TOC Wood Rim Makers Info

Discussion in 'General Discussion About Old Bicycles' started by filmonger, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. #1 Posted Aug 11, 2014

    Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

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    Wood Rim Makers Info ( TOC ) - Info on all the early mfg's

    I thought I would share some information on the Wood Rim Makers from the TOC. I will try and give each maker their own area in the thread. This also ties into the Wood Rim makers Mark thread ( http://thecabe.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?56709-All-wood-rim-makers-marks ) for those who are researching their rims. This is the link to help with restoration advice ( http://thecabe.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?57767-Straightening-my-wood-rims&highlight=straightening )

    As an FYI here are also some Modern Wood rim makers

    Noah Stutzman - from Ohio ..... Stutzman Wheel Shop 330-897-1391 Address: 33656 Cr 12 Baltic, OH 43804. He likes letters even better!

    CB Italia - Italy http://www.cbita.it/?page_id=113&lang=en

    Cerchi Ghisallo - Italy http://www.cerchiinlegnoghisallo.com/homeeng.php
     
    #1 filmonger, Aug 11, 2014
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  2. #2 Posted Aug 11, 2014

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    Fairbanks - Boston Rim Co. & Boston Wood Rim Co

    Fairbanks - Boston Rim Co. Info

    A C Fairbanks. was born in Sterling, MA 1852 & in 1868 Moved to Boston....he then worked in Quincy market for about a year and in 1870 he decided to join his brothers fountain syringe business until 1879. In 1875 when he was 23 he started manufacturing Banjo's A C Fairbanks-maker, Boston. In June 17 1879 he had a design patent for Rubber Fountain -Syringe granted Pat No D11248. - After he took out the Patent he manufactured these himself for a few years. His son Curtis Stowell Fairbanks is born Oct 25 1879. In 1880 at the age of 28 he began to manufacture Banjo's , Mandolins & Guitars as Fairbanks and Cole at 121 Court St.His Daughter Ethel Conant Fairbanks is born Dec 22, 1881. In 1884 his son Albert Henry Fairbanks is Born June 18 1884. He also takes out a Banjo case Patenet Oct 21 1884 Pat no. 306731. In 1885 he takes out another Patent for a Tuning Peg support July 14 1885 Pat No. 322054 and another on Oct 6 1885 for a bowl shaped metal tone chamber then another on March 29 1887 for a perforated tube tone ring, bracket band, shoe style neck clamp Pat no 360.005. In 1889 his daughter Grace Francis Fairbanks is born May 28 1889. In 1890 A C Fairbanks & Co. introduced the Electric banjo and Fairbanks, Sunburn & Cole - Bicycle Manufacturer was added to his stable. On March 11 1890 Pat no 423.231 metal tone ring, grooved tension hoop and Dec 30 1890 Pat no 443510 Electric & Curtis tone rings were granted.

    In 1892 A C fairbanks introduced wood rims for Bicycles & recv'd patents in 1893-1897

    in 1893 at the age of 41 A. C. Fairbanks Company, inc recv'd 2 more patents .... One for a tone ring truss jan 10 1893 Pat no 489.470 another in May 9, 1893 for Laminated bicycle rim similar to his multilayer banjo rim and a third in Dec 5 1893 Pat no 510.335 for mandolin body and tailpiece.

    He serve on the Sommerville city council & was reelected in 1894 - in this same year he sold his interest in the Fairbanks Banjo Company.

    In 1894 Fairbanks Wood Rim Co., was located at 5 Appleton St. and operated as a bicycle company. In this same year he also went to Europe as they also had a plant in England by this time. He was granted another Patenet Dec 1894 Pat no 530172 for a reinforced area of wooden rim to accommodate tire valve.

    1895 - he was granted a patent April 9th pat no 537188 for a waterproof cloth covering on wooden bicycle rim.
    1896 at the age of 44 he moved to Tonowanda, N.Y and sadly in 1897 Grace Francis fairbanks Died on May 11th.
    He was granted another Patent Dec 7 1897 Pat no 594939 for adjustable bicycle hand grips.

    In 1904 at the age of 52 a large fire destroys Fairbanks co and it is sold to Vega

    In 1906 at the age of 54 he had worked for 13 years at the Water proof Paint co. Watertown, MA & served the last few years as President

    In 1919 at the age of 67 he died on Oct 10........ His sons - Curtis Stowell died March 13 1945 and Albert Henry died June 28 1945


    http://hschwartz.com/FairbanksBanjos...hronology.html

    He patented quite a few things and as you can see is also known for his banjo's .... He even introduced an electric banjo in the late 1890's.

    He was a member and officer of the National Wood Rim Manufacturers Association in the day along with many others.

    He owned the Fairbanks Wood Rim Co of Bradford PA, Boston Wood rim Co .

    Fairbanks also made rims for Constrictor as part of their European business model

    Fairbanks rims 1898.jpg

    This is from The Wheel in 1898 and Explains how they make their rims.

    Fairbanks The wheel 1898 Pt1.jpg

    Fairbanks 1898 pt2.png

    Fairbanks 1898 pt3.jpg

    Fairbaks 1898 Pt 4.png

    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 14.19.59.jpg

    This gives you an idea of how many rims they made yearly

    Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 16.30.22.png

    Expanding into Canada 1897 - 1898 by buying Hurndall Wood Rim Co of Canada.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 13.02.22.png

    Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.58.47.jpg
     
    #2 filmonger, Aug 11, 2014
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  3. #3 Posted Aug 11, 2014

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    Lamination vs Single piece

    Fairbanks talks about Laminated rims vs Single piece construction.

    Wood rim marks 1May 898 The Wheel Pt1.png

    Wood Rim Marks 1898 pt2.png

    Wood Rims marks Pt3.png

    Wood Rim marks pt 4.png

    Wood rim marks 1May 898 The Wheel Pt1.png

    Wood Rim Marks 1898 pt2.png

    Wood Rims marks Pt3.png

    Wood Rim marks pt 4.png
     
    #3 filmonger, Aug 11, 2014
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  4. #4 Posted Aug 11, 2014

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    Art Vs Nature - Wood rim

    Here they talk about Laminated Rims and why wood works so well as a material for rims

    Wood Rin Art Vs Nature The Wheel  1898 pt1.png

    Wood rim Art Vs Nature pt2.png

    Art Vs Nature pt3.png

    Art vs Nature pt4.png

    Here is an article about Quality by the Manager of the Boston Laminated Wood rim ( Fairbanks other co )

    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 15.17.47.jpg
    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 15.18.00.jpg
    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 15.18.18.png
    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 15.18.28.png
     
    #4 filmonger, Aug 11, 2014
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  5. #5 Posted Aug 11, 2014

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    Dunlop Deal for Fairbanks

    This is about Fairbanks deal with Dunlop and his attempt to break into the English market

    Boston wood rim Dunlop 1898 The Wheel Pt1.png

    Boston Wood rim Co Dunlop 1898 Pt2.jpg

    Boston wood rim Co Dubliop 1898 Pt3.png

    Fairbanks Dunlop Ad

    boston fairbanks 1898 The wheel.jpg

    Consolidation of offices

    Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 16.15.54.png
     
    #5 filmonger, Aug 11, 2014
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  6. #6 Posted Aug 12, 2014

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    E. J. Lobdell - American Wood rim co.

    Edward James Lobdell (1859-1925) was one of the biggest employers in Marietta Ohio. Looks like he started the plant in Marietta in 1890. It looks like the plant was located on the Muskingum Riverbank and was about four stories high on Montgomery Street. They produced hundreds of thousands of rims and Chain guards. They also had another plant there they produced wooden handlebars. Looks like he was a big supporter the the bicycle club there as well - reflecting his name. The Lobdell bicycle club. I have lots of article clips on the club itself if anyone i.d. interested.

