Monthly Archives: February 2016

Notes: Grocers’ Supplies, Bakeries, Motors

Grocers’ Supply Co., incorporated from February 28, 1898 to 1924. The purpose was “the preparing, compounding and selling fluid extracts, vinegars, mustards, spices and all other condiments, baking powders, pancake & breakfast flours, coffees, ammonia & bluing mixtures and all other Grocers’, Bakers’ & Butchers’ Supplies”. The Company’s different addresses were 240 Virginia Ave., 214-216 McCarty St., and 128 South Meridian St. The Directors were Horace E. Hadley – Secretary & Treasurer; Anson B. Conkle – President; and Charles A. Ross.

Hacker Brothers’ Bakeries, incorporated from June 9, 1921 to 1924, at 1365 Madison Ave. The objective was “the partnership of Hacker Brothers’ Bakeries, consisting of senses of six retail stores with cases, cash registers, furniture, ovens & machinery for conducting the business of the bakeries with trucks for distributing the products of such ovens to various stores”. The incorporators were Charles, Christian, Walter J., Harry, Frank and John Hacker. In 1890 their father, Charles Hacker, ran a bakery at 353 E.Market Street, where he also lived.

Hamilton Manufacturing Co., incorporated from July 13, 1916 to 1918. The objective was “to manufacture & sell Fuel Feed Systems for internal combustion motors”. The incorporators were H.F. Rust – machinist; Charles O. Roemler – lawyer; Harold Butcher – a manufacturer’s agent from Detroit, Michigan, and Bert Brown.


Notes: Skiles Test,an Amusement Company,a German-American Boating Club, and a Transfer Company

Columbia Meter Co., incorporated in 1909. The officers were Charles Test – President, and Skiles Test – Secretary & Treasurer. At the time, Charles Test was President of the National Motor Vehicle Co. and his son, Skiles Test, had just graduated from High School. They both lived at 795 Middle Drive, Woodruff Place, Indianapolis. Later, Skiles became an eccentric farmer/inventor who became famous for his home on the northeast side of Indianapolis: The House of Blue Lights.

Central City Realty Co., incorporated in 1911 by Ralph S. Norwood. Ralph might be related to George Norwood, a wagon maker and owner of the “Norwood Block” in early Indianapolis.

Central Amusement Co., incorporated from 1910 to 1927; theater owners with an office at 133-135 N. Illinois St. Directors were Max Flaskamp, born in Germany in 1879, and seems to have been a professional wrestler and promoter in Chicago in the early 1900s; Benjamin V. Barton – theater manager; and Martin Hugg – general practice lawyer. In 1910 they owned the Lyric Theater and two 5-cent moving picture shows in Indianapolis.

German-American Boating Club of Indianapolis, incorporated on February 2, 1906. Its purpose was “to promote friendly and social relations among its members and their associates, and to build and maintain boating facilities for its members”.  They didn’t say where these boating facilities were to be built. Incorporators were Ernest A. Kottlowski – a general contractor & builder; Gus Breuminger – a department manager at Vonnegut Hardware; and William E. Krieger – an undertaker.

Frank Bird Transfer Co., incorporated from June 24, 1890 to April 30, 1929. (Its unusual to find a company in business for this many years in these incorporation papers). Its purpose was “to carry & transmit freight, passengers and baggage to & from the railroads & other points in said city {Indianapolis}”; with their office on Union Street, 319 E. New York Street, and later at 23 W. Henry Street. The officers were Frank Bird – proprietor; Francis L. Golibart – bookkeeper; and Charles Gilliland. The original incorporation papers were notarized by John S. Tarkington, who in 1890 was the manager of Fletcher’s Safe Deposit Co. He was the father of the future author Booth Tarkington and they lived at 598 N. Pennsylvania St.



Notes: A convention center, Dr. Goethe Link, and a VotingMachine Co.

Coliseum-Hotel Corp., incorporated in 1914. The idea for this was a convention center-type building, I believe at the NW corner of Meridian and Ohio Streets. The idea was never constructed. The local Indianapolis businessmen directors were: George C. Brooks – President of the Red River Valley Land & Livestock Co and he lived at 835 Woodruff Place Middle Dr.;  Robert S. Fletcher – V.P. of the Hackedorn Contracting Co. and V.P. of the State Exchange Bank; Raymond P. Van Camp – V.P. of the Van Camp Hardware and Iron Co. located at 401-425 W. Maryland St.; Robert Martindale – real estate agent; and George Haugh – insurance agent.

