. The Orleans, designed 
by Robert Fulton (inventor of the first steamboat) and built 
at Pittsburgh, paused at the Public Landing here in October, 
1811, on its maiden trip to Louisville. The Orleans weighed 



PUBLIC LANDING (1860, 1938) 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

three hundred gross tons, was equipped with a low-pressure 
engine, and cost about $38,000. As she puffed up the Ohio 
Valley, she opened a new era for Cincinnati, an age when her 
life was that of the river. 

Records show that in 1835 some 2,237 steamboats tied up 
at the Cincinnati Public Landing. As river traffic grew thick it 
brought commerce to Cincinnati and also catastrophe. In 
1838, for instance, an explosion wrecked the Moselle opposite 
Cincinnati, killing some 80 of the holiday crowd which packed 
its decks. The sidewheeler had gone upstream from the Public 
Landing to pick up excursionists waiting on the Kentucky shore. 
With the steam pressure unusually high, the pilot was preparing 
to back into the stream when the blast occurred. Another disas- 
ter, which took the lives of six passengers trapped in the cabins, 
happened at the Public Landing on March 31, 1892, when 
the Golden Rule suddenly went up in flames a few minutes 
before it was scheduled to leave. In less than an hour the 
boat was a heap of charred debris. 

But river life, with its diplomatic captains, its suave poker 
sharks who would bet a grand on a pair, its whip-tongued 
mates, and its crooning deckhands, went on undeterred. The 
Cincinnati wharves were exciting, noisy places. Saws whined 
and hammers clattered rhythmically as craftsmen busily shaped 
and fitted timbers into "floating palaces." Launchings were the 
social events of the day; food and drinks were free. In 1872 
(probably the peak year) 54 large boats, costing well over a 
million dollars, were first slid into the water at Cincinnati. 
The most important boat builders were S. T. Hambleton $ Co., 
Johnston, Morton 8 Co., John Litherbury, the Nile Works, 
and Miles Greenwood ft Co. 

In its best years the Cincinnati steamboat building industry 
employed about three thousand workers, most of them craftsmen 
who shaped their careers in the boatyards. Today the city does 
not put together steamboats, but since 1910 it has profited from 
the building, repair, maintenance, and sale of small pleasure 
craft. When the last ship's carpenter in the vicinity of Cincin- 
nati, Alonzo Bayless, died October 13, 1937, aged 90, the 
last of Cincinnati's age of steamboat building went with him. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The use of towboats for handling river coal began in the 
Cincinnati area in January, 1907 when the Sprague took 60 
coal boats and barges, carrying a load of 70 thousand tons, 
from Louisville to New Orleans. From this experiment came 
a vast river trade in coal. At Cincinnati this coal commerce 
has gone steadily upward; on several occasions the annual 
receipts have exceeded three million tons. In 1937 the city 
received 2,606,044 tons. 

Before the Ohio River was entirely canalized, navigation was 
often halted by ice floes or low water. The greatest economic 
loss came during the winter of 1917-18; when boats could not 
travel the Ohio for 1 weeks. At Cincinnati the Public Landing 
was covered with splinters of boats and barges, and many a 
sunken vessel lay nearby on the river bottom. Thousands of 
blocks of ice even floated down to Memphis, hundreds of miles 
away on the Mississippi River. The aggregate damage to ship- 
ping was estimated at seven million dollars. 

In 1929 completion of the Ohio River locks and dams 
sharpened the interest of local shippers; since then the tonnage 
carried by packet and barge has been stepped up considerably 
each year. In 1935 shipments on the Ohio and its tributaries 
amounted to 46,411,655 gross tons more than had been 
towed through the Panama Canal that year. A new Ohio 
River record was made during the first six months of 1937, 
when 10,100,000 tons of cargo were hauled in 1,300 trips, 
nine hundred of which were by towboat and barge and the 
remainder by the 87 packets still in service. 

Modern steamboating on the Ohio River has turned from 
musing about its memorable days as an individualist to partici- 
pating in an exciting present in co-operation with industry, 
whose barges carry coal, iron, steel, oil, sand, gravel, cement, 
and automobiles. Shipment of oil, the latest industrial product 
to be hauled by river barge, has increased from 82 thousand 
tons in 1924 to 1,961,000 tons in 1936. Oil tank barges from 
the south help fill the giant storage tanks of local oil distributing 
companies, while other boats, stocked with gasoline from pipes 
of the Gulf Refining Company's plant near North Bend, deliver 
their cargo at sundry points along the river. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Besides the Greene Line Steamers, at the foot of Main Street, 
operating packet and freight service, the larger river transit 
-concerns are Mississippi Valley Barge Line Company, Front and 
Harriet Streets; Ohio River Transit Company, foot of Sycamore 
Street; and Ohio River Company, Addyston. Many of the 
larger coal companies have their own barges and towboats. 

Some of the glamor of river life in the 1870's was recaptured 
at Cincinnati in 1928 when Captains Frederick Way, of the 
Betsy Ann, and Tom Greene, of the Chris Greene (both boats 
.sternwheelers in the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh trade) agreed to try 
the mettle of their packets in an official race. The boats had 
raced before when they found themselves beside each other 
going downstream; but the crews of both steamers claimed vic- 
tory. Roustabouts on the Betsy Ann pointed to a pair of 
antlers hanging in their salon, antlers signifying victory in races 
on the Mississippi River. 

On the afternoon of July 25, 1928 the race was run over a 
21 -mile course from the Public Landing to New Richmond 
Between cheering thousands on both banks of the river and on 
accompanying boats. The onlookers saw fine boats churning 
the river; they could not see the sooty, sweating firemen cram- 
ming coal into the hot mouths of the fireboxes so that the 
engineers could catch every possible breath of steam. The crews, 
it is said, had bet every penny they could scrape together on the 
outcome of the race. The contest was fairly even until the 
sternwheelers passed Coney Island. Then the Chris Greene 
gradually pulled away, until at the finish it was about a quarter- 
mile ahead. The prize, the old pair of antlers, was transferred 
from the Betsy Ann to the winner. 

When Captain Way asked for a return match, Captain Greene 
accepted the challenge. On July 16, 1929 the second test was 
run over the same course. Representatives of the leading news 
services and newspapers saw the speed run, and the contest had 
national publicitv. The Tom Greene, of the Greene Line fleet, 
a dark horse entry, was the winner, but the margin of victory 
was less than 35 feet. A third and final race was run from 
Fernbank Dam to Coney Island on June 28, 1938. This time 
the Tom Greene ended up four miles ahead of the Betsy Ann. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The prize was a bronze plaque formerly in the salon of the 
Robert E. Lee, which had beaten the Natchez in the historic 
race from New Orleans to St. Louis in 1870. 

Ohio River Floods 

THE OHIO FLOODS nearly every year, usually without 
inflicting much damage. But in 1832, 1884, 1913 and 1937 
losses were immense. After each flood, however, business has: 
been lively after the river has gone back to bed. In 1832 the 
city faced an acute food shortage for several weeks when prac- 
tically every warehouse in the high-water district was gutted 
by the river. After the 1884 and 1913 floods many industrial 
plants and wholesale warehouses were removed from the high 
water district because of the heavy losses to stocks and equipment 
and the subsequent loss of trade. 

In January 1937 the Ohio River was in especially high 
spirits; it came up the terraces, crawled into the top stories 
of homes and the nether parts of tall business houses, and 
left reluctantly after doing damage to the tune of 25 million 

The actual loss to industry in wages, cancelled orders, and 
destroyed records has never been accurately computed, but the 
total was big. One large manufacturing concern in its annual 
report to stockholders wrote off 250 thousand dollars in flood 
losses. Owners of factories in the Bottoms, East End Riverside, 
Brighton, and Cumminsville industrial areas suffered the heav- 
iest losses. In Cumminsville a disastrous fire which burned 
for 48 hours started when oil and gasoline, spewn on the water 
by overturned storage tanks, ignited. The fire razed several 
factories and dwellings, and caused damage estimated at more 
than two million dollars. Three months after the marauder 
left, however, only a few watermarks on buildings were visible 
evidence that the river had stopped to pillage Cincinnati. 

At the November 1937 Cincinnati election voters approved 
a five million dollar bond issue, the proceeds of which are to 
be used for setting up a floodwall or otherwise protecting the 
city's low-lying sections against future river raids. Proposals are 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

now being studied by engineers, and additional building funds 
will probably be appropriated by the Federal Government after 
a flood-protection plan is approved by United States Army 
engineers. So in the future Cincinnatians may put up a wall 
between themselves and the Ohio River. The waterway was 
friendly when it took their ancestors on its back through nature's 
wall in the 'Alleghenies and bore all their goods, then suffered 
their taking the trees from its banks and spewing it with 
refuse from their sewers and industrial plants. But there is a 
limit to friendliness, and the river periodically exacts its toll. 

The Canal Era 

AS EARLY AS 1815 Dr. Daniel Drake was urging the 
construction of a canal from Cincinnati to Toledo, but it was 
not until five years later that Cincinnati business men were 
smitten with the canal mania rampant in the East. From a mass 
of proposals emerged plans for the Miami Canal, later known 
as the Miami & Erie Canal, and in 1825 the Ohio legislature 
authorized the digging of the waterway. After the necessary 
capital had been subscribed, the first spadefuls of earth were 
turned at Middletown (July 1825) by Governors Morrow of 
Ohio and Clinton of New York. 

Construction work from Middletown to Cincinnati was 
rushed. By 1827 the locks had been placed and the water let 
in; slender boats were being drawn slowly along by horses or 
mules pulling in tandem over the narrow towpath. The first 
two boats, the Clinton and Washington, heavy with merchan- 
dise, left here for Middletown on November 21, 1827. Though 
the weather was bad, it was a bright day for the promoters and 
for the local tradesmen, for the hopes and the future of many 
a Cincinnati business depended upon the success of the canal. 
The waterway lived up to all expectations and attracted many 
new industries. 

The Clinton, carrying freight and passengers, made the first 
trip from Middletown to Cincinnati. Cargo on the boat 
included flour, whisky, pork, and pork barrels, all consigned 
to A. J. Gano. The first boat built exclusively for passengers 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

slid into the canal here on December 17, 1827. Freight boats 
hauled sand, lumber, dressed pork, livestock, ice, and some- 
times an entire cargo of from 350 to 450 barrels of whisky. 
Ice came to Cincinnati from basins fed by canal waters a few 
miles north of the city, and sometimes from Toledo the water- 
way reached there in 1840 where it was hacked from Lake 

For 60 years the canal boats were drawn by horses or mules; 
then came the "electric mules" and the gasoline boats, used only 
for a short time before the canal was abandoned. The truck of 
the electric mules ran on rails parallel to the canal. Though 
these electric mules were equipped with twin motors equal to 
80 mule power, they could only go about as fast as the horses 
they replaced three or four miles an hour. Traffic on the canal 
reached its peak in 1851, when tolls collected from the boat 
operators amounted to 352 thousand dollars. Thereafter the 
volume of traffic slowly diminished. 

Because the Miami & Erie Canal was a success, another com- 
pany built the Whitewater Canal from the National Road 
(now US-40) near Cambridge City, Indiana, to Cincinnati. 
Sections of the Whitewater River were used for the right-of- 
way, and at one point, near Cleves, the route ran for 1,900 feet 
through a tunnel. The first boats cleaved its waters in 1843. 
The canal's span of usefulness was short; after several disastrous 
floods on the Whitewater River had destroyed boats and valuable 
cargoes, the waterway was abandoned in 1860. Although stock- 
holders of the operating company faced heavy financial loss 
when the waterway was given up, the sale of a section of the 
canal to the railroads averted complete ruin. Rail line operators 
used the "ditch" as a right-of-way for entrance to the old 
Grand Central Station (closed in 1933) at Third Street and 
Central Avenue. 

From 1830 until 1860 turnpikes and canals were regarded 
as the last word in transportation. Elaborately decorated pas- 
senger boats, drawn by fast horses, were placed in service. 

In 1888 Cincinnati went Venetian for its Centennial Expo- 
sition (July-November) . Over the canal from Thirteenth to 
Fifteenth Streets, a distance of 1,248 feet, it arched Machinery 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Hall. The interior was a gala transplanted Venice. Four bridges 
over the canal ran through the middle of the building, and 
gondolas and singing gondoliers were part of the exposition 
entertainment. Centennial promoters proudly announced in 
newspaper advertisements that the building became bright at 
nightfall with "innumerable jets of gas and electric lights." 

Near the close of the nineteenth century it became apparent 
the Miami & Erie Canal had reached the end of its days as a 
common freight carrier. After the railroad had sapped river com- 
merce, the operating company decided to close the waterway. 
In 1895 freight boats completed their leisurely final trips. For 
some years thereafter, however, some manufacturers continued 
to move merchandise along the waterway near Cincinnati for a 
purely local trade. 

On July 28, 1917, many years after the official closing, the 
Free Setters, a group of residents whose homes banked the old 
waterway, took an excursion on one of the few remaining 
boats. While the horses footed slowly along, pulling a craft 
whose decay was camouflaged with paint and bunting, former 
Mayor and Judge Frederick S. Speigel extolled the long service 
of the artificial stream which had been the city's greatest com- 
mon carrier. It was the swan song of the canal. 

So ended Cincinnati's canal era days when small boys and 
men fished from the banks, when "swimmin' holes" were select 
places in the dirty canal, when rescues seldom made the front 
page. Those were the times when the Texas and Mohawk boy 
gangs battled and then ran off at the cry of "Cheese it, the 
cops!," when "Over the Rhine" families packed picnic baskets 
and went boating, when children and grownups joined hands 
in skating or sleighing on the canal ice in winter. Today a park- 
way with islands of greenery follows the route of the old canal 
to the suburbs; along it stream automobiles and busses carrying 
thousands of Cincinnatians. The boulevard has an expensive 
foundation. Using the canal bed as right-of-way is a 
$6,500,000 subway, practically completed in 1925, still unused 
in 1938, but available for rapid transit whenever traffic condi- 
tions in the future may require a lower level for mass 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Railroads in Cincinnati 

CINCINNATI SHIPPERS AGAIN faced the problem of 
providing faster means of transferring cargo in the 1830's. At 
the time, boats on the Ohio River and the Miami 8 Erie Canal 
were carrying most of the industrial cargo. Because of the lack 
of good roads and the limited capacity of wagon trains, great 
sections of trading territory in the neighborhood of Cincinnati 
were untapped and plans for market expansion were at a 

Although the East had a railroad in 1827 it was not until 
August 28, 1930 that an American-built locomotive was put 
into service by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Gradually the 
iron horse proved its worth as a common carrier and disturbed 
canal and river boat operators, who foresaw the death of the 
canal. Since business had recovered from five years of monetary 
crisis, local capitalists took quickly to railroading. They formed 
companies, obtained charters, started building steam rail lines, 
and carried the city into its railroad era. 

Rivalry between railroad promoters was sharp. The group 
sponsoring the Little Miami Railroad (now part of the Penn- 
sylvania Railroad System) scrambled ahead of the others, got 
a state charter, and started construction. The first train carrying 
passengers and freight from the city made its way gingerly over 
a 30-mile section of the Little Miami Railroad in 1843. The 
trackage was extended to Xenia the following year, and in 1846 
to Springfield, the terminus. One eight-wheeled locomotive, two 
passenger coaches, and eight freight cars ran over the strap 
rails. Still, it was a beginning, and new rights-of-way soon 
radiated fanwise from the city. All equipment used by the Little 
Miami Railroad, even the wood-burning locomotive, was fabri- 
cated by Cincinnati workmen. 

Promoters of the old Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Rail- 
road (now part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad System) 
were second to obtain a state charter. The C. H. & D. put trains 
on its tracks in 1850, and the same year the Louisville & Nash- 
ville Railroad began service from Covington. In 1851 the 
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad (Big 4 


EVOLUTION OF RAILS (1850, 1900, 1938) 


THE GAY 90's 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Route, now part of the New York Central Lines) laid a road- 
bed from Cincinnati to Indianapolis, and trains soon ran on 
regular schedule between the two cities. 

Railroad building lagged during the next six years. In 1857 
two additional lines, the Ohio & Mississippi (Baltimore & 
Ohio System) and the Marietta & Cincinnati, with the help 
of loans from the city completed rights-of-way, and announced 
the beginning of train service. 

Greater use of rail lines by travellers and shippers instantly 
precipitated a keen struggle between railroad and canal and 
river boat operators. In some instances the agents of competing 
lines resorted to cutthroat methods in order to get passengers 
and freight. Cut-rate rail, canal boat, and river packet tickets 
were sold openly; in time the bribery and rebating on freight 
shipments became a scandal which came to the ears of Congress 
and led to an investigation. In 1887 Congress passed an act to 
regulate commerce a law which brought forth the Interstate 
Commerce Commission (1888), armed with the power to 
control rates and practices. This regulatory and policing agency 
now rules the policy of railroads, telephone and telegraph com- 
panies, and airplane, bus, and motor truck lines doing an inter- 
state business. More recently, state utility commissions have 
managed intrastate commerce under regulations patterned after 
those of the Federal agency. 

After Government regulation became effective (and partly 
because of financial stress in the nation) , stockholders of many 
smaller railroad companies near bankruptcy approved proposals 
for the merger or absorption of their systems by the larger rail 
corporations. Then followed the golden age of the railroad, an 
era of great expansion programs, of new construction and 

The beginning of the Civil War ended temporarily the 
building of new railroads in Cincinnati. But plans had been 
drawn, bonds floated, and work started on the Cincinnati 
Southern Railroad. The job of building the roadway was re- 
sumed when the conflict ended, and in five years the entire 
project was rushed to completion at a cost of about 30 million 
dollars. In 1870 the first trains over the route left Greater Cin- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: ISO Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

cmnati (Ludlow, Kentucky) . Steam trains were soon carrying 
more traffic, both passenger and freight, than the river and canal 
boats combined. 

But unwise tracklaying through small towns anxious for 
service made for haphazard, wasteful building. Short line routes 
were laid from Cincinnati to suburban villages, but the narrow- 
gauge tracks got no right-of-way into the basin of the city. 
Afterwards several roads, including the Cincinnati & Westwood 
Railroad tried to recapture passenger and freight trade by re- 
building roadbeds to conform with the standard-gauge tracks 
of other lines. 

By 1910 passenger service on the few remaining short roads 
had been abandoned and freight loads were small; for another 
competitor, the motor truck, had entered the transport lists. In 
1920 the C. & W. Railroad discontinued freight service. A 
gasoline-driven car now makes a round trip daily so that the 
line can keep the charter for its right-of-way. 

Like the Van Sweringens in Cleveland, the short line railroad 
operators in Cincinnati helped create suburban towns in the 
Cincinnati area, many of which have since been annexed to the 
city. Investment losses during the narrow-gauge period were 
great, but the advances made toward solving the suburban 
transport problem partially offset the financial setbacks. 

After a century of growth, and of struggle against new com- 
petitors and against time, which has a way of antiquating 
equipment and scrapping once-urgent needs, American railroads 
have achieved almost perfect co-ordination. A car of Cincinnati 
merchandise leaving the city at 5 p. m. will be "spotted" on a 
siding at its destination, three hundred or more miles away, on 
the following morning. Freight trains of a hundred to 125 
cars in 1937 proposals to limit trains to 75 cars were turned 
down with a paying daily load of from four to five thousand 
tons speed away from the city, distributing from coast to coast 
the products manufactured here. In 1938 there were 85 freight 
station."? in the city and vicinity, with trackage of more than 
1,200 miles. The normal interchange of loaded freight cars in 
the Cincinnati area averages about 20 thousand weekly. In or- 
der to meet the strong competition of the motor bus and the 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

air liner, railroads have launched big programs to attract passen- 
gers. Schedules have been speeded up; air-conditioned coaches 
are the rule rather than the exception; and pullmans have the 
conveniences of a modern hotel. Scientists and inventors em- 
ployed by the railroads are investigating ways of making travel 
by rail the safest means of getting about. 

The latest advance in railroad freight service is the door-to- 
door pickup and delivery of merchandise, inaugurated in 1934 
by Eastern lines. Most of the companies operating locally have 
contracts with transfer concerns to make these deliveries. In 
January 1938 the first diesel -motored locomotives to be used in 
the vicinity of Cincinnati ran on the tracks of the B. & O. 

For many years Cincinnati's main railroad terminal (Grand 
Central Station) was an old, inadequate building at the south- 
west corner of Central Avenue and Third Street. When through 
tickets called for connections between competing lines, travellers 
were often transferred to the Pennsylvania Station. After years 
of talk and planning, the railroads decided to invest in a new 
terminal for a stable city. Their faith in the future of Cincinnati 
was largely responsible for the spending of more than 45 mil- 
lion dollars in the construction of the fine new Union Terminal 
and the relocation of hundreds of miles of freight sidings. Work 
was started in 1929; by April 1933 the terminal was ready for 
use. The terminal spreads a total trackage of 94 miles; it can 
accommodate daily 216 trains and more than 17 thousand 

Railroads with Cincinnati service facilities are The Baltimore 
& Ohio Railroad, a national combination of many small lines; 
Big Four Route (New York Central Lines) ; Chesapeake & 
Ohio Railway Company; Louisville & Nashville Railroad 
Company; Norfolk & Western Railway Company; Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad; and Southern Railway System. All passenger 
trains entering or leaving the city use the Union Terminal. All 
lines, except the Southern Railway, use the Terminal round- 
house facilities. The Southern Railway has its own roundhouse 
and repair shops at Ludlow, Kentucky, directly opposite 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Ohio River Bridges 

THE CIVIL WAR turned Cincinnati's attention again to 
the South, and its business leaders urged the construction of 
bridges to span the Ohio River. Work on the Suspension Bridge, 
started several years before the beginning of the war, was halted 
in 1861 by the scarcity of labor and the lack of capital. In 
1862, when it was believed Confederate forces might try to 
raid the city, the United States Government stretched a pontoon 
bridge alongside the stone abutments and on this transported 
troops and supplies. Although the raid was never made, the 
pontoon span proved the value of a bridge across the river. 
After North and South had battled to a finish, work on the 
structure was resumed. The bridge, then the longest suspended 
river crossing in the world, was opened to pedestrian traffic on 
December 1, 1866. A month later, on January 1, 1867, the 
first wheeled vehicles rumbled over the Ohio River at Cincin- 

The Southern Railway bridge was the second span to be 
completed, and in 1882 the first trains made their way slowly 
across it. The L. & N., the Central, and the C. 8 O. bridges 
were originally designed only for railroad traffic, but vehicular 
and pedestrian roadways were added later. In 1938 the auto 
roadways of the L. 8 N. and C. & O. spans were the property 
of the Kentucky State Highway Department. Both will become 
free bridges after tolls collected from autoists and other users 
retire the bonds issued by the State of Kentucky when it 
bought the structures (1935-1936). 

Street Railway System 

WHEN THE CORPORATE boundaries of Cincinnati were 
pushed outward by the huge increase in population and the 
expansion of industry about 1850, it became difficult for citi- 
zens in far-flung suburbs to travel about the city. Previously, 
workers had either to walk to and from their homes or use 
horse-drawn hacks and omnibusses. The more affluent strutted 
their own buggies on the cobblestones. In 1859 five companies 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

(predecessors of the present Cincinnati Street Railway Com- 
pany) organized to operate horse-drawn streetcars. The char- 
ters granted them by the city called for the establishment of 
service in the various sections of the community. 

The horsecar days were lively. While horses pranced, bustles 
bobbed, and silk toppers tipped with courtly grace, the car 
operators openly fought each other for passenger trade. Occa- 
sionally the horses became tired and balked; on other occasions 
passengers helped lift the cars back on the tracks when the 
vehicles were derailed by mud or rubbish in the street. 

This method of operating jolting "boxes on wheels," stuffy 
in summer and so cold in winter that passengers used straw to 
keep their feet warm, continued until the introduction of the 
electric streetcar by the street railway company and a number 
of independent lines in 1888-89. By 1896 all 33 lines were 
merged, making possible the present co-ordinated system. 

In 1869 disgruntled property owners in the "Over the 
Rhine" section of Vine Street delayed for a time the granting 
of a charter to the Queen City Line (Vine Street) . The Gazette 
disdainfully reported the reactionary attitude of these people, 
who raised a rumpus in open meetings of the city council. Cam- 
paigns to win over the dissenters were successful, and the charter 
was granted. 

Owners of the horsecar lines had labor and political troubles 
only a few months after they put their cars on the streets. The 
first difficulty came on March 21, 1860 when drivers on the 
Third Street line went out on strike, demanding a wage in- 
crease. The Gazette reported the company had announced a 
25 -cent daily wage increase, but at the same time had added 
four hours to the working schedule; so that a driver had to 
work 18 hours to earn $1.25. On March 27 workers on the 
other four lines joined the strike. Community sentiment was 
nearly unanimous for the drivers. Several weeks elapsed before 
peace and regular service were restored. 

On May 15 that year, spokesmen for the five operating com- 
panies asked city council to amend existing contracts. The 
concerns wished to be relieved of the expense of paving streets 
used by the cars, offering, instead, to keep repaired that part of 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the streets within the tracks and one foot on each side. (In 
time the city consented, but during recent years the operating 
company has periodically asked further reduction in its respon- 
sibility for paving.) They also demanded the repeal of ordi- 
nances calling for the annual payment of $25 for each car and 
one cent tax for each passenger. In return for these concessions, 
the spokesmen assured the councilmen that rates of fare would 
be reduced. Council agreed to all of this. 

As early as 1860 newspapers campaigned against speeding. 
That year, after a pedestrian had been killed by a horsecar, the 
Gazette demanded editorially that the city enforce the ordinance 
limiting the speed of streetcars to six miles an hour. The paper 
claimed drivers did not try to slow down at intersections and 
in other ways refused to drive safely. 

Competition for passenger trade during the 1860's inspired 
many chuckles. On summer evenings one enterprising car driver 
hired a band to give concerts. So popular was this driver, news- 
papers reported, that there was not an inch of empty space 
inside the car; and often the roof was precariously packed with 
undignified riders. 

In 1913 street railway employees struck for union recogni- 
tion, increased wages, and better working conditions. Violent 
conflict followed. After several hectic weeks a compromise 
settlement was reached and peace restored. Since then all such 
difficulties have been negotiated peacefully by employers and 

For 10 years the horsecars answered the city's needs for local 
transportation. Then in the 1870's came the day when venture- 
some souls averred that the steam engine was better than the 
horse for moving streetcars. An operating company was formed 
and a "dummy" railroad set up on Crawfish Road (Delta 
Avenue) ; and for many years Joe Bell, steam locomotive, 
pulled passenger cars between Sportman's Hall, in Pendleton, 
and Mt. Lookout Park. In 1897 the route was abandoned. 

Since they were an intermediate step between the horsecar 
and the electric streetcar, the incline and the cable cars were also 
important in shaping the present co-ordinated city transport 
system. During the 1870's, after a fecund city had almost 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

doubled its population in 20 years, newer methods for handling 
this added traffic were needed. Experts were puzzled; for horses 
could not pull loaded cars up the steep grades of Cincinnati 
streets leading to hilltop suburbs. The inclined planes solved 
the problem. The first incline, connecting Mt. Auburn with the 
basin of the city, was opened in 1872. Then planes climbed 
Price Hill, Bellevue, Mt. Adams, and Fairview. 

By 1880, when the present Cincinnati Street Railway Com- 
pany was organized, Cincinnati was known as the "city of 
inclines." On summer evenings society gathered at beer gardens 
like the Highland House, Bellevue House, Price Hill House, 
and Lookout House, perched on the hills beside the inclines, 
sipped their beers, and, with the serenity that only height can 
give, maintained that the hill-locked city beside the river was a 
fine place. In 1938 only two inclines were left. The Mt. Adams 
plane carried streetcars and passengers, and the Price Hill 
incline, only passengers. 

Next came the cable cars. In 1885 the Walnut Hills cable, 
five miles long, driven by a steam engine in a power house at 
the top of the Gilbert Avenue hill, replaced the horsecars. The 
Sycamore and the Vine Street systems were built later. The 
Vine Street line continued operating until 1898, when, during 
a G.A.R. encampment, the cable broke and tied up traffic on the 
entire system. Thousands of veterans were marooned at the Zoo. 
The next day the cable line was in the discard and new electric 
cars were immediately put into service. The cables on these sys- 
tems ran through a groove between the tracks; a "grip" on each 
car clutched the steel strand and pulled the vehicle along. In 
order for the car to stop, the grip had to be released and the 
hand brake manipulated by the motorman. 

Local transportation systems have given good target practice 
to critics. Complaints range from lack of service in particular 
communities, poor service in others, and delays in service, to 
excessive rates. Despite this difficulty and the interference of pol- 
itics, the Cincinnati Street Railway system has grown steadily 
until it is now offering a comprehensive transport service to all 
sections of the city and suburban areas. The corporation added 
new equipment quickly when new transport facilities, such as 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

motor coaches and trolley busses, were invented; at the same 
time it has improved existing equipment. 

From 1900 until 1915 the Cincinnati Traction Company 
ran several parlor cars, specially built vehicles to be chartered 
for picnics, outings, or sight-seeing in the city. Riders were 
served ice cream, peanuts, and popcorn. During the same period 
cars leased by the United States Government transported mail 
to and from substations and the main post office. 

The next advance in local transportation which may in 
time obviate the less heavily travelled electric streetcar lines 
was the introduction of the motor bus. Although experimental 
routes had been operated as early as 1916, the first put to regu- 
lar use by the Street Railway Company came in 1926. The first 
busses were noisy, smelly, cumbersome for the driver to operate 
in traffic, uncomfortable for the rider. Progress in design and 
performance, however, was rapid, and by 1938 auto coach 
manufacturers had devised a vehicle as comfortable, though not 
so large, as the electric car. Because it is still in the experimental 
stage, however, the motor bus is more costly to operate. 

Since 1859 the growth of the Cincinnati Street Railway 
Company has paralleled that of industry and the city's increase 
in population. Extension of old routes and construction of new 
ones have made possible the moving of factories from the 
crowded bottoms to the Millcreek Valley, Oakley, Norwood, 
Western Hills, East End, and suburban villages. 

The Street Railway Company operates about five hundred 
streetcars, a hundred motor busses, and 17 trolley busses; it 
owns a repair and maintenance shop, covering 5^ acres, on 
Mitchell Avenue, and controls Cincinnati Taxicabs, Inc. 
(Yellow, Ferguson, and Davis companies) . Independent local 
bus lines run about 75 coaches. 

Since 1925 the Cincinnati Street Railway Company has been 
in the transportation business on a service-at-cost plan, which 
assures a six percent return on invested capital. Through a 
public utilities director the city represents the car rider in dis- 
putes and regulates policies of the corporation. Under the plan 
fares may not be increased unless income of the company fails 
to meet expenses. To avoid frequent changes in fares, there has 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

been established a control fund, to which surpluses are added 
and deficits withdrawn as the situation requires. 

In 1938 City Transit, Inc. (1925) was the largest inde- 
pendent operator of motor coaches in Cincinnati. Its routes 
radiate to many sections of the city and its suburban area. The 
Valley Bus Lines (1926) and the Mt. Washington Transpor- 
tation Company also have local and suburban auto bus routes. 

Interurban Lines 

AFTER THE COMING of the electric streetcar in 1888, 
the need for faster means of getting to and from Cincinnati and 
nearby communities led to the building of interurban lines 
which again helped industry to widen the local trading terri- 
tory. These lines flourished until the advent of the motor bus 
and truck. Then the rapid construction of good roads and the 
resulting competition from motor bus lines caused traffic to de- 
cline and gradually led to the abandonment of electric inter- 
urban lines. Today only one enters the city. The Cincinnati & 
Lake Erie Railroad, operating electric cars between Cincinnati, 
Dayton, Springfield, and Columbus, has also a number of mo- 
tor bus routes to northwestern Ohio communities. The C. 8 
L. E. still transports many passengers, but its last freight line, 
between Cincinnati and Columbus, was abandoned in June 
1938. De luxe cars, furnished like Pullman salons and able to 
do 90 miles an hour, are used for passenger service. At present 
only 127 miles of electric interurban trackage remain in Ohio, 
and most of the familiar old stations are in various stages 
of decay. 

Intercity Bus Lines 

EFFORTS OF AUTOMOTIVE designers to construct mo- 
tor vehicles for the carrying of passengers led to the intercity 
motor bus systems, which began forming about 1915. Since 
the early coach was simply a boxlike frame mounted on an 
auto chassis, progress in bus transportation was slow. As the 
industry advanced, and despite poor roads and the lack of com- 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

fort, travellers quickly approved this new mode of transport. 
Since the speed and the flexibility of the bus offset its disadvan- 
tages, and since it is cheaper to operate because no expensive 
rights-of-way have to be purchased or large amounts of capital 
spent for roadbeds, tracks, and buildings, the fares are compara- 
tively low. 

The popularity of riding on rubber forced owners of short 
bus lines to expand, and soon it was possible to travel from 
coast to coast by motor stage. As in other new industries, 
competition among the early bus companies was costly, and as 
a result many smaller concerns were forced to suspend service, 
while others were absorbed by companies more financially 
secure. In recent years the railroads have established bus lines 
to serve territory unprofitable for the operation of steam trains. 

The Colonial Short Line System, one of the nation's first 
transcontinental bus lines, was organized in Cincinnati in 1926. 
For a time its business was good, but because of the decline in 
travel during 1929-33 the management slid into involuntary 
bankruptcy. Later some of its route franchises and equipment 
were bought by the Greyhound Lines, now the world's largest 
operator of motor coach routes. 

The Capitol Greyhound Lines, one of the subsidiary corpor- 
ations which make up the Greyhound System (1914), was 
formed here in 1928. The company operates coaches from 
Washington, D.C., through Cincinnati to St. Louis. Other 
Greyhound lines using the Cincinnati Greyhound Terminal, 
Walnut Street, between Sixth and Seventh Streets, are the Ohio, 
Central, Pennsylvania, Southeastern, and Atlantic Lines. 

Other intercity bus line companies with executive offices in 
Cincinnati are Ohio Bus Lines (1923), running coaches be- 
tween Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Middletown (Ohio) , and 
cities in Indiana; and the King Brothers Company (1921, in- 
corporated in 1928), operating busses between Franklin, Cin- 
cinnati, Dayton, and Xenia, and Cincinnati and Portsmouth. 
Several other intercity bus lines leave Cincinnati from the 
Union Bus Terminal, East Fifth Street, between Main and 
Sycamore Streets. Many small lines transport passengers to and 
from nearby Kentucky communities. 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Within the last few years design and performance of motor 
busses have changed. Modern coaches are large and comfortable, 
fitted with easy reclining chairs. In 1930 sleeper coaches for long 
overnight journeys appeared on the roads. Fares are slightly 
lower than those of the railroads. 

Motor Truck Freight Lines 

FOR SEVERAL YEARS after the automobile proved its 
practicability for pleasure riding, the horse and wagon remained 
the principal means for transporting merchandise. As early as 
1900, however, local shippers were interested in the motor 
truck; but because the price was high and the mechanical 
performance of the earlier models uncertain, only a few were 
used. By 1910 progress in mechanical construction had ad- 
vanced so that it was economical for large shippers to buy fleets 
of trucks. As the revolutionary transportation change contin- 
ued, shippers remodeled stables into garages, and retired horses 
to farms on a pension of oats. 

Since 1925 motor truck freight transportation has come into 
general use as fast as did the railroads in the 1850's. In 1938 
the truck lines ranked next to the railroads in the amount of 
freight handled. About 20 terminals and 75 intercity motor 
freight lines, having the latest truck, tractor, and trailer equip- 
ment, operate from Cincinnati. First-class freight rates are about 
the same as rail rates; commodity rates are lower. 

Air Lines 

AMERICAN AIR LINE operators have blazed new travel 
ways. Although Cincinnati's interest in flying dates back to 
1910, the first regularly scheduled plane service from the city 
did not begin until 1927 when the Embry-Riddle Company 
was awarded a Government contract to transport mail between 
Cincinnati and Chicago. At that time the old type of open- 
cockpit heavier-than-air machine was still being used com- 
mercially. But meager equipment did not halt the rapid advance 
of air transportation. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The modern transport airplane came into use abgut 1925. 
Since then the latest types of planes in passenger service can do 
more than two hundred miles an hour. Plane capacity has been 
increased from four to 30 or more passengers. 

In 1928 the Embry-Riddle Company was purchased by 
American Airways, which in 1934 became American Airlines 
Inc. In May 1938 the Marquette Airlines, Inc. began tri- weekly 
service between St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Detroit. Now it is 
possible for an airline passenger leaving Cincinnati from mu- 
nicipally owned Lunken Airport, six miles from the downtown 
district, to reach New York in less than four hours, Chicago 
in less than two hours, and the Pacific Coast in about 14 hours. 
Sleeper planes are used on regular schedule, while practically 
every flight carries mail, light express, and a stewardess to take 
care of the passengers. Rates are about 15 to 20 percent higher 
than rail fares. From January to May 1938 a total of 1,866 
passengers, compared with 1,214 for the same 1937 period, 
travelled from Cincinnati via American Airlines. 

In addition to the commercial airlines, Cincinnati has several 
flying instruction, air taxi, sight-seeing, and advertising con- 
cerns. Two have hangars and instruction classes at Lunken 
Airport: Queen City Flying Service (1931), and Cincinnati 
Aircraft Service. 

Lunken Airport, with an area of 1,125 acres, of which 450 
have been improved, is one of the nation's most modern and 
complete municipal landing fields. In May 1938 a new admin- 
istration building, housing ticket offices, passenger and baggage 
rooms, weather bureau, radio directional beam controls, super- 
intendent's offices, and a "Theodolite tower," used for record- 
ing of wind velocity, ceiling heights, and barometric pressure 
readings, was completed with the aid of the Works Progress 
Administration at a cost of 175 thousand dollars. The airport 
is surrounded by dikes devised to protect it from flood waters 
of the Little Miami and Ohio rivers, but these afford safety 
only to a river stage of 65 feet. 


Chapter III 

Banking Building and Loan Associa- 
tions Finance Companies Stocks 
and Bonds Insurance 

extent upon the condition of its banks, which help 
industry and commerce by supplying capital, credit, 
and payrolls. In 1938, 15 banks, with 55 branches in 
various parts of Cincinnati, had combined resources totalling 
more than 400 million dollars. The resources of about 250 
building and loan associations amounted to nearly 150 million 
dollars. Nearly 2,100 persons, with an estimated annual pay- 
roll of $3,250,000, are employed in the banks. Depositors 
number 200 thousand. 

Compared with pioneer institutions, present financial organi- 
zations, housed in strong, finely decorated buildings and having 
national currency regulations through the Federal Reserve 
Board and governmental regulations and protection for deposi- 
tors, are amazingly complex; for the early banker had to over- 
come severe difficulties before he got even a foothold, much less 

Banking originated about 2,000 B.C. when the Babylonians 
put their worldly valuables in the temples for safe keeping. By 
575 B.C. this pious system was private business; the bankers 
acted as buying agents, loaned money on crops and signatures, 
and paid interest on deposits. The first Greek banks, both pri- 
vate and state-controlled, functioning about 400 B.C., were 
of three kinds: some received deposits against checking, others 
dealt in coins and gold bullion, and the rest were money lend- 
ers. The Roman banking system, patterned after the Greek, 
was operated under strict governmental regulation. During the 
Middle Ages churches and monasteries became depositories for 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

money. Receipts given for these deposits were widely used as 
commercial paper in Europe. 

Modern banking dates from 1400 A.D. when the first of 
the great banks in Venice was opened. The Venetian system 
differed from that of mediaeval times only in that it had re- 
serves of specie as a medium of exchange. Later the English 
accelerated the circulation of money by using the specie reserve 
as the basis for a paper circulating currency. The practice of 
issuing notes secured by specie representing only a part of their 
value came in 1700. 

The Bank of North America (1781), the first important 
banking house in the United States, and the Bank of New York 
and Bank of Massachusetts, chartered by Congress in 1784, 
were founded to provide a circulating medium after the col- 
lapse of Revolutionary War paper currency. In 1791 Congress 
approved a charter for the Bank of the United States. Because 
of its large capital and its branches in various parts of the na- 
tion, the institution was able to regulate the State banks then 
being organized, and it refused deposits or note payments of 
unsound banks. In 1811 the pressure from state banks prevent- 
ed renewal of the charter for the Bank of United States. In 
1816 Congress chartered another "central" bank in Philadel- 
phia; the Second Bank of the United States could open branch- 
es, accept deposits of government funds, and negotiate Federal 
and State loans. 

The development of Cincinnati banking came in five great 
cycles: days of the early banks and note issues until the panic 
of 1820, followed by five years of recovery and the subsequent 
normal growth of banking capital; an era of great increase in 
the number of private banks, caused by the difficulty in obtain- 
ing state bank charters; a period under regulations of the Na- 
tional Bank Act (1863), written by Salmon P. Chase, Cin- 
cinnati, secretary of the treasury during Lincoln's Administra- 
tion; a later period of liberalization of state laws for the 
granting of charters which caused private financial institu- 
tions to get charters or liquidate; and finally the current time, 
dating from the Federal Reserve Bank Act of 1913, which 
provided for an elastic currency, expanding as trade expands, 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

contracting as trade contracts, because of re-discount privileges 
granted reserve banks. (An amendment, liberalizing the re- 
discount policy, was made in 1933). 

Only a year after Cincinnati was incorporated in 1802, the 
first general assembly of the new State of Ohio gave to the 
Miami Exporting Company a liberal 40-year charter allowing 
it to bank in the lively young village, and to build and operate 
river boats probably with the idea that, should the shipping 
business go under, the capital could then be used in banking. 

Previously the early tradesmen and industrialists had plod- 
ded along, trading with the Indians and hunters by swapping 
cloth, blankets, beads, and now and then a hogshead of whisky 
for skins and furs. Then they bartered with their neighbors. 
A rabbit skin brought a "half -bit" (6J4 cents) ; a coon skin, 
a "bit" (12J/2 cents). A deer skin was priced at 50 cents, 
while a fox pelt was worth only 25 cents. (From this, no 
doubt, originated the present-day slang of "two bits," mean- 
ing 25 cents.) A fifth quarter of the dollar added by the mint 
to cover coinage cost was promptly spit at as a "sharpskin." 

When the Miami Exporting Company and other early 
banks began issuing notes, these became the medium of ex- 
change. During the crisis of 1818 the notes depreciated in value 
as much as 40 percent. In 1820, when all Cincinnati banks 
were closed, a variety of money swirled from pocket to pocket 
in the city United States silver dollars, Portugese "joes," 
Spanish pistareens, dollars cut into eight pieces, notes issued on 
the credit of private firms, gold five and 1 dollar pieces minted 
by private firms, copper and bronze disks, and beer and 
merchandise checks. 

Capital was not easy to get. Four years after the charter had 
been granted, the paid-in capital of the Miami Exporting Com- 
pany amounted to 150 thousand dollars, part of which was 
cash, the rest produce and merchandise. The company soon 
quit the shipping business and put its whole talent to banking. 
In March 1807 a banking office was opened at the foot of 
Sycamore Street, with Rev. Oliver M. Spencer, a pioneer of 
the old school, once captured by Indians, as first cashier. Divi- 
dends amounting to as much as 15 percent a year were paid. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

As the Cincinnati population grew to more than 2,500 in 
1810, more banks were needed. Nicholas Longworth I, great- 
grandfather of the late speaker of the House of Representatives, 
was named, in October 1811, secretary of a group of commis- 
sioners who were to get a charter for the Farmers' and Me- 
chanics' Bank. The banking office was set up at 45 Main 
Street, and Samuel C. Vance, one of the incorporators of the 
Miami Exporting Company, named the first cashier. Although 
it was not incorporated until 1816, the Bank of Cincinnati, 
Lot Pugh cashier, was ready for business in 1814. 

The three banks issued a large number of notes, and business 
stepped along normally until December 26, 1814, when the 
presidents of the institutions posted notices that payment of 
notes in specie was being discontinued, and that a premium of 
about 10 percent was commanded by specie in the East. The 
bulletins excited many citizens to joint action; but a mass 
meeting held January 27, 1815, only produced a committee 
which later returned a report favorable to the banks. 

Business travelled an even road for a time. The first private 
bank west of the Alleghenies came in 1816 when John H. 
Piatt and Company put a banking house on the south side of 
Lower Market Street, east of Main Street. A brother-in-law of 
Piatt was his silent partner. (The two partly gave up their 
contracting business when the bank was started) . During the 
same year, in addition to the notes issued by the banks, scrip 
of various Cincinnati corporations was handed about as cur- 
rency because of the shortage of specie. 

The next bank established was the Second Bank of the 
United States, opened January 27, 1817 in a building on the 
east side of Main Street, between Third and Fourth Streets. 
Among the Cincinnati potentates on the directorate were Jacob 
Burnet, John H. Piatt, General (later President) William 
Henry Harrison, Martin Baum, of the Miami Exporting Com- 
pany, and Daniel Drake, historian and about everything else 

With the opening of the branch, some specie was brought 
into the community, and in July of the same year other banks 
resumed specie payments. But banking was not as we know it 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

today. The hours were short (from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), and 
notes for discount had to be left with cashiers the day before 
funds were needed except at the branch bank, which discount- 
ed only on Tuesday. Since the land office would accept only 
notes approved by the branch, the local house and the branch 
soon squabbled over redemption of their paper. This bickering 
excluded a number of Ohio institutions which, although all 
Cincinnati bank paper was acceptable, were not paying in 
specie. Local industry was caught in the middle. Markets were 
expanding fast and notes received in payment for merchandise 
had to be discounted to meet payrolls and buy raw materials. 

Instead of blowing over, the situation became stormy, and 
on November 5, 1818 Cincinnati banks suspended payments, 
announcing that they had to do this because of the "hostile 
attitude assumed by the Bank of the United States." News- 
papers of the day acridly commented on the "further draining 
of Ohio of specie" when two wagonloads of currency, 
totalling 120 thousand dollars, were shipped from the Chilli- 
cothe branch to the home office of the Bank of the United States 
in Philadelphia. "So goes specie from our Western country" 
was the lament. 

Nearly eight months were flipped away on the calendars be- 
fore specie payments were again made, and then only by the 
Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank when it became the depository 
for public funds. The paper of all Cincinnati banks (including 
Piatt's, which , previously had been questioned) were now 
acceptable to the land office, and finance seemed more solidly 
grounded, except for the debt of local banks to the branch for 
the great amount of paper held against them. All was quiet on 
the Western banking front for two months; then in July the 
Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank again suspended payment in 
specie, claiming that, because of the increased value of its paper, 
it had been forced to pay out more metal than it could lay 
hands on, even with the help of public deposits. 

Paper and notes sent forth by local banks were being accept- 
ed at various rates, and the financial weather was extremely 
unsettled during the first days of 1820 when Gilmore's Ex- 
change, which later became the Gilmore & Dunlap Bank, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

opened offices on Main Street and started quoting the first regu- 
lar exchange prices. Bank of the United States paper stood at 
one percent premium, Miami Exporting and Bank of Cincin- 
nati at 25 percent, and Piatt's at 30 percent. Paper of the 
Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank had no sales; it continued to 
depreciate so fast that, towards the end of January 1820, the 
bank shut its doors. Collection of loans was hard, for other 
banks would not make new loans, and, with property values 
declining rapidly, the idea of credit was absurd. Soon the notes 
of the closed house were worthless. 

During February, when leading merchants announced their 
refusal to accept Piatt paper, that institution gave up banking. 
Since most of its notes were redeemed in merchandise, however, 
there was little loss. A panicky public soon liquidated the Bank 
of Cincinnati (June 1, 1820). Although its paper declined to 
45 percent discount, the Miami Exporting Company, the city's 
first bank, managed to keep its doors open. On October 12, 
1820 the Bank of the United States demanded immediate pay- 
ment in specie of $2,251,061 outstanding. Since according to 
newspaper accounts of the time there was probably less than a 
million dollars in currency in the Western country (excluding 
New Orleans and other branch banks) , it had to close the 
same day. 

Industry felt the pinch of this financial depression; but pay- 
rolls were met with scrip, issued by the manufacturers, which 
was received gladly by local merchants. But the method proved 
harmful to exporting arrangements, and after a time industry 
had to cut payrolls and staffs. 

Although it was the only bank in the community, the 
Miami Exporting Company found it difficult to meet obliga- 
tions. A pot of trouble brewed, and boiled over. On a morning 
in May 1821 a mob set on looting the vaults gathered at its 
doors. Although Mayor Isaac Burnet was able to send the 
crowd home, its dander was up beyond putting down, and the 
bank went the way of the others a few days later. From that 
day until 1825 Cincinnati business and industry bumped along 
on the rocks. 

In 1825 the Second Bank of the United States, assigning 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

capital of $1,329,000, sent Peter Bensen from Philadelphia to 
open another branch in Cincinnati. The city needed this stimu- 
lant. By 1829, when a charter was obtained for another bank, 
the city had covered its entire indebtedness with 30 thousand 
dollars in bonds. In March 1831 the Cincinnati Savings Insti- 
tution was formed, with offices in Goodman's Exchange on 
West Third Street. Deposits were limited to from five dollars 
to three hundred dollars a year, on which five percent interest 
was paid; and the institution was expressly restrained from 
issuing notes to be used as currency. After a year had been taken 
to raise capital of 500 thousand dollars, the Commercial Bank 
was ready for patrons at 45 Main Street in April 1831. 

With the financial horizon brightening, industry began an- 
other cycle of expansion. After one-fourth of its capitalization 
of a million dollars had been subscribed, the Franklin Bank, 
housed on Main Street, between Third and Fourth Streets, was 
ready to do business in February 1833. During the same year 
new capital secured the charter of the Miami Exporting Com- 
pany, and the bank was reopened with offices at Court and 
Main Streets. In 1834 the Lafayette Bank, the Ohio Life In- 
surance and Trust Company, and the Exchange Bank and 
Savings Institution (the first private bank since the closing of 
Piatt's) , owned by John Bates Company, were doing business. 

Notes of local banks were acceptable to the Bank of the 
United States, and paper circulated freely at par, with paper 
currency of out-of-city banks in proportion to the point of is- 
sue. In 1836 the charter of the Bank of the United States 
expired, and it was not renewed. Several years elapsed, how- 
ever before affairs of the institution were settled. 

As the year 1837 was marked into the books, financial and 
industrial conditions in Cincinnati were good although cur- 
rency problems were becoming grievous in the nation. There 
were several "runs" on houses in New York and other cities, and 
local newspapers printed daily columns about the "money 
grippe," as they called the stringency. It was not until most 
Eastern cities had suspended specie payments, however, that 
action became necessary locally; on May 17 Cincinnati banks 
announced cessation of specie payments to prevent a currency 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

drainage. As specie dropped from circulation, note issues and 
"shinplasters," both authorized and unauthorized, came to hand, 
and many large corporations got permission from the State to 
issue notes a right in some cases badly abused. 

Despite the monetary troubles of 1837, two more banks, 
both privately operated, opened for business in 1838 the Me- 
chanics' and Traders', and Delafield and Burnet's Bank. Ex- 
change was still in a chaotic condition during the year. In De- 
cember influential merchants agreed not to accept Exchange Bank 
notes, Delafield checks, and the issues of several banks outside 
Cincinnati; but they did not adhere strictly to the agreement. 
From 1839 to 1841 the Delafield Bank was being liquidated, 
and C. R. Gilmore and Company, assuming the name which 
had been used as early as 1820, started the Bank of Cincinnati. 
During 1839 the Ohio legislature limited the legal bank note 
issue to three times the specie on hand instead of three times 
the capital of the bank. 

In 1841 the Lebanon Miami Bank, of Lebanon, opened an 
agent's office in Cincinnati for the payment of notes, after 
the State Auditor had arranged with the bank to redeem all 
checks and certificates given for work done on the Miami Canal 
from Cincinnati to Piqua. Funds to meet the demands were 
insufficient, however, and the agency closed December 29, 1841. 
This failure was an unsettling influence; notes were scrutinized 
more closely. The uncertainty came to a head on January 8, 
1842 when all merchants agreed to accept notes of chartered 
banks only, to the exclusion of all unauthorized paper checks, 
and appointed a committee to investigate the solvency of the 
Mechanics' and Traders' Bank and the Miami Exporting Com- 

This added to the general unrest. When the Miami Exporting 
Company assigned its business on January 10, 1842, a bellicose 
crowd assembled before the closed bank. As word sprang from 
tongue to tongue that the Bank of Cincinnati had also collapsed 
that morning, the mob let loose. Breaking into the Miami 
banking offices, it hacked to debris all movable property, tossed 
notes and papers to the winds, and carried off a great number 
of circulating notes $28,850 worth were recovered later. The 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

police broke up the disorderly mob for a short time; but, coagu- 
lating again, the rioters resumed their charge. Gunfire wounded 
several. From the ruins of the Miami bank the mob, gradually 
assimilating newcomers, swept on down Main Street to just 
below Fourth Street, where it sacked the offices of John Bates' 
Exchange Bank. At Noah Lougee's exchange, next door, the 
safe held up under mass attack. When the crowd rolled up to 
the Mechanics' and Traders' Bank violence was averted only 
because the institution managed to pay all claims in specie. 
The rioting was no solution to the problem, and a confused 
Cincinnati speculated about the value of paper issued by the 
closed banks. 

During the following few years banking was normal, with 
notes circulating at various rates of discount. The next major 
disturbing influences came in 1855, when the Mechanics' and 
Traders' Bank liquidated and W. W. Cones Company failed. 
During the same year gold rose from three-fourths to one 
percent premium; while gilt-edged investments continued to 
decline in value. Private banks dominated the financial life 
of the city; for they numbered 22, as against three chartered 
institutions. Despite unsettled conditions, the number of private 
banks continued to increase. Five new ones opened that year, 
and two started business in 1856. 

Although the year 1857 was born under seemingly good 
financial auspices, widespread banking unsteadiness reached a 
crisis before the summer was over. On August 24 Cincinnati 
heard that the New York office of the Ohio Life Insurance 
and Trust Company had closed, and it was soon apparent 
that the local office would not be open for business the following 
morning. Newspapers carried the announcement that the com- 
pany would not operate until it had more details of the New 
York closing. The city seemed about to have a repetition 
of the 1842 riots; the financal district on Third Street was 
alive with worried depositors and policemen. Nervous tension 
and a close watchfulness resulted in only one serious run that 
on the Citizens' Bank. Settlement of Ohio Life Insurance and 
Trust Company affairs was greatly protracted because of legal 
complications; but this trouble was only the start. On Septem- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

her 2, 1857, affected by the failure of their Eastern correspon- 
dent, the Central Bank of Hatch 8 Langdon suspended business. 
Conditions were becoming more serious throughout the country; 
banks failed every day. 

Eleven days after the closing of the Central Bank, the Citi- 
zens' Bank discontinued activity. Local business men began 
to wonder how long it would be before a general suspension 
of specie payments became necessary. All New York banks 
took this step on October 14; the rest of the country followed 
suit immediately after. 

Then a long depression moved in. Payrolls were cut and 
operatives laid off by the thousands. City officials tried dili- 
gently to keep many people from starving, and people blamed 
banking and monetary methods. New national laws to avoid, 
if possible, a repetition of the money panics were being planned, 
and a Cincinnatian, Salmon P. Chase, was one of the economists 
studying the problem. 

Despite all this uncertainty the Bank of the Ohio Valley 
was organized in June 1858 under the act of the Ohio General 
Assembly of 1851 to "authorize free banking." It secured 
quarters on the north side of Third Street, west of Main Street, 
and was prosperuos from the start although most of its origi- 
nal capitalization of 25 thousand dollars had to be subscribed 
by northern Ohio business men. A year after the opening of 
the bank, profits totaled $14,252.68. After a dividend of 
four percent was paid, $7,080.88 was carried to surplus; during 
the same year capital was increased to 500 thousand dollars. 
The Bank of the Ohio Valley was merged with the Third 
National Bank in April 1871. 

At the outbreak of the Civil War Cincinnati was still feeling 
the effects of the depression. Hard times became general again; 
bank notes were variously called "wildcat," "red dog," "stump 
tail," and "shiinplaster," and Congress was busy talking about 
methods of exchange. In 1862 total capital of the incorporated 
banks in Ohio was $5,696.000, with a currencv circulation 
of $9,217,000. By December of the same year this circulation 
had increased to 10 million dollars. Circulating specie decreased 
as circulation of the bank notes increased. Since change was 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

becoming scarce, small copper cents, or "hard times" tokens, 
were coined as a substitute. In Cincinnati, Pike's Opera House 
and the Burnet House, long a famous hotel, issued paper notes 
for from five to 50 cents, which were redeemed in five-dollar 
lots. The Government brought forward a large amount of 
fractional and postage currency, and even postage stamps were 
used as change in mercantile establishments. Cincinnati corpora- 
tions that placed this "necessity money" into circulation were 
John Shillito ft Co.; Ellis, McAlpin ft Company; Pearce, Tolle 
ft Holton; L. C. Hopkins ft Co.; and C. G. Evans ft Co. 
all of whom issued stamps in denominations of from one to 
24 cents. 

On February 20, 1863 the National Bank Act was passed, 
and on February 25 it was approved by President Abraham 
Lincoln. The National Bank Act created a system regulating 
banking and credit, and imposed the following restrictions; no 
national bank could be capitalized for less than a hundred dollars 
in cities having more than six thousand population; before 
a bank could open, 50 percent of the capital had to be sub- 
scribed, and the remainder paid in five equal monthly install- 
ments; at least 30 percent of the capital had to be invested in 
Federal bonds deposited with the United States Treasury, which 
could issue bank notes equal to 90 percent of the bonds' par 
value; and the total national circulating currency was limited 
to 300 million dollars. The notes, redeemable in gold or 
silver on demand, were legal tender for all payments except 
duties on imports. Twenty-fourth on the list of those granted 
charters under the new law and first to begin operations in 
Cincinnati, The First National Bank, with a capitalization of 
one million dollars, that year set its offices on Third Street, 
east of Walnut Street. Next in order came the Second National, 
charter 32, with capital stock of 200 thousand dollars; the 
Third National, charter 20, with 500 thousand dollars; and the 
Fourth National (charter transferred), with 500 thousand 

Cincinnatians approved the new banking laws, and industry 
and commerce began to expand a growth which has been 
checked only temporarily in 1873, 1907. and in 1933, when 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

;a general bank holiday was declared following the stock market 
.crash and the ensuing depression in 1929. 

In 1866, since it had seven national banks and many private 
institutions, Cincinnati felt it needed a clearing house to facilitate 
collections. Consequently, in a meeting at the Lafayette Bank 
on March 20, 1866, in which every bank in the city partici- 
pated, the Cincinnati Clearing House Association was formed. 
(It is still operating today). The same year, the first safety 
deposit boxes were introduced in the city when the Safe Deposit 
Corporation of Cincinnati was incorporated. The rental price 
of its boxes ranged from 20 to 50 dollars a year, compared 
with the present minimum rental of two dollars a year. 

The financial depression of 1873 was precipitated in Septem- 
ber by the suspensipn in New York of the banking firm of Jay 
Cooke & Company. The hoarding of currency had become so 
widespread that the shock menaced stable banking and credit 
conditions. On September 25 the Cincinnati Clearing House 
Association, following the lead of the similar New York body, 
passed resolutions restricting members from paying out large 
amounts of currency except in the case of payrolls. It was 
several years before business recovered from the unsettled condi- 
tions of 1873, and local trade was meager until 1877. 

In 1880 Cincinnati had six national banks, five state banks, 
one savings bank, eight private banks, and two particularized 
institutions the Real Estate Bank and the Safe Deposit Com- 
pany. In November the Citizens' National Bank, with capital 
of one million dollars, was organized. 

Failure of the Fidelity National Bank in June 1887 because 
of unfortunate loans on wheat and merchandise disturbed local 
trade and resulted in considerable loss to stockholders. The fol- 
lowing year when two banks, the Metropolitan National Bank 
and the Cincinnati National Bank, were suspended, depositors 
did not suffer. Accounts of the Cincinnati National were trans- 
ferred to the Ohio Valley National; after liquidation of the 
Metropolitan, depositors were paid in full. 

The financial district of the city was unsettled by the panic 
of 1893, attributed to general overexpansion in business. Stores 
were overstocked and credit inflated, but Cincinnati banks and 



BANKING QUARTERS (1890, 1938) 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

industrial concerns were able to meet the stringency without 
extreme hardship. 

In 1900 Cincinnati had 13 national banks, one savings so- 
ciety, one private bank, two trust companies, and five state banks. 
In 1907 a "money panic", arising from hoarding, swept the 
country. To meet the situation and protect the credit of com- 
munities, prompt action by the banks was imperative. In Cin- 
cinnati the Clearing House Association arranged for the issuance 
of cashier's checks (scrip) by the 14 member banks, in denomi- 
nations of two, five, 10 and 20 dollars, payable through the 
clearing house. The first scrip appeared in Cincinnati No- 
vember 4. 

Merchants co-operated by advertising they would accept scrip 
for purchases. Because the scrip passed freely as currency many 
industrial firms met their payrolls by issuing the cashier's checks. 
Within a few weeks, when more actual currency was to be had, 
the clearing house called for retirement of 25 percent of the issue. 

In June 1908 the Fifth and Third National Banks were 
consolidated as the Fifth-Third National Bank, with capital 
of $2,500,000. In November the Fifth-Third absorbed the 
American National Bank, increasing the capital to $2,700,000. 
S. Kuhn & Sons, Cincinnati's last private bank, was absorbed 
by the Fifth-Third Bank in January 1910. With the disap- 
pearance of S. Kuhn & Sons, the once-strong institution of the 
private bank went into discard. 

When the Postal Savings Bank was opened at the post office 
on September 12, 1911, i marked the appearance of the first 
government bank in Cincinnati since 1836, the year that the 
branch of the Second Bank of the United States was withdrawn 
after renewal of its charter had been refused. The savings de- 
partment at the post office was ready for business after th? Pos- 
tal Savings Bank Act of 1911 has been approved by President 
Theodore Roosevelt. Two weeks later 948 accounts had been 
opened, while deposits amounted to 30 thousand dollars. In 
1936 deposits totalled $2.061,302. and the following vear, 
$1,723,157. In 1937 local sales of United States Government 
"babv" bonds aggregated $2.886.056.25. compared with 
SI. 575. 13 7. 50 during the previous 1? months. The increase 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

in bond sales probably accounts for the decrease in savings 
certificates, for the debentures were issued by the Treasury pri- 
marily for investment purposes. 

On December 31, 1915, shortly after the Federal Reserve 
Banking Law became effective (1913), there were in Cincinnati 
eight national banks, having capital of $13,900,000, surplus 
of $9,323,301, and total resources of $113,117,914, and 31 
state banks with 10 branches, having capital of $5,460,500, 
surplus of $7,167,308, and resources of $82,779,705. During 
the next 10 years this amalgamation of banks continued. On 
December 31, 1925 there were seven national banks, with capital 
of $13,100,000, surplus of $13,086,749, and resources of 
$173,777,464, and 20 state banks with 42 branches, having 
capital of $8,800,000, surplus of $13,201,149, and resources 
of $189,028,367. In 1922 Cincinnati's first labor bank and 
the country's third Mt. Vernon Savings Bank, Washington, 
D. C. was first (1920) the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks 
National Bank was organized with a capitalization of 400 
thousand dollars. That same year the Brotherhood of Loco- 
motive Engineers put up a bank in Cleveland. In 1935 there 
were four such organizations in the United States, having com- 
bined resources of more than 1 9 million dollars. 

During the next five years mergers eliminated three national 
and six state banks; but the first branches of national houses 
had opened and the state institutions continued to set up more 
neighborhood branches. On December 31, 1930 financial state- 
ments showed there were four national banks with two branches, 
having capital of $7,900,000, surplus of $9,617,532, and 
resources of $102,463,779, while the 14 state banks and their 
50 branches had $13,725,000 capital, $18,125,594 surplus, 
and $265,346,352 worth of resources. 

In 1926-29, after a long period of stock speculation and 
industrial and credit expansion, economists were seriously wor- 
ried about the future of American banking. The severe 
economic depression which followed the stock market crash 
(October 1929) proved the stability of Cincinnati financial 
institutions. Whereas bank failures in other cities of the nation 
were reported daily, Cincinnati was one of the few compara- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

tively unperturbed urban banking centers in the country. From 
1930 to March 1933 more than four thousand banks collapsed 
in the United States. The closings involved deposits aggregating 
$5,144,647,000. Three Cincinnati banks did fail; but in only 
one case was there a loss to depositors and then only 17 per- 
cent, as the assets of the closed institution were purchased by a 
larger bank. 

The first failure here came on June 10, 1930 when both 
the main offices and branches of the Cosmopolitan Bank and 
Trust Company closed. On June 26 the Brotherhood of Rail- 
way Clerks Nationaj, Bank also failed, but in slightly more 
than a month both institutions had been absorbed and reopened. 
On July 1 6 the Central Trust Company took over the Brother- 
hood Bank and began operating it as its Court- Vine Street 
Branch, while on July 30 the assets of the Cosmopolitan Bank 
and Trust Company were bought by the Fifth-Third Union 
Trust Company, which on August 1 1 opened as branches both 
the main office and the six neighborhood banks. 

A local flurry of excitement on November 17, 1930 was 
caused by the sudden failure of Banco-Kentucky, a holding cor- 
poration of Louisville, Kentucky, which had on September 25, 
1929 purchased control of two Cincinnati banks, the Brighton 
Bank and Trust Company and the Pearl -Market Bank. The 
Cincinnati Clearing House Association, however, called an emer- 
gency meeting, bought, on November 18, the entire holdings 
of Banco-Kentucky in the two institutions, and continued 
to operate them. A little more than a month later, on Decem- 
ber 22, the Central Trust Company purchased the two banks 
from the Clearing House Association and reopened them as 

No more failures overtook banks in the city until after the 
10-day national bank holiday in March 1933. On April 1 
the Washington Bank and Trust Company did not open for 
business and it was placed in liquidation. Later, under ruling 
of the courts, the Fifth-Third Union Trust Company was ap- 
pointed liquidator. 

New Federal banking laws and regulations supplementing the 
Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and designed to avoid, if possible, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

a recurrence of the 1933 financial panic are today in operation. 
In 1913 the Federal Reserve Bank Act approved the establish- 
ment in the United States of a central bank that is, a bank 
for bankers. Twelve Federal Reserve Banks today receive depos- 
its, make loans, and issue notes to, and collect checks, from 
member institutions. The stock of each Reserve Bank national 
banks are compulsory members is owned by member banks. 
Dividends are limited to six percent a year, and additional 
earnings are paid into a surplus fund. Through a board of 
governors the Reserve Banks control the nation's money and 
credit by issuing money, increasing or lowering rediscount rates, 
and buying and selling government securities. 

On March 10, 1933 Congress, in an effort to strengthen 
the nation's banking system, passed an act suspending all pay- 
ments in gold. In June the same year another was approved 
for the setting up of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 
which guarantees, up to five thousand dollars, individual bank 
deposits. Later that year the so-called "gold standard" was 
abandoned by the Federal Government; the "payment in gold" 
clause in all contracts, government bonds, and gold notes, was 
cancelled; and citizens were asked to turn over to the Treasury 
Department all holdings of gold, hoarding of the metal becom- 
ing a criminal offense. Other banking reforms included prohi- 
bition of investment banking, issuance of securities in deposit 
banking, and payment of interest on demand deposits; placing 
interets rates on time deposits under control of the Reserve 
Board; banning of joint service of bank directors on bank and 
financial corporation boards; authorization of the Reserve Board 
to fix the amount of credit member banks can lend on collateral 

A branch of the Fourth Federal Reserve Bank, Cleveland, 
which acts as agent for Cincinnati member banks, is in the 
Chamber of Commerce Building, Fourth and Race Streets. 

The Fifth Third Union Trust Company, established in 
1863 as the Third National Bank, with main offices at Fourth 
and Walnut Streets and 21 branches, is the city's largest bank, 
having resources of more than 100 million dollars. Next 
in size are the First National Bank, Fourth and Walnut Streets, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

with resources of more than 80 million dollars; Central Trust 
Company (1883, Ohio's oldest incorporated trust company), 
Fourth and Vine Streets, with 13 branches and resources of 
more than 70 million dollars; Provident Savings Bank and 
Trust Company, Seventh and Vine Streets, established in 1900, 
with 14 branches and resources of more than 50 million dollars; 
Western Bank and Trust Company, organized in 1875, Twelfth 
and Vine Streets, with three branches; and Second National 
Bank (1863), Ninth and Main Streets, with four branches. 

Other Cincinnati banks, all smaller in size, are the Guardian 
Bank and Savings Company (formerly the Cincinnati Morris 
Plan Bank), 117 East Sixth Street; Southern Ohio Savings 
Bank and Trust Company, organized in 1903, 515 Main 
Street; Atlas National Bank, chartered in 1887, 519 Walnut 
Street; Cincinnati Bank and Trust Company, organized in 
1906, 2155 West Eighth Street; the Columbia Bank and Sav- 
ings Company, established in 1902 as the Helvetia Savings and 
Banking Company, 929 Vine Street; Lincoln National Bank, 
chartered in 1881, Fourth and Vine Streets; North Side Bank 
and Trust Company, 4125 Hamilton Avenue; Peoples Bank 
and Savings Company (1906), Fourth and Elm Streets, with 
one branch; and Westwood Savings Bank and Trust Company, 
established in 1926, Harrison and Boudinot Avenues. A num- 
ber of smaller banks, with many Cincinnatians as directors, are 
in the cities and villages of Hamilton County outside the Cin- 
cinnati corporate limits. 

Present-day services of banks are distributed through the 
commercial, savings, safety deposit, trust, real estate, manage- 
ment, foreign exchange, and travel departments. Eight Cincin- 
nati banks operate foreign trade departments to speed the clear- 
ance of imported and exported merchandise: Atlas National 
Bank, Central Trust Company, Fifth Third Union Trust Com- 
panv. First National Bank, Lincoln National Bank, Provident 
Savings Bank and Trust Company, Second National Bank, 
and Western Bank and Trust Company. 

All the leading Cincinnati banks are members of the Federal 
Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 
which guarantees deposits up to five thousand dollars. 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The Southern Ohio Savings Bank and Trust Company in 
1936 increased its capitalization from 250 thousand dollars 
to 500 thousand dollars, and in 1937 doubled its banking 
space. In September 1937 the name of the Cincinnati Morris 
Plan Bank (1918) was changed to the Guardian Bank and 
Savings Company. But there was no alteration in policy; 
the institution continued as a member of the Morris Plan 
system, which operates a financial plan for the granting of loans 
to business men and regularly employed workers. 

