An Automobile Factory in Waterville?
We have recently discovered an article written in the Perrysburg Journal dated March 11, 1910 indicating a corporation had recently been formed in Waterville to manufacture motor trucks and might eventually employ 200 men. At this dawn of the automotive age, the Waterville investors were W.W Farnsworth, D. Sheldon, A.E. Zook, Charles L. Graf, W.H. Ostrander and J.P. Fowler. The plan was to place on the market both heavy and light “auto trucks” that they claimed had several new features not found on any other trucks; “now being manufactured.” The article states that the company will install its plant in the Graf blacksmith and wagon shop in Waterville. This is not surprising as documents suggest that Charles Graf had been building wagons in his shop for several years. The article also states that the Graf building had been remodeled and enlarged for the new company and that the planned first year’s production had already been sold.
This information raises many questions and we hope perhaps some of our readers might provide some answers. Did the company ever produce any of the motorized trucks mentioned and if so what ever became of them? Who bought them? What name did they use for the trucks? Are there any advertisements or literature anywhere regarding this company or their products? Is this the time and the reason the Graf building was extended? Obviously this enterprise failed and we know very little about it, which is a shame. This would have been a very big deal for 1910 Waterville. Later we know the school bus or buses were garaged in the expanded Graf building. Ironically, much later in the 1950s motor vehicles were made in this space when the Shop of Siebert leased the building to make extended automobiles for hearses, police and ambulance use and stretch limousines.