    There was a huge fire at the rim factory December 1st 1897 at the plant that threatened the 2nd biggest employer. He had the city where he wanted them and tried to take advantage of his position by threatening to leave and relocate in another city.

    In 1901 E J Lobdell who had operated various manufacturing enterprises in Massachusetts and Ohio relocated his business to Onaway in order to be closer to the Lumber which his American Wood Rim Co relied upon. The reality is that the city gave him an offer he could not refuse. After the 1st fire in Marietta he had sought various offers from other cities to relocate his business to and put the squeeze on the local politicians to sweeten the pie in order for him to stay. This of course was a standard business practise at the turn of the century - I guess very little has changed. At the time of the move American Rim company was one of the leading producer of wooden bicycle rims - he expanded to include wooden steering wheels for the automotive industry at the time. At the time they said 60% of the worlds steering wheels were produced by them. This plant was also destroyed by fire January 14 1926.

    American Rim Co..png

    Marietta Ohio Plant

    American Wood Rim plant.png

    July 2nd 1896 Marietta Leader

    July 2ns Lobdell 1896.jpeg

    Kuntz absorbed into American Wood Rim Co

    Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 08.50.23.png
     
    #6 filmonger, Aug 12, 2014
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  7. #7 Posted Aug 12, 2014

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    Lobdel bicycle club

    Just some clippings of the Lobdell Bicycle Club when the Wood rim plant was there in Marietta Ohio.

    Bike Club 1.jpeg

    Bike Club 2.jpeg

    Bike Club 3.jpeg

    Bike Club 4.jpeg

    Bike Club 5.jpeg

    A Picture of the club at the Muskingum Boathouse around 1900 - the boat house was destroyed in 1913

    Marietta Cycling Club 1900 at boathouse Muskingum Pk.jpg
     
    #7 filmonger, Aug 12, 2014
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  8. #8 Posted Aug 12, 2014

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    Lobdell moves wood rim production to Onaway

    This is part of the reason he moved the plant to Onaway:

    In 1900 Merrit Chandler already owned 40,000 acres of hardwood timber in the Onaway area. This
    hardwood was payment for his service of building part of the Petoskey to Presque Isle area road.
    To insure the future growth of the Onaway area, Chandler restricted the sale of his hardwood holdings
    to the lumber companies willing to move into the Onaway area and employ the settlers. No industry
    was willing to venture into such desolate country; therefore the land was not touched for many
    years.

    In 1900 the Huron Handle and Manufacturing Company, located in Alpena was affected by the
    scarcity of timer. The company accepted Chandler's offer and moved its sawmill and handle
    factory to Onaway that fall. By February 1901, the Huron Handle and Manufacturing Company
    was ready for operation. The Huron Handle Company had started the Northern Michigan Railroad
    and was making broom handles, coat hangers, flooring and dimension stock. Chandler's dream
    was becoming a reality.

    It was about this time that Lobdell was looking at fierce competition and the American Wood
    Rim Company was formed. From here we will bring to you at least three pages of information
    from the American Wood Rim Company Catalog.

    This catalog was sent out to potential customers. It has no date and no copywrite. This
    catalog was printed after the American Wood Rim Co. came to Onaway in 1901. It belonged to the
    late Joe Eichorn, (Glen Eichorn's father). Joe's son-in-law Claude Godfrey presented it to
    me in July of 1979. Joe signed this book on October 7, 1931.

    The manufacture of bicycle wood rims was started 21 years ago, and in less than three years
    this entirely displaced the all-steel rim by its merit. The wood rim is resilient and springy
    and enhances the life of the tire and, when made properly of fine selected straight-grain maple,
    has proven a very serviceable and lasting construction for bicycles.

    Manufacturers of wood rims multiplied very fast. There was a total of 24 factories during an
    interval of six years manufacturing wood rims, some of which made a cheap rim out of elm wood.
    There were various styles of construction, but the three leading manufacturers of fine quality
    wood rims were The Fairbanks-Boston Rim Co., Bradford, Pennsylvania, The Kundtz Bending Co.,
    Cleveland, Ohio, and E. J. Lobdell, Marietta, Ohio. The rims manufactured by these three concerns
    were used on nearly all the high-grade bicycles manufactured in the United States.

    The competition became fierce and The American Wood Rim Company was organized and
    comprised the following wood rim manufacturers: The Indiana Novelty Co., Plymouth, Indiana,
    The Fairbanks-Boston Rim Co., Bradford, Pennsylvania, The Kundtz Bending Co., Cleveland, Ohio
    and E. J. Lobdell, Marietta, Ohio.

    Hence the American Wood Rim Company formation

    It became necessary to purchase a large acreage of standing hard rock maple in Michigan in
    order to secure a strictly high-grade, straight-grain selected maple suitable to manufacture into
    high-grade wood rims. The owners of the American Wood Rim Company organized The Lobdell-Emery
    Mfg. Co., purchased 28,000 acres of the finest standing hard rock maple forest in the southern
    peninsula of Michigan, and erected a very large saw mill and woodwork manufacturing plant in
    Onaway in 1901. There was an annual cut of 20,000,000 feet of hard rock maple per annum, so
    as to manufacture from this timber straight-grain hard rock maple rim strips suitable for the rim
    work.
    The percentage of straight-grain maple suitable for bicycle wood rim strips for each 1,000 feet of lumber
    cut, did not exceed from 12 to 15 percent. Therefore it was necessary to install a large woodworking
    manufacturing plant to work up the balance of the lumber after selecting the wood rim stock from it. It
    required 20,000,000 feet of hard maple to select a sufficient quantity of straight-grain maple strips to supply
    the trade of The American Wood Rim Company in the United States.The American Wood Rim Company was able to produce the high grade fine quality finish of wood rims at reasonable
    prices because they have to did not pay freight on raw material, the same being at their door. There was also no
    fuel expense to run their 1,250 horse power wood rim plant owing to the reuse of waste from their large saw mill
    and woodwork manufacturing plant, and because of their overhead being at a minimum cost owing to the selling force
    and the office force of both companies being combined.

    The price of raw material for bicycle wood rims had advanced 40 percent in five years, but The American
    Wood Rim Company stockholders owning a large acreage of standing hard maple timber were protected in their
    supply for the next 12 to 15 years to come.

    The rock maple forests at the time were controlled and owned by a very few large lumber concerns, and the
    finest quality of hard rock maple is in the northern half of the southern peninsula of Michigan. The use of
    this wood has increased very rapidly over the course of 10 years for other manufacturing purposed and without
    this production of raw material The American Wood Rim Company would be unable to manufacture the large output
    which they were furnishing to the bicycle manufacturers and jobbers and the automobile manufacturers.

    Another Fire on Jan 14 1926...... Lobdell moved again this time to Alma.

    Within days, thousands of persons picked up their personal belongings and set out in search of new employment. The company announced that they would not rebuild in Onaway because it would take too much time and instead relocated in the vacant building s in Alma. Everyone who worked in the Onaway plant was offered a job if he or she followed the company in its move.
     
    #8 filmonger, Aug 12, 2014
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  9. #9 Posted Aug 12, 2014

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    Lobell Bicycle rim materials and quality

    LOBDELL BICYCLE WOOD RIMS

    Just what constitutes a good, serviceable rim?