Records of the Cincinnati Clearing House Association reveal 
the growth of banking in Cincinnati. Clearings in 1887 were 
$562,261,150; in 1907, $1,361,879,950; in 1927, $2,030,- 
181,819; in 1929, $3,910,555,730; and in 1936, $2,880,- 
749,980. (The 1937 clearings of $3,229,667,260 were the 
greatest since the economic decline which set in during 1930 
after the stock market crash). In December 1937 clearings were 
$262,966,539, compared with $295,280,079 for the same 
month in 1936. The decrease that month clearly reflected the 
business recession which began during the fall of 1937. 

Building and Loan Associations 

CINCINNATI'S FIRST BUILDING and loan association, 
the Cincinnati German Building Association, No. 1 , was organ- 
ized in 1867. Established primarily for the making of loans 
for home construction, these institutions about 250 in 1938 
now also have limited general banking functions. Many 
of the larger associations some have capitalizations of five 
million dollars maintain daily banking hours. The institu- 
tions doing a general banking business have approximately three 
hundred employees, with an estimated annual payroll of 470 
thousand dollars. 

Indicative of the huge amount of business transacted by these 
institutions are the 1925-1934 records, which show that Greater 
Cincinnati building and loan associations paid interest and 
dividends of more than 45 million dollars, made loans of more 
than 275 million dollars, and received deposits and paid out in 
withdrawals approximately two billion dollars. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

More than half (144 in 1937) the local institutions are 
members of the Cincinnati Federal Home Loan Bank, Chamber 
of Commerce Building, Fourth and Walnut Streets, a lending 
agency sponsored by the United States Government. The Fed- 
eral Home Loan Bank, established in 1934, is similar to the 
Federal Reserve Bank . in that it helps members to refinance 
real estate loans in default and to avert foreclosures of property 
purchased on time payments. Most local institutions also are 
members of the Federal Home Savings and Loan Insurance 
Corporation, which guarantees deposits up to five thousand 

Personal Finance 

RECENT YEARS HAVE also brought a great increase 
in the number of finance organizations, which have been doing 
much business financing credit purchases of automobiles, furni- 
ture, radios, stoves in fact, practically any article of value 
for which the buyer is unable to pay cash. These companies 
have helped increase the turnover of merchandise, hence pro- 

Credit Unions 

A PROGRESSIVE FINANCIAL unit in America since 1930 
is the credit union, an employee organization formed to make 
small loans to members. Shares in such unions usually cost 
five dollars. Loans are made to members, and the profits from 
interest are paid in annual dividends. Credit unions originated 
in 1849-50 in Schulze-Delitzh, and Raiffeisen, Germany. In 
1938 more than a hundred such unions were operating in 
the city. 

Stocks and Bonds 

Building, was founded in 1885 for the establishment of' a 
central market for listed securities of Cincinnati industrial and 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

business houses. Incorporated in 1887, it is one of the 21 
national security exchanges in the United States. Stocks of 46 
Cincinnati organizations, as well as those of several out-of-city 
firms, are traded on the exchange. Sales are made through 
the 23 member brokerage houses. 

In 1936 a total of 353,008 shares were bought and sold 
on the exchange; dollar sales amounted to $8,184,071; and 
sales of bonds aggregated $122,100. In 1937 a total of 227,856 
shares were traded, the decrease reflecting the decline in business 
activity during the final quarter of the year. Dividends paid 
during the year by corporations listed on the exchange amounted 
to $43,012,960, compared with $38,316,987 in 1936. The 
Procter & Gamble Company alone accounted for more than 
a third of the total, with payments of more than $17,300,000. 
Bond sales in 1937 were $400,850. 

Trading of unlisted securities of many Cincinnati industrial 
firms is done on the "over the counter" market. Although 
no record is kept of total sales, there probably are as many as 
the listed stocks. 

Securities of several firms, such as The Procter & Gamble 
Company, Kroger Grocery and Baking Company, Crosley Radio 
Corporation, and Champion Paper and Fibre Company, of 
Hamilton, Ohio, also are listed on the New York Stock Ex- 
change. A number of other Cincinnati industrial securities are 
traded on the New York Curb Exchange. 

Members of the exchange exclusively eligible to execute com- 
mission orders in listed stocks and bonds are Ballinger and Com- 
pany, Inc.; H. B. Cohle & Company; Dominick and Dominick; 
T. Oliver Dunlap (Dunlap & Dunlap, January 10, 1938); 
George Eustis 8 Company; W. E. Fox 8 Company; W. D. 
Gradison & Company; Cranberry ft Company; John J. Grau 
fc Company; Greene & Brock; Hill 8 Comany; W. E. Hutton 
and Company; Irwin Ballman Company; A. Lepper & Com- 
pany; W. L. Lyons and Company; C. C. Murray ft Company; 
C. H. Reiter ft Company; Stephenson 8 Potter; Weil, Roth & 
Irving Company; and Westheimer & Company. 

Many members of the Cincinnati Stock Exchange also are 
members of the New York and Chicago stock exchanges. Sev- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

eral brokers deal exclusively in state, county, and municipal 


STILL ANOTHER UNIT of financial life is formed by 
the insurance companies life, fire, and casualty of which there 
are 10 with home offices in Cincinnati. All are active and 
growing constantly, with operations on a national scale. By 
investing in local industry they help expansion. Since 1815, 
when the city's first marine insurance company was organized, 
the business has been constantly enlarged, until in 1928 the local 
life insurance companies had assets of $336,323,895 and gross 
income of $102,066,507; fire insurance concerns, assets of $8,- 
368,375 and income of $2,322,211; and casualty firms, assets 
of $1,907,096 and income of $2,719,292. In 1938 the in- 
surance companies having home offices in Cincinnati, with an 
estimated annual payroll of $4,200,000 employed about 3,200 
persons. In addition, agencies of organizations chartered in 
other states gave employment to about 1,200 persons, who 
earned about $1,600,000. 

In 1867 there were 35 fire insurance companies with execu- 
tive offices in Cincinnati. Most of these had been organized 
under the State Insurance Act of 1856, which required only 
20 percent paid capital. An amendment in 1867, however, 
forced the companies to increase their paid capitalizations, ulti- 
mately causing a trend toward consolidations which reached a 
peak during the 1880's. On July 11, 1881, the 18 life in- 
surance companies with home offices in Cincinnati reported 
to Hamilton County assessors taxable assets of $2,281,000. By 
1891 only 10 companies had home offices here, five organizations 
having been liquidated or consolidated during 1890. 

Hamilton County Mutual Fire Insurance Company, with 
home offices at Twelfth and Walnut Streets, was established 
in 1858. In 1938 the firm had assets of $1,048,024, surplus 
of $813,203, and contingency reserve of 125 thousand dollars. 
Insurance in force amounted to $47,610,648. The Cincinnati 
Equitable Fire Insurance Company, founded in 1826 (oldest 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

insurance organization in Ohio) , has home offices in the Dixie 
Terminal Building, Fourth and Walnut Streets, while the Cin- 
cinnati Fire Underwriters Association (1838) maintains home 
offices in the Carew Tower, Fifth and Vine Streets. This firm 
sponsors the Salvage Corps, a fire prevention and protection 
body. Executive offices of the American Druggists' Fire In- 
surance Company, chartered as a stock company in 1815, and 
of the Inter-Ocean Casualty Company, Inc. (1903), are in 
the American Building, Walnut Street and Central Parkway. 

Union Central Life Insurance Company, founded in 1867 
(oldest and largest life insurance firm with home offices in 
Cincinnati), occupies part of the 28-story Union Central Build- 
ing, second highest structure in the city. In 1937, the firm 
had assets of more than 300 million dollars. 

Next in size is the Western & Southern Life Insurance Com- 
pany (1888), with home offices at Fourth Street and Broad- 
way. The company has written casualty insurance since 1932. 
A million dollar office addition was completed in 1936. Assets 
in 1938 aggregated more than 160 million dollars. 

Other life insurance companies with home offices in Cincin- 
nati are Ohio National Life Insurance Company (1907) which 
moved into its present headquarters at 2400 Reading Road 
in 1935; Columbia Life Insurance Company (1903), 1349 
East McMillan Street; and Cincinnati Mutual Life Insurance 
Company, First National Bank Building, Fourth and Walnut 
Streets. The Federal Union Life Insurance Company (1915) 
formerly occupied home offices at Ninth and Vine Streets; but 
it was being liquidated by the Ohio Department of Insurance 
in 1938. 


Chapter IV 

Pork and Beef Packing Sausage Mak- 
ing Cincinnati Stock Yards Machin- 
ery and Equipment Poultry Packing 

Hog Butcher for the World, 
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, 
Player with Railroads and the 
Nation's Freight Handler. . . . 

O CARL SANDBURG sings his conception of modern 
Chicago. In the days when Cincinnati was a reigning 
hog-butcher no poet laureate sang the city's praise, but 
everybody knew Cincinnati as "Porkopolis," and meat 
packers' ledgers were bursting with the poetry of good round 

The first ordinance passed by the Select Council of the Village 
of Cincinnati (1802) was appropriate for a community which 
was to become America's meat butcher. Hog owners were pro- 
hibited from turning their animals loose to run at large in the 
"streets, alleys, and commons of the in-lots of Cincinnati." 
Whenever this was disobeyed, the offending animal was im- 
pounded and the owner, if he could be determined, was fined. 
Since the town had not yet developed its meat packing business, 
however, strict enforcement of this law waited several decades 
until Cincinnati hogs were almost synonymous with American 
pork and ham. 

Slaughtering livestock and packing meat first brought fame 
to industrial Cincinnati when Richard Fosdick, the first packer, 
after being warned that pork and beef could not be cured to 
keep in the climate here, stubbornly continued his experiments. 
His discovery of a rocksalt process for curing pork was the 
cornerstone of a business which has given employment to many 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

thousands of Cincinnati workers since he opened a slaughter- 
house in 1810. 

Miami Valley farmers had bumper corn crops but no prac- 
ticable way of transporting their corn to the Eastern markets. 
Fosdick's find induced Cincinnati packers to buy more hogs. 
So farmers used their surplus corn to raise hogs for the packing 
business. Soon hundreds of thousands of hogs were being 
raised hereabouts, and thousands driven each year to Cincinnati 

In 1815, only five years after the opening of the city's first 
packing house, Cincinnati was already exporting more than 
50 thousand dollars worth of meat, about 95 percent of which 
was pork. From November 1818 to November 1819 exports 
from Cincinnati totalled ten thousand barrels of pork at $15 
a barrel and 27,600 pounds of pickled ham and bacon at eight 
cents a pound. That year livestock valued at 15 thousand 
dollars was shipped to New Orleans. 

By 1825 Cincinnati was so well grounded in the meat slaugh- 
ter business that its folk sang "Consumptive Mary Jane," "best 
rendered when rendering lard or skinning a beef" (now best 
rendered when the pigskin twirls down the field) : 

She promised that she'd meet me 

As the clock struck seventeen 

At the stockyards just nine miles out of town. 

By 1826 many abattoirs were clustered along Deer Creek 
(now Eggleston Avenue) , and processing houses were scattered 
over the city. The volume of pork packing in Cincinnati was 
equal to (and possibly greater than) that of Baltimore, Mary- 
land. During the three months from November 1826 to Feb- 
ruary 1827 approximately 40 thousand hogs were processed 
and packed. About three-fourths of the total had been killed 
on farms and brought here for processing. But packers remarked 
that too little beef was packed and shipped from Cincinnati. 

One step toward increased sales for local packers came with 
the opening of the Miami & Erie Canal (1827). Canal boats 
brought natural ice cut from rivers, creeks, lakes, and ponds 
nearby. Packers could then store fresh meats in enormous cold 
rooms, some of them 80 feet below street level. Mechanical 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

refrigerating plants later became necessary, and today electric- 
ity keeps meats fresh for any length of time. Artificial ice is still 
widely used in railroad cars, motor trucks, and, in some cases, 
retail markets. 

Deer Creek, often running red with slaughter, was a stinking 
cesspool. Citizens complained so vigorously that, with the 
opening of the Miami & Erie Canal, many of the abattoirs were 
removed to Brighton and the Mill Creek Valley, ostensibly 
to be closer to the canal and the stockyards, actually to avoid 
recurring complaints to city officials about slaughter-house 
odors. (Since 1900 modern methods of processing, coupled 
with more stringent health regulations, have practically elim- 
i-nated all odors in slaughtering operations) . 

Among those having sensitive nostrils was Mrs. Frances Trol- 
lope (1780-1863), who came to Cincinnati from England 
about 1829 and opened a bazarr on East Third Street near Fort 
Washington. In her Domestic Manners of the Americans 
(1832), published after her return to the British Isles, she 
found words for her spleen: 

It seems hardly fair to quarrel with a place because the 
staple commodity is not pretty, but I am sure I should 
have liked Cincinnati much better if the people had not 
dealt so very largely in hogs. The immense quantity of 
business done in this line would hardly be believed by 
those who had not witnessed it. I never saw a newspaper 
without remarking such advertisements as the following: 

"Wanted, immediately, 4,000 fat hogs." 

"For Sale, 2,000 barrels of prime pork." 
But the annoyance came nearer than this. If I determined 
upon a walk up Main Street, the chances were 500 to 1 
against my reaching the shady side without brushing by 
a snout fresh dripping from the kennel. When we had 
screwed our courage to the enterprise of mounting a cer- 
tain noble looking, sugar loaf hill that promised pure air 
and a fine view, we found the brook we had to cross at 
its foot red with the stream from a pig slaughter-house, 
while our noses, instead of meeting "the thyme that 
loves the green Hill's breast," were greeted by odors that 
I will not describe, and which I heartily hope my readers 
cannot imagine; our feet that on leaving the city had ex- 
pected to press the flowery sod, literally got intangled in 
pigs' tails and jawbones; a-nd thus the prettiest walk in 
the neighborhood was interdicted forever. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

From 1810 until about 1880 the packing season was crowded 
into five months of the year, usually from November to March. 
During the 1832-33 season 85 thousand hogs were packed in 
Cincinnati plants. The hogs then raised for the market were 
derived from Irish Grazier, Byfield, Berkshire, Russia, and 
China stock, cross-bred to supply hams of proper size, fat, 
and shape. The Poland China hog was evolved during the 
period from 1816-1850, chiefly by the Shakers near Lebanon. 
(A monument to this breed stands beside US 25 near Blue 
Ball.) Lard was shipped to every part of the nation, and 
exported to Havana, Cuba, where it was not only used for 
cooking, but also was eaten instead of butter. 

About 1830 the candle and soap making industries began 
to absorb slaughter-house by-products, especially fats and car- 
casses, from which thick grease was obtained. Immediately 
the early wastefulness of the industry began to wane. In 1840 
local abattoirs unloaded from canal boats 2,123 hogs and 
2,193,000 pounds of dressed pork ready to be processed. At 
that time many raisers of hogs did their own slaughtering, then 
transported the dressed pork to a local packing house for 

Probably the most vivid description of an early Cincinnati 
abattoir is in Winter in the West, written by poet Charles 
Fenno Hoffman after a visit here in 1834: 

The most remarkable, however, of all the establishments 
of Cincinnati are those immense slaughter-houses where 
the business of butchering and packing pork is carried on. 
The minute division of labor and the fearful celerity of 
execution in these swinish workshops would equally de- 
light a pasha and a political economist; for it is the mode 
in which the business is conducted, rather than its extent, 
which gives dignity to hog killing in Cincinnati, and 
imparts a tragic interest to the last moments of the 
doomed porkers that might inspire the savage genius of a 
Maturin or a Monk Lewis. 

Imagine a long, narrow edifice, divided -into various com- 
partments, each communicating with the other and each 
furnished with some peculiar and appropriate engine of 
destruction. In one you see a gory block and gleaming 
axe; a seething cauldron nearly fills another, the walls of 
a third bristle with hooks newly sharpened for impale- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati, 

ment; while a fourth is shrouded in darkness, that leaves 
you to conjure up images still more dire. 
There are 40 ministers of fate distributed throughout 
these gloomy abodes, each with his particular office as- 
signed him. And here, when the fearful carnival comes 
on, and the deep forests of Ohio have contributed their 
thousands of unoffending victims, the gauntlet of death 
is run by those selected for immolation. 
The scene commences in the shadowy cell whose gloom 
we have not yet been allowed to penetrate. Fifty unhappy 
porkers are here incarcerated as one together, with bodies 
wedged so closely that they are incapacitated from all 
movement. And now the grim executioner like him that 
battled with the monster that wooed Andromeda leaps 
with his iron mace upon their backs and rains his ruthless 
blows around him. The unresisting victims fall on every 
side; but scarcely does one touch the ground before he is 
seized by a greedy hook protruded through an orifice 
below. His throat is severed instantly in the adjacent cell, 
and the quivering body is hurried onward, as if the hands 
of the Furies tossed it through the frightful suite of 

The mallet, the knife, the axe, the boiling cauldron, the 
remorseless scraping iron, have each done their work; 
and the fated porker, that was one minute before grunting 
in the full enjoyment of bristling hoghood, now cadav- 
erous and "chopfallen," hangs a stark and naked effigy 
among his immolated brethren. 

Adding one more remark to the volumes said by travellers 
about Cincinnati pork, Harriet Martineau, in her Retrospect of 
Western Travel (1838), notes: 

. . . Besides supplying the American navy, ship loads are 
sent to the West Indian Islands, and many other parts 
of the world. Dr. Drake showed me the dwelling and 
slaughter-house of an Englishman who was his servant 
in 1818; who then turned pork-butcher, and was, in a 
few years, worth ten thousand dollars. 

The processing and curing of meat, though vastly improved 
since the days prior to Fosdick's discovery, was still a tedious 
and uncertain business. From 1810 until shortly before the 
Civil War, the old rocksalt and pickling cures were applied to 
both hams and bacon. Although packers were constantly seek- 
ing processes to evolve a better meat, it was not until a few 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

years before the use of mechanical refrigeration in the early 
1870's that the sugar cure became practical. This method for 
curing meats, with improvements, is used today. Mechanical 
refrigeration has made possible year-round curing and preserv- 
ing of ham, bacon, and all fresh meat products. Experts now 
agree that cold storage adds tenderness and gives meat a better 

On February 25, 1843, nine lives were lost in a fire and 
explosion which destroyed Pugh and Alvord's Pork House at 
Canal and Walnut Streets. The blaze was discovered in the 
underground smoke house. Although heroic efforts were made 
to check the flames by closing the tunnel doors, the entire struc- 
ture collapsed in the gas explosion which followed. 

Workers in Cincinnati's slaughtering plants often staged 
contests to decide who were the fastest butchers. The Enquirer 
of January 6, 1849 carried the following item: 

William Lawrence and Hugh Weightman laid a wager 
the one could beat the other in killing and hanging up, 
all dressed, 50 sheep. Signals were procured, and at it they 
went. Lawrence hung up his 50 in 44 minutes, 56 sec- 
onds; Weightman in 53 minutes, 45 seconds. 

FeHow employees, of course, also placed bets on their favor- 
ites; and thousands of dollars changed hands after each of these 
affaires macabres. 

By 1850 Cincinnati was the principal hog market in the 
world, greater than Cork and Belfast, Ireland. That year the 
city was generally considered to be the leading pork packing 
center of the world, and its favorable situation as the main 
trading point for a sizable grain and hog growing region was 
bringing a great wealth to those in the business. 

The number of hogs killed here increased, until in 1850-51 
the total was 324, 539. In 1850-51 there were 33 large pork 
and beef packers and many smaller ones in the city. 

Brighton, where most of the city's abattoirs were concen- 
trated, was alive with activity during the decade from 1850 to 
1860. In 1855 the largest abattoirs were those in Brighton. 
One firm, Bogens and Charwaters, operated an abattoir with 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

a slaughtering capacity of 3,500 hogs a day considerably 
larger than that of any present plant. 

Hogs and cattle were driven through city streets to the 
abattoirs. From curb to curb the thoroughfares would be 
packed with porkers, prodded on to the death by rods and by 
the drivers' hoarse "suke-suke." Winding up the long procession 
would jolt the horse-drawn wagons that carried the "pickups," 
hogs too tired and too fat to waddle farther. Some of these 
pickups averaged eight hundred pounds to the head. Today 
practically all hogs and cattle ride motor trucks; occasionally, 
however, a Cincinnatian rising or getting home in the early 
morning sees drivers who carry red lanterns, guiding their flocks 
along the streets. 

At the Brighton Landing of the Miami & Erie Canal steve- 
dores and boat crews sweated and sang while they loaded cargo, 
most of it processed meat destined for far-off communities. 
Overlooking the canal at Central and Colerain Avenues and 
Central Parkway was the old Brighton House, built to accom- 
modate the livestock drivers and owners who came to the Cin- 
cinnati hog market. On its tower stood the figure of a bull, 
symbol of the glory that was Brighton. The hotel was also 
headquarters for the "gut-riders," who went out to meet the 
drivers of hogs and cattle, bidding for entire droves to kill and 
dress so that they could obtain the gut fat for lard. They paid 
owners from 50 cents to a dollar per head. 

Nearly every evening the Brighton House was gay. Drivers 
and owners, their pockets lined with notes paid them for live- 
stock, were good pickings for professional gambles. As many 
as 15 poker games went on in the noisy gaming rooms, and in 
the concert hall on the floor below crowds danced with slow 
abandon to the strains of Blue Danube and the other popular 
tunes of the day. 

By 1870 the gaming tables and concert hall were deserted; 
an expanding population had pushed the markets two miles 
northwestward. Since the establishment of the Cincinnati 
Union Stock Yards (1871), the Avenue Hotel, Spring Grove 
Avenue, has been the inn of stockmen; but the boisterous days 
of the Brighton House have gone the way of the canal. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

In 1869 the first transcontinental railroad began to push 
farther west the frontier, and soon the great plains of the Mid- 
dle West were checkered with livestock farms. The cost of trans- 
porting cattle and hogs to Cincinnati for processing was high; 
and Kansas City, East St. Louis, Omaha, and Chicago leaped 
ahead as the nation's meat centers. The decline of the local 
industry was gradual; not until about 1885 did Chicago's meat 
production surpass that of the Queen City. Today, although it 
is not ranked among the national leaders, the local packing in- 
dustry is nevertheless substantial. 

The meat packers continued to prosper locally until 1874- 
77, when sales of meat products slumped throughout the coun- 
try. The packing trade suffered along with other phases of the 
industry. The last year of the crisis (1876-77) was especially 
disastrous, chiefly because of the remorseless speculation which 
kept prices down and forced local meat packers to take immense 
losses. At that time mess pork, which had sold for $45 a barrel 
during the Civil War, dropped to $12.75 and $13 a barrel, 
and at one time sank to $7.50. A slight price upturn came in 
1878. By 1880 the packers who survived the crash were again 
making small profits from processing operations. But the slump 
brought the first decrease in the number of hogs slaughtered and 
processed in Cincinnati: that year only 522,425 hogs were 
packed 12,314 less than in the previous season. 

From 1875 to 1925, more than 60 million head of livestock, 
including 38 million hogs and 10 million cattle, were slaugh- 
tered and processed in Cincinnati plants. 

When Cincinnati was the world's center of the packing trade, 
and Chicago (whose meat production in 1929 was valued at 
$654,957,981) was a mere infant in the business, "Porkopolis" 
had several hundred slaughtering houses. Although most of 
them were small, the aggregate valuation of the output was said 
to be upwards of 40 million dollars a year. After Chicago be- 
came the world's great livestock market place in the early 
1880's the local industry fell back in the production race until 
the processing of meat dropped to less than 10 million dollars 
valuation in 1900. This total was the lowest figure in more 
than 50 years. 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

From 1900 until 1920 activity in Cincinnati packing houses 
expanded again. In 1900 there were 21 establishments, em- 
ploying 801 workers with a payroll of $382,291, and an out- 
put valued at $9,532,057; by 1920 the number of plants had 
doubled, the number of wage earners had more than doubled, 
and the yearly payroll had increased to $2,113,562. 

In 1906 the development of federal, state and city inspection 
and health regulations brought about added safety and stand- 
ardization of production. 

A total of 580 thousand hogs, compared with 718 thousand 
in 1908, were slaughtered in Cincinnati abattoirs in 1909. 
Cattle numbered 185 thousand compared with 170 thousand 
the previous year and about 150 thousand sheep. That year 
915 thousand hogs, cattle, and sheep were slaughtered as against 
900 thousand during the preceding year. Packers paid about 
18 millions dollars for this livestock. 

When the War came and livestock was hard to get, prices 
soared, and the packing business enjoyed happy days. In 1917 
Cincinnati packers tried to market horse meat; but Cincinnati - 
ans turned up their noses at this substitute for beef, and the 
experiment was discontinued. 

The local industry zoomed to record production in 1920, 
and then slumped -a reversal which completely upset several 
companies, among them the Cincinnati Abattoir Inc., at that 
time the city's largest slaughtering plant. From 1925 to 1931 
the industry enjoyed its greatest upturn of modern times. Then 
the country suffered its biggest depression. Prices of livestock 
and processed meat dropped to near-record lows in 1933, and 
another pioneer in the business, the A. Sander Packing Com- 
pany, had to quit. In 1934, however, when the heavy hand of 
drought smothered the Western plains, the Federal Government 
bought large numbers of cattle and hogs for distribution to the 
needy; and Cincinnati joined with other packing centers in the 
processing of this livestock. In 1935-36 the packing industry 
continued to improve; and the summer of 1937 brought prices 
back to where it was possible for packers to make a profit. 

Local surveys show that the packing industry is virtually 
back to 1931 levels. In 1933 the total meat output in the city 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

was valued at $23,883,374, but production climbed to a valua- 
tion of more than 35 million dollars in 1936. These figures 
compare with the industry's peak in 1920, when the 42 local 
packing establishments produced meat worth $62,428,358, em- 
ployed 1,790 operatives, and paid $2,113,652 in wages. The 
1933 Federal industrial census figures disclose that during the 
worst depression year (1933) the 38 packing houses employed 
1,676 and had a payroll of $1,933,652. 

Meat with a wholesale valuation of more than 35 million 
dollars was processed here in 1936. That year the industry 
directly employed about two thousand workers, whose annual 
earnings were more than $2,500,000. Many thousands more 
were employed on farms and in transportation, sales, stock- 
yards, and clerical work. In 1938 more than 40 packers of 
pork, beef, and lamb occupied the city and its satellite towns. 
At these plants 660,095 hogs, 205,433 cattle, 96,823 calves, 
and 214,776 sheep were slaughtered and processed. The peak 
year for hog slaughtering was 1929, when 1,040,187 were 
processed; 1934 has the record for cattle, with 245,646; and 
1932 was tops for sheep, 231,299 being processed. In 1936 
the largest number of calves were slaughtered 96,823. 

Early packers, possibly because inefficient methods were ap- 
plied to meat curing and processing, had to destroy great quan- 
tities of fresh pork, particularly spareribs and tenderloins. 
Cartload after cartload of these products was hauled from the 
abattoirs to the edge of the Ohio River, dumped there, and left 
to rot or to be carried downstream. (As late as 1850 it was 
possible to fill a large market-basket with tenderloins and 
jspareribs for 10 cents.) 

Today nothing is wasted. Tenderloins and spareribs are 
bought by housewives for the preparation of delectable dishes, 
and those parts of the carcass unfit for human consumption are 
/sold as by-products. Among the by-products are fats, for lard; 
waste or tankage, for hog or chicken feed; hides, the materials 
for tanneries; hair bristles, stuck in brushes and employed as 
adhesive in plaster; bone, fashioned into knife handles, and col- 
lar buttons; wool, for clothing; steer horns, for combs; cattle 
hoofs, for glues; and certain hog organs, medicinal supplies. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Co-operative marketing of livestock and the use of modern 
mechanical refrigeration and electrical machinery have driven 
the slaughtering business to a remarkable comeback since the 
days when Chicago meat packers took Cincinnati's business; 
and local meat packers may soon overtake and surpass the record 
production levels of 1920. 

Cincinnati Packers 

CINCINNATI'S EARLY PACKERS laid the solid founda- 
tion on which has been built the present-day meat industry, 
now the city's third in product valuation. Many descendants 
of the founders today carry the family name in the same 

The city's largest packing plant (twelfth in the nation) is 
operated by the E. Kahn's Sons Company; it comprises 11 
modern buildings on a site of five acres on Spring Grove Ave- 
nue. The company was founded by Elias Kahn on September 
29, 1882 in a small retail shop at what is now 1433 Central 
Avenue. Soon after opening the store Kahn fitted the rooms at 
the rear with the crude equipment and fixtures of the time and 
began slaughtering calves, lambs, and poultry. His enterprise 
was successful, and in 1885 he started killing cattle in an 
abattoir at Findlay and John Streets, a well-known neighbor- 
hood of the time. Later, as the business throve, Kahn's sons, 
Eugene, Nathan, Louis, and Albert, became associated with 
their father; and the firm became E. Kahn and Sons Company. 
Following the death of Elias Kahn in 1900 the sons continued 
to operate the plant under the same name until 1907, when the 
business was incorporated as the E. Kahn's Sons "Company. In 
October 1919 the company purchased the Butchers' Packing 
Company, and entered the pork branch of the business. 

When the company needed more space, it bought the old 
plant of the closed Cincinnati Abattoir Inc. from the receivers 
(1926). After extensive remodeling and construction, the 
buildings were occupied in 1928. In 1938 the daily capacity 
of the plant was five hundred cattle, 2,500 calves and sheep, 
and two thousand hogs. From these the company processes beef, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

pork, veal, and lamb, cures such pork products as hams, bacons, 
picnic hams, butts, and tongues; manufactures sausage, lard, 
tallow, dried blood, fertilizer, tankage, grease, casings, live- 
stock and poultry feed; and cures and prepares hides sold to 

In the plant's beef slaughtering department 25 to 50 head 
of cattle are processed at one time. As the carcasses hang from 
overhead rails, they are sledged, stuck, and skinned, and their 
hoofs are removed. Hearts, lungs, and livers are thoroughly 
tested for disease by the five United States Government inspec- 
tors at the plant. The beef, which has been moving continuous- 
ly, is then split and quartered, and pushed into the cooling 

Walls in the departments where edible meat is prepared are 
of glazed tile. A laboratory is maintained to insure scientific 
control and uniformity of meat products and by-products. The 
firm also operates a large fleet of refrigerated motor trucks and 
railroad cars. 

The H. H. Meyer Packing Company, Bank and Linn Streets 
and Central Avenue, is the city's largest exclusive packer of 
pork products. Founded in 1876 by Henry Huschard Meyer, 
the firm now is under executive direction of H. Harold Meyer, 
grandson of the founder. In 1869, at the age of 26, Henry H. 
Meyer became a bookkeeper of the Anderegg & Roth Packing 
Company. Major John Anderegg, head of the firm and Meyer's 
father-in-law, guided him to an executive job in the company. 

In the 1870's, when mechanical refrigeration was first used 
by the packing industry, Meyer supervised the installation of 
ice-making machinery at the Anderegg & Roth Packing Com- 
pany, the first Cincinnati plant to have this new contrivance. 
Later this type of refrigeration revolutionized the national 
methods for the marketing of fresh and cured meats. 

In 1874, two years after forming a partnership with his 
cousin, Meyer opened a packing house in Baltimore. Afterward 
the plant was transferred to Cincinnati. When Major Anderegg 
died in 1882, Meyer purchased his interests and immediately 
changed the firm name to the Roth-Meyer Packing Company. 
He was vice-president and general manager until 1892, when 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

he withdrew to direct the work of the Meyer-Huschard Com- 
pany, renaming it the H. H. Meyer Packing Company. In 
1919, Meyer died and his son, N. Raymond Meyer, became 
president; following his death in 1932, his son became head 
of the business. 

The J. & F. Schroth Packing Company, Massachusetts Ave- 
nue and Township Street, another large pork packer, was estab- 
lished in 1882 and incorporated under the present name in 
1892. Operations are conducted in a modern plant under the 
management of the sons and grandsons of the founders. 

The Ideal Packing Company, Baymiller Street and Central 
Avenue, was established in 1884 by John Hoffman. The pres- 
ent executives, Charles Hauck, president, and Albert Goering, 
vice-president and general manager, were associated with the 
founder as bookkeeper and plant manager. When Hoffman 
retired in 1918, they assumed management. 

John F. Stegner, the city's second largest processor of beef 
and veal, began business in a retail market at Thirteenth and 
Main Streets. After he had opened a second store, the demand 
for meat amounted to about 30 head of cattle weekly. In 1921 
he acquired the abattoir at 3098 Colerain Avenue. Later the 
wholesale phase expanded so rapidly that Stegner abandoned 
the retail stores, and now his company has branch sales offices 
in Pittsburgh and other Eastern cities. 

Cincinnati's rostrum of meat packers also includes C. Er- 
hardt's 8 Sons, 545 Poplar Street; John Hilberg & Sons, 516 
Poplar Street; John B. Ireton Co., 1715 John Street; Gus 
Juengling & Son, 2869 Massachusetts Avenue; Lohrey Pack- 
ing Co., 2827 Massachusetts Avenue; William G. Rehn's Sons 
Co., 450 Bank Street; Jacob Schlachter's Sons Co., 2841 Col- 
erain Avenue; and Joseph N. Rice, 1564 Water Street, Coving- 
ton; Jacob Bauer's Sons, 2870 Massachusetts Avenue; Fern 
Blackburn, 2124 Baymiller Street; J. H. Blank & Company, 
306 East Pearl Street; August N. Blust, 4382 Innes Avenue; 
Becker Bros., 203 West Sixth Street; Sam Gall, 2121 Freeman 
Avenue; Carl Grote, 515 West 12th Street, Covington; E. Hut- 
tenbauer & Son, 131 East Sixth Street; Herman Kemper Sons' 
Companv, 2900 Sidney Avenue; Edward J. Kluener, 2908 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Sidney Avenue; Joseph Kluener, Jr., 2965 Cormany Avenue; 
A. Kock Sons' Company, 2900 Sidney Avenue; the Lowen- 
stein Markets Company, 416 West Sixth Street; Mane Broth- 
ers, 3075 Sidney Avenue; Charles Megerle, Eighth Street and 
Central Avenue, Newport; Schultz Bros. Company, 417 Find- 
lay Street; Harry Meyer Provisions, 1320 Ethan Avenue; How- 
ard Pancero, 266 Stark Street; Lester Pancero, 1815 John 
Street; Scott Provision Company, 6481 Montgomery Avenue; 
August Walter, 1817 John Street; Florence McCoy, 330 Pike 
Street, Bromley, Kentucky; Haehnle Provision Company, 309 
West 12th Street, Covington; C. Rice Packing Company, Pat- 
ton Street and Eastern Avenue, Covington; and Lawrence 
Holley, Miamisville. 

Several of these plants are exclusive kosher slaughterers. In 
addition, two of the three largest packers in the country, Ar- 
mour and Company (1320 West Eighth Street) and Swift ft 
Company (Front and Walnut Street) , maintain small process- 
ing plants, storage warehouses, and sales forces here, while 
Wilson ft Co., the other member of the "Big 3," has a city sales 
office. The Kroger Grocery & Baking Company, which formerly 
operated a large packing plant on Bank Street, now has a meat 
processing department at its factory and warehouse on State 
Avenue. Sausages and other wrapped meat products arc 
processed here. 

Sausage Making 

MANUFACTURE OF SAUSAGE in Cincinnati has be- 
come one of the major side-lines of the meat packing industry. 
Practically all local packers now produce various brands of 
sausage and market the product in bulk or packages. The de- 
mand for this product originated early in the 1840's when the 
tide of German immigration rolled highest toward Cincinnati 
and the West. 

The H. F. Busch Company, 1332 Vine Street, founded in 
1860, is the oldest sausage manufacturer in the city. Other 
large manufacturers are Becker Brothers Company, 942 Mon- 
mouth Street, Newport, Kentucky; Frederick Dinkelaker, 1918 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Pleasant Street; Edelmann Provision Company, 2111 Kindel 
Avenue; Fritz Frey, 1134 Straight Street; Mane Brothers, 
3075 Sidney Avenue; Ernst Mayer, 2905 Jessamine Street; 
Oehler Sausage Company, 2866 Massachusetts Avenue; I. 
Oscherwitz & Sons, producers of kosher sausages, 569 West 
Sixth Street; and George Wolff 8 Son, 116 West 12th Street. 

The Cincinnati Stock Yards 

Spring Grove Avenue, supplies the city's packing and processing 
plants with livestock, and feeds and waters the stock enroute 
to other packing centers. The firm was established in 1871 as 
the United Railroads & Stock Yard Company; in 1883 the 
corporate name was changed to the Cincinnati Union Stock 
Yards, Inc. 

As a combination of the old Brighton Yards and the Great 
Western Stock Yards, the Cincinnati Union Stock Yards was 
founded as a central receiving and delivery point for commis- 
sion dealers and buyers of stock. During the 1850's many 
slaughter-house owners operated their own yards, scattered 
about the city. Since both buyers and sellers of livestock needed 
a central place to transact business, the idea of a union stock- 
yard was soon conceived. The predecessor of the present com- 
pany was later organized to meet the industry's needs. 

In 1937 the Cincinnati stockyards, fifteenth largest of its 
kind in the United States, had a plant covering 40 acres, stocked 
with more than a thousand roofed pens for cattle, calves, hogs, 
and sheep. The plant has facilities for the simultaneous loading 
and unloading of 50 railroad cars and hundreds of motor 
trucks. Most shipments of stock to Cincinnati packers come 
from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, within a radius of 200 
miles. At times when slaughtering stock is scarce, cattle and 
hogs are sent here from points as far away as Texas. Livestock 
handled in 1936 totalled 1,438,116 head, including 787,479 
hogs, 317,048 sheep, 224,338 cattle, and 109,251 calves. In 
1937 the totals were: 703,497 hogs. 185,841 sheep, 154,721 
cattle, and 99,524 calves. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Commission Brokers and Exchange 

ANOTHER IMPORTANT UNIT of the Cincinnati pack- 
ing industry is the commission brokerage and exchange business. 
The 25 member commission brokers execute all packers' buy 
and sell orders for livestock; and the exchange handles through 
the United States Department of Agriculture the daily price 
quotations and movement of livestock in the Greater Cincin- 
nati market, and co-operates with other American livestock 
markets. All brokers have offices in the Stockyards Exchange 
Building, while a few operate private pens for the handling and 
feeding of the stock they purchase. 

Meat Packers 9 Supplies 

PRODUCTION OF SUPPLIES for packers has accompan- 
ied the meat industry in Cincinnati. The city's larger packing 
houses have their own departments for the manufacture of 
sausage-casings. One plant, The Kunz Casing Company, 2025 
Elm Street, however, is devoted solely to the production of 
casings and sewed hogsbungs for packers in the Cincinnati area. 

Machinery and Equipment 

MEAT PACKING PLANTS in Cincinnati, like those else- 
where in the nation, need and use many kinds of equipment. 
During the early days of the slaughtering trade instruments and 
processing methods were crude compared with present day 
standards. The manufacture of equipment developed with the 
meat industry from the old-time hand methods to the present 
system of electrically operated machines. Today several Cin- 
cinnati concerns produce these articles. The Cincinnati Butch- 
ers' Supply Company, 1972 Central Avenue, founded in 1886, 
maker of machinery and equipment and special electrical refrig- 
eration systems and fixtures, is the largest. Next in size is the 
C. Schmidt Company, 1712 John Street, established in 1870 
and incorporated in 1907, which manufactures refrigerators, 
^equipment, and store fixtures. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Poultry Packing 

A FEW HENS and roosters were usually among the neces- 
saries brought along by early Cincinnati settlers. Though these 
first poultry flocks were practically decimated during the first 
winter (1788), many a chicken helped keep the wolf from the 
door. The raising and packing of poultry has since grown into 
one of the city's most important commercial units. From 1800 
to 1815 because of the scarcity of money a heavy hen could be 
bought for four cents about the equivalent of four dollars 
today! Poultry was used extensively as a medium of exchange 
and in barter; a workman often got a chicken and a small 
amount of cornmeal in payment for his labor. 

There are now more than a hundred firms and individuals 
in Cincinnati buying, packing and marketing poultry, includ- 
ing chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, and rabbits in season. In 
1937 this branch of the packing industry gave employment to 
about five hundred workers. Annual wages were estimated at 
more than 600 thousand dollars. 

Some of the large packers of poultry are Ray Belser, 520 
Pike Street, Covington, Kentucky; George Bengert, 3110 
Spring Grove Avenue ; J. Bengert & Sons, 116 East Front 
Street; Bergewisch Company, 44 Walnut Street; Blue Grass 
Poultry, Inc., 313 East 12th Street; Jos. F. Boehnlein, 113 
West Elder Street; J. H. Cain Fish and Poultry Company, 534 
Main Street; W. H. Frye, 745 West Court Street; Harry Ger- 
senfish, 521 West Court Street; William Hux, 2268 Spring 
Grove Avenue; IOK Farm Products Company, 3198 Spring 
Grove Avenue; John V. Kisker Company, 11 Main Street; 
Larry L. Long, 103 East Front Street; E. Mohlenkamp, 1668 
Queen City Avenue; Peters Poultry Company, 122 West Court 
Street; Simmons & Norris Company, 51 Walnut Street; Fred 
Trefzger & Sons, 2162 Colerain Avenue; Alex Wilson Com- 
pany, 104 West Front Street; New Fisheries Company, 332 
West Sixth Street; and Wright Poultry & Egg Company, 113 
East Front Street. 

The prices of poultry, butter, eggs, and other farm products 
in the Greater Cincinnati market area are regulated through a 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

system of supply and demand by the Cincinnati Mercantile Ex- 
change, Chamber of Commerce Building, established in 1928 
during the reorganization of the Old Produce Exchange, 
founded in 1883. 

Farmers in the vicinity of Cincinnati raise large numbers of 
poultry (principally chickens) for the local market. Because a 
chicken can thrive on comparatively little attention, profits 
from sales of eggs and poultry add greatly to the income of 
nearby farmers. 


Chapter V 

Soap Making Beauty Preparations 
Candle Manufacture Chemicals, 
Drugs, and Medicines Mixing of 
Paints and Varnishes 

ALLOW AND WOOD ashes were the ingredients used 
by the ancient Gauls when they made soap. Centuries 
later, excavators found among the ruins of Pompeii 
evidence of a soap factory believed to be 1,700 years 
old. These remains showed that the Pompeiian soap maker ap- 
parently mixed the same ingredients as those of the early Gauls. 
Soap was introduced to England during the latter part of the 
fourteenth century as a luxury which only the wealthy could 
afford. Gradually the making of soap became a household task 
for women. Shortly after immigrants to the United States 
brought with them their home formulas, small manufacturing 
plants were built; and a new industry was fashioned. 

In the past 50 years chemists have worked out many com- 
binations of the various soap ingredients for a wide variety of 
uses. Modern soaps range from types too mild to injure the 
skin of a baby, to compounds strong enough to take the varnish 
off furniture. Manufacturers in the United States annually 
produce more than two and a half billion pounds of soap for 
every conceivable purpose. The products have a retail valuation 
of about 300 million dollars. 

In Cincinnati the making of soap has developed from a small 
industrial enterprise in 1814 to the city's largest single manu- 
facture in 1938. Products of local soap factories, whose annual 
valuation exceeds a hundred million dollars, help carry the 
name of the city into every civilized nation. In 1938 the 14 
plants employed about 4,500 workers, who earned wages of 
more than six million dollars a year. 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Soap making was a task for the women of the house during 
Cincinnati's pioneer days, as spinning and weaving had been 
household chores at a still earlier date. The typical formula of 
the time called for the boiling of fat with wood ashes or some 
other base; and the finished product had about the consistency 
of cold cream. This practice of making soap at home continued 
in Cincinnati until the Civil War. (In some rural parts of the 
country it is still a household art) . When the industry started 
in Cincinnati there was only one kind of manufactured soap, 
called German soap, made from fats, tallow, grease, and red 
oil. It served all purposes, from the Monday wash to the 
Saturday night bath. 

Present-day soap is made of the fatty acids resulting from a 
combination of sodium potassium with fat; solid or hard soap 
is usually made with soda only. The fats are treated with lye 
either by heat treatment just short of boiling, or boiling in 
open vessels, or by heating under pressure. Other substances, 
chiefly glycerine and perfumes, are often added in the manu- 
facturing processes, some to bolster cleansing or lathering 
properties, others to add weight. 

The constant progress made by the industry in its chemical 
and manufacturing processes has resulted in the development 
of such specialized articles as perfumed soaps, soaps for oily or 
dry skins, grease-removing soaps, hair shampoos, shaving prep- 
arations, waterless soap for household cleaning, and soap flakes, 
granules, and chips for washing machine use. 

Methods of marketing have advanced with the improvement 
of soap processes. Soap is now wrapped and packed in attractive 
individual packages, while millions of dollars are spent annually 
in newspaper, magazine, radio, billboard, direct-mail, house- 
to-house, and premium advertising. 

When the commercial manufacture of soap began, horse- 
drawn carts clattered over the streets of Cincinnati as the drivers 
collected grease and fats from the housewives. In return they 
bartered pieces of common soap. Later, when deliveries first 
were made to grocers, soap was sold in bulk, and pieces were 
cut to suit the wants of the purchaser. This merchandising 
method continued until after the turn of the century. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The first soap-and-candle boilers and chandlers started busi- 
ness in Cincinnati about 1814. Two years later several of the 
local plants were doing so well that they began to export to 
the South and West. At that time all manufacturing operations 
were done by hand, and it was unusual for two blocks of the 
solidified grease, oils, and fats to be of the same quality and 
appearance. New formulas, new chemicals, mechanization, and 
improved technical methods are responsible for the standardized 
and nearly perfect soap product of 1938. 

Judging from typical advertisements published in the Cin- 
cinnati Gazette, however, the soap of 1850 was rather better 
than perfect. The July 12, 1850 issue of the paper has this 

Freckles, Pimples, Moth, Eruptions, Sallowness, Sun- 
burn, Scurvy, Chap, Chafes, and Cracks cured by using 
Howard's Improved Chemical Chloride Soap. It has 
fully stood the test of experiment and is deservedly more 
celebrated than any in use, for rendering the skin smooth 
and soft, removing chaps, pimples, and blemishes; for 
the preservation of the teeth and gums, and the cure of 
offensive breath; for cleaning and healing sores and 
wounds; for preventing and curing cancerous diseases, 
particularly in infants; for bleaching muslins and hand- 
kerchiefs, and for the removal of (recent) grease, paint, 
etc., from clothing. 

On September 2, 1850 the same newspaper published the 

Howard's Improved Chemical Chloride Soap A Blessing ! 
A Miracle! A Wonder! . . . This soap is manufactured 
by a practical chemist and possesses virtues found in no 
other. By washing the face and hands every morning it 
will make the skin as smooth and soft as silk changes 
the color of dark, yellow and disfigured skin to a fine, 
healthy and youthful appearance ... Its component parts 
being chloride of soda renders it a very disinfecting article 
... It is a very superior article for washing and cleaning 
sores or wounds and preparing flesh to heal . . . 

Today, newspapers and magazines would not accept an 
advertisement making quite such extravagant claims. Excerpts 
from an advertisement in the June 1937 issue of a current 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

magazine show the different technique of modern soap adver- 
tisers : 

Lucky for Me I learned this Lovelier Way to Avoid 
Offending! . . . Marvelous for your complexion too! This 
pure creamy soap has such a gentle, caressing lather. Yet 
it removes every trace of dirt and cosmetics keeps your 
skin alluringly smooth and radiantly clear! . . . To keep 
fragrantly dainty bathe with perfumed . . . 

Procter and Gamble 

TWO YOUNG MEN, William Procter (1801-1884), the 
son of a Herefordshire preacher, and James Gamble (1803- 
1891), County Fermanagh, Ireland, in 1825 decided the New 
World offered greater opportunities for a livelihood than their 
homeland, and emigrated to the United States. With little more 
than health, youth, and ambition they came to Cincinnati, 
where Procter started a small soap works and Gamble made 
candles. For several years after their arrival they went their 
separate ways. Then they met for the first time (1832) as the 
swains of two sisters. That evening romance was forgotten as 
the two discussed plans. Later they married the sisters, and 
within a few years they went into partnership to make soap 
and candles. From this alliance sprang the Procter & Gamble 
Company, the world's largest manufacturer of soaps and allied 
products, doing a gross business of more than 225 million 
dollars in 1937. 

In August 1837, during one of Cincinnati's early depres- 
sions, the two men pooled their savings of $7,500 to start the 
manufacture of soap and candles in a small shack at the north- 
east corner of Sixth and Main Streets. Procter lived in a brick 
house behind the small shop. (Today the Gwynne Building, 
erected on the site of the original factory, houses the executive 
offices of the corporation) . The partners took turns manufac- 
turing the soap and candles and selling them from house to 
house. When a grocer gave them an order they made the deliv- 
eries together, pushing through the streets a clumsy wheel- 
barrow piled high with bulky cakes of soap. 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

During the first year total sales of the firm exceeded 50 thou- 
sand dollars. Later, with profits mounting, the partners realized 
they needed more manufacturing space. Since it was impossible 
to obtain more space in the neighborhood, they bought a plot 
of ground facing the Miami & Erie Canal and Central Ave- 
nue, north of Charlotte Street, and here they constructed a large 
brick building. The factory, equipped with the best machinery 
available, was on the edge of the city. The stockyards nearby 
were a convenient source for fats; the firm purchased hog fat 
from packers and rendered it into lard. Lard oil, used exten- 
sively for lamps before the days of petroleum, was made by 
squeezing out the liquid portion of the cold lard. Soon the 
young firm was one of the nation's largest producers of the oil. 

New buildings were added to the Central Avenue plant, and 
expansion continued. Meanwhile the company tried to find 
new processes to improve the quality of its soap. Chemists then 
were experimenting with pure vegetable oils, from which it 
was hoped a white soap resembling castile could be made. At 
the time all Castile soap was imported, principally from Spain. 
About 1870 the firm was approached by a group of men 
anxious to sell a formula for American pseudo-Castile soap. 
The company bought the rights, and, proceeding according to 
the recipe, brought out the first white floating soap to be manu- 
factured in the United States. In October 1879 the first bulk 
cake was sold; and the new product was immediately successful. 
At first the product was simply called "white soap.'' Later the 
slogan, "Ivory Soap, 99-44/100% pure; it floats," was 

For years many legends about accidental discoveries of new 
soap formulas have passed by word of mouth from one listener 
to another. Though the majority originate in the imagination, 
one story about Ivory Soap has been generally accepted as true. 
It is said that a soap maker fell asleep and allowed the ingredi- 
ents to boil longer than the specified time. Passing by William 
Procter noticed that the soap was flakier and whiter than usual. 
He shook the man to consciousness and got from him an admis- 
sion that he had overslept. The formula for white floating soap, 
so the story goes, was thus discovered. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

This accident, however, seems to have little basis so far as 
Ivory Soap is concerned; but one happening at the Procter 8 
Gamble Company plant in 1850 did bring about the develop- 
ment of a new type of soap bar. One day, while the soap 
ingredients were boiling some blueing was carelessly dropped 
into the vat. When it solidified the soap was streaked with blue. 
As German mottled soap the product soon enjoyed wide 
popularity, but was discontinued in 1913. 

One Sunday morning in 1887 Harley Procter sat in the 
family pew of an Episcopal church in Mt. Auburn. "All thy 
garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory 
palaces whereby they have made thee glad," read the pastor 
from the eighth verse of the forty-fifth psalm. "Ivory palaces 
that's it!" thought Procter. "We'll call the white soap 
Ivory." So, on the wings of the psalmist, came the soap which 
floated. Firm members conferred and decided to name after the 
soap new factories then being planned; accordingly, the site 
was called Ivorydale. 

A wharfhand was responsible for the adoption of the stars 
and the crescent moon as the corporation's trademark. In the 
1840's boxes of candles from Procter & Gamble lay on the 
Cincinnati river front awaiting shipment to Louisville. A few 
idle moments, a can of paint, and a brush lay at hand, waiting 
to be used. On the boxes the wharfhand traced rough crosses 
for stars. So marked, the cases were taken to Louisville. The 
next shipment of candles was refused by the purchaser because 
the boxes did not carry the stars. Immediately all shipments 
were marked with stars, and several years later a crescent moon 
was added. 

There were times when the firm struggled with adversity. 
On January 7, 1884 a fire razed all but one of the Central 
Avenue factory buildings, throwing five hundred employees 
temporarily out of work. The blaze, say newspapers of the 
time, caused a loss of 250 thousand dollars to the "largest soap 
factory in the world." Despite all the heat thrown off by the 
fire, the ultra-winter weather put ice coats on the firemen. Ex- 
plosions shook the neighborhood when the flames reached oil 
stored in underground cellars, and the heavy walls of the south 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

soap factory collapsed all within three hours of the time the 
flames were discovered. The oil storage building, candleware 
rooms, south soap factory, melting house, and press room were 
destroyed. The north soap factory, just built, was not dam- 
aged. James Gamble bought coffee pots and personally dis- 
tributed to the firefighters more than 50 gallons of coffee and 
hundreds of sandwiches. The next day the gaunt walls were 
thick with heavy ice, and icicles 10 to 30 feet long hung from 
the telegraph poles. 

As they eyed the ruins, Procter and Gamble were glum, but 
not to the point of giving up. Since business of the firm had 
quickened, they decided to get a new site instead of rebuilding 
on Central Avenue; for the city, now grown up about the 
factories there, limited expansion. So the partners bought an 
1 1 -acre tract of dairy and farm land on the outskirts of the 
city along Mill Creek near the Big Four and B. & O. Railroad 
tracks. Here in 1885 ground was broken and the erection of a 
new plant begun. . y 

When designs for the factories were discussed with architects 
and engineers, the soap company executives demanded some- 
thing new in industrial construction; they wanted a group that 
would please the eye. The structures, designed of gray stone 
with brick trim, were set among lawns and flower gardens. 
This beautification program has been continued, and playfields, 
tennis courts, and other recreational facilities have been added 
for the benefit of employees. During the company's centennial 
year (1937) plans for a research, engineering, and administra- 
tive building were approved by executives. This new unit of 
the plant, now being built at Spring Grove Avenue and June 
Street, will house the consolidated research laboratories of the 
chemical division, the superintendent's offices, and the engin- 
eering division. 

In 1883, after William Cooper Procter (1862-1934), one 
of William Procter's sons, graduated from Princeton Universi- 
ty, he returned to Cincinnati. Refusing a white-collar job, 
Procter slipped into a pair of overalls and went to work in the 
factory. Later this intimate contact with his fellow workers 
induced him to propose, in the interests of workers, radical 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

changes in management and plant operation. His ideas were at 
first opposed, but finally adopted. Though Procter's plans were 
to undergo much improvement and development, the basic 
principles were the same in 1938 as in 1885, and the Procter 
& Gamble Company has never had serious difficulty with 
employees about wages or working conditions. 

Procter's first innovation was the Saturday afternoon holiday 
without reduction in pay a plan considered by industrialists 
of the day to be the epitome of reckless extravagance. Becoming 
effective in 1885, it is said to have been the first move by 
American industry to give workers a weekly half -holiday. 

That year a plan was also worked out for dividing profits 
with employees; though changes and improvements have been 
made to bring it to present efficiency, the scheme was successful 
from the start. Profits, at first received by employees in the 
form of dividend checks, soon came to be regarded merely as 
a normal part of wages; and a system of broad stock owner- 
ship in the company was thus evolved. A pension and benefit 
plan (1887), supported jointly by the company and em- 
ployees, assures aid in sickness, disability, old age, and death. 
In the case of death, payment equal to a year's wage is made. 
The last major benefit plan (1923) to be undertaken was the 
guarantee to workers of 48 weeks employment a year, with 
paid vacations. 

Since 1887, when the profit-sharing plan became effective, 
the company has paid nearly 14 million dollars in dividends 
to employees in the United States and Canada. In 1937 the 
workers' dividend payments totalled 660 thousand dollars, of 
which 250 thousand dollars were distributed in Cincinnati. 

In 1900 the company operated only the Ivorydale plant. 
Since that time manufacturing units have been added in Kan- 
sas City, Kansas; Port Ivory, New York; Macon, Georgia; 
Dallas, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Long 
Beach, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Dayton, Ohio; Ham- 
ilton (Ont.), Canada; Cuba; England; and the Phillipines. 
Sprinkled through the South are cotton-oil seed mills, while 
in the Phillipine Islands a purchasing office and testing labora- 
tory handles copra, the dried cocoanut meat from which soap 





THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

oil is obtained. Olive oil comes to the plants from Spain, Al- 
geria, and Greece. Australia ships sandalwood oil, the East 
Indies send their perfumes, the Mediterranean Islands contrib- 
ute their volcanic pumice stone, Russia offers its oil of the sun- 
flower, and France, Brazil, China, Japan, and India ship other 
exotic ingredients to the Procter & Gamble Company soap 

The concern's entry into the edible fats business was a nat- 
ural development. The firm had been using large quantities of 
cottonseed oil in soap making when, in 1901, a subsidiary, 
The Buckeye Cotton Oil Company, was organized to buy and 
crush cottonseed. It was discovered that when refined the better 
grades of cottonseed oil made an excellent shortening; so in 
1902 the company began marketing Flake white, a lard substi- 
tute. In 1905 the manufacture of candles, one of the company's 
original products, was discontinued. Crisco, the first shortening 
made through a hydrogenation process, by which all the oil 
was brought to the same body and consistency, was introduced 
in 1908; today it is one of the most widely used products of 
its kind in America. 

In 1927 the Procter & Gamble Company purchased the 
plant, trade mark, and formulas of the Globe Soap Company, 
situated directly opposite Ivorydale. This concern, originally 
founded in a factory on Water Street, was removed to Ivory- 
dale in 1900 because of recurring floods in the city's bottoms 
district. The firm's products included Pearl Soap and Grandma 
Soap, both of which are still marketed. 

From the many ingredients mixed together to cause chemical 
reactions comes the product called soap. The re-agents needed 
are fats, oils, and soda, and the change occurring when these 
materials are boiled together is called saponification. During 
saponification the fats and oils combine with the soda, forming 
glycerine and soap. The soda forces glycerine from the oil, and 
by taking its place forms a mass which after solidification is 
known as soap. 

At the Procter & Gamble Company's Ivorydale plant the 
ingredients used in the manufacture of soap pass through intri- 
cate processes before the finished product is ready for shipment 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

to consumers. Ivory Soap is made as follows: First the ma- 
terials, prepared fats, oils, and soda, are spouted through pipes 
.into huge three-story-tall kettles, each of which holds 300 
thousand pounds of soap nearly 10 carloads. At the bottom 
of the tanks perforated steam pipes are coiled. The steam es- 
caping through the coils supplies heat and at the same time 
churns and boils the ingredients. It is during this process that 
the fats and soda unite with each other to form glycerine and 
soap. When saponification is nearly complete, a soapmaker stirs 
the seething mass with a long, wooden paddle to test its con- 
sistency. Then some of the soap is withdrawn in a metal con- 
tainer, which is immediately sent to the laboratory for testing. 
After the chemist has approved the sample, the worker con- 
tinues with the next process, called "graining." Several tons of 
salt are added, causing the soap to "curd" into millions of tiny 
granules, which thin out on top of a watery solution of glycer- 
ine, unused soda, and impurities. Later the watery solution 
is pumped away to be purified. 

Next the thick soap left in the kettle is washed with water 
to free it from a sediment called nigre. Then it is ready to be 
pumped to the crutching machines through pipes leading from 
the tops of the kettles. Crutching machines are huge mixers 
equipped with rotary blades, which churn the soap, mixing and 
creaming it thoroughly into a smooth consistency. After 30 
minutes of this violent agitation the soap is released into large, 
oblong iron boxes mounted on wheels. These boxes have re- 
movable sides and ends, and are called "frames"; each frame 
holds about a thousand pounds of soap. At this point there is 
a pause in production, for the soap must solidify and age. 
When aging is complete the sides and ends of the frames are 
removed and the cake of soap is ready for the first of the cut- 
ting operations, called slabbing. The huge blocks are forced 
through a machine on which is mounted a framework holding 
equally spaced piano wires to slice each block into horizontal 
layers the thickness of a cake of soap. The soap is then hurried 
to a cutting machine, which divides the slabs into long sticks, 
cut into cakes by a cross motion of the same machine. Wires 
are also used in this operation. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Then the rough bars of soap are piled on frames and the 
frames placed on racks, which are pushed onto a conveyor belt 
running into a drying tunnel. At the end of the tunnel the 
cakes are ready to be stamped, wrapped, and boxed. A machine 
with a capacity of a hundred thousand bars a day stamps the 
cake, imprinting the name of the soap. As the soap leaves the 
stamping machine a conveyor belt picks it up and carries it to 
an automatic wrapping machine. Inside and outside wrappers 
drop in front of the bar as it is fed into a mechanial hand. 
Partial folding is accomplished by this method, and a quarter 
turn of the hand completes the folding process. The ends are 
tucked in and glued while the cake is passing from the wrapping 
machine along another conveyor to the packing table. Here an 
operator places the bars of soap in cartons, which are then 
ready for shipment. 

Processes used in the manufacture of other stamped bar soaps 
are similar to those for producing Ivory, while milled soaps are 
made somewhat differently. 

Principal products of the Procter & Gamble Company today 
include three sizes of Ivory soap: Ivory Flakes and Ivory Snow; 
Camay, scented toilet soap; P & G White Naptha soap, for 
laundry use; Chipso, for laundry and dish use; Oxydol; Dreft, 
especially prepared for the washing of silks and woolens; Drene, 
a shampoo; Lava Soap, household cleaner in cake form; Kirk's 
Coco Hardwater Castile; Pall Mall, fine quality toilet soap; 
Crisco, vegetable-oil shortening; and glycerine and acids. The 
company also manufactures soaps and flakes for private con- 
cerns under the firms' own names. 

Andrew Jergens 

THE ORIGINAL FACTORY of what is now the city's 
second largest producer of soap was established on Spring Grove 
Avenue in 1882 when Andrew Jergens organized the Jergens 
Soap Company, succeeding Charles H. Geilfus, one of the 
early men in the industry. At that time Jergens specialized in 
producing and marketing toilet soaps. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

When cosmetics for women became popular during the 1890's 
the firm began to experiment with the manufacture of face 
powders. This branch of the business expanded rapidly, and 
perfumes, face creams, and hand lotions have been added to 
the list of products. 

In 1894, the name of the firm which then employed 25 per- 
sons, was changed to Andrew Jergens & Company. In 1901 
it bought the assets, trade name, and formulas of the John H. 
Woodbury Company, manufacturer of Woodbury's Facial Soap. 
The making of this brand of soap has been continued, and to- 
day Woodbury's is a sales leader among the higher-priced soaps. 

In 1913 after a series of reorganizations the corporate name 
was changed to the Andrew Jergens Company. The company 
now has about a thousand workers at the main plant, Spring 
Grove Avenue and Alfred Street, operates branch factories in 
Los Angeles and Perth (Ont.) Canada, and maintains a ware- 
house in Brooklyn. In 1937 a 500 thousand dollar expansion 
program, including the erection of new buildings, improvements 
to old structures, and additional storage tanks for oils used in 
producing soaps, was completed. Products of the firm, Wood- 
bury's Facial Soap, Jergens Violet and other toilet soaps, as 
well as lotions, face creams, powders, and perfumes, can be 
purchased almost everywhere. 

Michael Werk 

soap industry was Michael Werk, who in 1832 began manufac- 
turing candles in a small factory on Poplar Street, between Cen- 
tral Avenue and John Street. At first the dipped tallow candle, 
dating from an English discovery of the eleventh century, was 
his principal product; housewives brought their grease and tal- 
low to the Werk plant and got candles in return. In the early 
day candles were made through continuous dipping by hand 
until the metal or pewter molds were filled. After they had 
solidified, the candles were taken from the molds. 

When the stearic acid candle became popular (about 1880) 
the making of tallow candles was discontinued. Then Werk 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

began manufacturing soap; he specialized in the pure, old-fash- 
ioned laundry variety, a product still marketed today. 

In 1874 Werk's Poplar Street plant was demolished in a 
spectacular fire. Although the loss was great, the firm con- 
structed another building on the same site and occupied it until 
1912 when increased business demanded larger manufacturing 
quarters. Accordingly, the firm bought a tract of land on Mur- 
ray Road, St. Bernard, near the Procter & Gamble Ivorydale 
plant and near the chemical plants with which Werk did busi- 
ness. Today the Werk Company operates the city's third 
largest soap plant, and its products, Tag Soap, Werx Chips and 
Flakes, and Werko, are sold nationally. The firm also manu- 
factures acids, glycerine, and red oils. 

Other Soap Makers 

DU BOIS SOAP COMPANY (1920), with a plant at 1 1 20 
West Front Street, is the most recent addition to Cincinnati's 
soap industry. Specializing in private-brand toilet soaps and 
dish- washing compounds, the company in 1937 completed fac- 
tory improvements which doubled production capacity. 

Other Cincinnati manufacturers of soap are Fisher's Surfa- 
Saver, Inc., Paddock Road and the B. & O. Railroad, producers 
of automobile and liquid toilet soaps; William Dock & Com- 
pany, Murray Road, St. Bernard; Hunnewell Soap Company, 
114 West Second Street; Kroger Soap Company, 207 Main 
Street; Pollyanna Waterless Cleanser Company, 416 East Pearl 
Street; William F. Siebenthaler Company, 372 East McMicken 
Avenue; United States Soap Company, 105 East Third Street; 
Floray Products Company, 1 644 Central Avenue, manufacturer 
of Vanisope, a deodorant compound; Wiggins Chemical Com- 
pany, 8 East Front Street; and Wissell Soap and Chemical 
Company, 1726 Andina Avenue. 

Beauty Preparations 

MODERN BEAUTY AIDS, including face powders, per- 
fumes, hand and face lotions, and deodorants, were first made in 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 15(h Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Cincinnati during the 1890's. Though rice powder had been 
used for centuries, earlier Victorians had frowned upon cosmet- 
ics. Today this type of manufacture each year accounts for 
many millions of dollars in business. 

Besides the Andrew Jergens Company, the city's foremost 
producer of face powders, perfumes, and hand and face lotions, 
several other Cincinnati concerns manufacture these articles. 
Greater Cincinnati has also more than a thousand beauty shops 
and several schools where operators are taught the methods 
of beauty culture. Together, the manufacturers, schools, and 
shops employ about 2,500 workers, mostly women, with a 
yearly payroll estimated at three million dollars. 

Among the manufacturers of cosmetics are Baumann Barber 
ft Beauty Supply Company, Twelfth and Walnut Streets; Eu- 
gene Berninghaus Company, 1904 Western Avenue; Carlyle 
Cosmetic Company, 121 Opera Place; Central Supply Com- 
pany, 225 East Third Street; Cincinnati Beauty Specialty Com- 
pany, 2444 Gilbert Avenue; Goldey Brothers, Inc., 652 Main 
Street; D. E. Hannan Barber ft Beauty Supply Company, 532 
Main Street; LaJoie Laboratories, 1106 Locust Street; Old 
Reliable Beauty ft Barber Supply Company, 30 Opera Place; 
Realistic Permanent Wave Machine Company, 3640 Realistic 
Avenue, Norwood; C. J. Reynolds Manufacturing Company, 
327 Elm Street, Newport; S. S. Laboratories Inc., 3929 Mont- 
gomery Road, Norwood; and Sea Rose Laboratories, 804 Ar- 
mory Avenue. 

Beauty schools include Mar-Dell's Schoolof Beauty Culture, 
630 Walnut Street; Marguerite School of Beauty Culture, 2440 
Gilbert Avenue; Marinello School of Beauty Culture, 128 East 
Sixth Street; Moler System of Beauty Culture, 111 West Fifth 
Street; and Nestle School of Beauty Culture, 439 Race Street. 

Candle Manufacturing 

EMERY INDUSTRIES, INC., June Street and the B. ft O. 
Railroad, Ivorydale, is Cincinnati's largest, though not its first, 
candle manufacturer. In 1840 Thomas J. and John J. Emery 
organized Thos ; Emery Sons, and opened a small factory 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

at Vine and Water Streets, where they processed dipped tallow 
candles. Lard oil was the next product the concern marketed,, 
and in 1848 the oil factory of the firm was removed to 
30 Water Street. 

From this small beginning the Emerys, because of the excel- 
lence of the product manufactured at their factories, developed 
a large industrial enterprise. At first the Emery family applied 
profits to expanding the plant, but later started to buy Cincin- 
nati real estate. Today much steel, stone, and brick in the 
downtown district attests the shrewdness of the speculators who 
turned modest profits from their candle business into highly 
lucrative real estate investments. The Carew Tower, the city's 
tallest office building, and its Netherland Plaza Hotel, Emery 
Auditorium, and Mariemont, a model residential village north- 
east of Cincinnati, all Emery properties, indicate the diversity 
of these real estate holdings. 

Thos. Emery Sons were among the nation's first candle manu- 
facturers to change from the tallow to the stearic acid method 
of production. In 1885 fire partially destroyed the Water Street 
plant. Since more space and better shipping facilities were 
necessary, seven acres of land in Ivorydale, fronting on the old 
Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad (now B. & O. Rail- 
road), were purchased and modern factory buildings put up. 
In 1887 the firm name was changed to the Emery Candle Com- 
pany, while in May 1928 the present title, Emery Industries, 
Inc., was adopted. 

When oil, gas, and electric power began superseding candles 
for lighting purposes, the firm specialized in the making of 
industrial acids and red oils, products used for many manu- 
facturing purposes. The corporation's present-day output in- 
cludes candles and votive lights, decorations for cakes and 
pastries, and acids and oils. 

Harkness & Cowing Company, Vine Street and Laidlaw 
Avenue (Murray Road) , St Bernard, is one of Greater Cincin- 
nati's pioneer manufacturers of wax candles for religions pur- 
poses. The firm also produces saponified red oil, acids, and 
crude glycerine. Another small manufacturer of candles is the 
I. A. Root Company, 1849 Hanfield Street. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Chemical Industry 

about 1850, when old rule-of -thumb methods began to give 
way to scientific processes. American industry depends upon 
the research chemist for new discoveries and for methods of 
improving present production. Hundreds of millions of dol- 
lars are spent annually in thousands of laboratories to carry on 
this work. In 1937 the cost to industry amounted to about 
200 million dollars. But this enormous expenditure pays big 
dividends in the utilization of waste material for the manu- 
facture of unexpected by-products. 

