The Spirit of ’76 Statue

June 16, 2018

By Janet Dodrill

Statue of Spirit of '76 by Archibald Willard (Schmitz family archives).

Statue of Spirit of ’76 by Archibald Willard (Schmitz family archives).

An unusual object has been passed down in the family – a “Spirit of ’76” statue. I had know little about it, even after showing it to three local auction houses, until one day a couple months ago. I believed it had been given to my great-grandfather, Hugo M. Schmitz, by Archibald Willard, the Ohio artist who painted the Spirit of ’76. The two met in the late 1800s and both attended and exhibited at Cleveland’s Art Club, of which Willard was president.

The porcelain statue measures approximately 11″ W x 12″ H and is hand-painted.

Because of my mention of it in my 2/27/2017 blog post, my image of the statue shows up in a Google search for “spirit of 76 statue,” which may be how a woman in Texas came to contact me regarding her similar statue. What are the odds?

The Spirit of '76 statue owned by the Texas woman, who contacted me in April, 2018.

The Spirit of ’76 statue owned by the Texas woman, who contacted me in April, 2018.

The woman sent photos and provided a link to the Bedford Historical Society, in Bedford, Ohio (Archibald Willard’s birthplace), who apparently also owns a statue and has a web page about the manufacturer. The page states that the statue was manufactured by the Bailey-Walker China company in 1926 (which became the Walker China company in 1942) of Bedford, Ohio. Her statue was almost identical to ours. And after a trip to the Bedford museum I was able to confirm that theirs was also the same. (I learned at the museum that Willard’s own father was the model for the center drummer figure.)

The Bedford Historical Society, in the historic former town hall building, Bedford, Ohio.

The Bedford Historical Society, in the historic former town hall building, Bedford, Ohio.

Additional information had been passed down to the Texas woman by her grandmother regarding her statue in a note which she shared with me. It said that Bailey-Walker China produced a limited edition of 100 of these statues, made of fine china, which sold for $40 a piece at the time, and some retailers offered them for $120. Some of the statues went to Europe.

However, now the idea that our statue had been given to my great-grandfather is in question because Archibald Willard died in 1918, eight years before the statue is known to have been produced. Was ours a prototype made years in advance of production? it is signed on the bottom, and the other two aren’t. That would explain things. Or was it given to my grandfather, Warren R. Schmitz, maybe by Mr. Willard’s family? Who acquired it from where, and when? These are questions from the past that are fun to unravel, as I continue to learn about it.

Spirit of '76 statue manufactured by the Bailey-Walker China company, owned and on display at the Bedford Historical Society, which I visited in April, 2018.

Spirit of ’76 statue manufactured by the Bailey-Walker China company, owned and on display at the Bedford Historical Society, which I visited in April, 2018.

The grandmother’s note also said that when those who possess the statue are known to each other it is hoped to cement a very warm and lasting friendship.

So far we know there are two in Ohio and one in Texas! Are there any more out there?





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Warren R. Cox, Headed Sales at Schmitz-Horning Co.

July 17, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Warren R. Cox, early 1900s.

Warren R. Cox, early 1900s.

Schmitz-Horning Company, a former well-established Cleveland wall covering firm, 1905-1960, had a dedicated staff which included head salesman, Warren Richard Cox (1880-1960). In 1906 a patent was granted for the printed frieze for walls, and signed by co-owners Hugo M. Schmitz I (my great-grandfather, 1867-1938), artist and lithographer, and William Horning, lithographer, along with Warren R. Cox (

Hugo Max Schmitz married Pauline Maynard Reynolds (“Queen”) in Cleveland in 1902. In 1905 they had a son named Warren Reynolds Schmitz. It is thought that he was named either after Queen’s brother Warren who died in 1897 at age 18 in a tragic hunting accident, or after Warren R. Cox, a close family friend (or both).