    In the first place, a rim must be made of correct material and by proper methods to stand up under hard
    work it is subjected to. Lobdell Rims had a reputation as the best rims made. In the old days they were made from second-growth hickory, but when this material was exhausted, something else had to be used. Straight-grained maple was the best material known to the lumber industry for making bicycle wood rims. It was the most expensive maple cut. We do not believe any other rim manufacturer in this country used as good as material or as careful and thorough methods in producing rims as The American Wood Rim Company.

    MATERIAL USED IN LOBDELL RIMS

    Lobdell Rims were made from straight-grain maple and as one of the largest hard-wood manufacturers in the state
    of Michigan, the rim strips were selected from a cut of over 20,000,000 feet of maple lumber each year, these being
    from 12 to 15 percent of straight-grain stock suitable for our grade of rim strips, out of this large production
    of lumber. The rim material was cured out of doors, and today we have in our yard $150,000 worth of this selected
    straight-grain material, which was air-dried 10 months or more before using, ready to make up into rims to the
    customers' requirements. This material had advanced in price $8.50 per thousand, which added just so much extra cost to each rim. Regardless of this advance, Lobdell Rims continued to be made of this material and at the same price as heretofore. This selected straight-grain maple lumber steadily advanced in price from year to year, however, the extensive production enables them to use this selected stock exclusively in Lobdell Rims.

    PROCESS OF MANUFACTURE

    After the strips were thoroughly air-dried, they were cut to proper length, placed in a steel drum, closed airtight,
    and then hot steam was turned into it to soften the strips ready for bending. The strips were then bent and in the bending process the grain of the strip was compressed by end pressure, which does not stretch the outside grain of the strip, thereby toughening the fiber of the wood very materially and this also eliminates any liability to split. This process was adopted and used by the most skillful and scientific wood benders in the United States, and was the only correct process at the time for bending wood so it retains its full strength, resiliency and lasting qualities.

    Rim Colors

    Lobdell rim colors.jpeg

    Rim Joint Patent April 24 1917 Pat no. 1,223,990

    Lobdell rim joint Patenet 1917.jpg

    The two ends are then clamped together in a low-degree heat dry house, thereby taking all the moisture from
    the wood. After a thorough drying the ends are cut off to make the correct size rim wanted, dovetailed and
    put together with the best glue we can buy. Steel clamps hold the joint in place until the glue is firmly set.

    The rim is then carried to the turning room and fastened securely in a jig on a machine, which forms the outside
    of tire seat. The rim is revolved at high speed against cutting tools set to gauge. The next operation is turning
    the inside of the rim to form, and is accomplished in the same manner as described above, only the cutting tool is
    on the inside of the rim circle. They are next carried to the inspection room, and if the slightest knot or burl is
    discovered, the rim is at once discarded and used for crating purposes.

    The rims are next sanded. This is done by holding emery paper of fine quality against the rim, revolving at high
    speed. The valve hole is then drilled and rims are sent to the finishing department.

    The rim is first given a coat of lead mixed with the best grade of linseed oil we can buy. After thoroughly
    drying, they are hand rubbed. Then four coats of enamel are applied with a hand rubbing between each, then a final
    coat of high-luster varnish. This finish is lasting and withstands the weather perfectly. Next the spoke holes are
    drilled by special automatic machines set to the drilling desired. Each hole is correctly spaced, staggered and
    countersunk. The machines are absolutely accurate, drilling every hole uniformly. This insures a true-running
    wheel, for every spoke is in line, the pull evenly distributed and any possible side strain avoided.

    After another careful inspection rims are carried to the shipping department where they are carefully and
    securely crated, insuring delivery in a No. 1 condition.

    Lobdell Rims are made to fit the various types of tires and in a variety of finishes that take care of the most
    exacting requirements.

    Specify Lobdell Rims on your bicycles and satisfy your customers.

    Lack of space forbids a more detailed description of Lobdell Rims and their production. A careful perusal of this
    leaflet will, however, convince you the Lobdell Rims are made of the right material, by proper methods and are the rims
    for you to use on your bicycle beyond the vast superiority of Lobdell Rims over all others.

    Our branch factory, near Paris, France, produced many thousand wood rims the past season and the demand for wood
    rims in Europe is increasing each year. More evidence of Lobdell Rims superiority.

    SUPERIORITY OF WOOD RIMS OVER STEEL

    Steel rims have no life, spring or resiliency and, when the tire receives a blow in use, ti must stand the entire shock,
    which shortens its life very materially.

    The wood rim, if air-dried properly, retains its life and resiliency and, when the tire receives a shock, it springs
    back, easing the blow, which lengthens the life of the tire. Actual tests made under the following conditions proved our
    claim conclusively: Two wheels were employed, one built-up with a wood rim and the other with steel, both fitted with
    tires. These wheels were caused to run against a wooden pulley 2-feet wide, having three-quarter-inch round moldings
    placed squarely across and at angles on the face of the pulley.

    Both pulleys and wheels were run at a high rate of speed with the tire pressure against pulley at about the same
    pressure a rider's weight would be on the road. The tire mounted on the wood rim lasted one-third longer than on the
    steel.

    This is conclusive evidence of the wood rims' merit over steel, in addition to which the rider enjoys ease and
    comfort that he cannot secure on any other type of rim.

    A bicycle fitted with wood rims last longer, rides easier, has a better appearance and is far superior in every
    way.

    The above applies to the solid heavy steel rim, which is brazed together. There is, however, great merit in a very light steel lining
    (not brazed), mounted on a wood rim. This produces a rim with a light-steel lining, having the same resiliency as the
    all-wood. This yupe of rim also has a perfect watershed, is very stiff and remains true under the severest usage.

    This wood steel-lined rim has met with a large sale, and is becoming more popular each year. It is made for cement,
    Dunlop and clincher tires.

    This steel-lined clincher rim made the single-clinch tire possible, and you have Mr. E.J. Lobdell to thank, for he
    alone is responsible for this rim, which enables you to sell a bicycle fitted with clincher tires at a reasonable
    price.
     
    #9 filmonger, Aug 12, 2014
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  10. #10 Posted Aug 12, 2014

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    Lobdell's move to Alma MI in 1926

    On the morning of Thursday, January 14, 1926 fire broke out in the company’s sanding machine and spread spontaneously through the blowers to different parts of the room.

    In the few hours that followed, Onaway’s main means of livelihood went up in smoke and although the city still exists, it has never reached the proportion it was on that historical day.

    With the presence of the American Wood Rim Co. and its sister company, the Lobdell Emerey Manufacturing Co., Onaway experienced tremendous growth in its early year. The big industry, along with the profitable timber business made Onaway the biggest little town in northern Michigan.

    According to one report, Onaway had two newspapers, three lawyers, four doctors, three large hotels, 17 saloons, nine churches, two bakeries, a fairgrounds, racetrack and an opera house in the pre-fire days.

    The figure varies, but Onaway’s population was approximately 4,000 and the two huge industries employed anywhere from 1200 to 1500 persons.

    The Lobdell Emery Manufacturing co. was involved in lumbering, sawmill operations and the making of such products as dowels, broom handles, and coat hanger stock.

    The American Wood Rim Co., was the world’s largest and finest producer of automobile steering wheels and bicycle rims. For a number of years the company made all the steering wheels with either malleable iron or aluminum spiders. The aluminum spiders were all molded and finished in the plant while the malleable iron castings were purchased from outside sources.

    During its last few years in Onaway, the American Wood Rim Co. introduced the all-wood steering wheel with only the hub made of steel. Some of the automobile rims were made of maple or beech, but the better ones were of black walnut with a black walnut or mahogany finish.

    The bicycle rims were made of hard rock maple or beech. All the wood used in manufacturing the wheels and rims was from the surrounding forests owned by Lobdell-Emery.