Columbia Securities Co., incorporated in 1925 at 162 N. Delaware St. They dealt in mortgage loans, real estate, rentals & property management. The directors were : Bennet E. Sagalowsky – President; Morris Horowitz – treasurer; and Dr. Goethe Link. Dr. Link was a well-known surgeon in Indianapolis, and an amateur astronomer. In 1909 he won a silver cup for winning the balloon race at the opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  In 1948 he donated his private observatory to Indiana University, and the observatory grounds is popular for its extensive daffodil gardens.

Columbia Voting Machine Co., incorporated in 1907 at 616 N. Davidson. The directors were H.B. Smith – manager of the company; Albert Lieber – President & General Manager of the Indianapolis Brewing Co.; John B. Cockrum – Secretary and General Attorney of the L.E. & W. Railroad; and Ernest H. Tripp – President of the Union Transfer & Storage Co.


Notes: The English Hotel, the Pembroke Arcade, and the Cole Carriage Co.

English Hotel Co., incorporated on April 3, 1901. The purpose of the company was “building, owning and carrying on hotels”.  I’m not sure how this company was connected with the extensive English Hotel and Opera House on the Monument Circle. Maybe the owner of the English Hotel, William E. English, was so busy in politics and other interests at the time that he turned over its management to this group of directors: A.A. Barnes -VP of the Columbian National Bank and President of the Udell Works, a furniture manufacturer; Louis G. Deschler – wholesale and retail cigars and tobacco; F.W. Hays – a physician; Henry W. Lawrence – President and Manager of the Claypool Hotel and Proprietor of the Spencer House; Albert Lieber – President and General Manager of the Indianapolis Brewing Co.; George G. Tanner – owner of Tanner & Company: wholesale tinner supplies, sheet iron and metals; Ernest H. Tripp – a contractor and President of the Union Transfer and Storage Co.: he lived at the English Hotel.

Central Music Co., incorporated from 1919 to 1930 by W.E. and A.E. Slingerland. This music store was located at 128 Pembroke Arcade, 135 E. Washington St. The Pembroke Arcade was  built in 1895 and designed by Vonnegut & Bonn, architects. The Arcade was a two-story building situated between East Washington Street and the diagonal Virginia Ave. According to an Indianapolis Star article it had “an assortment of shops and eateries, with a leaded glass atrium in the middle”. It really sounds like an earlier version of our downtown shopping mall. The Pembroke Arcade was demolished in 1943.

C.B. Reynolds & Co., incorporated in 1918. This company manufactured airless tire-cores for automobiles. The Dayton Tire Company advertised airless tires in 1918.

Automatic Hydro-Gravity Motor, incorporated in 1912. A hydro-gravity motor was “a submersible motor pump, which can be used for sewage”. Its directors were H.N. McKee – Secretary of the American Bankers’ Security Co.; W.A. Orwen – drug store owner; R.G. Hendricks – a medical surgeon; and J.H. Vaught – a physician.

City Hall Realty Co. incorporated from 1923 to 1933. Its directors were Felix McWhirter – the President of the Peoples State Bank, located at 130-136 E. Market St.; H.C. Snick – a lawyer whose office was at 601 Peoples Bank; and L.R. Zapf – another lawyer located at 601 Peoples Bank.

Cole Carriage Co., incorporated in 1905 by Joseph J. Cole. According to Wikipedia, Cole bought out a carriage company, renamed it, and was manufacturing about 3,000 carriages and coaches a year. But his main interest was automobiles and in 1909 he changed the company’s name to the Cole Car Co. which was in business till 1925. His factory building was at 730-738 E. Washington St., which is still standing.


Notes: The Cyclops Cyclecar, Lew Wallace Jr., the Comet CycleCar, Albert F. Eiteljorg, a Cinetrope, Electric Vehicles, and Electric Soap Making

Empire Building Co. incorporated on April 14, 1927 by Charles H. (Bud) Ellis. He later owned the C.H. Ellis Co. and was the Potentate of the Sahara Grotto in 1965.

Cyclops Cyclecar Co. incorporated in 1914 and located at 2120 S. Meridian St. (rear). According to Wikapedia, the cyclecar was a light weight car that was a cross between a motorcycle and and automobile; it was mostly popular in the years before WWI. The Cyclops Cyclecar had only one headlight in the front middle, and only one prototype was assembled and then went out of business. The investors were James W. Smith – a mechanic from Indianapolis, Joseph W. Feree – a Danville, Indiana businessman, and Charles A. Hargrave – a college professor from Danville, Indiana.

