|Wagner Manufacturing Company
interesting to note that although Wagner Manufacturing Company would later gain
international fame for its cast iron cookware, Philip Smith was also in the cookware industry in Sidney, Ohio, at an early date. He founded the Sidney
Hollow Ware Co. in 1886. Wagner eventually bought out Smith's business in 1897. Smith
retired in 1907 after almost half a century as a business and community leader.
John Loughlin's school desk carried the name of Sidney
around the country, but cookware from Sidney put Sidney 'on the map' for good. The
business began as a partnership between several of Mathias
Wagner's sons in the early 1880s. Wagner Manufacturing Company was incorporated in
1891, with the principal owners being Bernard, Milton, Louis, and William Wagner. They
decided that every product made would be cast with the name of their town on the back of
Early advertising stated, "We do not strive to manufacture hollow ware as
cheaply as possible, but as good as it can be made. We cannot afford to put on the market
ware that will not sustain our reputation. The name Wagner is cast on the
bottom of each piece of ware."
Wagner became a major player in the cast iron and aluminum market in this country over
the next half century. Much of its product was sold in Europe as well. Over the years, the
company manufactured not only cookware, but a vast array of other metal products such as
furnace grates, feed troughs, rubbish burners, kettles, and chemists' mortars.
Cookware, however, became Wagner's claim to fame. Wagner pioneered the use of cast
aluminum cookware in 1894. The company won numerous first place awards in international
competitions. Its national market share reached 60% at one time. It is now the oldest
continuously operating manufacturer of cookware in the country. In 1997, the Historical
Society and Wagner erected a plaque commemorating the companys success in the
cookware industry. It can be seen at Wagners office building on 440 Fair Road. The
plaque is fastened to the building. It is located near the front door/entrance.
written in January, 1998 by Rich Wallace
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