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Steve Reichenbach

May 22, 2018

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Kennel Manufacturing Co. focused on farm equipment

Founded in Bluffton in 1916 - but was under capitalized

Note: The Icon acquired a manuscript titled “A Brief History of Bluffton’s Industrial Developments.” This publication was prepared by the classes in Marketing and Small Business Administration from Bluffton College, under the director of Dr. Howard Raid. Publication date is May 1959. We’ve updated some current addresses so viewers may identify locations.

Kennel Manufacturing Co.
Incorporated Dec. 30, 1916; dissolved Feb. 19, 1919

The Kennel Manufacturing Co. business launched in Bluffton prior to World War I. At the time it had tremendous possibilities, as the items to be manufacture were very much in demand, principally in farm use.

Elmer M. Kennel was instrumental in arranging the set up, renting the temporary quarters and setting up machinery and equipment for the manufacture of farm-related products.

The incorporators were Thomas J. Kennel, S.K. Mosiman, N.W. Cunningham, Albert Winkler and Kennel.

The corporation issued 5,000 shares of common stock at $100 per share and had a $5,000 beginning capital. No records exist of the officers or directors.

Almost before the first finished product was turned out, iron, steel, lumber and a number of other raw materials needed were sealed under government orders due to the American involvement in WWI.

Following the war, business conditions did not warrant reopening the venture until about four or five years later. Another firm contact the company and was willing to purchase patent rights, equipment and materials on hand.

This plan failed due to the worsening economic conditions nationwide. Following this, the advent of trucks for farm use brought about such a serious change in farm equipment that manufacturing the products planned by the company no longer seemed of sufficient demand.

Products intended to be created included farm wagons and a very effective pipe wrench, which was patented. Elmer Kennel said that even to this day (1959), the wrench had not been equaled. After the manufacture of 500 units, tested by several machinists, the wrench was rated superior to anything on the market.

But to price the wrench at a competitive basis with other wrenches on the market, production would have to exceed more than 100,000 units per year.

Because capital was not available the first 500 wrenches were at a price much higher than the general market with little or no profit.

The business venture was then abandoned.

Elmer M. Kennel, Lakeland, Florida
Tom W. Brown, Secretary of State, Ohio

Ruthann Dirks and Fred Lehman