    There was a great interest in the automobile steering wheel business while it was in Onaway. Robert Shaw, in charge of the company’s sales office at the time of the fire, estimated that more than 100 companies were making cars and trucks during that period.

    "The automobile was one of the chief subjects of conversation among all people." Shaw recalled. "The virtues of different cars and new improvements being made were prime subjects of discussion and often arguments."

    According to Shaw, the American wood Rim Co. sold steering wheels for the Elmore, the Cartercar, the Scripps-Booth, and the Oakland. They also sold their products to Durant Motors who manufactured the Durant, the Flint, the Star, the Sheridan, the Locomobile , as well as the Sampson tractor.

    It was William Durant who followed his dream and founded General Motors.

    Another automobile company to install Onaway steering wheels was Oldsmobile, the first mass producer of cars in the United States which soon became America’s largest producer. Although it’s impossible to list all of its customers, the American Wood Rim co., which specialized in making wheels for medium and higher priced vehicles, supplied practically all the wheels for trucks and some tractors. During World War I the company supplied the great four-wheel drive trucks.

    With this in mind, Marshall Whitshire coined the phrase, "Onaway Steers the World" and received $5 from the Chamber of Commerce for his suggestion. By today’s standards that does not seem like much money, but in those days it represented several work days for the common laborer.

    Fred Warner, who was working at the time of the fire, says the top wage for the common laborer at the time was $.40 an hour. "But a dollar in those days was all yours," he adds. Employees of the company worked 10 hours a day, six days a week.

    Gladys Warner, Fred’s wife, made $.17 and hour working in the Lobdell store in 1926. The Warners, like hundreds of others, followed Lobdell-Emery to Alma where the company relocated in the former Republic Trucking company buildings.

    Lobdell - Emery Plant 1926

    Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 09.47.35.png
     
    #10 filmonger, Aug 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  11. #11 Posted Aug 12, 2014

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    1926 Lobdell move

    s-l1600-2.jpg

    FOUR PERISH IN FIRE

    Fire broke out at 8:30 in the morning when a spark was apparently drawn from a shaft into the blower s of a sanding machine. Several pipes led from the machine which spread the fire to different parts of the room.

    The city fire department and company employees battled the blaze but strong southerly winds of blizzard velocity spread the fire through the north wood working sections of the plant.

    Production units of the American Wood Rim Co. and the Lobdell-Emery Co. were destroyed but the sawmill, foundry, nickel plating department, and lumber yards were not gutted as they were heavily guarded by firefighters.

    A call went out to the Cheboygan Fire Department for additional hose but it arrived too late. The reserve water reservoirs were exhausted and necessitated the shutting off of the city water for four hours while the pumps replenished the supply.

    Four men lost their lives in the fire. The loss of Fred VanPfoff, Lorenzo D. Smith, John Tate, and Eugene Precour cast a shadow on the whole community. Stephen Hell was believed to have perished but was found later in his boarding place.

    Mrs. Gordon (Ruth) Stiles was Lorenzo Smith’s youngest daughter, Smith 52 at the time of his death had eight children, most of them grown up and married.

    He worked alone as a saw filer in a small room. It was believed he was trapped in the room because of his distance from other workers.

    John Tate was also the father of eight. He was 42 years old with his youngest being a three year old daughter.

    Tate, whose wife Mary worked for the company as a sander, was a gluer and worked the presses. He made good wages for his piece work- about $5 or $6 a day. The family received $14 a week in compensation for a short period of time following the tragedy. "It ain’t like today where they run to welfare." Says John Tate, Jr., who was 13 at the time of his father’s death. The Tates moved to Alma with the company where Mary continued working until the depression hit. Then they returned to Onaway.

    Eugene Precour died while trying to save the rest of the men. The 47 year old father of four worked in the sawmill. His eldest daughter was Mrs. Joe Schell who was 15 at the time of her father’s death.

    Within days, thousands of persons picked up their personal belongings and set out in search of new employment. The company announced that they would not rebuild in Onaway because it would take too much time and instead relocated in the vacant building s in Alma. Everyone who worked in the Onaway plant was offered a job if he or she followed the company in its move.

    Two weeks after the blaze. Hal Whiteley summed up the tragedy in the January 28, 1926 issue of the Advance.

    The reduction in the number of homes and number of men employed here are consequent loss in volume of business, means of a certainly losses to the individual retail merchants and to the public services such as the Bank, Power Company, newspaper, ect., adjustment of all lines to meet the new conditions and problems."

    Whiteley, on an optimistic note, said that the city would certainly recover its losses but it would take hard work and togetherness to repair the damage. He pointed out that Onaway still had a plant, growing tourist trade, and above all, agriculture and stock raising.

    "Old Dame Rumor" was meanwhile trying to picture a sad state of affairs in the school district. The school board in response to the rumors, reported that there was no need for alarm, that everyone would remain on the payroll until the end of the current session. The board reported that the district owed only $9,000 from bonded indebtedness on the buildings.

    The school board also said that the situation would be re-evaluated in July 1926, because there was sure to be a decrease in overall enrollment for the following year.

    Many Onaway merchants were left holding the bag following the fire and exodus from the city.

    Hal Whiteley, in his :"Round and About" column of September 11, 1975, recalled the aftermath of the fire. "with that loss went individual losses of considerable magnitude. The payroll stopped. Men lost jobs, jobs that seemed so secure and offered in many cases improvements and better standards of living. Merchants stood to lose many of the accounts they were carrying on their books, not that anyone was dishonest, but that with no job, and no payroll, such accounts can seldom be paid when so few save for a rainy day. Along with other values went land values, home and business values."

    Whiteley, who owned the Outlook in much the same manner it is today, incorporated the Onaway area news with the Advance several years following the fire because the city could not support a newspaper. As short time later the whole adventure went down the drain..a $10,000 investment.

    The Onaway State Bank closed its doors in 1933 which could indirectly be tied to the disaster. The City Fathers found themselves in debt when the valuation of $1,500,000 dropped to $200,000. And, during the depression which followed, Onaway and its empty houses was the natural target of squatters.

    The steering wheel company merged and took the name of Lobdell-Emery Manufacturing co. Forest Inks, retired vice president of the company, after 46 years, can still recall working for and with many Onaway persons in Alma.

    Inks, who went to work for Lobdell-Emery in April of 1926 for $.30 an hour, said the company stopped manufacturing steering wheels sometime between 1935 and 1940. Bicycle rims ere still made as was nursery furniture, aluminum cooking dishes and other odds and ends.

    Today Lobdell-Emery is largest employer in Alma with a work force of 600 to 700 persons.

    Despite all the hardships and ups and downs, Onaway still exists. In the words of Robert Shaw, "Too much praise cannot be given to those who remained, for it was their spirit that made it possible to rebuild Onaway to the fine community which exists today."

    Ray Young, a summer resident like Shaw, recalls working at the Hudson Motor Car Co. in Detroit at the time of the big Onaway fire. "There I learned first hand just what a crippling, crushing blow this fire caused the automobile industry." Young writes. "After their 10 day stock of steering wheels was exhausted they had to drive the otherwise finished cars and trucks off the assembly line with monkey wrenches."

    The people of Onaway can certainly be proud of its past history because at one time Onaway did steer the world.

