Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Visit to the Schieble Toy Company Part 2

So, one week later I was working in Dayton, Ohio with a free afternoon on the horizon. I gave Steve Seboldt a call and we arranged to meet at the Ice Avenue Lofts. If you haven’t been to Dayton before you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Dayton has a quaint downtown district filled with medium high-rise buildings that look from the freeway like a pre-plasticville Lionel layout. The Ice Avenue Lofts were easy to find but access controlled, so I found myself lurking around for someone I didn’t know outside the building. After about ten minutes, a group of ladies clutching bottles of wine stopped and asked me what I was doing. Hmm, difficult to know what the best answer would be. I could tell them the truth that I’m here to see the original building for a toy car factory that was here about 90 years ago or… but just then one of the ladies asked if I was here to see Steve. She probably thought I was meeting him about real estate. I gave a uncertain, “yes” and she let me into the lobby.

Upon entering the building I was struck by how “designed” everything was. What once was a factory had been converted into a sheik hipster pad that should definitely appeal to 20 and 30 somethings who want to live in the city. An elevator was on one side and on the other wall, a beautiful print of the building as it looked in 1918 (see picture in part I). On a glass end table lay a set of brochures entitled “The History of 215 Ice Avenue Circa 1918, Schieble Toy and Novelty Company” compiled by Steve Seboldt (see picture excerpt above.) Obviously, I had found the right guy. Just then I heard a friendly, “are you Brent?” I turned around and met Steve. A confident looking man in his late 30’s with a comfortable smile a beer in hand.

Steve and I took the elevator to the top floor where his apartment overlooks the city though large brick archway windows. Steve explained that he had been directly involved in the renovation of this building and that when it was complete he couldn’t resist living in it. From where I stood I could see why. The apartments are spacious and the ceilings a very high complex of crisscrossing girders and wooden beams. All interior walls are new additions and the supporting walls are all left exposed showing the antique brickwork. Steve offered me a beer and we sat in his beautifully appointed kitchen overlooking his living room and the city of Dayton. Steve explained that the building had been abandoned for many years but that some early equipment had remained. Among all the building remnants he had discovered the end of an original Schieble wooden crate. This was now proudly displayed over the kitchen wall. Even with all the renovation it wasn’t difficult to image what this factory used to look like. Heavy equipment for bending and shaping metal on the ground floor, accounting offices on the second floor and executive offices on the top floor. This building looked as if it turned out a lot of toys, and indeed the Schieble Toy and Novelty Company did just that. In part three, I will give a little more history on the DP Clark, Dayton, Schieble connection and take a look at a few friction cars by these companies.


At Wednesday, March 01, 2006, Anonymous Remodeling Contractors said...

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