Cottonseed is one of the former waste products which Cin- 
cinnati converts by chemical processes into the basis for a group 
of industries producing 200 million dollars worth of products 
annually. Commercial and industrial products of cottonseed 
come from three parts of the seed remaining after lint is re- 
moved by ginning linters, hulls, and kernels, or meats. The 
kernel is the most valuable part of the seed, for it supplies the 
oil and the cottonseed cake, or meal. 

Cottonseed cake, often fed to livestock, is obtained after 
the seed passes through linter machines, which remove the 
linters; hullers, which cut the seed; and shakers, which separate 
the loosened hulls from the kernels. The meats are flaked and 
cooked before the oil is pressed out under crushers. Among 
the products now made from the oil are vegetable shortening, 
margarine, salad oil, salad dressing, soap, washing powder, com- 
position roofing, paint bases, linoleums, candles, medical emul- 
sions, and cosmetics. Linters are used for the manufacture of 
rayon, smokeless powder, writing paper, gun cotton, absorbent 
cotton, photographic film, plastics, batting, felt, lacquers, and 

Chemists are now trying to find new uses to which cottonseed 
can be put. Among the latest discoveries are a new quick-drying 
oil for paints and a new source for vitamins B and G. 

A local sample of an industrial research laboratory is the 
Kroger Food Foundation, 125 East Fifth Street, endowed in 
1931 by the Kroger Grocery & Baking Company to test foods 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

and meats sold in the corporation's stores. The foundation 
also surveys store locations, density of population and buying 
power, and merchandising trends. 

For fifty years Cincinnati has had some of the country's 
best explorers in the land of chemistry. In 1937 the city's 
more than 15 chemical establishments employed more than a 
thousand workers, who earned about $1,700,000 in wages. 
Many of the larger corporations also maintain laboratories oper- 
ated by staff chemists. In 1936 the valuation of industrial 
chemicals produced here was estimated at more than 10 million 

Cincinnati's first chemical plant was opened in 1802 by the 
Grasselli Chemicals Company for the production of sulphuric 
acid. Today the firm, operating a factory at Lockland, Ohio, 
where acids and heavy industrial and agricultural chemicals are 
made, is a division of E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Company, 
the world's largest manufacturer of chemicals. In 1826 the city's 
first chemical laboratory was opened by Allen & Company. 

The chemical industry surged forward here about 1890, when 
a great deal of attention was suddenly given to chemical reactions 
in the making of soap. Before that time production had been 
based more or less on guesswork formulas, and products had 
often been unsatisfactory. In 1898 Dr. Ernst Twitchell dis- 
covered the saponification process for separating glycerine from 
neutral fats and oils. Saponification revolutionized production 
methods in the soap industry; it reduced waste and made pos- 
sible the utilization of many by-products. In 1915 the 
Twitchell Process Company was incorpoated and a plant opened 
adjoining the Emery Industries, Inc. Here various chemical 
processes for industry have been discovered and developed. In 
1917 Dr. Twitchell was awarded the Perkin medal, the highest 
official honor a chemical savant can secure. 

The city's largest manufacturer of chemicals is the Cincinnati 
Chemicals Works, Inc., with a main plant at 1743 Cleneay 
Avenue, Norwood, and a branch on Murray Road, St. Bernard. 
Chemicals of all types are produced at the main factory, while 
operations at the branch are devoted to the manufacture of a 
variety of dyes. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Another large plant on Murray Road, St. Bernard, is operated 
by the Globe Chemical Company, which produces the following 
chemicals: acetic, battery, muriatic, nitric, sulphuric, oxalic, bo- 
racic, and chromic acids; ash, bicarbonate, bisulphate, bisulphite, 
caustic, cyanide, silicate, and sal sodas; and calcium chloride, 
carbon tetrachloride, tri-soda phosphate, ammonia alum, alumi- 
num sulphate, acetone pure, ammonia pure, ammonia aqua, and 
chloride borax. 

Other industrial and agricultural chemical manufacturers with 
local plants are Hilton-Davis Chemical Company (August 
1936, formerly Hilton-Davis Company), Langdon Farm Road 
and the Pennsylvania Railroad, producer of fine and industrial 
chemicals, dye-stuffs, dry colors, and inks; Ace Chemical Com- 
pany, Second and Main Streets; American Cyanide & Chemical 
Company, Vine Street and Murray Road, St. Bernard; E. Ber- 
hausen Chemical Co., 915 Carr Street; Brighton Products Co., 
2166 Patterson Street; C. G. Buchanan Chemical Co., 4650 
Baker Avenue, Norwood; Coleman & Bell Company, 4101 
Montgomery Avenue, Norwood; Fries & Fries, Inc., 1540 
Brewster Avenue; Shephard Chemical Co., Highland Avenue, 
near Orchard Street, Norwood; White Chemical Company, 216 
West Sixth Street; Corkins Chemical Company, 1114 Elm 
Street; and Hydro-Pel Chemical Company (1937) , 1608 Logan 
Street, manufacturing water and acid repellants. In 1937 the 
Palmer Chemical Company, Covington, purchased a tract of 
land near Chester Park, where the firm plans to erect a factory. 
Another unit of the industry is the Cincinnati Scientific Com- 
pany, 224 Main Street, which develops and manufactures 
equipment for firms producing chemicals. 

Besides the production factories there are in the city a number 
of research laboratories, where men bent over test tubes try to 
discover some new process to benefit industry. 

Manufacture of Drugs and Medicines 

MANUFACTURE OF DRUGS for medical purposes is one 
of the world's oldest applied sciences. In 1804 William S. Mer- 
rell opened the city's first chemist's shop. From this beginning 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

sprang the pharmaceutical branch of the Cincinnati chemical 
industry, which in 1937 carried nearly a thousand workers 
on a payroll estimated at more than $1,600,000. 

From the time he opened his little shop Merrell kept busy. 
Soon the demand of physicians for supplies drew him into 
the wholesale trade. Later he compounded prescriptions to be 
sold at other retail stores; eventually emphasizing this phase 
of his business, he established the Wm. J. Merrell Company 
(1828, America's oldest manufacturer of pharmaceutical sup- 
plies) , which produces about a thousand medical prescriptions 
used by physicians, surgeons, hospitals, and homes. 

The company's present plant is on the outskirts of the city, 
near Reading. Built at a cost of 800 thousand dollars, the 
factory, laboratory, research, and administration buildings were 
completed in 1937. In January 1938 stockholders approved 
a reorganization plan whereby the Vick Chemical Company, 
New York City and Wilmington, Delaware, acquired the local 
company's assets in exchange for Vick stock. The sale in no 
way affects the operations of the Merrell Comany or its per- 
sonnell, since, by terms of the agreement, the Cincinnati concern 
continues as a separate organization. About three hundred 
workers, including a staff of 25 chemists and technicians, are 
employed locally. 

Lloyd Brothers, Inc. (1845), northwest corner of Court 
and Plumb Streets, is another leading manufacturer of pharma- 
ceutical supplies. This corporation specializes in the mixing 
of ingredients secured from plants and vegetables, and its re- 
search laboratories are credited with many discoveries in modern 
pharmacy. In 1938 all property, assets, and good will were 
sold to S. B. Penick 8 Co., New York pharmaceutical manufac- 
turer, for $338,250. Lloyd Brothers, Inc., will be operated 
as a branch by the New York concern. The nationally famous 
Lloyd Library, 309 West Court Street, which contains valuable 
papers and formulas on materia medica, pharmacy, chemistry, 
botany, and related subjects, was founded by John Uri Lloyd 
(1849-1936) , and his brother, Nelson Ashley Lloyd. 

The career of John Uri Lloyd is the "rags to riches" story 
so familiar to Americans. Showing a marked aptitude for chem- 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

istry, he was apprenticed in 1863 to W. J. M. Gordon, a 
pharmacist with a shop at Eighth Street and Central Avenue, 
By constant application Lloyd became a prescription clerk in 
two years. Then he served a second two-year apprenticeship 
with George Eger, a German immigrant-chemist. 

Tucking his certificate of proficiency under his arm, Lloyd 
went to work in 1868 as a chemist for H. M. Merrell (1845), 
Court and Plum Streets. Meanwhile he continued his studies 
of plant pharmacy; he made a few discoveries and embarked 
on a lifetime of study, experimentation, and research in vegetable 
materia medica. 

Lloyd's success in research was rewarded by his employer. 
In 1887 he was made a junior partner, and the firm name was 
changed to Merrell, Thorp and Lloyd; when Merrell retired 
in 1881 the concern became Thorp and Lloyd Brothers, and in 
1885 Lloyd Brothers. 

Lloyd's explorations in pharmacy brought fame. For 17 
years he taught chemistry and pharmacy at the Eclectic Medical 
College. Meantime he managed to crowd in four years of teach- 
ing at the Cincinnati College of Pharmacy, and wrote numerous 
articles for pharmaceutical journals, several volumes on plant 
life and medicines, and also such fiction as his Stringtown on 
the Pike (1900). 

John Thomas Lloyd (1884), son of John Uri Lloyd, was 
associated for 17 years with his father as research chemist. In 
1938 he established the John T. Lloyd Laboratories. Inc., 412 
Central Avenue, to manufacture medicinal vegetable extracts. 
New discoveries, it is said, will permit him to make ingredients 
almost free of metallic contamination. 

In 1937 scientists at the Institutum Divi Thomae, Mt. Wash- 
ington, reported to the American Association for the Advance- 
ment of Science the discovery of a new chemical which heals 
burns quickly and without scars. Preparation of the compound 
was made by Drs. George Sperti and Andre Cueto, and John 
R. Loofbourow, John C. Farden, and Elton Cook, after more 
than three years' research. The chemical is a fluid made by 
injuring yeast cells. It grows fresh, normal skin over the 
burned areas on the body, instead of the usual tightly drawn, 




THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

disfiguring scar tissue. Recuperation of a burned victim is con- 
siderably hastened by use of the chemical, which has been 
successfully used at St. Mary's Hospital, Cincinnati. 

The Institutum Divi Thomae is a graduate school endowed 
and operated by the Cincinnati Archdiocese of the Roman Cath- 
olic Church. Doctor Sperti, the director, former director of the 
Basic Science Research Laboratory at the University of Cincin- 
nati, has made many recent discoveries during the course of his 
vitamin research. Dr. Cueto is the inventor of the Xervac ma- 
chine, a Cincinnati-made device used in scalp treatments. 

Other Cincinnati manufacturing pharmacists are Bell Chem- 
ical Works, 121 Eighth Street, Dayton, Kentucky; General 
Pharmacal Company, 205 East Sixth Street; Caldwell Pharma- 
ceutical Laboratories, 410 West Eighth Street; Hydrosal Com- 
pany, 333 West Eighth Street; Cincinnati Economy Drug 
Company, 209 East Court Street; Gordon Pharmacal Com- 
pany, 810 West Fifth Street; Hale-Justis Drug Company, 
9 West Third Street; Hy-Pure Laboratories, Inc. (1923), 704 
Plum Street; McKesson 8 Robbins, Inc., 217 East Sixth Street; 
Pharmacal Products Company, 514 Main Street; Roosa & Rat- 
liff Chemical Company, 104 West Second Street; and Warner 
Drug & Chemical Company, 914 Race Street. 

A number of patent and proprietary medicine manufacturers 
also operate plants in Cincinnati. In 1938 these firms, employ- 
ing about 250 workers, were Audrey Products Company, 3147 
Evergreen Avenue; Cel-Ton-Sa Remedy Company, 1016 Cen- 
tral Avenue; Ching Fow Industries, 321 West Seventh Street; 
W. H. Davis, 1910 Eastern Avenue; Durand Medicine Com- 
pany (1879), 1542 Elm Street; Evans Chemical Company, 
214 Main Street; Indo-Vin, Inc., Third and Vine Streets; Dr. 
Kerr Laboratories, 306 East Third Street; Landis Medicine 
Company, 134 Mary Lane; Merit Medicine Company, 308 
Main Street; Payne's Laboratories, 234 East Second Street, 
Covington; Quaker Herb Company, 220 George Street; Paul J. 
Reiner Medicine Company, 3942 Marburg Avenue; C. Scheuer- 
man, 408 West Fourth Street; Sedafan Products Company, 
534 Sycamore Street; Sumlak Co., 226 East Sixth Street; and 
Southern Ohio Viavi Company, Sixth and Main Streets. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Manufacture of Paints and Varnishes 

CINCINNATI HAS BEEN important in the development 
of America's paint industry- an industry carried on by more 
than 1,400 scattered factories, with an annual production valua- 
tion of more than 350 million dollars. Since early in 1815, 
when the Cincinnati Manufacturing Company began making 
red and white lead, the industry has been represented here by 
one or more plants. 

For mote than a century after 1815 paint was paint; it con- 
sisted of lead pigments finely ground and suspended in linseed 
.oil. The early painter usually added a little turpentine to thin 
the product. The modern evolution of the business began 
shortly after the World War, when scientific research brought 
to the market such new industrial finishes as lacquers and quick- 
drying enamels in a variety of colors and tints. Later these 
jmishes were adapted to other uses. 

The modern industry is a model of scientific accuracy. Chem- 
ical research and the control of ingredients has superseded the 
haphazard handcraft of former days, while electrically operated 
mixers and mills turn endlessly to make thousands of gallons 
of a uniform product. 

Present-day paint processes usually operate as follows: Dry 
pigments, coloring matter, and oils are combined in vats to 
form a thick paste, which is then stirred mechanically, and car- 
ried in a gravity trough to mechanical mixers called mills. 
As the paste is ground between the mill stones, it is gradually 
pushed toward the edge of the revolving stones. Then a me- 
chanical arm shoves the pasty mass into tanks, more oils and 
tints are added, and the mixture is churned until it has the 
proper paint consistency. Before the paint is packed for ship- 
ment, samples are examined in testing laboratories. 

Processes for the manufacture of varnishes and lacquers differ 
from those of paint. The ingredients of varnishes are mixed 
in vats and submitted to treatment by heat. Chemicals are added 
to prevent solidification. 

In 1936 the valuation of all paints, varnishes, and lacquers, 
architectural and industrial, manufactured in the Cincinnati area 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

was more than $7,125,000, about five percent of the national 
total. Leading local manufacturers are Perry & Derrick Com- 
pany (1913), 908 Central Avenue (factory, Dayton, Ky.)> 
formerly the Paff Varnish Company, producer of both archi- 
tectural and industrial finishes; Wilson Paint Company (1907) , 
410 Reading Road, architectural finishes; Ault 8 Wiborg Cor- 
poration (1850) , a unit of Interchemical Companies, Montgom- 
ery Road and Dana Avenue, industrial finishes; Beck, Roller ft 
Co. Inc., 49 Central Avenue; Chas. Moser Company, 215 East 
Ninth Street, architectural and industrial finishes; the Rainbo 
Wall Paper and Paint Company, 415 Commercial Square; 
Steelcote Manufacturing Company, 4642 Montgomery Road, 
industrial finishes; Kolbe Paint Company, 231 West Fifth 
Street; R. F. Johnston Paint Company (1906), 3925 Huston 
Avenue, architectural and industrial finishes; Foy Paint Com- 
pany, Inc., Mentor and Huston Avenues; Charles J. Hardig, 
1111 Harrison Avenue; Cook Paint 8 Varnish Company, 2200 
Dana Avenue, and Cincinnati Color Company, 122 East Sixth 

Among local firms making architectural and industrial var- 
nishes and lacquers are the R. A. Becker Varnish Company, 
(1891) Langdon Farm Road and the Pennsylvania Railroad; 
Burgett Varnish Works (1915), Smith Road and the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad, Norwood; the Black Diamond Paint & Varnish 
Works, Inc., 1217 Bank v Street; Aluminum Industries, Inc., 
since 1932 manufacturers of aluminum paint; A. L. Boehmer 
Paint Company, 114 Pike Street, Covington; Cincinnati Lac- 
quer Company (1927), 2700 Highland Avenue, and Egyptian 
Lacquer Manufacturing Company, 49 Central Avenue. 

A natural development of Cincinnati's paint industry is the 
production of pigments used in paint making. The Eagle-Picher 
White Lead Company, Reading Road and Broadway, has the 
city's most important pigment plant. Founded in 1843, the 
company is one of the nation's sizable producers of white lead 
and by-products. The present company was formed in 1906 
through a merger of the Eagle Lead Company and the Picher 
Lead Company (1874), of Joplin, Missouri. The combined 
title was not used until the concern was incorporated in 1916. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

A subsidiary, the Eagle-Picher Mining and Smelting Company, 
operating lead mines in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Ari- 
zona, was organized in 1930. 

Present products include white lead carbonate, red lead, sub- 
limed blue and white lead, flattening oil, zinc oxide, and 
lithopone for painters; lead pipe, roof flanges, lead traps, bends, 
fittings ferrules, and solders for plumbers; bearing metals, lead 
wool, and rope socket metal for the oil industry, and insulation 
cement, waterproofing cement, wool, and oxides for insulation 

Besides the main Cincinnati plant, the corporation has branch 
factories at Argo, Hillsboro, Chicago, and East St. Louis, Illi- 
nois; Newark, New Jersey, and Joplin. 

Another concern manufacturing similar products is the 
National Lead Company (Dutch Boy) with a plant at 659 
Freeman Avenue. 


Chapter VI 

Brewing An Era of Drought 
Brewers 9 Equipment Wine Making 
Liquor Distilling Soft Drinks 

HOSTS NIGHTLY STAGGER, it is said, through 
a Central Avenue brewery which sits stodgily on an 
old graveyard. It is assumed that the ghosts grow 
friendly over sips of beer and talk of the day when 
Cincinnati was America's beer capital. They perhaps tell many 
a story of Brewmeister and brews, of Bierstuben, of singing 
Kellner, of nights at Wielert's and the Atlantic Gardens. 

Cincinnati remembers something of all this as it sees its beer 
served up in big glasses to familiar evening crowds at its many 
beer places. Greater Cincinnati's brewing, distilling, and spirit- 
rectifying trades rank seventh in the nation. <Beer, ale, whisky, 
wine and gin, produced and bottled in local plants, are 
shipped throughout the world to slake an everlasting thirst. 
The city is not doing so well with its wine business; but 
it remembers when Longfellow praised the bottle of Catawba 
wine which the first Nick Longworth sent him and penned a 
rhyming toast 

To the Queen of the West, 

In her garlands dressed, 

On the banks of the beautiful river. 

Although extensive wine-making has slipped up to the Lake 
Erie shore, many vintages made in the Queen City today are 
available at wineries throughout the country. There are now 
fewer plants than in the years before prohibition (1919 in 
Ohio) , but those operating are larger, many of the firms have 
established branch factories, and the number of workers and 
their wages have increased. 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

In 1938 Greater Cincinnati's 13 breweries employed about 
2,500 persons, whose payroll was estimated at $4,500,000. 
About two thousand are in the production departments, 
while the rest handle sales, clerical, and office work. The com- 
bined corporations represent an investment of more than eight 
million dollars in property, buildings, and equipment. 

Since the repeal of the prohibition laws the distilling industry 
has tended toward bigger plants, with national sales and dis- 
tribution, instead of the small local distilleries of the pre-prohi- 
bition era. There is only one large distillery in the city proper, 
but Greater Cincinnati has several others, including two plants 
in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. 

The art of brewing is old. Beer is a beverage prepared 
from malted barley (rarely from malted wheat) ; rice, corn, 
or their by-products are often added. Basically all beer is alike, 
although special formulas, jealously guarded, give distinctive 
flavors to the finished brew. 

The manufacture of beer involves two distinct operations 
malting and brewing. Malting changes the chemical composi- 
tion of the barley grains to make them soluble in water, to 
produce a liquid which can afterward be fermented. The 
brewing process converts the malt into beer. The crushed malt 
is extracted in hot water when the diastase completes its action 
in changing the starch to dextrine maltrose. After the malt has 
teen treated, the solution is drawn off; the resulting mixture, 
called wort, is rapidly cooled, yeast is added, and fermentation 
begins. Then the sugar is split into alcohol and carbonic acid 
gas a process which releases a little free acid, glycerine, and 
aromatic bodies in small quantities. From these processes comes 
the beverage called beer. The brew is then placed in vats, so 
that it can properly age and undergo the slow process of after- 
fermentation and ripening. It is filtered and finally put through 
a completely mechanized process of barreling, bottling, or can- 
ning. Bottles, barrels, and metal containers are cleaned and 
filled bv means of immense and intricate machines: manpower 
merely keens the products moving, 

Until 1870 the industry made few changes in its ancient 
production methods. Most of the machinery had been purchased 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

in Europe, and all beer distributed in barrels was drawn from 
the wood. After Pasteur's discovery (1870) that bottled beer, 
after heat treatment, or ' 'steaming," as it was then called, would 
keep its original flavor for a long time, brewers in the United 
States experimented with this revolutionary plan of marketing 
their products. In 1873 a St. Louis brewer sold the first bottled 
brew, and immediately several Cincinnati brewers built bottling 
factories. Prior to the introduction of bottled beer, consumers 
"rushed the growler," or spent their leisure moments with 
elbows on the bar of the sawdust-strewn corner saloons. 

At the turn of the century Cincinnati shared in the prosperity 
of a new industry, glass blowing. The Charles Boldt Glass 
Works, East End, became a leading maker of beer bottles *and 
other products, but in 1910 fire destroyed the plant. Though 
the company was financially successful, changing conditions in 
the industry made it impracticable to rebuild here. Later a new 
plant was built in Huntington, West Virginia. 

Cincinnati's first brewery was set in 1809 on the river bank 
at the foot of Race Street by Davis Embry, member of a family 
which was later to become active in other local industrial enter- 
prises. Two years elapsed, however, before the first heavy Ger- 
man-style beer produced by Embry was ready for sale. The 
product found a ready market. By 1816 several other brewers 
had opened plants, but since these had been built farther back 
from the Ohio River they had trouble getting enough pure water 
for their needs. The Embry plant used river water: the others 
depended upon cisterns and wells. Beer, porter, and ale were 
exported west to the Mississippi River and as far south as New 
Orleans. Distillation of cordials for home use and the rectifi- 
cation of spirits began here about the same time. 

Later, because of the difficulty in getting water, several of the 
smaller breweries were forced to close. In 1819 only two plants 
were operating, but they worked hard enough to satisfy Cin- 
cinnati's virile thirst. 

Progress of the industry was steady. From 1840 to 1860, 
when many German emigrants settled here, it burst forward, 
and many plants began brewing beer. (Several are still doing 
business). In 1840 eight breweries were in the city. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The Foss-Schneider Brewing Company, now the city's oldest 
brewery, was opened in 1849 in a plant on Augusta Street, 
near John Street. In 1863 the present buildings on Freeman 
Avenue were put up. In 1884 the company was incorporated 
with capital of 600 thousand dollars and the present name was 
adopted. Since 1879, when the bottling department was opened, 
the plant has been in constant service except during the 1 4 years 
of prohibition. In 1933 it was one of the first breweries in the 
city to reopen after repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment. 

The Bruckmann Brewing Company, Ludlow Avenue and 
Central Parkway, has Cincinnati's oldest plant in continuous 
operation. Established in 1865 on the present site, it was the 
onty brewery to continue production during the prohibition 
years. At that time the brew was de-alcoholized and marketed 
as near beer. Since repeal of the prohibition act the original 
plant has been modernized and new buildings have been added. 
Expansion has been so rapid that there is now a branch factory 
on Spring Grove Avenue in the plant formerly occupied by 
the Cincinnati Beverage Products Company. The concern pro- 
duces beer and ale, marketed in barrels, bottles, and cans. 

Before the passage of the prohibition laws the Herancourt 
Brewing Company (1840), Harrison Avenue and the Western 
Hills Viaduct, was the city's oldest plant. The firm and its 
products enjoyed great success until 1919, when portions of the 
brewery were dismantled. An artificial ice manufacturer now 
occupies one building, while the rest is used by Rose Brothers, 
distributors of building and contractors' supplies. 

The equipment of the Fairmount Brewing Company, West- 
wood Avenue and Quebec Road, another of the pioneer firms 
which suspended operations in 1919, has also been taken down. 
The building is used for the manufacture of artificial ice. 

Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, one of the biggest 
producers in America until prohibition suspended its activity in 
1919, was founded in 1853 by Christian Moerlein, who came 
to Cincinnati in 1842 from Germany. Moerlein opened a 
blacksmith shop on the west side of Elm Street, near McMicken 
Avenue, where in 1853 was to rise the malt house of his 
brewery. Originally he brewed common beer, but soon after 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

starting production he conceived the idea of a light brew which 
would be more generally accepted for home consumption. After 
two years of experimentation, the world's first lager beer went 
into manufacture. (An Eastern brewer also makes this claim.) 

Lager beer was an overnight success; the light brew changed 
the drinking habits of the beer world. As sales increased new 
buildings were added to the Moerlein plant. As demand con- 
tinued to grow, other local brewers put lager on their production 
schedules. In 1864 Moerlein discontinued the manufacture 
of common beer, and in 1881 the Moerlein Brewing Company 
was incorporated with paid capital of a million dollars. Since 
1919 the plant has been dismantled; a large tailoring concern 
has most of the floor space. 

The introduction of lager beer brought boom days to the 
Cincinnati brewing industry. At the time (1860) it was 
generally agreed that Cincinnati brewers "fear no competition, 
because the excellence and fame of their brews create a demand 
for them even in cities whose brewers have a greater aggregate 
capital invested/' 

In 1872-73 beer shipments from Cincinnati totalled 123,625 
barrels; almost 20 years later, in 1891-92, 600 thousand barrels 
were exported. The entire local output that year was 1,350,865 
barrels, about three times the production of two decades before. 

In 1891-92 Cincinnati consumption of beer and ale was 815 
thousand barrels, or 22,265,000 gallons, an average of 40 gal- 
lons per capita for an estimated Greater Cincinnati population 
of 500 thousand. Local consumers paid 10 million dollars, 
or an average of $20 a person for beer and ale. The breweries 
that year used about 2,200,000 bushels of malt and 1,525,000 
pounds of hops, while the United States Internal Revenue De- 
partment collected about $1,500,000 in taxes. 

Wages paid brewery workers at the time were among the 
highest in Cincinnati, averaging from about $1.50 a day (and 
all the beer a common laborer could drink!) up to 15 thousand 
dollars a year for the brewmaster. About four thousand men 
worked in the 33 Greater Cincinnati breweries that year. 

In 1914 there were 24 local plants producing 1,500,000 bar- 
rels of beer annually. During the first prohibition year (1919), 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

23 breweries with an annual production of slightly more than 
a million barrels were operating. In 1936, two and a half 
years after the repeal of the prohibition laws, the production 
of Greater Cincinnati breweries was 1,5 12,400 barrels, on which 
Federal and state taxes of $7,561,000 were paid. Cincinnati 
plants accounted for 1,270,000 barrels, or 34 percent of the 
state production of 3, 742,000 barrels. Ohio received $2,956,000 
in levies. During the first eight months of 1937 Federal stamp 
taxes paid by Greater Cincinnati brewers totalled $5,595,- 
376.53, an increase of about 10 percent over the same months 
of the previous year. Owing to the industrial and business 
recession during the final three months of 1937, the production 
of beer slumped temporarily. 

Before the imposition of higher tax levies the consumption of 
beer in the United States, under a Federal tax of a dollar per 
barrel, continued to increase until 1914, when national pro- 
duction reached a peak of 66 million barrels. In 1916 when the 
tax levy was increased to $1.50 there was a decrease of six 
million barrels. When the two dollar rate became effective 
(1918) consumption dropped another 10,500,000 barrels. 
Under a six dollar rate in 1919, only 23 million barrels were 
brewed in the nation. 

After repeal in 1933 more than 27 million barrels of beer 
were turned out, the Federal Government collecting 137 million 
dollars in revenue. Brewers now believe that national pro- 
duction should reach or surpass the record of 66 million barrels 
production in 1937 was estimated at nearly 60 million 
before 1940. 

In 1933 the Federal tax rate on beer was set at five dollars 
a barrel. Through its Liquor Control Commission Ohio levied 
$1.50 a barrel on 3.2 percent beer and $2.50 on beer containing 
a higher alcoholic content. Thus the direct taxes paid by Ohio 
breweries range from $6.50 to $7.50 a barrel. The present tax 
is still greater. In Ohio the total levy for 3.2 percent beer is 
$8.18 a barrel, and $8.98 for beer with more than 3.2 percent 
alcoholic volume. 

In 1937 Ohio brewers estimated that 60 cents of every dollar 
collected by the manufacturer is paid out again in Federal, state, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

and local taxes. Labor and material costs have also increased 
over those in effect before prohibition. The hourly wage scale 
of truck drivers, bottlers, engineers, and firemen has more than 
doubled since 1915. Coal cost about $2.25 a ton in 1915, while 
in 1937 the price averaged about $5. That year (1937) the 
production costs in local breweries were attributed as follows: 
taxes 60 percent; materials, 19 percent; salaries and wages, 13 
percent; distribution, two percent; container replacement, one 
percent; depreciation, four percent; and advertising, two percent. 

In 1887 brewery employees here formed an organization to 
"promote the social and economic welfare of the workers en- 
gaged in the industry," and on December 26, 1879, adopted 
the name, Brauer Gesellen Union. From this organization has 
developed the present International Union of the United Brew- 
ery Workmen of America (1900). Headquarters of the union, 
which now has about 50 thousand members in the United 
States and Canada, are at 2347 Vine Street. Under its trades 
jurisdiction are brewery, flour, cereal, malt, grain elevator, yeast, 
vinegar, alcohol, cider, cereal beverage, soft drink and mineral 
water workers. 

Clyffside Brewing Company (1933), 242 West McMicken 
Avenue, occupies the modernized plant 'of the old Mohawk 
Brewing Company, closed in 1919 when prohibition became 
effective. The present firm, headed by Paul Esselborn, has swift- 
ly expanded production. In 1937 a new bottling plant and 
stockhouse were completed at a cost of 75 thousand dollars. 
Esselborn served his apprenticeship in his father's plant, the 
Portsmouth (Ohio) Brewing and Ice Company, and later 
studied at the Royal Bavarian School of Brewing at Weihen- 
stephen, Germany. He assumed management of his father's plant 
upon his return from abroad, operating it until prohibition. 

Vienna Brewing Company (1933), 322 Reading Road, is 
Cincinnati's smallest plant. Before prohibition the buildings 
were occupied by the Gambrinus Stock Company. Since 1935 
a new brewhouse, cellars, bottling plant, and offices have been 

Delatron Brewing Company (1934), Reading and Amity 
Roads, is Greater Cincinnati's newest brewery. George Delatron, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

president of the corporation, was one of the founders of the 
Vienna Brewing Company. A year after repeal he withdrew 
from the firm to organize his own company. Since 1935 a new 
bottling plant and extra cellars have been added. Delatron is 
his own master brewer. 

Burger Brewing Company, Liberty Street and Central Park- 
way, was established in 1935 when the Burger Brothers Com- 
pany purchased the Lion Brewing Company, organized in 1933 
by a syndicate of northern Ohio capitalists. The firm occupies 
the plant of the old Windisch-Mulhauser (Lion) Brewing 
Company, which opened in 1866. W. J. Huster is president 
of the corporation. 

Hudepohl Brewing Company, 40 East McMicken Avenue, 
is Cincinnati's largest plant, with an aging capacity of more 
than a million gallons. Louis Hudepohl and George Kotte, the 
founders, in 1885 purchased the old Koehler Brewery, and 
immediately changed the name to Buckeye. The present title 
was adopted in 1892, when the firm was reorganized after 
Kotte's death. After the nation went dry the firm produced 
near beer for a short time, then made soft drinks, and for three 
years before repeal acted as distributor for out-of-city near 
beers. Since 1935 a No. 2 plant has been operated at the old 
Lackman Brewery on West Sixth Street. Both breweries have 
undergone extensive improvement. 

Schoenling Brewing & Ice Company (1933), 1624 Central 
Avenue, was founded by E. Schoenling, owner of the Schoen- 
ling Ice & Coal Company, who had an entire new plant con- 
structed for the making of draft beer. In 1934 a bottling plant 
was added. 

Red Top Brewing Company, 1747 Central Avenue, dates 
back to 1863, when John Hauck and John U. Windisch opened 
a small brewery. In 1881 the John Hauck Brewing Company, 
which was to become one of Cincinnati's leading producers of 
beer, was organized. When prohibition came the Haucks closed 
the plant and retired. Other interests afterward leased the build- 
ings and formed the Red Top Malting Company. Shortly after 
repeal in 1933, the production of beer was started. L. Ullmann 
is president of the company. 



THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

In 1832 a small brewery began operating in Cincinnati. Un- 
til 1863 when it became the Jackson Brewing Company, with 
a plant at McMicken Avenue and Elm Street, it had been 
brewing under various names. It was closed in 1920 after the 
prohibition law went into effect. In 1934 Cincinnati capitalists 
reopened the plant, renaming it the Squibb-Pattison Brewery; 
but the firm had financial troubles after operating only about 
a year. Early in 1935 Detroit capitalists, headed by Philip G. 
Benjamin, purchased the plant for 135 thousand dollars. After 
extensive remodelling, including a new hundred thousand dol- 
lar bottling and storage building, it was reopened in 1937 under 
the old Jackson Brewing Corporation name. Capacity of the 
bottling plant (said to be the most modern in the United 
States) is 7,500 bottles an hour. The storage building has a 
capacity of 50 thousand cases. 

Three breweries are now functioning in northern Kentucky 
two in Covington, the other in Newport. 

In 1870 George Wiedemann in partnership with John 
Butcher founded the Wiedemann Brewing Company at 601 
Columbia Street, Newport. The plant's beers and ale instantly 
pleased consumers, and by 1890, when the company was in- 
corporated, the brewery was one of the largest in the Cincinnati 
area. It was closed during the 13 years of prohibition. Shortly 
after repeal, out-of-city Capital took over the plant, but incurred 
financial difficulty. Dr. W. B. Weaver, a member of the Wiede- 
mann family by marriage, became president of a new corpora- 
tion, the Wiedemann Brewing and Distilling Corporation. The 
former title, the Wiedemann Brewing Company, later was re- 
adopted. Since the change in management the company's beer 
has again become popular. In 1937 production was nearly that 
of pre-prohibition days. 

Heidelberg Brewing Company (1935), 500 West Fourth 
Street, Covington, occupies a new and modern plant. George 
H. Meyerratkin is president. Bavarian Brewing Company, 528 
West Twelfth Street, Covington, was organized in 1889. 
Closed during prohibition, the plant was remodeled after repeal 
and re-opened in 1934. In December 1937 after a receivership 
of several months the plant and assets were purchased by George 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

M., William C, Louis, and Chris Schott, who paid 55 thou- 
sand dollars in cash, and assumed debts of 2 1 thousand dollars. 
Immediately after Federal courts approved the purchase, pro- 
duction of beer began. 

Another plant in the Greater Cincinnati area is the Hamilton 
Brewing Company, Hamilton, which in pre-prohibition days 
was known as the Martin Mason Brewing Company. Before 
1 9 1 9 the Cincinnati Brewing Company had the biggest brewery 
in Hamilton. 

Reform Movement and Prohibition 

MOVEMENT FOR REFORM of the beer and whisky 
trades, which eventually resulted in prohibition, began in Cin- 
cinnati in 1828 at a meeting conducted by Dr. Daniel Drake. 
The company recessed for "old rye" at McFarland's Tavern 
nearby. Dickens describes in his American Notes a temperance 
parade which he saw here in 1842, and comments that the 
speeches which climaxed the demonstration "were certainly 
adapted to the occasion, as having that degree of relationship 
to cold water which wet blankets may claim." 

National headquarters of the Women's Christian Temperance 
Union had been established earlier in Westerville, Ohio; and 
local units of the W.C.T.U. and of the Anti-Saloon League 
were later opened in practically every city and town of the 
nation. Because of its position as a great brewing center, Cin- 
cinnati became a center for these dry crusaders as well. Although 
the Prohibition Party later entered candidates in national elec- 
tions, the party never developed political importance in 

Temperance organizations hammered away at local abuses 
of the brewing and liquor trades, and, because there was little 
opposition, in time succeeded in having local option elections. 
The result was that some villages permitted the sale of beer and 
whisky, while others, often in the same county, voted dry. In 
Hamilton County, North Bend declared for prohibition, while 
adjoining towns refused to ratify the proposal. At Milford, 
which straddles the Hamilton-Clermont County line, residents 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

of the Clermont County section of the village were prohibited 
by law from drinking intoxicants, while their neighbors across 
the street in Hamilton County could buy all the liquor they 
wanted. In Cincinnati a section of Avondale was dry for 
several years under this option plan. 

Wet agitation and dry agitation were for some years twin 
American sports. Parades, prayer, mass-meetings, music all 
the familiar means of propaganda were in use. Drys sang their 
indifference to the handsome draft horses that drew the heavy 
beer wagons: 

Oh, the brewer's big horses coming down the road: 

They step so high and they step so free, 

But the turnpike's free wherever I go, 

And the brewer's big horses can't run over me! 

Oh no, boys, oh no: 

The turnpike's free wherever I go! 

I'm a temperance engine, don't you see? 

And the brewer's big horses can't run over me! 

Wets countered in kind. They drew on a long tradition of 
boisterous drinking songs, and wrote new ones: 

I've been floating down that old Green River 

On the good ship Rock-and-Rye 

And I floated too far, 

Got stuck on a bar, 

I was out there all alone 

Wishing I was home. 

The mate got drunk with the captain and crew, 

And there was nothing left for me to do; 

So I had to drink that whole damn river dry 

To get back home to you. 

The World War speeded the adoption by states of the 
Eighteenth Amendment. The Wartime Prohibition Act, passed 
by Congress on November 19, 1918, provided for restrictions 
on the sale of whisky. At the time Ohio was the largest state 
to approve the dry law legislation. On May 27, 1919 the law 
became effective. On May 26 the nearly two thousand saloons 
(there were about 5,800 in the state) in Hamilton County 
were crowded with patrons out for a final fling from early in 
the morning until closing time. In January 1920 national pro- 1 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

hibitory laws, enforced by city, state, and Federal authorities, 
went into effect. 

For a time conditions improved. It appeared that prohibition 
would do what the reform elements claimed for it reduce 
crime and increase employment. But dissatisfaction among 
many people, who believed the law took away rights not spe- 
cifically covered by the Constitution, brought about desultory 
private manufacture of beer and whisky. In time this circum- 
vention of the prohibitory laws became the largest illegal system 
of production and distribution of intoxicants the country has 
ever known. About 1921 came the bootleggers, who not only 
produced and distributed beer and whisky, but in many cases 
used dynamite and sawed-off machine guns to hi-jack shipments 
of rivals. 

Soon Cincinnati, like other cities, was honeycombed with 
home brew parlors, speakeasies, private "clubs," and "blind 
tigers." Arrests of operators were frequent, but convictions were 
hard to get. 

Although several members of the police department were 
convicted and sentenced (1925) for accepting bribes from 
known violators of the prohibition law, Cincinnati was com- 
paritively free of organized law breaking. Enforcement facilities 
of the Federal, state, and local governments were increased an- 
nually in an effort to halt the growing disregard for violation. 
But the traffic in illegal liquor only became heavier and more 

Cincinnati became the headquarters of George Remus, an 
attorney from Chicago, whose exploits as directing head of a 
bootlegging gang brought widespread publicity. Remus and 
several of his lieutenants, who had built an organization which 
owned distilleries and breweries doing an illegal yearly business 
estimated at 25 million dollars, were arrested when Federal 
enforcement agents raided "Death Valley," a wooded section of 
valley and hills along Queen City Avenue used by the gang for 
liquor storage and distribution, and patrolled by heavily armed 
guards. The city heard rumors of pitched battles, of deaths 
when rival gangs were repulsed; but no official reports were 
made, and it was impossible to check their accuracy. Remus and 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

his lieutenants were tried and convicted in Federal Court here. 
They served sentences up to a year and a day, and paid large 

The conviction of Remus destroyed large-scale illegal liquor 
operations in Cincinnati, but it did not end violations of the 
law which continued to increase. By 1928 popular opinion 
against the national prohibition act had become so strong that 
several organizations, including the Crusaders, a nationwide 
group maintaining a local office, actively sponsored a movement 
for repeal of the law. The Twenty-first Amendment was ap- 
proved by the 36 necessary states in 1933. In March President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the act repealing the dry laws. 

In the national elections of 1932 the voters of Ohio had 
ratified the amendment. So ended 14 years of prohibition in 
Cincinnati; and so began the rebuilding of the brewing and 
distilling industries. In Ohio the licensing of beer, wine and 
liquor dispensaries is now vested in a State Liquor Control 
Commission. Sales of bottled and bulk whisky and gin, both 
wholesale and retail, are supervised by this agency; only licensed 
bars are permitted to dispense liquor by the glass. 

Since repeal, national reorganization of the Women's Chris- 
tian Temperance Union has been completed. The organization 
is now concentrating its propagandist activities on local option 
elections, especially in the nation's rural sections. More than 
half the rural townships in Ohio have again voted themselves 
partly or totally dry. 

Malt and Extracts 

syrup and extracts for 14 years could thank the Eighteenth 
Amendment for their profits. When the making of homebrew 
became a household task in the early 1920's, Cincinnati plants 
began instantly to turn out the necessary ingredients. 

In pre-prohibition days the American Diamalt Company, 
which supplied malt extracts to brewers and medicinal manu- 
facturers, was the only concern here engaged in the malting 
trade. But the sensational spread of homebrewing pushed the 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

malting industry steadily upward to its 1932 peak, when six 
firms were making and distributing syrups and extracts: The 
American Diamalt Company, Southside Avenue, Riverside, 
with general offices at 419 Plum Street; Foss-Schneider Com- 
pany, using part of the old Foss-Schneider Brewery, 1005 Free- 
man Avenue; Burger Brothers Company, 633 Evans Street; 
American Beauty Malt Company (Bachrach-Feld Company), 
318 East Third Street; Red Top Malt Company, 1747 Cen- 
tral Avenue; and American Girl Malt Company, 1600 Central 
Avenue. During the prohibition era, despite the various state 
taxes on the product several local firms achieved national distri- 
bution for their brands Red Top, Burger Brothers' Buckeye, 
Bachrach-Feld's American Beauty and Old Wurzburg, and 
American Girl. 

The return of legal beer did not end production of malt syr- 
ups, although demand fell off. Since 1933 thousands of persons 
who made homebrew during prohibition have continued to 
make their own beer. Today both a Federal and a state tax are 
levied on malt products. 

In 1938 Sherbrook Distributing Company, 319 East Eighth 
Street, was national distributor for Old Wurzburg Malt; Red 
Top Malt Syrup was being sold by salesmen of the Red Top 
Brewing Company; and Burger Brothers' Buckeye brand was 
being distributed by the Burger Brewing Company. The Ameri- 
can Diamalt Company has continued to supply brewers and 
other manufacturers with malted products. 

F. L. Emmert Company, 2001 Dunlap Street, sells grain 
and other products to brewers and distributes mash to farmers* 

Equipment for Brewers 

CINCINNATI SUPPLIES MUCH of the equipment need- 
ed for the production of beer and whiskies. Since repeal of the 
prohibition act this industry has employed many workers for 
the making of new, and the modernization of old furnishings. 

Local firms now producing brewing and distilling apparatus 
are Littleford Brothers, 505 East Pearl Street, producers of mash 
and lauter tubs, brew kettles, cookers for mash, rice or grits, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

fermenters, lager and finishing tanks, and grain bins and grain 
handling systems; Lunkenheimer Company, Beekman Street, 
manufacturers of valves; United States Bung Manufacturing 
Company (1857), Evans Street, producers of barrel bungs, 
faucet plugs, credited with originating the patented New York 
and Keystone tapping systems; Bishopric Products Company 
(1900), manufacturing German-style and steel-var pitch, 
vatvar, and lastiglas, and having a chemical research laboratory 
credited with many brewing practice discoveries; American Can 
Company branch plant on Spring Grove Avenue, which sup- 
plies cans; and Karl Kiefer Machine Company, manufacturer 
of filters, filtermassee washers, pumps, and can washers. 

Grape Culture and Wine Industry 

CULTURE OF GRAPES began in the vicinity of Cincin- 
nati early in the 1800's, and the fertility of hill soil soon led 
to the growing of immense vineyards. As production of Concord 
and Catawba grapes increased, the fruit was bought by factors. 
Grape juices later were fermented. The quality of these vintages 
quickly gave wine-making importance in Cincinnati industry. 

Nicholas Longworth I, who was here in the years following 
1811, was the first Cincinnatian to produce wine commercially. 
In what is now Eden Park he had extensive vineyards which 
gave thousands of bushels of grapes each year; under the build- 
ing at 5 1 5 Sycamore Street were his huge cellars for wine pro- 
duction and aging. The cellar extended from under the Syca- 
more Street sidewalk on the west side of the street two hundred 
feet to the alley. With the exception of the great wooden casks 
and tanks in which the grapes were fermented, now decayed or 
otherwise destroyed, the cellars remain the same as when the 
last wine makers used them. The walls in some places are from 
five to seven feet thick. From the ceiling hang iron arms which 
once supported catwalks above the tanks and casks, one of which 
had a capacity of 50 thousand gallons. 

Along these catwalks the winemakers went, stirring the fer- 
menting juices. In the middle of the cellar was a bricked gutter, 
into which was poured the waste fluid. The gutter emptied into 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

quicksand pits, one of which was a hundred feet deep. Tempera- 
ture of the cellar was always kept at 52 degrees. 

Traces of other wine cellars can still be seen in the city. One 
was near Sixth and Culvert Streets, while on the hillside on 
the west side of Reading Road near Elsinore Place is the entrance 
to another, once operated in connection with the old Green 
Hill Tavern. 

From these cellars and from many smaller ones came millions 
of gallons of wine, great quantities of which were exported to 
every part of the nation. During early days wine was shipped 
and dispensed from barrels; the present method of bottling 
dates from about 1880. 

The success of Cincinnati-made wines attracted additional 
grape culturists. By 1850 three hundred vineyards covered nine 
hundred acres within 20 miles of the city. Most of the farms 
were east and north of the city. Near Indian Hill, where the 
world-famous Ives grape seedling first was grown, sprawled 
large vineyards. That year (1850) the local production of 
wine was about 120 thousand gallons. The industry employed 
about five hundred persons, who made wine valued at 150 
thousand dollars. Cincinnati's grape growing and wine produc- 
tion were important until 1860. At that time many growers 
facing severe losses because of black rot, a vine disease which 
blighted crops, decided to remove to northwestern New York, 
where after several years they developed a new Eastern center 
for the culture of grapes. About 1880 the California vineyards 
became commercially significant in the American wine industry. 

Despite the black rot, many grape growers remained, and 
continued to sell their crops to wine makers. During the 1890's 
Cincinnati wine gardens were the meeting place for the elegant 
society of the day. Among the most conspicuous were Metz's 
Garden, on Queen City Avenue, and Griess', on Quebec Road. 
Both places had their own vineyards on the hills nearby; their 
private brands of wine were popular with connoisseurs. After 
the prohibition laws became operative both places closed. Metz's 
has never re-opened, while Griess' Garden now is known as 
Quebec Gardens, a beer and liquor dispensary. Another popular 
rendezvous was Eichler's Wine Garden, Bishop Street and 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Jefferson Avenue. At most of these places could be had the 
choice Benedictine and Red Rose Wine, Monte Casino, bottled 
in Covington by lay brothers of the religious Order of St. Bene- 
dict, who attended to the vats and vineyards from 1877 until 

In 1938 the principal producers of wine in Greater Cincin- 
nati were Edward Fey, 2287 Colerain Avenue; Vintage Wine 
Company, 235 Scott Boulevard, John C. Meier Grape Juice 
Company, Inc. (1895), 6955 Plainfield Pike, Silverton, and 
the Fred M. Stetter Estate, 338 West Sixth Street, producers 
and distributors of sacramental wine. .About 125 workers were 
given employment and wages were estimated at 190 thousand 
dollars annually. 

Rectification of Spirits and Blending 

RECTIFICATION OF SPIRITS and the blending of 
whiskies and fruit juices for mixed drinks and cordials began 
here about 1816 and came right along with the distilling indus- 
try. In 1919 prohibition forced all these firms to suspend 
operations. Since 1933 several new enterprises have entered this 
business and secured a great demand for their products. 

In 1938 the largest Cincinnati firm rectifying, blending, and 
bottling mixed drinks and cordials was the Lippincott Cordials, 
Inc., 42 Main Street, distributors of sloe gin; whisky, and gin 
mixed with fruit juices, liquors, and wines. Others were Para- 
gon Distilling Company, 219 East Court Street; Tom Collins 
Corporation, 125 Pike Street, Covington; Bernheim-Rexinger 
ft Company, 123 East Sixth Street; United Distilling Com- 
pany, 216 East Pearl Street; James Walsh 8 Company, Inc., 
7 West Sixth Street; Milson Company, Enquirer Building; and 
Western Reserve Distilling Company, 2501 Norwood Avenue, 
Norwood. These firms gave employment to about five hundred 
persons, while the annual payroll was estimated at more than 
600 thousand dollars. 

Greater Cincinnati Distilleries 

WHEN THE FIRST white settlers came to Losantiville 
they brought with them plenty of whisky; in those days a 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

barrel of "Old Monogehela" was literally worth its weight in 
gold. The liquor could be bartered for practically anything of 
value land, food, clothing, or labor and it was an excellent 
substitute for water. 

During those frontier days most of the whisky was brought 
down the Ohio River on flatboats. Later, when the rich Miami 
Valley was gold and green with bumper corn crops, farmers 
began to distill spirits as a side line. Still later the opening of 
the Miami & Erie Canal gave easy transportation of the alcohol 
to rectifers and blenders here, and the liquor industry arose. 
By 1815 the industry had expanded so rapidly that distillers 
were able to export 80 thousand gallons that year. 

Cincinnati soon became noted for the quality of the rye and 
bourbon whiskies aged and barrelled here. Many small dis- 
tilleries stood near the Ohio River, along the Miami & Eric 
Canal, and in outlying sections of the city. By 1820 nine dis- 
tilleries were operating in the city. A survey revealed 520 dis- 
tilleries in Ohio, but about 90 percent of them were small stills 
of farmer-owners. 

The distilling industry prospered. By 1835 Cincinnati fac- 
tors were handling more than 30 thousand barrels each year; 
and practically every storekeeper in the city kept a barrel on 
hand for customers, who got a free drink while shopping. 
In 1850 local distillers were producing 1,145 barrels of whisky 
daily. The following year 188,873 barrels were exported, 
while the value of the total production of whisky amounted 
to $2,857,000. On January 5, 1881 the city's 10 leading dis- 
tillers announced their combined production in 1880 was 
1,861,067 gallons, on which a government tax of $10, 281, 567 
was paid. 

State and municipal licensing and regulations did away with 
free drinks; but the liquor trade did not suffer. The production 
of whisky continued to increase until the enactment of dry laws 
in various states brought about a decline in demand. Reform 
closed smaller manufactories, and eventually, with the enact- 
ment of prohibition laws all plants in the Greater Cincinnati 
area stopped business in 1919. Among local plants which sus- 
pended operations were the Klein Brothers, Walsh, Fleisch- 

: 149 



THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

mann, and Clifton Springs distilleries. During the 14 years of 
prohibition, stocks of whisky stored in warehouses were 
released under government supervision for medicinal purposes. 

Since repeal, partly because of governmental regulations, 
which make large central control and sales organizations more 
practical than the smaller distilleries of former years, there has 
been a marked change in liquor trade practices. Since 1933 the 
Federal Alcohol Administration has been charged with the 
.supervision of the sale and distribution of liquor. Its task has 
been to bring about co-operation between States and the Federal 
Government in carrying out provisions of the Twenty-first 
Amendment. The organization has had to contend with such 
difficulties as intra-state discriminatory legislation; protection 
of dry and monopoly states; revocation or suspension of Fed- 
eral permits, deceptive or fraudulent labels, objectionable ad- 
vertising, and other practices arising from resumption of the 
legal sale of alcoholic beverages. 

In December 1937 some 18 million gallons of whisky pro- 
duced in the country since repeal had obtained the legal mini- 
mum of four years aging, had become eligible for payment of 
internal revenue tax, and were ready to be marketed. That year 
Greater Cincinnati's distilling industry employed about 2,200 
workers, earning wages estimated at more than three million 

The making of whisky has always been a traditional craft, 
the secrets of which have been passed down from father to son, 
who have carefully guarded their own special formulas. The 
basic processes followed in making the various types of whisky 
are almost identical, the chief difference being in the materials 
used. Because private formulas, local conditions, water, and 
materials differ to some extent, no two whiskies are ever 
exactly alike. 

Bourbon whisky is made from corn, rye, and barley malt; 
rye whisky is made from rye and either rye or barley malt. Sev- 
eral methods are used for malting rye or barley grain. In Ameri- 
ca the one usually followed calls for spreading the grain six 
inches deep on a floor, then moistening it. In a few days the 
-grain begins to sprout. The sprout is removed by heating the 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

grain. During sprouting, changes take place in the grain similar 
to those which occur when it is planted. A natural sugar called 
diastase is formed, which later plays an important part in the 
whisky making. 

Bourbon whisky contains from 10 to 40 percent of small 
grain (rye and barley malt) . The proportion used to each 
hundred bushels is usually 60 to 90 bushels of corn and 10 to 
40 bushels of other grain, rye, and barley malt. At least 10 
percent of malt must be used to convert the starch into sugar. 

The corn grain is ground into meal, then mixed with water 
and heated almost to the boiling point. The resulting mash is 
then cooled, the rye and barley malt are added, and the mash 
is vigorously stirred. During this process the diastase in the 
malt changes the starch content of the corn and rye to sugar. 
The mash is next drawn off into a large wooden vat, called a 
fermenter, and more water is added. This mixture is then left 
to sour and ferment. During fermentation the sugar formed by 
the diastase is changed into alcohol. 

Nature's bacteria are enough to produce fermentation. The 
distiller, however, hastens and at the same time controls fermen- 
tation by adding yeast to the mash. When the yeast begins its 
work, the contents of the vat, at first inert, are gradually set in 
motion. During this period of agitation the mass is so activated 
by the carbonic gas which the yeast releases that the sugar con- 
tent is transformed into alcohol. This process continues about 
three days. The resulting liquid is called "beer," though it has 
no resemblance to the amber beverage which the consumer 
knows. After passing through a preheating process, it is drawn 
off into a copper receptacle known as a beer still, where it is 
boiled. The steam rising from the still is carried into a water- 
cooled condenser, where it becomes a liquid called "low wine," 
which has a high percentage of alcohol. The first distillation is 
thus completed. , 

At this point the solids (grain mash residue) are removed 
from the still, dried, and sold as "distiller's dried grain" for 
cattle-feed or fertilizer. The "low wine" is run into a copper 
vessel known as a doubler, and is again boiled, vaporized, and 
condensed. From these processes comes a clean liquid, as spark - 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

ling and clear as the purest spring water "new whisky/' 
ready for aging. 

All distillers, much as they differ on other points, agree that 
charred barrels are essential to the production of fine bourbon 
and rye whisky. During the entire period of aging, which var- 
ies from 18 months to seven years, the temperature and the 
humidity of the warehouses are continually regulated. While 
aging whisky undergoes a subtle process of chemical change. 
It takes on an amber color, and its flavor is enhanced by the 
charred barrel staves. When finally aged the whisky is smooth 
and mellow in flavor, ready for bottling. Complete mechanical 
processes now are used in bottling and boxing departments. 

Greater Cincinnati's largest producer of whisky is the Car- 
thage Distillery, 7818 Anthony Wayne Avenue, Carthage, 
which, together with Gilbey's Gin Distillery, is operated by 
National Distillers Products Corporation. This organization 
was formed through the merger of nine of the nation's most 
famous distillers, the first unit of which was established in 
1763 when America was still a British colony. Executive 
offices of the firm are at 120 Broadway, New York. 

Before 1934 Gilbey's London Gry Gin was made only in 
England, Canada, and Australia. Since the construction of the 
Carthage (Cincinnati) plant, the firm has become the leading 
producer of gin and sloe gin the world. 

Carthage Distillery, opened in 1893, was purchased by Na- 
tional Distillers Products Corporation in August 1933, a few 
months after repeal. An expansion program, which cost several 
millions of dollars, made the plant the second largest in the 
United States, with a capacity of 40 thousand gallons of whis- 
ky daily. The bottling capacity is more than 50 thousand 
bottles of whisky and gin an hour. The plant now covers more 
than 10 acres, and its facilities include an unloading capacity 
of 10 thousand bushels of grain daily. 

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Distillery, formerly the John 
Wilson Distillery, at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, is the second 
largest plant in Greater Cincinnati. Purchased by Seagram's in 
1933, the distillery now employs about eight hundred persons. 
During the 1937 flood the firm lost more than 250 thousand 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

gallons of whisky. In November 1937 construction began on 
new still houses, cookers, coolers, and water softeners, the im- 
provements to cost two million dollars. Another plant operated 
in Lawrenceburg is Walsh's Distillery (1840), whose present 
capacity is about 20 thousand barrels a year. 

Other distilleries in Greater Cincinnati are The Cave Springs 
Distillery Corporation, Wilders, Kentucky; Paragon Distilling 
Company, 219 East Court Street; Pattison Brothers Kentucky 
Bourbon Distillery Company, 133 Park Place, Covington; 
Western Reserve Distilling Company, 2501 Norwood Avenue, 
Norwood; and United Distilling Company, 216 East Pearl 


TV on- Alcoholic Beverages 

beverages in Cincinnati has grown into an industry which gave 
employment to about a thousand workers in 1937, with an 
annual payroll estimated at $1,500,000. As early as 1814 the 
first carbonated water beverage plant was opened for tire pro- 
duction of mineral waters; but sales were meager, and it was 
closed after two weeks. 

The modern development of this manufacturing unit began 
in 1869 when W. T. Wagner's Sons Company was formed. 
Today this concern is the city's largest producer of carbonated 
water (ordinary water to which carbon dioxide gas has been 
added under pressure) , fruit drinks, and syrups for fountain 
service, manufactured and bottled in a plant at 1924 Race 

The Coca Cola Bottling Works Inc. (1907), Woodburn 
and Dana Avenues, in 1938 opened what is said to be the most 
modern bottling plant in America. Intricate mechanical devices 
clean the bottles, drop in the syrup and carbonates, and cap the 
containers before every bottle is inspected and made ready for 
shipment. Daily capacity is 1 thousand cases, or 240 thousand 

Other manufacturers are Royal Bottling Company, Inc., 213 
East Seventh Street; Tom Collins Corporation, 125 Pike 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Street, Covington; Queen City Bottling Company, 109 Cor- 
wine Street; Union Bottling Works, Blue Rock and Delaney 
Streets; Grand Pop Bottling Company, 810 West Fifth Street; 
Eagle Bottling Company, 224 East Clifton Avenue; Louis 
Fritz Mineral 8 Soda Water Company, 340 Pike Street, Cov- 
ington; and Newport Mineral Water Company, 16 East Sixth 
Street, Newport. Several local companies distribute beverage 
products bottled in other cities. 

Cooperage Manufacturing 

industries needed a large supply of barrels and Hogsheads; so 
cooperage became one of the city's important trades as early 
as 1815. The industry grew rapidly, creeping for some distance 
along the Ohio River into Clermont County towns, which sup- 
plied Cincinnati with barrels. By 1890 the largest cooperage 
factory in the world was operating here. At that time the Cin- 
cinnati Cooperage Company was manufacturing beer and whis- 
ky barrels in a plant at Riverside which employed about seven 
hundred men. Because lumber supplies were hard to get nearby, 
the firm discontinued production activities shortly after the 
turn of the century. 

In 1937 Joseph Oker Son's Company (1856), operating a 
factory at 420 Findlay Street, was Hamilton County's only 
manufacturer of "tight" cooperage. Daily capacity is six hun- 
dred barrels, which are sold to distillers of whisky and to other 
concerns using wooden containers for storage or shipment of 
fluids. The company has a lumber storage and seasoning depart- 
ment in Arkansas and a large stave storage yard on Central 
Avenue. About 60 workers, earning 75 thousand dollars a 
year are regularly employed. 


Chapter VII 

Boots and Shoes Tanners and Makers 
of Leather Sporting Goods The 
Story of Clothes 

OR SEVERAL YEARS after Cincinnati was settled 
the residents wore the usual heavy leather boots or 
moccasins of the time. They did not need dress shoes 
to work the fields or build a home, and lack of money 
kept the weary settler away from the social events at Fort 
Washington. But the spreading fame of the city attracted boot- 
makers, and by 1790 several were practicing their trade. Even 
the use of awkward old hand methods did not stop the progress 
of the shoe industry in Cincinnati. 

Before the invention of machinery the trade was one for 
craftsmen; its secrets had been transmitted from generation 
to generation father to son and sometimes to apprentice. 
With his simple tools the early shoemaker fashioned either boots 
or shoes from lasts measured to the individual foot. Cutting, 
turning, welting, and pegging of the product were done by hand. 

Most of Cincinnati's early shoemakers had their shops either 
at the front or rear of their homes. In 1820 some prominent 
shoemakers were John Brocks, 250 Main Street; Ayre Cart- 
wright, East Front Street; William Davis, Front Street; 
Thomas Davis, Western Row; Ephraim Dunlap, Longworth 
Street, near Western Row; Benjamin Decker, Sixth Street; 
Joseph Pettit, 62 Water Street; James Russell, Sr., Fourth 
Street, near Elm Street; John Starbuck, Front Street, near the 
"steam grist mill"; Samuel Emmett, 42 East Front Street; 
John Budd, 6 East Front Street; John Bard, 6 East Front 
Street; Morris Hopson, West Fifth Street; Henry and Edward 
H. Handy, Elm Street, near Second Street; Thomas Ward, 
Seventh Street; and Samuel P. Murray, 202 Main Street. 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Among the bootmakers (who also made shoes) were J. and 
E. Capps, 264 Main Street; William Carrigan, 10 East Front 
Street; Peter Furay, 69 Main Street; John Hayes, 17 Lower 
Market Street; James Jordan, 23 Main Street; Samuel Maddux, 
East Second Street; Increase Newall, Plum Street, between Front 
and Water Streets; and John Rose, Front Street between Plum 
and Elm Streets. 

When the Germans thronged in the city in the 1840's, they 
enriched, among other things, Cincinnati's shoemaking history. 
Many wore wooden shoes, which they either made themselves 
or bought in the front room of the "shoester's" place. Wooden 
Shoe Hollow folk went to Cumminsville for sturdy wooden 
shoes for daily wear or stout leather ones for "good." The 
"shoester" often enhanced the worth of his shoes in children's 
eyes by clipping or sewing radiant "tossels" and bright buttons 
to the tops. 

The first mechanical step in^ the manufacture of footwear 
came about 1850, when shoemakers began using the "rolling 
machine," a device which flattened out a side of leather in a 
minute compared with the hour or more required by the old 
hammer and lapstone method. 

In 1850 about 450 thousand pairs of boots and shoes were 
bought by Cincinnatians at the average price of three dollars 
a pair. In that year the city's 374 boot and shoe companies 
employed more than 1,750 hands, and the value of their 
products exceeded $1,180,000. In 1862 the Civil War boosted 
the average price of a pair of shoes to $12. 

In the early 1850's the most important manufacturers, all 
doing ready-made as well as custom work, were C. M. Williams, 
Fifth Street, east of Walnut Street, employing about a hundred 
skilled hands on men's dress boots and Congress boots, women's 
shoes and garter boots, and slippers; James Eshelby, 10 West 
Sixth Street, having 30 employees specializing in the production 
of imported calf skin boots; E. G. Webster & Company, Fifth 
and Lodge Streets, working a hundred persons, who each year 
made more than 50 thousand pairs of women's and children's 
shoes and a few men's dress boots; and William Hart & Com- 
pany, Fifth Street, known by its sign, the big "red heart." 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

A machine for sewing on buttons was introduced about 
1866. Then came stitching machines, cutting machines, and 
other modern mechanical devices. The installation of these 
labor-saving machines wrought considerable change. Instead of 
waiting for days or weeks while shoes were made to order, a 
purchaser could in a few minutes make his selection from the 
hundreds of pairs of ready-made shoes in the retail shoe store. 

The steady improvement of machine methods, producing 
uniform and cheaper products, helped the industry to become 
even more sizable. The shoemaking business changed quickly 
from the small shops with one, two, or three employees, to 
huge organizations with hundreds of machines and workers, 
manufacturing more shoes in a day than the old-time shoemaker 
had been able to stitch together in a year. Because it was a 
major leather market, Cincinnati was able to share in this 

Through steady increases of sales, Cincinnati shoemakers 
were getting bigger, and their owners were looking forward 
to the day when the Queen City could wrest from New England 
the honor of being the nation's shoe center. This dream was 
never realized, but Cincinnati did become, for some curious 
reason, one of the Middle West's leading centers for the making 
of women's shoes. 

Beginning with the machine era the local manufacture of 
men's shoes declined, while that of women's footwear increased. 
By 1910, however, production figures of men's shoes were 
slightly higher than those for the preceding decade, and execu- 
tives of one plant began planning a huge enlargement program. 
But before they could act, Cincinnatians ran to watch their 
costliest commercial fire. They may have seen in the smoldering 
ruins at Ninth and Sycamore Streets the hopes for revival 
of a major local industry. 

Starting December 21, 1910, the fire razed an entire city 
block of 12 factory buildings, from Eighth to Ninth Streets 
and from Sycamore Street to Broadway. Burning for seven 
days, it killed four, injured seven, and damaged more than 
two million dollars worth of property. The Krippendorf- 
O'Neal Shoe Company, manufacturer of men's shoes, suffered 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

such loss that it had to quit business. Machinery and stock 
of the concern, founded in 1904, was ruined, and three hundred 
employees were out on the streets looking for other jobs. 

Other leather goods companies suffering heavy fire losses but 
managing to stay in business were Sachs Shoe Company, five 
hundred employees; Cahill Shoe Company, 350; Twinlock 
Leather Company, 125; Griess-Pfleger Leather Company, 50; 
and A. Nurre Company, 40. 

From 1910 'to 1920 the local shoe industry grew gradually. 
Then began a long period of maladjustment, caused by labor 
trouble in practically every plant. As unions tried to organize 
shoe workers, local production sank. Several factories closed 
here and later re-opened in more tranquil communities which 
gave the city more hungry mouths. The Julian 8 Kokenge 
Company moved to Columbus, and the Charles Meis Shoe 
Company opened a factory at Lebanon. Both organizations, 
however, still maintain executive offices here. 

The employers and the workers finally came to terms, and 
in 1928 the United States Shoe Corporation, now Cincinnati's 
largest shoe producer, was formed. Like other successful ven- 
tures, the company began with a small plant and then expanded. 
The concern went blithely along even in the deepest depression 
years (1930-33). Today, in addition to the main plant at 
1638 Herald Avenue, branch factories are operated at Chilli- 
cothe (Ohio) and Rochester, New York. Locally some 1,800 
skilled workers are employed in the production of "Red Cross" 
shoes for women. They make about 8,000 pairs every working 

Cincinnati's second largest plant is operated by the Krippen- 
dorf-Dittman Company, 317 East Seventh Street, makers of 
"Foot Rest" shoes for women. Charles Krippendorf opened a 
small plant in 1872 and formed a partnership with Dittman 
in 1895. Employing seven hundred workmen, the company 
since 1885 has occupied the Seventh Street building. 

Today Cincinnati is one of the nation's major women's shoe 
manufacturing centers, having more than 1 1 establishments, 
which employ some three thousand skilled hands making more 
than two million dollars in wages each year. Value of the 


SHOE PEGGING (1852, 1938) 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

shoe output for 1935 was more than $6,357,000. The only 
men's shoes now made here are custom-built; the annual value 
of these products probably does not exceed 1 thousand dollars. 
Several shoemaking companies have executive offices here but 
plants elsewhere in the country. 

Other leading Cincinnati shoe manufacturers are the Altman 
Brothers Shoe Manufacturing Company, 1911 West Eighth 
Street; Big K Shoe Manufacturing Company, 803 Sycamore 
Street; Brown Shoe Company, 528 Walnut Street; Cincinnati 
Shoe Manufacturing Company, 834 West Sixth Street; Consoli- 
dated Shoe Corporation, 229 East Sixth Street; H. K. Manu- 
faucturing Company, 434 Elm Street; J. and B. Shoe Company, 
123 West Central Parkway; Logini Shoe Company (1832), 
1401 Central Parkway; L. V. Marks ft Sons, 534 Sycamore 
Street; Miller Shoe Company (1922) , 2531 Cook Street; Plaut- 
Butler Inc., 400 Pike Street; The Schwae-Gerwin Company, 
4015 Cherry Street; Stix-Altman-Weiner Inc., Floral and 
Park Avenues, Norwood; and P. Sullivan Shoe Company, 536 
Sycamore Street. 

Specializing in the manufacture of burial shoes, Paul Shoe 
Manufacturing Company (1904), 317 Sycamore Street, is 
planning to start the manufacture of women's house slippers. 

Tanners and Leather Manufacturers 

OPERATION OF TANNERIES and leatherwork shops 
has long been part of Cincinnati's industrial life. As early 
as 1791 a local tannery was busy drying and working skins. 
In the early 1820's the packing industry provided an abundant 
supply of hides, and the big demand for leather products made 
such ventures prosperous. The leather manufacturing industry 
paced most of the city's early enterprises. 

The first known method of curing, in use several hundred 
years ago, was to rub the skins with fat, or to smoke them 
over a wood fire. In Egypt and Asia Minor, later processors 
found that by soaking the hides in fermented oak bark, chestnut 
bark, or gall nuts they got a soft leather, easy to work. The 
American Indian and the white trapper used the same method, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

removing all fats, rubbing salt over the pelt, and tacking the 
hide in the sun over a flat surface. When it was sufficiently 
dry the skin was inserted between two smooth logs and rolled 
until pliable. The first commercial tanneries in Cincinnati used 
alum to treat hides after cleaning. 

The modern tanner washes the skins free of blood and dirt, 
removes adhering flesh, and then soaks the hides in milk of 
lime to loosen the outer skin and the hair. The hair and the 
epidermis are scraped off, and the lime is washed out in a solution 
of pancreatin. The skins are then moved, day by day, into 
stronger tanning solutions, until they have been properly treated 
with tannins to form commercial leather. 

Another modern method of tanning is to tumble skins into 
vats containing chronium sulphate, a chemical which converts 
them into chrome leather in about two days. Although this 
system is cheaper and faster than tanning with bark solutions, 
it is not used locally. 