    Lobdell-Emmery Wood Rim factory 1910ish

    Lobdell-Emery Wood rim Co Alma Mi.jpg

    What remains of the factory

    AR-141029364.jpg&MaxW=650.jpeg

    The train Used by Lobdell
    Lobdell-Emery Manufacturing Co. #2 - s/n 1987 @ Onaway, Michigan
    Built 07-06-1907 - Std. gauge - 10" x 12" cylinders - 29½" drivers - 37 tons - 2 trucks
    The locomotive operated on the company's Onaway & Northern Michigan Railway. The note with the photo states this is Lobdell & Bailey RR #2 .
    Photo by K.Gus Smarey of Suttons Bay, Michigan

    lobdell-emery_mfg_co_2.jpg
     
    #11 filmonger, Aug 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  12. #12 Posted Aug 16, 2014

    Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

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    Kundtz Wood bicycle rims - Kundtz Bending Co

    Theodore Kundtz is a very interesting Industrialist and his story along with his wood rim business is fascinating. Again his business empire is diverse but interrelated. You will note that due to the fact that he was a Member of the American Wood rim co that there are overlapping interests for many of the wood rim manufacturers.
    - The American Wood Rim Company was organized and
    comprised the following wood rim manufacturers
    : The Indiana Novelty Co., Plymouth, Indiana,
    The Fairbanks-Boston Rim Co., Bradford, Pennsylvania, The Kundtz Bending Co., Cleveland, Ohio
    and E. J. Lobdell, Marietta, Ohio.


    He is best Known for his sewing machine cabinets & Cleveland's White Sewing Machines. Though he had many many other interests.

    His rim construction was composed of a rim inside a rim.

    Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 17.46.34.jpg

    Theodor Kundtz was born July 1, 1852 in Metzenseifen, Hungary and immigrated to America twenty years later.

    Theodor Josephus ‘Tori’ Kundtz was born on July 1, 1852 in Unter-Metzenseifen, Austria-Hungary (now Medzev, Slovakia) to Josephus (a roof framer) and Theresa (Kesselbauer) Kundtz. Theresa, a Lutheran, was not a native of Metzenseifen and is said to have been born in Bratislava (current capital of Slovakia).

    Josephus died of tuberculosis in 1866 (aged 44), at which time 14-year-old Theodor took over his father’s woodworking and cabinetry business. Kundtz siblings included a younger brother Emike, and four sisters; Anna, Julia, Theresia and Mary.

    At the age of 21 he decided to seek his fortune amongst the growing Hungarian community in Cleveland, Ohio. Thedor travelled to the Havre where he booked passage on a steamer headed to the United States, arriving on April 20, 1873, and within a few short weeks, his final destination, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

    He eventually became a major designer and producer of automotive bodies and one of Cleveland’s leading industrial giants. He found employment with Whitworth & Hawkins, a manufacturer of sewing machine tables and cases owned by John Whitworth and Edgar E. Hawkins and located at 9 Frankfort and 31 St. Clair. A similarly named firm engaged in the same line of work (sewing machine cover and case mfg.) was Whitworth & Stewart (William Whitworth and John N. Stewart) whose plant was located at Carter cor. Scranton Ave.

    Hawkins withdrew from business the business shortly thereafter and he was replaced by Sheldon Sickles, the firm’s listing in the 1874 Cleveland Directory being:

    “Whitworth & Sickles (J. Whitworth and S. Sickles) mnfrs. of sewing machine cabinet work, office 28 St. Clair.”

    Whitworth & Sickles withdrew from business in 1875 and the firm’s assets were acquired by four former employees (G. Gebhard; T. Kundtz; C. Simon and E. Genee) who reorganized it as the Cleveland Cabinet Company. Kundtz’ later used ‘Established 1875’ on his letterhead, which refers to the creation of Cleveland Cabinet Co., not the Theodor Kundtz Co. Cleveland Cabinet’s listing in the 1876 Cleveland Directory follows:

    “Cleveland Cabinet Co. (G. Gebhard; T. Kundtz; C. Simon and E. Genee), mnfrs. sewing machine cabinet work, 29 and 31 St. Clair.”

    While at the Whitworth Company, a small woodworking establishment where he built cabinets for sewing machines. In 1876, Thomas H. White discovered Theodor Kundtz’ amazing artistry and “by 1879, Kundtz’ small factory had supplied all of White’s cabinetry.” “Fashioning sewing machines into functional art was Theodor Kundtz’ contribution to the industry and the cornerstone of his business success.” One of the many stories was that in 1876 Thomas White, founder of Cleveland’s White Sewing Machine Co., presented a sewing machine to Kundtz’ wife Agnes in appreciation for her service as laundress to the White family. Theodor constructed a cabinet to house the machine for his wife, and a lifelong business partnership resulted.

    Theodor married Agnes Ballasch (born May 18, 1853 in Unter-Metzenseifen, Austria-Hungary to George and Anna Maria [Mullner] Ballasch) on 8 Oct 1874 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

    Although the couple enjoyed several years of wedded bliss, it soon became apparent that Agnes was incapable of producing offspring, which produced a rift in the marriage as Theodor was determined to have children. Theodore selected his wife’s niece as a more suitable mate and shortly after she graduated from finishing school in 1884, he divorced Agnes and married her niece, Maria T. Ballasch (born on November 21, 1867 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio to Matthias and Anna [Stroempl] Ballasch).

    To the blessed union were born ten children: Joseph Peter (b.1887-d.1889); Theodore S. (aka Theodor Kuntz jr. – b.1889-d.1964); Merie Cacelia (m. Tubman, b.1896-d.1981); William Joseph (b.1898-d.1965); Ewald Edmond (b.1901-d.1992); Joseph Erno (b.1902-d.1930 in a plane crash); Irene Mignon (m. Weizer, b.1904-d.1996); Angela Theodora (m. Hueffed, b.1906-d.2000); Leopold Raymond (b.1907-d.1973); and Dorothy Marguer (m. O'Neill, b.1910-d.1998)Kundtz.

    As with all these early factories Fire would play a major role!

    On January 30, 1879 the Cleveland Cabinet Works’ St. Clair St. manufactory was destroyed by fire:

    “Fire At Cleveland

    “Cleveland, Jan. 30.—A fire this morning destroyed a brick building owned by Wm. Hempy and occupied by Fred Hempy, a planing mill, the Cleveland Cabinet Manufacturing Company, and a paper box factory. The Hempy's loss on the building, stock and machinery is $8,000; no insurance. The losses on the other buildings make the total loss about $20,000.

    “The Cleveland Cabinet Company lose $9,000 on stock and machinery; insurance, $3,000.

    “On the way to the fire, an engineer on one of the engines was thrown from his seat and badly injured. Four firemen were more or less injured by falling walls.”

    Kundtz took his share of the insurance and set up his own business at 122 Elm Street. Prior to 1879 a number of firms supplied White with cases, cabinets and tables, but according to Kundtz biographer, Christopher J. Eiben:

    As White Sewing Machine Co.’s business improved so did Kundtz’s and in 1880 he brought most of his immediate family to Cleveland from Unter-Metzenseifen.

    The 1882 Cleveland directory lists him under Sewing Mach. Cabinet Ware:

    “Kundtz, Theodor, 122 Elm St.”

    He moved to larger facilities one block away in 1883, his entry in the 1884 Cleveland directory under Sewing Machine Cabinets lists two distinct manufactories:

    “Kundtz, Theodor; 31 and 101 W. Center.”

    During the next decade sales of sewing machines increased exponentially as did Kuntz business which by 1894 encompassed three separate factories, all within 1 block of one other. His Listing in the 1894 Cleveland directory under Sewing Machine Cabinets stating:

    “Kuntz, Theodor; W. Center, Washington and Winslow Sts.”

    Kundtz employed Hungarian immigrants almost exclusively, many of which were from his home town. As Cleveland’s best-known Metzenseifer resident, Kundtz served a central role in Cleveland’s Metzenseifer and Hungarian community. In 1890 he spearheaded the construction of Clark Ave.’s Hungaria Hall and helped found the Hungarian Savings and Loan Association, which was an outgrowth of his serving as the unofficial Metzenseifer mortgage co.

