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Joseph L. Dickelman was born in Oberheim, Germany on July 24, 1839. He emigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1842. They came first to Cleveland, but later removed to New York City, then Albany, and finally Syracuse where his father died in 1849. His mother died in 1850 at Cleveland when he was 11 years old. He worked in farming for three and a half years, then the blacksmith's trade shortly, then ten years in a grist mill, and then a stone quarry for three years where he was in charge. On April 15, 1861 he enlisted in the Co. D, Fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, but was discharged within the year. He than re-enlisted for three years in the same command and was steadily promoted becoming a second lieutenant. In 1864 he was discharged whereby he returned to Cleveland. Later he joined with Capt. C.B. Gibbons helping to recruit a company holding the rank of lieutenant.

He participated in the battles of Rich Mountain, Grenocks Ford, Petersburg, Romney, Blues Gap, Bloomer Gap, Winchester, Strasburg, Front Royal, Seven Days, Second Bull Run, Fredricksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania C.H. In 1860 he located to Patterson. In 1866 he located to Sandusky in the employee of Turner, Day & Wollworth Co., lumber dealers. He was with this firm ten years buying timber in northern Ohio. He then transferred to Tennessee and Kentucky where he did another ten years buying timber. On February 14, 1888 he entered the firm of the Dickelman Manufacturing Company at Forest, becoming manager. He was presidency at the time of his death of both the Dickelman Mfg. Co. (c1888) and the Dickelman Lumber Co. (c1915). At the time of his death he owned approximately 600 acres of land, was a member of the G.A.R. and a Royal Arch Mason. He was buried in Patteson cemetery.

Dickelman Chicken Coops

He married Mary H. Worley, of Patterson, in 1868. He had six daughters, Lizzie H., Maud M. (Swimley), Nettie N. (Purdy), Zoe D. (Test), Cora O. (Stevens), Clara D. (Breese), and one son Lawrence.

The Dickelman Manufacturing Company began business in Forest in 1868. Information was found that during the Civil War Joseph L. Dickelman was a captain in charge of Federal troops of the 4th Ohio Regiment. Other information indicate that Joseph was a sergeant, first sergeant, and first lieutenant during that time. While a First Sergeant he was with the 4th Ohio Infantry. As a lieutenant he was with the 179th Ohio Infantry. Upon his return to Forest he started the company. Throughout the years it had many owners, but to locals it was always The Dickelman Mfg. Co. Established in the late 1860s it operated until the early 1940s.

There is a recorded marriage between Joseph L. Dickelman and Mary A. Worley on 18 Nov 1868. The children of that marriage were Lawrence Dickelman (30 Jan 1886, Louisville, KY), Maud M. Dickelman (3 Dec 1872, Patterson, OH), Lawrence later married Lulu May Craven (15 Feb 1888, De Smet, SD), daughter of Edwin and Amy May Craven.

In August, 1878 J.L. Dickelman build a new barn on his farm south of Forest.


The photograph Dickelman shows the Dickelman Manufacturing Company in Forest around 1900.

Dickelman Mfg. Co.

The photograph Dickelman Mfg. Co. is an aerial view of the Dickelman Manufacturing Co. plant at Forest, Ohio.

In November, 1905 Lawrence Dickelman (age 20) was working as a salesman. He was listed on a database in Wells, Indiana as having married a Miss E. Cornbuck on 3 Nov 1905. His father was Joseph Dickelman and he was listed as having been born in Louisville, Kentucky.

Inside a Coop

A wagon loaded with the product of the Dickleman factory got stuck near Mapletoft & Ernest's corner May 12, 1906 and in the endeavor to get it started a large portion of the load landed in the street.

The Dickelman company purchased several houses in Forest, the locations unknown, and moved them to Patterson street opposite the Pierce home. J.H. Coughlin worked as a traveling commercial salesman for the Dickelman Mfg. Co. He had been the Big Four agent.


Exciting Scene on Forest's
Principal Street—Gun In-
timidates Crowd.

