German Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles

Germans Began Many Industries

"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Twenty-Fifth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, date unknown

The Germans were in the front ranks of the immigrants who brought considerable skill to Cleveland and who had a major share in this city's commercial and industrial movement.

The Germans' skill and generally acknowledged thoroughness enabled them to establish all sorts of enterprises, many of which, brought fame and prosperity to Cleveland.

Illustrating the Cleveland Germans' diversity of enterprise even in the early days of the city's industrial and commercial history is this list of German firms which advertised in the first issue of the Waechter Am Erie, Aug. 9, 1852.

Luetkemeyer and Schmidthausen, Superior and Vineyard, hardware, German books and insurance agency; Wagner Brothers, 23 Water (W. Ninth) St., chairs; F. and C. Born, stoves; John Gerlach, 71 River (W. 11th) St., boots and shoes; Joseph Degan, 9 Water St., toys.

Valentine Ziemer, 6 Union St. clothing; Schulz Brothers, Bank (W. Sixth) St., furniture; J. Kuehnhold 12 Water St., tailor; F. J. Borges, Superior and River Sts., clothing; Bratenahl Brothers, leather; M. Dietz, attorney and notary; A. Seywertz, employment agency.

Grew in Number

With the growth of German immigration immediately before and after the Civil War, the number of German skilled workers and tradesmen also grew rapidly. By the turn of the century the Germans' share in the business life of Cleveland was more than considerable.

Although Cleveland Germans opened all kinds of shops, a study of their enterprises in the 1900's indicates they were particularly prominent in the following fields:

Stoves and ranges, brewing, carriage making, hardware and metals, taverns, wines and liquors, bakeries, general undertakings and furniture, cigar making, greenhouses, and on the West Side, banking.

Paul Schneider, Henry Trenkamp, Edward Dangler, George A. Tinnennan, Heinrich and Carl Born pioneered in the manufacture of stoves and were responsible for making Cleveland the center of stove manufacturing in the nation.

First in Their Field

When Friedrich and Carl Born established their small stove-making shop at 14 Water St. in 1847, they claimed to have been the first in the country to make steel ranges. Later the shop was moved to 122 Superior St.

Jacob Raunch, an early German immigrant, started a small wagon carriage shop in 1846. His son, Charles, succeeded him and formed a partnership with Charles Lang. The fine quality of their production made them know in all Ohio.

They later manufactured a high-quality electric vehicle. With the advent of the automobiles, the business developed into the manufacturc of custom automobile bodies under the name of Lang Body Co.

Wagon Makers

Henry Heideloff, a native of Kassel, Germany, came to Cleveland in 1850 and became a wagon and carriage maker and followed his trade up to the turn of the century. He died in 1915.

Wilhelm Woltman came to Cleveland with his parents from Hannover in 1856. In 1874 he established the Woltman Carriage & Wagon Works at Woodland and Liden Aves.

The Harm Carriage Works at 811 Woodland Ave. was founded in 1865. Gustav Schaefer established his carriage shop at 911 Lorain Ave. in 1882. Schaefer's widely known motto read:"My work is my best advertisement."

Other carriage makers included W. H. Gabriel at 50 Michigan St., Fred Gruse at 1412 Pearl St., Kruce & Hessler at 1510 Pearl St., Wilhelm Schmidt and Fred Schuster at 167 Abbey Viaduct, Andrew Schell at 18 Broad St., Ernst Rose at Clark and Burton Sts. and C. F. Hanger, 44 East Prospect.

W. C. Langenau, a native of Dietz-Nassau, learned the machinist's trade in the old country and came to America in 1867. With $128 of his own and $450 he had borrowed, he opened in 1870 a machine shop which later developed into the present Langenau Co., 8403 Franklin Ave. Langenau's daughter married former Mayor McKisson.