    He was known as ‘Fota’ (father) Kundtz among Cleveland’s Hungarian immigrants, and he and his wife were godparents to numerous children. A White sewing machine would often be presented as a wedding gift if ‘Fota Kundtz’ was amongst the invited.

    As his business expanded Kundtz introduced additional product lines, which included bicycle and carriage wheels and institutional furniture, the latter being much sought-after by regional communities constructing new schools and churches.

    The firm’s church furniture factory was located on Hird Street (now Hird Ave.) in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood. The firm, popularly known as 'Kundtz Craftsmen', was a reorganization of the Faulhaber Church Furniture Co. which was founded by George Faulhaber, a fellow parishioner of Kundtz’ at the St. Rose Catholic Church.

    He furthered his success by establishing a bicycle-wheel factory. By early 1900, the Theodor Kundtz Company was one of the first “vertically-integrated” businesses in America and around 1910 had occupied five plants in the Flats employing more than 2500 workers. Theodor Kundtz did not stop there. He expanded his company to include a division called Theodor Kundtz Automobile Bodies that designed and manufactured attractive automobile bodies for many different companies in the early 1900’s.

    With more than fifty years of business success, Theodor Kundtz retired at the age of seventy-two to his enchanting estate located at 13826 Lake Avenue. Just as Theodor had done business on a grand scale, so too was his home, modeled after the beautiful castles he remembered seeing as a child. Constructed over a four-year period (1898-1902), his Lakewood Mansion boasted hand-painted ceilings, stained glass windows, exquisite statues, hand-carved furniture, elaborate fireplaces and even a bowling alley. Despite his enormous financial success, Theodor Kundtz was best known for his kindness toward employees, taking pride in his Hungarian heritage and his extreme generosity. Theodor Kundtz was a man ahead of his time and will long be remembered for his many amazing accomplishments.

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    Unknown.jpeg
     
    #12 filmonger, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  13. #13 Posted Aug 16, 2014

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    Kunitz Wood Rim Pat

    Here is His Wood rim Pat Dec 28 1897 Pat No 596,424 - It is my understanding that he held 44 patents a small number of these bicycle related.

    Unknown.jpg


    T. KUNDTZ.

    WHEEL RIM. 1 No. 596,424. Patented Dec. 28,1897.

    UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE.

    THEODOR KUNDTZ, OF CLEVELAND, OHIO.

    WHEEL-RIM.

    SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 596,424, dated December 28, 1897.

    Application filed February 3,1896. $eria1 No. 577,797. (No model.)

    To all whom it may concern.-

    Be it known that I, THEODOR KUNDTZ, of Cleveland, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, have in- Vented certain new and useful Improvements in VVheel-Rims; and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it pertains to make and use the same.

    My invention relates to improvements in wheel-rims, and more especially to a wooden rim designed for use in the manufacture of bicycle-wheels provided with a tire consisting of an inner tube and a case embracing said tube and held to the wheel-rim by the inflation of the tube.

    The object is to provide a rim designed for a tire of the character indicated that will not be liable to be split longitudinally at the points where the tire-tube case engages the rim.

    With this object in View my invention consists in certain features of construction and combinations of parts hereinafter described, and pointed out in the claims.

    In the accompanying drawings, Figure 1 is a side elevation of a rim embodying my invention. Fig. 2 shows an outer peripheral View of a portion of the rim and shows a portion of the outer piece that forms the concave outer periphery of ther'im broken away to show the comparatively thin cross-grained layer interposed between said piece and the piece that forms the inner and convex periphery of the rim. Fig. 3 is a cross-section of the rim and shows the rim provided with a tire.

    As is well known in the trade, the case of the inner tire-tube of a tire of the character indicated when the tube is inflated is held to the rim by the pressure of the inflated tube and engages depressions or recesses formed within and extending circumferentially of the inner periphery of the rim. A rim provided with said tire is subjected to great strain, having a tendency to split the rim, especially when the wheel strikes an obstruction in the roadway at the points where the tire-case engagesthe rim.

    The object of my invention, therefore, as already indicated, is to provide a wheel-rim strip A, convex upon its inner periphery and concave and curved upon its outer periphery, as shown very clearly in Fig. 3. To the outer and curved concave periphery of strip A is cemented a comparatively thin wooden strip or series of strips B, extending circumferentially and from edge to edge of the concave periphery of strip A. Piece or pieces B are cross-grained-that is, the cross-grained layer B is bent in a line crosswise of its grain into the concavity in strip A and fitted and cemented to the curved walls of said concavity and has its grain running crosswise of said walls and consequently crosswise of the rim. Layer B, when applied, is therefore concave externally in cross-section. The circularlybent wooden tire-receiving strip 0 extends externally of and annularly around layer B and has its inner side convex or shaped to conform to the concave surface of said crossgrained layer B. Strip 0 is preferably cemented to layer B. The central portion of the outer and concave periphery of strip 0 forms the seat for the tire, (see Fig. 3,) and said periphery is, if used for the tire shown in Fig. 3, provided with two depressions or recesses 0 between the central portion and opposite edges, respectively, for receiving the enlarged edges 6 of the tire-case E, that is held to the rim by the inflation of tube D, as already indicated.

    The conavo-convex strip A has its longitudinal edges at extending to or beyond the tire-case-reoeiving portions of the outer strip O, and consequently the reinforcing-ring B and 0 extends also to or beyond said portions of the outer strip, so that there is no liability whatever of the wheel-rim being split longitudinally at the points hereinbefore referred to, which points are indicated by dotted lines in Fig. 3.

    It will be readily perceived that the outer and inner rings of the rim are produced like fellies of ordinary wheels, and, being integral in character, act like the member of a clamp to hold the glue-covered and cross-grained strip in its final position until the glue is dry. A composite Wheel-rim is thus produced in which only one of the layers is bent transversely into its final shape and in which the remaining layers are so thick as to be incapable of transverse bending and are provided with corresponding transversely-curved surfaces, between which the first-named layer is secured.

    What I claim is 1. A Wooden Wheel-rim consisting of a thick, inflexible, inner wooden ring A having a peripheral cavity that is curved in cross-section, a relatively thin Wooden reinforcing -layer fitting and secured in, and lining and covering the walls of said cavity, and having its grain crossing that of the ring A, and a thick inflexible outer ring 0 fitting into the concave outer side of the reinforcing-layer, substantially as described.

    2. A wooden wheel-rim, consisting of outer and inner thick and inflexible rings, one of said rings having a groove which is curved in cross-section, and the other of said rings being shaped to fit in said groove, and an intervening strengthening-strip, such as a veneer or layer of Wood lying in said groove with its grain crossing the grain of the rings, adhesively secured to the said rings.

    In testimony whereof I sign this specification, in the presence of two witnesses, this 29th day of January, 1896.

    , THEODOR KUNDTZ.

    Witnesses:

    O. H. DORER, ELLA E. TILDEN.

    r1013621.jpg
     
    #13 filmonger, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  14. #14 Posted Aug 17, 2014

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    Kundtz factories

    Here is a description of his factory in 1918:

    Elroy McKendree Avery’s ‘ Cleveland And Its Environs, The Heart of New Connecticut’, pub in 1918, provides the following detailed account of Kundtz’ operations at the time:

    “One of the remarkable features about the Theodor Kundtz Company is that it is a complete and self-sufficient organization so far as any business can be said to be that. As already stated, a complete sawmill plant is maintained, and it is probably the only woodworking concern in the state which handles the entire process from the wood in the logs to the finished output. The company even owns some extensive hardwood forests, while it maintains a force of expert log buyers and all the hardwood in the log is brought to the company's mills at Lakewood and there put through the first process in milling. The company also makes its own varnish. It was the pioneer in "laminated" woodwork, that is, in substituting "built up" for the solid wood and demonstrating the unlimited possibilities this process opens in increasing the efficiency of all kinds of woodwork, in cabinets for sewing machines as well as the most elaborate church furniture.

