Former Schmitz-Horning Company Building Destroyed by Fire

January 24, 2017

By Janet Dodrill

schmitz-horning-company-cleveland-ohio-plant-about-1925

The Schmitz-Horning Company building, Cleveland, Ohio, about 1925. (Schmitz family archives)

In April 2011 when I began my research into family-owned Schmitz-Horning Company (Cleveland, Ohio, 1905-1960), a prominent high-end mural and wall covering manufacturer and printer (co-founded and run by my great-grandfather and later by my grandfather), two things happened. First, I discovered a black and white photograph of the building from around 1925 in our family documents. Second, after Googling the building’s address of 777 E. 82nd Street in Cleveland, search results showed it was being occupied by an industrial chemical company, and the building looked well maintained from the photo on Google street view.

777 E. 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio Photo: Google, 2007

777 E. 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio
Photo: Google, 2007

Excited about the find, it was my intention to go see the building. Several months rolled by and I Googled the business address again and many recent articles dated June 27, 2011 came up stating that an accidental fire had destroyed the building, most likely started by roofers, drawing 60 firefighters from 15 departments — a triple three alarm fire! Fortunately, no one was injured.

777 E. 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio Photo: Cleveland.com, June 27, 2011

Fire at 777 E. 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio
Photo: Cleveland.com, June 27, 2011

Initially, the owner announced plans to rebuild on the same site but renovated offices were built directly across the street in other facilities owned by the company. The site where the building once stood is today a lot for parking and storage of machinery and equipment.

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Glenn M. Shaw, Established Mural Artist Designed for Schmitz-Horning Co.

September 27, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

The Old Canal by Glenn M. Shaw, small-scale salesman sample, chromolithograph, 4-panel pattern.

The Old Canal by Glenn M. Shaw, small-scale salesman sample, chromolithograph, 4-panel pattern.

The Old Canal detail.

The Old Canal detail.

Glenn Moore Shaw was a local Northeast Ohio commercial artist, who had a studio in Lakewood, Ohio, and he designed a number of patterns for the Schmitz-Horning Company, sometime between the 1930s and 1950s. His artist wife Elsa Vick Shaw also designed for the company. Both had a friendly and close working relationship for a number of years with my grandfather, Warren Reynolds Schmitz, who ran Schmitz-Horning from 1938 to 1960.

The scenic designs included five illustrated maps (which were said to be accurate), The Old Canal (or Canal Days) wallpaper or wall mural pattern set which depicts the Ohio & Erie Canal between Cleveland and Bath, Ohio, and Old Dominion wall mural pattern which was a set of seven panels. Each panel in the Old Dominion pattern was 30” x 80” plus, printed in multi-color chromolithograph, to be trimmed at the desired height.

Old Dominion by Glenn M. Shaw, chromolithograph, 7-panel pattern, each 30" x 80"+.

Old Dominion by Glenn M. Shaw, chromolithograph, 7-panel pattern, each 30″ x 80″+.

Old Dominion detail.

Old Dominion detail.

Shown is a section of the pictorial map Glenn Shaw designed called Robinson Crusoe, which is part of a collection of Schmitz-Horning wall coverings at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum (a gift from the Wallpaper Council, Inc.).

In addition to professional fine art painting and printmaking, he taught mural painting and advertising design at the Cleveland School of Art for 35 years, and painted murals in three post offices, Canton, Warren, and Perrysburg, Ohio.

Robinson Crusoe Pictoral Mural Map, one panel 40" x 60", designed by Glenn M. Shaw. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Robinson Crusoe Pictoral Mural Map, one panel 40″ x 60″, designed by Glenn M. Shaw. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Resources:

Schmitz family documents

Wikipedia

Ohio Post Office Artwork Collection
http://www.wpamurals.com/ohiopoart.htm
http://www.wpamurals.com/ohio.htm

AskArt
http://www.askart.com/artist/Glenn_Moore_Shaw/109732/Glenn_Moore_Shaw.aspx

Elsa Vick Shaw, The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
http://ech.case.edu/cgi/article.pl?id=SEV

Glenn Moore Shaw, The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
http://ech.case.edu/cgi/article.pl?id=SGM

Cooper Hewitt Design Museum Links:

Smuggler’s Cove, Scenic Mural/Map Panel, 1950 (by Glenn M. Shaw)
http://www.cooperhewitt.org/2015/07/05/decorative-wall-map/
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431523/with-image-6098/
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431521/
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431523/with-image-91433/

Pioneer America, Scenic Mural/Map Panel, 1930–40 (by Glenn M. Shaw)
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431531/
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431533/
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431533/with-image-95057/
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431533/with-image-95920/
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431533/with-image-95056/

Robinson Crusoe, Scenic Mural/Map Panel, 1930-40 (by Glenn M. Shaw)
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431521/

Spanish Main, Scenic Mural/Map Panel, 1930-40 (by Glenn M. Shaw)
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431535/

Relief Map of the United States, Scenic Mural/Map Panel, 1930-40 (by Glenn M. Shaw)
https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431525/

Image from Cooperhewitt.org used under the Fair Use copyright act.