The largest Cincinnati tannery is operated by the American 
Oak Leather Company (1881), 1401 Dalton Street, which 
makes shoe soles, upholstery, and patent, enamelled, and novelty 
leathers. Covering 7J/2 acres and employing 550, the plant 
is one of the largest in the country. The company has branch 
tanneries in Louisville, Kentucky, and Decatur, Alabama, while 
sales offices are maintained in Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, De- 
troit, and New York City. 

Other tanneries sharing in the Cincinnati leather industry 
are Haffner Brothers Company, 1 130 Hopple Street; Queen City 
Tanning Company, York Street and McLean Avenue; Rasche 
Brothers, 2002 Central Parkway; and Simon Wolfstein and 
Company, 2036 Branch Street. 

Local producers making luggage, bags, cases, and other kinds 
of leather goods are Champion Bag and Suitcase Company, 
1 East Pearl Street: Cincinnati Trunk and Case Company, 28 
West Pearl Street, sample cases and suitcases; Leather Specialty 
Company, 1401 Central Parkway; Ohio Bag and Suitacase 
Company, 30 West Pearl Street; Triangle Luggage Inc. (1904) , 
129 West Third Street; Webster Tray and Case Company, 427 
Plum Street; Schell Leather Goods Company, 2965 Central 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Parkway; and Whiteman Saddle & Leather Goods Manufactur- 
ing Company, 1676 Hoffner Street. 

Manufacture of Sporting Goods 

THE SPORTS WORLD has known Cincinnati as a "base- 
ball town" since the days when the world's first professional 
baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, played their maiden 
games to local crowds in 1869. Interest in the sport and the 
wealth of available raw materials induced Philip Goldsmith 
to try his hand at making baseballs for profit, and in 1875, 
from a small factory in Covington, he put on the market the 
first handmade balls. 

Baseball and the business 'of making the balls and equipment 
for the game have grown up together. By 1880 the sales of 
Goldsmith baseballs had so increased that the firm leased larger 
quarters. Then they started making other kinds of sports 
equipment, and in 1897 Goldsmith bought a factory on East 
Pearl Street. In 1910 the Goldsmith concern occupied the 
building at John and Findlay Streets, and in 1928, because 
business was growing, they built a five-story addition at York 
and John Streets. In 1938 still more space was leased at Evans 
and Gest Streets. Today the company, managed by the third 
generation of the founder, produces almost every type of athletic 
equipment, including baseballs; indoor balls; bats; gloves, base- 
ball, football, and basketball uniforms; shoes; and golf clubs. 

Production methods combine hand and machine processes. 
A good example of the procedure in making sports equipment 
is the manufacture of a baseball. First the string which covers 
the small rubber center of the ball is wound by machines until 
it gets to the right size. Then the leather covers are stitched 
by hand. Each ball undergoes careful inspection for weight, 
size, roundness, and perfection of seams before it is stamped 
and packed for shipment, ready for the cry, "Play Ball." 

Other Cincinnati concerns with an output of sporting goods 
are Ohio-Kentucky Manufacturing Company, 1416 Vine Street; 
Hutchinson Brothers Leather Company, 1928 West Eighth 
Street; Zephyr Products Company, 2530 Spring Grove Avenue; 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

and National Billiard Manufacturing Company (1880), 1019 

Clothes Through the Years 

come a long way up the years. It was a household art in the 
Cincinnati of 1788 when homespuns and apparel made from 
skins of animals were the rule. From the early linsey-woolsey 
days the women spun, dyed, and sewed by hand all the neces- 
sary materials; and even when flatboats brought the expensive, 
but highly desirable "boughten" cassimeres, cambrics, and mus- 
lins, housewives were tailors. Comfort, durability, and warmth 
were prime considerations; style was negligible to them, a thing 
of the past. When fastidious Mrs. Trollope visited a farm 
family near Cincinnati (1829), she was considerably surprised 
to find them making their own clothes and careless about 

But style was to come in the future. With more leisure 
time and with greater comforts, and also with the coming of 
elegant visitors, Cincinnati, like other cities emerging from the 
backwoods, paid more attention to clothes. Dr. William Go- 
forth, the first medical doctor, had a New York tradition and 
a courtly manner. He dressed meticulously; his hair was freshly 
clubbed and powdered; and in one gloved hand he bore a gold- 
headed cane. He was jeered at first, but emulated later. 

In the first decade of the nineteenth century fashionable lady 
visitors and residents were wearing long dresses with bloused 
waists and "round" skirts or trains. The skirts were rather 
skimpy, for they measured only two yards around the bottom. 
Wraps of muslin, with or without sleeves, were sometimes 
worn; for the waists were cut low about the shoulders. Acces- 
sories included shawls, veils, long gloves, furs or muffs, and 
bonnets with high crowns, tied with ribbons under the chin. 
Extremists today would be surprised to learn that these muffs 
were often carried in the summer months. Tight underwear of 
lamb's wool, not unlike the present-day union suit, was worn 
because it did not interfere with the tight-fitting dress. Gather- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

ing puffs and frills and discarding them as they went through 
the nineteenth century, Cincinnati women who could afford 
it dressed according to the latest edicts of the East. 

After Doctor Goforth sallied into Cincinnati streets, the 
better-dressed men wore gay blue, red, or green coats, and tan 
or buff short breeches, the pantaloons about which a contem- 
porary English wag wrote: 

The French we conquered once 
Now give us laws for pantaloons. 

Their whole outfit was touched with flutings of lace or cambric 
frills. By and large, however, the average Cincinna.tian wore 
simple shirts, breeches, and coats made at home. Cincinnatians 
were so informal with their dress through the nineteenth century 
that Dr. Thomas Nichols, when he visited the city in 1841, 
remarked : 

At the Broadway Hotel, at that day the best in the place, 
it was very warm, and I think half the guests, many of 
them regular boarders solid business men of Cincin- 
nati took off their coats and dined comfortably in their 

The forerunner of the modern man's suit, somber and 
form-fitting, came in the 1870's, when Cincinnati was the 
men's clothing center of the nation. The city's tailoring business 
was prosperous. Tall factories lined Third Street from Vine 
Street westward; and many Cincinnati fortunes were built in 
clothes. After the World War, however, the men's ready-made 
clothing industry shifted eastward. New York City became the 
nation's center for cheaper ready-made clothes, Rochester for 
fine clothes. Cincinnati resorted to a mail-order business, and 
soon became the country's leader in ready-made clothes sold 
through orders in the mail. 

Representative of modern machine methods in the making of 
clothes is the procedure of the A. Nash Company, 1916 Elm 
Street, a leading maker of custom-tailored clothes for men. A 
sales organization of some 2,500 operating from 59 company- 
owned branch offices, takes orders and measurements. At the 
plant these are sorted according to size, material, and pattern. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Then electrical machines are used to cut the cloth; sections are 
sewn together; and linings, holes, and buttons are attached. 
After the garment is pressed and inspected, it is delivered to 
the purchaser. 

The company was founded in 1918 by Arthur Nash, who 
believed firmly that 

The Golden Rule is the divine law governing human 
relationships, accepted by all religions, and proclaimed 
by all prophets and teachers of every creed. It is the only 
infallible, workable, industrial and economic law in the 
universe today. 

With Nash the "Golden Rule" was more than a motto; he 
put it into practice in his business. The remarkable success of 
the A. Nash Company soon made his plan a model in industrial 
relationship between employer and employee. Co-operative in 
principle, it made every worker a part owner, and gave each 
an equal voice in shaping policies of the company. Little was 
known about the "Golden Rule" until 1924 when Nash asked, 
in a radio broadcast, what he should do with 660 thousand 
dollars worth of stock allotted him when capital of the company 
was increased. Thousands of advisory letters flowed into the 
Nash office. After wading through the suggestions, Nash 
reached a decision that made the founder of a huge business 
simply a minority stockholder. He vested full control of com- 
pany affairs in the hands of employees. 

Since Nash's death the business has continued to make good 
with the "Golden Rule" plan. The plant today covers several 
acres, and employs in season as many as two thousand persons. 

Most men's tailoring concerns in Cincinnati do a custom- 
made business. Other large tailor-made manufacturers besides 
the A. Nash Company are The Globe Tailoring Company, 205 
West Fourth Street, maker of particularly fine clothes; The 
P. H. Davis Tailoring Company (1912), 2314 Iowa Street; 
Schaefer Tailoring Company, 311 Elm Street; The Storrs- 
Schaefer Company (1906), McMillan Street and Essex Place; 
Siebler Tailoring Company, Fourth and Lawrence Streets; Leon- 
ard Custom Tailors Company, 205 West Fourth Street; 
Schwartz Tailoring Company, 224 East Eighth Street; Hamil- 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

ton Tailoring Company (1910), 404 Pike Street; Ohio Cus- 
tom Garment Company, 224 Eighth Street; Cincinnati Tailor- 
ing Company, 224 East Eighth Street; Comello Brothers * 
Company, 224 East Eighth Street; Becker Tailoring Company, 
22 West Third Street; Herbert Custom Tailoring Company, 
228 West Seventh Street; and N. Valeric Company, 406 West 
Ninth Street. Numerous smaller firms in Cincinnati make 
men's clothes to order; a good many more tailor coats, pants, 
and vests on contract for the larger concerns; and some shops 
specialize in tailors' supplies, such as pads, canvas, buttons, and 

Production methods used by ready-to-wear clothing manu- 
facturers differ slightly from those of mail-order organizations. 
Many suits are cut to size from a variety of seasonal patterns, 
and then distributed to retail stores for resale. Because of mass 
production methods ready-made clothing is comparatively 
cheaper than the custom-made article. Several Cincinnati manu- 
facturers also operate retail stores. 

Although Cincinnati is particularly noted for its custom- 
made men's clothes, it has also a few big factories turning out 
men's high-grade "stock," or ready-made, suits for the better 
class retail stores. Among the largest are Levine Brothers, Sixth 
and Washington Streets (Newport) ; H. A. Seinsheimer Com- 
pany, 400 Pike Street; Silverstein 8 Sons Company, 1 100 Syca- 
more Street; and Heldman-Schild, Inc., 400 Pike Street. 

In 1903 a small shop was set up at 10 East Pearl Street for 
the manufacture of overalls, pants, underwear, and various 
other kinds of men's garments. In 1918 when the present 
five-story, fireproof factory at Third, Plum, and MacFarland 
Streets was opened, Crown Overall Manufacturing Company 
discontinued all products except overalls. In 1920 when the 
company faced a shortage of raw materials, executives solved 
the problem by buying the cotton-mill town of Stonewall, 
Mississippi, a community of two thousand population. At 
the mill nearly a thousand workers are employed to produce 
the best grades of denim and chambray cloth used by the parent 
company. The Headlight Overall Company is a sales subsidiary 
of the Crown Overall Manufacturing Company, today one of 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the country's outstanding makers of overalls. Other local manu- 
facturers of overalls are The Globe Manufacturing Company, 
419 West Fifth Street, and the Ironall Factories Company, 
224 East Eighth Street. 

Allied with clothing making is the manufacture of uniforms 
for doctors, dentists, nurses, chauffeurs, band musicians, police, 
firemen, bakers, maids, waitresses, gasoline station attendants, 
and hotel, theater, and railway employees. The Pettibone Broth- 
ers Manufacturing Company, 630 Main Street, and The Fech- 
heimer Bros. Company, 400 Pike Street, are the city's leading 
producers of uniforms. Other manufacturers are All In One 
Manufacturing Company, 643 Main Street; Cincinnati 
Regalia Company, 145 West Fourth Street; Kahl Uniform 
Company, 717 Sycamore Street; Star Uniform Company, 3347 
Madison Road; and Werner Garments, Inc., 222 West Fourth 

It is appropriate that Cincinnati, sweltering each year in sum- 
mer heat, should have the nation's largest tailoring plant devoted 
to the manufacture of Palm Beach cloth and summer clothing 
for men. And Cincinnatians are inclined to take advantage of 
the relief such suiting brings. In a plant equipped with the 
best available machinery more than four hundred workers 
fashion these articles for the Goodall Company, Thirty-fourth 
and Robertson Avenues, Oakley. Processing of cloth is done in 
Maine and Tennessee; branch factories are in Lorain, Ohio, and 
Somerset, Kentucky. Besides the men's ties made at the Goodall 
plant, Cincinnati fashions many more on the premises of Beau 
Brummel Tie Manufacturers, McMillan Street and Reading 

Cincinnati's textile trades also make men's shirts. In four 
factories hundreds of workers use the latest type machines for 
the ready-made, and handcraft for the custom-made, product. 
The Mack Shirt Corporation, 209 East Sixth Street, and the 
Rauh Co., 904 Sycamore Street, are the leading shirtmakers. 
Others are Clifton Shirt Company, 419 West Fifth Street, and 
Harry Slomer, 609 Vine Street, custom made. The Crown 
Overall Company, Third and Plum Streets, manufactures a 
variety of denim shirts. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The Adler Company, Harrison and Queen City Avenues, 
operates Hamilton County's only wool spinning mill. Ma- 
chines weave men's socks, wash and dish rags, and meat sacks. 
Nearly two hundred workers are regularly employed by this 
concern, which dates back to 1874. As early as 1815 Cincin- 
nati had a cotton spinning mill. That year about 350 spindles 
were being operated for the production of the coarse fabrics 
of the day. 

Meanwhile, as the men's garment industry went through 
its ups and downs, the making of women's wear in Cincinnati 
flourished through the nineteenth century and into the World 
War period. 

Since the turn of the century the industry has been plagued 
by change, beginning with the switch to mechanical production 
methods. Designers and salesmen have vied with each other 
to be the first with the latest styles. Naturally this competition 
has lowered costs, but it has not helped stabilize the industry, 
which is forever tottering on the brink of ruin. 

Cincinnati's modern dress manufacturer has taken advantage 
of every mechanical device to speed production. He tries to sell 
originals, but usually finds that copies of the latest Hollywood 
or Paris modes go faster. However, still hanging on the walls, 
thumbed over by designers, are dresses of a bygone day, whose 
style is occasionally resurrected for the modern woman. 

The foremost dress manufacturer is Fashion Frocks, Inc. 
(Princess Garment Co.) ,3301 Colerian Avenue, set up in 1919 
as a small downtown shop. The company produces silk, crepe, 
and cotton dresses, and suits and curtains. A private motor bus 
is operated from the plant and downtown for the convenience 
of employees. An extensive mail order trade has been built by 
the firm. Other manufacturers are Attractive Frocks Inc., 222 
West Fourth Street; Cincinnati Garments Inc., 809 Walnut 
Street; Claire Frocks Inc., 424 East Fourth Street; Gilsey Gar- 
ment Company, 225 West Fourth Street; Glen Garment Com- 
pany, 505 Elm Street; Louis Levine 8 Sons, 228 West Seventh 
Street; New York Garment Company, Inc., 228 West Fourth 
Street; The Ohio Dress 8 Coat Company, 225 West Fourth 
Street; Queen Garment Company, 213 West Fourth Street; 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

R B Manufacturing Company, 116 West Fourth Street; Rosen- 
thaler Brothers, 222 West Fourth Street; Summit Garment 
Company, 208 Post Square; and Supreme Garment Company, 
238 West Fourth Street. 

About 8,250 Cincinnatians produce wearing apparel for men, 
women, and children. In 1935 the valuation of articles made 
in the 91 establishments was more than $31,505,877, and the 
combined payrolls aggregated $15,470,296. In 1937 the value 
of products was somewhat higher, but complete figures are still 
not available. 


Chapter VIII 

Heavy Industry Machine Tools 
Aluminum Castings and Patterns 
Sheet Metal Products Iron and Steel 

| HE STEEL AGE that began transforming America 
after the Civil War caught Cincinnati momentarily 
flatfooted. The city's prosperity depended to a great 
extent upon liquor and horses; and both were out of 
step with the new industrialism based upon steel. Cincinnati's 
rapid growth was checked, but the city did not allow itself 
to become stagnant. It had basic resources which could be ad- 
justed to the new demands. For many years it had nourished 
shops making metal articles, and the city's mechanics were among 
its wealthiest citizens. When Dr. Thomas Nichols visited Cin- 
cinnati ("one of the most industrious places in the world") 
just before the Civil War, he was particularly impressed by its 
"great iron foundries and machine shops." 

When Cincinnati saw that steel was entering on a long 
American reign, it began to capitalize on its machine shops, and 
soon it was feeding machinery to American industry in its phe- 
nomenal transition from handcraft to the machine. Shortly 
after the turn of the century the city had become the national 
center for machine tools. Nearly a third of the nation's machine 
tools are now made in Greater Cincinnati factories. But ma- 
chine tool production is only one phase of the metal trades 
industry, which includes foundry work, iron and steel mill 
operations, manufacturing and fabrication of sheet metal special- 
ties, brass, bronze, and aluminum castings and products, and 
the making of all kinds of machinery. These combined trades 
annually produce articles valued at more than a hundred mil- 
lion dollars. In 1937 the various "heavy" industrial units 

THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

gave employment to more than 25 thousand workers, while 
the estimated payroll was about 35 million dollars. 

When Cincinnati was first settled the manufacturing world 
still relied upon old handcraft methods. Steel was unknown; 
but iron was being smelted as early as 1804 in a furnace on 
Yellow Creek, near the present site of Youngstown. In 1817 
William Greene opened the Cincinnati Bell, Brass & Iron Foun- 
dry, the first successful durable goods manufactory in the North- 
west Territory. In the same year F. H. Lawson patched together 
a small shop and began making metal household specialties with 
such shrewdness and skill that his enterprise has come down 
through the years and today exists as F. H. Lawson Company, 
Cincinnati's oldest manufacturing firm. 

About 1818, following Jackson's victory at New Orleans, 
the demand of the South and Southwest for manufactured goods 
was felt in Cincinnati, and the city became a strategic distrib- 
uting center. Scores of charcoal furnaces were opened in south- 
eastern Ohio, the Ohio River brought their products to Cin- 
cinnati; and soon every conceivable kind of metal product 
was cast or forged in the city. 

The middle years of the century brought difficult problems. 
In 1856 Sir Henry Bessemer (1813-1898) discovered a rapid 
and cheap method of converting pig iron into steel by blowing 
a blast of air through iron in a state of fusion. This process 
was to revolutionize heavy industry, but Cincinnatians at first 
gave the discovery little notice. Cincinnati industry suffered. 
The metal trades, however, managed to adjust themselves to the 
steel era, and Cincinnati, together with its "little steel" inde- 
pendents at Newport, Middletown, and Hamilton, has kept 
in the vanguard among America's manufacturing cities. 

Today the heavy goods industry, in addition to the trade 
of foundries and iron and steel mills, is represented in the Cin- 
cinnati area by many manufacturing plants, in which are made 
almost every kind of metal article, from huge precision machine 
tools and delicate surgical equipment to simple garment hangers 
and metal toys. During the past quarter-century the Cincin- 
nati metal industries have developed so many different products 
that Cincinnati plants have never suffered a complete shutdown 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

even during periods of dire depression. Some types of metal 
manufacturing, including the making of stoves, valves, iron pipe, 
laundry, paint, baking, and X-ray machinery, have been built 
into major units employing thousands of skilled workmen; 
and many smaller factories are equipped to stamp and finish 
a surprisingly varied group of articles, from cutlery to roller 

Machine Tool Industry 

THE MACHINE TOOL industry in America has a brilliant 
story of fast growth and great achievement. It began in 1833 
when the firm of Brown and Sharpe, Providence, Rhode Island, 
developed a small steam-operated shaping machine to cut and 
shape metal into parts for church clocks. Since the machine was 
successful, the company launched the tool phase of its business 
and soon began building shapers for other machinists. 

Probably the first Cincinnatian to invest mind, brawn, and 
money in the business of manufacturing machine tools was 
John Steptoe, a foundryman who hustled about his shop on 
Clay Street. About 1850 Steptoe fashioned a wood planer, 
a machine used extensively in local woodworking plants. Mark- 
eting his product proved so profitable that Steptoe in 1855 
took in as a partner Thomas McFarlan, carpenter, who not only 
believed that woodworkers needed machines to increase produc- 
tion, but also that he could give them exactly what they wished. 
The firm of Steptoe & McFarlan was therefore soon putting 
out mortising and ennoning machines which were revolutionary 
in trade practices. By 1859 Lane & Bodley, at that time the 
city's leading machine shop, manufactured centerless saws for 
tooling purposes. Another pioneer producer of machinery, the 
Bradford Machine Company, was making flour and distilling 

This Cincinnati industry then slowed down, but capitalists 
had learned the value of machines for increasing production. 
As in other industries, competitive research and discovery aided 
growth. Beginning in the 1880's local plants began to be 
recognized as leaders in machine tool quality and design, and 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

capital gravitated to the local trade, which reached its peak 
during the World War. However much havoc it wrought with 
modern civilization, the War was good for the Cincinnati ma- 
chine tool industry, which in more than one way went to the 

The industry's greatest stimulus, however, was not the War, 
but the need for mechanized automotive units in the post-war 
period. Since radical changes in car design are made nearly every 
year, new tools are also necessary, and orders from motor car 
manufacturers have been tonics whenever dull periods have con- 
stricted the industry. Although it has comparatively few factories 
and its dollar valuation does not approach that of other 
industries the American machine tool trade is today one of the 
most accurate barometers of business conditions. During eco- 
nomic crises, commitments are made for tools months before 
general commercial conditions show improvement, while a slack- 
ening of production may mean that the nation faces another 

The world's largest machine tool plant is the Cincinnati 
Milling Machine Company Cincinnati Grinders, Inc., Mar- 
burg Avenue and South Street, Oakley. In 1884 Frederick A. 
Geier organized the Cincinnati Screw and Tap Company and 
opened a small factory to make screws and taps. The struggling 
firm soon built a milling machine for its own use. Later, when 
several local machine shops heard of it, they asked if duplicates 
could be made. So in 1889 the Cincinnati Milling Machine 
Company was organized. In 1893 the company received its first 
big order, but found itself without sufficient capital to purchase 
raw materials and pay wages. The problem was solved when 
Geier told his 10 employees he could borrow money to buy 
materials if they would accept half cash and half scrip for wages 
until the machines were paid for. The workers agreed, and they 
found creditors willing to accept the company scrip. 

During the following years the company grew rapidly. By 
1907 a modern foundry had been built at Oakley; in 1910 
an office building and machine shop were added; and in 1922 
the assets of Cincinnati Grinder Co. were purchased and the 
concern began making grinders. Present area of the plant is 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

l6 l /2 acres. Milling machines, grinders, planers, and broachers 
made in this modern factory are shipped to all parts of the 
world. Modern millers can fashion machined work accurate to 
.0032 inch. In 1937 the company's average employment was 
about three thousand. 

Back in 1887 Richard K. LeBlond, a machinist, decided 
on a business career and set up a small shop where he built 
lathes. Even as he scratched for orders to keep his small force 
of employees busy, LeBlond found time to work on his pet 
idea, a gun-boring lathe. For years he toiled, spending every cent 
he could lay his hands on for experimental work. By 1910 he 
had reached success; he had built the only gun-boring lathe 
in the world. At the time, however, he could find no one 
anxious to buy such a device. In 1914 the sounding of war 
drums sent armament makers scurrying for machines to make 
implements of war. Then LeBlond could dictate terms; he 
held patents on the world's only practicable gun-boring lathe. 
Orders piled up, and the original shop was too small to take 
care of all the work. All during the War period the LeBlond 
Machine Tool Company, Madison and Edwards Roads, Oakley, 
worked night and day building these tools. Today the plant 
is still a busy place, but it constructs tools for building, rather 
than for destroying, civilization. 

Other large machine tool producers are Acme Machine Tool 
Company (1908), 4955 Spring Grove Avenue, all types of 
lathes; American Tool Works Company, Inc., East Pearl Street 
and Eggleston Avenue, lathes, radical drills, and shapers; H. J. 
Averbeck Machinery Company (1900) ,110 East Second Street, 
Covington; Avey Drilling Machine Company (1907), 25 
Third Street, Covington; Bradford Machine Tool Company 
(1840, incorporated 1900), 657 Evans Street, lathes, drillers, 
and tappers; Brokaw Machinery Company, 329 West Fourth 
Street; Carlton Machine Tool Company (1916), 2994 Spring 
Grove Avenue, electric radical drills; William Carrol & Son, 
1776 Lexington Avenue; Cincinnati Bickford Tool Company 
(1909), 3220 Forrer Avenue, tappers and radical drills; 
Cincinnati Lathe & Tool Company, 3207 Disney Avenue; 
Cincinnati Planer Company (1898, incorporated 1899), 3120 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Forrer Avenue (Oakley) , planers, planer type millers, and ver- 
tical boring mills; Dresses Machine Tool Company, 3360 Beek- 
man Street; W. C. Dunn Company (1915), 832 West Sixth 
Street; Fosdick Machine Tool Company (1890), 1638 Blue 
Rock Street, upright and radical drills and combination drill 
and jig borers; G. A. Gray Company (incorporated 1886), 
3611 Woodburn Avenue, planers; William T. Johnston Com- 
pany (1907), 214 Vine Street; Jones Machine Tool Company 
(1925), 530 East Front Street; King Machine Tool Company 
(1901), Clifton Avenue and B. 8 O. R. R.; E. A. Kinsey 
Company (1886), 335 West Fourth Street, lathes; Lodge & 
Shipley Machine Tool Company (1892), 3055 Colerain Ave- 
nue; Morris Machine Tool Company (1910), 933 Harriet 
Street; Ad Muchlmat, 434 Elm Street; National Machine Tool 
Company, 2270 Spring Grove Avenue; Precision Truing Ma- 
chine Tool Company (1918), 515 Scott Boulevard, Coving- 
ton; Rahn-Larmon Company (1899), 2941 Spring Grove 
Avenue, lathes; Smith & Mills Company (1907), 2889 Spring 
Grove Avenue, shapers; United States Machine Tool Company 
(1917), 1950 Riverside Drive; United States Electrical Tool 
Company (1897), 2490 Riverside Drive, drills, grinders, buf- 
fers, and flexible shaft machines; Greaves Machine Tool Com- 
pany, 2009 Eastern Avenue; Boye & Emmes Machine Tool 
Company, Caldwell Drive, lathes; Hisey-Wolf Machine Com- 
pany (1896), 2745 Colerain Avenue; and General Machinery 
Corporation, Hamilton, lathes. 

A number of companies rebuild and repair machine tools 
for resale: Cincinnati Machinery & Supply Company, 28 West 
Second Street; Collet Machinery Company, 420 East Pearl 
Street; Eastern Machinery Company, 3261 Spring Grove Ave- 
nue; Jones Machine Tool Company, 530 East Front Street; 
E. A. Kinsey Company, 3288 Spring Grove Avenue; Norton- 
Broadway Machinery Company, 610 Baymiller Street; and 
Ohio Machinery & Supply Company, 433 East Pearl Street. 
Several of the firms have in stock as many as 1,500 machines 
of all kinds. 

Because a great many improved, as well as newly designed, 
machines are being made here, some companies specialize in 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

this type of research and engineering: Anthe Machine Works, 
407 Madison Avenue, Covington; Bossert Machine Company, 
617 East Pearl Street; F. W. Brehmer Machine 8 Tool Com- 
pany, 815 Broadway; Buob & Kimmerle Machine Tool Com 
pany, 216 Post Square; Chris Erhart Foundry & Machine Com- 
pany, 1237 West Sixth Street; J. 8 C. Machine Shop, 212 
West 14th Street, Covington; The Machine Service Company, 
1052 Gilbert Avenue, models, tools, and research; Production 
Machine Tool Company, 629 East Pearl Street; J. Metzger 
Company, 2165 Spring Grove Avenue; Queen Engineering 
Company, 650 Evans- Street; and Riehle Machine Company, 
6115 Wooster Pike, engineering, designing, and research. 

These plants have made Cincinnati the recognized world 
center for machine tool production. More than 35 of the 150 
plants in America are situated here. They build practically 
every tool used in industry lathes of all sizes, large and small 
grinders, millers, tappers, radial drills, from the smallest to 
largest shapers, shearers, broachers, swing lathes, buffers, planers, 
flexible shaft machines, hammers, brakes, welders, punchers, key 
seaters, sanders. 

The industry reached a national peak in valuation, payrolls, 
and employment in 1929, when production was appraised at 
175 million dollars and employees numbered 50 thousand. That 
year Cincinnati shops employed about 14 thousand, while their 
products were appraised at nearly 60 million dollars. In 1932, 
when employment dipped to its lowest level, nearly four thou- 
sand of the 12 thousand persons employed by the industry 
nationally were working in local plants. The value of Ameri- 
can production that year was 20 million dollars. Of the national 
product valuation estimated at 100 million dollars in 1937, 
the Cincinnati area accounted for about 25 million dollars. 
Employment was given to more than 4,500 persons. 

Some types of modern machine tools can be bought for as 
low as a hundred dollars; other types cost as much as 100 
thousand dollars to build. Sales are about equally divided 
among automotive, electrical, and general machinery manufac- 
turers, and about a third of all orders are being placed by for- 
eign users. And, paradoxically, this industry, primarily respon- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

sible for machine-made goods, is itself one of the few remaining 
industries requiring skilled hand labor. 

Aluminum Products 

USE OF ALUMINUM, a white metal somewhat like silver 
and one of the most malleable metals has a comparatively 
recent origin. Although aluminum was discovered by Wohler 
in 1827, a practical method of commercial production was not 
invented until 1886. The discovery, now called the Hall- 
Heroult process, could make a fascinating chapter in a tome on 
research in American industry. After H-. St. Clair Deville had 
isolated aluminum into a state of nearly perfect purity (1853), 
scientists in America and Europe tried to find a feasible way of 
making the metal. In America 2 3 -year-old Professor C. M. 
Hall, of Oberlin College, was one of several savants knotting 
their minds on the problem. Unknown to Hall, 23 -year-old 
P. L. Heroult was also busy at aluminum research in a French 
laboratory. Although the two were separated by more than four 
thousand miles, the solution came to both men almost simul- 
taneously. On the same day they announced perfection of iden- 
tical discoveries. Carrying the strange coincidences of their lives 
to a proper end, both men died in 1914. 

Rights to the joint discovery were purchased by Pittsburgh 
capitalists, and in 1888 the first aluminum ingots were cast by 
a company (the Aluminum Corporation of America) which is 
now the world's largest producer of the metal. Because it is a 
good conductor, aluminum has been put to many uses. Since 
it becomes as hard as iron when hammered or rolled, it is exten- 
sively employed in construction work. A by-product, duralu- 
min, produced as an alloy from aluminum copper, enters air- 
craft and automobile construction, is widely used for ornamen- 
tal and optical work, and is also fashioned into bearings and 

In 1935 the value of new aluminum produced in America 
exceeded 22 million dollars; more than 50 percent of the total 
was processed at Massena, New York. Most of the world's sup- 
ply of the metal is now manufactured in the United States, in 
Germany, and in Russia. 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Until 1920 Cincinnati saw only minor activity in aluminum, 
principally with castings; but that year the Kant-Skore Piston 
Company was formed. Employing 20 persons, the concern 
stepped up production rapidly, and in 1926 became Aluminum 
Industries, Inc. and opened the present plant at 2438 Beekman 
Street. Now Aluminum Industries, Inc. has five factories (three 
in Cincinnati) and is the nation's third largest producer of 
aluminum products, ranking next to the Aluminum Corpora- 
tion of America, Pittsburgh, and the Bohn Aluminum and 
Brass Company, Detroit. Although it specializes in making 
aluminum parts for aircraft and automobile engines, the firm 
also shapes other products, such as household articles. In 1937 
about a thousand persons were on the company's payroll. 

In addition to Aluminum Industries, Inc., other local firms 
with an output of aluminum castings are Aluminum Foundry 
Company, 816 East Pearl Street; Gustav A. Wendt, 3624 Col- 
crain Avenue; E. E. Cushman, 3615 Clarion Avenue; Newman 
Brothers, Inc., 666 West Fourth Street; Warmin-Martin Alu- 
minum Foundry Company, 2010 Elm Street; Reading Bronze 
& Aluminum Foundry Company, Reading, Ohio; Ohio Pat- 
tern Works & Foundry Company, 2735 Colerain Avenue; Hu- 
kon Manufacturing Company, 11 East 14th Street, spins 
aluminum; and Metalcrafts Company, 712 Reading Road, 
produces a great variety of ornamental aluminum articles, some 
in intricate designs. In recent years the use of aluminum castings 
has increased greatly. 

Cincinnati Foundries 

CINCINNATI SINCE 1817, when Greene opened his foun- 
dry, has been one of the nation's centers for foundry work, the 
casting and molding of metal articles. By 1860 the city was 
the brawniest molder in America. During the Civil War many 
a cannon peppering the Confederate lines had been cast in local 
shops. When steel hardened the cast of American industry, the 
iron molder feared for his future. But new uses for iron were 
found, and the Cincinnati molder with renewed vigor threw 
shovelsful of sand about the pattern into which flowed the 
molten metal. About a thousand persons are now employed in 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

foundry work, while the annual payroll is estimated at more 
than $1,100,000. 

Although molding machines have superseded hand methods 
in some industries, the processes used in a modern foundry still 
require the hand and the machine. The original pattern from 
which a casting is made is built usually of wood; shaping in 
sand and removing the pattern from the cast often tax ingenuity. 
Foundries generally specialize in one type of castings iron, 
steel, gray iron, aluminum, brass, bronze, or copper. 

In the days when Cincinnati knew the river well, it recog- 
nized each steamboat even from afar. For every vessel had a 
distinctive bell. And bell making gave the city's oldest foundry, 
the E. W. Vanduzen Company, (1837), 428 East Second 
Street, its first business. Today this concern makes gray iron and 
brass castings, steam-jets, and pumps. The company is especially 
known for its casting of the world's largest swinging bell, 
Joseph, whose 30 thousand pounds of iron hang in the tower 
of St. Francis de Sales Church, Woodburn Avenue and Madison 
Road. The bell is rarely used, for its vibrations damage property 
in the neighborhood. 

In 1876 Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil, visited Cincinnati. 
He did not wish to see the mayor and other prominent citizens, 
said Dom Pedro, but he must inspect the foundry which had 
cast so many bells for the churches in his beloved Brazil. And 
off he went to the Vanduzen foundry. 

Another pioneer foundry still operating is the F. A. Klaine 
Company, Front Street and Central Avenue. Founded in 1848 
as Adams and Pecksholder, the foundry operated under several 
names until the present company was incorporated on May 9, 
1904. It specializes in casting parts for stoves, ranges, and 

The modern foundry in Cincinnati is perhaps best represent- 
ed by the Ohio Pattern Works 8 Foundry Company (1892), 
2735 Colerain Avenue, the largest concern of its kind in Ohio. 
Here the modern making of a pattern can be seen. Beginning 
with a blue print, a pattern is built either in wood or metal; 
then a casting is poured, machined, polished, trimmed, finished, 
and made ready for shipment. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The company was organized as the Ohio Pattern Works. 
In 1905 increased business caused its move from limited quarters 
on Second Street to more spacious ones on Spring Grove Ave- 
nue. In 1917 a stock concern was formed as the Ohio Pattern 
Works 8 Foundry Company, with capital of 500 thousand 
dollars (later increased to a million dollars). Today the com- 
pany occupies more than 300 thousand feet of floor space, and 
employs about three hundred people in the pattern shops, the 
polishing, plating, and art bronze departments, the machine 
shop, and the brass and aluminum foundry. 

In 1908 E. H. Bardes opened a small foundry for casting 
stove and range parts. Other kinds of castings were later added 
to the list of Bardes products. Now the E. H. Bardes Range & 
Foundry Company in a plant at 2619 Colerain Avenue pro- 
duces iron roof and street drains, sewer and manhole covers, and 
stove and range castings. 

Other Cincinnati commercial foundries are Blackburn Foun- 
dry Company, Murray Road; Buckeye Foundry Company 
(1910), 2800 Beekman Street; Central Brass 8 Aluminum 
Foundry Company (1923), 1020 Woodrow Street; Cincin- 
nati Foundry Company (1914), 4238 Mitchell Avenue; Cin- 
cinnati Steel Castings Company, 3212 Spring Grove Avenue; 
Chris Erhard Foundry & Machine Company, 1237 West Sixth 
Street; Martin Foundry Company, Third Street and C. & O. 
Bridge, Covington; Northside Pattern & Foundry Company, 
3616 Colerain Avenue; Oberhelman-Ritter Foundry Company, 
3223 Colerain Avenue; Peerless Foundry Company, Vine Street 
and Township Avenue; Permanent Mould Engineering & Cast- 
ing Company, 1918 West Eighth Street; Reliance Foundry 
Company, 506 East Front Street; Sawbrook Steel Castings 
Company, Lockland; Schaible Foundry and Brass Works Com- 
pany, 1086 Summer Street; Standard Castings of Cincinnati, 
Inc., 1738 Powers Street; The Star Foundry Company, 221 
Main Street, Covington; and United States Pipe & Foundry 
Company, Addyston. 

Many foundries are operated by Cincinnati manufactories. 
Largest are Lunkenheimer, Williamson Heater Company, Cin- 
cinnati Milling Machine Company, and J. H. Day Company. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Pattern Makers 

WOOD AND METAL patterns are essential to foundry 
work. Cincinnati pattern makers fabricate many molds for the 
casting of articles in iron, steel, brass, bronze, copper, 
aluminum, and other metal alloys. 

Among the city's pattern plants are Ace Pattern Company 
(1932), 322 East Third Street; Acme Pattern Works, 717 
Sycamore Street; B. 8 B. Pattern Works, 414 East Pearl 
Street; Cincinnati Pattern Works, Front and Lawrence Streets; 
Crescent Pattern Works (1937), 3902 Colcrain Avenue; Do- 
mestic Pattern Company, 909 State Avenue; Economy Pattern 
& Castings Company, 1728 Powers Street; General Pattern 
Works (1898), 2231 Buck Street; J. W. Henke Pattern ft 
Castings Company, 601 West McMicken Avenue; Ideal Pat- 
tern Works & Foundry Company, Murray Road; Mersf elder 
Patterns Works, 219 Butler Street; Superior Pattern Company, 
1116 Straight Street; Standard Pattern Works (1913), 2405 
Spring Grove Avenue; Tri-State Pattern Works, 4660 Spring 
Grove Avenue; O. J. Shafer Pattern Works Inc., 207 East Sixth 
Street; Schuchert Patterns Works Inc., 440 East Front Street; 
Reliable Pattern & Castings Company (1922), 3530 Spring 
Grove Avenue; Muntifer Bros., Ralston Avenue near Spring 
Grove Avenue; Tom Murphy, Winton Road, Mt. Healthy; 
Northside Pattern & Foundry Company, 3616 Colerain Ave- 
nue; Norwood Pattern Works, 4212 Smith Road; Oakley Pat- 
tern & Foundry Company (1919, incorporated 1929), 4423 
Verne Avenue; and Ohio Pattern Works & Foundry Company, 
2735 Colerain Avenue. 

Manufacture of Valves 

CINCINNATI MAKES VALVES from iron, brass, bronze, 
steel, or alloys. Since valves are used in many kinds of machines, 
and also for domestic and general industrial purposes, the indus- 
try seldom is greatly disturbed by business recessions. 

One of the nation's leading manufacturers of iron and brass 
pressure valves is the Lunkenheimer Company, Beekman Street 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

and Waverly Avenue, founded in 1862 by Frederick Lunken- 
heimer, incorporated in 1889 and reorganized in 1893. In addi- 
tion to its main plant, the company also has a branch manufac- 
tory in Carthage (Cincinnati) , and maintains sales offices in 
many other American cities and also abroad. Its products are 
shipped to China, Japan, South America, Australia, South Af- 
rica, and to almost every European country. At the main plant 
are 24 melting furnaces, two bronze foundries, and a pattern 
department stocked with more than 50 thousand different molds. 

Still another major local valve manufacturer is the William 
Powell Company (1846), 2525 Spring Grove Avenue. Oper- 
ating its own foundry, the firm has enlarged considerably 
during the last decade. In 1937 capacity was doubled with the 
completion of a new manufacturing building. 

Smaller makers of valves are the Bourbon Copper 8 Brass 
Works Company, 618 East Front Street, and D. T. Williams 
Valve Company, 2892 Spring Grove Avenue. 

Elevator Manufacturing 

ALONG ABOUT 1850 the construction of multi-storied 
office and factory structures in Cincinnati and other cities led to 
elevator manufacturing. Warren Warner, Cincinnati, an engin- 
eer studying the vertical transportation problem, in 1860 
designed and built the first hydraulic elevator to be used locally, 
and founded the Warner Elevator Manufacturing Company, 
2613-31 Spring Grove Avenue. Incorporated in 1887, the 
company is now the third largest elevator manufacturer in the 
country. When electric power superseded water pressure in the 
late nineteenth century, the local concern kept stride with 
progress by designing electric-driven elevators. Today it makes 
every type of elevator, from the high-speed passenger and 
freight elevator to the dumbwaiter. An exclusive product is its 
electrically driven, plunger type elevator for residential use. 

Another important producer is the Shepard Elevator Com- 
pany (1921), 2425 Colerain Avenue, which has its own foun- 
dry. Local elevator manufacturers also include Cincinnati Eleva- 
tor Works, 212 West Second Street; Economy Elevator Com- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

pany, 12 Laurel Street; National Elevator Manufacturing 
Company, 7 West Second Street; and Schatzman Elevator 
Works, 1 1 9 West Second Street. 

Production of Tin Cans 

THE TIN CAN has come to be a symbol of modern Ameri- 
can life, with emphasis on variety, sanitation, and speed. But 
the tin container dates back to 1825 when a patent was issued 
at Washington for a forerunner of the modern tin can. Since 
the hand processes were slow and expensive and the container 
was neither durable nor leakproof, it at first aroused little 
interest. Then in 1847 the unbreakable, stamped can, which 
prevented spoilage by means of a soldered top and bottom, was 
invented and put into immediate widespread use. 

Since 1850 the industry's growth has been sensational. Con- 
stant advancement in machine facilities and in can design, to- 
gether with the low cost of the article, have made it possible 
for manufacturers to preserve for a long time cooked foods, 
meats, liquids, coffee, and various other foods. Today's tin can, 
whether cylindrical or box-like, is made of steel sheets coated 
with a thin layer of tinplate. 

The modern can manufacturing plant emphasizes the ma- 
chine method. A single line of machinery, which cuts and shapes 
the flat sheet of tinplate into the finished article, can turn out 
.about three hundred cans a minute. Cans enameled on the in- 
side are made the same way. Flat sheets of tinplate, coated with 
enamel, used to prevent bleaching, or discoloration, are put into 
a hot oven which bakes the enamel. 

Cincinnati's largest manufacturer of cans is the Heekin Can 
Company, which operates two huge plants one at 435 New 
Street, the other at Park and Forest Avenues, Norwood. In these 
factories millions of plain and lithographed cans are produced 
annually for foodstuffs, pastes, alcohol, shoe polish, oil, paint, 
varnish, gasoline, furniture polish, white lead, paste, putty, 
insecticide, pharmaceuticals, talcum powder, fish, candy, cakes, 
tea, coffee, and beer. Heekin makes the entire supply of litho- 
graphed cans used by an Eastern tobacco manufacturer. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Other large local tin can makers are Continental Can Co., 
Inc., 2510 Highland Avenue, Norwood; the machine plant of 
the American Can Company, Spring Grove Avenue and Fergus 
Street; and Fischer Can Company (1916), Central Avenue and 
Kruger Street, Hamilton, since December 1930 a unit of the 
National Can Co., Inc., operating plants in Brooklyn, Balti- 
more, Chicago, and Maspeth (Long Island) . 

Cincinnati also makes garbage and ash cans, usually of gal- 
vanized steel sheets. The biggest producers of these cans are 
F. H. Lawson Company (1817), Evans Street and Whately 
Avenue, and the Witt Cornice Company, 2118 Winchell Ave- 
nue. In 1937 can manufacturing companies gave employment 
to about 1,500, who received wages estimated at $2,250,000. 
The value of their cans amounted to more than 10 million 

Machinery., Stoves, and Sheet Metal Products 

CINCINNATI'S BIG UNITS of manufacturing, including 
machinery, stoves, and sheet metal products, date from 1817 
when F. H. Lawson opened a small shop to fashion a variety 
of metal household articles. Through skill and application Law- 
son made fine products; he built a small, but firm base for 
Cincinnati's present-day corporations making machinery, 
pumps, electrical equipment, safes and bank vaults, stoves, 
ranges, furnaces, air conditioning devices, blower systems, tanks, 
hospital and kitchen equipment, washing machines, matches, 
burial caskets, and a wide assortment of cut and stamped metal 
articles. Although little fanfare has accompanied the rise of 
these industries, all have been significant in building Cincinnati. 

Until 1825 Cincinnatians had to be satisfied with the open 
fireplace for heating and cooking. Then the invention of a crude 
cooking stove which was placed on a stack of brick or rock 
gave rise to a new industry, one which has developed steadily 
from the square cooking oven of sheet metal and the potbellied 
heating stove to the modern circulating heater, the gas and 
electric range, the steam and warm-air furnace, and the air- 
conditioning system. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The largest Cincinnati concern producing such devices is the 
Williamson Heater Company, Marburg Avenue and Madison 
Road, founded in 1882 as the Bennett Furnace Company. 
About 1890 it became the Bennett & Peck Company, then the 
Peck and Williamson Heating and Ventilating Company. In 
1912 the concern assumed the present name. Executive and sales 
offices of the corporation are at 337 West Fifth Street. 

Williamson research engineers have perfected many highly 
intricate products needed in a modern heating plant. Among 
these have been the marketing of the first automatic furnace 
stoker (1910) and later of a heat regulator to overcome fire 
hazards. More recently they have solved the problem of iron- 
plate expansion and contraction by changing the chemical com- 
position of the iron. The company has thereby been able to 
guarantee a furnace for 20 years, instead of a former six years. 
At present engineers are developing pre-fabricated air-condition- 
ing systems. The home owner can now install ducts to carry 
either warm or cool air, depending upon the season. 

In 1937 the company completed a 65 thousand dollar pro- 
gram of modernization and expansion. About four hundred 
persons are regularly employed. 

The leading stove manufacturer in the Cincinnati industrial 
area is the Estate Stove Company, founded at Cincinnati in 
1842 but since 1885 situated at East and Edison Avenues, 
Hamilton. Covering 13 acres, the plant produces the nationally 
known Heatrola and Estate Gas Range. 

Cincinnati stove and range manufacturers also include F. A. 
Klaine Company, Front Street and Central Avenue; Huenefeld 
Company, 2701 Spring Grove Avenue; E. H. Bardes Range 
& Foundry Company, 2619 Colerain Avenue; Crosley Radio 
Corporation's gas and electric range department, 1329 Arling- 
ton Street; John Van Range Company, Fifth and Butler 
Streets, and the Burton Range Company, Seventh and Syca- 
more Streets. Both the Van and the Burton companies manu- 
facture equipment for hotels, restaurants, and institutions. 

One of the four safe and lock companies which have com- 
bined to form the Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company (1838), 
Grand Boulevard, Hamilton, was the Hall Safe and Lock Com- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

pany, founded in the early 1840's at Cincinnati. The present 
corporation, situated in Hamilton since 1897, is one of the 
country's largest producers of safes and bank vaults. It repre- 
sents a merger of Herring & Co. (New York) , Hall Safe and 
Lock Company (Cincinnati), the Marvin Safe Company 
(New York), and Ferrell & Co. (Philadelphia). The output 
of Herring-Hall-Marvin and of the Mosler Safe Company, 
established at Cincinnati (1844) and since 1890 on Grand 
Boulevard, Hamilton, gives Hamilton nearly 50 percent of the 
world's safe and vault production. Other local manufacturers 
of burglar-proof chests and safes are H. Belmer Company, 1101 
West Sixth Street; Hall's Safe Company, 3253 Spring Grove 
Avenue; and Mosler Lock Company, 239 Scott Boulevard, 
Covington, a subsidiary of the Mosler Safe Company. 

As early as 1840 surgical instruments were being manufac- 
tured here by the Max Wocher & Son Company (1837), 29 
West Sixth Street, now the city's foremost producer and dis- 
tributor of surgical supplies and equipment, and hospital and 
office equipment for physicians. The Kelly-Koett Manufacturing 
Company (1903), 212 West Fourth Street, Covington, the 
world's largest maker of X-ray equipment, was established 
because of findings in Roentgenology by John Robert Kelley 
and because of the application of technical knowledge by Albert 
B. Koett, co-founder of the business. 

The concern's first factory, in a small shed at the rear of 
Koett's Covington home, was meagerly equipped. With merely 
a small hand lathe and drill, a monkey wrench, and a hammer, 
Kelly and Koett fashioned their first product, a motor-driven 
rocker used in developing X-ray plates. Their second product 
was an improved wooden tube holder, and the third a modified 
type of the Albers-Schoenberg plan for a simple compression 
diagraphm. This achievement propelled the firm towards na- 
tional recognition. The most recent innovations are the devising 
of an X-ray generating system with a possible current output 
of a million volts, and the marketing of a fluoroscopic table 
which operators can adjust to various positions. Another local 
manufacturer of X-ray apparatus is Liebel-Flarsheim Company 
(1915), 303 West Third Street. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The production of sheet metal articles also exercises the skill 
and strength of many a Cincinnatian. Probably the most im- 
portant sheet metal concern is the Edwards Manufacturing 
Company (1872), Fifth and Butler Streets, where sheet metal 
and steel plate garages, roofs, shingles, ceilings, theater marquees, 
traffic markers, burial vaults, metallic caskets, and air-condition- 
ing units are fabricated and stamped. The company operates a 
branch plant at 4502 Vine Street. 

Littleford Bros., 453 East Pearl Street, founded in 1874 
as the Thos. S. Smith Company (1882, Littleford Bros.), 
fabricates steel plates and sheets into road maintenance equip- 
ment, tar heating kettles, and brewery apparatus. In 1900 the 
company manufactured the first highway contrivance, a tar 
heating kettle mounted on wheels. 

Other important makers of sheet metal products are Hoeltge 
Brothers (1898), 1919 Gest Street, industrial and residential 
guards, hoppers, and pans; Kirk & Blum Manufacturing Com- 
pany (1907), 2838 Spring Grove Avenue, dust collecting and 
air-conditioning systems, and stamped, formed, and welded 
parts and assemblies; Young 8 Bertke Company, 1040 Hul- 
bert Avenue, dust collecting and ventilating systems, and ma- 
chinery guards, hoppers, tanks, and pans; Huenefeld Company, 
2701 Spring Grove Avenue, stamped, sheared, formed, and 
enameled products; Cincinnati Stamping Company, 28 West 
McMicken Avenue; and Witt Cornice Company, 2118 Win- 
chell Avenue. 

Cincinnati is the home of America's top producers of laun- 
dry and baking machinery, and paint and laboratory equip- 
ment. The J. H. Day Company (1888, incorporated 1901), 
1114 Harrison Avenue, is a pioneer manufacturer of bakers' 
machinery and equipment, paint and ink mills, mixers, and 
blending equipment. The company does more than fabricate 
an article; every operation is done under its roof from design- 
ing the article, through making the wooden or metal pattern 
and casting the metal, to finishing and fabricating the product. 
A branch factory is at 3256 Spring Grove Avenue. Normally, 
the company gives employment to about six hundred 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

American Laundry Machinery Company (incorporated 
1909), Ross and Section Avenues, Norwood, is the world's 
outstanding manufacturer of laundry equipment for hotels, 
hospitals, institutions, and commercial laundries. The corpora- 
tion employs 2,500. 

One of the nation's major manufacturers of toys is the Frank 
F. Taylor Co. Inc., 2801 Highland Avenue, Norwood, maker 
of the nationally famous "Taylor-Tot" baby walkers, tri- 
cycles, and toy bicycles. Production operations follow the 
straight line method, each part moving forward along the 
assembly line until it is complete. 

The Philip Carey Company (Dayton, Ohio, 1873), Lock- 
land, is one of the country's top producers of composition 
roofing, shingles, and wall board. During the last four years 
the concern has been kept busy filling orders for rock wool 
insulation material. More than a thousand workers are regu- 
larly employed. 

On Main Avenue, Reading, stands the plant of the General 
Match Company, one of the country's foremost producers of 
household, safety, and paper pad matches. 

Another industry which has grown large with the increased 
use of electricity is the electric appliance, pump, and motor unit. 
In Cincinnati there are a number of concerns specializing in this 
type of manufacture: Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, 
Forest Avenue, Norwood, branch plant of a national organiza- 
tion with headquarters in Milwaukee; Atlas Electric & Machine 
Company, 2519 Cypress Way, Norwood; Barkley Electric 
Company Inc., 925 Clinton Street; R. H. Benney Equipment 
Company, 5024 Montgomery Road, Norwood; The Buckeye 
Equipment Company, 10 West Pearl Street; Collet Machinery 
Company, 420 East Pearl Street; The Glow Electric Company, 
933 Harriet Street; The Wm. T. Johnston Co., 214 Vine 
Street; Kylindo Electric Motor Company, 626 Broadway; 
Modern Electrical Construction and Repair Company, 324 
Longworth Street; The Ohio Machinery & Supply Company, 
433 East Pearl Street; Pleasant Electric Company, 109 West 
Second Street; The B. A. Wesche Electric Company, 1622 
Vine Street; Wheatley Electric Service, 2108 Feldman Avenue, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Norwood; Trumbull Electric Manufacturing Company, Lud- 
low, Kentucky; and Willey-Wray Electric Company, 1523 
Central Parkway. 

The Barriett Electric Manufacturing Company, 1628 Vine 
Street, and Krueger & Hudepohl, 5 East Third Street, produce 
electrical supplies. The George B. Klee Company, 626 Broad- 
way, Victor Electric Products, Inc., 712 Reading Road, and 
Winkler Electric Company, 114 East Thirteenth Street, manu- 
facture household and commercial fans. Completing the city's 
roster of machinery makers is the J. A. Fay & Eagan Company 
(1830), Thirty-Fourth and Robertson Avenues, Oakley, 
pioneer producer of woodworking machines. 

Iron and Steel Industry 

STEEL IS BASIC material for the construction of locomo- 
tives, railroad cars, airplane engines; motor cars, and giant 
ocean liners; it gives strength to the skyscraper and wear to the 
stair tread. The alloy (iron and carbon) is made in sheets, 
bars, plates, pipes, wire, beams, tees, and angles. 

Various processes are used to make steel. First the iron ore 
must be converted into pig iron by reduction in a blast furnace. 
Although pig iron can be refined for use as wrought iron, 
which is used extensively, it is too ductile and soft for tools, 
structural work, drawn wire, and sheets. Iron is converted into 
steel by cementation in a Bessemer converter, an open hearth 
furnace, or an electric furnace. Impurities, such as silicon, phos- 
phorus, sulphur, and manganese, are thus removed, and carbon 
and other substances (depending on the type of steel) added. 

Steel is categorized industrially in three general divisions. 
The first, referring to its manufacture, consists of cement, 
crucible, Bessemer, open hearth, duplex, and electric steel; the 
second, classified according to composition, plain steels, such 
as ingot iron, and simple carbon, alloy-treated, and alloy steels; 
and the third, considering its use, structural, tool, spring, boil- 
er, rail, pipe, and skelp or welding steel, sheets and tinplates, 
bars, case hardening, electrical, strip, hoop, free cutting, and 
cast, forged, and wrought steel. 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Although the Bessemer method (1856) was the first prac- 
tical process for converting iron into steel, it is still the simplest 
of the three in use. The molten pig iron is put into a barrel- 
shaped converter, through which a blast of cold air is forced 
under pressure. This furnishes oxygen to the mass and forms 
oxides of iron, silicon, manganese, and carbon. The residue, 
to which must be added carbon and other ingredients as 
required, is then ready for any special use to which the steel 
is put. Carbon is added in specific amounts by tipping the 
converter and injecting a high-grade carbon-iron called 
Spiegeleisen. When the mixture is complete, the molten steel is 
poured into a ladle, which is then emptied through a nozzle 
into ingot molds. After cooling, the steel ingots are ready to 
be shaped. 

The Siemens, or open hearth, process makes steel of greater 
strength. Capacity of a furnace is about 75 tons, and from 
eight to 12 hours are needed to produce a charge of steel. Pig 
iron, scrap steel, and limestone are put into the furnace, and 
the raw materials melted by producer gas, by-product gas, or 
fuel oil. When the process is complete, a plug at the end of 
the furnace is opened and the molten metal flows into a ladle, 
which then pours it into the molds for casting. 

Because high temperatures are controlled more easily in a 
neutral atmosphere, the electric furnace process (by which most 
alloy steels are now made) produces the best steel. 

About 75 percent of American steel is made by the open 
hearth process. Although it is more expensive than the Bessemer 
method, it gives the steel maker better control of the tempera- 
ture and composition of materials. Moreover, because of the 
lower sulphur and phosphorus content, the product is less 

After steel is made and poured into ingots it has to be shaped 
before it can be fabricated. To prevent collapse the ingot is 
placed in a soaking pit, where gas flames heat it to an even 
temperature. Then it is set on blooming mill rollers, which 
operate much like the ordinary clothes wringer. The slab is 
rolled back and forth until it reaches the desired shape and size. 
From the blooming mill come rails, billets, and armor plates. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Before special fabrication takes place the finishing mill rolls 
short slabs, or bars, into various shapes. Angles, merchant bars, 
beams, rods, hoops, and tubes are some of the products made 
either by the hot or cold working of the steel. 

The nation's iron and steel industry is first in product value. 
In 1935, 2,835,031 tons of steel were produced in America 
by the Bessemer method, 30,715,429 by the open hearth, 
541,492 by the electric furnace. The country made 545,316 
tons of ferro-alloys. Pig iron production totalled 20,827,195 
tons and 20,484,000 tons of iron ore were mined. 

Before Bessemer's discovery Cincinnati had become a na- 
tional leader for the making of cast and wrought iron products. 
The locale of the steel industry shifted when new sources of 
raw materials were found. As the Lake Superior ore region was 
exploited, ready transportation facilities speedily made Buffalo, 
Cleveland, Youngstown, Chicago, Gary, and Pittsburgh the 
leading centers of iron and steel manufacture. 

Meanwhile, the city's cast iron and foundry operations were 
expanded, and the fabrication of steel products developed. The 
Cincinnati industrial area is now the home of two leading 
independent, or "little steel," producers. The oldest of these 
is the Andrews Steel Company-Newport Rolling Mills, found- 
ed in 1891. At the plant of the Andrews Steel Company, on 
Licking Pike beyond the corporate limits of Newport, stand 
the open hearth furnaces. The steel ingots and bars of these 
furnaces arc taken to the Newport Rolling Mills, Ninth and 
Lowell Streets, Newport, where they are hot-or-cold-rolled 
into sheets and plates which are later galvanized or finished. 
Combined, the two plants give employment to about three 
thousand persons. 

In 1899 the appointment of a Middletown Mayor's Indus- 
trial Committee, with the authority to spend a hundred 
thousand dollars to attract industries, brought the leading 
"little steel" producer to Middletown. The committee opened 
negotiations with the American Steel and Roofing Company, 
Cincinnati, and eventually caused removal of the entire plant 
to Middletown. A new corporation, the American Rolling 
Mills, now known throughout the world by its trade name, 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

ARMCO, was founded, and in March 1901 the first plant was 
put into operation. Today the company, with executive offices 
and two huge plants at Middletown, a blast furnace at New 
Miami, near Hamilton, and mills at Ashland, Kentucky, and 
Kansas City, Kansas, employs more than 12 thousand people. 
About four thousand of these workers are on local payrolls. 

Armco steel products made at the Central plant on Curtis 
Street, Middletown, include strong and durable base metals 
needed in the manufacture of porcelain-treated products, such 
as refrigerators, kitchen ranges, bathroom equipment, washing 
machines, and materials for cooking utentsils. Enamel iron 
is rolled into sheets from ingots by a process invented by 
Armco engineers. A recent achievement of Armco laboratories 
is the producing of steel sheets for walls, floors, and other 
parts of a steel house. 

At the East Side plant, which covers some 40 acres, steel 
making ranges from the open hearth to the finishing processes. 
Here the iron ingots are melted and alloys added to form steel; 
then the sheets are rolled and galvanized before they are sent 
to the finishing departments. 

In 1927 Armco secured a foothold in the ownership of the 
Hamilton Iron & Coke Company, New Miami. Later it bought 
the entire company, and constructed a $1,200,000 railroad 
connecting New Miami and the Middletown plants. In 1937 
a million dollar blast furnace the first to be built in America 
since 1928 was "blown in." For three years or longer 
it will remain in continuous operation, producing four hundred 
tons of pig iron daily. Then operations will be stopped 
until the furnace is relined. 

Since 1935 more than four million dollars have been spent 
on improvements in the Middletown plant. A new research 
laboratory, replacing the one destroyed by an explosion in 
1935, was opened early in 1938, and in March the company 
announced plans for the construction of four new buildings 
costing 620 thousand dollars. 

Other local manufacturers of steel products are William 
Lang & Sons Company, 3280 Beekman Street, joists and 
structural products; L. Schreiber & Sons Company, 3863 Ivan- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

hoe Street, Norwood, structural goods; Southern Ohio Iron 
Works Company, Inc., 3229 Fredonia Avenue, structural 
things; Mitchell Steel Company, Beekman Street and Fricke 
Road, stainless steel; a"nd Acme Steel Company, 1507 Franklin 
Street, strip steel. 

Practically all American steel companies have sales offices or 
warehouses in the city, while those concerns distributing 
steel products are Jos. T. Ryerson 8 Son Inc., Front Street 
and Freeman Avenue; Durbow 8 Otte, 1426 Clay Street; 
Al Levinson Company, 800 Broadway; and A. W. Frank 
Company, 950 East Court Street. 


Chapter IX 

Carriages and Wagons The Automo- 
bile Age Fire Engines Saddlery 
Aircraft Making Gasoline Refining 

HE LONG STORY of the carriage and wagon manu- 
facturing trade begins in the days before 1800 when 
the villagers stood around and watched with awe the 
imported carriage of General James Wilkinson roll 
into Fort Washington. It tells of the assiduous work of an 
ambitious young city, of her pride in her handcraft, of the 
retreat before the advance of an age of steel and gasoline. 

The first Cincinnati-built wagon is said to have been con- 
structed in 1793 by William McCash, of Newport, who con- 
trived a crude watercart of two poles, with a cross-piece in 
the center the upper ends for shafts, and pegs upon the lower 
parts to keep the barrel in place. With this apparatus he peddled 
to the settlers water from the Ohio River. McCash also fash- 
ioned the first wheeled vehicle, a great curiosity, even in those 
days. Its wooden wheels, about two and a half feet in diameter 
and six inches thick, were fastened to an axle which revolved 
in large staples. 

In 1812 George C. Miller, who is credited with building 
the first wagons for sale in Cincinnati, reached the city from 
his native New Jersey. He found employment as a blacksmith, 
prospered, and in 1813 bought out his employer, Jacob Wil- 
liams. In this shop in 1824 Miller constructed the first steel- 
spring jig (a light one-horse carriage with a single pair of 
wheels) to be seen in the city; and Cincinnati gasped. Miller's 
carriage business developed rapidly during the next half-cen- 
tury. Factories operated by his firm produced landaus with 
glass and leather tops, clearances, coaches, landaulettes, demilan- 
daus, coupes, coupelettes, four- and six-seat rockaways, park 

THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

phaetons, both basket and panelled victorias, sulkies, and bug- 
gies galore, and also skeleton wagons and double and single- 
shaft patent side-bar wagons for light loads. 

Miller's success lured other wagon and coach builders to Cin- 
cinnati. Before long the many carriage and wagon shops were 
not only supplying the local demand, but also exporting ve- 
hicles to the south and west. 

In 1841, when Dan W. Sechler began making buggies and 
light road wagons, he founded a business which survived the 
change from horse-drawn to motorized vehicles, and is still 
operating. He built a quality product, and by 1879, when 
the company was incorporated as Sechler & Co., the firm had 
become the world's largest exporter of buggies, carts, and 
wagons. When the automobile superseded the wagon, Sechler 
& Co. immediately began experimenting with models and build- 
ing bodies for motor trucks. In 1913 after several years of 
research the firm produced the first trailer for automobiles. It 
was called Trailmobile. 

This original trailer was a crude affair consisting of a wooden 
body mounted on steel-flanged wheels, with an iron bar for 
attachment to the rear end of a motor vehicle. Constant research 
and improvement in design led to the manufacture of the 
tractor trailer. Sechler & Co. was reorganized under the name 
of the Trailmobile Company in 1913. In 1928 the present 
name, the Trailer Company of America, was adopted after 
Trailmobile had been merged with Lapeer Trailer Company, 
of Lapeer, Michigan. 

In 1938 the company was the nation's second largest maker 
of motor truck and tractor trailers. Its production schedule 
for the year encompassed about four thousand units, and the 
valuation was more than four million dollars. The firm ships 
its products to every part of the United States and to 20 
foreign countries. There are 650 workers regularly employed 
at the main plant, Thirty-fourth and Robertson Avenues, Oak- 
ley, and its subsidiary, Highland Body Company, Elmwood 
Place, where truck and trailer bodies are manufactured. A 
branch factory is at Oakland, California; sales offices are in 
Chicago, Cleveland, and New York. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Major departments in the main plant are a steel storeroom; 
a layout department, where the steel is measured and cut into 
shape; an assembly department; a machine shop; a tire and 
wheel department; an axle assembly; and a body-mounting 
shop. The paint shop has a daily capacity of 20 units, while 
in the engineering department a staff of 15 is employed to 
create new models. 

In 1845 John Roberts opened a wagon shop on the south 
side of Sixth Street, west of Vine Street, the present site of the 
Gifts Theater. In 1850 he entered into a partnership with 
John Curtis, a wagon maker who had arrived here in 1845 
from England, and opened a shop at 136-38 Pearl Street, where 
the business grew fast. But in 1862, following disagreement 
over design and construction methods, the partnership was dis- 
solved. Later Curtis and his two sons set up a shop on East 
Sixth Street, between Main and Sycamore Streets, using the 
firm name of John Curtis Sons' Company. There they con- 
tinued to manufacture fine light carriages. Roberts retained 
the Pearl Street plant and began building a heavier wagon. 
Curtis specialized in making racing sulkies, light road wagons, 
buggies, phaetons, and surreys. He devised the Curtis wheel, 
with a metal flange between spokes, and the patented "double 
perch" seat, both so distinctive in design that they were much 
copied in later years. In 1891, when the sons retired, the 
factory was closed. 

In 1846 John W. Gosling opened a small wagon shop at 
Canal and Twelfth Streets. He continued in business until 
1890, and was credited with many improvements in vehicle 
design. In 1891 the factory, together with Gosling's patents 
and trade marks, was purchased by the Smith-Eggers Com- 
pany, a firm which pioneered the making of rubber-tired bug- 
gies and phaetons in the Middle West. The first buggies with 
solid rubber tires, introduced here in 1891, were as astonishing 
to the citizens as the first fine wagons of a century ago. But 
the rubber age had come, and Smith-Egger designers fashioned 
carriage and wagon models equipped with rubber tires. Ready 
acceptance of this type of vehicle quickly forced other producers 
to make rubber-tired models. 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The decade from 1850 to 1860 saw a quick growth in the 
Cincinnati carriage and wagon industry. Competition was 
keen; producers made great claims regarding construction, de- 
sign, and load capacity of their vehicles, and quality and work- 
manship were stressed by salesmen. Since practically everything 
was done skillfully by hand, the prospective buyer of a car- 
riage or wagon could expect many years of service from any 
kind of vehicle. At that time it took only a week from the 
drawing of a wagon to take shape in wood, nails, and iron a 
rate of production which has not been improved upon even 
in an age of machine methods. 

In 1850 some of the prominent manufacturers of carriages 
and wagons were Charles Behlen, William Brickell, Moore & 
Albrecht (later known as Albrecht & Memer) , John Everett, 
B. R. Stevens, John Wilts, Porter & Smith, Joseph Gooding, 
H. Niemeyer & Co., F. Kinker & Sassee, Michael Moore and 
Adam Weshtier, and Isaac and Benjamin Bruce. In 1853 the 
J. R. Palmer Shop was also producing omnibusses to carry 
people about the city. Several years later the Bruce firm received 
an order to build the first horse-drawn street cars. They began 
service here in 1859. 

In 1853 the Crane & Breed Company, now the Crane & 
Breed Manufacturing Company, 1227 West Eighth Street, was 
established as a pioneer maker of horse-drawn hearses and car- 
riages. The firm is credited with building the nation's first 
automobile hearse (about 1906), elaborately decorated and 
mounted upon chassis supplied by the Winton Motor Company, 
Cleveland. At the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 the company 
won first prize with its intricately fashioned horse-drawn hearse. 
The prize entry later was sold to a South American undertaker 
for the record price of 10 thousand dollars. The firm discon- 
tinued the manufacture of hearses and carnages in 1924. . 

During the 1860's, when the North and the South were 
at loggerheads, the local wagon industry supplied the Union 
Army with mountings for cannon, supply and hospital wagons, 
ammunition carts, and several other kinds of wheeled vehicles. 

About 1870 William A. Savers, a young man from Green- 
field, Ohio, in search of a job, reached Cincinnati, and became 



HEARSES THROUGH THE YEARS (1870, 1910, 1938) 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

apprenticed as a carriage builder. When he completed his ap- 
prenticeship six years later at the J. W. Gosling shop, he opened 
a small factory of his own at Eighth and Sycamore Streets. 
The next year the firm of Sayers 8 Scovill, carriage builders, 
was established when Sayers took in as a partner A. H. Scovill, 
a bookkeeper, who supervised the business and financial depart- 
ments while Sayers superintended shop activities. 

The high-grade carriages turned out by the firm soon won 
the approval of carriage buyers. By 1887 the old factory was' 
outgrown, and because of expansion a new one was built at 
2247-67 Colerain Avenue, where the firm continued manu- 
facturing operations until fire destroyed the plant in 1916. 
Production was resumed at once, however, for the company 
was busy filling World War orders. In 1917, when the present 
plant at 2100 Gest Street was occupied, the manufacture of 
buggies was discontinued. After the death of Scovill in 1908, 
the current name, Sayers ft Scovill Company, was adopted. 

