HISTORY OF DELPHOS 1976
This city has the distinction of having moved before it was founded. A location on the banks of the Auglaize river had already been purchased as a site before it was announced that the new slack-water canal would be built a couple of miles to the west. Thus it was that Father John Otto Bredeick, a Roman Catholic priest from Bavaria, moved his intended settlement to the banks of the Miami and Erie canal and gave it a divided name of East and West Bredeick. He was a fiery liberal and open-minded person who made it known that people of any religious belief would be welcome in the new settlement.
Adjacent to these two settlements was another called Howard; the canal authorities had given the name of Section Ten to the location. In 1850, the four names were merged into the name of Delphos from the Greek word adelphos (brothers).
Early industry revolved around the products of field and forest, such as coon and deer hides in bale lots; hugh piles of hoop poles and barrel staves; rough-hewn timber; and medicinal herbs. Hunt and Walsh, botanic druggists in northwest Ohio, contracted with a local man for all the medicinal herbs, berries, fruits and bark (mostly slippery elm) that he could supply, but when the supply began to come in by the ton it was more than they could dispose of and the contract was finally canceled.
The village was a beehive of activity and seemed destined to become the trading center for the county. Indeed, the name of Delphos could be found on the world maps when Lima's name was missing. Disaster struck in the form of cholera epidemics in 1854, 1872, and 1913. The epidemic of 1854 was so severe that a mass exodus took place and the town was practically depopulated. Those who remained were hard pressed to bury the dead, and the result was that farmers turned to Lima as a place in which to trade. These outbreaks may have been the factor which made Lima the area's trading center.
Delphos is a city divided. Part is in Allen County and part is in Van Wert County. The canal is the dividing line and the city fathers have long debated a possible solution - can a city arbitrarily annex land from one county and place it in the other? How else can we become one city? Who pays for the upkeep of the bridges over the canal? What does this have to do with securing new industry in the area? Yes, the answer is that it has a great deal to do with it. Nevertheless, the city has a lengthy list of industries which reflect the background mentioned above, namely agriculture, farm machinery, insulation, and packing plants. And, of course, the native hard woods which were responsible for so much of our industry then and now.
In the newspaper field, the Delphos Herald took on that name in 1869 and has so operated for 106 years which must certainly be a record among newspapers. The first manufacturing came about when the Ohio Wheel Co. moved to Delphos from Toledo in 1872, except that grist mills and saw mills had been in operation for many years before that time.
We come now to two companies whose products have no connection with natural resources in the area. Both are plating companies but their operations are quite different. One does zinc plating and the other does electroplating, polishing anodizing and the coloring of metal products. They are the Delpar Plating Co. of 1333 North Main Street which does zinc plating. Jack Reinmeyer is president and Charles Kern, manager. The Delphos Plating Co. of 133 Cass Street is in the electroplating business.
The Delphos Bending Co. was founded in 1900 by Louis Justus, the father of L. N. Justus. Its growth was such that by 1951 it was the largest such company in the world. The products are bent and straight wood parts, juvenile furniture, and toys.
The Delphos Poultry Products is, as the name indicates, engaged in wholesale poultry packing and small-game dressing. Located at 102 North Main Street, this company also depends upon the area's natural resources for its existence.
Delphos Quarries, Inc., at State Route 697 West, has been in the business of producing crushed stones for 50 years and had reached a total of 100,000 tons a month in June 1969. This was greater production in one month than used to be produced in a year's time. Agricultural lime and ready-mix concrete are other products.
The Fruehauf Corporation operates two divisions in Delphos. One is the Military Plant division engaged in the manufacture of truck trailer axles and other military products. Charles F. Mitasik is the plant manager. The Fruehauf Parts plant produces truck-trailer axles and car haulers. Joseph Coniglio is plant manager. These divisions are located where the Gramm Truck Co. operated in years gone by.
The Gressel Produce Co., located near the junction of Routes 30 and 309, has been in the wholesale egg business for 40 years. In 1972, 18,000 square feet of floor space were added and in 1974 a modern office building was erected. Incoming eggs are placed in cold storage in the same containers in which they were packed upon arrival. Later, the eggs are removed by a vacuum-assist device whereby 30 eggs are placed on a conveyor for each move of the operator's hand. After going through a washing process, the eggs are transferred to another conveyor and taken through a dark room. Lights beneath the conveyor belt will reveal cracks or blemishes which the human eye could not otherwise see. Perfect eggs are sorted into six grades and are then packed for shipment. The company operates a fleet of 32 trucks for the gathering and distribution of its product.