Warren was not only salesman at Schmitz-Horning, but on his own he was an inventor. He created the automobile ignition lock (patent approved 1920), an idea which was apparently sparked by Hugo’s stolen Packard ( The lock was later sold to Ford which helped to finance his entrance into radio. Starting as a ham radio operator, he became a pioneer in Ohio and founded its first public radio station, WHK, in 1921. Prior to founding the radio station, he sold batteries and then radios. He learned there was a lack of radio music available for the general public and the station was formed to create something to play on his radios, which in those days involved live music and entertainment on site. He carried patents for a variety of items.

Warren Cox’s son Wilson married Margaret Elanor Hale, and artist. Her mother, Margaret Zeller Hale (widow of Alcazar Hotel builder George W. Hale) was on a weekend drive with Hugo and Queen Schmitz and died in an automobile crash in 1938 along with Hugo.

Hugo Schmitz and son Warren Schmitz, Wilson Cox (Warren Cox’s son), Hugo’s wife Queen Schmitz, and Elsie Cox enjoy an outing in nature.

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Schmitz and Cox families.

Hugo Schmitz I and son Warren Schmitz, Wilson Cox (Warren Cox’s son), Hugo’s wife Queen Schmitz, and Elsie Cox enjoy an outing in nature. (Photograph possibly taken by Warren Cox.)


Schmitz-Horning Co. Ming Floral Scenic Wallpaper Pattern

January 11, 2014

By Janet Dodrill

Schmitz-Horning Co. Ming Floral Scenic Wallpaper Artist's Rendering.

Schmitz-Horning Co. “Ming Floral” Scenic Wallpaper (Artist’s Rendering).

Recently, I was contacted by someone online who asked if I knew anything about the Schmitz-Horning Company’s “Ming Floral” wallpaper pattern. They stated that their grandfather was a painter/wallpaperer in the 1930s through ’60s, and that he had saved three panels of the wallpaper.

I know the pattern, a lovely one — we had it in a bedroom at our family home where I grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The house originally belonged to my grandfather, Warren R. Schmitz, who ran the company after my great-grandfather’s (Hugo M. Schmitz) death in 1938.

Schmitz-Horning Co. "Ming Floral" Scenic Wallpaper Panels.

Schmitz-Horning Co. “Ming Floral” Scenic Wallpaper Panels.

The Cleveland-based company employed and contracted with many Cleveland area artists, and I believe that artists/illustrators were used from England and that the paper was distributed there as well. The papers were printed using presses capable of oversized printing, the only of their kind in the country at the time. High quality oil-based inks were used on sturdy paper, that enabled the papers to be washed and to retain colors. The company did art murals/wall scenes or friezes that were tastefully designed but affordable, and later scenics and continuous panoramics that surrounded a room were available for homes and public buildings.

A patent was filed in 1906 for the printed frieze for walls by Hugo M. Schmitz, his business partner William Horning, and his top salesman, Warren R. Cox. An article he wrote was published in an architectural decorating magazine at the turn of the century about the friezes. He was an artist himself and designed some of the paper.

On the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum web site, scenic panel, “Ming Floral,” is a 1939 chromolithograph, but they are in the process of digitizing images of S-H wallpaper (gifts of the Wallpaper Council, Inc.).

According to a 1950 S-H Scenic Paper price list, Ming Floral was available in white, pale yellow, gray, and turquoise. A full set of four panels was $30.00, and price per section was $8.50. In another, perhaps earlier catalog, it was priced $7.50. Each panel was 40″ x 80″ in size. The panels contained imagery of plants, flowers, birds, bamboo trees, and turf. It was from an original hand-painted Chinese design.

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Google Alert: Schmitz-Horning Company

August 29, 2011

By Janet Dodrill

See some of the gorgeous wall mural art designs from my great-grandfather’s (Hugo Max Schmitz) wallpaper and art mural manufacturing company online at Internet Archive.

See my April 2011 post.

