By Janet Dodrill
Recently, I came across this ephemera paper item on eBay, a letter from The Schmitz-Horning Company (founded 1905) to a potential customer Danbury Fair, to accompany wall covering samples, typed on their letterhead, dated 1907. I was so happy to find this document because it contains historical information about the company that I did not know previously.
The letter reads (copied as it appears):
May 8, 1907.
Secretary. Danbury Fair.
Per the request of Mr Frank Spellman we are sending you under separate cover sample of a three sheet for Knabenshues Air-ship. We have the same thing in a one sheet. This paper is copywrited under our own name and cannot be obtained from anyone else. The price of the three sheets is 6 cents per sheet, and on the one sheets it is 6 cents per sheet in lots up to 500 over that 5 cents per sheet. Hoping to have the pleasure of hearing favorably from you we are
Yours very truly.
The Schmitz-Horning Co.
Do you use any race paper? We have a complete line of the very latest.
The company administrators are listed at the top:
H.M. Schmitz, President
W.R. Cox, Vice President
Wm Horning, Treasurer
W.M. Cope, Secretary
The first three are also listed on Schmitz-Horning’s 1906 Frieze Patent.
Hugo Max Schmitz (my great-grandfather) and William Horning were co-founders of the Schmitz-Horning Company. Hugo was an artist and most likely met William, an artist and a lithographer, at Cleveland Art Club in the late 1890s. I found a Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article on an Art Club exhibit where they both exhibited. Warren R. Cox, shown as Vice President, was a relative and became head salesman. William M. Cope, listed as Secretary on the letterhead, was also a relative, and this letter brings forth my first understanding that he had any involvement in the company.
In researching the three-sheet sample named in the letter, Knabenshues Air-ship, I came across these air vessels in a 1914 Schmitz-Horning Co. catalog in the Sporting Panels series that was manufactured both in one sheet and in three sheets, which may be that one.
Additionally, at the bottom of the letter it mentions race paper. Could this possibly be the racing automobiles pattern that I discovered in the same catalog and series?
The address on the letterhead is Whitney Building, Power and Muirson Streets, Cleveland. The building housed many companies including machinists, foundries and lithographers. Power Street or Avenue no longer exists today. The company was in its own building on E. 82nd street by 1912.
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