Hagan Manufacturing Co., 101 South Main Street, is a maker of cellulose fibre insulation, a product much in demand in an energy-short, cost-conscious period in our history. There are two other plants besides the one in Delphos - East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and Oskaloosa, Iowa. Together they are the world's largest manufacturer of cellulose fibre insulation. Dale Pollock is plant manager. The company is now the United States Fibre Co., Inc. and Paul Birkmeyer is manager.
Automotive products division of Huffman Manufacturing Co. is part of a company which had net sales of $105 million last year. This division moved to Delphos in 1951 and has expanded from 18,000 to 86,000 square feet of floor space and employs over 100 people. Huffman supplies a sizeable share of the nation's automotive service needs. With more than 180 million registered cars on the road today (more cars than there were people in the year 1962) the automotive service industry is one of growth and the company plans to continue to share in this growth.
Kill Brothers, Route 697, was started as a welding shop in 1945 by Luke and William Kill. In 1959, William died and the business is now operated by Linus, Luke and Richard Kill. The main product is the Kill Brothers Ease-A-Way grain-hauling bodies. These gravity grain boxes are made only by the brothers and many of the machines used in the process of manufacture were also made by them. The bodies have welded corners and a controlled flow outlet and are being sold in 22 states. About 33 people are employed in the making of this product and in the making of "Tilt-over" antenna towers.
The Krey Packing Co. on North Main Street has been in the meat packing business since 1882. Their beef products were as follows - (1969 advertisement) Krey's All Beef Steakburgers; Krey chopped and formed beef with green peppers and tomato sauce added to make "Pepper Steaks"; Krey Brown Gravy and Sliced Beef; and Krey "Salisbury Steaks" with mushroom gravy.
Kiendl Machine Co., which does specialty work, is another example of a rather curious situation. Either Delphos industry works with resources native to the area - hardwood, meat, poultry, soybeans, eggs, limestone, vegetables and cellulose - or else industry works with metal, as this company does.
New Delphos Manufacturing Co., E. C. Werner, president and J. E. Werner, vice president and sales, is a good example of what can be done with sheet metal. It all began with a five-gallon gas can. The company had difficulty in securing good galvanized sheet which would meet their requirements and in 1906 they installed their own galvanizing equipment and made sheets exactly as they wanted them to be. Now the original five-gallon can became an easy-pour can; a swing-spout can; a wide-mouth can; legal gasoline can; never-leak can; non-overflow can; and factory dispenser can. To this was added long-handled dust pans, V-crimped and corrugated roofing, simulated brick siding, double-wall metal water coolers ("Penguin Pal") and plastic water coolers. The quality of their products and their policy of shipping the same day the order is received has resulted in one of the best-equipped plants in this country.
Precision Tool Co., which makes brake press dies, is another example of a company that manufactures machinery to form sheet metal and the next company represents the other side of the coin.
The St. Marys Packing Co. was begun in 1925 and has continued to can tomatoes, peas, beets, and pumpkin in season, until 1975.
Scherger's Sons Monument Co., 507 North Main Street, was founded by Constantine Scherger in 1874 and was then known as the Delphos Marble and Granite Works. Son John joined in 1892 and the company name became C. Scherger and Son. Barney, William, and Joseph became a part of the company in 1905 and the name was again changed to C. Scherger and Sons. John was manager until 1939; his son-in-law, Henry J. Lange, was manager until 1965; and Henry's son was manager until 1970, at which time the company became a part of Lloyd Brothers Walker of Toledo. Ninety-six years in the same family is a good record for any industry. Originally, designs were cut with hammer and chisel by hand, but later the work was done by sandblasting. However, this does not rule out the freedom of design, since intricate work may be done with small sand jets. A variety of marble products are available such as table tops and vanities, window sills, chess sets, ash trays, and marble floors.
The Vanamatic Co. was incorporated in 1954 as an Ohio Corporation. The papers listed 750 shares of common stock valued at $100 per share. Incorporators were Charles Bond, Forest Patch, I. J. Ziegler, Charles Hasselschwert, and Jim Wiltsie. The company began with three used automatic screw machines in 600 square feet of factory space and now has 12 automatics and 18,000 square feet of space. The address is 204 South Jefferson; the products, aircraft parts and assorted screw machine products. Charles Hasselschwert is vice president and plant manager, and Jim Wiltsie is president.
Information from THE 1976 HISTORY OF ALLEN COUNTY, OHIO, John R. Carnes, 1976.
Submitted by Ronald Kunz email@example.com
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