Friday, February 27, 2015

Lorain Crystal Ice Company – Part 4

1937 City Directory Listing
Although the Lorain Crystal Ice Company had a few branch locations listed in the 1931 Lorain City Directory, they disappeared in the following year's edition. But sometime in the late 1930s, the company really expanded into multiple branches.

The 1937 list of branch locations included:

• Iowa Avenue
• 934 W. 18th Street
• Northeast corner of East Erie Avenue and Georgia Avenue
• 1008 Fifth Street
• 1524 Lexington Avenue
• 3115 Palm Avenue
• 3230 Seneca Avenue
• 1014 10th Street
• 2124 E. 30th Street
• Northwest corner of E. 31st Court and Vine Avenue
• 220 E. 22nd Street
• Northeast corner of W. 25th Street and Reid Avenue

1945 City Directory Listing
By 1945 the list of branch locations has changed slightly, with a few additions and deletions

• South side of East Erie between Indiana and Iowa Avenues
• Northeast corner of East Erie Avenue and Georgia Avenue
• 934 W. 18th Street
• 1524 Lexington Avenue
• 2125 Oakdale Avenue
• Northwest corner of Oberlin Avenue and W. 20th Street
• 3115 Palm Avenue
• Northwest corner of Seneca Avenue and E. 33rd Street
• Northwest corner of 10th Street and Reid Avenue
• 2124 E. 30th Street
• Northwest corner of E. 31st Court and Vine Avenue 
• 220 E. 32nd Street
• Northeast corner of W. 25th Street and Reid Avenue

The 1947 City Directory was the last book to feature multiple branch locations. By the time of the 1950 book, there was only one branch listed (the Vine Avenue location) and by the 1952 book there were no branches listed at all.

Courtesy Paula Shorf
The personnel connected with the company were remarkably consistent through the years. By the time of the 1958 directory, the Dorn family was still involved, with Randolph J. Dorn as president. The 1958 directory was also the last time that the company would be listed in the directory under its original name.

Through the years, the company had also offered ready mixed concrete and building supplies along with its ice product. Apparently by the end of the 1950s, the time was right to make a change. The company took the name of Lorain Ready Mixed Concrete. Its listing in the directories continued under that name through the 1972 directory until it disappeared forever.

The 1973 directory included the listing for Myles Industries at 120 Oberlin Avenue, but the address went vacant in the 1974 book.

After that, the facility became part of the City of Lorain's Department of Utilities for many years. The building was eventually demolished, bringing to a close the history of one of Lorain's oldest and well-known companies.

The former home of Lorain Crystal Ice Company (the brick building) in 2003
You can see the empty lot where  the Lorain Crystal Ice building
was located where Oberlin Avenue meets First Street

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lorain Crystal Ice Company – Part 3

May 26, 1933 Newspaper ad

Above is a small ad for the Lorain Crystal Ice Company that appeared as part of a full-page of advertising for the opening of the Deutschof in May of 1933.
The Lorain Crystal Ice Company suffered a loss in May 1935 with the death of William Seher. As reported in the Sandusky Register of May 15, 1935, "William Seher, 67, native of Sandusky and president of the Lorain Crystal Ice Co., died Monday at his home In Lorain." It noted that he moved to Lorain from Sandusky in 1895, and became manager of the Cleveland-Sandusky brewery at 330 12th Street in Lorain until Prohibition. His obituary also stated that in 1919 he started the Seher Bottling Co. of which he was president and manager, and that he entered the ice business in 1898.
This ad (below) for Lorain Crystal Ice Company appeared in the Lorain Journal and Times Herald on July 26, 1939.
For many young people today, it's probably hard to believe that before today's modern refrigerators became the norm, families had to have a block of ice delivered to their house by the "ice man" and placed in their "ice box" to keep their food fresh.
My mother remembers that her family's ice box was located in a little shed built on to the rear of their house on Sixth Street. The outside location worked out well because the ice man could deliver the ice without coming into the house. Also, the melting ice necessitated draining the ice box occasionally, and it was easier to do it outside.
The fascinating Ice Box Memories website has a whole page devoted to ice cards. What were ice cards? As the website explains, "Ice Cards were placed in windows so the iceman had a visual indication of the amount of ice to bring to the ice box."
Here is the card from the Ice Box Memories website for the Lorain Crystal Ice Company (below).
Courtesy Ice Box Memories website

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lorain Crystal Ice Company – Part 2

The Lorain Crystal Ice Company seemed to appear in the trade journals quite regularly in its early years.

