Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-41
Location: LH-41

(Description ID: 595285)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Zehner Brothers Packaging Company
Erlin Canning Company
Henkel-Clauss Company


Agency History
Scope and Content

The collection represents partial records of three local businesses in which J. W. Pero of Fremont, Ohio, was either a shareholder or a member of the board of trustees. The business records were originally part of the Rice Collection. The Carroll Collection (LH 279), Henkel-Clauss Abstract of Title (LH - Miscellaneous Manuscripts), and material in the library’s Local History File contain further information on the Henkel-Clauss Shear Company.

Agency History
Established in 1884 in Bellevue, Ohio, brothers John and Charles Zehner specialized in selling wholesale smoked and salted meats and lard. They incorporated the business in 1894, and expanded with a second facility in Toledo, Ohio, in 1906. They established a reputation for excellence in processing Dresden ham under the name Bell Vue Brand. After the closing of the Toledo plant in 1922, The Zehners modernized the Bellevue operation. Zehner’s Packing closed in 1971.

The Clauss Shear Company was founded in 1877 by John and Henrie Clauss of Elyria, Ohio. Ten years later the company was moved to Fremont, Ohio. Attracted by an accessible, abundant supply of natural gas, Clauss erected a plant at the corner of Ohio Avenue and Pine Street. Three years later, the plant was consumed by fire, causing 125 workers to lose their jobs. Within four months, Clauss Shear had constructed a 195 X 90 foot building at the corner of State Street and Sandusky Avenue, making it the largest shear works in the world. In 1902, J. W. Pero, the largest stockholder of the company, agreed to sell a 300,000-dollar stock offering for J. H. Clauss. Frank Heim of International Cutlery of Maine agreed to purchase one hundred shares should the remainder of the subscription be sold.

The Henkel Company began production of surgical instruments and scissors in 1906. Founded in Fremont, Ohio by Dr. George Zimmerman, August Henkel, and Frank Kiser, the company, in 1918, was the largest producer of scissors in the world with assets totaling $825,000. The following year, Henkel and Clauss proposed a merger. Clauss’ sales had reached nearly a million dollars annually, but the combined companies debt load amounted to $600,000. In 1924, Zimmerman sold his interest in Henkel-Clauss. The company reorganized and authorized the issuance of 5000 shares of preferred stock. Five years later, Henkel-Clauss sold off the old Clauss property at State and Sandusky. A second reorganization took place in 1934.

The Erlin Cannng Company was established in Section 28, Riley Twp., Erlin, Sandusky County, Ohio. The company processed cabbage, tomatoes, cider, and vinegar. Its major shareholders were made up of Sandusky County, Ohio, residents, including George Dorr, Nathan Lertzman, George Metzger, Henry Windler, J.F. Karbler, Frank O’Farrell, and Ed and Jerome Wolf. Dorr served as the company’s secretary. The company purchased land for the location of its plant from Karbler in 1917.

Scope and Content
The bulk of the collection consists of partial records of three Sandusky County, Ohio, businesses from the year 1893 to 1938: Zehner Brothers, Henkel-Clauss Shear Company, and the Erlin Canning Company. The first series of files relate to the Henkel-Clauss Shear Company and includes records from 1893 to 1938. The company was formed from a merger between Henkel and Clauss, two competing cutlery companies headquartered in Fremont, Ohio. Stock transfers, offerings, names of stockholders, and the directors’ correspondence exist for this period. Zehner Brothers material includes only financial statements from 1911 to 1919 (Folder #15). The Erlin Canning Company records extend from 1911 to 1919. They include minutes of directors’ meetings, articles of agreement, correspondence, financial statements, deeds, and stockholders’ names.  A 1918 lawsuit filed by the company against the Home Savings Bank generated an extensive file of documents (File #14).

1 ½ linear ft.

Box 1
1. Henkel Clauss Shear Company (formerly International Cutlery Co.)
    Stock Offerings 1902-1918
2. Henkel Clauss Shear Company
    Correspondence - 1892-1903
3. Henkel Clauss Shear Company
    Stock Transfers - International Cutlery
4. Henkel Clauss Shear Company
    Stock Transfers 1905-1907
5. Henkel Clauss Shear Company
    Board of Directors’ Correspondence - 1908-1923
6. Henkel Clauss Shear Company
7. Henkel Clauss Shear Company
    Financial Statements - July 1893-March 1902
8. Henkel Clauss Shear Company
    Financial Statements - June 1902-December 1938
9. Henkel Clauss Shear Company
    Stockholders 1902-1904, 1919-1923
10. Erlin Canning Company (J. W. Pero, Rcvr.)
      Correspondence - May 1917-August 1918
11. Erlin Canning Company ( J. W. Pero, Rcvr.)
      Financial Statements - 1917-1919
12. Erlin Canning Company (J. W. Pero, Rcvr.)
      Articles of Agreement, Warranty Deeds, and Stockholders - 1917
13. Erlin Canning Company (J. W. Pero, Rcceiver.)
      Minutes of Directors Meetings’ - 1917
14. Erlin Canning Company
      Erlin Canning & Supply Company vs. The Home Savings Bank Company - 1918
15. Zehner Bros. Packing Company, Toledo - Bellevue
      Financial Statements - 1911-1919

Miscellaneous Ledgers- Erlin Canning Company
Expense Ledgers, 1917-18, 1918.