A stuffed figure to represent a man, labeled "W.J. Purdy," mounted on a barrel and burning last Thursday night, was the very unusual sight on Forest's principal street.

Who the father was of this act is not clearly understood, but it has been generally condemned as an injury to the town.

The fire bell was rung and a very large crowd gathered about the scene.

Mr. Purdy, the Forest resident at whom the indignity was aimed, was in the First National Bank at the time, and going to the sidewalk was struck and knocked down by one of two men, although not much injured, owing to the quick action of Atty. M.N. Poe, of Findlay, who happened to be present. Mr. Poe grasped a gun and easily succeeded in driving back the crowd, some of whom were doubtless intent upon further injury to the assaulted man.

The whole matter of the effigy and assault springs from the Dickelman family disagreement, it is understood.

Bumping posts were installed at the west end of the new Dickelman siding by the Pennsylvania pile driver in January, 1908.

Troubles between J.L. Dickelman and his daughter, Lizzie, took place sometime prior to, but concluded on February 26, 1908 when Lizzie got full control of the Dickelman Mfg. Co. Lizzie paid down the sum of $20,625 as a first payment, and entered in obligations to pay up the balance of the 75 percent still due in 6, 12, and 18 months, equal payments. Since that time the company was incorporated, the incorporators being Lizzie Dickelman, Dr. F.F. Swimley, Jno. Smick, Morris Meyer, and C.O. Dickelman, and the capital placed at $175,000. On Tuesday, March 3, 1908 the stockholders met and elected L.H. Dickelman, F.F. Swimley, Robert Breese, John H. Smick, and Morris Meyer directors. They then elected Lizzie H. Dickelman, president and general manager, F.F. Swimley, vice-president, Morris Meyer, treasurer, and C.O. Dickelman, secretary. J.L. Dickelman was not mentioned and the next day made a business trip to Carey.

Contradicting the statements made in the Forest Advertiser to the effect that members of the Dickelman family on the opposite side from J.L. Dickelman and his son-in-law, W.G. Purdy, in the settlement of The Dickelman Mfg. Co.'s plant had nothing to do with the burning of W.G. Purdy in effigy on the streets of Forest. The only members of the Dickelman family in town at the time of the incident were Lizzie H. Dickelman, Cora Dickelman, and Maud (Dickelman) Swimley, the three daughters of J.L. Dickelman, and none of whom had anything to do with the affair. An accusation was made in the paper that one of the shop hands was paid $10 to assault Purdy. The accusation was false. In the conflict between J.L. and Lizzie there was no opposing side except as to Purdy using undue influence to persuade J.L. Dickelman to try and gain control of the plant. J.L. and Lizzie had been in business for 20 years prior to the incident. The partnership expired December 31, 1907. Purdy was a salaried bookkeeper who demanded that in the reorganization (he would not have an) interest in the business "as he did not have the money to pay for said interest, and his business methods not being acceptable to the firm, he was told that he could not have so large an interest in the business," whereupon he threatened to "have a 1/4 interest or wreck the business." and in some way gain influence over J.L. Dickelman, thru his attorney, Merle N. Poe, that Dickelman would sign a power of attorney to Poe taking the business into court.

Ready-to-Ship Chicken Coop

Ready-to-Ship Chicken Coop is a photograph of a completed chicken coop which was originally setting on a pallet ready for shipping. Whoever ordered this coop decided not to opt for windows.

Dickelman Chicken Coop

The Dickelman Chicken Coop photograph is a rendering of what a completed Dickeman chicken coop would look like when ready for shipment. By the number of optional windows would make this a rather large coop.

