Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Billhead of the Month: Schmit Bros trunks Oshkosh WI

I picked up this Schmit Brothers billhead recently in Eau Claire. I currently have it for sale on ebay right now. It is a nice triple graphic billhead. Here is my ebay write up:

billhead for The Schmit Brothers Trunk Company manufacturers of trunks, traveling bags and valises of Oshkosh Wisconsin. Great header graphics with three images. Left side is the firm’s mill at Summit Lake, middle is the firm’s factory and left side is the firm’s warehouse. Billhead has creases.
Peter Schmit was born in 1840 in Prussia. He emigrated to the U.S. in June 1854 and located inRacine WI. He was engaged in farming until 1861 when he enlisted in Company D, 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He engaged in the battles at Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Mine Run, Bull Run, Gettysburg, Atlanta, Macon, and Savannah. He was mustered out in June 1865. He came back to Racine and kept a hotel until 1866 when he joined his brother Henry’s trunk business. Henry had established the business in Racine in 1860 as Henry Schmit & Co. In 1867 Henry and brother Peter moved the firm to Oshkosh and ran it as Schmit Bros. At some point another brother John became involved in the firm. In 1884 the company became a stock company under the name The Schmit Brothers Trunk Co. In 1926 the firm was purchased by the Belber Trunk & Bag Co. of Philadelphia. The firm also ran the Eagle Trunk Company.

Here is a trunk label for the firm courtesy of oldtrunks.com
Here is an example of the firm's trunks:
Images courtesy of the Oshkosh Public Library digital collection:

Schmit Bros. Trunk Company, page 1
Schmit Bros. Trunk Company, page 2

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gies & Co. Buffalo NY Billheads

Here are some Gies & Co. billheads. Click here for a nice history of the company from another website. Check out Gies trade cards too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Newest addition to my collection

Well, I meant for this post to be part 2 of the Dart & Van Keuren billhead, but Peter Van Keuren has proved to me a difficult research job. I thought Van Keuren would at least yield a little bit. With an unusual last name, usually I am able to find something. It is exceedingly difficult to research common last names even when you have location information. The few tidbits I was able to uncover possibly related to Van Keuren was there is a later New York directory reference to an Abraham Van Keuren listed as a druggist - possibly a son, nephew or son-in-law who learned the business from Peter which was common in the 19th century. I also found a note for a Peter Van Keuren listed as a postmaster in Northern New York. That's all there is for Mr. Van Keuren.

Now onto a new purchase - an 1836 billhead for Richard Downie brazier and tin plate worker located in Hereford. Lovely left side graphic of the inside of the firm showing workers.