In 1905 the company, which had been specializing in horse- 
drawn hearses and ambulances, started tackling the problem of 
substituting motors for horses. Two years later the Sayers & 
Scovill Company was the first American manufacturer to ex- 
hibit this type of motorized equipment at the Chicago Auto 
Show. Since then the company has introduced many improve- 
ments in hearse and ambulance design. In 1937 it marketed 
the first air-conditioned ambulance built in America. Since 
practically all vehicles are custom-built, the price of equipment 
varies; the lowest priced hearse or ambulance body costs about 

Many of the 225 workers employed are craftsmen who served 
their apprenticeships with the company. More than 40 percent 
of the employees have been on the firm's payroll for from 20 
to 40 years. In 1912 when Sayers died the management was 
turned over to a group of workers. The present officers, all 
of whom have been with the company for more than 40 years, 
are F. F. Scovill, son of one of the founders, vice-president; 
C. G. Schott, secretary; Emil E. Hess, general manager; C. A. 
Eisenhart, sales manager; and Walter Lang, in charge of pur- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

One of the most disastrous fires of the wagon and carriage 
industry broke out June 7, 1881, and razed the plant of the 
Robinson Wagon Works, Eighth and Evans Streets, inflicting 
a loss of 30 thousand dollars. 

In 1890, when Cincinnati was the carriage and wagon mart 
of the world, production totalled 150 thousand units national 
production was 300,502 and the retail valuation was more 
than $11,250,000. The city's 86 large wagon and carriage 
shops built 115,672 vehicles, while the rest were constructed 
in the many small shops scattered about the city and suburbs. 
At that time the largest plant outside of Cincinnati was 
the Columbia Wagon Works, Hamilton, Ohio. 

Meanwhile, technical research had made practical the "horse- 
less carriage," and beginning in the late 1890's the carriage 
and wagon trade underwent a decided shrinkage. In 1898 the 
Spanish-American War temporarily halted competition from 
automobile manufacturers, and local wagon makers worked 
long and hard to fill Government orders for army equipment. 

Shortly after 1900 constant improvement in the design 
and performance of automobiles renewed the competition which 
by 1912 had become so great that activities in the local wagon 
trade were depressed. The World War, however, again stopped 
the decline in production; for Cincinnati manufacturers shared 
in the huge expenditures of foreign governments for all types 
of wheeled vehicles. With the close of the War the demand 
ceased, and practically every firm making wagons either has 
taken to producing motor trucks or gone out of business. 

Contrary to general belief, however, the manufacture of 
horse-drawn carriages and buggies is not a lost commercial art. 
In the Cincinnati industrial area, at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, 
the Standard Vehicle Company, largest of the four American 
carriage manufacturing firms, continues to build these vehicles. 
The concern was established in Cincinnati as the Brighton 
Buggy Company (1893). In 1919, when the present name 
was adopted, the factory was moved to Lawrenceburg. In 
1937 nearly nine hundred vehicles were produced and sold, 
the price averaging $75. The plant has a capacity of five 
thousand buggies a year. 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Automobile Era 

1890's when combustion was used to propell a vehicle on 
wheels. Bicyclists, who were creating a new traffic problem, 
laughed at newspaper stories about the invention of a horseless 
carriage able to do from 10 to 15 miles an hour. 

The origin of the automobile dates from 1619, when two 
Englishmen, Ramsay and Wilgoose, obtained a patent for a 
carriage without a horse as motive power. Because the machine 
did not work, the idea of a horseless carriage was laid aside. 
In 1680 a more celebrated Englishman, Sir Isaac Newton, built 
a machine without gearing that was moved by the return-action 
of a jet of steam. In 1769 the first steam automobile was made 
by Nicholas Cugnot, a French inventor; it had a maximum 
speed of three miles an hour, and was used to help transport 
artillery. Of the many kinds of steam carriages afterwards 
developed in England, the most successful was one (built by 
W. H. James) using a tubular boiler. In 1836 automobile 
making in England was stopped by the 'Red Flag" Act which 
required all mechanically moved vehicles to be preceded by a 
many carrying a red flag in the daytime and a lantern at night. 
This added hired staff was expensive, and the law was re- 
pealed in 1896. 

Meanwhile in 1886 the German inventor, Gottlieb Daimler, 
fitted a high-speed internal combustion engine to a bicycle, and 
Benz, also a German, made a mechanically operated tricycle. 
About the same time American inventors were trying to build 
a salable automobile. The most advanced models were con- 
structed by Duryea, Haynes, Ford, Selden, Briscol, Maxwell, 
Franklin, and White. Winton, of Cleveland, was one of the 
first American inventors to achieve commercial success. 

The decade of the 1890's opened with the horseless carriage 
still in its experimental and controversial stage. Even if it 
worked, people said, it could never take the place of the horse. 
Most Cincinnati carriage builders believed the new invention 
to be a mere fad that would disappear at the next change of 
public whim. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

But some far-sighted people thought differently. In Cincin- 
nati several mechanics tinkered with automotive models, and in 
1891, only a few weeks after it was announced from Paris that 
Panhard and Lavassor had demonstrated successfully a feasible 
motor car, Cincinnatians also heard a horseless carriage cough 
along city streets. 

One Sunday morning in 1891 early church-goers in St. Ber- 
nard looked and stood stock-still. Horses pranced and shied 
as they heard approaching a loud, sinister "putt-putt," and saw, 
coming up Vine Street, a carriage without even the ghost of a 
horse. Sitting proudly erect in the driver's seat was the owner 
and builder, W. G. Wagenhals, receiving with a satisfied smile 
the homage given him by onlookers. Wagenhals, general man- 
ager of the Cincinnati Incline Plane Railway Company, had 
built the flivver as a hobby in his spare time at the old car 
barns in St. Bernard. He had taken a two-seated buggy, 
discarded the shaft, and inserted at the front end a one-cylinder 
motor. The driving mechanism was attached by a chain and 
sprocket to the front wheels which were steel-flanged. Since 
multiple-speed gears had not been developed at the time, there 
was only one speed forward. The hand brake was regular 

During the next few years several more horseless carriages 
appeared on Cincinnati streets, but because of the cost the 
minimum price was two thousand dollars few people could 
afford what they still considered a toy with potentialities. The 
Zumstein Taxicab Company (now Cincinnati Taxicabs, Inc.) 
became the first in the city to make commercial use of motorized 
equipment when in 1893 it operated an automobile cab. Not 
until 1912, however, was the last horse-drawn cab taken out 
of service. 

During the last decade of the nineteenth century most auto- 
mobiles produced were experimental models. Between 1903 and 
1910 inventive activity brought forth many of these, some to 
be used for further experiments, others to be scrapped as un- 
feasible. Experiments were made with steering devices, trans- 
missions, multiple gears, and number of engine cylinders rang- 
ing from one to four, six, eight, and twelve. 



THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

During this formative period public acceptance of the motor 
car, despite all its mechanical shortcomings, its lack of comfort, 
and the scarcity of paved highways, was so marked that any 
manufacturer making cars was almost sure of success. Since 
1905 the automobile industry has grown from a new enter- 
prise into the nation's second largest industry. As the demand 
for motor cars mounted, several Greater Cincinnati companies 
were formed to build the product; but for some reason none 
of the models constructed here gained public approval. Among 
these were the old S. & S. (Sayers & Scovill) and the Republic, 
made in Hamilton. 

New problems arose as motor car sales increased. Municipal 
and State regulations which had proved successful in handling 
horse-drawn traffic had to be revised because of the automobile's 
greater speed. Motor car owners and makers demanded hard- 
surfaced streets and roads in place of the old cobblestone and 
dirt pike pavements. This demand, vigorously publicized, 
brought about an unparalleled era of road building costing hun- 
dreds of millions of dollars, which has made possible the present 
comparatively smooth city streets and the great highway sys- 
tems linking city to city across the nation. 

In 1911 a Cincinnati chauffeur was arrested on a charge of 
manslaughter after his motor car had killed a young man. Ac- 
cording to newspaper stories, a determined, but unsuccessful, 
effort was made to establish a precedent that would enforce care- 
ful driving by motorists. But the traffic problems arising from 
the greater use of automobiles have never been entirely solved; 
In 1937 deaths in Cincinnati and Hamilton County caused by 
automobile accidents numbered 188, while in the nation there 
were more than 37 thousand. Only in 1934, when motor 
car mishaps took 105 lives, was the city's 1937 total exceeded. 

Since 1910, and particularly since the War, constant improve- 
ments have been made in automobile design and performance. 
Included among the major mechanical advances arc the self- 
starter; electric lights instead of the old-time carbide lamps; 
electric ignition replacing the magneto systems; automatic 
clutch control; and safer steering and braking apparatus. The 
use of shatterproof glass has also proved its value. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

At present much research is being carried on to develop a 
light-weight diesel motor adaptable to passenger cars. Since 
1930 this type of motor, which burns a cheap grade of fuel 
oil, has been successfully used in railroad engines, trucks, trac- 
tors, busses, and motor boats. It is comparatively cheaper to 
operate than the gasoline motor. 

Cincinnati refused its big opportunity to become an auto- 
mobile manufacturing center. Both in 1901 and 1902 Henry 
Ford and J. W. Packard came to Cincinnati to secure capital 
with which to market their inventions. They realized they 
needed patents owned by Cincinnati carriage manufacturers for 
the construction of automobile bodies. Since Cincinnati was 
the center for this trade, they hoped to persuade executives of 
some of the larger plants to finance the manufacture of the 
engines while the carriage-makers built the bodies. After repeat- 
ed efforts the two men failed to get the capital they needed. 

At that time the Packard brothers, J. W. and W. D., were 
partners in an electrical manufacturing concern at Warren, Ohio. 
In 1898 J. W. Packard had purchased one of the first auto- 
mobiles made in Cleveland. After tinkering for some time 
he invented a number of gadgets which improved motor per- 
formance. Later he began building automobiles, most of which 
were bought by his friends. Packard returned to Warren after 
he was unable to interest Cincinnati financiers in his inventions. 
Several months later a group of wealthy men living in Detroit 
organized the Packard Motor Car Company, and named J. W. 
Packard president. In 1903 the first Packard motor cars were 
produced at the Detroit plant; two hundred were sold that year. 

As early as 1900 Henry Ford, after building his first car 
in 1893, was trying to manufacture automobiles at a price the 
working man could pay. Failing in Cincinnati, he interested 
several Detroit capitalists, among whom were the late Senator 
James A. Couzens and Horace Dodge, and with their aid or- 
ganized the Ford Motor Car Company. 

Since 1890 more than nine hundred makes of motor cars 
have been produced in America. Only 26 standard ones were 
being manufactured in 1938, and both Packard and Ford auto- 
mobiles were among the leaders in their price fields. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

In January 1915 Henry Ford returned to Cincinnati and 
opened a branch plant for the assembly of his products. Mean- 
time he had revolutionized American industrial practices by 
instituting nearly complete mechanization in production and 
assembly at his Detroit factories which lowered the unit cost 
of an automobile so much that other manufacturers speedily 
adopted similar methods. Now the Ford Motor Company's 
River Rouge (Michigan) plant is the world's largest single 
industrial factory group; it has made and sold more motor 
cars than any other plant in the world. In 1937 the company's 
production was 1,314,369 units, a total exceeded only in 1930 
and 1935. Of these, 1,027,701 units were made and assembled 
in the United States. The Cincinnati plant of the company, 
660 Lincoln Avenue, when first opened (1915) was considered 
the ultimate development in straight-line production methods, 
but now, because of rapid technological advance, the building, 
although it is still used, has become obsolete for economical 
operation. The local Ford plant assembles passenger cars and 
trucks for distribution to dealers in southwestern Ohio, south- 
eastern Indiana, northern Kentucky, and sections of Virginia, 
West Virginia, and Tennessee. Engines, bodies, wheels, and 
parts are shipped here to be assembled, painted, and trimmed 
by Cincinnati workmen. In 1937 about 485 persons, whose 
payroll aggregated 885 thousand dollars, were given employ- 

In 1920 Ford opened a second factory in the Cincinnati in- 
dustrial area. This plant, at Hamilton, originally made Fordson 
tractor parts. In 1921, when the company discontinued the 
manufacture of tractors, new machinery was installed for the 
making of steel wheels and automotive parts, such as radius 
rods, door locks, and stampings. During 1937 the factory 
gave employment to about 1,400 persons, who received an esti- 
mated two million dollars in wages. The plant is still typical 
of the Ford producing system. All manufacturing operations 
are conducted on the straight line method of assembly in which 
an article moves constantly forward on an endless conveyor 
and after passing through hundreds of hands takes final shape, 
and is ready for shipment. 




THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Packard, the other automobile inventor who could not raise 
capital in Cincinnati, also is represented locally through the 
Packard Motor Car Company by the Citizens Motor Car Com- 
pany (1904), Seventh and Main Streets, distributor in the 
Greater Cincinnati area. 

In 1923 the Chevrolet division of the vast General Motors 
Corporation, realizing the advantages of Cincinnati as a distri- 
bution center, constructed an assembly plant on Smith Road, 
Norwood. That same year the Fisher Body Corporation, an- 
other GMC unit, opened a body factory adjoining the Chevrolet 
plant. Now there are about 2,100 highly skilled workers 
employed by the two firms in Cincinnati, with an estimated 
annual payroll of $3,380,000. The Norwood plants have a 
production capacity of more than three hundred units daily. 
Dealers in southern Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, 
and Tennessee are supplied with passenger cars and trucks as- 
sembled here. 

All other American motor car manufacturers are represented 
locally by dealers and distributors, while several major producers 
also have factory or divisional sales offices here. Most of these 
sales agencies are on upper Gilbert Avenue, the city's "auto- 
mobile row." 

For about a decade after the automobile became a major 
cog in the wheels of national industry, only a slight recession 
disturbed carriage making in Cincinnati. At that time most 
of the earlier automobiles were simply carriages driven by en- 
gines. The wagon maker did not fear competition, for the 
early motor truck manufacturer supplied only the engine and 
chassis. Local wagon artisans were kept busy making the 

The first bodies were patterned after the single-seat buggy, 
which seated two persons. Next came the surrey model, which 
had neither door nor top and carried three passengers and the 
driver. Faster motors brought more dust and wind, and in 1904 
the first glass-enclosed bodies, made of molded wood, rolled 
from the shops. Then collapsible tops of a waterproofed ma- 
terial were set on the frame, and presto, here was the touring 
car. Until about 1925 Cincinnati factories worked hard to 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

supply these tops. Later sheet metal replaced wood, and now 
bodies, stamped in one operation, are usually built wholly of 
steel. The body currently popular is streamlined in the shape 
of a long ellipse tapering to a point. 

Although the Republic Motor Car Company, Hamilton, pro- 
duced fairly successful automobiles for three years, Greater Cin- 
cinnati manufacturers very early decided to give up the passenger 
car business and make trucks. From 1900 to 1915, therefore, 
Cincinnati produced trucks as well as bodies. During the World 
War Greater Cincinnati motor truck manufacturers had more 
orders than they could possibly fill, and firms such as Armleder, 
Schacht, and the United States Motor Truck Company, Cov- 
ington, adopted a 24-hour-day working schedule. At that time 
the Armleder plant, occuping the old Smith-Eggers Carriage 
and Wagon Company factories at Canal (now Central Park- 
way) and Twelfth Streets, was the city's largest motor truck 
builder, the United States Motor Truck Company was second, 
and the George Schacht Motor Truck Company was third. 

The Armleder plant reached its production peak in the 
early 1920's, but thereafter the sales of trucks declined and 
about 1925 the concern finally went out of business. Much 
of this loss in trade could be traced to rising competition in 
the industry, for almost every automotive manufacturer was 
marketing trucks as well as passenger cars. 

After the War the Schacht firm continued to make heavy- 
duty trucks, and later produced busses. The concern's future 
seemed bright when the principal motor car makers started 
quantity truck production. In the early 1930's this policy 
resulted in acute price competition, which soon worried the local 
producer. Fresh capital, however, was supplied by the LeBlond 
interests, and the company now known as the LeBlond Schacht 
Motor Truck Company, in a plant at 800 Evans Street, still 
makes custom heavy-duty trucks and chassis. 

In 1920 another local truck concern was formed. In- 
corporated as the Biederman Motors Corporation, it opened 
a factory at Spring Grove Avenue and Bernard Street. In 1937 
the production schedule called for more than a hundred trucks 
and busses. An order from the United States Government for 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

several large 10- wheeled army trucks of new design also was 
completed during the year. 

In 1938 sales offices and repair and distribution facilities 
were maintained in Cincinnati by all major truck concerns. 
Among these are the White and Indiana Companies, producers 
of trucks and busses, 2230 Gilbert Avenue; Reo trucks and 
busses, 916 Sycamore Street; Autocar and Studebaker trucks 
and busses, 243 West McMicken Avenue; Diamond T Motor 
Truck Company, 2642 Spring Grove Avenue; Twin Truck 
Company, 1116 Jackson Street; Federal Trucks, 3126 Spring 
Grove Avenue; General Motors Corporation (trucks and 
busses), retail store 1930 Central Parkway, wholesale plant 
and storage, 4526-34 Chickering Avenue; International trucks 
and busses, 2336 Iowa Street; Mack International Motor Truck 
Corporation trucks, busses, and fire-fighting apparatus, 1223 
West Eighth Street; and Stewart trucks, 1524 John Street. 
Lighter trucks and busses produced by the Ford, Chevrolet, and 
Dodge motor car companies on a quantity schedule can be 
bought from the many agencies of these firms in Greater Cin- 

In 1937 about seven hundred people made, sold, repaired, 
and distributed motor trucks in the Cincinnati area. The 
payroll was estimated at about $1,150,000. 

In Cincinnati the transition from the wagon to auto body 
was slow; even in 1938 several local firms built horse-drawn 
vehicles on special order. Included among these were American 
Wagon and Truck Company, 725 Sycamore Street; Amann 
& Linser, 1766 Central Avenue; Freeman Avenue Wagon Shop, 
530 Freeman Avenue; and Graue Auto Body Company, 3258- 
64 Spring Grove Avenue. These concerns also build and repair 
motor truck bodies. 

Other Cincinnati firms manufacturing truck bodies are Bode- 
Finn Inc., established (1868, incorporated as Bode-Finn Equip- 
ment Company, Inc., 1938), 1650 Central Avenue, manufac- 
turers of wood, steel, aluminum, and insulated refrigerator 
bodies; Lawrence Bruder, 211-13 West Second Street, maker 
of steel dump bodies; Davis Welding and Manufacturing Com- 
pany, 1110 Richmond Street, producers of truck, trailer, and 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

welded tank bodies; Haberer 8 Co., 609 Summer Street; Kelly 
Auto Body Company, Richmond and Harriet Streets, manufac- 
turer of custom-built truck and trailer bodies, delivery and stake 
bodies, moving and horse vans, and insulated and refrigerator 
bodies; Jas. Kidney Company, 433 East Second Street, fabrica- 
tor of school and pasenger busses, refrigerator, hoist, and dump 
bodies; Lenser Company, 1509 Barton Street; Lienesch & Heisel, 
635 West Fifth Street; Martin Senft Sons, 5032 Spring Grove 
Avenue; and Finn Auto Body Shop, 15 West Charlton Street. 
In addition, the Freuhauf Company, Detroit, the nation's 
largest manufacturer of tractor trailers, maintains a Cincinnati 
sales,. repair, and distribution plant on Richmond Street. Many 
Cincinnati shops specialize in repair work, giving employment 
to about two hundred workers, whose annual pay is estimated 
at 325 thousand dollars. 

Several firms now making truck bodies were among the 
pioneer Cincinnati wagon producers. Among these are American 
Wagon and Truck Company, formerly American Wagon 
Works; Amann 8 Linser; Bode-Finn, Inc., formerly Bode 
Wagon Works; Haberer 8 Co., Inc., and Kelly Auto Body 
Company, formerly Kelly Wagon Company. In 1937 the 
number of workers regularly employed at these plants and at 
the Trailer Company of America and the Highland Body Com- 
pany was about 1,400. The estimated annual payroll was two 
million dollars. 

Cincinnati likewise has many concerns which produce parts 
for automobile and truck manufacturers. Among these are 
Corcoran-Brown Lamp Company, 4890 Spring Grove Avenue, 
and the K. D. Lamp Co., 610 West Court Street, makers of 
auto and truck reflecting lamps; Aluminum Industries, Inc., 
Beekman Street, aluminum pistons and other automotive and 
airplane parts; American Oak Leather Company, makers of 
leather for seat covers; Conway Clutch Company, Queen City 
Avenue, clutches; Formica Company (1913), insulation and 
electrical equipment; Recto Molded Products Inc., Appleton 
Street and B. & O. Railroad, accessories; Randall Company 
(1858, incorporated 1905), 5000 Spring Grove Avenue, auto- 
mobile body trim specialties; Biltmore Manufacturing Com- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

pany, 1501 Freeman Avenue, automobile seat covers; Cincin- 
nati Gear Company, 1825 Reading Road; and Metal Specialty 
Company, B. & O. Railroad and Este Avenue, parts. In 1937 
the number of workers employed in the plants of the parts 
industries was about three thousand, while the estimated annual 
payroll amounted to $5,200,000. 

In less than 40 years the automotive group of trades in 
Cincinnati has grown from a mere idea into one of the city's 
major industries. Besides the manufacturing plants, hundreds 
of small garages and repair shops are scattered about the city, 
fiilling stations supply gasoline and oil, while tire and tube 
stores and repair shops, all employing several thousand workers, 
add to the wealth in 1937 estimated at more than 50 million 
dollars which the automotive trade has brought to Cincinnati. 

Manufacture of Fire Engines 

ALLIED WITH WAGON MAKING is the industry begun 
in Cincinnati by Alexander Bonner Latta, inventor and builder 
of the world's first successful steam fire engine. From the small 
business he founded has come the Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine 
Company, one of the country's uppermost producers of motor- 
ized fire-fighting engines and apparatus. 

Although hand-pump fire-fighting machines had been manu- 
factured in Cincinnati since 1815, Latta was the pioneer builder 
of the steam-operated equipment. In January 1853 he success- 
fully tested his steam fire-fighting engine before awed city offi- 
cials and a large gathering of citizens watching the demonstration 
at the Public Landing. The apparatus, called the Joe Ross, 
was instantly bought by the city and an order was given Latta 
for a second machine, called Citizen's Gift because the money 
for its purchase was raised by popular subscription. By 1857 
the Cincinnati Fire Department was using seven of Latta's 
machines. The original steam fire engines were quaintly mounted 
upon three wheels and drawn by four horses. 

Latta retired from business in 1862 after transferring his 
patents to the Lane ft Bodley Company, at the time one of 
the largest machine shops in Cincinnati. Following the transfer, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Chris Ahrens, who had started his career as an apprentice for 
Latta, became superintendent of fire-engine construction for Lane 
& Bodley. In 1868 Ahrens acquired the patents from the firm 
and established a factory on Webster Street. Construction inno- 
vations soon followed ; without lessening efficiency the improved 
designs afforded lighter engines in new bodies. Four wheels 
were used instead of three, cylindrical boilers replaced the old 
rectangular type, two horses stood in the place of four, and 
the driver sat upon the machine instead of straddling one of 
the horses. 

The progress made in engine design and performance by 
Ahrens brought orders for Ahrens' improved apparatus from 
many a city, and the Ahrens' Fire Engine Company went along 
successfully until 1901, when the firm was merged with three 
Eastern concerns. The resulting New York corporation was 
called the American Fire Engine Company. Although executive 
headquarters were in Seneca Falls, New York, the Cincinnati 
plant on Webster Street was kept open. 

In 1901, also, Charles H. Fox, then an assistant chief of the 
Cincinnati Fire Department, resigned to become a supervisor 
of the Ahrens plant. Fox invented a new kind of boiler, which 
became the basis of the Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Company, 
incorporated in 1905. The company immediately started mak- 
ing the Metropolitan, considered the best steam fire-fighting 
machine of its day. 

The firm introduced its first motor-driven pumper in 1912, 
several years after manufacturing facilities had been transferred 
from Webster Street to a plant at Colerain Avenue and Alfred 
Street. The first motorized apparatus was sold to the City of 
Rockford, Illinois, where it is still in service. 

New motor design and augmented water pressure capacity 
of the pumpers came with the years, and the company carried 
its head high until 1929 when the stock market crash and the 
ensuing economic depression slackened production. In 1936 
the trade name, patents, and good-will of the Ahrens-Fox Fire 
Engine Company were bought by the LeBlond Schacht Motor 
Truck Company, and the plant moved to 800 Evans Street. 
New ownership revived the business, and the firm is again 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

shipping motorized pumpers, ladder trucks, and life-saving 
trucks to all parts of the world. 

Harness and Saddle Trade 

CINCINNATI IN 1890 was one of America's best harness 
producing centers; it had 89 firms manufacturing articles valued 
at about $3,500,000. At that time some of the plants were 
making from 20 thousand to 52 thousand sets of harness, from 
10 thousand to 30 thousand riding saddles, and from a hundred 
thousand to 180 thousand horse collars annually. The largest 
firm was Graf, Morsbach & Company. 

Beginning as early as 1810, the city's harness trade grew up 
with the wagon industry. Sales began to lapse about 1910. 
Because of large army orders production turned upward slightly 
during the World War, but by 1920 sales again started slip- 
ping. In 1938 only a few small shops made harness and sad- 
dles. Among these were Kurzynski Manufacturing Company, 
1608 Central Avenue, founded in 1880, now the city's largest 
producer; Langenbrunner Leather Good Company, 137 East 
Pearl Street; J. B. Schaaf, 2175 Spring Grove Avenue; John 
V. Seiler, 7207 Vine Street, and David Strom, 1578 Central 

When the harness and saddle business was at its peak in 1890 
hundreds of hands were employed, with their total wages about 
a million dollars. About 50 workers, earning an estimated 60 
thousand dollars yearly, are now employed. 

Manufacture of Aircraft 

MANUFACTURE OF AIRCRAFT in Cincinnati dates 
from 1910, seven years after the Wright Brothers of Dayton, 
Ohio, had built and operated the world's first successful heavier - 
than-air machine. In 1 9 1 the Jungclass Automobile Company, 
the first concern of its kind between New York City and St. 
Louis, began fashioning an airplane called the Cincinnati Mono- 
plane. The firm assembled flying machines and sold parts and 
accessories. That same year the Lanier & Driesbach Manufac- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

luring Company, acting as sales agents, imported an airplane 
from France. During the ensuing years several other small 
plants for the building of airplanes have come to the city. 

In a factory at the municipal Lunken Airport the Aeronaut- 
ical Corporation of America (1928) today manufactures the 
Aeronca, a sporting and training monoplane popular with flyers. 
Two hundred planes were produced in 1936, and about three 
hundred in 1937. Every operation, from the making of the 
engine to final assembly, is done at the factory. The firm 
regularly employs about 75 people; the annual payroll is more 
than 1 20 thousand dollars. 

Refining of Gasoline 

ANOTHER INDUSTRY, dating from the latter part of 
the 1890's, is the refining of gasoline. During the early days of 
the petroleum industry before research scientists had discovered 
that a by-product of crude oil could turn combustion engines, 
millions of gallons of the semi-distilled liquid were thrown 
away as waste. At that time (1870) fractional distillation of 
petroleum yielded such volatile products as kerosene, lubricating 
oils, and paraffin. Near the turn of the century it was dis- 
covered that additional refining processes could evolve a liquid 
for use as a carburetant. The principal products distilled from 
petroleum today include cymogene, a gaseous liquid; rhigolene; 
petroleum ether; gasoline; naptha; ligroine; and benzine. 

There are now two general methods used in making gaso- 
line, distilling and refining, or by "cracking" crude -oil. In frac- 
tional distillation gasoline is derived from petroleum by a 
process of boiling off various substances of crude oil at different 
temperatures. The "cracking" process breaks down the heavier 
hydrocarbons by means of pressure and heat until the fluid 
gasoline is obtained. Another process, called hydrogenation, is 
used to convert coal into oil, which is then processed into 

About 1900 the city's first refinery for the processing of 
gasoline was operated by the Moore Oil Company, York Street, 
now part of the Union Terminal development. The firm later 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

became one of the links in the chain of the vast Pure Oil Com- 
pany, a national corporation with headquarters in Chicago. 
Stock of the Pure Oil Company is still traded on the Cincinnati 
Stock Exchange. A number of other small refineries established 
here during the early days of the industry were later merged 
with larger organizations having national sales outlets. 

In 1930 the Gulf Refining Company, Pittsburgh, construct- 
ed a large refinery in Hooven, just west of Cincinnati. This 
plant receives by pipeline, river barge, and railroad tank car, 
the crude oil which is to be processed into gasoline. After refin- 
ing, the finished products of gasoline and lubricating oils are 
supplied to retail dealers in the Greater Cincinnati area. In 1937 
the payroll of the plant amounted to nearly a million dollars. 

Standard Oil Company of Kentucky operates a refinery at 
Latonia (Covington) , Kentucky, while the Standard Oil Com- 
pany of Ohio (1865) in 1937 constructed a refinery and 
wholesale storage plant at Bridgetown, just west of Cincinnati. 
Pipelines connect the Bridgetown plant with the one in North- 
ern Kentucky. The old Cincinnati storage tanks and plant of 
the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, on Spring Grove Avenue, 
were destroyed by fire on January 25, 1937, during the great 

Other gasoline refiners with storage tanks and distribution 
in the Greater Cincinnati region are Boswell Oil Company, 
Traction Building, Fifth and Walnut Streets, carload lots 
only; Cincinnati Oil Works Company, 535 Eggleston Avenue; 
Cincinnati Vulcan Ohio Company, 5353 Spring Grove Ave- 
nue; Dana Oil Company, Dana Avenue and Duck Creek Road; 
Eureka Oil Company, Amity Road, Reading; The Hall- 
Ratterman Oil Company, Carew Tower, Fifth and 
Vine Streets; Parkway Oils, Inc., 5750 Carthage Avenue, 
Norwood; Keenan Oil & Fuel Company, 1753 Eastern Ave- 
nue; Merchants Oil Company, 1600 Reading Road; United 
Petroleum Company, Reading Road and Tennessee Avenue; 
Ohio Refining & Terminal Company, 4201 Listen Avenue; 
Powerful Petroleum Company, Dane Street and Chase Avenue; 
Shell Petroleum Corporation, Tennessee Avenue; Gold Medal 
Oil Company, 1089 Gilbert Avenue; Re-Go Gasoline & Oil 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Corporation, 5566 Vine Street; Verkamp-Withrow Oil Com- 
pany (1931), Spring Grove and Este Avenue; and Valvoline 
Oil Company (Leonard 8 Ellis, Brooklyn, 1866), 527 East 
Fifth Street. The Valvoline Company, having capital of 10 
million dollars, is controlled by Cincinnatians; it has refineries 
in Butler and Warren, Pennsylvania, a grease compounding 
plant in Franklin, Pennsylvania, warehouses in 275 American 
cities, and sales outlets in 44 foreign countries. 


Chapter X 

Graphic Arts Daily and Weekly 
Newspapers The Great Press Associa- 
tions Newsmen Who Made News 

NLY FIVE YEARS after .the first settlers reached Cin- 
cinnati in 1788 a New Jersey printer decided that 
both he and the Northwest Territory would profit if 
he were to start a newspaper. Overland to Pittsburgh 
he brought a supply of paper, a small hand press, ink, and some 
type. A flatboat carried him and his equipment to Losantiville. 
On the second floor windows of a shack on the river front he 
painted "The Centinel of the North- Western Territory. Open 
to all parties but influenced by none" the birth notice of 
the first newspaper north of the Ohio River. Maxwell's weekly 
publication faithfully recorded village, Territorial, and national 
events, and his shop also supplied merchants and tradesmen 
with printed matter. 

So began the graphic arts in Cincinnati. In almost a century 
and a half the business has grown from a one-man shop into 
an important trade employing about six thousand workers, 
whose annual wages are more than $11,100,000. In 1937 its 
products were valued at more than 30 million dollars. 

Cincinnati printing and publishing have at some time or 
other reached the life of practically every American. From the 
city's printing and publishing plants have come text and re- 
ligious books, playing cards, periodicals, bibles; envelopes, 
stationery, filing cards, and accounting systems; labels; sheet 
music; wrappers, boxes; catalogues, advertising brochures, fold- 
ers, and multigraphed sales letters. Many magazine and news- 
paper advertisements have been printed from local copy and 
electrotypes manufactured here; and multi-colored posters on 
billboards and in store windows have been lithographed in the 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

city. Even the blind have been given light by Braille books 
embossed in the Queen City. 

In 1938 Cincinnati was represented in every phase of the 
graphic arts industry except one, rotogravure printing. The 
printing plants of the United States Playing Card Company 
and of The Billboard, theatrical trade publication, are among 
the largest on the globe, while the Rapid Electrotype Company 
is the world's leading producer of electrotypes. 

Cincinnati's Newspapers 

FROM THE TIME William Maxwell, on November 9, 
1793, printed the first edition of the Centinel of the North- 
Western Territory local newspapers have been the mirror of 
the passing world. The garretlike offices, the hand lever presses, 
the hand-set type all have been superseded. Now ultra- 
modern buildings house hundreds of workers, who use many 
mechanical devices in speedily preparing the modern newspaper. 

The Centinel differed little from its contemporaries. Each of 
its four pages was as big as that of America's first newspaper, 
the Boston Present State of the New-English Affairs (1689) 
the size of a man's handkerchief. The first issue of the paper 
had no local news and only a few advertisements; its foreign 
stories were about six months old. The copy dated April 12, 
1794 carried news stories from Marietta (eight days old), New 
York (56 days), and London (about five months). The 
newsprint, difficult to obtain, was very light brown in color, 
and most of the type had been carved from wood. 

In 1794 Maxwell hired an assistant to help publish the 
Centinel and the early Territorial laws. In July he became the 
town's second postmaster, succeeding Abner Dunn. In 1796, 
he became so embroiled in politics that journalism seemed tame. 
That year Maxwell sold the newspaper to Edmund Freeman, 
who immediately renamed it Freeman's Journal. The Journal 
was published here regularly until 1800 when the plant was 
removed by Freeman to Chillicothe, then the capital of the 
Northwest Territory. The name of the weekly was called the 
Chillicothe Gazette. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Meanwhile, the first edition of the more important Western 
Spy was issued by Joseph Carpenter on May 28, 1799. The 
paper was irregularly published as a weekly until 1809 when 
the plant was purchased by Carney and Morgan and the paper 
renamed the Whig. About a year later it was resold, and as the 
Advertiser was published until 1811. From the cockloft of a 
log cabin on Sycamore Street Looker and Wallace sent forth the 
Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Mercury (1804) until it was ab- 
sorbed in 1815 by the Cincinnati Gazette. John W. Brown 
was editor. Brown was an ambitious poohbah who also 
preached the gospel, sold patent medicines, kept the town rec- 
ords, and played hide and seek with citizens angered by his 
editorials. In 1814 the publishers printed on the front page a 
stern warning that subscribers "one year in arrear, must soon 
pay wheat or money." At the same time the owners were try- 
ing to induce someone, preferably an editor, to purchase the 
little four-page weekly. Their advertisements specified that the 
new owner must be a man "whose sentiments are decidedly 
Republican and who is in favor of a vigorous prosecution of 
the war against the modern Goths." 

Thereafter a variety of serial publications came to life, 
sparkled for a time, and went into oblivion papers such as 
the Literary Cadet, The Olio, The Spirit of the West, The 
Western Tiller. All these earlier newspapers seem dull enough 
today, but to readers of a simpler day they were marvels. 

Cincinnati's first daily newspaper, the first to be published 
west of Philadelphia, was the Commercial-Register. After a 
troublous six months the paper suspended in 1826. Eleven 
years later, merchants of the city who had learned the value 
of daily advertising during the life of the Commercial-Register 
prevailed upon the Gazette publishers to start a daily issue, the 
first of which was read by 125 some say 167 subscribers. 
The paper, 19 by 26 inches, carried a few inches of advertising, 
and was printed on a small hand press. Charles Hammond was 
editor and William Dodd, who clipped exchanges, gathered 
and wrote news, made up the forms, and read proof, was his 
only assistant. In 1840 the Gazette plant was moved from its 
original location on Main Street, above Fifth Street, to the new 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

L'Hommedieu Building on Main Street, between Third and 
Fourth Streets. 

On April 25, 1840 Wilmerton, Starbuck 8 Brown pub- 
lished the first edition of the weekly Spirit of the Times, which 
became the Daily Times, with Edwin R. Campbell as editor, 
on January 8, 1841. On April 10, 1841 the Daily Cincinnati 
Enquirer appeared, with John Brough as editor, and his broth- 
er, Charles, as co-publisher. The two had bought the plant 
and assets of Dawson & Fisher's Advertiser & Journal. At that 
time the paper was an evening daily, but seven years later, in 
an effort to take advantage of mailing schedules, it became a 
morning newspaper. A prospectus of the Enquirer, appearing 
in the first edition, read: 

... we do not design to enter into a lengthy disserta- 
tion upon politics or general questions, but merely in as 
few words as practicable, to lay down the general princi- 
ples which will govern our Editorial course. 
In politics, the Enquirer will, in a firm and unflinching, 
yet ever dignified and courteous manner, sustain the prin- 
ciples and policy of the great Democratic party of the 
country; those principles and that policy which have 
marked the administration of the government (with the 
exception of a single presidential term) for the period 
of forty years ... in sustaining these great principles, 
and laboring to ensure their permanent triumphs. . . . 
Commercial intelligence and other valuable information 
will receive due attention. . . . With this brief outline . . . 
we throw ourselves upon a community to whom we are 
measurably strangers; content, in the integrity of our 
motives, to be judged by our future course. 

In 1842 Curtis & Hastings, printers, established the Cincin- 
nati Daily Commercial, the first issue of which appeared on 
October 2. The editors broke with precedent by using bright 
stories, many paragraphs, some fiction, and well-selected odds 
and ends, including articles about animals which delighted 

Coming from the weekly Columbian, where he had been 
associate editor, Murat Halstead (1829-1908) joined the 
Commercial staff in 1853. The firm of M. Halstead & Co. 
was formed May 16, 1866 to take over the publication from 



CENTINEL of the North-western TERRITORY 

Open to all parties but influenced by none. 

( VoL I, ) 


( Num. r. ) 

The Printer of the CENTINEL of the 

Honk-Wests r/w/roAr,-to 

the Public 

HAVING arrived at Citix*ti, he has ap- 

ra*n of public -fpifit will coofxtcr tke vsn- 
*U:rtjJ-Jn^ a,** aaropjrro^jrctaf att>?nnou> anU 
nrKcotvfulttr.crt'y tl><- r own in- 1- tonal iatc- 
rca, but the iuKtfit of the pubiU and Uic 
comity time. 

The reft if fats outline may be given in a 
ffwdVokesi one mi^ht put it into tlK bnd 
oianyonetodcGgn, for 'twas neither elat 
nor other wife, butat cbaracter and cxprel- 
fin nia<l- it fis it waa thin, fpar* form- 
fo:nli5iig above the comma* lue, if it loft 

principal object of tis re soval to this coun- 
try, the Publication of a ftevi-faftr. 
fhUcoaatry is in Us infancy, and the }h- 

The M O NX. 

A POOR monk of the order of St. Frn;i 

figure bat it wa the altitude of entrry ,; 
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WK their babsmions. Wears well aware 
that the want f a rejiclur aud certain trudc 

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the fjHrx of cootwgtncles- or one man y 

whUh he journey 'd being in >(* right) 
whculhadgat t-Joi'c up to him, iic iotroduc. 

Tfcefz ire dlkoara&irmcjits, nvertacH-&l aai 

ne^ftM f La"~m be as it may -for there 
U no regatar reafoaiag upon the ebb* and 

of bieinvcaf, and the poverty oflns .seder 
a.a dl.-I it with fo Emple a t-race-and fuejj 

ttil'|>.">fil to promote fcicnc*. and have lie 
falieft '4Wanc that the frtfi from Us known 
utility "will r<scl<re proper ruoirag<neat. 
And my pt m <osuat with fmH gain,, 
at theprefeot, flattering myfelf that from at- 
tention to bufiiMft, 1 Oi.ll pftfcrvt tlir goo.1 

wiffcei of ihofc who have-already countenanc- 
ed me hi tbU undertaking, and fecurc the 
friendfciD of <bfeqent population, 
tt i Co be ho>x:<i tiiat uic CtTj)ll \viH 
prove of gtwt u.ility 10 the pcopl* of lh! 
Country, tot oly to inform them of what i 
goi5 o on the c.1 of tfee Atlantic in uruis, 
and vo art* of peace- -bat what marc paruco- 
Url concerns u, the diligent mnuAiou* 
of the fU*in th?ud!n. nut efpcciaily of 

the Came caufs, for ooght 1 kn'u*, wtiicb in- 
fiacQc the tides ttxaU'efret-'twouUi oft be 
no difcr^dlt to u> fuppofc it wn fo ; I'mfure 
at laft for royfcif, that ianutar i cafe 1 fiiouid 
be more highly iati.^ed, to have it fi4 by 
the world, I haJ an affair witit tb< moon. 
to which there wai xetther (in nor fearac," 
than' Have it pafft Altogether as >y owa ad 
aad detd, wherein tber was fo mub of ljtb. 
But be this as it may. The moment I 
caft my ryesuponhtm. 1 w-is predttcrtniucd 
ot to give him * finglc &a . ami 
ly 1 jmt my prf into my pocket buttoned 
it op -fctmyfelfa little mare upon my (.en- 
ter, and advanced up gravelv to him: there 
wa JbmetWng 1 fear forbidding in ray look : 
1 have his ngore t hi* moment before my cy es^ 

ciS of Uis looi aa>l Cziire I was tcwitchwl 
uot t>> nave ocen itrucV with it 
A better reafan was, I Uad predetermin- 
ed not to give h;a fiagle faun. 
Tl* very true, fa id J, *|>Iying to 
e!i upwerds with his ey, with whjih hc 
td o>tluded t5 adcirefs- -'tis very true 
ajid heaven be their refoorce who h** 
no other but the charity of ihe world, titr 
nock of which, I fear, is novay fclBelent for 
the- trmny prt*t tttixti which are hourly made 
upon U. 
Ai 1 pronounced th word* grttt thimt, he 
gave flight j>laune wUb his eye downward* 
upon the fleev of hit tonic 1 felt the full 
force of (be appeal 1 atfcnou ledge it. fa id I 
* coarfe habit, nd that but OBC in three 

<:o.Uf grivac<j,ibit the iKopichive fiat OCCH 
acrvjuaiocfd w(tucii<r proctcdtofts off): IrwUJa- 
tu af tb uoioa, > wlikU they arc i maOi 
intera3c<5, an aay irt of the Unircd ^ate. 
ItUe^j.ffte.itbsCExitsc.t, will 5a a great 
m*rar raidy W>i n5s/<n-toa 
Tftf: ar fk.1ftant'tI dvaatge, which 
wilt refilt from tl> putiUoUan of {His/.yr ; 
t>9< it muft bi ,Miagrtc&b!r a -uvA'ef&tfnt to Ittiow 
a t)ij-)tari<i par<ict3rjs >vhUh t^afcif v>> tfec 
j itclilS-'nte,!^^ not fa iairacd<*wty"i.K-t- 
< ; Hug to ti>^ prop*fty &pcrfofis ofmoo r *ht- 
thcr they t of X p)>iiofpllici.J, ^.iitltil, htf- 

Ti* tDi TOft liisrefoV* rft hi* fotirfi on 
the nerinof ih j>u!lirta, bjt as a tfniate 
Hitsnt to tlte people of tb; cowarry, to inkv 
!trttoa tofppoj-tthe ^V^-/" , IK a>aft olifern? 
th^t they will h*v a oj>poftiifliry, by mean* 
of thi fftr to make thtmtelvcs a:,d ilistr i>- 
tsatioit* lnoW broaJ ; if they hive valuable 

fe.ved better. 
The, at I ittdgcd from tor break iit 
bh tunfure, a few icaner'd white hairs opon 
hi tenpiea being ali that remained of is, 
might be abont fventy-ht from bis eye, 
and that fort f fire which wax in them, 
WfikbfeeK more lemper'd by cortefy than 
ye-ar*, could b no more tha.a fixty Trwtb 
aii^hi tie beiweea He was certainly ftxty- 
five ; *nd toe general air of hU couutenince, 
notMi-itlilUndingfumcthiag feemcd luhavt- been 
ploating wrJB in it before tbeir time, a- 
greed io the account. 
Rwaj one of thofe rwa4, whith Ci4o ns 
often painted mi d, pale penetrating, free 
from all common place ideas uf fat -contented 
ignorance, TooWg downward* upon the 
earth -it Uok'd forwards ; but loot 'das it it 
Iwk'rf at fomething beyond this wr?U. Mow 
one of bb order came by it. tteavcn above, 
who let it fall upon a monk's <huuUn, twft 

ter ; and the true point of pity is, a* they 
cao be tarn-din the world Uhf litll* to- 
Oufiry, that your order (houid wlfK to pro- 
cure them by j>rcfun upoa a fund which i 
the property of the Jam*, the Wind, th 
aged, and the infirm the ej>tivc who lie. 
downcounting over and over again the day* 
of h afflidiorvs, lngia>e alfo for hU ihart 
of it i ad had you been f the erJcr efMtrtj, 
iaflcad of the order of St. Fntnci*, poor a I 


you, for the i anfotn of the unfortunate -Tbi* 
monk made me a bow but of all ethers, re- 
fued 1, the vnforwaate of our own country, 
farely, have the fir right , and 1 have Jefc 
thoulnd in tliftrefs upon our own (horr 
The tnsnk gve a cordial wave with hit bead 
as much a to tay, Nu duubt there i wife, 
ry enough, in every comer of the world, tt 
well as wjthirtour convent Bet we diftto- 
goilh, faidl, Uyiog my hand tpn ihe Seeve 

I?4tit czs aa>r b ioa*. 1 Kj therffcrc, all 

1 had reveeoed it. 

ofhb tunic, in return tor his ippeif ~w dtf- 
tinguitt., my good father ! betwixt thofe who 



THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

M. A. Potter 8 Company, which had purchased the property 
in 1854. Halstead paid eight thousand dollars for the paper; 
12 years later the concern was incorporated with capital stock 
of 235 thousand dollars. During the 1880's the Gazette was 
merged with the Commercial under the combined title of the 
Commercial-Gazette. The newspaper helped mold public opin- 
ion and Republican party opinion until Halstead became editor 
of the Brooklyn (New York) Union in 1890. With his pass- 
ing went the editorial brilliance but as the Commercial-Tribune 
the paper continued to operate until it was bought by the 
Enquirer in 1930. 

Charles and John Karr, a Captain LaMar, and L. A. Leon- 
ard founded the Cincinnati Star in 1872. Much money was 
spent for mechanical devices, and the plant at Third and Vine 
Streets was said to be one of the best-equipped in the nation. 
In June 1880 David Sinton, Charles P. Taft, and H. P. 
Boyden, who had purchased the Times in 1879 from Eggles- 
ton, Sands 8 Thomas, also bought the Star, and merged the 
two evening dailies as the Cincinnati Times-Star, which has 
become one of the bulwarks of local journalism. 

The Times-Star has never vacillated in its stand for staunch 
Republicanism in politics. Louis Alexander Leonard, in his 
Life of Alphonso Taft (1920), neatly sums up Times-Star 
ethical policies: 

When Charles P. Taft found himself at the head of the 
Times-Star . . . journalism throughout the country was 
at a low ebb. To say that much of it was yellow would 
be to use a light tint to indicate the recklessness and sen- 
sationalism that prevailed in many quarters. Taft laid 
down principles of fairness and decency that were to be 
followed in all cases . . . Crime was exposed but not 
exploited; and the Times-Star became a clean, highgrade 
newspaper; and it remained so and prospered on these 

Political issues in the early 1830's brought forth the first 
local newspaper to be printed in a foreign language when 
Die Ohio Chronik, printed in German, was organized. The 
venture was not successful financially, however, and it was not 
until October 7, 1834 that another foreign weekly, Die 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Weltburger, anti-Democratic in politics, risked publication. 
The following year the daily Volksblatt appeared and ably 
served the large German population of Cincinnati until 1920 
when it was absorbed by the Freie Presse (1868), another 
German-language daily. 

With the setting up of America's first daily newspaper, the 
Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser (1784), had come 
an era of personal journalism. Cincinnati editors followed the 
vituperative pattern for more than a hundred years. Each editor 
considered himself disgraced and his readers unenlightened if 
he did not give them a full page of editorial comment. He could 
always glean enough topics from the virtues of his political 
party and the vices of the opposition; and he was forever find- 
ing excuse to use a special vocabulary in his feuds with rival 

It was a period of great editors rather than of great news- 
papers, of sharp pen rather than of shrewd management. 
America had a press of opinion rather than a press of service. 
Among the prominent local editors of the time were John W. 
Brown, Charles Hammond, S. L'Hommedieu, John Brough, 
Murat Halstead, Isaac C. Burnet, Moses Dawson, Washington 
McLean, W. D. Potter, Charles P. Taft, and H. P. Boyden. 

On several occasions rabid editorial policy put a match to 
the latent gunpowder in public opinion. In 1838, for example, 
the offices of the Abolitionist weekly, The Philanthropist, were 
destroyed by a fierce mob enraged because of Editor Birney's 
stories about slavery. 

The Gazette of May 31, 1849 has a pungent article which 
shows the news trends of the day and what some editors 
thought of rival papers catering to community taste: 

What an item in the journalism of this goodly town 
has "city literature" gotten to be. A year or two since, 
unless on "great occasions" draughts were made upon the 
genius of some assistant or associate editor "local items" 
were a species of paragraphs unheared of. Now-a-days 
the gossip loving citizens look into the local column of 
their paper for the marketable items with as much eager- 
ness as the maiden seeks to set her laughing eyes upon 
the marriage notices. He, who with the wit and fancy of 
a lively poet that has a subjective mind, can "dress up" 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

pilferings, larcenies, elopements, burglaries, runaways, 
robberies, pugilistic demonstrations, "moving accidents 
by flood and field," etc. is a genius whose "column" is 
devoured much more eagerly by the mass, than figures 
which tell of a rise in stocks, a fall in the rates of 
exchange or an upward tendency to pork . . . 

About 1880 personal journalism waned; for several New 
York and Chicago editors were giving readers a taste of objec- 
tive reporting, or "spot news." In Cincinnati Edward Wyllis 
Scripps (1854-1926), a firm believer in this sort of story, 
started the Penny Post (1881), the second paper of what is 
now the largest chain of newspapers in the United States. Like 
the Penny Press (Cleveland, 1878), which Scripps started on 
a 10 thousand dollar loan, the Post expressed its policy in an 
editorial : 

We have no politics in the sense of the word as com- 
monly used. We are not Republicans, not Democrats, not 
Greenback and not Prohibitionist. We simply intend to 
support good men and condemn bad ones, no matter 
what party they belong to. We shall tell no lies about 
persons or politics for love, malice or money. It is no 
part of a newspaper's business to array itself on the side 
of this or that party, or fight, lie or wrangle for it. 

Public response to this new kind of daily paper astonished 
the old-style editors. Scanning the circulation figures of the 
Posf which had increased from a few hundreds in 1881 to 
more than 55 thousand in 1887 and its lively, newsy, and 
well -written stories, they realized that personal journalism, 
with its frequently covert designs, was not only out-of-date 
but also unprofitable. The newspaper business, they discovered, 
could be highly lucrative as well as exciting and influential. 

The old school, however, was dyed fast in old wool, and 
the transition from journals of opinion to those of service was 
gradual. But newspaper readers showed their approval of the 
new policies by stepping up circulation figures, and merchandis- 
ers made more use of the papers in advertising their wares. 
Those publishers inclined to consider the "good old days" bet- 
ter than the new were quickly won over. In 1884, when the 
new-style journalism was still young, the 971 daily news- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

papers in the country had a circulation of about four million 
and combined revenue of slightly less than 135 million dollars. 
Income from subscriptions, at an average of five cents a copy, 
was equal to that garnered by advertising. Today nearly two 
thousand newspapers sell to 30 million American families more 
than 41 million copies daily, at an average price of three cents. 
Gross revenues each year exceed a billion dollars, with the re- 
ceipts from subscriptions amounting to about two-fifths of the 
total. Cincinnati's three English-language dailies amassed 
more than $10,500,000 revenue in 1937. 

Locally the changing newspaper methods in the 1880's in- 
creased editorial staffs, brought about greater coverage of com- 
munity news, and gave rise to the practice of flaring big head- 
lines in order to get quick, heavy circulation. Joseph Pulitzer 
had started the mode in his New York World, which in 1895 
attracted William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. Al- 
though more conservative publishers resisted the change to 
"yellow" or sensational journalism, a series of news events 
readily lent themselves to the lurid splashing of printers' ink. 
Because the style yielded "mass" circulation the 30 years from 
1885 to 1915 were to see practically every American newspaper 
colored a la Pulitzer. 

Among the happenings that the press reported to a startled 
public were in 1884 the Grover Cleveland- James G. Blaine 
presidential campaign; in 1886 the nationwide general strikes; 
the Chicago Haymarket riots, and the anarchist scares; in 1889 
the assassination of the Austrian Crown Prince and his wife, 
the Johnstown flood, and the introduction of the electric chair 
at Auburn Prison (New York) ; in 1894 the Sino-Japanese 
war, the march of Coxey's army, the disgrace of Captain Albert 
Dreyfuss, and the Pullman strike. Then came exposes of Span- 
ish cruelty in Cuba. On February 15, 1898 the American 
warship Maine was sunk in the harbor at Havana, and in a 
few weeks the nation was at war; when the war ended, two 
Spanish fleets had been destroyed and the enemy routed on 
land, while Colonel Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) had 
come back to the States as a national hero ready to move into 
the White House. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

During the same period Cincinnati was in the national news 
spotlight because of several sensational events: in 1884 the 
burning of the courthouse and the riots in which more than 
50 persons were killed and hundreds wounded, and the damag- 
ing Ohio River flood; in 1886 the general strike called by the 
Knights of Labor; in 1888 the centennial exposition, the in- 
auguration of electric trolley service, and the election to the 
Presidency of an adopted local son, Benjamin Harrison (1833- 
1901) ; in 1896 the Pearl Bryan murder; and at the turn of 
the century the city's active participation in the Spanish- 
American War. 

America's quarrel with Spain wrought new changes in the 
newspaper. All local editors sent staff correspondents to Cuba 
to supplement the coverage of news agencies. The lessons 
learned by the edito'rs during the conflict helped make "spot 
news" coverage a science, while the formation of the present 
Associated Press in 1900 stimulated the growth of nationwide 
news services. 

Meanwhile, as advertisers contracted for more newspaper 
space, publishers could afford to add more news and features 
a tendency crystallized in the sports, finance, women's, and 
society pages of the present-day newspaper. 

In 1884 Samuel S. McClure resigned as editor of the Century 
Company's The Wheelman to organize the nation's first news: 
paper feature syndicate. He hired many prominent fiction writ- 
ers and arranged to publish their stories serially in the news- 
papers. When the service was started on November 15, only 
1 3 publications, among them the Cincinnati Commercial- 
Gazette, had purchased the rights. But soon the syndication 
plan was such a success that it quickly attracted other men, 
who founded the many syndicates that now give editors news, 
featune, and background material 

Until the last few decades of the nineteenth century, the 
cartooning pioneered by Thomas Nast was a special function 
of the weekly magazine. Then it crept into the newspapers. 
Although the New York "World was America's first newspaper 
to use cartoons as regular features (1884), the Cincinnati 
Gazette and several other publications as early as the 1870's 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

had inserted wood-cut drawings to illustrate political stories. 
On October 10, 1872 the Gazette printed its first political car- 
toon, "Bolts for the Bolters," showing a Democratic platform 
laid on carpenters' horses and men fleeing and falling under 
several lightning flashes, the wood-cut representing the Repub- 
licans' state victory in the Presidential campaign. 

In 1894 the first colored comic supplement embellished the 
Sunday New York World. A few years later the Enquirer also 
began printing Sunday supplements in color, and Cincinnatians 
flocked to the publication office to see the new presses in opera- 
tion. The Enquirer was likewise the first Cincinnati newspaper 
to publish a photographic illustration, which came to the 
newspaper page during the 1890's after photo-engraving 
processes had been made practical. In the first few years of the 
present century local publishers made much use of the political 
cartoon. Several artists who later became nationally famous for 
their work H. T. Webster, A. E. Bushnell, and others 
worked in Cincinnati. Their trenchant pen observations bright- 
ened an otherwise drab era of political corruption and "trust- 
busting" editorialism. 

Editors fully exploited news breaks through 1914. Among 
the big happenings were in 1904 the 70 million dollar Balti- 
more fire; in 1906 the San Francisco earthquake and fire; in 
1908 the earthquakes in Italy; in 1912 the sinking of the 
Titanic; in 1914 the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdi- 
nand, heir to the throne of Austria, and his wife, and the 
greater slaughter that followed. While the War lasted, super- 
exaggeration in the treatment of news was at its peak; since 
then the tendency toward accuracy (with or without embellish- 
ment) has gained ground. 

Twentieth century events in Cincinnati also appropriated 
headlines. The most important front-page stories were in 1905 
the Drake Committee State Legislative investigation of local 
political corruption; in 1908 the election of a Cincinnatian, 
William Howard Taft (1857-1930), to the Presidency; in 
1913 the Ohio River flood and the strikes of street car operators 
and ice- wagon drivers; and in 1917-18 the city's enlistment 
in the World War. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Cincinnati editors and publishers have long been in the heat 
of the fight for the Constitutional right of a free press. Some 
people with delegated authority have never stopped trying to 
throttle, or in some way to control, this freedom of expression. 
The first test of the issue was made on November 17, 1734 
when Peter Zenger, editor of the New York Journal, was tried 
on a charge of criminal libel. Alexander Hamilton, defense 
counsel, put up a spirited argument for truth as justification, 
and won an acquittal. In the 1840's local editors joined with 
James Gordon Bennett, fighting editor of the New York 
Herald, in his successful battle to open Congressional sessions to 
accredited newspapermen. Prior to 1848 only a few representa- 
tives of Washington papers were permitted to "take notes" dur- 
ing legislative proceedings. The arrangement led to charges of 
favoritism and monopoly. After a Herald reporter had been 
barred from the Senate chambers, Bennett began his crusade. 
With help from other editors he waged his war for seven years 
before legislators allowed free action in reporting what happens 
in Congress. 

Immediately after this victory American newspapers began 
sending staff correspondents to the nation's capital. The Cin- 
cinnati Enquirer sent A. D. Banks; the Gazette representatives 
were H. H. Pangborn and a Mr. Mussey. 

Cincinnati judges and other public officials have sometimes 
tried to bar press representatives from trials and hearings on 
measures affecting the public. Usually such action has exploded 
in their faces, for newspaper readers immediately believe "star 
chamber" sessions to be deliberate attempts at dire collusion, 
or worse. 

The rise of dictators in Europe since 1918 has so throttled 
the foreign press that American newspapers have strengthened 
their efforts to retain free expression. By unaminous vote, the 
American Society of Newspaper Editors has pledged itself to 
"carry on a constant campaign for popular support of a free 
press." The resolution adopted at the 1938 annual convention 
in Washington, D. C., is brief and to the point: 

Unfortunately, all citizens do not think through the 
meaning of a free press. Too many regard it as merely 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the profitable privilege of publishers, instead of the right 
of all the people and the chief institution of representa- 
tive government . . . When editors fight for the liberty 
to speak and to write, they fight for the greatest of all 
human rights under government. He is not thoughtful 
who cannot see that democracy cannot exist except 
through the maintenance of a channel through which 
information can flow freely from the center of govern- 
ment to all the people and through which praise and 
criticism can flow freely from the people to the center. 

The modern newspaper differs in many ways from the news 
sheet of the past. Until the 1880's editorial staffs were small, 
and because editions seldom exceeded eight pages a mechanical 
department of 50 or fewer employees could handle composing 
and printing operations. Today each of the city's three English 
dailies employ about five hundred workers. 

Advances in the technical end of publication began about 
1832 when newspapers first used wood-cut engravings; in 
1835 the first steam-operated press was invented by Richard 
Hoe. Although it was a major improvement over the hand- 
operated apparatus then in use, the semi-tubular device was 
only partly automatic. Paper sheets were fed by hand, and be- 
cause the sheets could be printed only on one side double im- 
pressions were necessary. It was not until 1884, coincidental 
with the marketing of rolled pulp newsprint, that the first 
flatbed perfecting press was built. In 1885 Mergenthaler con- 
structed the first typesetting machine; in 1887 sterotyping 
became practical with the installation, by the New York 
World, of the first cylindrical quadruple press; in 1886 stand- 
ard point type measuring was adopted by the American Type 
Founders' Association; and in 1890 photo-engraving was put 
to commercial use. Since Cincinnati newspaper publishers have 
always hurried to install the latest proved mechanical equip- 
ment, local newspaper plants are modern and efficient. 

Although the operations for the making of a daily news- 
paper differ in individual offices, they are alike in certain 
fundamental particulars. The gathering and presenting of all 
news and features is controlled by the editorial department, 
under the direction of an editor. This executive co-operates 
with the business department, usually composed of the mechan- 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

ical, advertising (local and national display, and "classified) , 
and circulation departments, charged with the sale and distribu- 
tion of the newspaper. 

The managing editor co-ordinates the activities of the entire 
editorial staff. Working under him are the news, telegraph, 
sports, financial, women's, state, and city editors, as well as 
various columnists and other special writers. The city editor 
directs the staff of reporters who gather and write local 

The Cincinnati reporter often merely gathers the facts. Then 
he telephones the city editor, who assigns a man to write the 
story. When finished, the copy is edited by the city desk before 
it is sent to the copy desk, a large table shaped like a horseshoe, 
where the story is re-edited and the headline written. The final 
copy then goes to a desk in the composing room, where it is 
cut into "takes," or sections, before being passed out to lino- 
type operators. The various type sections are next put together, 
and a galley proof is made and held until corrections are noted. 
Then the type goes to the make-up stone, under the supervision 
of the make-up editor, who works from "dummies" prepared 
by both the editorial and advertising departments. The type is 
then placed in forms mounted on chasses. The forms are locked 
and taken to the sterotyping department, which makes mats, 
impressions on layers of paper. The mats go to the foundry, 
where the half-cylindrical plates are cast in lead and mounted 
on the giant presses. 

From these modern mechanical units, able to print up to 
60 thousand cut, folded, and counted copies an hour, flows 
the complete newspaper to the mailing and distribution, or 
circulation department. By mail, truck, and carrier, and some- 
times by airplane, the newspaper is quickly delivered to 

Copy from the advertising departments sent to the com- 
posing room runs through the same general procedure. 

The Enquirer, Post, and Times-Star daily distribute an 
average of 430 thousand copies, or 125,590,000 newspapers 
a year. The Sunday Enquirer editions come to about 9,350,000 
copies and the German-language Freie Presse sells about 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

4,380,000, making the combined annual circulation of the 
four Cincinnati dailies more than 136,330,000 copies. 

Since the World War technological advancement has been 
rapid, and the speed in production has helped editors to capi- 
talize on the many big news breaks of the past two decades. 
Included among these have been in 1927 Charles A. Lind- 
bergh's solo flight from New York to Paris; in 1929 the Cleve- 
land Clinic disaster and the national stock market crash; in 
1933, the national bank holiday and the beginning of Presi- 
dent Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal;" and during the past 
five years the constant European and Asiatic upheavals, such as 
Japan's undeclared war in China, the Spanish revolution, 
Italy's conquest of Ethiopia, and the bloodless absorption of 
Austria by Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, the popularity of pic- 
torial illustrations has increased the use of wire or radio-photo 
pictures. Since 1930 advertisers have constantly augmented 
their newspaper space, and publishers now use features and 
interpretative articles in connection with spot news stories. 

Future innovations in the newspaper printing and publica- 
tion may comprise news events photographed and printed in 
color; a greater use of color by advertisers; better- written news 
and feature stories; greater speed in production and distribution 
systems; and perhaps some entirely new policies. Another possi- 
bility is the talking newspaper. After obtaining a patent for his 
talking newspaper processes in March 1938, an American in- 
ventor said the device, which works like the motion picture film 
sound track, can now be adapted for use by daily newspapers. 

Present Daily Newspapers 

The Cincinnati Enquirer (1841), 617 Vine Street, is pub- 
lished weekday mornings and Sunday. Although it was estab- 
lished as an evening publication, it has been a morning daily 
since 1848. The Enquirer's Sunday edition, established in 
1854, now is the oldest in America. The Kentucky Enquirer, 
printed in and distributed from the Cincinnati plant, was start- 
ed in 1923. The newspaper is independently Democratic in 
political affairs. 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The Cincinnati Times-Star (1840), 800 Broadway, pub- 
lished weekday evenings, is Cincinnati's leading advertising 
medium. The paper is a combination of several weekly and 
'several daily publications, the first of which was the Spirit of 
the Times (1841) . It prints and distributes a Kentucky edition 
(1903) from the local plant, completed in 1933 at a cost of 
three million dollars. The Times-Star is Republican in politics. 

The Cincinnati Post (1881), Post Square and Elm Street, is 
also published weekday evenings. It is the second unit of the 
Scripps-Howard Newspapers (1878), comprising 22 daily 
newspapers in 21 cities. The Kentucky Post (1890) is printed 
and distributed from the Cincinnati plant. The Post is politi- 
cally independent. Three of the 22 papers are in Ohio, Cincin- 
nati, Cleveland, and Columbus. 

The Cincinnati Freie Presse (1835), 907 Vine Street, one 
of the two German-language dailies in Ohio, is published 
weekday evenings and Sunday morning. The newspaper is a 
combination of Volksblatt (1835), Courier (1868), and the 
Freie Presse (1875). Volksblatt was absorbed in 1920. The 
paper's political leanings are Republican. 

Besides the daily newspapers of general circulation, Cincin- 
nati has several particularized publications which carry news 
about sports, markets, and the courts. The largest is the Cin- 
cinnati Court Index (1892), 534 Sycamore Street, published 
weekday mornings (except Sunday and holidays) as the official 
newspaper for the Hamilton County courts and for the publi- 
cation of legal notices under the Federal Bankruptcy Act. 
Financial, commercial, and trade stories from Cincinnati and 
vicinity are also featured. Other daily papers are Cincinnati 
Livestock Record (1897), Cincinnati Union Stockyards Inc., 
Spring Grove Avenue; Cincinnati Daily Market Reporter 
(1925), 127 East Third Street, founded in 1887 as the Daily 
Bulletin, the official publication for Mercantile Exchange price 
quotations; Advance Daily Construction Reports (1928), 626 
Broadway, and American Racing Record (191-7); 320 East 
Third Street, a tabloid carrying horse racing information, 
charts, and results, >and news about American t 'and Canadian 
race tracks. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

News Gathering Agencies 

helped shape American news gathering agencies from the first 
scattered telegrapher -writers and free-lance reporters of 1848 to 
the huge world-wide organizations of the present day. Modern 
press associations, having more than 500 thousand miles of 
leased wires in the United States alone, are the nerve centers of 
a newspaper. Day and night thousands of men and women 
alertly watch the world for news, and quickly report significant 
happenings in politics, government, finance, business, labor, 
education, science, trade, sports, and amusements. During wars, 
labor upheavals, riots, fires, accidents, murders, or trial proceed- 
ings they are on the scene, graphically recording events for the 
more than 41 million American readers of daily newspapers. 

An insatiable public demand for news quickly gathered and 
interestingly and accurately written gave rise to these news 
services. Today, by the use of telegraph, telephone, cable, radio, 
motor car and airplane, the report of an event of sufficient im- 
portance happening, say, in China can be transmitted to New 
York or Cincinnati in less than 15 minutes. For this service 
American newspapers paid press associations more than 30 
million dollars in 1937. 

Prior to 1847 the semaphore, the carrier pigeon, the pony 
express, and the mails were used for the gathering and trans- 
mission of news. Then came the telegraph, and news gathering 
methods were revolutionized overnight. Strands of wire pulled 
city close to city; speed was the order of the day. As the daily 
newspapers rushed helter-skelter to present news, a co-operative 
agency was formed by six New York newspapers for "... the 
purpose of collecting and receiving telegraphic and other 

This arrangement benefitted New York publishers, but 
newspapers elsewhere still had to depend upon exchanges, free- 
lance correspondents, and slim telegraphic reports. 

Cincinnati's newspapers were aggressive and powerful; read- 
ers demanded the same news releases accorded New York. Local 
publishers, however, could not reach an agreement with the 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

New York agency, and a feud, which still lingers, was stirred 
up between news gathering agencies. Publishers later formed 
the Western Associated Press (1866), a membership organiza- 
tion, to compete with the Eastern co-operative, then called the 
New York, or Eastern Associated Press. The two agencies bat- 
tled back and forth, but did little actual work in building a 
satisfactory national news gathering body. 

Meanwhile the Daily Enquirer got a scoop by transmitting 
the complete message of President James Knox Polk (1795- 
1849) to Congress in 1848. Because of "atmospheric" inter- 
ruptions, it took more than 36 hours to bring the Presidential 
message. It had to be repeated at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. 
Witty and weary J. D. Reid, Pittsburgh superintendent of the 
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & Louisville Telegraph Company, add- 
ed "God and Liberty" to the message before Folk's signature; 
and newspapers carried the phrase. When it was discovered that 
Polk had not been quite so original, tempestuous John Brough, 
Enquirer editor, vowed he would 

... never again attempt to print a president's message 
that came by telegraph, because of the damn butchery 
perpetrated by the telegraphic company. 

Although Reid's phrase slipped into popular usage, Brough 
never calmed down. 

About 1850 the telegraph companies inaugurated what they 
called the "press" wire, which carried press messages on daily 
schedule. About that time the Commercial and the Gazette be- 
came members of the Eastern Associated Press, and Richard 
Smith, of the Gazette, was named local agent. All other news- 
papers had to rely on independent sources for telegraphic news 

More kindling was dropped on the fire raging over the press 
association question in 1859 when the Gazette monopolized 
the only wire from Cincinnati to Baltimore and transmitted 
the story of the execution of John Brown (1800-1859). This 
adopted Ohioan had been sentenced to death for plotting to 
free slaves in Virginia and for attacking and capturing the 
United States Government arsenal at Harper's Ferry on 
October 16. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Since the wire divided at Harper's Ferry, Eastern papers were 
able to get 2,500 words of copy; but the Gazette had the West- 
ern end. On December 3 it printed almost 1 2 columns, the most 
complete and graphic account of the hanging presented in 
American newspapers. The Associated Press could transmit less 
than five hundred words, while Murat Halstead, of the Cincin- 
nati Commercial, one of the witnesses at the execution, could 
wire only 250 words. 