Cold Storage and Ice Trade Journal, Volume 44 (March 1912) included a mention of the company. "The plant of the Lorain Crystal Ice Co. is being overhauled and remodeled, new apparatus added, and the 50-ton ice tanks equipped with a gravity feed ammonia circulating system, which will increase thier capacity to about 65 tons per day. These improvements are being made by The Cleveland Ice Machine Co., Cleveland, Ohio."

An article in Coal Age from December 1914 stated, "The Lorain Crystal Ice Co. has started the erection of a large storage plant for coal to hold 1200 tons. It will be completed by Jan. 1.

A Three-ton truck delivering ice for 72 cents a ton
(From December 1915 Refrigeration journal)
The December 1915 edition of Refrigeration included a detailed article about the use of motor trucks by ice companies, with a paragraph devoted to the Lorain Crystal Ice Company. The article stated, "Valuable figures on the cost of using motor trucks in wholesale transfer work are furnished by the Lorain Crystal Ice Company of Lorain, O. This company supplies ice to the National Tube Company, one of the biggest industrial concerns in the state of Ohio, having about 10,000 employees and being a heavy consumer of ice seven months in the year. A three-ton truck is employed to haul ice exclusively from the artificial plant in Lorain to the plant of the National Tube Company on the opposite side of the town. This truck, placed in service on May 1, 1913, is hauling ice a distance of 3 1/2 to 5 miles and making from six to seven trips daily at a cost of 72 cents per ton, including repairs, depreciation, driver, helper, and all other legitimate charges. In the second year of service the cost of hauling was less than the first year."

Here's the company's listing in the 1915-16 Lorain City Directory (below).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lorain Crystal Ice Company – Part 1

I found this old Lorain Crystal Ice Company ice pick in my father's workbench, and it brought back some memories.

My parents had long told me about having ice delivered to their houses when they were kids in the 1920s and 30s, and how it was a treat to get some small ice chips to suck on from the back of the truck in the summer (if the delivery man was a nice guy). My mother also remembered going down to the company's Oberlin Avenue plant with her father and buying it there from a sort of vending machine. There was a slot to put your coins in, and then the block of ice would clunk its way down a chute so that you could take it home.

Anyway, here's some history about this iconic Lorain company.

A Standard History of Lorain County Ohio Volume II by G. Frederick Wright (1916) includes information about the people behind the Lorain Crystal Ice Company, as well as information about the early days of the business.

The entry for Albert A. Plato reads, "That he is not lacking in the mature judgment and resourcefulness implied in his classical family name, is shown by the position which Mr. Plato holds in connection with the more important industrial activities of the City of Lorain, where he is the general manager of the Crystal Ice Company, engaged in the manufacturing of artificial ice on an extensive scale. This company was organized in 1907 and was incorporated with a capital stock of $65,000, which was increased in 1914 to $75,000. The personnel of the company official corps is as here noted: William Seher, president; John S. Dorn, vice president; August Kuebeler, secretary; Edward A. Brown, treasurer; and Albert A. Plato, general manager. The plant of the company occupies a substantial modern building 130 by 150 feet in dimensions, a portion of the same having a height of three stories and the remainder of two stories. The establishment has a capacity for the output of fifty tons of ice daily, and a storage capacity for 3,000 tons. Employment is given to an average force of thirty men and the enterprise virtually represents one of the most important public utilities of the thriving
City of Lorain.
The listing for Mr. Plato also explains why there seems to be a discrepancy as to when the Lorain Crystal Ice Company was founded. (The online History of Lorain, Ohio Chronology states that the firm was founded in 1904). It explains that in May of 1904, Mr. Plato "assumed the position of collector for the Lorain & Elyria Ice & Coal Company. Upon the reorganization of the corporation in 1907, as the Crystal Ice Company of Lorain, Mr. Plato was made general manager, of which responsible office he has since continued the efficient and valuable incumbent."
Here is the company's listing in the 1912 City Directory (below).

Monday, February 23, 2015

Arthur Manichl, R.I.P.

It'll be a little sad this spring when I raise my garage door before leaving for work, and fail to see my neighbor Arthur Manichl walking his little dog Dixie past my house in the morning – just as he did every day in good weather.

He passed away last week at the age of 86.

Mr. Manichl and Dixie were a familiar sight to those of us who live along this stretch of Lake Road in Sheffield Lake. They lived about four houses east of me. No matter whether I was running late or not, I would always try and chat with him for at least a few minutes.