    “What is known as plant No. 1, on Washington, Center, Elm and Winslow streets, was completed in 1887 and is entirely given over to the manufacture of sewing machine woodwork. Plant No. 2, nearby, makes school desks and church furniture. Mr. Kundtz began making school desks about ten years ago at the request of 'a member of the board of education of Cleveland, who desired a home industry to furnish the needs of the Cleveland public schools. That led him naturally into the manufacture of church furniture, and he took over a plant of that nature, the Faulhaber Church Furniture Company. Still another plant, No. 3, manufactures automobile bodies. In 1914 plant No. 5 was completed, being a combined office and factory building.

    “Mr. Kundtz has not only built up a big institution from a material point of view, but has carefully looked after the human side of manufacture. He has kept the plants safeguarded against fire and with all the modern safety devices. The company maintains a volunteer fire department and has a complete welfare department, the services of which are available to the employees not only during office hours, but also extends to the home and furnishes protection against all forms of exploitation.”

    This is a fairly recent photo of one of his earlier buildings he worked from

    Theodor_Kundtz_Company_Building.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 17.50.15.jpg

    His 1892 Factory

    oo1892_kundtz_plant_1.jpg

    His 1904 factory

    oo1904_kundtz_plant_1.jpg

    1910 factory

    oo1910_kundtz_stationary_1.jpg

    His Mansion in Lakewood 1905

    oo1905_Kundtz_Mansion.jpg

    From the Cycle age trade and review 1900 - Kuntz moves plant
    Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 18.28.02.png

    Kundtz and Dunlop

    Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 13.32.52.jpg

    Kundtz Sold to American Rim Co - Lobdell

    Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 08.50.23.png
     
    #14 filmonger, Aug 17, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  15. #15 Posted Aug 17, 2014

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    White Bicycle Company & Kundtz

    Obviously there is an association between the White Sewing company and Kunitz since he made all their sewing Cabinets - hence the White bicycle company and the use of his rims. White started producing bicycles in 1896...these images are from the 1897 Cat.

    Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.01.24.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.02.28.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 11.58.06.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.03.29.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.01.48.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.04.39.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.03.59.jpg
     
    #15 filmonger, Aug 17, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  16. #16 Posted Aug 19, 2014

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    More Kuntz ads from The wheel 1898

    The Wheel 1898.jpg
     
  17. #17 Posted Aug 19, 2014

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    The Indiana Novelty Manufacturing Co - Plymouth Wood rims

    These guys manufactured Plymouth wood rims - they were also members of the American Wood Rim Co.... hence all the interrelated business interests with the other wood rim manufacturers.

    - The American Wood Rim Company was organized and
    comprised the following wood rim manufacturers: The Indiana Novelty Co., Plymouth, Indiana,
    The Fairbanks-Boston Rim Co., Bradford, Pennsylvania, The Kundtz Bending Co., Cleveland, Ohio
    and E. J. Lobdell, Marietta, Ohio.

    Indiana Novelty Co 1898.jpg

    The Indiana Novelty Manufacturing Company was organized in 1891 by several leading Plymouth businessmen. Among them were H. G. Thayer (owner of the Thayer mansion), James Gilmore, George Marble, and C. L. Morris (who owned the Morris house kitty-corner from the factory). The company manufactured wooden novelties and was particularly known for wooden bicycle rims and mud and chain guards for bicycles. The company was also the first to invent and market "the famous one-piece interlocking joint, which is excelled by none and which has made the Plymouth rim famous throughout the world."

    Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.46.43.png

    Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.33.36.png

    In 1898 the plant was the largest of its kind in the world and at full capacity was producing 10,000 rims PER DAY (in the 1890s!).
    The company had sales houses in "every principle city" of the United States and marketed the rims to foreign countries as well. It was estimated that Indiana Novelty was producing more than half of the rims used by cycle makers in the 1890s. The firm employed over 300 hands (whether that means 150 men at 2 hands each, I don't know!) and had a company payroll of $8,000 per month. The company was unrivaled in Marshall County and much of this part of rural Indiana for its size.

    At a bicycle exhibition in about 1895 this was said of the company "the exhibit of the Indiana Novelty Manufacturing Company consisted of a full line of the well known Plymouth wood rims for American or English makes of tires as well as a complete line of handle bars and guards" (from Sporting Life magazine, Jan. 30). The firm was likely at its financial height when the owners sold the company to American Bicycle Company Inc., which was better known as the Bicycle Trust. The Trust was incorporated in June, 1899, and had $40 million in capital. It secured control of 44 plants nation-wide, including two others in Indianapolis (New York Times, Sept. 1, 1899).

    From the referee 1894 in relation to their booth at the Chicago Bicycle show of that same year.

    Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.55.33.png

    From the Referee 1894

    Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.42.09.jpg

    Very Interesting adjustable wood handlebar! From The wheel 1897

    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 14.20.17.jpg

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    #17 filmonger, Aug 19, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  18. #18 Posted Aug 19, 2014

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    Indiana Novelty Company patent 1895

    Here is one of their Patents 1895

    Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.32.44.png

    - G; W; MARBLE.

    WOODBNRIM BIGYGLB WHEEL.

    ANDREW EGRAHAMJIIOTO-LITHO-WASHINETUN DC Nrrnn STATES.

    PATENT rerun;

    GEORGE W. MARBLE,OF PLYMOUTH, INDIANA, ASSIGNOR TO TI-IEINDIANA NOVELTY MANUFACTURING COMPANY, OF SAME PLACE.

    WOODEN-RIM BICYCLE-WHEEL.

    SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 547,732, dated October 8, 1895. Application filed December ZZ, 1893. Serial No. 494,417. (No model.) Patented in England April 9, 1894, No. 7,062.

    .To all whom it may concern:

    Be it known that I, GEORGE W. MARBLE, a citizen of the United States, residing in Plymouth, in the county of Marshall and State of Indiana, have inventeda new and useful Improvement in Wooden-Rim Bicycle- Wheels, (for which I have obtained British patent, dated April 9, 1894, No. 7,062,) of which the following is a specification.

    [0 My invention relates to improvements in bicycle-wheels, and to that particular class of bicycle-wheels having wooden rims. Heretofore wooden rims for bicycle-wheels have usually been made from a continuous or single strip of wood curved into the proper circular form and having its meeting ends skived off at an angle and overlapped, forming an ordinary lap-joint, secured together by glue and sometimes by wrapping with thread or fabric,

    or else the wooden rims have been built up of a number of thin strips glued one upon another. Owing to the necessary curved-crosssection of the rim to form .the annular channel to receive the tire serious objections have been found in practice to thecomposite or built-up rim composed of a series of thin strips, and as the bicycle-wheel is of the tension-spoke character, so that its strength and stiffness depends upon the rigidity of the continuous or circular arch formed by the rim of the wheel, it is obvious that where the wooden rim is made of a single solid strip of wood with its meeting ends skived off and lapped together the whole strain or tension 5 of the Wheel must necessarily come upon this lap-joint and tend to loosen the same and destroy the wheel or cause the two skived and lapped parts to slip toward each other.