For a time the Associated Press deprived the Gazette of its 
report; yet the newspaper published special telegraphic dispatch- 
es every morning. The secret was this: Ben Snyder, an expert 
telegrapher, was hired by the publishers to copy the press re- 
port. Standing on the sidewalk at the corner of Third and 
Walnut Streets, where he could hear the instrument, Snyder 
jotted down notes of the most important dispatches sent over 
the wire. 

During the 20 years from 1860 to 1880 the number of 
privately operated news bureaus increased hugely. In 1881 
when Edward Wyllis Scripps (1854-1926) established the 
local Penny Post he was dissatisfied with the news reports 
furnished by the independent Publishers Press. Several years 
later he formed the Scripps-McRae Service, predecessor of the 
present United Press Associations. 

In 1884 the Times-Star was the first local newspaper to lease 
and install a telegraph wire (from New York to Cincinnati) in 
its editorial rooms. The wire was operated six hours daily. 
Later it was extended to Indianapolis, Chicago, and St. Louis, 
and over it the Indianapolis News, the Chicago News, and the 
St. Louis Dispatch exchanged Western news with the local 
newspaper. The success of this system led to formation of the 
first leased wire service by the old Western Associated Press 

By 1900 publishers were dissatisfied with the costly and 
slow telegraphic service being supplied by the agencies. That 
year a group of publishers representing some of the most pow- 
erful American newspapers met in New York, and merged the 
Western and the Eastern Associated Press. In September Ameri- 
ca's first nationwide leased wire service was inaugurated by 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the Associated Press. There were 612 newspaper members, each 
assessed pro-rata for the service it received. The 24-hour report 
totalled about 15 thousand words, and it was transmitted over 
a system of leased wires aggregating 15 thousand miles. Under 
terms of the franchise each member newspaper was bound to 
furnish the Associated Press with a copy of all local news 
gathered by its staff. 

This exclusive arrangement made an AP franchise valuable, 
and embittered publishers who, because they operated in com- 
petitive fields, were excluded from membership. Morning publi- 
cations had little trouble getting franchises, but competing 
afternoon newspapers could not enter the charmed circle. 

In Cincinnati the Commercial -Gazette, Enquirer, and Times- 
Star were AP members; the Posf, Volksblatt, and Freie Presse 
tapped other news sources. The Scripps-McRae News Service, 
with the Scripps Pacific Coast wire and an exchange agreement 
with the Publishers Press in the East, ably served the Posf and 
other Scripps publications. But other independent publishers 
were not so fortunate; their unsuccessful efforts to meet news 
competion from AP papers prepared the way for a competing 
nationwide news service. 

From his home near Cincinnati, Scripps in 1906 purchased 
the Publishers Press. Combining it with his Scripps-McRae 
Service and the Scripps Pacific Coast wire, he organized the 
United Press Associations, with headquarters in New York. 
By transferring workers from various papers he staffed the 
service. From the Cincinnati Posf John Vandercook and Roy 
W. Howard (1883) were chosen. Vandercook was named UP 
president, while Howard wrote and edited copy, filed a wire, 
sold the service, and later became general news manager. Im- 
mediately Howard launched an expansion program, which 
continues to this day. 

In 1906 the UP had 21 news bureaus and 267 clients. In 
1912 Howard was made president a post he held until 1922 
when he became executive director and a partner in the vast 
Scripps publishing enterprises. Howard organized a compact 
UP European news service, staffed by American-trained report- 
ers, and refused an alliance with official foreign services. In 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

1916 the UP began serving Central and South American news- 
papers; in 1919 a night wire for morning papers was started; 
and by 1924 the association was the first world-wide independ- 
ent news gathering agency. Subsidiary corporations, such as the 
British United Press and the United Press of Mexico, were 
later organized to supplement UP service. 

Today the association has 64 news bureaus, and serves a 
thousand daily newspapers and 235 radio stations in the 
United States. In addition, a daily news report is supplied to 
about three hundred papers in 43 other countries. In America 
its network of leased wires totals more than 200 thousand 
miles, while the report comprises as many words. The UP has 
more than two thousand full-time employees, and about four 
thousand regular and several thousand part-time correspond- 
ents. In Cincinnati the Posf, Enquirer, Freie Presse, and Court 
Index, and stations WKRC, WCPO, and WLW-WSAI are 
United Press clients. 

Meanwhile the Associated Press was likewise being enlarged. 
In 1906 it made an agreement for an exchange of news with 
the principal subsidized European services. In 1910 AP was 
serving 817 newspapers, which received an average daily news 
report of 35 thousand words. By 1915 the member newspapers 
had increased to 1,263, the leased wires totalled 70 thousand 
miles, and the report was more than 60 thousand words long. 
Now the Associated Press has more than 80 American bureaus, 
1,350 member newspapers, 250 thousand miles of leased wires, 
and a daily report of more than 200 thousand words. It em- 
ploys about two thousand workers. Offices are also maintained 
in the principal cities of Europe, South America, and the 
Orient. In 1937 the AP began supplying a daily report to 
South American papers by short-wave radio. The Enquirer 
and the Times-Star are local AP members. 

Refinements in telegraphy have stepped up tfhe efficiency of 
the news agencies. In 1900 the typewriter increased the speed 
of operators to an average of about 25 words a minute. By 
1914 this average was 30 words, principally through the use 
of abbreviations in transmitting. That year the first pair of 
teletypes (sending and receiving) , which work like a type- 



THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

writer, was installed by the AP in New York. In 20 years these 
printer circuits superseded the former Morse wire system. By 
substituting the printed word for the dot and dash, the press 
services increased their transmission average from 30 to 40 and 
then to 60 or more words a minute. In 1917 the UP installed 
its first teletypes; its last Morse trunk wire was converted into 
a high-speed printer circuit in March 1938. 

Since the 1880's foreign copy has been transmitted by the 
news agencies through the cable. As wireless telegraphy and 
radio were developed, they supplemented the cable service. To- 
day the cost of transmission is the major financial problem of 
the news services. It is almost impossible to budget the annual 
outlay, for catastrophe such as war in some remote part of the 
world adds thousands of dollars to the ordinary transmission 
expenditures. To the reader of a newspaper, news columns may 
look alike, but a story from Paris, France, may represent an 
outlay of about $50, an adjoining story from the Orient about 
$250 to $300. From China the urgent cable rate is $2.42 a 
word; full rate, 80 cents; and regular press rate, 24 cents. The 
urgent and the full rates are often used to speed transmission. 

America's other principal news gathering agency is the Inter- 
national News Service, Inc. (INS), founded in 1909 by Wil- 
liam Randolph Hearst when he was unable to get Associated 
Press franchises for several new publications he was starting. 
Later the news reports were sold to other newspapers. By 1915 
INS and Universal Service, supplying news reports to morning 
newspapers, had about four hundred clients. At that time an- 
nual expenditures for news totalled about two million dollars. 
Since 1937, when Universal Service was absorbed, INS reports 
go to about six hundred newspapers and a hundred radio sta- 
tions. In addition to its New York headquarters the service has 
43 bureaus, and nearly a hundred thousand miles of leased wires 
in the country. Besides its more than five hundred staff writers, 
about five thousand correspondents are employed. The Enquirer, 
theTimes-Star, and stations WLW-WSAI are INS clients. , 

Besides the three major services many of the larger American 
newspapers have developed their own special news agencies, 
whose reports are also sold to other publications. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The present-day services of the AP, UP, and INS include 
(in addition to the main news printer circuits) special state, 
financial, and sport wires; fast mail news and features; and 
photo and matrix departments. 

Weekly Newspapers 

UNTIL THE FIRST daily newspaper was published here 
(1827), the weekly paper was the only printed news source 
for the up-and-coming little city on the Ohio River. There- 
after the publishers of weeklies struggled to meet the keener 
competition of the dailies. Until 1850, when telegraphic fa- 
cilities first were used for transmitting news, they succeeded. 
Then the weekly publishers retreated, became absorbed in inter- 
preting news and conditions, and regained considerable popu- 
larity. After the "World War came the suburban journals, many 
of which depend upon advertising for revenue and are distrib- 
uted free. Each has its own small geographic range of influence, 
religious, political, labor, community, or social in nature. 

Today some 25 weekly newspapers published in the Greater 
Cincinnati area have an annual gross income exceeding 

The Catholic Telegraph-Register, 423 Commercial Square, 
oldest Catholic weekly in the country, is the official paper of 
the Archbishop of the Cincinnati Archdiocese. It was founded 
by Rev. Edward D. Fenwick, the city's first Roman Catholic 
bishop in 1831 and edited by the laity until 1937 when it 
became a member of the Register (Denver) group of news- 
papers. Its title was then changed, and priests became the 

The American Israelite, 534 Sycamore Street, the nation's 
oldest Anglo- Jewish weekly, was founded in 1854 by Isaac 
Mayer Wise, "father of Reform Judaism." The paper has an 
international circulation. 

The Chronicle (1893), Court and Vine Streets, official ga- 
zette of organized labor in the city, is published weekly by the 
Cincinnati Central Labor Council. Other weekly labor publi- 
cations are The Brewery Worker (1895), 2347 Vine Street, 
and Stationery Engineer, 1015 Vine Street. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Radio Dial (1931), 22 East Twelfth Street, is a tabloid 
publication which lists radio programs and news of station 
personnel and performers. It is distributed within a radius of 
about three hundred miles of Cincinnati. 

Among other weeklies published in Cincinnati are The City 
Bulletin (1928), City Hall, official newspaper for the publi- 
cation of legal notices by the City of Cincinnati; Cincinnati 
Packer, 217 Front Street; Cincinnati Shopping News (1928), 
Carew Tower, Fifth and Vine Streets, owned by a group of 
large downtown retail stores; Building Witness, 622 Broad- 
way; Advocate (1935), 217 East Eighth Street, official organ 
of the Knights of Columbus in Greater Cincinnati, Cleveland, 
and Northern Kentucky; Every Friday (1927), American 
Building, Walnut Street and Central Parkway, a non-political 
journal serving the community interests of Cincinnati Jews; 
and a number of college, high school, and commercial publi- 
cations, primarily for students and employees. 

The principal community weeklies are Avenue Record, 1641 
Vandalia Avenue; Bellevue and Dayton News, 605 Fairfield 
Avenue, Bellevue; Calendar, 4710 Vine Street; College Hill 
News, 7421 Hamilton Avenue; Community News, 4174 Ham- 
ilton Avenue; Kentuckian, 3167 Clifford Avenue, Latonia; 
Mariemont Messenger (1928), 6871 Wooster Pike; Milford 
Record, 215 Main Street, Milford; Norwood Enterprise 
(1894) and News and Suburban Guide, 4415 Montgomery 
Road; Price Hill News, (1928), 3640 Warsaw Avenue; 
Reporter (1932), 5931 Ridge Avenue; St. Bernard Journal, 
4732 Vine Street; Suburban News, 2506 Melrose Avenue; 
Valley Journal, North Bend Road; Valley Shopper and Mill- 
creek Valley News, 117 Williams Street, Lockland; Western 
Hills Press (1924), 3800 Glenmore Avenue, Cheviot; Madi- 
son ville Bulletin (1909), Mathias and Prentice Streets; North 
Cincinnati News (1935), 2511 Auburn Avenue; Union 
(Negro, 1907); Eastern Hills Journal, 6016 Madison Road; 
Kenton and Campbell County Courier, Independence, Ken- 
tucky; and Cincinnati Sunday News (September 1938), 234 
Sycamore Street, a new tabloid paper issuing a colored comic 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Newspaper Personalities 

men and women who later grew to national stature in journal- 
ism, literature, politics, and business. The first of these was 
Charles Hammond, editor of the Gazette, who attracted nation- 
wide attention during the 1830's and risked his life in defend- 
ing, editorially, the right of Editor James G. Birney, of The 
Philanthropist, to uphold in print his abolitionist sympathies. 
Hammond always advocated free speech and a free press; he 
was hailed by Daniel Webster as the "greatest genius who ever 
wielded the political pen," and he became the first Cincinnatian 
to achieve election to the Ohio Journalism Hall of Fame (Ohio 
State University, 1928). (Murat Halstead, of the Commercial, 
and Charles Phelps Taft, of the Times-Star, have also earned 
this distinction). 

Thereafter hundreds of writers paraded their talents before 
local newspaper readers. Some failed to build a career here, but 
became prominent after leaving the city. Among these were 
Lafcadio Hearn, Irwin S. Cobb, O. O. Mclntyre, and many 
others. In 1871 Hearn, half -Irish, half -Greek, with a dash of 
Moorish blood, began his career on the Enquirer as an eccentric 
but obscure space writer. On November 9, 1874, however, 
Hearn wrote a horror story about a brutal West End murder 
committed the day before. Although readers were shocked by 
the realism, Enquirer editors broke with precedent and printed 
Hearn's account as an anonymous front page story. For the 
first time a Cincinnati newspaper used wood-cut illustrations 
of the suspects, a diagram and sketch of the tannery where the 
murder occurred, and a sketch of the corpus delicti. Hearn later 
became a staff member of the Commercial, and in 1879 wan- 
dered to Memphis, and then to New Orleans, where he began 
writing his exquisite Japanese pieces. 

Washington McLean jumped into prominence through his 
fiery editorials in the Enquirer. From 1852 until 1882 he pro- 
pounded his faith in Democratic Party principles through the 
columns of the paper. His son John, who succeeded him, trod 
the same path, became a power in the party, and was nominated 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

for the Presidency in 1896. At the turn of the century he served 
as editor of both the Enquirer and the Washington (D. C.) 

Among other Cincinnati newspaper men who have found a 
secure niche in the newspaper, political, and business world are 
Earle Martin, Philip Simms, Ed. L. Keen, Roy Howard, Wil- 
liam C. Culkins, Ren Mulford, Jr., Milton Bronner, and Rus- 
sell Wilson of the Posf; Ben Lucien Burman, Andreu Berding, 
Gus Karger, Herbert Corey, originator of "New York, Day by 
Day," Hal Reid, playwright and actor, and Olive Logan, of 
the Times-Star; and George Randolph Chester, of the "Get 
Rich Quick Wallingford" series of fiction, James Hastings 
("Luke McGluke"), James Faulkner, political writer, and 
James M. Cox, Ohio publisher and 1920 Democratic Presi- 
dential candidate, of the Enquirer. 


Chapter XI 

The Story of Advertising Magazine 
and Book Publishers Commercial 
Printers Lithographers Engraving 
and Electrotyping 

HE FIRST ADVERTISING man probably advertised 
a personage, not a product. The fulsome titles of an- 
cient potentates are no doubt the work of a series of 
excellent publicity men, each one a Bruce Barton of 
his own day. For many centuries advertisers simply painted 
their notices in red or black on the walls of a city. (Traces of 
such notices have been found by archaeologists in the ruins of 
Pompeii) . In the Middle Ages merchandisers hired the town 
crier to walk about the streets, ringing a bell and crying the 
wares of his employer. 

The forerunner of modern advertising methods came into 
use in London in 1648 when The Impartial Intelligencer car- 
ried the first printed announcement. In 1780 the Boston 
Massachusetts Spy printed the first newspaper advertisement in 
the United States. That small item was the beginning of an 
American business which since 1780 has grown to an annual 
dollar volume in excess of $1,500,000,000. Today merchan- 
disers advertise through newspapers, magazines, radio, bill- 
boards, street signs, streetcar cards, circulars, form letters, sky 
writing, and house-to-house canvassing. Modern advertising 
campaigns are usually handled by agencies maintaining special 
corps of research and layout men, copywriters, artists, and 
salesmen, all co-ordinated to plan and execute schedules for 

Commercial advertising in Cincinnati goes back to 1793. 
In its first issue William Maxwell's Centinel printed only three 
notices, each about an inch long. All were on the back page of 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the four-sheet edition. On January 18, 1794, the Centinel 
published five advertisements, including two which would 
appear today among the classified ads: 

Lost some time in November last (in Cincinnati) out of 
the subscriber's pocket, a promissary note upon Capt. 
John Armstrong, of one hundred pounds Pennsylvania 
currency, one bank note of 50 dollars, one of 25 and 
six of 3 dollars each. Whoever will deliver the above 
mentioned notes to Isaac Martin or to the subscriber, 
will be handsomely rewarded. 

Greenville. Dec. 4, 1793 


The subscriber has for sale upon reasonable terms, the 
dwelling house and part of the lot wherein he now liv- 
eth. All persons indebted to him are hereby desired to 
come and settle their respective accounts, as he is deter- 
mined to leave this place on the fifteenth inst. and no 
longer notice can be given. 

Cincinnati, January 3, 1794. 

Most of Cincinnati's early newspaper advertisements were 
in the same stilted vein. Later, when lotteries became a popular 
diversion the press printed abundant paid copy promoting 
them. With the establishment of the first daily newspaper came 
the first display advertising merely unillustrated price 
announcements set in small type. 

From 1805 to 1825 local newspapers carried many adver- 
tisements offering rewards for the return of runaway appren- 
tices, slaves, and lost, strayed, or stolen livestock. One advertiser 
in the Liberty Hall offered six cents reward for the return of 
two runaway apprentices; another prized his lost sorrel mare 
to the tune of five dollars; while a Frankfort (Kentucky) plan- 
tation owner was willing to pay $50 for the return of a 
runaway slave, to be identified, in part, 1?y a whip scar on his 

About 1835 a few wood-cut advertising illustrations began 
to appear locally, but because this kind of engraving took much 
time and money, wood-cuts were used only sparingly. By 
1840 proprietary medicine ads were being published regularly, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

and dry goods stores occasionally inserted two-column an- 
nouncements to help sell their merchandise. Although daily 
newspaper advertising rates varied, in 1841 the quoted price 
was 75 cents a column inch of 12 lines or less. If the same ad, 
without change of copy, was used for three months, the charge 
was $10, and for six months $15. Weekly newspaper rates 
were about one-third higher, the minimum charge being a 
dollar per column inch. 

Such was the advertising world of 1841, ripe for exploita- 
tion, awaiting someone to probe its possibilities. Then there 
arose a man who later said, "Advertising made me." But 
Phineas T. Barnum also made advertising. In 1841 he was a 
poor "puff writer" for a New York paper. Later that year he 
took over Scurred's Museum, bought Joice Heth, an aged 
Negress, and announced in print that the museum would 
exhibit a woman 160 years old. The copy claimed that 

She was the first person to put clothes on the unconscious 
infant (George Washington) who was destined in after 
days to lead our heroic fathers to glory, to victory, to 

Printed in several New York dailies, the ad played on the 
curiosity of readers, who rushed to the museum to see Wash- 
ington's nurse. Finicky editors who questioned Barnum's claims 
only helped swell the crowds, and convinced the museum owner 
that he had struck pay dirt. 

Enlightened Phineas T. Barnum increased his advertising 
space, multiplied superlatives, and built a fortune. As he calmly 
heard the controversies that raged over his tricks, and watched 
the crowds that battled to see his freaks, he bit off the end of 
his cigar and spit it out. "There's one born every minute," he 
said. On a trip to Cincinnati during the 1850's the showman 
bought a freak horse, feature-advertised as follows: 

Captured by Col. Fremont, near the Gila River, a most 
extraordinary animal, maneless, hairless of tail, but with 
a body covered with thick wool of the size of a horse, 
with the haunches of a deer, the tail of an elephant, a 
fine curled wool of camel's hair color. 

With the help of advertising Barnum travelled fast on his 
short cut to fame. He always wrote his own copy, even though 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

at the time he was spending 700 thousand dollars a year for 
space. Other advertisers eagerly copied the Barnum style; they 
could see the point of some modern doggerel: 

The man who has some goods to sell 
And goes and shouts it down a well, 
Is not so apt to reap the dollars 
As he who climbs a tree and hollers. 

As they increased space and appropriations, newspaper and 
magazine editors grudgingly began to accept paid advertising. 
A change in practice came in the late 1860's when local pub- 
lishers, anxious to secure advertising contracts from firms doing 
a nationwide business, began sending solicitors to New York 
and other Eastern cities to get space contracts. One of these 
solicitors was L. H. Crall, of the Commercial, generally credited 
with having been the first special advertising representative. 
From time to time Crall compared notes with two other local 
solicitors, E. B. Mack and F. T. MacFadden. From these 
friendly meetings popped a scheme destined to bring new ideas 
about advertising space and to develop the modern advertising 

For several years Crall gathered accurate market data and 
statistics on the circulation of various media in several Middle 
Western cities. In 1875 he opened a New York office and start- 
ed selling space for the Cincinnati Times and Enquirer, the St. 
Louis Globe-Democrat, the Chicago Inter-Ocean, and the Mil- 
waukee Sentinel. Mack and MacFadden later joined Crall in 
New York. Mack represented the Cincinnati Gazette and three 
other publications, while MacFadden had the Commercial and 
the Chicago Tribune on his list. 

The plan was successful. It soon put an end to the business 
of space brokers who had played newspapers and magazines 
against one another, regardless of quality, in order to make big 
profits by buying low-priced space and selling it at high rates. 
As the new system grew, the brokers no longer emphasized 
space at bargain rates; in preparing copy and planning sales 
strategy they stressed service to the advertiser. Thus developed 
the agency plan, with its copy, art, research, and survey 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century patent medicine 
manufacturers were the largest buyers of advertising space in 
newspapers and magazines. Other merchandisers followed the 
lead of the nostrum vendors. By 1900 promotional and price 
advertising had both proved their value. 

Meanwhile local advertising was growing away from the 
Barnum style. Copy began to sell merchandise or services, by 
telling a story. During the 1880's furniture store advertisers 
prepared their first "cash or credit" copy, while the "free gift 
and entertainment" appeal to buyers had also been tried and 
found successful. 

Fechheimer Bros. 8 Co., 102-08 West Fifth Street, clothing * 
manufacturer, was the first local firm to use the gift and enter- 
tainment style of advertising. On April 13, 1888 the firm's 
ad in the Posf read as follows: 


With every boy's or child's suit, no matter what the 
price, we shall give the choice of a complete Base-ball 
outfit (bat, ball, belt and cap), patent roller skates, or 
elegant checker board and checkers. Tommorrow night 
there will be 


2 grand concerts from 7 until 10 p.m. 

Open air concert by full reed band and a delightful 

concert by our superb string orchestra. 

Comparative price copy appeared about the same time. Ad- 
vertising abuses of the 1880's eventually caused the founding 
of better business bureaus and other regulatory organizations 
to protect the legitimate advertiser. Even in 1888 local stores 
were trying to stamp out the advertising chiseler. Copy in the 
Post of January 3, for instance, reads: 

We don't select a few hundred suits or overcoats com- 
posed chiefly of odds and ends, broken sizes, etc., and ask 
you in to take choice of such old mossy chestnuts for 
say $25, worth $35. No, that isn't our way. 
MABLEY 8 CAREW invite the public to inspect the 
finest and grandest assortment of men's and young men's 
tailor-made suits in every style, and elegant satin-lined 
overgarments in all shapes and say take your pick of 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

In the 1890's the development of automatized typesetting, 
press, and photo-engraving techniques brought new opportuni- 
ties for the ingenuity of advertisers. Newspapers could now set 
large display ads and magazines could print plates in color. 
Advertising layout benefitted. About the same time the "per- 
sonal" columns dwindled away, to be superseded by the 
classified advertising of today. 

About 1900 the electric street sign first blazoned forth the 
merits of a medley of products. The need for billboard posters 
sped improvement of lithographic processes, and Cincinnati, 
pioneer in the development of American lithography, quickly 
became one of the nation's topnotch lithographing centers. 

Meanwhile the sales value of advertising brought forward 
the Audit Bureau of Circulation, survey compilers, and similar 
bodies organized to help the advertiser confused by the multi- 
tude of competing papers and magazines. Agencies began to 
supersede office and factory departments in the planning and 
preparation of copy. 

By 1915 the nation's daily newspapers alone sold 50 million 
dollars worth of space to national advertisers. The scarcity of 
newsprint and coated papers during the World War period 
limited the spread of advertising temporarily. When the War 
was over, a new race began, and by 1926 the advertising indus- 
try for the first time topped the billion-dollar mark in expen- 
ditures. That year the Detroit News set a modern newspaper 
linage record when it published 36 million lines of paid 
advertising during a 12-month period. 

In 1925 the first nationwide radio advertising time had 
been offered to merchandisers. Instant public response to com- 
mercial blandishments brought the new medium to an import- 
ant place in advertising technique. Radio speedily replaced 
billboards as the third most important advertising medium. 
And soon airplanes streamed advertising copy in smoke and 
on banners. 

In 1937 national advertising appropriations were divided 
as follows: 49 percent to newspapers, 35 to magazines, about 
1 1 to radio, and the rest scattered among other mediums. That 
year the Procter & Gamble Company was probably the world's 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

largest individual advertiser; it spent an estimated five million 
dollars for radio time and talent, four million for newspaper 
and magazine space, and about three million for contests, 
premiums, and sample advertising. Other Cincinnati companies 
which laid out huge amounts for national advertising space 
and radio time were The Andrew Jergens Company, The Kro- 
ger Grocery and Baking Company, United States Shoe Corpo- 
ration, the Crosley Radio Corporation, and the Hudepohl and 
Red Top Brewing Companies. 

Although most of the city's large advertisers maintain sep- 
arate departments to write copy, design layouts, and buy space, 
the placing of practically all national advertising (copy for 
Cincinnati companies appearing outside the local area) is 
handled by agencies. 

Cincinnati agencies, as elsewhere, operate on a commission 
or fee basis, usually 15 percent of the total advertising appro- 
priation. For example, an agency which places a full-page ad 
in black and white in a national weekly magazine is billed at 
16 thousand dollars less 15 percent, or $2,400 the agency's 
service charge. The same procedure is followed in newspaper, 
radio, streetcar, and billboard advertising. Advertising rates 
depend upon the circulation of a publication or the power of 
a radio station. At WLW, the nation's most powerful station, 
the rate for an hour of broadcasting time is $1,200, while a 
single full-page insertion in the Post, Times-Star, or Sunday 
Enquirer costs about eight hundred dollars. Daily Enquirer 
rates are slightly lower. 

Although local agencies generally place all types of adver- 
tising, some specialize in newspaper, magazine, or radio copy. 
One of the country's pioneers in arranging radio schedules is 
William F. Holland, 439 Race Street, who has been specializ- 
ing in this type of service since 1923. Other Cincinnati agencies 
are Robert Acomb Inc. (1901, incorporated 1937), 311 Syca- 
more Street; Allen Douglass & Leland Davis Inc., Enquirer 
Building; William Tracy Armstrong, Union Central Building; 
S. C. Baer Company (1922, incorporated 1930), 800 Broad- 
way; Julian J. Behr Company, Dixie Terminal Building; John 
Bunker Inc., Schmidt Building; Frederick L. Cavally, 514 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Main Street; Compton Advertising Inc., Gwynne Building; 
Forney-Seale Advertising Service, 11J/2 East Eighth Street; 
Walter Haehnle Advertising Agency, 123 East Sixth Street; 
Highlands & Highlands, 534 Vine Street; Jaap-Orr Company 
(1934), American Building; Ralph H. Jones Company 
(1916), Carew Tower; Jesse M. Joseph Advertising Agency 
(1909), 1801 Reading Road; Keelor 8 Stites Company 
(1920, incorporated 1922), Carew Tower; Key Advertising 
Company, 505 Walnut Street; Lawrence Madden Features, 
7 West Sixth Street; Midland Advertising Agency, 111 East 
Fourth Street; a branch of Harry M. Miller Inc. (Columbus, 
1926), Enquirer Building; Merrill Advertising Co. Inc., 317 
Sycamore Street; L. F. McCarthy & Associates, 704 Race 
Street; Mottern, Healy, Woolfolk, Ltd., 134 West Fourth 
Street; Perry-Brown Inc. (1922), 15 East Eighth Street; 
Chester C. Moreland Company, 800 Broadway; Mahlon B. 
Sheridan, 18 East Fourth Street; Leonard M. Sive & Associates, 
519 Main Street; Strauchen Advertising, 439 Race Street; 
Frederick W. Ziv Inc. (1930, incorporated 1931), 2435 Read- 
ing Road; Venable-Brown Co. Inc. (1927, incorporated 
1936), 211 East Fourth Street; and Thompson Koch Co., 
32 West Sixth Street. 

Direct-Mail Advertising 

DIRECT-MAIL ADVERTISING has called into existence 
a number of Cincinnati firms prepared to make up lists of select 
prospects for any sales campaign, and to turn out form letters 
or postcards for this service. The principal direct-mail adver- 
tising concerns are A. B. C. Direct Advertising Company, 521 
Broadway; Crawford Advertising Company, 528 Walnut 
Street; Frank J. Crow Direct Mail Advertising Company, 
Traction Building; A. J. Eggers Company, 119 West Fourth 
Street; Floyd-Schneider & Company, 610 Broadway; Gibson 
& Perin Company, 121 West Fourth Street; Mail-Way Adver- 
tising Company, 209 East Sixth Street; Modern Letter Service, 
1008 Walnut Street; Sidney Printing Works, 317 West 
Seventh Street; and Wiesen-Hart Press, 2211 May Street. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Billboard and Sign Advertising 

painted signs to advertise their wares for more than a century, 
but they have employed electrical displays only since the late 
1890's. As an advertising medium the billboard probably 
reached its zenith shortly after the World War. Then, because 
of the rapid rise of advertising by radio and the efforts of city 
planning commissions to remove billboards from streets and 
highways, the industry was forced into a last-ditch fight which 
still continues. 

Since 1886 Ph. Morton, 2018 Elm Street, using both paint- 
ed and lithographed displays, has been the leading local bill- 
board concern. Another prominent firm is Central Outdoor 
Advertising Inc., York Street and Western Avenue. 

Cincinnati's largest designer and manufacturer of electrical 
signs is the Lackner Company (1914). The Lackner plant, 
1113 York Street, produces all kinds and sizes of electric signs 
for indoor and outside use. Since 1930, when neon tubes began 
to replace incandescent lamps for display, the company has 
grown so fast that it is now one of the nation's foremost neon 
sign makers. The company also operates a painted and printed 
sign department. 

Other leading manufacturers of electric signs are Quehl Sign 
Company, 316 Main Street; American Sign Company, 1940 
Riverside Drive; Central Neon Sign Company, 1716 Central; 
Hartman Sign Company (1920), 1037 Woodrow Street; 
Queen City Sign Company (1883), electric, painted, and 
showcard displays, and office lettering, 612 Main Street; and 
Federal Electric Company, Inc., 224 East Seventh Street. 

Among the important local showcard and painted sign con- 
cerns are Dietrich Signs (1899), 22 West Court Street; Ed 
Gelke, 1011 Walnut Street; E. W. Schoneberger ft Co. 
(1886), 610 Walnut Street; Wade Sign Company, 717 Syca- 
more Street; Acme Sign Company, 30 Opera Place; and Jos. 
D. Engelbert & Company, 1217 Clay Street*. 

Another advertising service is the designing and fashioning 
of displays used in windows and on store counters. Local 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

lithographing plants have developed a prosperous business in 
the design and production of window and counter displays. 
Among the most important companies manufacturing displays 
are Co-operative Displays Inc. (1935, incorporated 1936), 
327 East Eighth Street; Gohman Display Company (1937), 
2011 Florence Avenue; Walter Hassman Company, 717 Main 
Street; Standard Displays 8 Signs, 529 Walnut Street; Stan- 
field-Lewis Company, 134 Opera Place; Advertising Displays 
Inc., originators of the diorama display, 1129 Banklick Street, 
Covington; Henry Bamberger, 406 Elm Street; Nu-Art Win- 
dow Display Service, 413 Race Street; L. C. Rittmeyer, 626 
Broadway; Ludlow Manufacturing Company, 457 East Sixth 
Street; and Nivison-Weiskopf Company, Reading. 

Cincinnati Magazines 

THE MAGAZINE DATES from the seventeenth century 
when French and English publishers began issuing catalogues 
of books. In 1665 the Journal des Scavans was issued in France 
and the Royal Academy of London printed its Philosophical 
Transactions. The first magazine in America was Benjamin 
Franklin's The Universal Instructor in all the Arts and Sciences 
and the Pennsylvania Gazette (1728), predecessor of the 
Saturday Evening Post, which adopted its present title in 
1821. The first American magazine for children, Young 
Misses' Magazine, began publication in 1806, while in 1830 
came Godey's Lady's Book, forerunner of the present-day 
women's magazines. 

Thousands of American periodicals came during the nine- 
teenth century, but none was able to reach the million mark 
in circulation until 1886 when the Ladies' Home Journal sold 
more than a million copies. By 1920 American magazines had 
attained a circulation of about 160 million, considerably more 
than the nation's population. 

In Cincinnati magazine publication began with A. N. Dem- 
ing's Literary Gazette (1824). Since then, many similar peri- 
odicals have come to life, endured for a time, and finally given 
up. The first venture to live through to the present came in 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

1834 when the western edition of the Christian Advocate 
(1826) was issued by the Methodist Book Concern (New 
York 1789, Cincinnati 1820). This national religious weekly 
is one of America's oldest magazines; about half of the 320 
thousand weekly circulation is printed and distributed from 
the Cincinnati plant. Other religious periodicals printed by the 
local Methodist Book Concern are the Classmate, the Target, 
the Portal, the Junior Weekly, and the Picture Story Paper. 

One of the oldest trade magazines published in Cincinnati 
is the Spokesman and Harness World, first issued in 1854 as 
The Spokesman, in 1884 merged with Harness World. Spokes- 
man and Harness World and Auto Body, Painter and Trimmer 
(1921) are published by the Spokesman Publishing Company, 
1 5 East Eighth Street. 

One of the city's largest religious periodical publishers is the 
Standard Publishing Company, 640 West Eighth Street, 
founded at Cleveland in 1865 as the Christian Publishing 
Association. In 1867 the plant was transferred to Cincinnati, 
and in 1870 the present name was adopted. Beginning with 
the Christian Standard (1865), a national religious weekly, 
the corporation prospered, and added new publications. The 
magazines edited and printed here include The Lookout 
(1888), Girlhood Days, Junior Life (1878), Boy Life, The 
Little Beginner, The Primary Child, and Primary Bible Story, 
all weeklies; and The Baby's Mother (1910), the Primary 
Teachers' Quarterly, the Junior Teacher, the Standard Cut Out 
Quarterly (1920), the Junior Class, the Intermediate Teacher, 
The Intermediate Class (1875), the Senior Teacher, the Senior 
Class, the Home Department, the Bible Class (1875), the 
Bible Teacher, the Senior Pupils Graded Quarterly, the Pupils' 
Graded Quarterly (1938), the Teachers' Graded Quarterly 
(1938), the Junior Teachers' Textbook (1938), the Primary 
Teachers' Textbook, the Beginners' Teachers' Textbook, the 
Young Peoples' Graded Studies (two issues for teachers and 
students) , the Senior Teachers' Graded Quarterly, the Chris- 
tian Endeavor Quarterly, and the Junior Pupils' Workshop, 
all quarterlies. The corporation also rjrints on contract several 
other magazines published in other cities. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Cincinnati's biggest plant devoted to publishing a single 
magazine is that of The Billboard (1894), 25 Opera Place, a 
national amusement weekly which has come to be the bible of 
those employed in outdoor entertainment. Branch offices are in 
New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and 
also in London, England. The Peerless Printing Company, 
1209 Sycamore Street, operates a plant where the Signs of the 
Times (1906), and Display World (1922), national trade 
periodicals, are printed. Both magazines, circulating among 
those engaged in display and advertising work, had their peak 
year in 1930. 

Cincinnati's largest magazine publisher, S. Rosenthal and 
Company, 22 East Twelfth Street, issues eight monthly trade 
and technical journals, the oldest being the American Building 
Association News, founded in 1880. Automobile Digest 
(1915) is the company's most influential technical organ, 
while Writers' Digest (1919), together with the Writers* 
Year Book (1931), is its leading trade magazine. Other Rosen- 
thai publications are Sportsmen's Review (1891), Independent 
Salesman (1922), Progressive Salesman (1934), Minicam 
(1937), and American Camera Trade (1938). Besides the 
company-owned magazines the Rosenthal Company prints on 
contract a number of periodicals published in Cincinnati. In 
1926 the company tried pulp fiction with its Wild Game 
Stories, but after six issues the magazine was suspended. 

Another Cincinnati publisher issuing more than one periodi- 
cal is Gardner Publications, Inc. (1928), Schmidt Building, 
Fifth and Main Streets, which has two monthly trade maga- 
zines Modern Machine Shop (1928) and Products Finishing 

Other magazines published in Cincinnati include The Build- 
ing Witness, a weekly founded in 1883 as the Western 
Architect and Builder, and Highway News (1938), 622 
Broadway; Dog News (1922), 105 East Third Street; Coal 
Times (1936), 15 East Eighth Street; Advertiser, established 
in 1930 as the Artist and Advertiser, 3557 Bogart Avenue; 
Motour (1924), begun in 1906 as Honk-Honk, Cincinnati 
Automobile Club, Central Parkway and Walnut Street; Fine 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Arts Journal, Schmidt Building, Fifth and Main Streets; St. 
Anthony Messenger (1892) and Sendbote, 1615 Republic 
Street; Odd Fellow (1917), 1015 Vine Street; Classified 
Journal (1920), Elm Street and Post Square; Dairymen's 
Monthly Review, 622 Broadway; Ohio Law Reporter, 534 
Sycamore Street; Education, Law and Administration, 9 West 
Fourth Street; and Western Tobacco Journal, 236 Broadway. 

Besides the trade and religious periodicals and magazines of 
general circulation, there are several particularized publications 
which are distributed free: Hy-Pure Magazine (1931), 706 
Plum Street, distributed by neighborhood drug stores; Nielen 
News, published by the A. Nielen Company, West Fourth 
Street; and the O-K News, employee magazine of the Cincin- 
nati Gas & Electric Company. 

In all, Cincinnati publishes some 75 major periodicals, 
which have a combined yearly circulation of about 150 million 
copies, or about one-twentieth of the more than two billion 
annual circulation of the country's more than three thousand 
magazines. In addition, there are about 50 local factory, 
church, and school publications. 

Manufacture of Books 

THE MODERN BOOK has a long genealogy. The form 
of book that we know today came into use during the fourth 
century of the Christian era when Roman jurists first folded 
and fashioned parchment sheets into a codex. Until about 1460 
books were inscribed by hand, but thereafter the printing press 
quickly replaced the scribe. The first book in English is gener- 
ally believed to have been William Caxton's Recuyell of the 
Hystoryes of Troye, a folio of 351 pages printed some time 
between 1474 and 1476. The earliest book printed in the New 
World of which we have definite record was Juan Pablos' 
Breve y mas compendiosa doctrina Christiana, Mexico, 1539. 
Book printing came to Britain's American Colonies with the 
issuing of the Bay Psalm Book (1640) at the press set up in 
Cambridge by Stephen Daye, locksmith, and his two sons. 

The printing of books in America has kept alongside print- 
ing methods. Until 1885, because only expensive rag-processed 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

paper was available, the publication of books for general circu- 
lation was a gamble. Most volumes issued were therefore of 
an educational or religious nature. Beginning with the use of 
pulp paper, the publication of fiction books sprang up so rap- 
idly that today volumes of fiction are about twice as popular 
as non-fiction books. 

Although the most popular book size is the octavo, about 
5 l /2 by 8% inches, books range in size from the Thumb Bible, 
not much larger than a postage stamp, to church tomes meas- 
uring six by four feet. 

In 1801, when Cincinnati still was a backwoods village, the 
printing firm of Carpenter & Findley issued the 25 -cent Little 
Book, the first to come from local presses. In 1805 William 
McFarland published The Almanac, so well received that 
Carney and Morgan also put out an almanac (1809). 

In 1834 the Cincinnati book publishing trade received its 
greatest stimulus from Truman & Smith, who became inter- 
ested in a textbook written by William Holmes McGuffey, then 
a professor at Miami University, Oxford. In 1829 McGuffey's 
first book, Methods of Teaching Reading, was published in 
London. In 1836 Truman & Smith issued the first edition of 
Eclectic Readers, while in 1901 the last printing of McGuffey 
Readers was done here. During the interval the textbooks were 
revised five times to meet new needs of American schools. 

In the preparation of the upper grade books and in later 
revisions, William Holmes McGuffey was aided by his brother, 
Alexander Hamilton McGuffey, and by Dr. Timothy Pinneo, 
author of a high school reader and a series of grammars. 

Early publishers often gambled on the work of unknown 
authors and in beginning new and revolutionary production 
methods. One of the major changes in publishing methods was 
inaugurated by Truman & Smith about 1840, when it entered 
into its McGuffey Readers illustrations drawn and engraved in 
America. Prior to that time all wood-cuts in local books had 
been engraved in England. During the Civil War Truman & 
Smith's successors, W. B. Smith & Co., instituted another in- 
novation by printing from chalk plates the first textbook 
illustrations in color. 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The astonishing approval given the McGuffey Readers was 
the star to which the publishers hitched their wagonload of 
business success. As sales grew bulkier, the firm continued to 
grow in size, meantime undergoing several changes in name and 
personnel. The transition from the original firm of Truman & 
Smith to the present publisher, the American Book Company, 
Third and Pike Streets, is as follows: from 1843 to 1852, 
W. B. Smith; From 1852 to 1863, W. B. Smith 8 Co.; from 
1863 to 1868, Sargent, Wilson and Hinkle; from 1868 to 
1877, Wilson, Hinkle 8 Co.; from 1877 to 1890, Van Ant- 
werp, Bragg & Co.; and finally, in 1890, the present American 
Book Company, one of the nation's two largest publishers of 
textbooks. In this Cincinnati plant, which has a daily capacity 
of 25 thousand books, 450 persons are employed; and as many 
more are on the payroll at the company's branch plant in New 
York City. 

Another large local publisher of commercial textbooks is the 
Southwestern Publishing Company (1904), Fourth and Elm 
Streets. Operating branches in San Francisco, Chicago, and 
New York, the firm issues textbooks whose subjects range from 
Walter W. Jennings' A History of the Economic and Social 
Progress of the American People to 2 Oth Century Bookkeeping 
and Accounting, now in its seventeenth edition. 

Since 1817 the growth of population and the ups and downs 
of business in Cincinnati has been traced in the annual city 
directories, now published by the Williams Directory Com- 
pany (1849, incorporated 1900), Walsh Building, Third and 
Vine Streets. In addition to the Metropolitan Cincinnati book, 
the company also issues the Dayton, Hamilton, Middletown, 
Norwood, Sandusky, Springfield, Muncie (Indiana) , and Cov- 
ington (Kentucky) directories. About 50 persons are regularly 

American Attorneys Directory Company, Carew Tower, 
which issues an annual containing a list of commercial lawyers 
in America, is a consolidation (1916) of Davey's Legal 
Directory (1895), and American Adjusters Directory (1916). 
Other directories published here are Black's Directory (1931), 
compilation of coal producing companies, 15 East Eighth 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Street; and the Annual Trades Union Directory (1896), com- 
piled and issued by the Ames Printing Company, East Court 

Many religious titles have been published by the Methodist 
Book Concern under the imprint of the Abingdon Press, and 
also by the Standard Publishing Company. 

Important local publishers of general books are S. Rosenthal 
& Company, Westerman Print Company, Wiesen-Hart Press, 
Nielen Publishing Company, and United States Printing $ 
Lithograph Company, which since 1884 has been publishing 
Official Rules for the Game of Cards, a volume whose circula- 
tion has passed the five million mark. In addition, there are 
several firms which market accounting and record systems, 
ledgers, blank, and bank books. 


THE EARLIEST KNOWN bound book, an ivory-covered 
copy of Vergil in the Vatican Library, dates from the reign of 
Septimius Severus (146-211 A. D.), but bookbinding did not 
become a specialized commercial art until long after Gutenberg's 
invention of movable type (about 1849). Cincinnati has 
always been a leader in this art from the days of hand-binding 
(about 1810) to the modern era of machine work. The finest 
binding and designing today is still done by craftsmen who 
refuse to use machines. About 20 binderies in the Cincinnati 
area give employment to nearly three hundred workers, whose 
annual wage is estimated at 400 thousand dollars. The annual 
product valuation is approximately a million dollars. 

Folding, the first operation in a modern bindery, is done 
either by hand or by machine. After folding, the sheets or sec- 
tions known as signatures are then stacked in sequence on a 
table, and gathered by an operator taking one section from 
each stack in proper order. By the time the operator reaches 
the end, the book is complete. Then the folded sections are 

Next comes the most important operation, binding together 
the sections. The best method is "flexible sewing," originated 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

by monks in the Middle Ages. The sections are placed face 
downward in an upright frame; then they are sewn through 
the back by a continuous thread running to and from cords 
fastened at regular intervals in the frame. 

The book is now ready for rounding, backing, lacing in the 
boards, and cutting edges a process called forwarding. First 
the back is covered with a coating of glue, used to fill in the 
spaces between sections and thus hold together the back for 
rounding. In the rounding process the book is placed between 
wedge-shaped boards, which are then pressed. The back is next 
hammered from the center outward. Then the edges are cut and 
the head bands sewed. 

Now comes the final important operation, preparation of the 
cover and finishing (placing the decorative design). In fine 
binding leather is always used, but durable paper covers of 
simulated leather are now also becoming usual for binding good 
books. For more than 50 years the best binders have favored 
morocco leather because of its flexibility. Selection of lettering 
for covers usually is a matter of choice, but a combination of 
blind tooling, the impression of warm tools on wet leather, or 
gold tooling, in which the impression of the tool is left in gold 
on the leather, produces the most pleasing effect. 

The book is now ready for the final operation, polishing, 
a process in which heated irons press the cover. When the de- 
sired polish is secured, the book is pressed for several days 
between nickel plates, and is then ready for packing and 

Cincinnati bookbinders are equipped to manufacture any 
kind of book, from the cheapest machine-stitched signatures 
having a paper cover to the fine, hand-sewn sections bound in 
leather and elaborately tooled and designed. 

The American Book Company and the Methodist Book 
Concern operate the city's largest binderies. Other binders are 
the Cincinnati Ruling & Binding Company, 143 East Third 
Street; George A. Flohr & Company, 528 Walnut Street; 
Johnson & Hardin Company, 528 Walnut Street; Mountel 
Press, 1006 Sycamore Street; C. A. Macke, 15 West Sixth 
Street; Macke Bros., 217 East Eighth Street; Progress Book 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Bindery, 717 Sycamore Street; S. Rosenthal & Company, 
22 East Twelfth Street; Reichel 8 Company, 514 Main Street; 
George H. Sand Company, 1902 Colerain Avenue; Charles F. 
Sternberg, Third and Plum Streets; Emil Steinman, 308 East 
Third Street; Martin Young 8 Sons, 809 Walnut Street; 
Weise Binding Company, 610 West Court Street; Wagner 
Brothers, 26 East 13th Street; Winckler Binding, 133 West 
Central Parkway; Wiesen-Hart Press, May Street; and C. J. 
Krehbiel Company, 1030 Broadway. 

Commercial Printers 

THE PRINTING ARTS are generally believed to have 
originated with Chinese of the twelfth century who began 
printing their books from wooden blocks at a time when the 
graphic arts in Europe had not progressed beyond the hand- 
written vellum or parchment book. The first advance in the 
printing process came about 1449, when Johannes Gutenberg 
(1400-1468), Mainz, Germany, invented movable type and 
a wooden press operated by a hand lever. Printing then con- 
quered Europe, and by 1500 more than 11 thousand plants in 
some two hundred cities had printed about 35 thousand edi- 
tions and a total of 12 million volumes. In America, the first 
press was set up in the early sixteenth century by Tonio de 
Mendoza, viceroy of Mexico. In 1639 at Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts Stephen Daye opened the first printery in the United 

Throughout the early days of printing all printers set type 
by hand and used the same kind of wooden, hand-operated 
presses designed by Gutenberg. In the nineteenth century, how- 
ever, printing methods were revolutionized. In 1814 Frederich 
Koenig, of Saxony, invented a cylindrical press; in 1818 Karl 
Klietsch, a Bohemian, devised the first practical intaglio process; 
and in 1886 the New York Tribune installed the first auto- 
matic typesetting machine, later named the Linotype by Editor 
Whitelaw Reid. Developed by Otmar Mergenthaler (1854- 
1899), a Baltimore machinist, this device casts type from five 
to 144 point from one-fortieth of an inch to two inches. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

There are three distinct types of modern printing. The most 
popular is letter press, or relief, printing, by which impressions 
are made from raised type letters, half-tone engravings, zinc 
etchings, wood cuts, or any other material with a relief surface. 
(This book was printed by the letter press method) . In litho- 
graphic printing impressions are made with greasy ink from a 
smooth-surfaced stone or plate. Intaglio, or photo and roto- 
gravure printing, is an impression made from sunken, or deep- 
etched, letters or plates. 

Cincinnati printing houses have kept step with the times. 
The city's first printery, owned by William Maxwell, was a 
combination newspaper and commercial office. At first the 
Centinel of the North-Western Territory was the only publica- 
tion issued, but Maxwell later printed and published the codi- 
fied territorial laws, a work continued by Edmund Freeman, 
his successor. As Cincinnati grew, the commercial printer be r 
came an important asset to trade. Shops sprang up overnight, 
and a vigorous industry was born. 

Among the pioneer printers was Achilles Pugh (1805- 
1876), a Pennsylvania Quaker who was descended from Ellis 
Pugh, religious writer who emigrated to America with William 
Penn. In 1830 Achilles Pugh set up a small shop here. In 1836 
he began printing a paper called The Philanthropist for the 
Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, headed by James G. Birney. 

Cincinnati had profitable trade relations with the South, and 
many citizens were afraid that Birney's humanitarianism would 
cut this bond. They flared up in opposition, marched to a pub- 
lic meeting, presided over by Mayor Samuel W. Davies, and 
declared that "no abolition paper should be published or dis- 
tributed in the town." 

But Pugh was a fighting Quaker; he defiantly upheld his 
rights of free speech and a free press. A stout principle, however, 
has not always stood up well before a stout mob. On July 14, 
1836, a crowd jammed its way into Pugh's shop, broke the 
press, and scattered the type. 

The next week, however, Pugh's press again put out The 
Philanthropist. On Saturday night, July 30, tireless vigilantes 
gathered the wildest mob in the annals of early Cincinnati, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

again crashed into Pugh's shop at Seventh and Main Streets, 
showered the type into the streets, tore down the press, and 
sacked the office. Parts of the press were later dragged down 
Main Street and tossed into the Ohio River. 

The righteous mob had made all provisions to uphold the 
best traditions of getting rid of independent men upholding 
private principles. It had brought along tar and feathers. But 
there was something about Achilles Pugh that disdained tar and 
feathers, and he was simply ordered to leave town. 

For a time Pugh published the paper at Springboro, Warren 
County, bringing the "abominable sheet" down the canal to 
Cincinnati. Soon afterward he re-established his .shop here. In 
1879 the firm of Pugh Printers was incorporated as the A. H. 
Pugh Printing Company. Now the corporation, under direc- 
tion of Achilles H. Pugh III, grandson of the founder, has a 
modern plant at 400 Pike Street (1905), where nearly 150 
workers are employed, and labels and commercial printing of 
all kinds produced. 

In 1868 Samuel Rosenthal, a German immigrant, set up a 
small print shop in a second-floor room at Vine Street and 
Opera Place. The oak of this acorn is the S. Rosenthal & Com- 
pany, the city's leading commercial, book, magazine, and news- 
paper printer. Since 1923 the company has occupied its own 
six-story modern building at 22 East Twelfth Street. Henry 
Rosenthal, son of the founder, is chairman of the board, while 
George Rosenthal, son of Henry Rosenthal, is president. More 
than 36 million copies of various publications are annually 
issued from the plant. 

Among the other large Cincinnati commercial printers are 
Acme Printing Service, 540 Main Street; The Acorn Press, 235 
Scott Boulevard, Covington; American Art Printing Company, 
2646 Spring Grove Avenue; Arrow Press, 106 East Court 
Street; Bachmeyer-Lutmer Press Company, 430 Commercial 
Square; The Jos. Berning Printing Company, 217 East Eighth 
Street; The Bohnett Company, Third and Vine Street; Bram- 
kamp Printing Company, 800 Sycamore Street; Central Print- 
ing Company, 15 West Sixth Street; Colortype Printing Com- 
pany, 308 East Third Street; Craftsmen Printing Company, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

714 Sycamore Street; The Feicke Printing Company, 436 
Commercial Square; Flueron Press, 400 Pike Street, Hirsch- 
field Printing Company, 410 West Court Street; Jaeger Print- 
ing Company, 2364 Harris Avenue, Norwood; The C. J. 
Krehbiel Company, 1030 Broadway; General Printing Com- 
pany, 434 Elm Street; Globe Printing Company, 505 Elm 
Street; The Grossman Press, 622 Broadway; The Koenig 
Printing Company, 225 Race Street; McDonald Printing Com- 
pany, Arbor Place, Norwood; The Miami Printing Company, 
217 East Eighth Street; Mountel Press Company, 1006 Syca- 
more Street; The Multi Color Type Company, 4575 Eastern 
Avenue; The Ohio Press Printing Company, 817 Main Street; 
Parkway Press, 1 100 Sycamore Street; Premier Press Company, 
217 East Eighth Street; Roesller Bros., 528 Walnut Street; 
Schulte & Cappel, 809 Walnut Street; Seyler-Nau Company 
Inc., 325 West Third Street; Sullivan Printing Works Com- 
pany, 1054 Gilbert Avenue; Frank Vehr Printers Inc., 139 
Opera Place; Westerman Print Company, Colerain Avenue; 
Wolf Publishing Company, 4415 Montgomery Road; Wolff's 
Standard Printings Works, 110 East 4th Street, Covington; 
American Printing & Label Company, 314 East Twelfth 
Street; and Woodrow-Weil-Stanage Company, 726 Main 

Altogether Cincinnati has more than three hundred com- 
mercial printing plants, where some 4,200 workers, earning 
about seven million dollars in annual wages, produce all kinds 
of printed, lithographed, and gravured matter. 

Besides the printers there are several firms specializing in 
furnishing machine composition to small print shops. J. W. 
Ford Company, 108 West Central Parkway, is the largest. 
Others are The Cincinnati Typesetting Company, 436 Com- 
mercial Square; Bachmeyer-Lutmer Press Company, 430 Com- 
mercial Square; Brinkman Typesetting Service, 217 East 
Eighth Street; and Sattler Linotyping Company, 717 Syca- 
more Street. 

For many years Cincinnati was a leading center for the print- 
ing of sheet and church music. But early in 1937 the city's last 
exclusive printer of music closed shop. Several printers, how- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

ever, still set and print sheet music. The process generally used 
is to punch the notes into soft lead slugs, which are placed in 
forms, from which the sheets of music are printed. 

Other particularized printers are those producing continuous 
forms, such as sales slips: Miami Systems Corporations, 2735 
Colerain Avenue; H. W. Nichols Salesbook Co., 229 Race 
Street; and Hamilton Autographic Register Co., 7 West Sixth 


TRYING TO MAKE music sheets cheaply, Aloys Sene- 
felder (1771-1834), of Prague, Bohemia, accidentally came 
upon the idea of writing the notes on stone and making the 
impressions from the stone. Thus was discovered the process 
of lithography, now one of the important printing trades in 
Cincinnati. In 1818 Senefelder published a handbook on 
lithography in which he mentioned the possibility of using 
zinc plates instead of stone. But nearly a century was to pass 
before this method (offset lithography) was developed. 

The city's oldest lithographing concern is Strobridge Litho- 
graphing Company (1854), 4530 Montgomery Road, Nor- 
wood. Every known method, from the first hand press, to the 
steam, electric, and offset processes, has been used by the firm. 
The largest Cincinnati lithographer is the United States Print- 
ing 8 Lithograph Company, a subsidiary of the United States 
Playing Card Company (1880), Robertson and Beech Ave- 
nues, Norwood. This company, the world's largest manufac- 
turer of playing cards, has developed many of the advanced 
methods in lithography. 

The Hennegan Company, 3 1 1 Genessee Street, is the Cin- 
cinnati pioneer in offset lithography. Plant facilities have been 
doubled in the past five years. Other local lithographers are 
Calvi-Tone Color Plate Corp., 659 East Sixth Street; Cinti 
Lithographic Co., 313 Findlay Street; De Luxe Offset Com- 
pany, 714 Sycamore Street; Doering Bros., 3301 Colerain 
Avenue; Donaldson Lithographing Division of United States 
Printing & Lithograph Company, Robertson and Beech Ave- 



THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

nues; Eagle Lithographing Company, 1672 Providence Street; 
The Gibson & Perin Co., 121 West Fourth Street; The Korb 
Lithographing Company, 2144 Reading Road; Lincoln Litho- 
graphing Company, 121 Opera Place; Nivison-Weiskopf Com- 
pany, Main Street, Reading; Rainbow Lithographing Com- 
pany, 4142 Davis Lane; Wieball Bros., 143 East Third Street; 
Otto Zimmerman & Son Co. Inc., 120 East 3rd Street, New- 
port; Capitol Printing Co., 224 Post Square; Foto-Lith, Inc., 
222 West Fourth Street; and Enquirer Job Printing Company, 
412 East Sixth Street. 

Engraving Processes 

PHOTO-ENGRAVING CONVERTS tone values of pho- 
tographs, paintings, and drawings into relief printing surfaces. 
Although experiments in engraving were conducted as early as 
1852, it was not until 1890 that photo-engraving processes 
were developed for commercial use. 

In modern engraving all pictures consist of lights and shades. 
Continuous tones are transformed into separate printing sur- 
faces by a process which involves the use of a half-tone screen. 
The screen, parallel and vertical lines or dots, is placed in the 
camera directly in front of the photographic plate, which causes 
the light reflected from the "copy" (photograph) to pass 
through the open spaces onto the photographic plate. The re- 
sulting dot formation represents a minute portion of the 
picture. The fineness of the screen is judged by the number of 
parallel lines to each inch. For example, a hundred-line screen 
consists of 10 thousand dots to the square inch. 

The half-tone negative is then transferred photographically 
to a sensitized copper plate, which is developed and then etched 
with acid before each plate is mounted on wood blocks. 

The 19 Cincinnati photo-engraving shops are equipped to 
produce every type of work, from simple line plates and half 
and middle tones, to ingenious color separations for color print- 
ing. Local engravers are Acme Engraving Co., 128 Opera 
Place; Art Crafts Engraving Company, 705 Sycamore Street: 
The Art Reproduction Co., 124 East Eighth Street; The Cen- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

tral Engraving Company, 15 West Sixth Street; Chapman 8 
Rapp, 128 Opera Place; Cincinnati Process Engraving Com- 
pany, 1006 Sycamore Street; The De Luxe Engraving Com- 
pany, 714 Sycamore Street; Graphic Arts Engraving Company 
(1936), 222 West Fourth Street; Meyer Engraving Company, 
808 Sycamore Street; Modern Engraving Company, 817 Main 
Street; National Engraving Company, Inc., 325 West Third 
Street; the Octograf, Clegg-McFee Engraving Company, 310 
East Court Street; The Photo-Type Engraving Company, 210 
East Ninth Street; The Quality Engraving & Electrotype Com- 
pany, 436 Commercial Square; Repro Engraving Company, 
505 Elm Street; The Schultz Goziger Company, 534 Sycamore 
Street; the Standard Photo Engraving Company, 532 Walnut 
Street; and Threlkeld- Jones Company, 22 East Twelfth Street. 
Cincinnati has the world's largest plant for the making of 
electrotypes the Rapid Electrotype Company, 126 West Mc- 
Micken Avenue. Other local concerns are Cincinnati Electrotype 
Company, 528 Walnut Street; Employing Printers Electrotype 
Company, 904 Sycamore Street; Quality Engraving and Elec- 
trotype Company, 436 Commercial Square; and Service Elec- 
trotype Company, a subsidiary of Rapid Electrotype Company, 
126 West McMicken Avenue. 


MAKING OF PAPER, one of the oldest crafts, probably 
originated in China. For centuries before the Christian era the 
Chinese manufactured paper by dissolving a vegetable com- 
pound into pulp and placing the resulting sheet in a body of 
water, where the floating fibres formed a film. Much of the 
paper used in China is still manufactured in this primitive way. 
At least as early as six thousand years ago the Egyptians made 
paper from the fibres of the papyrus, a tall reed which grew 
wild along the banks of the Nile. Not until about 1150 A. D., 
though, was paper made in western Europe. In 1690 the first 
paper mill in this country was set up in Philadelphia by Wil- 
liam Rittenhouse, who could put out 2,500 sheets per day. 

Just as the Chinese relied on the bark of the mulberry tree 
for their raw material, so today trees furnish by far the greatest 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

part of the material which goes into paper making. The basic 
process in paper manufacture is boiling a raw, fibrous material 
wood pulp (cellulose) , or cotton, linen, or other cloth 
fibre until it is reduced to a thin pulp. The pulp is placed 
on a fine mesh, to which the fibres adhere. When dried and 
pressed, the "felt" thus obtained is the coarse paper. 

When William Maxwell set up his printing press at Cincin- 
nati in 1793, he had to worry about getting his supply of 
paper. The river was sometimes too high or too frozen to float 
boats. By 1825 two local mills, the Phoenix Paper Mill and 
the Cincinnati Steam Paper Mill, both situated on the Ohio a 
short distance below Cincinnati, were in operation, and the 
publishers' paper problems were solved. 

Very soon thereafter, with the opening of the Miami and 
Erie Canal (1827), the paper mills, which needed large quan- 
tities of water, began migrating north along the Mill Creek 
Valley to use the surplus water of the canal. Soon paper mills 
were strung all along the waterways in the Miami Valley. To- 
day half the 58 paper plants in Ohio are in the region. 

The largest Ohio mill, and one of the largest in the world, 
is The Champion Paper and Fibre Company, Hamilton, incor- 
porated in 1895. The company suffered complete destruction 
of its plant by fire in 1901. Rebuilt today on a 60-acre 
tract, with 51 buildings, it employs 4,700 workers, and has 
a capacity of five hundred tons of finished paper per day. Three 
eight-hour shifts of employees work at turning out 1,500,000 
pounds of paper products each year. The corporation also owns 
69 thousand acres of timber land in North Carolina, South 
Carolina, and Tennessee. 

Since the World War the Beckett Paper Company (1848), 
Hamilton, with about 230 employees, has become known for 
its fine offset papers and special finishes, both by plating and 
roll -embossing processes. The W. B. Oglesby Paper Company, 
Middletown, and the Gardner-Richardson Company, with 
plants at Lockland and Middletown, are other large local mills. 


Chapter XII 

Food for Cincinnati The Chains 
Wholesaling Department Stores, Spe- 
cialty Shops, Chain Drug Stores 

IHROUGHOUT 150 YEARS Cincinnati has been 
specially interested in the growth, manufacture, distri- 
bution, and sale of food for its own citizens and those 
in the vast trading area which it serves. The industry 
has grown from the time when nearly every man raised most 
of his own food to the present complex and highly specialized 
system of divided production and distribution. This compli- 
cated process now accounts in Cincinnati for the greatest num- 
ber of employees, the largest payrolls, and the leading valuation 
of any trade classification. In 1935 some 3,786 retail food 
stores, giving jobs to about seven thousand persons, had gross 
sales of 75 million dollars. That year the 163 wholesale units, 
including staples, manufacturers, agents, brokers, and distribu- 
tors, with about two thousand employees, had gross sales of 
$69,667,000. The wholesale and retail units combined paid 
more than 14 million dollars in wages, with the retail group 
accounting for about 1 1 million dollars. 

From 1788 to 1820 the Cincinnatian who did not raise his 
own produce got it from nearby farmers by bartering his 
services or manufactured articles. Until 1800 barter was the 
only method of trade. Peltries, the standards of value, ranged 
from a rabbit skin worth 6J/ cents to a deer skin valued at 
50 cents. Gradually a variety of currency brought by traders, 
soldiers, and new settlers was spilled into the city, and although 
money was still scarce business men devised a system of trade. 
Home-grown foodstuffs were so plentiful that they brought 
remarkably low prices on the market. Prime beef was 6J4 cents 
a pound; pork, in quarters from the wagon, three cents a 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

pound; eggs, five cents a dozen; chickens and wild turkey, four 
cents apiece; corn, from eight to 10 cents a bushel. Wheat aver- 
aged from 30 to 40 cents a bushel. Staples such as coffee and 
sugar, which had to be imported, were extremely high and 
hence used sparingly. The cheapest blend of coffee cost 75 cents 
a pound. Ingenious and thrifty housewives coated rye with 
sugar, and brewed a substitute for coffee. 

The Ohio country was just being opened and its trade was 
still small. The Ohio River, however, quickly became a great 
commercial highway, and as sales outlets were found for the 
surplus corn, wheat, barley, and other produce, the farmer was 
able to live independently in a simple, but comfortable, way. 
But the average Cincinnatian was able to eke out little more 
than a livelihood, and he did not usually dissipate his sparse 
income on luxuries. 

Meanwhile retail business suffered heavily because of the 
1820-25 financial crisis, and barter was again the principal 
method of exchange. As banks reopened, monetary conditions 
improved; and immediately the local food industry tried to 
perfect a system of supply and demand comprehensive enough 
to take care of future population growth. 

The aim was good, but the system came slowly. At first 
most retail sales took place between producer and consumer; 
the exchange was made either from the wagon or at the many 
public market places. Thus the butcher made daily trips, cut- 
ting his steaks and chops on the tail-gate of his wagon; and 
the whisky salesman came twice weekly. Tea and spice salesmen 
tried to put a library in every home: with each purchase they 
gave coupons redeemable for books. (The general store carried 
only staples in stock) . Afterwards traders took the surplus farm 
products on a commission basis, loaded them on boats, and 
started down the Ohio River. Often they had to go to New 
Orleans before they could make a profitable exchange. Gradu- 
ally the general store was superseded by the merchant dealing 
in particularized commodities, and residents made general food 
purchases at grocery stores, bought meat they liked especially 
hung beef " 'chipped up' raw" at the butcher shop, and got 
bread, rolls, and cakes from the baker. 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

At first all sales were made in bulk. Meantime several manu- 
facturers of teas, coffee, and spices began to package their prod- 
ucts. Consumers liked the idea, and soon practically all distribu- 
tors were putting up their stuffs in packages. 

In the 1880's the success of the first chain grocery systems, 
using low cash prices, extensive advertising programs, and 
attractive interiors and merchandise displays to bring in custo- 
mers, revolutionized retail trade practices. For a time the inde- 
pendent merchant stuck to the old methods of slipshod book- 
keeping, easy credit, double prices, and unattractive merchandise 
displays, usually represented by open cracker, flour, molasses, 
and sugar barrels. But as good customers passed by the 
neighborhood store and made purchases at the "chain," the 
independent merchant had to do something to avert ruin. By 
adopting chain methods he systematized the business; and by 
joining co-operative purchasing organizations he was able to 
reduce prices and regain much of the lost trade. Today, of the 
nearly four thousand local food markets more than three 
thousand are independently owned and operated. 

Cincinnati merchants were leaders in the co-operative buying 
movement which swept the country during the nineteenth 
century. In 1897 several retail grocers pooled their money and 
organized the Cincinnati Wholesale Grocery Company. Soon 
the profits derived by members attracted other merchants. 
Although the original Cincinnati Wholesale Grocery Com- 
pany (since 1924 White Villa Grocers Inc.) has become the 
nation's largest retail grocer co-operative, with more than a 
thousand members in Greater Cincinnati, the requirements for 
membership have never changed. Today, as in 1897, each 
grocer-member must own at least one share of stock and abide 
by certain credit and merchandising rules. Advertising and pro- 
motion programs also are undertaken co-operatively. White 
Villa Grocers Inc. operates its main warehouse and offices at 
Pearl and Pike Streets and a branch in Dayton, Ohio. Mer- 
chandise is retailed under the White Villa label, and coffee is 
roasted at the Cincinnati warehouse. 

Several other grocery wholesalers operate a semi-co-operative 
purchasing plan. The larger ones are Janszen Company 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

(1875), 62 Walnut Street, sponsor of the Dot Food Store 
system, coffee importer, and wholesaler and distributor of gro- 
cery sundries; Henry Helmers Grocery Company, 525 West 
Court Street, of the "Plee-zing plan;" and Arthur Baehr Com- 
pany, 21 West Front Street, Cincinnati distributor for Regal 

The Colter Company (1838), Water and Vine Streets, 
Cincinnati's oldest wholesale grocery organization, specializes 
in supplying hotels, restaurants, and institutions. Other whole- 
salers are Bell Grocery Company, 210 East Second Street; 
Diehl Wholesale Grocery Company (1925), Second and Main 
Streets; Dixie Wholesale Grocery Inc., 31 West Eighth Street, 
Covington; Flach Bros. Grocery Company, 2 East Second 
Street; Lewis Bros., 113 East Pearl Street; Cincinnati Food 
Products Company, 44 Vine Street, supplying hotels, res- 
taurants, and institutions; Q. K. Wholesale Grocery Company, 
206 East Walnut Street; Thiemann Bros. Inc., 218 Central 
Avenue; and Jacob Vossler Company, 423 West Court Street. 

Completing Cincinnati's wholesale food distribution system 
are the local sales organizations and warehouse facilities main- 
tained by manufacturers engaged in interstate trade. Combined, 
these concerns account for more than 50 percent of the 
foodstuffs bought in the city. 

Farm and Dairy Products 

THE FERTILE LAND in the vicinity of Cincinnati was 
a prime reason for the heavy influx of the early settlers to the 
Miami country. Through 150 years the good earth has been 
bountiful; to the tillers of soil it has given corn, wheat, 
potatoes, beans, tomatoes, apples, pears, peaches, and a variety 
of berries. Today the agricultural industry in the neighborhood 
of Cincinnati is still large but not productive enough to fill 
the city's market basket. Some crop surpluses, however, are 
shipped from the city. 

Because the climate does not permit more than one crop a 
year, many farmers have constructed hothouses for the raising 
of produce during the winter. Within 25 miles of the city are 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

more than a hundred of these plants. In 1937 nearly 200 
thousand baskets of hothouse tomatoes grown in the vicinity 
were exported from Cincinnati. 