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Viktor Schreckengost’s Estate Sale

June 27, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Hundreds of people showed up within the first couple hours of the estate sale for industrial designer and artist Viktor Schreckengost on Friday, the first day of the three day sale, at his Stillman Road home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. When I arrived in the first hour, there was a mob of people waiting outside and I was instructed to get number. I got number 153, and they had just called 74, so it turned out I had a couple hour wait ahead of me!

viktor-schreckengost-house-front

Viktor Schreckengost’s house and estate sale in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, June 24, 2016.

Once inside, the house was full from basement to attic of personal household items of the Schreckengosts, Viktor and his wife Gene. It was an incredible feeling just to be in his house, and on the grounds. I left with a few small items that I thought were interesting, and learned by someone at the sale and a member of a Viktor Schreckengost Facebook group that he most likely designed a couple of them.

viktor-schreckengost-creamer

Creamer designed by Viktor Schreckengost.

One item being a plain coffee cup and creamer he designed for Salem pottery with no design. The other being his popular Christmas pattern showing a decorated tree with gifts under it. A pedal car and pedal plane ornaments made good additions to my holiday decorations. I thought a partial metal sign with his initials, V.S., may have been from a childhood toy. Miniature solid colored dishes that he designed but had produced to give as holiday gifts, and I bought five to have. A few small plates were most likely salad plate designs by Vik.

viktor-schreckengost-mini-dishes

Miniature dishes designed for production by Viktor Schreckengost.

There was a room in the house where Viktor had hundreds of seashells and rocks, separated in different boxes, containers and cans. A few of the shell collections were in old cigarette boxes, Marlboro and Viceroy. I thought this was a clever way organize them, using boxes and containers from around the house!

 

viktor-schreckengost-viceroy-shells

Sea shells stored in an empty cigarette box belonging to Viktor Schreckengost.

It was a well-organized and fun event (by Mitchell Attenson Estate Sales), to see what purchases others were walking out with, like a globe, candlesticks, and plate designed by Viktor, a steel yard stick, a teapot, and even a Pantone book!

Copyright article and images. All rights reserved. Not to be used without permission.

 

viktor-schreckengost-house-front-sign

Viktor Schreckengost estate sale, June 2016.

viktor-schreckengost-ashtray

Christmas ashtray with artwork designed by Viktor Schreckengost.

viktor-schreckengost-cup

Cup designed by Viktor Schreckengost.

viktor-schreckengost-plates

Salad plates designed by Viktor Schreckengost.

viktor-schreckengost-sign

Metal sign piece with Viktor Schreckengost’s initials.

viktor-schreckengost-ornaments

Pedal car Christmas ornaments designed after actual pedal cars by Viktor Schreckengost.

viktor-schreckengost-pedal-cars

Pedal car and plane (reproductions) designed by Viktor Schreckengost.

viktor-schreckengost-shells

Shells, rocks and organic objects in boxes and containers in the attic of Viktor Schreckengost.

viktor-schreckengost-wall-poster

Painted poster in the home of Viktor Schreckengost.

viktor-schreckengost-books

Books belonging to Viktor Schreckengost.

viktor-schreckengost-collectibles

Travel souvenirs and miscellaneous art and objects in the home of Viktor Schreckengost.

 


Artists of Schmitz-Horning Company

May 28, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

The Schmitz-Horning Co., a chromo-lithographic wallcovering firm, was in business 55 plus years, from 1905 to 1960. But the company may have started in 1903 as a litho poster production company and then developed their own line of wall murals, friezes, and scenic wall papers around 1905, branded San-Kro-Mura. They offered an attractive yet inexpensive product line, using oil-based non-fading color oil-based inks printed on high quality paper that was sanitary or fully-washable. Later as new scenics and panoramics designed, the brand Kro-mura was created.

They rented space at the Whitney Power Building or Power Block at E. 10th and Power Ave., between St. Clair and Rockwell, and later moved to their own building at 777 E. 82nd Street in Cleveland, near Gordon Park. In 1906 a patent was registered for the ‘Frieze’ by co-owners Hugo Max Schmitz and William Horning, along with their head salesperson, Warren R. Cox. The Frieze was a repeating continuous scene which surrounded the room at the top of the wall. In the early years it would take two years to complete the plates for a single scenic. The 43″ x 83″ hand-fed lithographic presses used were the largest in the world. The company custom built three, Schmitz-Horning had two, the other being in London, England. Zinc plates had to be shipped from Germany.

