Monday, November 13, 2006

The Wayne Novelty Works Co. ~ A Business that Failed in Waynesville

A healthy economic indicator in the late 1870s for the northeast corner of Warren Co., Ohio was the planning for and establishment in Waynesville of The Wayne Novelty Works Company.

It was reported in the Miami-Gazette Weekly Newspaper on December 17th, 1879 that “The Wayne Novelty Works Co. will be in active operation by the first of January. They have a number of orders already on file. The engine and boilers are now being placed in position, with other machinery necessary to carry on the work. The foundry building is completed, as is also the cupola, and the prospects of the enterprise are very flattering."

It would open at the end of 1879 and would make cast iron novelties, e.g. dark green frog doorstops, until 1885. Although the prospects had looked good for this industry, it was closed by May 26th, 1880 with little prospect of re-opening. It did, but only survived until 1885.

The large frame building which housed the foundary was later bought by William H. Thorpe, the son of Andrew J. Thorpe and his wife Mirriam Fallis. On April 7, 1900 around 10:30 A.M., a fire broke out in the old foundary building. By the time it was over, all the buildings on the west side of North Main Street between North and Chapman Streets had been destroyed, all but two. Photographs of the destruction have surrived: The Great Fire of April 7th, 1900.


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