The city is also noted for its manufacturers and processors 
of food products. Heading the list are the bakers. Of the more 
than two hundred baking firms in the city, one, the Strietmann 
Biscuit Company (1860), Twelfth Street and Central Park- 
way, maker of crackers and cakes, now markets its products 
nationally. Three of the largest chain grocery systems, Kroger 
Grocery & Baking Company, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea 
Company, and Albers Super Markets, operate their own 

Next in importance are the dairies. More than 70 dairy firms 
have plants in the Cincinnati area. The modern local dairy 
dates from Thomas French's milk venture in 1840. In 1842 
the firm name was changed to French Bros. -Bauer. Today the 
successor to this pioneer dairy, French-Bauer, Inc., Plum Street 
and Central Parkway, is the city's leading distributor of milk 
and allied products. Other large dairies are Townsend-West 
Dairy (1860), Plum Street and Central Parkway, and 
Matthews-Frechtling Dairy, 2363 St. James Avenue. The 
Cincinnati Milk Products Company, 49 Central Avenue, and 
Consolidated Products Company, 945 Barr Street, produce and 
market condensed and evaporated milk. 

The Chain Store 

A COUNTRY BUMPKIN transplanted to a business world 
in 1881 dreamed about a revolution which could be sprung in 
the retail grocery trade. As he made deliveries of tea, coffee, and 
spices for the Imperial Tea Company, the young Cincinnatian 
planned what he would do if the opportunity every came his 
way. Bernard H. Kroger (1860-1938) further decided that 
meanwhile he would learn all there was to know about the 

His chance finally came. Kroger's employers, busy nursing 
a wholesale river trade and ready to close out their retail busi- 
ness, offered him the job of managing the store for $ 1 2 a week 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

and 10 percent of the profits. Kroger eagerly accepted, and im- 
mediately put into practice some of his merchandising ideas. 
Although the retail store had been using red ink on its books 
for several years, Kroger showed a profit of $3,100 the first 
year. The success of the new methods convinced the young 
man of the practicability of his plan, and he asked for a third 
interest in exchange for his share of the earnings. When this 
was indignantly refused Kroger resigned. 

With a partner Kroger organized the Great Western Tea 
Company, opening a retail grocery store at 66 East Pearl Street 
(the No. 1 store of the Kroger chain) . All merchandise was 
clearly marked and artfully displayed, premiums were given 
with coffee and tea sales, and both the store front and interior 
were brightly painted. Public response to this new type of 
merchandising was immediate. Although a horse was killed 
and a wagon and merchandise destroyed, and flood ruined most 
of the store stock, Great Western Tea Company earned a small 
profit during its first year. More ambitious than ever, Kroger 
was eager to open a "chain of stores," so that it would be 
possible to get the best merchandise through mass buying. Mass 
buying meant cutting costs; by cutting costs Kroger could 
undersell competitors. Since Kroger's partner did not believe 
the chain plan practical, he retired, selling his interest in the 
business to Kroger for $1,500 in 1883. A few weeks later, a 
second store was opened, and the firm name changed to the 
Kroger Grocery Company. 

So began the first grocery store chain. Kroger's idea was a 
sensation in the retail trade world. The "chain"method spread 
quickly to other units of trade, and today nearly 35 percent 
of the nation's retail sales are made by chain organizations. 

Kroger continued to make his business grow. By 1893, when 
the company was operating 17 retail stores, the net profits had 
reached 112 thousand dollars. At the turn of the century the 
firm had 30 stores. Until 1902, when the Kroger Grorery & 
Baking Company was incorporated, all merchandise had been 
bought in the open market. Then Kroger established a ware- 
house, and made plans to package merchandise under a com- 
pany label. At the same time, realizing that he could expand 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

into the meat business Kroger persuaded Adam Nagel, owner 
of 14 meat markets and a packing plant on Bank Street, to 
become a member of the Kroger organization. The plan of 
combining meat and grocery departments under one roof was 
another revolutionary move by Kroger; when it proved 
successful, competitors quickly followed his example. 

By 1912 the company owned 157 stores, four warehouses, 
and a Cincinnati factory producing candy, cakes, bread, and 
package goods, such as coffee, tea, and spices. That year activi- 
ties were extended to another state; stores, offices, and a 
warehouse were opened in St. Louis, Missouri. 

In 1928 Kroger, after seeing his single store grow into a 
chain of more than three thousand, sold to a syndicate a por- 
tion of his stock for a sum between 26 and 28 million dollars, 
but remained in the organization as chairman of the board. 

Today, in addition to a complete bakery, the Cincinnati 
factories at 1240 State Avenue include a meat distributing and 
processing plant, a coffee roasting plant, a complete dairy, 
departments for the making of candy and other food items, 
and a packaging department for olives, teas, spices, mustard, 
and salads. A poultry and rabbit processing department is on 
Florence Avenue. The company also operates, outside of Cin- 
cinnati, beverage plants, a printing plant, and laundries. A 
factory producing store fixtures and equipment at Jackson, 
Tennessee, js run by the Piggly Wiggly Corporation, a Kroger 

Besides having stock control of Piggly Wiggly, the Kroger 
concern owns the Wesco Food Company, which deals in pro- 
duce, perishable food, and canned goods; the Colter Company, 
a wholesaling organization, with which is affiliated 
Pay-N-Take-it Inc. (1934), operating more than 10 local 
super-grocery and meat markets; and the Kroger Food Foun- 
dation, a research organization where foods are tested and 
merchandising problems studied. In addition, the company has 
its own fleet of trucks and a private police department. 

In 1938 trie Kroger Grocery & Baking Company was the 
nation's second largest retail food organization, operating 
more than four thousand stores in some 1,550 towns and cities 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

situated in 19 states, and having annual sales of more than 
240 million dollars. There are factories and warehouses in 
16 cities, and about 21 thousand employees. Executive offices 
are at 35 East Seventh Street. 

Chain store merchandising methods and sales were affected 
by the struggle independent grocers made to recapture lost 
trade. About 1930, after 40 years of uninterrupted progress, 
the era of rapid chain expansion came to an end. Companies 
started to close stores which did not show a profit; and many 
of the larger corporations operating in more than one state 
were forced into expensive legal battles when some legislatures 
approved acts increasing chain store taxes. 

Until 1933 efforts to combat the "soak the chains" influ- 
ences seemed wasted. But in November of that year William 
H. Albers, former president of the Kroger Grocery & Baking 
Company, opened in Norwood the first Albers Super Market. 
He adapted the old chain-store methods to changing conditions; 
instead of having two, three, or four stores in a neighborhood, 
he concentrated complete marketing facilities in one huge, cen- 
trally situated store. All merchandise was neatly marked, and 
buyers served themselves. The low cash prices, made possible 
by low overhead, and the free parking attracted buyers by the 
thousands. The sensational success of the super-market saved 
the grocery chains. Other grocery organizations aped Albers' 
example, and whenever possible combined two or three stores 
into a super-market. 

The Albers Super Markets, Inc. now operates 17 of these 
vast stores in Greater Cincinnati and in Dayton, and is plan- 
ning to extend activities to Columbus and other cities. In 1933 
the corporation employed 30 persons; in 1937 seven hundred 
employees earned 400 thousand dollars in wages. Gross sales 
that year totalled $4,500,000. Offices and warehouses are at 
Mitchell Avenue and the B. & O. Railroad, while a complete 
bakery is operated at 601 East Fifth Street. 

Other local chain grocery store organizations are Schneider 
Grocery Company (incorporated 1907), with offices and ware- 
houses at 640 Carr Street; Burke Grocery Company (1929), 
14 East Front Street; and Voss Grocery Company (1873, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

incorporated 1913), 62 Main Street. The Schneider organiza- 
tion dates from 1890 when two brothers, P. and G. Schneider, 
opened a retail store on Freeman Avenue, near Eighth Street. 
Today the corporation operates 67 stores in Hamilton County, 
employs 310, and pays 340 thousand dollars annually in 
wages. Although seven stores were in the 1937 flood district 
and losses from the rambling waters totalled 15 thousand dol- 
lars, three million dollars in sales that year represented the best 
annual mark in the company's history. 

The Burke Grocery Company, operating 36 retail stores in 
Greater Cincinnati, employs 76, and in 1937 had gross sales 
of about a million dollars. In 1937 the company lost 58 thou- 
sand dollars when merchandise and fixtures in nine stores and 
the warehouse were destroyed or spoiled by flood waters. Meat 
departments are leased to independent butchers. 

The Voss Grocery Company, with 25 retail stores in 
Greater Cincinnati, has about a hundred employees and a pay- 
roll of a hundred thousand dollars. The organization is 
planning to build several super-markets. 

The nation's largest retail grocery organization, The Great 
Atlantic 8 Pacific Tea Company (New York, 1859), has 
some 80 stores, four of which are super-markets, in Greater 
Cincinnati and 70 others nearby, serviced from the local office, 
warehouse and bakery, 3250 Fredonia Avenue. 

Wholesale Commerce 

LEATHER-CLAD SETTLERS of Cincinnati's first days 
needed essential goods pretty badly. But there were obstacles 
such as the lack of transportation facilities, unsatisfactory 
methods of barter, and the disappointing discovery that expan- 
sion was restricted because the infant United States had been 
unable to set up a standard system of currency exchange. 
Nevertheless, many Cincinnatians plunged hopefully into trade. 
They found that the Ohio River could make a good highway 
and widen their sales frontier. Immediately they took the sur- 
plus grain, flour, meats, whiskies, and a small selection of hand- 
made articles west and south to New Orleans, where they 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

bartered their goods for merchandise needed in Cincinnati 
and talked up Cincinnati to the South. 

These early missionary efforts were good for Cincinnati 
commerce. Much machinery and many manufactured products 
required by the South were bought through Cincinnatians. As 
trade increased, huge warehouses for storage of merchandise 
made a tall facade for the city along the waterfront; from dawn 
to dusk roustabouts loaded boats with cargo destined for far- 
away markets and fast packets carried local merchants and 
salesmen into untapped sales territory. 

Commerce was spurred on by the opening of canals and 
railroads and later by the use of the telegraph and the tele- 
phone, until sales of nearly 500 million dollars in 1935 made 
the Queen City's market the thirteenth largest in the nation. 

Today Cincinnati's 1,383 wholesale establishments, carry- 
ing thousands of articles in stock, from heavy equipment to 
paper and waste materials, give employment to some 14 thou- 
sand persons, with annual payrolls of more than 22 million 
dollars. Leading the various units in sales is the grocery trade, 
with more than 69 million dollars; next come coal and coke, 
with 59 million dollars, and farm products, both consumer 
and raw materials, with a total of 55 million dollars. In 1935 
the combined net sales of local companies amounted to more 
than 477 million dollars, while the 63 other Hamilton County 
establishments had sales of some 36 million dollars a total of 
513 million dollars for the 1,446 Hamilton County companies 
engaged in wholesale commerce. 

Modern methods of refrigeration in railroad cars, motor 
trucks, warehouses, and stores have eliminated the waste and 
spoilage common during shipment, and they have made possi- 
ble the local distribution and sale of perishable fruits and 
produce grown in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, and 
California. Cincinnati is now the distributing center for a 
region embracing southwestern Ohio, eastern Indiana, and 
northern Kentucky, and daily auctions of fruit and produce 
are conducted by the Cincinnati Produce and Fruit Exchange, 
27 West Front Street. In season a farmers' wholesale market 
is held at Twelfth Street and Central Parkway, where the early 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

hours of the morning see farmers beside their trucks and 
produce bargaining with many of the city's grocers. 

Because of its geographical situation Cincinnati has also be- 
come the focal point for distributing articles produced else- 
where. Many large national organizations maintain local sales 
offices and warehouses, while others keep merchandise in public 
storage depots. 

The largest and most modern local general and bonded 
warehouse firm is the Cincinnati Terminal Warehouse, Inc. 
(1924), 49 Central Avenue, which has a seven-story fire-proof 
building containing 1 6 acres of space, a third of which is for 
cold storage. High-speed elevators transfer merchandise, and 
railroad cars are loaded and unloaded within the structure. 
Other general warehouses are Baltimore & Ohio Warehouse 
Company, Second and Smith Streets; Cincinnati Merchandise 
Warehouses, Inc., 7 West Front Street; Front and Bulter Ware- 
houses, Inc., Front and Butler Streets; Manufacturers Ware- 
house Company, 717 Sycamore Street; Cincinnati Storage and 
Warehouse Company, 221 Plum Street; Merchants Cold Stor- 
age Company, 646 Freeman Avenue; and Cincinnati Ice Manu- 
facturing 8 Cold Storage Company, 417 East Court Street. 

Department Stores, Specialty Shops 

THE RISE AND GROWTH of the modern department 
store has been phenomenal. The city has ten major stores of 
this type having combined annual sales exceeding 30 million 
dollars. In the Greater Cincinnati area there are an additional 
11 stores, with sales in 1935 totalling nearly three million 

The department store in Cincinnati dates back to Janu- 
ary 2, 1832, when William McLaughlin and John Shillito 
became partners and bought the staple and fancy dry goods 
business of J. W. and O. B. Blanchly at 55 Main Street. 

A good example of 1832 merchandising methods is an 
advertisement of McLaughlin and Shillito in the November 25 
issue of the Gazette: 


having purchased the entire stock of the late firm of 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years oi Industrial Cincinnati 

J. W. 8 O. B. Blanchly, respectfully inform their friends, 
the customers of that firm, and the public in general, 
that they have united the above mentioned stock to that 
of William McLaughlin, and without enumerating the 
various articles now comprising their stock, they would 
merely observe that they think they are enabled to offer 
an assortment of goods not inferior to any in the market; 
& they entertain hopes that the attention which will be 
bestowed in the future selection of their goods and their 
undivided attention to business, will secure a continuance 
of the patronage which has been extended toward the 
two establishments. 
Cine. Nov. 25, 1832. Mcl-.u^hlin W Shillito. 

The story of McLaughlin and Shillito not only represents 
changes in retail methods, but also epitomizes the general 
development of other stores in the city. At first, the firm did an 
extremely good business. But the junior partner was not satis- 
fied; he wanted to get more sales by adding more departments. 
His partner disagreed, and the partnership was dissolved about 
1840 when Shillito purchased McLaughlin's holdings .ind 
inaugurated his own system of merchandising. 

His success was phenomenal, and by 1884, when a new build- 
ing was erected at the southwest corner of Seventh and Race 
Streets and Shillito Place, the John Shillito Company was oper- 
ating the largest department store in the Middle West. When 
other stores adopted new methods and leaped into competition, 
the growth of Shillito's was somewhat retarded. Since 19^0, 
however, when the John Shillito Company was absorbed by 
the Lazarus interests of Columbus, it again jumped ahead. 

In 1937 Shillito's completed a two million dollar expansion 
and modernization program. The exterior of the original brick 
building was rebuilt in stone, an addition constructed, and a 
garage for customers added. The present store, the largest in 
Ohio, has 13 acres of floor space, occupying an entire city 
block from Race to Elm Streets and Shillito Place to Seventh 
Street. Included among the 130 departments are four res- 
taurants, a 20-bed emergency hospital, and a testing laboratory 
with facilities for accurate examination of fabric, colors, hosiery 
threading, and general merchandise. 

The retail and wholesale dry goods trade flourished particu- 
larly well just before the Civil War. In 1852 G. W. McAlpin 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

set up a small store for the sale of yard goods. Slowly the busi- 
ness grew, departments were added, and today the McAlpin 
Company, Fourth Street, between Vine and Race Streets, is a 
huge retail store. Sales in 1925, the firm's best year, totalled 
$3,010,929.23. In 1937 sales amounted to $2,006,195.75, 
and the 185 employees earned nearly 200 thousand dollars in 

Unsettled business conditions in Cincinnati during the Civil 
War did not keep H.' and S. Pogue from trying their hand 
at retail trade. Forming a partnership in 1863, they opened a 
dry goods store, weathered the hard times during and after the 
war, and slowly expanded the business into a department store. 
Incorporated as the H. & S. Pogue Company, in July 1887, 
Pogue's store at Fourth and Race Streets is today one of the 
city's major retail establishments (about 75 departments) . 
Annual sales exceed 11 million dollars. In 1938 employment 
was about 1,500. 

During the Civil War two young brothers and a stranger, 
all Cincinnatians fighting side by side in the Union forces, 
became warm friends. After demobilization, W. H. and Fred 
H. Alms and W. T. Doepke decided the best way to continue 
the war-time comradeship was to become business partners. 
Pooling their savings, they accumulated capital of 10 thousand 
dollars and in 1865 leased a small store at Canal and Main 
Streets, where they set up a wholesale and retail dry goods and 
floor covering business. Jutting up from the bank of the canal, 
the store was far from the shopping district. Competitors 
smiled and bet the business would fail in a few months. But 
the wagers were never collected, for the enterprise returned 
handsome profits. In 1889 it was incorporated as the Alms 
& Doepke Company, with a paid capital of $1,200,000. In 
1923 the company declared a two hundred percent stock divi- 
dend. Today the store covers an entire block, from Central 
Parkway to Reading Road and from Main to Sycamore Streets. 
Since the city's major shopping area has not yet crept to the 
doors of Alms & Doepke, the company operates a private motor 
bus system for customers. Wholesale trade now accounts for a 
third of the gross sales. About six hundred persons are employed. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

In 1877 C. R. Mabley stood in front of his clothing store 
on Fifth Street, between Vine and Walnut Streets. His shop 
was neat and business was good, but Mabley was intrigued 
with the idea of setting up a department store at the busy 
northeast corner of Fifth and Vine Streets. Later that year 
he discussed his plans with a friend, J. T. Carew, and within 
a short time a partnership was formed to make the dream 
a reality. The store prospered. When the Carew Tower build- 
ing was erected in 1931, Mabley & Carew moved into its 
present ultra-modern quarters. The store now has more than 
50 departments. 

Rollman's, on the northwest corner of Fifth and Vine Streets, 
was founded in 1867 by Henry Rollman. The Fair Store 
(1896), Sixth and Race Streets, was the first local retail sales 
concern to open suburban branches in Norwood and Covington. 

In 1896 a small notions store opened on West Fifth Street, 
west of Central Avenue. Despite its location in one of the 
poorer sections of the city, the store was managed by men 
having a good business sense, and new departments were soon 
added. Now the Big Store Company, Seventh and Race Streets, 
is one of the fastest growing department stores in the city. 
The company was the first in Cincinnati to adopt a merchandise 
club plan for children. 

The Cincinnati unit (1929) of Sears Roebuck & Co., 2900 
Reading Road, is the only large retail department store not 
situated in the downtown district. Unlimited free parking space 
for customers, however, has offset this disadvantage and helped 
expansion. Branches are in Norwood and Covington. 

In addition to Cincinnati's department stores the roster of 
retail enterprises carries hundreds of men's and women's specialty 
shops, shoe stores, hat shops, hosiery and lingerie shops, fur 
retailers, and a number of variety enterprises, offering five, 10, 
25 cents, and one dollar merchandise. 

Competition has aided enlargement of the specialty shop 
chains; and many of the city's retail enterprises now are operated 
by national sales organizations. Kline's .Inc., Fifth and Race 
Street, is the largest exclusive specialty shop for women. Other 
leading women's ready-to-wear stores are La Mode (1887), 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Sixth and Race Streets; Lerner's, Fifth and Race Streets; Jenny 
Inc. (1932, formerly Jenny L, 1922), 8 West Fourth Street, 
having record net sales of 566 thousand dollars in 1937; and 
Gidding Company, Inc., 10 West Fourth Street. 

The Burkhardt Bros. Company Inc. (Burkhardt the Hatter, 
1866) , 8 East Fourth Street, is the leading men's specialty shop, 
having haberdashery, clothing, and shoe departments. Gross 
sales annually exceed a million dollars. 

Chain Drug Stores 

THE AMERICAN DESIRE to experiment, to change old 
methods in conformity with new business conditions, is illus- 
trated strikingly in the evolution of the drug store from the 
old-time prescription expert to the ultra-modern druggist, a 
merchant who has fitted his store with soda fountains and 
luncheonettes, sells magazines and books, tobaccos and pipes, 
perfumes and powders, toys and novelties, candles and electrical 
appliances and still manages to administer to the needs of the 
sick. The modern druggist is not unlike the old-time general 
storekeeper, willing to stock any sort of merchandise his custo- 
mers want to buy. A Cincinnati woman is responsible for this 
revolutionary change. 

In 1915 Miss Cora Dow, who had inherited the business 
from her father, was operating several drug stores. One of these 
was at the southwest corner of Sixth and Vine Streets; just 
opposite it stood Weatherhead's Drug Store. Although both 
were situated at one of the city's busiest intersections, business 
was poor. Miss Dow decided to untangle this competitive knot. 
She effected a merger, closed Weatherhead's store, and organized 
the Dow Drug Company. She then began a sales innovation 
by installing a soda fountain, and adding perfume, powder, 
and tobacco departments. 

The new merchandising method proved successful and was 
widely copied by competitors. As the business grew, new stores 
were opened in rapid succession. In 1938 the Dow Drug Com- 
pany had 33 stores in Cincinnati, two in Hamilton, one in 
Newport, one in Covington, two in Springfield (Ohio), and 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

six in Pittsburgh. Annual sales exceed five million dollars, 
and the 37 Greater Cincinnati stores employ 520. 

Another important chain drug store concern is King Drug 
Company (1929), 628 Sycamore Street, which operates about 
a dozen retail stores in the Greater Cincinnati area. 

During the 1920's, when both the Dow Drug Company and 
King Drug Company were showering the city with stores, sev- 
eral other chain drug systems began operating in Cincinnati. 
During the depression years following 1929, however, prac- 
tically all of these succumbed to poor business conditions; and 
today the city has only the two major drug store chains. 


Chapter XIII 

Public Utilities Water Supply 
Telegraph Lines Fire and Burglar 
Alarms Gas and Electric Systems 

OMPLEX CONVENIENCES of the modern city are 
built on the regular, dependable operation of public 
utility services. Let those services once stop or falter, 
and the city is soon paralyzed. 

Cincinnatians remember the flood of January 1937, and 
know their dependence on basic utilities. Rising water stopped 
the city's power plant and threatened the city's water supply; 
offices and factories closed; streetcars stopped running; tele- 
phone service was maintained only with difficulty; and citizens 
carried and boiled water brought by railroad from other cities 
and then went to bed by candlelight Cincinnati had always 
taken its water and its electric power for granted; it discovered 
their value when it had to do without them for a while. 

A municipally owned plant provides Cincinnati's water. Gas 
and electric power are supplied by the Cincinnati Gas & Electric 
Company; telephone service is given by the Cincinnati & 
Suburban Bell Telephone Company; and telegraph, cable, and 
radio message services are supplied by the Western Union and 
Postal Telegraph Cable systems. 

Cincinnati's first citizens met the need for public utilities by 
private makeshifts. They took their water from the Ohio River, 
from nearby creeks, or from the wells which they dug on their 
farms. They lighted their houses with homemade candles. They 
cut the dry wood that they found in the forest and used it to 
heat their houses and cook their food. If they wanted commu- 
nication with the outside world, they could always send mes- 
sages by waggoner or boatman. 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

With the opening of the first post office in 1791, Cincinnati 
Hung out her lines of communication, and mail moved with 
fair regularity up and down the Ohio on river boats. In 1791, 
also, an ingenious huckster trundled a cart loaded with water 
for sale; but he did little business. Cincinnati distrusted its 
water supply, and quenched its mounting thirst with whisky. 
.Sanitation and sociability advanced together. 

Gradually the supply of utilities was systematized and mech- 
anized. In 1909 pipelines reached Cincinnati with natural 
gas for heating and lighting. The telegraph spun Cincinnati 
into its growing web by 1847, the city appeared in 1878 on 
the telephone switchboards of the nation, and electricity for 
power and light came a couple of years later. 

All except one of Cincinnati's public utilities are supplied 
by private corporations operating under municipal franchises. 
When private concerns failed, in the early nineteenth century, 
to meet the growing city's need for water, citizens voted in 1839 
to set up a public department to operate the local waterworks. 
From time to time the city watches campaigns for public owner- 
ship of other utilities. In 1930 voters refused to ratify purchase 
of the local gas and electric plants. The battle continues, 
wavers, comes to an end; both sides give their arguments, and 
nothing happens. Cincinnati moves slowly in matters of 
political and economic change. 

Cincinnati s Water Supply 

Till taught by pain, men really know not what good 
water's worth. . . . 

SAID BYRON BEFORE he was too busy dying at Mis- 
solonghi to write about his feverish thirst. But Cincinnati, sit- 
ting beside an ample river, was not too busy in its days to 
realize that a healthy community needs good water. In 1791 
along came the cart. In 1805 one of these contraptions was used 
to drum up enough business to supply 1,700 residents who pre- 
ferred this water to whisky. This primitive system continued 
until July 3, 1821 when horses walked a circular tread way to 
bring water up two crude wooden pumps constructed by the 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Cincinnati Manufacturing Company on Front Street near Deer 
Creek. The water was pumped from the Ohio River to a tank 
on Front Street, and thence to a reservoir on Third Street. 

Subscribers to the service got their water through log con- 
duits connected with the reservoir and tank. The pipes, 10 
inches in diameter and 12 feet long, had 2 Yi -inch holes bored 
through them. Since taps were unknown, users plugged the 
pipes when water was not needed. 

Civic satisfaction with this improved water service was not 
unanimous. Fresh in the memory of many residents was the 
political battle which had raged for years over the granting 
by the city of a water pumping franchise. The first plan for a 
works had been submitted to city council as early as 1810, but 
it was not until 1817 that an agreement was reached by the 
lawmakers. On March 31 the Cincinnati Manufacturing Com- 
pany was given an exclusive 9 9 -year contract to supply water 
to subscribers, to construct pumps, tanks, and reservoirs, and 
to lay pipes through the city streets. Furthermore, the town 
was to receive a hundred dollars per year and free water for 
fire protection. 

As finally approved in 1818, the ordinance extending the 
exclusive water privilege allowed the company to 

. . . convey the water into that part of town lying south 
of Third Street and commonly called the "bottom," 
within two years from and after July first next . . . and 
into that part lying north of Third Street, commonly 
called the "hill," so that the same may be delivered three 
feet above the first floor of James Ferguson's kitchen, 
within three years from July 1st, 1818. 

After completing construction of the wooden pumps, the 
tank, and the reservoir, the Cincinnati Manufacturing Company 
transferred its franchise to Samuel W. Davies, who finished the 
building operations agreed upon in the franchise. 

In 1824 two new pumps, having a capacity of 1,200,000 
gallons a day, were installed; they were operated by an engine 
taken from the steamboat Vista. In 1826 the Cincinnati Water 
Works was incorporated with limited capital of 75 thousand 
dollars. Although expansion of facilities was slow, the corpora- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

tion in 1828 laid its first iron pipes, eight inches in diameter, 
as a supply connection with the reservoir. In 1831 the pumps 
and sections of the buildings housing the machinery were de- 
stroyed by fire. For three weeks, the time necessary for emer- 
gency repairs, Cincinnati was without water. 

Meanwhile residents favoring municipal ownership of the 
waterworks continued to win converts. In 1824 this group 
succeeded in putting the purchase plan on the election ballots 
for the first time. Voters, however, summarily rejected the 
issue, 244 to 25. Undeterred by this setback, organizers of the 
movement bided their time. In 1832, believing they had 
accumulated enough strength, they again set the plan before 
the voters. Once more it was defeated, 617 to 303, and then 
again in 1836, 1,274 to 956. 

Early in 1838 the operating company raised water rates 20 
percent. This was a poor business move, for public opinion 
in favor of a municipal water supply was stronger than before. 
City leaders again placed the issue before the electorate in No- 
vember and won a decisive victory, 1,563 for, and 521 against, 
the proposal. 

Before plans could be made for the city to take over the 
property, opponents of municipal ownership succeeding in hav- 
ing the state legislature pass, on March 16, 1839, an act which 
made a second vote necessary. At this special election, conducted 
May 3, voters again approved the purchase plan, 728 to 563. 

On June 25, after the final papers had been signed, the city 
took possession. Owners of the Cincinnati Water Works were 
paid 300 thousand dollars for the property. They accepted 
city bonds, redeemable in 1865 and bearing six percent interest. 
Assets, besides the service contracts, consisted of the Third 
Street reservoir, two pumping engines, and 3J/ miles of iron, 
and 19 miles of wooden, pipe. 

After the city took over operations, service and plant im- 
provements were made slowly. Since the many people who were 
coming to live in Cincinnati were as thirsty as the residents, 
some extensions to pipe lines had to be made. In 1845 the 
first major improvement under public ownership came with 
the completion of a 20-inch iron supply pipe, connecting the 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

pumps with the reservoir. The following year a new pump 
of greater capacity was installed at the Front Street plant. 

At the same time engineers were working on plans for a 
larger reservoir, to be built on Third Street. When completed 
in 1853 the added storage capacity it gave assured a constant 
supply of water for subscribers. To take care of the additional 
pumping operations, two steam engines of new design and 
greater capacity were installed in 1851 and 1854. 

Completion of the Third Street reservoir marked the begin- 
ning of a new phase in the operation of the waterworks. 
Before that time improvements had been made only when abso- 
lutely necessary; and even this allowed procrastination. But 
Cincinnati was growing so fast that executives began to realize 
the economy of planning for the future. Engineers therefore 
worked out plans for construction of the Eden Park reservoirs, 
which would give additional service to hilltop residents. De- 
spite considerable political manipulation, work: on the reservoirs 
was started in May 1866. 

As early as 1849 trustees of the waterworks placed before 
city council plans for a 200 thousand dollar bond issue to 
finance improvements. Although, according to the trustees, 
"the waterworks have never been a tax upon the city," legislative 
action was slow and the attempts to finance the project from 
departmental surplus, even slower. In time the habitual delays 
annoyed many residents, who threw complaints at waterworks 
executives for plant conditions causing the inadequate water 
supply. On July 27, 1872 the Gazette, commenting on the 
continued bickering between trustees and council, put the blame 
squarely on councilmen for failing to authorize the bond issue. 
The editors urged immediate completion of the reservoir; they 
pointed out that the waterworks had but one reservoir in use, 
and that if this source of supply should ever be rendered useless 
the city would indeed be in a sorry state. 

Finally on October 19, 1874 engines began pumping water 
into the upper basin of the reservoir; four years later construc- 
tion work on the lower basin was completed. All this did not 
happen peacefully. Early in May 1876 it was discovered that 
waterworks collectors were some 20 thousand dollars short 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

in their accounts; and a public scandal was in order. Investi- 
gation revealed that some employees were doing a brokerage 
business on capital taken from waterworks service accounts. 
Charges and counter charges were hurled, and the investigation 
dragged on for months. When the storm was over, without 
much lifting of the clouds, the waterworks was operating under 
a plan which permitted closer supervision of accounts. 

The department then rushed improvements, and by 1880 a 
4 6 -inch main was laid from the Third Street reservoir to Eden 
Park, the lower basin was filled, and in 1881 Western Hills 
citizens were given city water service. During the next 10 
years four new pumping engines were installed, and on July 3, 
1890 an auxiliary plant was ready for use. 

But even with rapid improvements, including a Cummins- 
ville pumping station (1893), the opening of the Eden Park 
Station (1894), and the reconstruction of the Hunt Street 
Station (1896), the fast growth of population, the annexation 
of near-by villages, and the natural demand for water service 
made further advance necessary. 

To meet the heightened demands, engineers made a survey, 
and then suggested construction of an entirely new plant, one 
comprehensive enough to take -care of the city's future growth. 
On February 2, 1897 the new Waterworks Act, approved by 
the Ohio legislature the year before, was declared valid, and in 
May 1898 work was begun on the new plant. 

On January 2, 1907 the main pumping station at 2526 
Eastern Avenue began servicing the high-pressure mains. Work 
on the California filtration plant was rushed, and on November 1 
all city water was filtered for the first time. On December 15 
the Western Hills station, with a pumping capacity of 10 
million gallons daily, began giving service to the western section 
of the city. The new system proved satisfactory. In 1907 
the department abandoned the Eden Park and Mt. Hope pump- 
ing stations, and in 1908 the Westwood station. Meanwhile 
the rush of residents to build homes in the Western Hills raised 
a further need for water service. On August 6, 1912 two huge 
storage tanks on Ferguson Road were put to use, and the 
Western Hills pumping station began servicing Price Hill, West- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

wood, Cheviot, Mt. Airy, College Hill, Mt. Healthy, and Fair- 
mount. In 1914a 17 million-gallon engine for eastern pumping 
service was installed at the main station, while in 1915, be- 
cause of the continued influx of population in the western sec- 
tion of the city, another seven million-gallon pumping engine 
was installed at the Western Hills Station. 

During the next decade shifting population and industry 
necessitated plant improvements. In 1918 a service main 
through Norwood was completed; in 1925 the Eastern Hills 
reservoir was finished; and in 1927 the Mt. Airy reservoir, with 
connections to supply service to St. Bernard, was opened. Then 
in 1930 came a mid western drought, and new Cincinnati rec- 
ords for consumption, filtration, and pumping were established. 
Because of the drain made on Cincinnati water facilities, city 
council that year authorized an engineering survey of the entire 
system so that plans for future expansion could be met. 

In 1931 the first effects of pollution, caused by canalization 
of the Ohio River, began to be noted here. When users began 
criticizing water tastes and odors caused by sewage sedimenta- 
tion, chloronators were installed at California to treat the water 
before it was pumped to users. 

Beginning in 1933, when the Federal Government, through 
the Public Works Administration and other organizations, ap- 
propriated huge sums of money for municipal construction, the 
Waterworks Department received approval to modernize its 
plant and facilities. A new Western Hills Pumping Station was 
constructed in 1937. It is equipped with electrically driven 
pumps having a capacity of 30 million gallons a day. Should 
more than this amount be needed, pumps can be added. Other 
improvements were made at California and at the main pump- 
ing station, where the capacity was increased from 153 million 
to 200 million gallons daily. Many miles of new pipe were laid, 
and plans made to prevent cessation of service because of floods. 

Today the depa-rtment, which employs more than five hun- 
dred persons, has more than a thousand miles of pipe and about 
a hundred thousand meters in use. It maintains a service and 
repair department, whose crews are on constant duty. In 1936 
the total expenditure of the department was $2,307,279. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Today, because of the 1937 flood, Cincinnati officials are 
contemplating a new program, one that will make the water- 
works impregnable to the onslaught of future Ohio River floods. 

Telegraphic Facilities 

ITS GREAT IMPORTANCE as a center for manufacturing 
and trade made Cincinnati the first city west of Pittsburgh 
to be connected by telegraphic communication with Eastern 
communities. Only three years after Samuel F. B. Morse (1791- 
1872) had publicly tested his telegraph instrument in 1844, 
Henry O'Reilly, one of the industry's pioneers, extended his 
"wire" from Washington to Pittsburgh. 

Believing success would come from' expansion to the West, 
O'Reilly personally surveyed the territory and decided Cincin- 
nati was the natural gateway to the South and West. At that 
time Chicago was a small village, St. Louis was on the western 
frontier of American civilization, and Detroit and Cleveland 
were given scant attention because he considered them poor 
distributing cities. 

After obtaining capital O'Reilly organized the Pittsburgh, 
Cincinnati & Louisville Telegraph Company. Selecting a route 
leading from Pittsburgh to Wheeling, West Virginia, he rushed 
construction work. Crossing the Ohio River at Wheeling, 
O'Reilly's wire followed the National Pike to Dayton, passing 
through Zanesville, Columbus, and Springfield. From Dayton 
it came into Cincinnati over the Reading Pike. Offices were 
on the third floor of the College Building, Walnut Street above 
Fourth Street. On the floor below was the Merchants Exchange, 
one of the original O'Reilly stockholders. 

On August 20, 1847 the wire between Cincinnati and Pitts- 
burgh was opened. The following day the Gazette commented: 

Cincinnati and Pittsburgh shook hands yesterday by 
means of Mr. O'Reilly's telegraph. We had the good for- 
tune to be present at the first flash. Accidentally and inci- 
dentally a sort of editorial solo: and the way we were 
thrown into wonderment by the performance of the 
little brass piece on the desk of our friend O'Reilly, with 
its wheels, cogs, clogs, wires, etc. we shall leave our 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

brethren of the Press who were not present to imagine. 
The whole affair worked beautifully, and the first word 
Cincinnati uttered in the ear of Pittsburgh took the Iron 
City quite by surprise. She recovered her equanimity in a 
short time and very politely sent us an interesting com- 
munication . . . The steamer Cambria, it will be seen, 
reached Boston on the afternoon of the 19th inst. . . . 
Breadstuffs were then dull . . . Compliments of Cincin- 
nati Gazette and its conductors to Henry O'Reilly and 
his telegraph. 

Although the O'Reilly line operated irregularly because of 
technical deficiencies and "wire tappers," an organized group of 
cutters who tried to manipulate market quotations, another wire 
was strung from Cincinnati to Louisville. This followed Har- 
rison Pike to Cleves; thence it passed through Lawrenceburg, 
Aurora, and Madison, Indiana, into the Kentucky city. Service 
between the Queen City and Louisville began September 24, 
1847. The New Orleans & Ohio Telegraph Company, later 
known as the "Case Line," strung the second line from Louis- 
ville to Cincinnati. Messages were sent and received from the 
O'Reilly office. Later the firm built a wire east from the 
O'Reilly office at Cincinnati along the river to Wheeling. A 
loop crossed the stream at Maysville, Kentucky. 

The next year a wire went from Cincinnati to Lawrence- 
burg, North Vernon, Seymour, and Vincennes, Indiana, to St. 
Louis. The O'Reilly system then built the first line to Indian- 
apolis, looping it from Dayton through Richmond. The second 
line (Wade system) followed the highway to Hamilton, Ohio, 
and then through Connersville, Indiana. The Wade concern 
also pioneered construction of the first Cleveland wire, which 
followed the highway through Columbus, Xenia, and Dayton. 
The Wade Cincinnati offices were on the south side of Third 
Street, east of Main Street. Charles Davenport and William 
Hunter were the operators. 

In quick succession competitive telegraphic companies were 
organized. Among those opening offices here were the House 
system, having headquarters adjoining O'Reilly's on Third 
Street; Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company, with offices on 
the south side of Third Street, west of Walnut Street; Pacific 
and Atlantic Telegraph Company, north side of Third Street, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

west of Walnut Street; Mutual Union Telegraph Company, 
south side of Fourth Street, east of Vine Street; United States 
Telegraph Company, Third Street; American Union, Fourth 
and Walnut Streets; Baltimore & Ohio Telegraph Company, 
Fourth Street, west of Walnut Street; and Bankers and Mer- 
chants United Lines, Fourth Street, between Vine and Walnut 

Because all the earlier systems had not been scientifically 
devised, messages could be sent and received only under the most 
favorable conditions. Breaks in transmission were common; 
and of course most of these were blamed on the weather. Owing 
to transmission delays and "butchery" of messages, the early 
telegraph was regarded as a toy rather than as an important 
agent of commerce. Patronage was discouraging, stockholders 
learned to do without dividends, and often employees went 
unpaid. Offices usually closed at 8 p. m., but on occasion it 
was necessary to keep the wire open later. When this occurred 
operators received no extra pay. This condition, since it was 
repeated frequently as patronage increased, soon led to dissatisfac- 
tion among the operators. Labor difficulty, plus the fact that 
there was not sufficient business to be divided among the 
competing companies, resulted in an organized movement among 
executives to form one strong national network of telegraph 
lines. And the era of consolidation, beginning in the 1860's, 
was under way. 

Meanwhile the O'Reilly system was doing well. Henry Ware, 
a Cincinnatian, received a contract to manufacture the concern's 
equipment, and made all instruments by hand. Recalling those 
days, Ware once remarked, ". . . The only difficult part of the 
work was the collection of my bills." 

About 1860 the Cincinnati O'Reilly office hired a young 
man named Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931). In a short 
time Edison was handling a key. General Anson Stager, chief 
operator and manager, relates that young Edison 

. . . had the peculiar habit of becoming ill whenever 
business in the office was light and his services not actu- 
ally required. Upon being excused by the chief operator, 
instead of going to bed, he went directly to the Public 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Library and there read every book that contained even a 
hint about electricity. . . . 

Apparently the young man's proclivity for study and strategic 
illness disturbed his fellow employees. When Edison got a job 
as telegrapher for a railroad, Stager did not try to persuade him 
to stay in the company's employ. Less than 10 years after 
leaving the city Edison discovered the principle for the incan- 
descent electric light lamp. 

Another Cincinnati employee of O'Reilly made a find that 
proved highly important to the telegraphic industry. George B. 
Hicks, a part-time operator and maintenance man, conceived the 
idea for a repeater to replace the paper registers on the earlier 
instrument, and succeeded in building the first magnetic sound- 
ing box. 

In 1861, 14 telegraph wires came into Cincinnati; seven were 
strung along railroad rights-of-way. The first major technical 
improvement was made in 1863 when a galvanized wire was 
constructed from Xenia to the city. This lightened the work 
for circuit riding, "trouble shooters" who traced transmission 
breaks caused by defective joints, escapes, and grounds. The 
galvanized wire, bridged and soldered at the joints, removed 
much of the break hazard. 

When the railroads began to use the telegraph frequently in 
the 1880's, technical development was given added impetus. 
For a time the fierce competition for business between the com- 
mercial and rail concerns brought with it the threat of disaster 
for both. Efforts pointing toward workable consolidation of 
parallel lines succeeded with the formation of the Union Tele- 
graph Company (1864), predecessor of the Western Union 
Telegraph Company. 

The first Western Union Telegraph Company office in Cin- 
cinnati was opened in 1866. In March that year the United 
States Telegraph Company, with all its wires and equipment, 
was absorbed by the new company. Compared with modern 
standards the first equipment installed here by Western Union 
was a crude assortment of tables and wires. The main switch- 
board had four mercury-filled holes bored through the top of 
the operating table. In order to switch from one wire to another 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the various holes had to be connected by a section of wire 
whose ends were turned at right angles. 

Since late in 1866, when the last of about five hundred 
consolidations and acquisitions gave Western Union a national 
wire network, the company has prospered plentifully. From 
1870 until 1909 the corporation piled up between 20 million 
and 30 million dollars worth of "record communications" busi- 
ness each year -without much straining to get a single message. 

Many mechanical and technical improvements were made dur- 
ing this period. The most important were the perfection and 
installation of two-way wire circuits, the laying of a transat- 
lantic cable, the perfection of the telegraphic printer for 
this type of communication, and the instituting of a compre- 
hensive method of delivering messages. Even control in the 
1870's by Jay Gould (1836-1892), the ruthless financial ty- 
coon who welded a new national network of common carriers, 
did not stop the even expansion of the telegraph system. 

In 1909 Theodore N. Vail, president of the American Tele- 
phone & Telegraph Company, traded 30 million dollars worth 
of A. T. & T. stock for the controlling interest in Western 
Union held by the Gould estate. Vail believed that telephone 
and telegraph are complementary, best operated by one concern. 
By 1910 anyone having telephone service could file a telegram 
by phone; charges were collected with the telephone bill. In 
four years Vail increased Western Union revenues from 34 mil- 
lion to more than 50 million dollars a year. He resigned the 
Western Union presidency in 1915 and immediately approved 
A. T. & T.'s sale of its stock in the telegraphic concern because 
criticism of the corporate structures suggested that the inter-rela- 
tionship might result in monopoly. 

Meanwhile the company's Cincinnati facilities were becoming 
larger and more efficient. After contracts had been signed 
with American railroads, branch offices were established in 
terminals. The demand for faster delivery of commercial mes- 
sages later brought about the opening of branches in various 
parts of the city. From 1866 until 1892, Western Union 
in Cincinnati, as well as elsewhere in the nation, depended upon 
the Mutual Union Telegraph Company for its messenger service. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

The American District Telegraph Company (in Cincinnati the 
Ohio Messenger & Telegraph), a Western Union subsidiary, 
succeeded M. U. T. in 1892 as the messenger supply house. 
This arrangement continued until 1919 when the parent organi- 
zation took over that part of the telegraphic communications 
business. Delivery operations were speeded noticeably, for they 
had been extremely slow. The typical M. U. T. delivery boy 
had been ill-mannered; many an A. D. T. boy had been not 
only a surly fellow but also a gambler, likely to be delayed for 
hours if he stumbled upon a profitable game of "craps." 

Western Union now employs about 14 thousand uniformed 
messenger boys, whose average age is 1 7 years. To avoid profes- 
sionalism, or the belief that messenger work is a lifetime job, 
the company discourages youths from remaining in the service 
longer than two years. In that time they average about $8.50 
a week in wages. About a hundred boys are employed for 
Cincinnati messenger work. 

From 1920 to 1929 Western Union spent 147 million dol- 
lars for plant improvements. Wire mileage was increased by 37 
percent, copper wire replaced iron on trunk circuits, multiplex 
printing equipment superseded the Morse wires in 75 major 
offices, and three new high-speed permalloy transatlantic cables 
were laid. Over these cables 2,500 words can be transmitted 
every minute. Cincinnati's share in these huge expenditures 
included installation of the multiplex apparatus in the Dixie 
Terminal Annex on Third Street, west of Walnut Street; junk- 
ing of the old wire system which had been at headquarters in 
the Ingalls Building, Fourth and Vine Streets, since 1906; and 
opening of a new main office at Fourth and Walnut Streets. 
The local improvements were completed in 1926. Later the 
automatic printing apparatus for direct contact with Western 
Union switchboards was set up in branch offices and in indus- 
trial and commercial offices. 

In 1928 Western Union employed about 30 thousand man- 
agers, clerks, and operators, and some 2,500 line maintenance 
men and laborers in the United States. The system had about 
30 thousand agencies. There are more than 24 thousand Wes- 
tern Union offices; and some 15 thousand telephone sending 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

agencies are in gasoline stations, drugstores, and mercantile estab- 
lishments. Revenues in 1937 were $100,483,000. 

The company now sells telegrams, cablegrams, stock market 
reports, baseball and football scores, express service, money or- 
ders, radiograms to ships at sea, United States Naval Observatory 
time, and an electrical stop watch. In addition, it will sight 
incoming ships for a client, make air line reservations, and 
through the delivery department handle all kinds of curious 
errands, such as delivering, to home or office, samples of any 
manufactured product. It operates 14 cables eight across the 
Atlantic Ocean, three to Cuba, one to Barbados and then South 
America, and two to the Azores and then to Italy, Spain, and 
Germany. Through connections with RCA communications, 
Western Union will send or receive messages to and from 
Hawaii, the Philippines, and the Far East. 

In Cincinnati, Western Union has 28 offices and, besides its 
hundred messengers, 350 employees. About 250 of the workers 
are attached to the traffic department, which includes Morse 
and printer operators and line and maintenance men. 

Postal Telegraph 

THE POSTAL TELEGRAPH and Cable Company has a 
story like that of its competitor in the record communications 
business. Organized in the early 1870's, the system has grown 
steadily, especially in the large Eastern and Middle Western 
cities, where its service facilities equal those of Western Union. 

The rise of the company was accelerated in 1928 when it 
was purchased by the International Telephone $ Telegraph 
Company. That year Postal duplicated Western Union's wire- 
telephone billing service, making it possible for a phone sub- 
scriber to file a telegram over either system; the telephone com- 
pany then added the charges to its 30-day statement. Extension 
and improvement of plant and wire facilities followed. During 
the 1920's the use of teletype, or automatic printing machines, 
superseded the Morse system of sending and receiving, and a 
few years later direct contact with central switchboards and 
offices of clients was started. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Through Commercial Cables, Mackay Radio, and agreements 
with subsidized foreign telegraphic 'organizations, the Postal 
system now functions as a world-wide record communications 
body. In Greater Cincinnati the system has 17 offices, with 
main offices and transmission facilities at 528 Walnut Street. 
About two hundred persons, including 75 messengers, are em- 
ployed locally. 

Police., Fire, and Burglar Alarm System 

major communication systems in Cincinnati, but several police, 
fire, and burglar alarm telegraphic systems are also operated here. 
Organized to give protective service to stores, factories, offices, 
and homes, three private concerns co-operate with the city 
police and fire departments. Two municipal organizations also 
maintain their own telegraphic call and alarm systems. 

The American District Telegraph Company of Hamilton 
County, 128 East Sixth Street, organized in 1876, is the oldest 
of the local protective concerns. The Ohio Messenger & Tele- 
graph Company, 18 West Seventh Street, is a Western Union 
subsidiary. (Cincinnati is the only city where this protective 
service is not called American District Telegraph) . The Walnut 
Hills District Telegraph Company, 108 West Sixth Street, was 
founded in 1892. 

Devices of all three companies are similar. For example, in a 
large department store an intricate maze of wires links every 
floor with the master control wire in the office of the telegraph 
company. If a watchman fails to make his specified calls, a 
company messenger is sent to investigate. Should a fire break out 
while the watchman is in another part of the building, wires 
connecting the automatic sprinkler system with both the tele- 
graph company and the fire tower will register the alarm when 
the heat causes the sprinkler system to flood with water the 
blazing part of the store. Burglar alarm systems link the store 
with both the police and telegraph company. So sensitive are 
these mechanical sentries that even the slightest touch on a door 
or display case will set the alarm in action. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Gas and Electric System 

BOTH THE INDIAN and the early white explorer probably 
knew that natural gas existed in the Ohio Valley. By 1825 it 
was being used as a novelty, and in the 1840's gas from Penn- 
sylvania and West Virginia wells was used to evaporate salt 

Even after the discovery of petroleum (1859) at Titusville, 
Pennsylvania, investors generally regarded gas as useless, for 
at the time there were no methods for transporting the fuel 
to the bigger urban centers. Natural gas was therefore not used 
for general industrial purposes until about 1883. 

Many years before, the Cincinnati Gas, Light & Coke Com- 
pany, chartered by an act of the Ohio General Assembly (1837) , 
began in 1843 to supply Cincinnati with artificial gas. Prob- 
ably the artificial gas was first used locally to light the cotton 
mill of the early eighteenth century; but the invention stirred 
local editors to speculate about the prospect of having lighted 
streets. As the city grew, the service was extended. In 1875 
the city council contracted with the Globe Light Company to 
light and extinguish street gas lamps at a rate of $29 per lamp 
a year. Difficulties soon arose. The wind frequently blew out 
all street lights on Gilbert Avenue and on Glendale Road. 
Engineers struggled for years before they solved the problem 
by using a new kind of glass-enclosed burner. 

About 1905 the local demand for manufactured gas became 
so great that executives of the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Com- 
pany (1895) discussed the possibility of bringing natural gas 
to the city. To do this more capital was needed. In 1906 the 
Union Gas & Electric Company was organized, leased all prop- 
erty of the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company, and prepared to 
build a pipeline from West Virginia to Cincinnati. 

Two important things, both requiring a big outlay of capital, 
remained before the program could be completed: Enough wells 
had to be purchased so that demands of the Cincinnati market 
could be met, and a high-pressure line had to be laid from West 
Virginia, a distance of more than 185 miles. The Columbia 
Corporation, now the Columbia Gas & Electric Company, was 



TELEPHONE (1879, 1913, 1938) 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

therefore formed on September 11, 1906. In turn Columbia 
organized the Cincinnati Gas Transportation Company, a sub- 
sidiary which built a 20 -inch pipeline from West Virginia to 
Cincinnati. At the time, the Union Gas 8 Electric Company 
served 52 thousand customers through its six hundred miles of 
artificial gas lines in Greater Cincinnati. In thousands of homes 
gas was used for cooking and lighting, and hundreds of the 
city's streets were illuminated by gas light. Annual consump- 
tion exceeded two billion cubic feet. 

Early in June 1909 the pipeline was finished. On June 25 
the Post announced: 

A flaming torch, one hundred feet in height, at the foot 
of Greenup St., Covington, Kentucky, will proclaim to 
the citizens of Cincinnati the turning on of natural gas 
Wednesday night. The actual turning on of the gas into 
the pipes of Cincinnati will not take place until Thurs- 
day morning. A standpipe is being erected on the Ken- 
tucky side of the Ohio River opposite Walnut St., from 
which the huge flame will burn Wednesday night from 
darkness until midnight. It will make light the territory 
for miles around. . . . 

Everything is in readiness for the substitution of natural 
gas for the artificial product, according to Secretary W. 
T. Hunter, of the Columbia Company. Except the torch, 
there will be no ceremony of any kind to commemorate 
the event. 

After completing the gas line the Union Gas & Electric Com- 
pany grew phenomenally. By 1912 it had some 114 thousand 
gas, and 23 thousand electric, customers. Today the Cincinnati 
Gas & Electric Company and its Greater Cincinnati subsidiaries 
supply gas to about 195 thousand customers. 

Electrical phenomena were still novel to Cincinnatians in 
1870. Although hundreds of inventors were trying to discover 
a means of using electricity, little headway had been made. 
In 1872 Professor Osborne, of Miami University, delighted 
hundreds of visitors at the Industrial Exposition by throwing 
a ray of light on the cascade of a fountain. Newspapers reported 
that the result was not satisfactory because of the unsteady 
nature of the light; but it gave an "unwonted brilliancy" to 
the water. When Thomas Alva Edison developed the tungsten 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

filament lamp in 1884, electric power almost immediately began 
shaping America's mechanical age. 

In Cincinnati many small operating concerns were formed 
to supply current. By the turn of the century nearly a dozen 
electric power companies were rivals furnishing the city with 
electric power. Duplication of plants, lines, and operations re- 
sulted in unnecessarily heavy service charges. In 1901 General 
Andrew Hickenlooper, president of the Cincinnati Gas, Light 
& Coke Company, merged the competing companies. By 1912 
the consolidated company had 23 thousand electric power cus- 
tomers, a gain of more than a hundred percent over its service 
list of 1901. 

In 1917 the Union Gas & Electric Company made plans 
for enlarging its electric output in Greater Cincinnati. Gas and 
electric customers on the lines had almost doubled in five years, 
and the old Edison power house on Canal Street and the smaller 
generating station in Newport, Kentucky, were nearing their 
maximum capacity. In 1916 construction had already started 
on the West End Station, Front and Rose Streets (on the site 
of Hobson's Choice) , which was to have an initial capacity of 
60 thousand kilowatts. 

In 1918 the switches were thrown for the two 30 thousand 
kilowatt generators at the West End Station. Although the 
added generating capacity assured constant service, engineers 
found new demands so urgent that a third generator was in- 
stalled within a year. A fourth was added later to complete 
the present capacity of 120 thousand kilowatts. During the 
next two years sales of electricity soared high. From a total 
of 132 million kilowatt hours in 1919, consumption rose to 
almost 202 million kilowatt hours in 1921. 

Although factories were responsible for the major part of this 
increase, home owners in the city also were beginning to 
realize the advantages of domestic lighting and appliances. 
In three years, from 1919 through 1921, about 35 thousand 
new electric customers were added in the Cincinnati area. 
During the next three years new local installations were even 
more frequent, averaging more than 22 thousand electric custo- 
mers each year. 



THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

By 1923 engineers had to build another generating plant. 
In February 1924 work was begun on the Columbia Station, 
situated on the Ohio River near the mouth of the Big Miami 
River, about 16 miles from Cincinnati. 

In 1925 the giant Columbia Power Station was formally 
dedicated. Two 45 thousand kilowatt generators were used 
to furnish current to southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, 
and northern Kentucky communities. Designed to have an 
ultimate capacity of nearly a million horsepower, the Columbia 
plant soon became the basic load station for supplying power 
in Greater Cincinnati. 

The 112 gas wells owned by the company and its subsidiaries 
in 1912 had increased to nearly nine thousand in 1937, and 
the 13 billion cubic feet of gas sold in 1912, to more than 147 
billion cubic feet. Growth of the electric department has also 
been extremely rapid; the 23 thousand consumers in 1912 had 
become 199 thousand in 1937. In Greater Cincinnati the Cin- 
cinnati Gas & Electric Company, the Union Gas & Electric Com- 
pany, the Union Light, Heat & Power Company, the South- 
western Ohio Power Company, the Columbia Gas Supply Com- 
pany, and several smaller subsidiaries serve customers in 129 
communities which in 1930 had a combined population of 
about a million. 

Telephone System 

FOR TWO YEARS after Alexander Graham Bell invented 
the telephone (March 10, 1876) he spent much of his time 
delivering lectures in the hope of interesting capitalists and the 
public in the instrument. Meanwhile he also had to defend him- 
self in a series of lawsuits, from most of which he came out 
victor. Later the Bell Telephone Associates was formed to 
promote the use of his telephone. 

In 1877 Gardiner Hubbard, member of Bell Telephone 
Associates and father-in-law of Bell, visited Cincinnati and 
publicly demonstrated the new invention. Among those who 
watched the demonstration was Charles Higbee Kilgour (1833- 
1906), majority stockholder in the City & Suburban Tele- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

graph Association. This organization had been formed in July 
1873 to furnish communication over private telegraph lines; 
it operated telegraph tickers, single stroke bells, and sounders. 

Hubbard's demonstration convinced Kilgour of the tele- 
phone's utility. With his younger brother, John, Kilgour set 
out to develop a communications system in Cincinnati. A line 
was strung from the old Franklin Bank, East Third Street, be- 
tween Walnut and Main Streets, to John Kilgour's home on 
Mt. Lookout. While conducting experiments, the Kilgours tried 
to find subscribers for the service. For months they struggled 
against popular skepticism, but finally succeeded in getting 
enough subscribers to open an exchange. 

On July 1, 1878 the first Cincinnati exchange, at the south- 
east corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets, began servicing 
18 subscribers. The freight office of the Cincinnati, Hamilton 
& Dayton Railroad was first on the list. The first operators were 
men and boys, and it took several minutes to complete the calls. 
At the time service began, Cincinnati was the second city in the 
nation to have a telephone exchange. (New Haven, Connecticut, 
was the first) . 

The first list of subscribers was printed on a small card; in 
1879 card number eight, printed on one large sheet of paper, 
carried the names of 200 patrons. Seven of these telephones 
were in residences. Today a book of more than 700 pages is 
.needed to list the 179,500 telephone subscribers in Greater 

By 1880 about 6,300 calls were being completed every day; 
today nearly a million calls are made daily in the Cincinnati 
area. In March 1880 the first long distance call travelled be- 
tween Hamilton and Cincinnati. Two years later connections 
were extended to Eaton and Dayton, and in 1885 to more than 
300 other communities. 

In 1886 a new exchange was opened in the old Masonic 
Temple Building, Third and Walnut Streets. It replaced three 
others in the downtown district, and was equipped with the 
latest type of telephone switchboard. In 1890, when the com- 
pany had about 3,800 subscribers, the first suburban exchange 
(Walnut Hills) was opened. That same year the first under- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

ground wires were laid in the downtown district, and long dis- 
tance connections could be made with the large cities in the East 
and with Chicago and Milwaukee. 

Meanwhile new inventions to improve telephone service were 
being marketed. The most important of these was the two wire 
metallic circuit. Late in 1893 the local company began replacing 
its single wire, or grounded, circuit with the metallic one. By 
1900 this work was finished. All batteries were now in the 
central office instead of beside the subscribers' instruments. 

At the turn of the century the Cincinnati Telephone Com- 
pany began a co-ordinated telephone system in the Cincinnati 
area. In 1901 the Citizens Telephone Company, operating in 
northern Kentucky, was purchased; since that time the number 
of plants and exchanges has increased from eight to more than 
50. In 1903, the present name, Cincinnati & Suburban Bell 
Telephone Company, was adopted. 

About the same time, Almon B. Strowger, a Kansas City 
(Missouri) undertaker, was conducting experiments with an 
automatic telephone exchange. His first model was made with 
a few pins and a collar box. A few years later Strowger moved 
to Chicago and perfected the dial telephone switchboard. The 
modern automatic switchboard (the kind now being installed 
in Cincinnati) utilizes a series of magnetic selectors which pick 
out the proper letter and number by rising and turning through 
an intricate series of channels. 

In 60 years the local telephone system has grown from a 
small organization of 22 employees to one of the city's major 
employers of labor, having some 2,250 workers. In 1930, the 
peak year, 3,659 persons were on the company's payroll. 


Chapter XIV 

Radio Broadcasting Receiving Sets 
Furniture and Office Supplies Music 
Instruments Watches Pottery and 

ADIO, SO POWERFUL a voice in contemporary 
American life that it has been called the Fifth Estate, 
dates back to about 640 B. C. when Thales, of Miletus, 
observed that amber after being rubbed acquired the 
electric property of attracting straws. Centuries passed before 
the next discovery was made. In 1654 Robert Boyle, British 
scientist, learned that electric propulsion can take place in a 
vacuum. In 1725 Stephen Gray discovered the principle of 
conduction when he noticed that electricity could be carried for 
more than five hundred feet along a hemp thread. During the 
ensuing years other discoveries stimulated further research in 
electrical phenomena. But as late as 1831, when Michael 
Faraday made possible the magneto and the dynamo by formu- 
lating the laws of electromagnetic induction, practical methods 
for the control of the phenomenon were still unknown. 

A year later (1832) Samuel F. B. Morse astounded listeners 
when he discussed his idea of telegraphy; almost 12 years later, 
messages from city to city sped along thin strands of wire. 
Thereafter methods of telegraphic communication sprinted. On 
August 16, 1858 the first transatlantic cable was put into serv- 
ice; in 1876 the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham 
Bell; 20 years later Guglielmo Marconi sent and received the 
first wireless signals across his father's estate at Bologna, Italy. 
Methods of communication were being revolutionized and elec- 
trical research workers and chemists raced to shape the new 
invention into a more widely useful medium. From a mass of 
new discoveries came the present-day method of radio tele- 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

phony. The first practical test was made on July 28, 1915 at 
Arlington, Virginia, by engineers of the American Telephone & 
Telegraph Company who talked to Paris, 3,700 miles away. 

These demonstrations proved the practicability of radio tele- 
phony. Immediately energetic men rushed to develop broad- 
casting. In November 1916 Dr. Lee DeForest opened an experi- 
mental radiophone station at High Bridge, New York. That 
same month another experimental station 2ZK, New Rochelle, 
New York, began broadcasting music between 9 and 10 p. m. 
daily except Sunday. 

Even as it thickened the storm over Europe, the day of 
radio broadcasting arrived bright in America. But American 
industry was still faced with the problem of making receiving 
sets for a public anxious to hear the broadcast programs. Man- 
ufacturers quickly met the need, and soon the old-time crystal 
detector sets were marketed. The receiving apparatus was 
crude; sets were unable to pick up pfograms originating more 
than 10 miles away. But they were wonderful to the people 
who tried to listen in families who squabbled over turns at 
the earphones and tried to hear the faint, often distorted, 
broadcasts of musical programs then aired at night by the 
several low-power stations in existence. 

Although as early as 1911 a Cincinnatian was licensed as an 
operator of wireless telegraphy, Cincinnati's interest in the new 
radio was purely amateurish until 1919. That year the Preci- 
sion Equipment Company established an experimental broadcast- 
ing studio, using the call letters WMH, in a second-floor room 
at Peebles Corner. Several retail stores selling electrical products 
began to stock the crystal sets; and talkative people at social 
gatherings usually asked, "Did you hear Station So-and-So?" 
This interest in radio was noted carefully by the manufacturers. 
Early in 1920, less than six months after WMH went on the 
air, the first Cincinnati-made crystal sets were in use. The 
first regular broadcast of a national event came on November 
12, 1920 from KDKA, Pittsburgh, which sent out the returns 
of the Warren G. Harding-James M. Cox Presidential election. 

About the same time the particular fate who guides industry 
was weaving a pattern of events soon to give Cincinnati what 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

now is the world's most powerful broadcasting station. The 
young son of Powell Crosley, Jr., at that time a manufacturer 
of phonographs and automobile accessories, asked his father to 
buy a receiving set, and the elder Crosley, in order to satisfy 
a boy's whim, went shopping. Learning that the cheapest appa- 
ratus cost $130, far more than he wished to spend, Crosley 
made a compromise with the boy: he would build a set at 

While assembling this apparatus at a total cost of $35, 
Crosley came upon the idea of manufacturing moderate-priced 
receiving sets. Intensive experimentation followed, and soon 
he was able to sell a complete detector apparatus for $15. 
In 1921 Crosley began experimenting with radio broadcasting 
by operating Amateur Station SCR from the livingroom of his 
home. Later he transferred the station and transmitting equip- 
ment to his factory on Hamilton Avenue, where in March 1922 
Station WLW first sent its call letters into the countryside. 
Today, with 500 thousand watts power, WLW is the most 
powerful broadcasting station in the world. 

Since radio had proved to be commercially feasible, improve- 
ments came thick and fast on the usual big American scale 
so gigantic that David Sarnoff, president of the Radio Corpora- 
tion of America, on June 15, 1936 avowed to the Federal 
Communications Commission at Washington: 

Measured by the advances made in other fields, radio in 
the last ten years has lived a century. Perhaps it may 
crowd a thousand years into the next decade. 

Beginning in 1922, progressive change in technical devices 
quickly made possible better reception of broadcasts. The pho- 
nograph loud speaker was adapted for use in receiving sets; 
condensers to prevent distortion were contrived; and more effec- 
tive means of selecting programs were produced. Establishment 
of Federal regulations since 1934 under the Federal Commu- 
nications Commission assigning regional channels virtually 
eliminated the "drowning out" of broadcasts by high-power 

In 1922 the programs of another local station, WFBE (now 
WCPO) , rode the air lanes. The following year WSAI was 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

heard for the first time; in 1924 the second Cincinnati studio 
to use the call letters WMH (since 1925 WKRC) was founded; 
and in 1929 WCKY, Covington, went on the air. 

As early as June 1923, when the first multiple hookup of 
stations for broadcasting purposes was successfully tried by 
WEAF, New York, WGY, Schenectady, KDKA, Pittsburgh, 
and KYW, Chicago, a nationwide network of stations was 
being promoted. But it was not until the National Broadcasting 
Company was organized, November 1, 1926 with WEAF and 
WJZ as key stations, that this plan was put into practice. 
Now the NBC operates two basic networks, Red and Blue, 
linking together more than two hundred stations. In Cincin- 
nati WLW, WSAI, and WCKY broadcast NBC programs. 

On September 18, 1927, 16 American station joined another , 
national network, the Columbia Broadcasting System; by the 
summer of 1938, 110 member stations were in the system. 

A few months after receiving an experimental license to- use ] 
500 thousand watts power, WLW executives in 1934 decided 
to make the station one of the key outlets for a new chain, 
the Mutual Broadcasting System. Four stations, WLW, Cin- 
cinnati, WOR, Newark (New Jersey) , WGN, Chicago, and 
WXYZ, Detroit, comprised the original group. Now the Mu- 
tual System, with 107 affiliated stations, is a nationwide net- 
work. WLW and WSAI carry its programs locally. 

Beginning in 1922 the success of sponsored programs selling 
merchandise opened a new phase of advertising. Staffs of broad- 
casting stations, until that time content to fret the air with ' 
phonograph music and to put on an occasional "live talent" 
program, scoured their wits to give prospective sponsors pro- 
grams that would help sell merchandise and services and at 
the same time entertain. So American radio companies began 
to dramatize historic and scientific happenings and serial stories, 
and to present news, sports, and educational events interlarded 
with advertisements of the sponsors. In 1922 WFBE was the 
first local station to broadcast sponsored baseball games. Since 
both listeners and sponsors appeared satisfied with this seeing 
through the eyes of commentators, program directors have 
slavishly followed this type and others that attract listeners. 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

"Follow the leader" policies and the cautiousness of sponsors, 
whose slogans seem to be: "Millions for a tried program, but 
not one cent for the new," have stereotyped radio broadcasting 
in America. Curiously enough, this conservatism has directed 
major changes in radio. In 1935 few broadcasts originated 
in Hollywood; in a few years the movie capital broadcasts be- 
came so popular that Hollywood is today the broadcasting 
center for network schedules. New York is now second, Chicago 
third, and Cincinnati, because of the super-power facilities at 
WLW, fourth. 

When an invention reaches the big business stage in America, 
business usually plunges it into intensive research, and conse- 
quently takes vast strides. In January 1938 there were 728 
licensed commercial broadcasting stations in the United States, 
whose combined 1937 income was estimated at about 141 mil- 
lion dollars. The number of American receiving sets has jumped 
from a few hundred in 1919 to an estimated 36,500,000 (in- 
cluding five million automobile sets) in 1938. About 130 
thousand sets are in use in the Greater Cincinnati area. 

Television seems about to provide the next big change in 
radio broadcasting. Although the transmission and reception 
of "see and hear" programs is now practical for short-distance 
broadcasts, engineers of NBC, CBS, and several independent 
stations are still conducting experiments to bring it to the 
American home as a finished product. In England and Japan 
regular "televised" programs are already being broadcast daily. 

Progress in mechanics has been paralleled by growth in other 
phases of the radio industry. WLWs huge equipment is far 
different from the best apparatus of the early 1920's. Whereas 
all sending gadgets at that time were housed in one small room, 
many special mechanical contrivances are today necessary. At 
the main WLW studios are the studio control rooms and the 
master control room. The engineer at the studio control puts 
the microphones in position so that sounds can be picked up, 
and during the broadcast manipulates various levers so that the 
proper tone values are brought out. The signal then goes 
to the master control room, where it is again amplified, while 
technicians at delicate instruments check the level and quality of 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the program. Then the signal is sent by wire to the transmit- 
ting station at Mason, about 25 miles from the studios. 

When the signal reaches Mason it is stepped up to compensate 
for the volume it has lost while riding the wire, and is then 
turned over to the transmitting equipment. In transmission, 
radio energy is generated at the required frequency of seven 
hundred kilocycles at low power. The generator of this power 
is a quartz crystal known as a Piezo Electric Oscillator, the 
temperature of which is controlled by a thermostat. (The 
slightest variation in temperature would change the crystal di- 
mensions, and throw the station off its wave length) . Next, 
the 500 thousand- watt transmitter amplifies the signal from 
the studio into audio power of about four hundred thousand 
watts. The radio energy created by the crystal is also ampli- 
fied to 500 thousand watts, and then combined with the signal 
in the last stage of amplification. Twenty 100 thousand-watt 
amplifying tubes and 73 smaller ones are used in the trans- 
mitters; the tubes are cooled by a million gallons of water daily 
and 1,350,000 cubic feet of air each hour. 

After the signal is amplified, a tuning unit transfers the 
energy from the tubes to the vertical radiator antenna. From 
this tower, 831 feet high, the signal goes out in all directions 
to the receiving sets tuned in on seven hundred kilocycles. The 
same general procedure in transmission is followed by other 
local stations. 

In 1938 Cincinnati was the home of five commercial radio 
broadcasting stations, several operated by the Government, and 
many low-power licensed amateur stations. The combined 
commercial employment was about five hundred, with an esti- 
mated annual payroll of more than 800 thousand dollars. 