Schmitz-Horning Company Created Wallpaper Murals and Art

April 11, 2011

By Janet Dodrill


Schmitz-Horning Co. wall art.

hugo max schmitz

Hugo Max Schmitz of Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

In the early 1900s there existed a Cleveland, Ohio wallpaper and mural art manufacturing company named Schmitz-Horning Company. Artist and printmaker Hugo Max Schmitz, co-founder, artist, and a second or third generation German immigrant, produced large scale decorative wall pieces known as “friezes”. These pictorial wall decorations were applied to the upper third of walls in high class home and hallways or public buildings (the lower area was typically covered in a solid wallpaper to serve as background for furniture). The company was innovative in its German imports of large scale plates for their color lithography and chromolithography printing, and the first to develop, though unpatented, a washable wallpaper printed in oil colors and cleanable with a damp cloth without injury to the paper.


Wall paper mural sample showing A, B, C, and D sections. Sanibel Pattern No. 77211, Schmitz-Horning Co., Cleveland, Ohio.

Hugo wrote an article on ‘Wallpaper News’ for Arts & Decoration architecture magazine, October 1912 (pages 439-440) about this wall treatment and its application. According to the article, the wall decoration frieze was of a different concept than a typical wall border, which were to be used with wall-hangings. The designs were more independent in character, to take up not less than one quarter of the wall space (high room ceilings preferred), and its base should not be more than seven feet from the ground. The company also manufactured advertising posters.


Wife, Queen grew up in this E. Cleveland home on the north side of Euclid Avenue at Ivydale (across the street and down from the Rockefellers).

Mr. Schmitz knew many of the Cleveland School Artists, painted and sketched among them, and hired some of them to design wallpaper murals, including Henry Keller, and August Biehle. He also spoke of other local artists like Frank Wilcox and William Somer. He was close friends with Archibald Willard of Bedford, Ohio, who is known for his painting, The Spirit of ’76. Archibald Willard presented one of his landscape paintings to Hugo and his bride, Queen Reynolds for their wedding in 1902. Later he gave Hugo a table statue of the three soldiers depicted in his famous painting.


Schmitz-Horning Co. wallpaper mural, sports series.

National Painters magazine, Volume 39. 1912 (pages 734-735) stated the company first appeared at the wall paper show in 1905 with their panoramic friezes. Early popular designs included the “Navajo”, the “Chase” and the “Cupids and Garlands”, and were considered dominant features with their bright colors and more importantly real works of art at a considerable low cost. Other newer named catalog items are named in the article with color variances including a ‘Wizard of Oz’ series, and subject matter including gardens and castles, foliage and tree tops, grasses, sunsets, tropics, brooks, fabric effects, sporting panels and fox hunters, poker games and horse drawn carriages, witches and caldrons, animal cut-outs for children, even story-telling “Pocahontas and Captain John Smith”, ranging in size from 10-41 inches, some in repeats, and some in continuous designs extending to 20 feet. Schmitz Horning had small scale illustrations made in actual colors for their catalogs.


The Schmitz-Horning Company building, Cleveland, Ohio, about 1925.

In Building Age architecture magazine, 1919, (page 78) the catalogs are noted as of interest to the trade, and the friezes are described as affordable decorations which retained qualities of hand work or mural paintings, were sanitary (cleanable) and were said not to stain or fade.


After the death of Hugo Max Schmitz, Schmitz-Horning Co. was run by his son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz.

Potter & Potter Auctions of Chicago has carried a number of Schmitz-Horning wall lithographs in their auctions.

The company was a member of The Wallpaper Council of New York, NY. After his tragic death by automobile accident in 1938, the business was run by Hugo’s son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz, until it closed sometime around 1960.


Original watercolor by Hugo Max Schmitz.

Hugo Max Schmitz was my great-grandfather, and though I never met him, I have admiration for him and share his passion for art and printmaking. His personal artwork included original portrait work in watercolor and oils.

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