Lew Wallace, Jr., an attorney, incorporated on October 13, 1905, and whose home was at 34 W. 11th St., Indianapolis. He was the grandson of the author, soldier, and diplomat Lew Wallace: the author of Ben Hur.

Circle City Brewing Co. incorporated in 1933 right after Prohibition ended, but never went into business. The incorporator was William R. Thurgood, and Indianapolis salesman.

Comet CycleCar Co., incorporated in 1914, and its office was at 308 Century Building, Indianapolis. Its directors were Fred P. Mertz – an auto salesman, and William H. Ogborn – an Indianapolis lawyer. Mertz designed the car and at least 20 autos were produced.

Columbia Dental College, incorporated in 1909 by Albert F. Eiteljorg at 1 E. Market St., Indianapolis. Albert was born in 1868 in Germany and lived at 821 N. Pennsylvania Ave. He was the father of Harrison Eiteljorg, an Indianapolis businessman and philanthropist, and whose art collections became the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art located in downtown Indianapolis.

Cinetrope Corporation, incorporated in 1931 by Russell W. Langsenkamp, president of the Sono Equipment  Corp.: a motion picture apparatus company i Indianapolis. I think a “cinetrope” was a circular animation machine.

Diplomat Opera Company, incorporated on May 12, 1908, located at 1919 N. Delaware St. The directors were Willard W. Hubbard – a coal company owner, Michael J. Ready – a paving company owner, William Kather – a wholesale grocer, Sol. S. Kiser – the V.P. of the Meyer-Kiser Bank, and Barley Walker – a streetcar engineer. What do these men have in common?: possibly enough time to be interested opera!

Electric Vehicle Service Co., incorporated on June 5, 1913 at 648 N. Meridian St.: the southwest corner of Meridian & Walnut Streets. “Buying and selling of electric vehicles of all kinds and their supplies.” The directors were William Conrad Brooks – a chemist, Ray Thomas Watts – an electrical engineer, and their spouses : E.J. Brooks and C.C. Watts. This must have been a venture in electric automobiles before the combustion engine became dominant.

Electric Crosstree Manufacturing Co. incorporated in 1917 by three men from Chickasaw, Mississippi. Their purpose was “to manufacture crosstrees for telegraph wires”.

E. Buchanan Manufacturing Co., incorporated on November 25, 1919 by three men from Virginia. Their purpose was “to manufacture steam engines”.  Again, their interest  was probably to develop steam engines for automobiles, or at least to compete with gasoline-run engines.

Electric Soap Manufacturing Co., incorporated on October 4, 1883. The purpose was “to manufacture soap and toilet articles”. An advertisement stated that “Electric-Light Soap is the best laundry soap made. Prepared by an entirely new method. Composed of the purest material. Will not injure the fabric. Will cleanse fabrics without rubbing. Enquire of your grocer”. The directors were Elias C. Atkins – owner of the E.C. Atkins Sawworks Company (one of the biggest employers in Indianapolis at the time), Leolin E. Boswell – a soap maker, William Olds – a soap manufacturer, Charles A. Shotwell – a grain dealer, and Oliver Mousey – a banker.

E.M. Chemical Co., incorporated in 1916. Its purpose was “to manufacture a patented compound for repairing and mending automobile tires, known and designated as ‘vulcatite'”. The directors were D.C. McRoberts – a chemist at the G.&J. Tire Company, W.A. Engelhard – also worked for a tire company, and W.B. Denison – Secretary & Treasurer of the Cotton Belt Land & Development Company.


Notes: Carbolic Acid, The Crispus Attucks Club, and Donkey Baseball

Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. Incorporated in 1887 by William Hasford & William W. Reeves. This was a device that released fumes of carbolic acid to cure the flu, but it didn’t work and was a hoax.

The Crispus Attucks Club, incorporated in 1920. It is interesting that this organization of Indianapolis African-American businessmen was founded seven years before the segregated Crispus Attucks High School was opened in Indianapolis. The businessmen were: Edward Gullard – a tailor, R.T. Williams – a porter, Charles E. Brown, Sr. – a presser, Dr. Charles A. Torles – a physician, Wm. C. Brown – iron foundry?, Hays Wilson – a waiter, Wm.W. Hyde – a lawyer, and S.A Furniss – a physician and community leader.