He and Dixie actually walked by my house several times during the day. If I had the day off and was mowing my lawn, I would stop the motor if I spotted him and we would chat even longer.

But even though we talked like this for years, I still really didn't know him that well. In fact, I didn't even call him by his first name. He was always Mr. Manichl to me. Somehow, it seemed disrespectful to call him anything else.

During our talks, I learned bits and pieces about him and his family; that he had been in the Navy during the Korean War; about what a great artist his wife Betty Jean was; about how lonely he'd been since she passed away in 2012.
Since he was from Lorain, we had much in common, and we talked a lot about our mutual hometown. He had graduated from Lorain High, and I found him in my mother's 1945 Scimitar (at right).

We talked a lot about politics, too. Fortunately we agreed on just about everything, because he could get cantankerous when talking about a politician that made him mad.

He was a great neighbor. Once he came over on a summer afternoon and edged my sidewalk for me. He knew I didn't own an edger – probably from looking at my less-than-perfectly-maintained yard three times a day. He also loaned me his post hole digger when I had to replace my mailbox for the second time.

Mr. Manichl had been slowing down in recent years, and I hadn't seen him since before Christmas. Strangely enough, I had just been thinking of him last Wednesday morning, wondering how the dog walking was going during this ridiculously cold weather and deep snow. Then I came home that night to read in the paper that he had passed away on Tuesday. It was an unhappy coincidence.

It seems that your life is made up of many people that you don't know very well, and that you really can't call close friends. But when they're gone, it turns out they were a bigger part of your life than you thought, and their passing leave a good sized hole.

Mr. Manichl was that kind of guy. I'll miss seeing him every morning.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Calling All Old Dutch Beer Fans in the Findlay Area!

Surprisingly, some of the continually most-visited posts on this blog are the ones I wrote about Old Dutch Beer, the beer my parents loyally drank for years. It's the beer I grew up with – so I always thought it was pretty good. And why not? After all, it's slogan was: the Good Beer.

(Back in 2012, I wrote about my fond Memories of Old Dutch Beer here, and about some of my Old Dutch Collectibles here.)

Anyway, a few days ago a gentleman left a comment on one of those posts with an unusual request. So here's my attempt to help.

He wrote, "There used to be a barn on Tiffin Avenue (in Findlay) that burned down in the late 70's in the field where AAA is now. It had the Old Dutch logo painted on it. I would like to find a pic of the logo. Any ideas where to find one?"

Here's a Bing Maps street view of the area he is talking about (below). The barn that burned down was to the right of the AAA building.

This past weekend, I contacted the Hancock Historical Museum in Findlay via email to see if I can smoke out (no pun intended) a photo for this gentleman. Unfortunately they did not have a photo on file.

I know the feeling well of trying to find a photo of something that you know is probably out there somewhere in someone's photo album. Perhaps this post can act as a black box "beacon" to attract an Old Dutch Beer fan who can help. 

Jenkins Fleet-Wing Service Ad – Feb. 21, 1952

About a year ago (here) I did a post about the Grand Opening of the Red Head gas station that was located at the corner of Washington Avenue and West Erie Avenue from the early 1970s until the 1990s. Well, at left is an ad for the gas station that preceded it at that location.

The above ad announcing the Jenkins Fleet-Wing Service Station ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 21, 1952. Previously the outlet had been operated by C. Norman Kent.

It looks like it was under Jenkins ownership for only a couple of years; by the time of the 1955 City Directory it was listed as Bowers Fleet-Wing.

Speaking of Fleet-Wing, I wonder whatever happened to that gasoline brand? There's a Fleetwing Corporation that distributes petroleum products, but I don't think it's the same company.

Anyway, what's interesting about the 1952 ad is the promotional offer of a pair of Color-King ash trays. Apparently they were made by the Federal Glass Company, located in Columbus, Ohio.

I guess it would be hard to make a living selling ash trays these days.

Color-King ash trays are easy to find on the internet (especially on Ebay) in a variety of colors. It's hard to date the ones in the Fleet-Wing ad, though, because although the ad is from 1952, the style of Color King box seems to be much older.

Here's a box that matches the one in the ad. It's identified online as being from the late 1930s.

And here's the corresponding ash trays, courtesy of Etsy. 
They're actually quite nice. They remind of the little trays you use to poach an egg.

Here are a couple more Color-King sets supposedly from the 1950s. It looks like whoever was designing the boxes was having a hard time deciding on a type font.