The company produced some of the largest wall maps in the industry.

Hugo Max Schmitz (1867-1938) (my great grandfather), co-owner, was an artist who came to Cleveland, in his 30s, in the late 1800s, and was from a large German family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He married Pauline (Queen) M. Reynolds in 1902, who was a society lady. They lived in East Cleveland and later moved to University Heights, Ohio.

Venice pattern, 30" x 10', and original watercolor by Hugo M. Schmitz, Schmitz-Horning co-founder.

Venice pattern, 30″ x 10′, and original watercolor by Hugo M. Schmitz, Schmitz-Horning co-founder.

He was a member of Cleveland’s Art Club, with mostly German members, that met in City Hall. He traveled to Paris and Morocco, and perhaps to Morocco with other artists. In one of these paintings, he painted a cleaning girl from a New York City office building and won an award for it (either second place or honorable mention) at an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our family has a couple of his original watercolors and oils, including a portrait he did of my great grandmother. They honeymooned in Venice, and a watercolor he did there became a wallpaper pattern called Venice. He was rated as one of the best litho-crayon artists in the industry.

William Horning, co-owner, sold his interest in the company to Hugo around 1920, but worked as a lithographer in Cleveland.

Warren R. Schmitz (1905-1970) (my grandfather), son of Hugo M. Schmitz, started working at the company after college around 1929 in sales and promotion, and designed sales brochures, books and displays and traveled to various dealers in the U.S. He ran the company after his father’s death in 1938 until it closed around 1960.

After time, the company produced small scale salesman samples of the wallpapers for sales calls. Prior to that they were taking long rolls on calls. The same high quality inks and papers were used on the smaller scale versions. Warren Schmitz modernized the product line, obtaining sketches from prominent artists. New sales promotion aids were printed in-house using a small Harris offset press. In the 1950s he appeared on the TV show ‘What’s My Line?’. The company was also featured on a radio segment called ‘On Location’ with young announcer Virgil Dominic, sponsored by The Illuminating Company.

Chateau de Province pattern, ten sections, each 40" x 80", repeat, designed by Henry G. Keller. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Chateau de Province pattern, ten sections, each 40″ x 80″, repeat, designed by Henry G. Keller. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Henry G. Keller (1869-1949) was a Cleveland School Artist and taught there. He designed the pattern, Chateau de Province, while in his prime. It was a French rural scenic, an included a chateau, native trees, and a fox hunt of equestrians with horses. It was 10 sections, each near 33″ x 72″.

Carl Fuchs designed Old South, believed in the 1940s, of plantation life in early America, including a steamboat and fox hunt. There were twelve sections, each 40″ x 80″ in repeat pattern.

Old South pattern, 12 sections, each 40" x 80", repeat, designed by Carl Fuchs. Section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Old South pattern, 12 sections, each 40″ x 80″, repeat, designed by Carl Fuchs. Section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Lou Ramacciato, began working at Schmitz-Horning after graduating from Cleveland Institute of Art in 1946, and later went on to work 28 years at the Cleveland Museum of Art restoring art and preparing gallery exhibits.

Robinson Crusoe Pictoral Mural Map, one panel 40" x 60", designed by Glenn M. Shaw. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Robinson Crusoe Pictoral Mural Map, one panel 40″ x 60″, designed by Glenn M. Shaw. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Glenn M. Shaw and Elsa Shaw had a studio in Lakewood and both worked commercially and taught. Elsa did some design work for them, though Glenn designed a number of patterns for the company, including 5 illustrated maps which were said to be accurate, the Old Canal set which depicts the Ohio and Erie Canal between Cleveland and Bath, Ohio, and Old Dominion which is a set of 7 panels. Each panel is 30” x 80” plus, could be trimmed at the desired height. He is known for painting murals in three post offices, in Canton, Warren, and Perrysburg, Ohio.

Paul A. Meunier was a litho artist, from Hunting Valley, who worked at the company for 11 years. Two other family members worked there, Ovid Meunier for 25 years and Laurence Meunier for 7-10 years. After leaving Schmitz-Horning, Paul became partner then owner at R.E. May, a plate-making company, that is still in existence today on E. 24th Street in Cleveland. I found an old brochure page on their website which shows Paul, and in another photo on the same page is a small-scale Schmitz-Horning western mural, called Wells Fargo. The Western Reserve Historical Society has a full size set of the pattern in their collection.

Wells Fargo pattern, 5 sections, each 40" x 80", repeat (artist unknown).

Wells Fargo pattern, 5 sections, each 40″ x 80″, repeat (artist unknown).