Donkey Baseball, Inc. Incorporated on August 16, 1934. According to articles on the internet, “donkey baseball” became popular during the Depression years of the 1930s. The players were mounted on donkeys that had minds of their own. The games were played by local civic groups mostly for charity, and to watch local notables make fools of themselves. A touring company would put the games on for a fee. The incorporators were John L. Banks, John Schlott,and Calvin E. Alber. Banks and Schlott worked for American Stages, Inc., an entertainment company, while Alber was a service station proprietor,

Notes: Ice cream, Harry C. Stutz, early auto repair, the career of Indianapolis’ Thomas A. Morris

Day Systems, Inc. Incorporated from 1932 to 1934 at 5207 N. College Ave., Indianapolis, by Ray Anders,Gerald C. Purdy, Lauren L. Henderson, and L. Bremer. They made and sold ice cream. The building is still there where pet food is now sold.

Central Radio Supply Co. Incorporated in 1920 by Harry C. Stutz who founded the Stutz Motor Car Co. in 1913 at 1008 N. CapitolAve., Indianapolis. He sold his automobile company in 1919 to a group of investors, and started the Stutz High Duty Fire Engine Co located at 1411 N. Capitol Ave. The Stutz automobile factory building now houses the Stutz Business Center.

Copple-Lilly Co.,incorporated in 1916 located at 914 N. Scioto. Gustavus (Gus) Lilly was President and Aria E. Copple was Manager.According to their ad in the 1916 Indianapolis City Directory, the Company was a “High Class Repairing, Rebuilding, and Machine Work.” Pretty snazzy for the dawn of the automobile age!

20180717_162918382981691.jpg20180717_163035.jpgCarbon Block Coal Co, incorporated in 1869 with Thomas A. Morris as President. At the time Morris was President of the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad.Morris and his associates must have set up this coal company to supply the fuel for their railroad. Morris had a varied and successful career up to this time, and was to accomplish more. He graduated from West Point in 1834, was an engineer on the expansion of the National Road through Indiana; he was the supervisor for the construction of the Central Canal through Indianapolis, as well as for the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad, finished in 1847. He was a Union Brigadier General during the Cviil War. He supervised the building of the Indiana State House, finished in 1880, and the Union Depot. He later was made President of the Indianapolis Water Co. to straighten out its muddled mess. Indianapolis would not have been the same without his works. The other directors of this coal company were local railroad executives and businessmen, including John Elder, the former editor of the Locomotive Newspaper.

Notes: Booth Tarkington and Oil, and the interests of Carl G. Fisher

20180925_1435341346128890.jpgCentral Oil Co. Incorporated in 1900. Its purpose was to drill for oil. Its investors were Dudley H. Wiggins – a farmer, George E. Hume – secretary of a Title Co., John G. Walleck, William E. Wocher – an insurance agency manager, and Newton B. Tarkington. This last signer was the famous Hoosier author Booth Tarkington, early in his career. It is interesting  he later wrote that he detested the pollution caused by industry and automobiles.


C.G. Fisher Co. Incorporated in 1908. “to deal in bicycles, self-propelled machines, and other vehicles”. Directors of the C.G. Fisher Co. were Charles & George Koehring – owners of a hardware store at 878-882 Virginia Ave, and Carl G. Fisher. Fisher was originally a bicycle repair shop owner and racing enthusiast. He became enamored with the new invention of the automobile and opened the Fisher Automobile Co. in 1901, which sold a variety of automobiles at 400 N. Capitol Ave. Besides owning the Prest-O-Lite Storage Battery Co. at this time with P.C. Avery and James A. Allison, he later was instrumental in promoting and developing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Lincoln Highway from New York City to San Francisco, the Dixie Highway from Michigan to Florida, and the city of Miami Beach, Florida.20180926_122850157409997.jpg



























Purpose of this blog by Robert F. Gilyeat

I am a volunteer at the Indiana State Archives. I am working on a series of folders that contain the incorporation papers in Indiana, usually from about 1900 to 1940. My job is to take all of the metal fasteners out of the papers, put them in order, and refile them acid-free folders and boxes. Afterwards, the titles of these companies will be digitized and put on the Indiana State Archives website.

My purpose with these notes is to expand on the information that would otherwise be merely an index of these companies; to provide more background on the variety of companies incorporated in Indiana during the early 20th Century. I will not include all of the companies, just samples of those that show their diversity. I hope  this will prove interesting to historians of Indiana.