Hugo Max Schmitz and Warren Reynolds Schmitz, presidents of Schmitz-Horning Co.

October 29, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Hugo Max Schmitz holds his young son Warren Reynolds Schmitz, in 1905.

Hugo Max Schmitz holds his young son Warren Reynolds Schmitz, in 1905.

Schmitz-Horning Co., and mural and wall covering manufacturing and printing company, was founded around 1905 (or possibly earlier) in Cleveland, Ohio by Hugo Max Schmitz and William Horning (“Will” or “Bill”). They were artists and lithographers.

Hugo was born in Wisconsin and traveled to Cleveland in the late 1890s, joining the Art Club, and befriending (and even traveling with) several established area artists. He was a talented artist, and wanted to offer high quality art that was affordable for people’s homes, thus the idea of reproducible art murals and papers.

Hugo was acting president, and Mr. Horning sold his interest in the company around 1920.

Around 1926, Hugo’s son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz, came to work at the company as Vice President and worked in sales after graduating from Miami University of Ohio (where he excelled in Debate Club).

hugo max schmitz

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

Hugo was my great-grandfather and Warren was my grandfather.

The company had longevity in its employees, and many had multiple family members who worked there. They printed on two of the largest chromolithographic custom presses in the world (a third one being in London), and oversized zinc plates had to be shipped from Germany. The color lithographs exceeded a 40″ x 80″ sheet size and were printed in oil-based inks on high quality paper and were fully washable.

It was most likely one of the top ten wall covering manufacturers in the country of its time, and Hugo Schmitz was considered and authority on the Frieze, a continuous pictorial wall mural, and published articles in Decorator and Architectural trade journals.

In 1938, Warren Schmitz became president of Schmitz-Horning, after a tragic automobile accident and death of Hugo, 72. Also killed was family friend Margaret A. Hale, 66, wife of the late George W. Hale, builder of Cleveland’s Alcazar Hotel. Hugo’s wife, Pauline “Queen” Reynolds Schmitz was injured but survived.

warren-reynolds-schmitz-schmitz-horning-company-cleveland-ohio

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

With Warren at the helm, he produced new patterns and product lines including scenic panoramics, working with several notable area artists, and developed sales and marketing materials including catalogs and small-scale wall scenics view books.

Warren Schmitz (“Bud”), ran the company until around 1960, and Schmitz-Horning Company closed. A bookkeeping document shows that a sale of S-H equipment to another local wallpaper firm occurred around 1964. A newspaper ad for the wall coverings sold through The May Company can be seen in The Plain Dealer in the 1964. Warren died at the age of 65 in 1970.

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Schmitz-Horning Co. Catalogs, Lithos Digitized at Cleveland Public Library and CleDPL

August 15, 2015

By Janet Dodrill

CleDPL library assistant Ray Rozman scans an original Schmitz-Horning Co. wall mural design.

CleDPL library assistant Ray Rozman scans an original Schmitz-Horning Co. wall mural design.

In going through the family house a few years ago, I discovered catalogs and samples from my great-grandfather’s former Cleveland-based business, the Schmitz-Horning Company. Since then, I have been researching and learning about the company, and our family’s role in the company.

The Schmitz-Horning Company, which specialized in high quality washable color wallpaper, artistic murals and scenic panoramic wall coverings, was founded around 1905 by Hugo M. Schmitz I, an artist and my great-grandfather, and William (Bill) Horning, a lithographer. Mr. Horning left the partnership around 1920. My grandfather (Hugo’s son), Warren R. Schmitz, acted as vice president of the company starting in the late 1920s. After the tragic automobile-related death of Hugo Schmitz in 1938, Warren Schmitz served as president of the company.

Through Google, Cleveland’s newspaper The Plain Dealer archives through the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s website, and family materials, I have started my journey of piecing together a historical footprint of the company and some of the people that worked at the company.

CPL Map/GIS librarian Tom Edwards scans a Schmitz-Horning scenic wallpaper design.

CPL Map/GIS librarian Tom Edwards scans a Schmitz-Horning scenic wallpaper design.

Recently, I discovered the public resources available at Cleveland Public Library in downtown Cleveland. Over several trips there, I visited the Cleveland Digital Public Library (CleDPL) (under the direction of Chatham Ewing, Digital Library Strategist), at 325 Superior Avenue, 3rd floor, the map department and the history department at 525 Superior Avenue, 6th floor, the business department on the 2nd floor, and the photograph collection on the 4th floor, and as a patron received assistance in researching and in documentation of our family’s materials.

Additionally, I was made aware of the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery, the library’s public online digital gallery.

Panoramic Friezes catalog, 1909-1910, the Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

Panoramic Friezes catalog, 1909-1910, the Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

A dedicated library staff assisted and enabled me to do extensive high resolution and large-scale scanning of our deteriorating Schmitz-Horning original wallpaper designs and mural lithographs, and multiple company catalogs, with an early one dating back to 1909, and most being the only known catalogs in existence. The Cleveland Digital Public Library, a new department since spring of this year, accommodated me for many hours spread over several weeks by assisting me with scans on an i2s SupraScan Quartz overhead scanner, synced to a pc, with size capabilities up to 33″ x 46″. They suggested methods regarding the preservation and storing of the materials. Other equipment available included an Epson Expression 10000 XL for photographs, and several book scanners, one high-speed ATIZ scanner, and one a versatile and user-friendly Knowledge Imaging Center (KIC) scanner. The map department had a large-scale feed-through type scanner (plus printer), a Hewlett Packer Designjet T1200 HD MFP, which scans up to 41″ wide by any length, which enabled me to scan one-of-a-kind lithographic wallpaper rolls, some over 100 inches long.

A selection of the materials scanned will be available on the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery, making documentation on this historic Cleveland business available to the public. Individuals researching companies in the wallpaper industry may also find it useful.

Other Schmitz-Horning blog posts by Janet Dodrill:

Schmitz-Horning Co. Artists Created Impressive Lithographic Murals and Scenic Wallpaper

Google Cultural Institute

Schmitz-Horning Co. Ming Floral Scenic Wallpaper Pattern

Schmitz-Horning Company Created Wallpaper Murals and Art

Articles about Cleveland Digital Public Library:

Cleveland Digital Public Library Will Offer High-Tech Scanning For The Masses

Ohio: Grand Opening of Cleveland Digital Public Library (ClevDPL) Taking Place Today

Ohio Public Libraries Receive Grant Funding To Create Network Of Coordinated Digitization Hubs

Curtis Flowers scans a Schmitz-Horning Co. lithograph on CleDPL's large overhead scanner.

Curtis Flowers scans a Schmitz-Horning Co. lithograph on CleDPL’s large overhead scanner.

The Cleveland Digital Public Library (CleDPL) department of Cleveland Public Library

The Cleveland Digital Public Library (CleDPL) department of Cleveland Public Library.

Book Scanner at Cleveland Digital Public Library

Book Scanner at Cleveland Digital Public Library.

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