Cincinnati Stations 

WLW, "THE NATION'S STATION," owned and oper- 
ated by the Crosley Radio Corporation, since 1934 has been 
the world's most powerful broadcasting station 500 thousand 
watts power day and night (50 thousand regular, 450 thousand 
experimental). It operates on a cleared American channel of 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

seven hundred kilocycles. Main studios are at the Crosley plant, 
1329 Arlington Street; downtown studios are in the Union 
Central Building Annex, Third and Vine Streets, and in the 
Netherland-Plaza Hotel, Fifth and Race Streets. WLW carries 
programs of both the Red and Blue networks of the National 
Broadcasting Company, the Mutual Broadcasting system, and 
those originating in Cincinnati on its "line to New York" (Sta- 
tion WHN) . Three other stations are members of this optional 
hookup KQV, Pittsburgh, WSAL, Baltimore, and WFIL, 
Philadelphia. All programs broadcast over this network origi- 
nate either in Cincinnati or New York. In 1938 WLW, WSAI, 
and W8XAL, employed about 350 persons. 

Progress at WLW epitomizes that of radio in general. In 
1921 Powell Crosley, Jr., declared that if people were to 
buy sets it would be necessary to furnish listeners with enter- 
tainment. He built a small experimental broadcasting station, 
using 20 watts power and the call letters SCR. Nightly in the 
living room of his home Crosley played again and again a 
victrola recording of Rimsky-Korsakoff s Song of India, and 
asked all who heard the broadcasts to telephone him. The 
answers were few, but they sufficed to convince him that he 
should go ahead with his experimenting. 

At the time the few broadcasting stations in existence operated 
"hit or miss" programs on an irregular schedule. In July 1921 
Crosley was granted an experimental broadcasting license; a few 
months later he moved his transmitting equipment to the Cros- 
ley plant on Hamilton Avenue. 

In March 1922 the first license under the call letters WLW 
was granted. In 1923 Crosley acquired the controlling interest 
in WMH, which had been operated since 1919 by the Precision 
Equipment Company, and discontinued the station. Ever since, 
Crosley has concentrated his interest in WLW. In 1924 he 
established The Crosley Radio Corporation. 

During the fall of 1924, when Crosley anticipated permis- 
sion from the Department of Commerce to increase WLW's 
power to five thousand watts, new studios were constructed at 
the Crosley manufacturing plant in Brighton. With this in- 
creased power granted early in 1925, the world's first remote 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

control equipment to be used for radio broadcasting began 
transmitting WLW programs from a plant at Harrison, 
22 miles from the studios in Cincinnati. 

In 1927 WLW secured a cleared channel of seven hundred 
kilocycles. On May 25, 1928 the Federal Radio Commission 
authorized the Crosley Radio Corporation to construct a 50 
thousand-watt transmitter for WLW. Five months later, on 
October 4, the new transmitter at Mason, Ohio, about 25 miles 
from the studios, began operations. In 1933 the WLW studios 
were moved to the eighth floor of the Crosley plant on Arlington 
Street, and five years later WLW was the first Cincinnati station 
to start experimental facsimile broadcasts. Using 50 thousand 
watts power on a channel of seven hundred kilocycles, the 
station broadcasts from 2 to 5:45 a. m. daily a program of 
printed news and pictures which is received by special apparatus 
at certain experimental stations. 

WLW uses the W. G. H. Finch system in conducting recep- 
tion and public appeal tests. The apparatus employs rolled dry 
paper with a sensitized carbon back turned to black or to 
half-tone values by the facsimile signals. From eight to 10 
minutes is needed to record an 8 by 10-inch photograph on the 
self-synchronized apparatus, which can be operated from any 
power source. About 15 other American broadcasting stations 
are conducting facsimile tests. Facsimile transmission, invented 
by Captain R. G. Ranger in 1924, is used in transatlantic trans- 
fers of photographs by radio. 

WSAI, "Cincinnati's Own Station," with main studios 
and offices at 1329 Arlington Street, is owned and operated 
by the Crosley Radio Corporation. Power is five thousand 
watts by day (December 25, 1937) and a thousand watts by 
night on a cleared regional channel of 1330 kilocycles. Until 
December 1937 the station had used 2,500 watts power during 
the day, a thousand watts at night. Although it is the basic 
Cincinnati outlet for the National Broadcasting Company's Red 
network, WSAI also carries programs of the Mutual Broadcast- 
ing System and broadcasts originating in its own studios. Es- 
tablished in 1923 by the United States Playing Card Company, 
WSAI was purchased in 1928 by the Crosley Radio Corpora- 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

tion. Until March 4, 1936 programs were transmitted from 
equipment in the Crosley plant. On that day a high-fidelity 
transmitter on Warner Street, Clifton Heights, was put into 
service. In May 1938 a receiving antenna to pick up short- 
wave mobile unit broadcasts was installed atop the Carew 
Tower, 649 feet above street level. 

W8XAL, a 10 thousand- watt short wave broadcasting sta- 
tion with studios at 1329 Arlington Street, is owned and op- 
erated by the Crosley Radio Corporation. The station was 
established in 1926 with a hundred watt power in 1927 
increased to 250 watts. Since 1931, when W8XAL was granted 
its present power license, the station has been entertaining a 
world- wide audience 14 hours a day. 

WCKY, "One Minute from Cincinnati," with main studios 
at Sixth Street and Madison Avenue, Covington, Kentucky, 
is Greater Cincinnati's second largest station. Variously known 
as the "L. B. Wilson Station" and "the Voice of Cincinnati," 
WCKY first began broadcasting on September 16, 1929 as an 
associate outlet for the Blue network of the National Broad- 
casting Company. L. B. Wilson, president and general man- 
ager, in 1928 interested several Northern Kentucky and Cincin- 
nati business men in radio broadcasting. The group organized 
L. B. Wilson, Inc., and applied to the Federal Radio Commis- 
sion (since 1934 Federal Communications Commission) for a 
license to operate a five thousand-watt station with the call 
letters WCKY. Studios were built in Covington, and a trans- 
mitter was constructed near Crescent Springs, Kentucky, about 
15 miles from Covington. 

Before November 1931, when he began active management 
of the station, Wilson engaged in banking, theater management, 
manufacturing, retail merchandising, and politics. After dispos- 
ing of some of his business interests, Wilson started the expan- 
sion program at WCKY which in July 1937 doubled the 
station's power from five thousand to 10 thousand watts, 
both day and night. In 1937 a new high-fidelity transmitter 
was constructed at Crescent Springs. The station broadcasts on 
a cleared regional channel of 1496 kilocycles. In 1938 WCKY 
was on the air 19 hours daily. A Cincinnati studio is operated 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

in the Netherland-Plaza Hotel; business and advertising sales 
offices are in the Hotel Gibson. 

About 80 percent of the programs are network-sponsored. 
By means of a change made in December 1937 Cincinnati has 
a split-network program: commercial sponsors may use either 
WLW, WSAI, or WCKY, the NBC stations. About 50 per- 
sons, including five announcers, six engineers, and the rest script 
writers, technicians, and studio and office workers, are employed 
by L. B. Wilson, Inc. 

WCPO, "Cincinnati's News Station," with studios and of- 
fices at 523 Walnut Street, is the city's only broadcasting station 
without network affiliations. Established in 1922 with the 
call letters WFBE, and with studios and transmitter in the 
Parkview Hotel, Garfield Place, between Race and Elm Streets, 
the station quickly won a large local audience by pioneering 
in the broadcast of local sports events. 

On October 1, 1935 the Continental Radio Corporation 
(since 1937 Scripps-Howard Radio, Inc.), a subsidiary of 
Scripps-Howard Newspapers, purchased WFBE and got per- 
mission from the Federal Communications Commission to 
change the call letters to WCPO, "The Voice of the Cincinnati 
Post." New and larger studios were opened in the Sinton Hotel, 
Fourth and Vine Streets, and the news program policy, origi- 
nating in the editorial offices of The Cincinnati Post, was in- 
augurated. In 1937, after the studios on Walnut Street had been 
opened, the present program of news and live talent was adopt- 
ed, and a high-fidelity transmitter at East Sixth and Court 
Streets was put into operation. WCPO has 250 watts power 
during the day and a hundred watts at night on a cleared local 
channel of 1,200 kilocycles. About 30 persons, including four 
regular announcers, are employed. 

WKRC, "First on Your Dial," with studios and offices 
in the Hotel Alms, a residential hotel in Walnut Hills, since 
November 1, 1931 has been the Columbia Broadcasting Com- 
pany (CBS) outlet in the city. Operating on five thousand 
watts power by day and a thousand by night, WKRC is one 
of the 10 basic stations in the nationwide Columbia chain. 
About 85 percent of its programs are network-sponsored. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

WKRC broadcasts on a cleared regional channel of 550 kilo- 

Station WKRC used the call letters of Cincinnati's first broad- 
casting station when it was established in 1924. On April 5, 
1925, the Ainsworth Radio Company purchased WMH, then 
changed the call letters to WKRC and increased the power 
from five hundred watts to a thousand, both day and night, 
and later sold the station to the Kedel Radio Corporation. In 
1929 WKRC, Inc., was organized. A license increasing the 
power to five thousand watts at night was granted CBS in 
1937, and in April of that year new studios and transmitting 
equipment were put to use in a penthouse of the Hotel Alms. 
Of the 38 persons employed by the station, eight are regular 
announcers. The WKRC programs of the Cincinnati Symphony 
Orchestra and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music are now 
heard on the entire nationwide CBS network of 110 stations. 

Several Government-owned and city-owned stations are in 
Greater Cincinnati. The Bureau of Air Commerce owns and 
operates station WMAS, established March 31, 1935 at Lun- 
ken Airport. The transmitter and the four directional anten- 
nae (radio beams) for airmen are at Indian Hill, about six 
miles from the airport. As a combined radio broadcast and 
range signal station WMAS is operated primarily for airplane 
pilots. Signals are in continental code. When it leaves the 
transmitter, the signal, or "beam," is about the size of a needle 
point. The beam then expands to form an aerial highway 10 
miles wide at its broadest point. Pilots know when they are 
in the proper lane of traffic by listening for the signals through 

Four vertical antennae send this beam from the Indian 
Hill transmitter. One tower shoots it in a northeastern direc- 
tion toward Columbus; another propels it southwest toward 
Louisville; a third directs it northwest towards Indianapolis; 
and a fourth tower points the beam into the southeast towards 
Huntington. The fifth tower acquaints airmen with weather re- 
ports and atmospheric conditions. The radio beam signals are 
on 1,500 watts power; the weather reports, 50 watts. The 
station operates on two frequencies of 236 and 332 kilocycles. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

WUV, another Government-owned station in the Cincinnati 
area, uses both long and short waves. The broadcasting equip- 
ment, operated by the Army Signal Corps at the Fort Thomas 
Barracks, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, was set up in 1923. Three 
men are on duty 12 hours daily. 

WKDU, "the Cincinnati Police," established in July 1931, 
is owned and operated by the Cincinnati Police Department. 
Broadcasts are made from police headquarters, Ninth Street 
and Central Avenue, to more than a hundred local Safety De- 
partment automobiles. Police and sheriffs' departments in the 
Greater Cincinnati area are linked with the station. Transmit- 
ting equipment is in Eden Park. 

W8XSD, "Indian Hill Rangers," is a 50-watt short wave 
two-way broadcasting station owned and operated by the police 
department of Indian Hill, a suburb skirting Cincinnati on the 
northeast. Considered one of the most advanced police radio 
units in the country, the broadcasting equipment was first put 
to use in May 1938. Three automobile scout cars are equipped 
with cradle telephones and with 15 -watt transmission and 
receiving units linking them with the key station and transmit- 
ter at Drake and Shawnee Run Roads. The 24 regular and 
deputized rangers make direct crime and accident reports. The 
maximum range of the station's broadcasts is about 10 miles. 

Using the first two-way police units in Ohio, the Hamilton 
(Ohio) Police Department has broadcast reports over the air 
since November 28, 1935. Nine police automobiles are now 
linked with short wave Station W8XF, while three motorcycle 
patrolmen receive reports. Transmitting equipment is at head- 
quarters in the City Building, Hamilton. W8XF operates on a 
frequency of 37 meters (8,100 kilocycles). 

More than five hundred licensed amateur radio operators are 
in the Greater Cincinnati area, each using power up to a thou- 
sand watts. The largest and best-known of these is X8YX, 
maneuvered by engineering students at the University of Cin- 
cinnati. Power is six hundred watts for radiophone, and a 
thousand watts for code transmission on a channel of 3,996 
kilocycles. Equipment includes two 80-foot towers atop Swift 
Hall on the university campus in Burnet Woods. This station 



RADIO SETS (1921, 1938) 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

proved particularly valuable during the 1937 flood when stu- 
dents stood by for several days broadcasting information. 

Radio Set Manufacturing 

IN 1920 RAPID advance of radio broadcasting and 
the subsequent rush by American industry to supply the de- 
mand for receiving sets helped the country break the minor 
depression which had set in following the World War. At 
that time two local plants manufactured a limited number of 
popular, although expensive, crystal radio receiving sets. One 
of the firms, the Precision Equipment Company (1919), was 
also operating a broadcasting station on a more or less regular 
schedule. The programs were chiefly rebroadcasts of phono- 
graph music. 

Several Cincinnatians were becoming engrossed in the prob- 
lems of radio manufacture. Using his Hamilton Avenue phono- 
graph factory, Powell Crosley, Jr., manufacturer of phonograph 
cabinets and automobile accessories, was making one-piece porce- 
lain sockets for vacuum tubes and later complete parts for sets. 
Afterwards he designed and produced a variable condenser and 
a rheostat, and at length was manufacturing a complete crystal 
detector set. This apparatus, which sold for $15, was cheaper 
than any other device of its kind on the market. In the fall 
of 1921 Crosley proposed to his engineer, Dorman Israel, that 
they try building a receiving set without a crystal. Israel 
concocted something that included a coil with an old oatmeal 
box as its core. That night the two men sat beside this contrap- 
tion at Crosley's home and tried to tune in Station WMH, at 
Peebles Corner, about seven miles away. Soon they heard 
sounds, and then an announcement, "This is Station WJZ, 
Roselle Park, New Jersey." 

Crosley and Israel were amazed. Nervously they turned the 
dial, hearing Pittsburgh, Detroit, Hamilton, and again WMH. 
Using the experimental set as a model, Crosley designed and 
soon was manufacturing Harko, Sr. Once more he was able 
to undersell competitors, and by the spring of 1922 the Crosley 
plant was producing five hundred radio receiving sets daily; 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

it had become the world's leading manufacturer of small 
crystal sets. 

Crosley did so well in 1922 that he bought a large building 
at Colerain Avenue and Alfred Street. Two years later, shortly 
after the business was incorporated as the Crosley Radio Cor- 
poration, the continued big demand for radios again overloaded 
the firm. A building at Colerain Avenue and Sassafras Street 
was therefore remodeled into a factory. A four-story addition 
was built in 1926, and an eight-story structure completed 
during 1929. 

In 1938 the Crosley Radio Corporation plant, extending 
from Sassafras Street to Arlington Street on Colerain Avenue, 
and more than six hundred feet west on Arlington Street, 
housed not only the radio set manufacturing division, but also 
the studios of WLW, WSAI, and short wave Station W8XAL, 
and the electric refrigerator, washing machine, ironer, Xervac, 
and gas and electric stove production units of the corporation. 
The plant has a manufacturing capacity of two thousand home 
and automobile radio receiving sets daily. Branch factories 
of the corporation are in Richmond and Kokomo, Indiana. 

Because of the straight-line production methods he inaugu- 
rated, Crosley has often been called "the Ford of the Radio 
Business." At the Crosley plant manufacturing is reduced to 
its simplest processes. A conveyor belt two miles long moves 
up and down the building, carrying radio receiving sets, refrig- 
erator compressors, and other pieces in various stages of produc- 
tion. Each article passes through thousands of hands, slowly 
taking form until, at the end of the belt, the product is com- 
plete. In 1938 the company was marketing what is said to be 
the world's largest set, having 37 tubes and six speakers. A 
modern radio receiving set consists of more than five hundred 
separate parts. 

In 1920, when the first commercial radio receiving sets were 
offered for sale, Midwest Radio Corporation, 909 Broadway, 
became one of 12 companies in the nation manufacturing the 
apparatus, and today the firm is still in the business. In recent 
years the concern has developed an extensive mail-order trade for 
radio receiving sets and electrical refrigerators. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Another local manufacturer of radio receiving set apparatus 
is the Fish wick Radio Company, with shops at 407 East 
Eighth Street. 

In 1938 more than a hundred Cincinnati concerns and indi- 
viduals were engaged in the repair and maintenance of home 
and automobile radio receiving sets. That year combined em- 
ployment in both the manufacturing and repairing phases of 
the radio industry amounted to about 1,500. The annual 
payroll was estimated at more than two million dollars. 

Furniture and Office Supplies 

THICK WOODS FRINGED the Ohio and Miami Valleys 
when the first settlers came here to live. In the stout way told 
and retold by many history books the pioneers cut the trees, 
put them up into log cabins, and tooled them into rude furni- 
ture. At first there was no need for the furniture maker, but 
as Losantiville and near-by communities grew and men became 
specialists in their occupations, along came the firm dealing 
exclusively in the making of articles for the home. 

As early as 1800 the concern of Lyon and Maginnis made 
desks, escritoires, dining tables, and other articles in a shop 
1 1 miles from Cincinnati on the Hamilton Pike. Soon others 
were aping Lyon and Maginnis. The business was particularly 
good because the city was growing fast, and new homes meant 
more furniture needed. From 1800 to 1815, because it was 
cheaper to make furniture than to have it hauled over the bumpy 
roads from the East, the local business flourished. After 1815 
sideboards, secretaries, bureaus, settees, and chairs "elegantly gilt 
and varnished," were shipped by steamboats to the far reaches 
of the American frontier. 

Cincinnati met this competition by creating big concerns 
employing several cabinet makers, men who earned as much as 
a dollar a day. One of these old firms came jubilantly through 
the years until 1937: The Robert Mitchell Company, West 
Second Street, established in 1834 at 21 East Second Street 
as Mitchell & Moore, for many years was Cincinnati's most 
popular maker and distributor of quality furniture* Among 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

concerns that began in Cincinnati's early days, became famous 
for their furniture, and then passed quietly into oblivion were 
Jones & Rammelsberg, with a shop at 18 East Fourth Street, 
and Churchill 8 Ricords, 1 3 West Fourth Street. 

In 1851 the Cincinnati chair factory operated by C. D. 
Johnston was said to be the largest in the world. In 1860 
Mitchell & Rammelsberg, having a warehouse on West Seventh 
Street, advertised that it employed more than six hundred 
workers. Mitchell & Rammelsberg chairs were priced at from 
50 cents to two hundred dollars. 

The Cincinnati cabinet maker continued drawing a good 
wage through the Civil War period. In 1869 the value of 
Cincinnati-made furniture was about 17 million dollars. That 
year two Cincinnati companies destined to make the city famous 
for billiard equipment and office furniture were the largest 
of their kind in America the Brunswick Company (today the 
Brunswick-Balke-Collendar Company, billiard and bowling 
supplies) and the Thomas Kelsall Company, exclusive pro- 
ducer of desks and school furniture. 

Since America's Victorians loved gingerbreaded furniture, 
the talent of Benn Pitman (1822-1910) and his many proteges 
and of William H. Fry (1830-1929), son of Henry L. Fry, 
carver of Queen Victoria's throne chair, was in much demand. 
Pitman and the Frys carved many mantels, doors, baseboards, 
and articles of furniture still found in old Cincinnati homes. 
They liked particularly to shape birds, vines, and fruits. 

Cincinnati made the first standarized bank and bar fixtures 
in the local woodworking plants in the 1870's. By 1890 the 
city had 134 furniture plants, with a combined capitalization 
of $5,213,850, an output valued at $7,349,000, and employees 
numbering 3,213. An immense amount of lumber went into 
Cincinnati furniture. During the year ending August 1892 
local factories used 39,500 carloads of poplar, cherry, hickory, 
walnut, yellow pine, ash, elm, maple, gum, oak, and sycamore. 

This huge drain on local timber soon depleted the forests 
surrounding Cincinnati, and the furniture industry, beginning 
about 1900, shifted northward to the Michigan forests and 
built Grand Rapids. Since woodworking concerns close to good 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

timber could now undersell Greater Cincinnati's household 
furniture concerns, the local trade began to concentrate its talent 
in the making of office equipment and store fixtures. The 
Globe-Wernicke Company (1884), Carthage Avenue, Nor- 
wood, became America's foremost manufacturer of office furni- 
ture and supplies. Its plant, which now covers about 26 acres, 
produces more than four thousand items, including filing cabi- 
nets, wood and metal desks, tables, filing supplies, storage cabi- 
nets, wardrobes, stationers' goods, visible record equipment, 
sectional bookcases, library equipment, steel shelving, wood 
and steel partitions, and special steel and wood equipment for 
public buildings. Other Cincinnati manufacturers of office 
furniture and supplies are Lyon Metal Products, Inc., 626 
Broadway; H. Belmer Company, 1101 West Sixth Street; 
and Kruke Store and Office Fixture Company, 17 West Pearl 

Although the city is better-known for its office, than its 
household, furniture, however, Cincinnati has not deserted the 
household furniture business. In 1938 more than 25 plants 
employed about a thousand workers, who received more than 
a million dollars in wages. 

Cincinnati's present furniture manufacturers are Sol Better 
Company, 2016 Reading Road; DeCamp-Swensen Company, 
formerly the John P. DeCamp Company, 1015 Broadway (sus- 
pended in May 1938) ; Haussler Upholstering Company, 3142 
Lin wood Road; George Lubke, 4134 East Pearl Street; Ace 
Dimension Mill & Lumber Company, Whateley Avenue and 
B. 8 O. Railroad; American Furniture Company, 1048 West 
Ninth Street; Artistic Furniture Manufacturing Company, 
Inc., 1275 Budd Street; Betts Street Furniture Company, 914 
Betts Street; Broering Manufacturing Company, 18 East Pearl 
Street; Buckeye Upholstering Company, 134 West Second 
Street; Covington Furniture Manufacturing Company, 1342 
Hermes Avenue, Covington, Kentucky; Urban J. Heyker 
(1918), 2124 Freeman Avenue; Henry Hoffeld Upholstering 
Company, Richmond and Carr Streets; Kemper Furniture Com- 
pany, 922 Betts Street; Manual Arts Furniture Company, 1015 
Hulbert Street; Marietta Chair Company, Second and Plum 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Streets; Samuel Mesh, 234 East Third Street; Monarch Fur- 
niture Manufacturing Company, 419 West Fifth Street; Peer- 
less Reed Company, 1508 Elm Street; Regal Furniture Manu- 
facturing Company, 1243 West Eighth Street; Joseph Scheid 
Sons Company (1869), manufacturer of living room furni- 
ture, 1908 Dunlap Street; Schirmer Furniture Company, 1911 
Elm Street; George W. Schutte Furniture Company, 830 Wil- 
mink Street; Stille & Duhlmeier Company (1877), 1200 
Wade Street; C. F. Streit Manufacturing Company, 1104 Ken- 
ner Street; C. F. Thauwald Company, maker of bedroom 
suites, 1224 Harrison Avenue; James Lewis Reed Furniture 
Company, 4332 Spring Grove Avenue; and Pick's Reed Com- 
pany, Findlay Street, near John Street. 

Music Instruments 

history. Today it still has a considerable music reputation. 
Programs of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the sum- 
mer opera at the Zoological Garden reverberate in the musical 
world of the Middle West, while lesser-known, but fine, musi- 
cal, choral, and orchestral groups give Cincinnatians oppor- 
tunity to express themselves in song. 

Cincinnati's music leanings have also been directed to the 
manufacture of pianos. Prior to 1824, pianos used in Cincin- 
nati had to be imported either from Europe or the East. The 
first piano made here is said to have been fashioned in 1824 
by George Charters in his woodturning shop at Fifth and 
Sycamore Streets. It took Charters nearly a year to. construct 
the piano; each of the hundreds of parts were carved by hand. 
Because many of the parts had to be imported from Europe, 
and because much time was needed to complete the work, Char- 
ters sold the instrument for $2,000. This first instrument, of 
square design, is now owned by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Sattler, 
Indian Hill. 

Among the early local manufacturers of pianos were John 
Britting, who had a small shop on Canal Street, east of Vine 
Street; The D. H. Dury & Co., with a factory in the rear of a 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

retail store on Main Street, above Third Street; and Thomas 
R. Blackburn, whose plant stood on Broadway near Seventh 

Before the Civil War several local concerns produced other 
types of musical instruments. In 1860 one of America's leading 
makers of organs was the Swaub Pipe Organ Manufacturing 
Company. The following year, Britting & Co., with a factory 
at 227 West Fifth Street, not only built pianos but also oper- 
ated the largest fife and drum plant in the West, with a capacity 
of a hundred instruments a week. 

In 1856 the opening of a small store on Main Street, be- 
tween Third and Fourth Streets, marked the beginning of a 
business which has evolved America's largest and oldest music 
house. Rudolph Wurlitzer, born in Saxony, in 1853 came to 
Cincinnati without much money but with a sound knowledge 
of the making and marketing of lutes and violins. After reach- 
ing this city Wurlitzer decided to buy a few instruments and 
then continue his violin and flute studies. 

But the prices asked by local stores for their instruments 
seemed too high. At the time practically all musical instru- 
ments, except pianos, organs, fifes, and drums, were manu- 
factured in small European shops. The craftsmen who made 
them sold their products to an agent, who again resold them 
to a jobber; from this man they passed to an exporter, from 
whom they were bought by a New York City importer. After 
passing through the hands of a jobber in the Middle West, the 
instruments reached the retail store and ultimately the musician. 
But musicians like the Wurlitzer of 1853 could not afford 
to buy. 

Wurlitzer decided to import directly from the manufacturer 
musical instruments that would have ready sale in America. 
By this new method he was able to sell at a large saving to 
musicians. When he opened the Main Street store, the business 
was known as "Rudolph Wurlitzer, Importer, Wholesaler, and 
Retailer of Musical Instruments." This early enterprise was 
successful, and Wurlitzer began manufacturing drums, bugles, 
and other instruments. During the Civil War many a Union 
bugler and drummer did a tune on a Wurlitzer piece. 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Wurlitzer then opened retail stores in other cities. In 1938 
the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company also operated factories at 
North Tonowanda, New York, and DeKalb, Illinois, and 
through agreements with associated concerns marketed all kinds 
of musical instruments. Twenty-one retail music stores are also 
operated in cities east of the Mississippi River, while more than 
a hundred studios and agencies are in other communities. 
Executive offices are at 121 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati. 

In 1862 D wight Hamilton Baldwin opened a one-room 
music store at Fourth and Elm Streets. This site, now used as 
a downtown salesroom, later became the location of the present 
Baldwin Piano Company, which covers 1 1 acres on Gilbert 
Avenue, opposite the entrance to Eden Park. The factory group 
is comprised of six buildings, including the main, or assembly, 
unit, which is eight stories high. The main building houses a 
chemical and research laboratory, the only one of its kind in 
the world, where materials used in the making of pianos are 
tested. More than eight thousand parts are needed in the assem- 
bly of a modern piano. At the Baldwin factories about eight 
hundred persons fashion and shape these parts into the finished 
product. Instruments manufactured at the Baldwin plant can 
be purchased in every large American city, as well as in 48 
foreign countries. When Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd cut 
the Antarctic ice, a Baldwin piano entertained his staff on the 
Jacob Ruppert. 

During the years when the phonograph droned its melodies 
into willing ears, thousands of victrola cabinets were manufac- 
tured in Cincinnati shops. Now that radio has become far 
more important than the phonograph, several woodworking 
plants have been producing cabinets for radio receiving sets. 

The Manufacture of Watches and Jewelry 

MAN CONSTANTLY FEARS time, which shapes his 
days. Each day he asks himself or others "What time is it?" 
and jumps off to an appointment, or prods himself along, or 
merely settles back for more leisure. He kills time only by doing 
something he considers not worthwhile. 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Time and the telling of time have been important since the 
days of long-armed men in caves, who when they ventured 
out noticed that, as the sun moved, the shadows cast by the 
cliffs also moved, and that the shadow from a certain tree fell 
upon a certain place on the ground or cliffs. Realizing that one 
stone at rest marked only one point, the cave dwellers soon 
began using stones to mark off the day into a number of parts 
for hunting, for fighting, or for grabbing themselves a mate. 

There were few improvements in time-telling habits until 
about 4,000 B. C. when ancient Babylon created the first calen- 
dar and divided the year into months, days, and hours. By 
1,500 B. C. the Egyptians had invented a shadow clock shaped 
like a T-square. In 900 B. C. came the sun dial, a device which 
enabled man to tell time with a fair degree of accuracy so long 
as the sun shone. But on cloudy days, at night, and for a trav- 
eller the sun dial was inadequate, since various markings were 
required for different latitudes. 

About 600 B. C. the clepsydra, or "water-thief," a vessel 
filled with water, began to drop time through a hole in the 
bottom. By 250 B. C. the clepsydra was superseded by the 
water clock with a dial, an instrument worked by a floating 
ratchet. During the next 1,500 years the hour glass, the Roman 
lamp clock, and King Alfred's graduated candle were used in 
the best circles. About 1,300 A. D. there was invented the first 
mechanical clock, a mechanism of creaky weights and wheels 
that struck the hours. In 1621 the pendulum clock first ap- 
peared; in 1826 came the public clock with illuminated dial; 
and finally, in the early years of the twentieth century, there 
ticked an electrical clock. The pocket watch was invented by 
Charles Cusin in 1574; the small, or home size, electric clock 
was first marketed about 1930. 

As early as 1820 several clockmakers lived in Cincinnati, 
but they merely repaired watches. As the years passed, however, 
the skill of the Swiss and Germans in the city was applied 
not only to the fixing, but also to the making, of watches. 

Although it was not established until 1874, the Gruen 
Watch Company, with a plant on Time Hill, East McMillan 
Street, where cases, parts, and movements made at its factory 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

in Switzerland are assembled, in 1938 was one of America's 
famous producers of pocket and wrist watches. 

Dietrich Gruen, founder of the Gruen Watch Makers Guild, 
was the American pioneer manufacturer of the size 1 6 (railroad 
standard) pocket watch. In 1902 his son, Fred G. Gruen, 
chairman of the board of the company, who learned the watch 
making trade from his father, invented the verithin wheel train 
watch. Since an early date the Gruen firm has also manufactured 
wrist watches for women, and during the past decade it has 
created the baguette and curvex (patented title) movements. 

In Madre-Biel, Switzerland, where men talk and think time 
for their livelihood rather than for their way of life, the Gruen 
watch movements are manufactured in quaint workshops sug- 
gestive of the medieval guild halls. Wherever modern machinery 
does a task more efficiently it is used in the Madre-Biel plant, 
but craftsmen still do most of the work by hand. Then the 
movements are shipped to the Cincinnati watch case factory 
and service workshops, where artisans fit the movements into 
cases designed and executed with skill comparable with that of 
the old guildsmen. 

In Dayton, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincin- 
nati, is the plant of the Wadsworth Watch Case Company 
(1888, incorporated 1892), large manufacturer of gold, gold- 
filled, platinum, and other metal cases. When clocks run to 
large size today, they are made by specialists such as the Her- 
schede Hall Clock Company, operating a plant on East McMil- 
lan Street at Essex Place, and the Cincinnati Time Recorder 
Company, York Street and Central Avenue, which also assem- 
bles precision time clocks and recording apparatus. The Cincin- 
nati Clock 8 Instrument Company (1912), 1117 Harrison 
Avenue, produces special mechanisms, gears, and timing devices 
for clocks. 

Through Cincinnati's early years of work, the manufacture 
of jewelry and other fine metal articles was allied with watch- 
making. Among Cincinnati's early watch and clock manufac- 
turers was the firm of Alexander McGrew and Joseph Jones, 
with a shop and store on Main Street, below Fourth Street. 
On August 1, 1818 the concern advertised in the Western Boy 



THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

that it manufactured and sold clocks, watches, silverware, and 
jewelry "Have engaged first-rate workmen from New York 
and Philadelphia." In 1862 William McGrew, a manufactur- 
ing jeweler, whose shop was at Fourth and Main Streets, 
advertised that he also made fine swords. 

Although the first shops were small, the products were 
specially designed pieces of jewelry on which were lavished the 
pride, imagination, and skill of the craftsmen who fashioned 
the article. In recent years these various manufactures have gone 
their separate ways into the hands of specialists. Cincinnati 
jewelry makers have centered their interest in the manufacture 
of standard articles of jewelry, such as rings, emblems, and 

In 1938 Cincinnati manufacturing jewelers employed about 
175 craftsmen, earning an estimated 275 thousand dollars in 
wages. Several hundred more were employed by retail stores 
for the repairing of watches and jewelry. Among Greater Cin- 
cinnati's manufacturing jewelers are L. G. Balfour Company, 
209^ West McMillan Street; Bihl Brothers, 123 East Eighth 
Street, Newport, Kentucky; Ed H. Groninger Company, 809 
Walnut Street; Dorst Company, 2100 Reading Road; Geb- 
hardt Brothers, 34 West Sixth Street; Heileman & Roth, 415 
Race Street; J. P. Knight, 530 Walnut Street; T. Knoebber 
8 Company, 811 Race Street; Lind Jewelry Company, Inc., 
128 East Sixth Street; Litwin ft Sons, 114 West Sixth Street; 
Mecklenborg & Gerhardt, 811 Race Street; Louis Michaelson, 
Lyric Building; Miller Jewelry Company, 809 Walnut Street; 
H. A. Neumeister, 114 West Sixth Street; Peck, Selmeier ft 
Peck, 128 East Sixth Street; Henry Poppelmeyer, 604 Race 
Street; Rohs ft Brodbeck, 604 Race Street; A. Sauer & Com- 
pany, 439 Race Street; Schira Brothers, 15 West Sixth Street; 
A. H. Schumacher, 9 West Fourth Street; Schumer Brothers 
Company, 5 East Third Street; Edward Schumer & Rube, Inc., 
7 East Fifth Street; Shullman Jewelry Manufacturing Com- 
pany, 7 West Sixth Street; Strunk, Rosfelder ft Schlueter, 434 
Elm Street; Whitehouse Brothers, 5 East Third Street; Wil- 
liams ft Hirsch, 534 Vine Street; and A. S. Workum, diamond 
cutter, Schmidt Building, Fifth and Main Streets. 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Several local wholesale jewelry houses also have facilities 
for manufacturing and repairing. Among these are Oskamp- 
Nolting Company, 26 West Seventh Street, and Richter & 
Phillips Company, Temple Bar Building, Court and Main 

The Homan Manufacturing Company (1847), Findlay 
Street and Western and Hulbert Avenues, is Cincinnati's fore- 
most producer of nickel-plated and silver-plated hollow ware. 
Its roster of products, some in intricate designs, includes tea sets, 
cocktail sets, pitchers, relish dishes, cups, and many more items. 

A branch of jewelry manufacturing is the production of 
optical supplies. In 1938 more than 50 Cincinnati firms and 
individuals were in this business. Among the larger manufac- 
turing opticians are Central Optical Company, Inc., 229 East 
Sixth Street; A. Ehrmantraut, Inc. (1910), 433 Walnut 
Street; The Emrie Optical Company, Union Central Building, 
Fourth and Vine Streets; Dr. Jos. Klein (1894), 411 Vine 
Street; Lyric Optical Company, 135 Opera Place; J. Harry 
McDonald, Union Central Building; L. M. Prince Company, 
108 West Fourth Street; Queen Optical Company, 12 East 
Sixth Street; Southern Optical Company, 8 West Seventh 
Street; Tower Optical Company, Carew Tower, Fifth and 
Vine Streets; and Fred L. Zattel, Enquirer Building. 

Pottery and Glassware 

THROUGH THE YEARS Cincinnati has jealously guard- 
ed its laurels as a center for the manufacture of fine pottery. 
Although the early pottery maker was more concerned with 
fashioning utility articles from clay, the rise of the industry 
northeast of Columbus, a section of Ohio rich in potter's clay, 
gradually brought a new emphasis on art. Beginning in 1880 
the vases and ware turned out in Queen City shops soon won 
world-wide renown. 

Since 1930 the industry here has been in the doldrums. But 
public appreciation of fine pottery is again on the upgrade, and 
future possibilities appear bright. 

Perched atop Mt. Adams, overlooking the basin of the city 
and a sweeping bend of the Ohio River, stands Rookwood 


THEY BUILT A CITY; 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Pottery (1880), the city's foremost producer of glazed and un- 
glazed art pottery. Although it has almost succumbed to the 
continued depression, the company carries on, waiting for a 
new day. 

A hundred yards distant is one of Cincinnati's unusual 
industries. At 1069 Celestial Street is the plant of the Sterling 
Glass Company (1902), one of America's foremost engravers 
and decorators of glassware. 

At the factory some 125 men and women engrave, polish, 
and decorate stem and glassware "blown", into shape in 
Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. 
The company specializes in the marketing of rock crystal 
stemware, glass processed by immersion in acids. 


Chapter XV 

Over the Council Table 

iINCINNATI HAS CLIMBED from the river bank 
into the hills, reached a hand of five bridges across into 
Kentucky, built highways out through the diverging 
valleys, and ensnared in her economic influence towns 
and cities lying within a wide circle about it. Cincinnati has 
invested in the industrial life of these outlying towns, has sent 
out factories to them, draws to its own plants their residents. 
Covington, across the river from Cincinnati, is a great 
tobacco market and the distributing point for a rich Kentucky 
hinterland. Newport, cheek by jowl with Covington on the 
Ohio River, is the home of an important independent steel 
company and of thousands of workers in Cincinnati plants. 
And in Bellevue and Dayton, too, are many people who 
split their daily lives by working in Cincinnati and living in 

Northward in Ohio, Cincinnati capital has set a finger on 
Hamilton, city of big factories and home of one of the world's 
greatest paper plants. Another fingertip penetrates the Armco 
haze over Middletown, and touches large paper mills. 

With growth has come complexity. The day of the small 
independent factory with chiefly a local business is waning. 
This is the era of nationwide organizations, of firms which 
blanket hemispheres with their sales. Industrial relationships 
grow more intricate. 

Employers 9 Organizations 

INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE have strengthened their 
position by growing comprehensive trade associations of firms 
selling similar products or rendering like services. These organi- 
zations hire workers, collect records and statistics, estimate 

THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

trends in business, style, and transportation, formulate codes 
of fair trade practice, plan promotion campaigns, and hire 
lobbyists to protect their special interests. 

The nation's first industrial "protective" association the 
American National Stove Manufacturers' and Iron Founders' 
Association was organized in 1866. In February 1868 Asso- 
ciation representatives voted in convention here to test their 
strength by cutting wages of local foundry workers 60 percent. 
Labor answered with a nine-months walkout, but Cincinnati 
employers yielded no ground, refused to arbitrate, and finally 
broke the strike. From this successful experiment in strike- 
breaking stemmed the present National Association of Manu- 
facturers, which in 1938 numbered more than two thousand 
leading American manufacturers among its members. 

Biggest of all trade associations is the United States Chamber 
of Commerce (1912), which cuts across the lines of specific 
industries and industrial groupings, and invites all business 
men into its membership. The Cincinnati Chamber of Com- 
merce, patterned after the first Chamber of Commerce (New 
York, 1768), was founded in 1839 to "foster the public 
interests of Cincinnati, to promote commerce and industry, to 
collect information relative to commercial, financial, industrial, 
and public affairs which may be of interest and value; to secure 
uniformity in commercial laws and customs, facilitate business 
intercourse, promote equitable principles and provide for the 
adjustment of differences and disputes in trade." Although it is 
primarily a local organization, the Cincinnati Chamber is also 
an affiliate of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. 

The civic affairs department of the local Chamber of Com- 
merce is concerned with postal rates, national defense, health 
activities, safety and fire prevention and other campaigns, 
and it assembles weekly forums and public meetings. The con- 
vention department encourages national, regional, and state 
organizations to bring their conventions to Cincinnati, and 
helps arrange programs and facilities for conventions held here. 
The industrial division of the local Chamber assists local indus- 
try and encourages the establishment of new industries in the 
city. Through its foreign and domestic commerce department, 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the Chamber supplies Cincinnati business with tariff rates; 
translates, codes, and decodes communications; and helps to 
plan broad marketing campaigns. The Chamber's traffic depart- 
ment furnishes traffic guides and advice on transportation and 
shipping problems. 

The Cincinnati Better Business Bureau, Inc., Chamber of 
Commerce Building, Fourth and Race Streets, was incorporated 
in 1923 to bolster public confidence in business. Founders of 
the organization set it up to advocate honesty and accuracy in 
advertising; to protect investors, and to investigate and prose- 
cute fraudulent claims and promises. Since about 1930 a num- 
ber of the largest firms in Greater Cincinnati have joined the 
Bureau, and now help shape its activities. 

The Greater Cincinnati Brewers, Inc., 1304 First National 
Bank Building, formerly the Greater Cincinnati Brewers' Board 
of Trade, was founded in 1888 as the Brewers' Protective Asso- 
ciation. It was formed to promote harmony among members, 
to collect and circulate information of the brewing industry, 
to oppose the enactment of prejudicial laws, to encourage useful 
legislation, to eliminate trade abuses, to co-operate with other 
trade associations and brewers, and in general to promote the 
welfare of the brewing industry. 

Since 1933 a credit association has been operated for the 
protection of members. It investigates credit standings of retail- 
ers, collects delinquent accounts, and maintains an accurate card 
file of permit holders in Greater Cincinnati. The president, who 
is not connected with any member company, is responsible for 
the execution of the organization's program and the enforce- 
ment of regulations. Greater Cincinnati members of the organi- 
zation are Bruckmann Company, Burger Brewing Company, 
Clyffside Brewing Company, Hudepohl Brewing Company, 
Red Top Brewing Company, Schoenling Brewing Company, 
Heidelberg Brewing Company, Vienna Brewing Company, 
and Wiedemann Brewing Company. 

Labor in Industry 

MEN WHO ARE remembered set up the industries of 
Cincinnati, directed their growth, guided them to greatness. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

But unremembered thousands also have built the city wield- 
ers of steel, harnessers of fire, who with quick eye and strong 
hand have helped raise Cincinnati from the river bank. 

The flow of hard-handed, hard-headed workers into Cin- 
cinnati has kept pace with the needs of growing industries and 
thriving commerce. Demobilization at the end of the War of 
1812 released some thousands of Kentucky and Tennessee 
militiamen to settle in the city. By 1840 German workers were 
coming by the thousands to Cincinnati, bringing to its life 
their mechanical genius, their love of beer, their stubborn pru- 
dence, their canny republicanism and indomitable socialism. 
The mid-century saw the coming of the Irish, profane and 
colorful men, whose strong backs lifted the loads of Cincinnati 
and bore the city up from the river into the hills. About 1850 
came also the Redemptionists, indentured immigrants bound 
under a peonage system to work off the cost of their passage. 
And out of the South came the Negro to lift and haul the 
cargo piled on Cincinnati's Public Landing. 

The later nineteenth century brought to the city a greater 
variety of racial groups. Conservative Germans pressed into 
Cincinnati in the seventies. On their heels trod new immigrants 
from southern and central Europe Russians, Italians, Poles, 
Czechs, Slovaks, Greeks a farrago of nationalities, richly 

Today from the Kentucky and Tennessee mountains come 
trudging and hitch-hiking mountain men and their families, and 
Negroes eager to escape the economic and social discrimination 
of the South. Mountaineers and Negroes are alike disappoint- 
ed; Cincinnati regards them as cheap, unskilled labor, and does 
not go out of its way to offer them chances for advancement. 

One inevitable result of industrial progress is the develop- 
ment of an employed class, a sodality of labor. This trend be- 
gan early in Cincinnati, growing out of the fraternal and 
mutual-aid guilds which early German emigrants brought to 
the city. By 1819, well before the growth of labor organiza- 
tions in America, Cincinnati master tailors, journeymen hat- 
ters, master carpenters and joiners, journeymen tailors, and 
journeymen cabinet makers had formed their benevolent asso- 




THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

ciations. In 1821 there were 31 "mechanics' " societies in the 

By the late 1820's fraternal associations were beginning to 
yield to the new trade unions. The master craftsman was giv- 
ing way to the merchant-capitalist. Swift industrial develop- 
ment and the birth of cutthroat competition shoved wages 
downward. Modern capitalism was in birth, and modern labor 
was discovering itself. Wages in 1829 for skilled workmen in 
Cincinnati averaged one dollar for a 14-hour working day; 
laborers on the Miami and Erie Canal received five dollars a 
month. Local printers unionized in 1828, and by 1831 were 
publishing the Working Man's Shield, one of the nation's first 
labor papers. A new era had begun. 

By 1835 Cincinnati employers were railing. Local master 
tailors published an Address to the Public which protests 
against the closed shop, against labor's threat of co-operative 
stores and factories, and against the "roving, dissipated, un- 
settled men" into whose hands union control had fallen. In the 
same year the radical Harnessmaker's Union struck for higher 
wages and the 10-hour day. Local master builders advertised 
in Philadelphia papers in 1836 for carpenters, stonecutters, and 
masons, while local building trades remained on strike. The 
city's first try at importing strikebreakers was unsuccessful; for 
Philadelphia labor co-operated with Cincinnati labor, and 
refused to come. 

The panic of 1837, bankrupting industries, exploding 
banks, destroyed for a time the local labor movement. During 
the 1840's, utterly disorganized, labor turned to politics, and 
committed itself to astonishing programs of bizarre humani- 
tarianism, outlandishly Utopian schemes, and utterly futile 
labor legislation. 

One of the most extraordinary ventures in this era of weird 
experiment was "The Producer's Exchange of Labor for 
Labor Association," established in Cincinnati as early as 1827 
by Josiah Warren, known as America's first anarchist. Capable 
and ingenious, a professional musician and a successful inven- 
tor, Warren preceded Karl Marx as an exponent of the labor 
theory of value; he maintained that the economic value of any 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

good was simply the value of the labor necessary for its produc- 
tion. Each member of his "time store" received a specified num- 
ber of labor-hours credit when he deposited his products at 
the store; and he was then entitled to draw out other goods of 
the same labor-hour value. Each member paid dues of 25 cents 
per month, but it was expected that the assessment would be 
lifted as soon as the rest of America accepted the labor-hour 
system of exchange and abolished money. The "time store" 
flourished for a time, and then was abandoned. 

In 1847, after they had called a strike and employers had 
retaliated with a lockout the city's first local iron molders 
established the Journeymen Molders Union Foundry. But 
"time stores" and co-operative foundries were short-lived, as 
were the other cure-all devices; and the Utopian movement 
was broken on the hard anvil of reality. 

In 1850 Cincinnati printers joined the first national trade 
union; and a new surge of labor organization was under way. 
In 1855 the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers established 
here one of the nation's first railroad locals. Modern trade 
unionism came to stay for good. It was to survive the panic 
of 1857, the stresses of war time, and the money panic of 
1873-77, and then burst forth in the Knights of Labor of 
the tumultuous 1880's. 

When the panic of 1873 made the nation stagger, quotations 
in the labor market dropped headlong. By 1877 Cincinnati 
wage averages had fallen off 50 percent, and local union mem- 
bership was down 85 percent. The pressure of starvation was 
crumbling the mortar of labor unionism. 

Repeated wage cuts by the railroads piled up fuel for the 
conflagration of 1877 when workers on the Baltimore & Ohio 
Railroad began to quit their jobs rather than work for a sub- 
living wage. Sporadic rioting broke out, and spread to other 
roads. Labor, driven to desperation, was on the march. The 
Cincinnati police force requested military aid, and for the first 
time the state militia was mobilized against Cincinnati workers. 

The railroad riots of 1877 brought class struggle to a jittery 
tenseness. Labor had turned; it was threatening the forces of 
capital. Although unionism had been driven underground for 



THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

the time being, socialism gained a solid foothold; and the 
upheaval of 1886 was in the making. 

The mushroom growth of the Knights of Labor in the 
1880's brought labor organization back into the open. Agita- 
tion for the eight-hour day enlisted hundreds of thousands of 
American workers. Finally, in 1886, the Knights of Labor 
called their historic strike. Some 32 thousand Cincinnati work- 
ers walked out a greater number than in any city in the 
nation except Chicago and New York. Nearly a third of the 
Cincinnati strikers gained their demands; the strike was more 
successful here than anywhere else in America. Cincinnati ex- 
perienced no violence possibly because five companies of state 
militia were on hand to squelch too expressive an ardor. 

In 1887 Cincinnati labor formed the Union Labor Party to 
put through labor legislation. Nosed out by a few hundred 
votes in that year's municipal elections, the party flickered 
briefly in national politics and was soon forgotten. Another 
epoch in the history of labor had ended. 

The Cincinnati Trades and Labor Assembly in 1892 became 
the Central Labor Council of Cincinnati, as Cincinnati work- 
ers affiliated themselves with Samuel J. Gompers' new Ameri- 
can Federation of Labor. In February of that year first appeared 
the weekly Chronicle, published by the Central Labor Council 
as the organ of Cincinnati's union workers. 

Labor in Cincinnati now settled down to a long period of 
slow and stable growth, abandoning its old dreams of political 
power and of socialism triumphant. A brief recrudescence of 
discontent appeared in 1913 when Traction Company em- 
ployees walked out demanding union recognition and increased 
wages and, two months later, in July, ice company workers 
also struck. Labor won in both cases with the help of the 
Mayor Henry T. Hunt's reform administration in City Hall. 

Riding the wave of industrial recovery in 1921, union mem- 
bership figures surged upward through the booming days of 
the twenties. In 1925 "Golden Rule" Nash, Cincinnati mail- 
order clothing manufacturer, startled a labor world used to 
opposition by inviting the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of 
America to unionize his open-shop plants. 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Cincinnati labor suffered an inevitable setback with the crash 
of 1929. Payrolls plummeted downward; unemployment 
spread with epidemic rapidity. Yet local union membership fell 
off very little; the long years of slow growth had given strength 
to labor unions and braced them against economic collapse. 

Section (7a) of the National Industrial Recovery Act 
(1933), guaranteeing to labor the rights of organization and 
collective bargaining, was the starting gun for membership gains 
scarcely equalled in union history. Unorganized workers caught 
up by the wave of labor enthusiasm that swept the nation 
flocked into the trade unions. The establishment of the National 
Labor Relations Board in 1936, empowered to enforce labor's 
newly won rights, further accelerated union growth. 

The withdrawal (1937) of the Committee for Industrial 
Organization from the American Federation of Labor split 
wide the national labor movement. But schism apparently 
brought new strength. Into the militant industrial unions of 
the CIO poured thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, 
previously excluded from the strict craft unions of the A. F. of 
L. The United Automobile Workers of America originated 
the sit-down strike, and the new weapon was used in practically 
every city in the country. 

Union workers of the local General Motors plants went 
out on strike with workers in other plants of the corporation 
in January 1937. Members of a WPA sewing project staged 
a sitdown strike in February, protesting against dismissal. A 
prolonged strike persuaded the Remington-Rand Company to 
close its Norwood plant and move elsewhere; and the National 
Labor Relations Board ordered the company to re-employ its 
three thousand local employees. With a CIO organization drive 
threatened, the Crosley Radio Corporation signed a contract 
with the electrical union of the A. F. of L. Unionism moved 
ahead with giant strides. 

Strikes make front-page news; conflicts between pickets and 
police or National Guardsmen perennially warrant seven-column 
banner headlines. Violence of course has marked most of the 
significant turning points in the history of labor, both locally 
and nationally. Yet the significance of that history is not 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

indicated by a mere chronicle of strikes and riots. Through 
a century of growth, unionized labor has won for itself a 
more secure place in the national economy. In Cincinnati, as 
elsewhere, most of labor's gains have been registered at the 
council table, in peaceable consultation with employers. 

Moreover, Cincinnati employers have done their part by in- 
augurating, even before state and Federal compulsory legislation 
was approved, various systems of accident and death benefits, 
and of stock ownership. A Cincinnati corporation, the Procter 
& Gamble Company, was first in the country to give employees 
a Saturday half-holiday, and it also pioneered a guaranteed 
employment plan assuring employees of work 48 weeks a year. 

Labor Unions 

OF THE MORE than 220 labor organizations represented 
here, five maintain national or international headquarters in 
Cincinnati; all these are affiliated with the American Federation 
of Labor. The largest is the Brotherhood of Railway and 
Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Em- 
ployees. Formed in December 1899 at Sedalia, Missouri, the 
union was from the first hampered by anti-union prejudices of 
white-collar railroad workers. By 1918 it was barely able to 
make both ends come close, much less meet. Then, in the war- 
time emergency, the Federal Government assumed administra- 
tion of American railroads. Union officials saw their chance, and 
by 1920, when owners resumed their places at the head of 
their lines, the union was so well consolidated, and its member- 
ship so large, that it was able successfully to weather attacks. 
Today its membership is estimated at more than 150 thousand, 
representing about 80 percent of the workers eligible to join. 
Offices are in the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks Building, 
Court and Vine Streets, a 600 thousand dollar structure owned 
by the union. 

The Industrial Union of United Brewerv, Flour, Cereal and 
Soft Drink Workers of America, the first industrial union 
chartered by the American Federation of Labor (1887), main- 
tains national headquarters in its own two-story building at 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

2347 Vine Street. Since 1887 strife has filled the history of 
the union struggles with employers over demands for a 10j^ - 
hour day and a minimum wage of $60 a month, the near- 
wrecking of the organization because of prohibition, and recur- 
ring conflicts over crafts versus industrial unionism. In 1934 
came the most recent quarrel, ending when members voted 
24,161 to 170 to retain the industrial structure of the union. 
Today the organization has more than 50 thousand dues-paying 
members, about 99J/2 percent of the eligible workers in its 
jurisdiction in the United States and Canada. A half-century 
of unionism has pushed wage rates from a maximum of $1.50 
a day (and free beer) to a minimum of $25 a week in smaller 
cities and $45 -$46 in larger communities. 

Since 1870 the International Molders' Union of North Amer- 
ica has maintained headquarters in Cincinnati. The organi- 
zation, now one of the smaller A. F. of L. craft unions, with 
a membership of some 40 thousand skilled molders, was formed 
on July 5, 1859 at Philadelphia. Although it has staged many 
determined strikes, the union has constantly followed a program 
of conciliation with employers. In 1891 it signed the first con- 
tract in American labor history with a single employers' group, 
the Manufacturers' Protective and Development Association. 
As the first American labor organization to extend its jurisdic- 
tion to Canada, the I.M.U. in 1860 issued charters to four 
Canadian locals. International offices are in the Edwards Build- 
ing, 528 Walnut Street. 

Another small A. F. of L. crafts organization is the Metal 
Polishers, Buffers, Platers and Helpers' International Union 
(1888), with main offices in the Blymyer Building, 514 Main 
Street. The history of this labor body, which has a membership 
of about 13 thousand, has been hectic. From 1896 to 1933 
the union paid out to striking members a total of $554,321 in 
benefits. The union's hardest battle with employers was fought 
for four years before labor won. The tempest started at Buck's 
Stove & Range Company, St. Louis, in 1906. After a strike 
had been called, Samuel Gompers, president, and Frank Mor- 
rison, secretary, of the A. F. of L., and John Mitchell, president 
of the United Mine Workers of America, advocated a boycott of 


THEY BUILT A CITY: 150 Years of Industrial Cincinnati 

Buck's stoves. Disregarding a court injunction, they pressed 
their campaign against the St. Louis firm. Convicted of con- 
tempt of court, three labor leaders were given prison sentences; 
but they carried their case to the Unitd States Supreme Courr, 
and in July 1910 the charges were dismissed. 

Since 1900 Cincinnati has been the home of the Hotel and 
Restaurant .Employees' International Alliance and the Bar- 
tenders' International League of America. Founded in 1884, 
the union has been affiliated with the A. F. of L. since 1891. It 
has a membership of about 210 thousand. During the last six 
years the union has organized hotel service employees on a 
broader scale than ever before. Offices are in the Edwards 
Building, 528 Walnut Street. 

These organizations, and others like them, speak for Cin- 
cinnati workers. The city is best built by a partnership between 
the men who lead industry and the workers who take their 
orders. After long years of struggle, capital and labor are 
learning the lesson of co-operation. Labor has won the right 
to organize; capital has come to recognize that right. And as 
they look back through 150 years Cincinnatians realize that 
all this time both employer and employee have worked shoulder 
to shoulder building a great city. 


Bibliographical Note 

The major part of the information in this book came from 
the industrial and commercial concerns treated. Practically all 
such material is inaccessible to the general reader. Limited use 
was made of the Greve and Ford general histories of Cincinnati 
and of sundry books on early life in America; and the Novem- 
ber 1935 issue of Fortune supplied some data for the Western 
Union article. 



Beginning of advertising.... 271 
Early advertisements 271-3, 275 

Barnum, Phineas T 273-4 

Development of agencies.... 2 74 
Largest present advertisers .276 

improvements 276 

Development of 

lithographing 276 

Trade statistics 276 

Radio, billboard, and other 

advertising 276, 279 

Advertising rates 277 

Agencies 277 

Direct mail concerns 278 

Billboard and electric sign 

firms 279 

Painted sign, showcard, and 

display firms 279-280 

Aircraft Manufacturing 

Development of the 

industry 235-6 

Leading manufacturer 236 

Aluminum Products 

Development of the 

industry 186 

Metal research 186 

Largest manufacturer 189 

Other present manufacturers 


Automotive Manufacturing 

Development of the industry.... 5, 
12-13, 219-23, 227-8, 231 

First trailer 212 

Largest trailer maker 212-3 

First automobile hearse 214 

First air-conditioned 

ambulance . ...217 

Hearse and ambulance 

manufacturer 217 

First horseless carriage 220 

Traffic fatality statistics 222 

Ford and Packard.... 2 23 -4, 227 

Assembly plants 224, 227 

Automobile and motor 

truck distributors 227-9 

Motor truck manufacturers 


Motor truck body 

manufacturers 229-30 

Automobile parts 

manufacturers 230-1 

Banking (see also Finance) 

Statistics 53, 68, 72 

Development of banking ..53-4 

First bank 55 

Early banks 56-62 

Riot of 1842 60-1 

First national bank 63 

Other present banks ...63, 70-1 

First clearing house 64 

Mergers 67 

Postal savings 67, 68 

Recent failures 69 

Laws and regulations 

6, 11, 54-5, 63, 69-70 

Federal Reserve Bank 70 

Largest present bank 70-1 

Books and Bookbinding 

History of books 285-6 

Early book publishers 286, 289 

McGuffey Readers 286,289 

Largest present book 

publishers 289 

Other present book 

publishers 289-90 


Development of binding 

trade 290 

Processes of binding 290-1 

Largest present book binder 291 
Other present book binders 


Boot and Shoe 

Development of the 

industry 157-9 

Early shoemakers 157 

Early bootmakers 157 

Manufacturers, 1850 158 

Fire losses, 1910 159-60 

Labor troubles 160 

Largest present 

manufacturer 160 

Other present 

manufacturers 160, 163 

Statistics of the industry 160-3 

Development of the 

industry 131-3 

Processes of brewing 132 

First brewery 133 

Oldest breweries 134 

First lager beer 135 

Statistics 135-7 

Beer taxes 137 

Present breweries 137-41 

Prohibition and repeal 

11-12, 15, 141-4 

Present malt manufacturers 


Present supply and 

equipment firms 145-6 

United Brewery Workers' 

Union 137, 394 

Can Manufacturing 
Development of the 

industry 196 

Largest present 

manufacturer 196 

Other present 

manufacturers 197 

Statistics .. .197 


Miami ft Erie 21, 31-2, 78 

Whitewater 32 

Abandonment of canals ....32-3 
Carriage and Wagon 

Development of the 

industry ..5, 8, 211-12, 214 
Early manufacturers 

211-17, 23 

Largest former exporter 212 

First rubber-tired buggies ...213 

Statistics 218 

Decline of the industry 218 

Leading present 

manufacturer 218 

Other present 

manufacturers 229 

Chain Grocers and 
Drue; Stores 

History of the local 

food industry ... 305-6, 317 
Kroger, B. H., and 

his stores 305-8 

Other chain grocers 308-9 

Chain drug stores 317-8 

City Transportation 

Horsecar lines 40, 42 

Cable cars, inclined planes .. 


First electric trolley 8, 21 

First auto busses 21 

Employment and 

payrolls, 1937 22 

Subway 33 

Cincinnati Street Railway 45-7 

Independent bus lines 47 

Clothing Manufacture 

Early industry 168 

Style trends 168-9 

Mail-order business 169 

Ready-made business ... 1 69-70 
Nash, Arthur 

(Golden Rule) 169-70 

Other present clothing 

manufacturers ... 170, 173-4 


Overall, dress, and other 
present clothes manu- 
facturers 173-6 

Statistics, 1935 176 


Distribution 3, 20 

Tonnage statistics 20, 26 


Development of the 

industry 156 

Largest former 

cooperage factory 156 

Present manufacturer 156 

Dairy and Food Products 

Early distribution 6 

Oldest dairy concern .... 6, 305 

Other present dairies 305 

Leading food processors ... 305 

Development of the 

industry 2, 4, 148-9 

Former distilleries 149, 152 
Processes of distilling .. 152-4 

Trade statistics, 1937 152 

Largest present distillery 154 
Other present distilleries 154-5 
Drugs and Medicines 
Development of the 

industry 122-3 

Oldest manufacturer 123 

Lloyd, John Uri 123-4 

Other present 

manufacturers ... 123-4, 127 
Dry Goods and Specialties 

Department stores 

311-12, 315-16 

Specialty shops 316-17 

Electricity and Gas 

Development of facilities ... 

7-8, 336, 339-42 

Elevator Manufacturing 

Beginning of the industry 195 
Leading present 

manufacturers 195-6 

Employers 9 Organizations 
First industrial association 382 

Present employers' 

organizations 382-3- 

Employment, Payrolls, 
Plants, Capital 

Statistics, 1819-1935 

4-5, 6-8, 14-16, 18: 

Finance (see also Banking) 

Crises and panics 2, 6-8,. 

11, 13-16, 57, 60, 64, 67-8: 
Building and loan 

associations 72-3- 

Loan companies 73 

Credit unions 73- 

Stock Exchange 73-5 

Securities dealers 74-5- 

Insurance companies 75-6- 

Fire Engine 

First steam fire engine 231 

Development of industry 23 1 -2. 
First motorized pumper .... 232. 
Leading present 

manufacturer 232, 235- 

Furniture and 
Office Supplies 

History of the industry 363- 

Early manufacturers 363-4- 

Present manufacturers 367-8: 

Harness and Saddlery 

Largest present 

manufacturer 235- 

Other present 

manu facturers 235- 

Trade statistics 235- 

Industrial Chemicals 

Development of the 

industry 120 1 

Research 120-1 

First chemical plant 121 

Statistics of industry 121 

Largest present 

manufacturer 121 

Other present 

manufacturers ...122 


Industrial Production 

Valuation (1815-1935) ... 
4-5, 6, 13-15, 18 

Iron Making 

Development of the 

industry 178, 189 

Oldest foundry 190 

Processes of industry 190 

Other present foundries 190-1 

Pattern plants 192 

Valve manufacturers 192, 195 


Strikes 7, 41-2, 387-91 

Benefits and reforms 107-8,392 

Early unions 384, 387-90 

Development of the labor 

movement 384, 387-92 

Racial and social 

components 384 

Unions with local 

home offices 392-4 

Leather Tanning 

Beginning of the industry 163 

Processes of industry 163-4 

Largest present tannery 164 

Other present tanneries 164 

Leather goods 

manufacturers 164, 167 

Lithographing and 

Processes of lithographing 296 
Oldest lithographing 

concern 296 

Largest present 

lithographers 296 

Other present 

lithographers 296, 298 

Processes of engraving 298 

Engraving concerns 298-9 


Oldest periodicals 280, 283 

Religious magazines 283 

Trade journals 283 

Largest present publishers 283-4 
Other present publishers 284-5 


.. 285 

Machinery and 
Metal Products 

Development of the 

industry 177-9, 197 

Oldest manufacturer ...178, 197 
Largest present 

manufacturer 198 

Stove manufacturers 198 

Safe and lock 

manufacturers 198-9 

Surgical instrument makers 199 

Sheet metal fabricators 200 

Baking machinery 

manufacturer 200 

Laundry machinery firm ....201 
Electrical machinery 

manuacturers 201-2 

Woodworking machinery 

manufacturer 202 

Machine Tool 

Development of the 

industry 2, 8, 177, 179-80 
Largest present 

manufacturers ....8, 180, 183 

World War period 11, 180 

Other present 

manufacturers 183-4 

Machine tool dealers 184 

Research and 

engineering firms 184-5 

Statistics 185-6 

Meat Packing 

Development of the 

industry 2, 4, 77-8 

Statistics 78, 80, 82, 86-8 

Early conditions 79-82,88 

Brighton area 82, 85 

Decline of the industry 86 

Largest present 

packing plant 89-90 

Largest present pork packer 



Other present meat packers 


Sausage manufacturers.... 92, 95 

Union Stock Yards 95 

Commission brokers 96 

Supplies and equipment 96 

Poultry packers 97-8 

Merchandising, Retail 

Early stores 2-3 

Statistics, 1935 18, 301 

Development of the trade 301-3 

Chain groceries 303 

Co-operative grocers 303-4 

Merchandising, Wholesale 

Trade statistics .... 18, 301, 3 10 

Co-operative grocers 303-4 

Wholesale grocers 304 

Development of 

wholesale trade 309-10 

Wholesale markets 

and warehouses 310-11 

Music Instruments 

Early manufacturers 368-9 

Present manufacturers ...369-70 


First newspaper 

5, 241, 242, 271-2 

First daily newspaper 243 

Other early newspapers 

243-4, 247 

Noted personalities 

244, 247, 248, 269-70 

Times-Star 244, 247, 

259, 262, 263, 264, 266 

Enquirer 244, 258, 

261, 263, 264, 266 

newspapers 247-8, 259 

Journalism trends 248-50 

Posf 249, 259, 262, 263, 264 
Trade statistics 249-50, 257-8 
Major news events (1884- 

1938) ... 250-51, 252, 258 

Feature syndicates 251 

Cartoons, comics 251-2 

Freedom of press 253-4 

Publishing processes ..254, 257 

improvements 254, 258 

Other present 

daily newspapers 259 

News gathering 

agencies 260-4, 266-7 

Weekly newspapers 267-9 

Advertising rates 277 

N on- Alcoholic Beverages 

Development of the 

industry 155 

Leading present 

manufacturers 155 

Other present 

manufacturers 155-6 

Ohio River 

Pioneer Period 1-2, 19, 22 

First steamboat 3, 22, 25 

Commerce 3 

Floods 6, 28 

Canalization 19, 26 

Tonnage statistics ....19, 22, 26 

Bridges 20, 40 

Steamboat building, 

builders 25 

Steamboat traffic 25 

Steamboat races 27-8 

Flood protection 28, 31 

Oil Refining 

Development of the 

industry 236 

First refinery 236 

Largest present refineries 236-9 
Other present refineries 239-40 

Paints and Varnishes 

Early manufacture 1 28 

Manufacturing processes 128 

Product value, 1936 128-9 

Leading present 

manufacturers 129 

Pigment plants 129-30 

Paver Making 

Processes . . 299-300 


Early local industry 300 

Largest paper mill 300 

Other present paper mills ...300 

Playing Cards 

Largest manufacturer 8, 296 

Pottery and Glassware 

Early glass blowing 133 

Development of 

pottery making 379 

Leading present 

pottery maker 379-80 

Present glassware 

manufacturer 380 

Printing and Publishing 
(see also Books, 

Magazines, Newspapers) 

Development of the indus- 
try 5, 241, 285-6, 292 

Trade statistics 241, 295 

Products 241-2 

Largest electrotype 

manufacturer 242 

Early printers 293 

Largest present 

printing plants 242,294 

Other present 

printing firms 294-5 

Typesetting firms 295 

Sheet music and 

other printers 295-6 

Public Utilities 

Development of 

facilities 319-20 

Radio Broadcasting 
and Manufacturing 

Development of the 

industry 277,351 

Largest present 

manufacturer 12, 361-2 

News service 264, 266 

Advertising 277, 351 

Most powerful broadcasting 

station 347, 351-4 

Other present 

stations 347-8, 354-8 

Networks 348 

Statistics 352, 363 


Cincinnati Southern 

19-20, 37-8 

' Employment and 

payrolls, 1937 22 

First train, 1843 34 

Early railroads 34, 37 

Competition 37 

Regulation 37 

Suburban lines 38 

Present facilities and 

service 38-9 

Present lines 39 

Union Terminal 39 

Rectification of Spirits 

Development of the 

industry 148 

Present commercial firms.... 148 

Relief, Federal 

Statistics (1933-38) 14-5 

Soap Manufacturing 

Development of the 

industry 5-6, 99-101 

Statistics 99 

Early soap making 101 

Advertising methods 101-2 

Procter and Gamble 102-13 

Processes .111-13 

Jergens, Andrew 113-14 

Werk, Michael 114-17 

Smaller present 

soap makers 117 

Allied industries 117-19 

Cosmetics manufacturers 117-18 

Beauty schools 118 

Candle makers 118-19 

Sporting Goods 

Early phases of the 

industry 167 

Baseball manufacture 167 

Goldsmith, Philip 167 

Other present 

manufacturers 167-8 


Steel Making 

Development of the 

industry 117-18, 206 

Statistics 117-18, 206 

Processes 202, 205-6 

Leading manufacturers 206, 209 
Other present 

manufacturers 209-10 

Distributing firms 210 

Telephone and Telegraph 
Development of telegraph 

facilities 7-8, 328-31 

Western Union 33 1-4 

Postal Telegraph 334-5 

Police and 

fire alarm systems 335-6 

Development of 

telephone facilities 342-4 

(see also Railroads, 
City Transportation) 
Development of 

facilities 3-4, 19-21 

Vehicle registration, 1937..r.20 
Employment and 

payrolls, 1937 22 

Interurban electric lines 47 

Intercity bus lines 47-8, 51 

Motor truck freight lines 51 

Air lines 5 1-2 

Airport 52 

Watches and Jewelry 

History of clocks 

and watches 372-3 

Present watch and 

clock manufacturers ...373-4 
Early manufacturers ...374, 376 

Jewelry makers 376 

Jewelry wholesale houses....379 
Optical supply 

manufacturers 379 

Water Supply 

Development of water 

lines 320-2, 325-7 

Wine Making, 
Grape Culture 

Rise and decline of the 

industry 131, 146-7 

Old wine cellars 146-7 

Old wine gardens 147 

Present producers 148 

Yeast Making 

Fleischmann ...6