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Commercial and Industrial History

1908: The Beginning of the Ford-Willys Rivalry

1908 was a pivotal year in the history of the American automobile. Events such as the introduction of the Model T Ford, the automobile that revolutionized the manufacture of the automobile and most mass marketed goods. [Exhibit link]

A Century of Toledo Scale

Among the most recognized brand names of the twentieth century is Toledo Scale, a company whose headquarters and primary design and production facilities were located in its namesake. One of the greatest achievements of the Toledo's Attic Committee (especially its point man for collections, Ernest W. Weaver, Jr.) during 1998 was securing possession of the corporate papers of Toledo Scale from the Mettler Toledo Corporation. Along with many cases of documents, ledgers, photographs, and other archival materials, the Toledo Scale Collection includes a series of paintings by Georges LaChance of the skilled artisans of the company. [Exhibit link]

Faces of Steel: People and History of Acklin Stamping Plant, Toledo Ohio

The story of Acklin Stamping, and really the story of Toledo's  metal working  industry, begins in 1911.  The world was a radically different place in those days.  Brand Whitlock, as Toledo's mayor, led a rapidly growing city of 170,000 people.   The city and indeed the country were on the cusp of incredible technological change.  In 1911, horses still dominated transportation and the speed limit was a mere 8 miles per hour.  However this was all about to change in the next several years with the arrival of affordable automobiles, brought to the market by a number of companies including Toledo's own Willys-Overland Motor Company. [Exhibit link]

Glass from the Past: An Exhibition of Collectable Glass at the Wolcott House

The Lucas County-Maumee Valley Historical Society is proud to display its collection of historic and antique glass beginning April 4, 2001 at the Wolcott House Museum Complex, 1031 River Road, Maumee, Ohio. This exhibit will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $3.50 for adults and $1.50 for students. Toledo's association with the glass industry dates to the 1890s when a plentiful supply of natural gas, fine sands, good transportation connections, and a vibrant urban culture lured one of the largest makers of fine glass, the Libbey Company, to the city. Over the next generation numerous smaller glass firms would open in the city and Libbey would found a number of others that would specialize in bottles, automotive glass, and architectural glass. [Exhibit link

Greater Toledo: The City in the World

This virtual exhibition presents the exhibits included in the exhibition held at the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections at the University of Toledo Libraries.  The exhibition focuwed on the importan place and role of Toledo in the global economic landscape. [Exhibit link]

Harris Toy Company

We remember the Harris Toy Company, one of the most outstanding manufacturers of cast metal toys. Located in Toledo from its inception in 1887 to its purchase by Foster Jewell (later Standard Steel Tube Co.) in 1907, Harris Toys are still highly sought after by collectors and recognized for their quality and unique styles. [PDF Document: Harris Toy Company]

Owens-Illinois Historical Records

The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections at the University of Toledo has recently received a collection of records and artifacts from the Owens-Illinois company. This large collection includes business documents, bottle catalogs, photographs, films, books, patents, stock certificates, company newsletters, press releases and two collections of actual bottles. It also includes some rare personal letters from Michael J. Owens. [Exhibit link]

Time in a Bottle: A History of Owens-Illinois, Inc.

It was called the most significant advance in the production of glass in 2000 years. It has been designated as an international historic engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  Engineers. In 1913, it received a commendation from the National Child Labor Committee of New York City for reducing the need for child labor. It made possible the modern distribution of many processed foods at greatly reduced costs. It provided a cheap and safe method for storing and transporting prescription medicine. Without it, some of the country's major corporations, like Coca-Cola, might not have been possible. And without it, Toledo would not have been the "Glass Capital of the World." [Exhibit link]

The Birth of Toledo's Auto Industry: Part One, 1899-1905

Toledo has had a long and continuous automotive history. For Toledo, the year 200 will not only mark the great roll-over of the millennial odometer, but will also be the centennial year of automobile production in the city. In the fall of 1900, the American Bicycle Company built a steam truck in a factory on Central Avenue. From that time with only a few interruptions, notably in the panic of 1907 and the Great Depression, automobiles and trucks have been built upon this same site to the present day. [Exhibit link]

Toledo's Gendron Wheel Company

Toledo, thanks to Peter Gendron, has become prominent throughout the world for its development of the manufacture of metal wheels and for the quantity and quality of its output of that class of products. Mr. Gendron came to the city at the age of twenty-one and found employment as a pattern maker in the Toledo Novelty Works, then conducted by Russell & Thayer. In 1871, he went to Detroit as a pattern maker for the Detroit Safe Company. As a boy, he had worked in his father's wagon shop and while in Detroit he conceived the idea of a wire wheel. In 1875, he returned to Toledo and perfected his invention, first using the wire wheel on children's carriages. [Exhibit link]

From Bicycles to Furniture: A Brief Historical Sketch of the Toledo Metal Furniture Company’s First Decade

Toledo Metal Furniture Company occupied an important place in Toledo’s industrial history that most associate with glass today.  Businesses like Acklin Stamping, American Bicycle Company, Gendron Wheel Company, Harris Toy Company, Toledo Scale, and others paint a more diversified industrial picture building on a strong American Steel industry (albeit surviving the steel shortage during World War I.) and the full throttle of the capitalist economic system. [Exhibit link]

Wholly Toledo: The Business and Industry that Shaped the City

The "Wholly Toledo: The Business and Industry that Shaped the City" virtual exhibit conveys in digital format the actual exhibit that was on display in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections from November 17, 2010 to November 4, 2011. The exhibit looks at the city's commercial and industrial history from the 1860s to current day—an era that shifted between prosperity and hardship. [Exhibit link]