Monthly Archives: September 2017

Syracuse Electric Tablet Company, 1907-1926

The Syracuse Electric Tablet Company was incorporated from 1907 to 1926, in Syracuse, Kosciusco County, Indiana. The stated object of the company was “to buy and sell retail and wholesale medical preparations and other merchandise.” The company’s directors were John W. Rothenberger (president), and E. Mae Tish, both of Syracuse; William H.H. Angel of Cromwell, Indiana; George H. Lehman of Kendallville, Indiana; and Eli Schlotterback of Ligonier, Indiana.

Rothenberger, Tish, Angel and Lehman were all born in the early 1880s. According to the Federal Census Rothenberger began as a furniture dealer in 1900, and undertaker in 1910 and 1920, and a real estate salesman in 1930 and 1940. The Syracuse-Wawasee Museum contains a footstool, a rocking chair, and a Victrola cabinet made by him. Mae Tish was Rothenberger’s bookkeeper when he was an undertaker. Angel’s occupation was usually listed as a farmer, but in 1910 he listed as a dynamo engineer (electrical engines?), and as a carpenter in 1930. Lehman sold tombstones in Ohio in 1910, but became a poultry farmer in Indiana. Schlotterback was born in the early 1840s and served in the 30th Regiment Indiana Infantry during the Civil War. This Regiment’s first battle was at Shiloh, and continued fighting in major battles through 1865. He then worked as a physician in Ligonier, Indiana until he died in 1912.

The name of this early 20th Century company, the Syracuse Electric Tablet Company, is startlingly modern, but apparently is connected to the medical profession. The best guess is that this was an electrical device that made tablets (pills). The probable connection between the investors was that Schlotterback, being a physician, and Angel a sometime electrical engineer, probably came up with idea for this pill-making electrical device; and Rothenberger, Tish and Lehman, being remotely connected in the undertaking business to the health business, probably provided early investment money. Wouldn’t they be surprised about the future meaning of “electric tablets”?