    The object of my invention is to provide a wooden-rim bicycle-wheel wherein the rim may be made of a single solid strip of wood, and which will be of a strong and efficient as well as simple and cheap construction, and wherein the joint at the meeting ends of 5 the solid strip will not tend to weaken or diminish the natural strength of the circular arch, and wherein, also, the tension and strain of the Wheel upon the arch will not tend to loosen or weaken the joint forward between the twoor more meeting ends of the strip.

    To this end my invention consists in a bicycle-wheel having a Wooden rim composed of one or more solid strips of wood, and preferably a single solid strip, and having its or their meeting ends joined together by a series of interlocking tongues and grooves extending longitudinally of the strip or strips. The

    meeting ends of the strip thus abut squarely together end to' end, so that the arch of the rim is in fact as strong at the joint as elsewhere, and the strain or tension of the wheel upon the arch also of course simply tends to compress the meeting and abutting ends more firmly together, so that the strain or tension has no tendency whatever to weaken or loosen the joint. The interlocking or interfitting tongues and grooves are preferably formed with parallel sides, though this of course is not an absolute essential. The abutting ends of the interlocking tongues and grooves are also preferably square, but this likewise is not necessary. The interlocking tongues and grooves are likewise preferably formed of the same length, although the construction may be varied in this regard, if desired. The joint as a whole or the series of interlocking tongues and grooves are also preferably arranged to extend in a band transversely or at right angles across the rim, but it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the series of interlocking ton guesand grooves might be arranged to extend otherwise than square across the rimas, for example, diagonally. It will thus be seen that the tongued and grooved meeting ends of the rim abut one against the other, so that the full natural strength of the circular arch is preserved at the joint and so that the strain or tension of the Wheel upon the circular arch has no tendency to weaken or loosen the joint. By means of these interlocking tongues and grooves extending longitudinally or in the direction of the rim at the meeting ends of the strip I have discovered that an exceedingly 5 firm, strong, and durable wooden rim may be formed, having no tendency to work loose or become weakened at the joints when under strain or in use, and wherein,also, the joint formed in the rim is perfectly water-tight, so that no moisture can work in or through the rim at the joint, and wherein the form of the joint in no way tends to weaken or diminish the natural strength of the arch, and wherein, too, the compressing strain or tension upon the arch has no tendency to weaken or loosen the joint.

    In the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this specification, and in which similar letters of reference indicate like parts throughout all the views, Figure l is a side elevation of a bicycle-wheel embodying my invention. Fig. 2 is an enlarged cross-section taken on line 2 2 of Fig. 1, and Fig. 3 is an enlarged detail view showing in plan the joint formed at the meeting ends of the wooden rim.

    In the drawings, A represents the hub ofa bicycle-wheel; B, its tension-spokes; O,its elastic tire, and D its wooden rim. The rim D is preferably made of a single solid continuous strip of wood curved into proper circular shape and furnished with the annular channel or groove D, constituting the seat forthe pneumatic or other elastic tire O. This wooden rim is furnished at its meeting ends with a series of interfitting or interlocking tongues and grooves d (1, extending longitudinally or in the direction of therim. The opposite sides (1 d of each of the tongues d and of the grooves d are preferably parallel to each other and to the plane of the wheel, though the construction may be varied in this regard. The ends (Z of each of the tongues d and of the grooves d are preferably square or at right angles to the direction of the rim, as they thus have a better abutment the one against the other, and produce no tendency to spread apart or split the rim, though the construction may be varied in this regard. The series of interlocking tongues and grooves d d d d are arranged, preferably, to extend transversely or at right angles across the rim, although the construction may be varied in this regard. The preferable construction is also to make all the tongues and their correspondinggrooves of the same length, although the construction in this respect may likewise be varied. The interfitting tongues and grooves d d, when properly interlocked or fitted together under pressure, are secured together by glue or other suitable cement, thus forming a firm, strong, and water-tight joint.

    Another advantage secured by my improved t'orm of wooden rim and construction of joint is that the joint may be so short as to avoid the necessity of making any of the spoke-holes or other holes through it. Heretofore the length of the joint has been necessarily such that one or more spoke-holes must be formed through it, and, as is Well known to those skilled in the art, wherever there is a hole made through the joint the tendency is for moisture to work in and in time loosen or injure the glued or cemented joint.

    I claim- 1. In a bicycle wheel, the combination with a pneumatic or elastic tire and suspension spokes, of a wood rim consisting of a solid strip of wood bent to circular form, channeled on its outer periphery to receive said tire, and having its meeting ends each provided with a series or multiplicity of long narrow interfitting tongues and grooves, glued together, extending longitudinally of the rim and in the plane of the wheel, the ends of the tongues on one end of the rim strip fitting or abutting against the end or bottom of the corresponding grooves on the other end of the rim strip, whereby said rim is furnished with means for performing the triple functions of resisting collapse or compression due to the tension of said suspension-spokes, of acting tensilely to bind or hold the parts of the wheel together, and of resisting breakage, flexu re or displacement, as required in its combination with said pneumatic tire and suspension-spokes, substantially as specified.

    2. In a bicycle wheel, the combination with an elastic tire and suspension spokes of a wood rim serving to resist collapse or com pression, tensile strains, and also breaking or flexure strains, and consisting of a solid strip of wood, channeled on its outer periphery to receive said tire, and havingits meeting ends furnished with a series or multiplicity of interfitting tongues glued together, the glued side surfaces of said interfitting tongues affording an extended glue surface lying substantially in the plane of the wheel and longitudinally of the rim so as to resist tensile and breakage orfiexure strains,substantially as specified.

    GEORGE W. MARBLE. Witnesses:

    Below is about the patent being worthless - From the Cycle Age trade and Review 1900

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    #18 filmonger, Aug 19, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  19. #19 Posted Aug 19, 2014

    Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

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    Plymouth wood rims - Indiana Novelty Co - Henry Thayer

    Looks like they may have had a cash flow problem in 1898

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    Henry George Thayer - President of the Indiana Novelty Mfg Co.

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    Thayer Mansion

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    Henry George Thayer, is a resident of Plymouth, Marshall county, Indiana, where, for may years, he was been an active and prominent business man. He is the son of the Rev. Geo. H. Thayer and Hannah Thayer, nee Griffin, and was born April 20, 1834, at Euclid, Onondaga county, N.Y.

    In 1851 Mr. Thayer accepted a position as clerk in the drug store of Henry B. Pershing, and studied Pharmacy, but the compounding of medicines not suiting his inclinations, he became the confidential clerk and bookkeeper of John L. Westervelt, a dry goods merchant, with whom he remained five years. In 1859 Mr. Thayer formed a partnership with N. R. Packard in the grocery business, and subsequently in the dry goods business, with Hon. A. L. Wheeler as a silent partner. Since 1858, the principal business of Mr. Thayer has been dealing in grains, in which he was been continuously engaged for forty years. In 1881 he formed a partnership with George W. Mears of Philadelphia, under the firm name of Thayer & Mears, commission merchants and buyers of grain, doing a large business in that city and throughout the west. This partnership was dissolved in 1882. Mr. Thayer is the president of the Indiana Novelty Manufacturing company, the largest plant in the world, engaged exclusively in the manufacture of bicycle rims, mud and chain guards and wooden handle bars. He was engaged for many years with his brother, Hon. John D. Thayer, deceased, of Warsaw, Ind., in the grain business at Warsaw, Huntington, and Bourbon, Ind., and Pittsburg, Pa. and is now vice-president of the Bourbon Elevator and Milling company, and is also the vice-president of the State Bank at Plymouth.
     
    #19 filmonger, Aug 19, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  20. #20 Posted Aug 22, 2014

    Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

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    A little more Plymouth info

    Here are some pics of their Chainguard

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    #20 filmonger, Aug 22, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015