I found a still life watercolor by Paul Meunier on ETSY in 2011, and his name plate appeared on the back of the framing. He painted it in 1937, during the span of time when he worked at Schmitz-Horning. He wrote a book on the history of Gates Mills, Ohio, and there is an award in his name at the Gates Mills Art Show. I read that a painting of his was in the chamber room of their city hall. He enjoyed drawing, printmaking, and painting wildlife and horses.

Paul A. Meunier, watercolor or gouache floral painting, 1937, employed at the Schmitz-Horning Co. 1927-1938.

Paul A. Meunier, watercolor or gouache floral painting, 1937, employed at the Schmitz-Horning Co. 1927-1938.

Ed Sinz worked at the company for 35-40 years. We have Christmas cards, to my grandfather from the sculptor Walter Sinz around the 1940s, possibly Ed’s son or relation.

Here is a comprehensive list of known artists or litho artists that worked at the Schmitz-Horning Co., either on staff or assignment-based, as designer and/or litho artist.

Schmitz-Horning Co. Artists:

Anne Nolan (catalog Illustrator)
August Biehle (?)

Binnie Wilson
Carl Broemel
Carl Fuchs
D.E. Sutton (catalog Illustrator)
Ed Sinz
Elsa V. Shaw
Glenn M. Shaw
Havenstein
Henry G. Keller
Hugo M. Schmitz (Schmitz-Horning Co. co-founder)
Kathy Cass
Kyra Markham
Laurence Meunier
Lou Ramacciato
Ovid Meunier
Paul A. Meunier
Paul Haas
William Horning (Schmitz-Horning Co. co-founder)

Posters and displays were printed for
Advertising Agencies:

Fred Dugar Co.
Fuller-Smith & Ross
H. Stief Company/Harvey G. Steif, Inc.
Lang, Fisher & Stashower

Lotus Garden pattern catalog illustration by B.E. Sutton.

Lotus Garden pattern catalog illustration by B.E. Sutton.

When I began to uncover material from the company in our family home, it sparked my interest. Starting with my first blog post about Schmitz-Horning in 2011, I began writing a series of blog posts, and started to receive many inquiries about the company and patterns. I hope to continue my research and  produce a publication on it one day.

 

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Frank Wilcox Exhibit at Cleveland History Center/WRHS

February 29, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Frank N. Wilcox, Artist As Historian Exhibit

Frank N. Wilcox, Artist As Historian Exhibit

An exhibit of the work of artist, book author, and historian, Frank Nelson Wilcox (1887-1964) is on display at the Cleveland History Center (known as the Western Reserve Historical Society), through April 30, 2016.

The subject matter included farm life and countryside, cityscapes including the Cleveland Flats, Indians (including book illustrations), Ohio waterways and canal barges, and also fishermen, western pueblos, and rivers and mountains.

Exhibit curator, William G. Scheele, of Kokoon Art Gallery, pulled-together a phenomenal collection of paintings (mainly watercolor), drawings and sketches and regional history, which are masterfully organized and displayed. Incidentally, his father, William E. Scheele (1920-1998), was a nature artist in Cleveland which led him to becoming a director at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History during his career. So, ties to the area art scene during Wilcox’s time may be especially meaningful to him.

Frank Wilcox taught design, drawing, painting and printmaking at the Cleveland School of Art for 44 years starting in 1913, after his graduation there in 1910.

Some of the pieces in the exhibit have never been displayed publicly.

Early family photos and work by his wife, Florence Bard Wilcox (a jewelry designer and maker) are also on display in the hallway leading into the main exhibit.

Resource links:

Frank N. Wilcox: Artist as Historian | Exhibit Opening
http://www.wrhs.org/events/frank-n-wilcox-artist-as-historian-exhibit-opening/

Frank N. Wilcox: Artist as Historian
http://canjournal.org/2015/11/frank-n-wilcox-artist-as-historian/

Frank N. Wilcox, Artist As Historian Exhibit at the Cleveland History Center

Frank N. Wilcox, Artist As Historian Exhibit at the Cleveland History Center

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting, Ohio canal barge

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting, Ohio canal barge

Frank Wilcox watercolor character studies

Frank Wilcox watercolor character studies

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting, study

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting, study

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings of the Cleveland Flats

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings of the Cleveland Flats

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox, Creative Techniques display

Frank Wilcox, Creative Techniques display

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting/study and poster

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting/study and poster

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings and sketches

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings and sketches

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings

Frank Wilcox, Printmaking & Books display

Frank Wilcox, Printmaking & Books display

Frank Wilcox sketches

Frank Wilcox sketches

Frank Wilcox, Travels

Frank Wilcox, Travels

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox early photo

Frank Wilcox early photo

Cleveland History Center, Western Reserve Historical Society, courtyard

Cleveland History Center, Western Reserve Historical Society, courtyard

 

Copyright article and images. All rights reserved. Not to be used without permission.