When the influencing of J.L. Dickelman failed Lizzie Dickelman offered to buy or sell on a $75,000 proposition. Lizzie bought the J.L. Dickelman interest, whereupon Purdy & Poe refused to make good and called the sale off. The plant was then to be sold to the highest bidder. When the price went to $180,000 Lizzie Dickelman stopped bidding and Purdy and J.L. Dickelman won the bid. Failing to make payment the company was offered up again whereby Lizzie Dickelman purchase the company offering J.L. Dickelman the presidency with a salary of $2,500 yearly and all the stock he wanted. There was never a riff between Dickelman family members, but "simply against Purdy in his efforts to influence J.L. Dickelman against his best interests."

Building a Coop

On the 19th of March Lizzie was arrested and charged with "hauling more weight on one of the factory trucks than the piked road regulation permit." Constable Meyers, of Patterson, served the warrant issued by Justice Gardner, of Patterson, on the affidavit of E.T. Lakes that Lizzie had used the streets of the town to haul a load from the Dickelman factory up Forest's main street to the Union freight depot. Lizzie pled "not guilty." After an adjournment a motion from Price & Price, attorneys, was made on the on the grounds that Lizzie was not the owner of the mules, wagons, or horses, and did not haul any loads over said street, but that if they were hauled, they were hauled by the Dickelman Mfg. Co., a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Ohio. Justice Gardner sustained the motion and the case was dismissed.

The Building a Coop photograph show a coop that has windows being installed as an option. It is nearly completed as it is setting on a pallet.

In the middle of April the Dickelman houses which were moved to Patterson street were up for sale or rent. And in May, Pat Case, who was employed at the Dickelman Mfg. Co. had a close call when a 200 pound balance weight fell, striking him a glancing blow on the shoulder. The same month the Review received an order from the Dickelman Mfg. Co. for a 20,000 impressions job in two colors for a revised stock and price list. July found Robert Dunham selling out his share of the local picture show to his partner (unknown) and with Lawrence Dickelman, went to Marshal, Michigan to conduct a picture show there.

Dickelman Mfg. Co.

Workers for Joseph Dickelman gathered October 27, 19?9 in front of the Dickelman Mfg. Co. offices. Original names were written on the reverse of the photograph. One name is Henry Hagerman listed as fifth from the left in the back row. Another is Harry Jenkins listed as third and fifth in the front row, but the name for the fifth position is scratched out and Henry Hagerman written in place of it. There was a Henry Hagerman who was listed as 21 years old on the 1910 census and the individual in the photograph looks about that age, but there is a discrepancy about which is Henry Hagerman and which is Harry Jenkins.

The Dickelman offices are visible in the photograph Dickelman Mfg. Co.. The building was later destroyed when a wreck occurred on the Pennsylvania railroad tracks. In the photograph are:

  • Gurney Hune
  • unknown
  • Harry Jenkins
  • Bill Dice
  • Henry Hagerman
  • Reese Craglow
  • Guy Musgrave
  • Lloyd Mark
  • Pat Garver
  • Elmer Burk
  • unknown
  • Dick Baker
  • Pat Curtin
  • Clarence Hune
  • Pat Chase
  • Martin Holmes
  • John Wheatly
  • Grif Lockard
  • Elmer Hagerman
  • Frank Talbert
  • John Lobert
  • Cliff Spoon
  • Henry Harman
  • Earl Harman
  • Harry Jenkins
  • unknown
  • unknown
  • Elijah Hebler
  • Todd Goling
  • unknown
  • Dess George

When James McKee purchased the John Gardner property and moved there J.L. Dickleman bought the McKee place which was located just west of Patterson. Frank Miller was an employee at the Dickelman factory. He suffered from muscular rheumatism. _ Hune worked for the Dickelman Mfg. Co. He was injured when his hand was crushed in November. One finger had to be amputated.

J.C. Douglass

When J.C. Douglass died in September, 1909 the Dickelman Mfg. Co. shut down entirely in respect to the deceased's memory. He was a partner of Douglass & Ash. Ivan Harpster was placed, as a graduate of Lima Business College, into the Dickelman Mfg. Co. in November. James Stoneburner in the employment of the Dickelman Mfg. Co., was hurt while attempting to back a team of mules up to the freight house door to unload goods. He fell from the dray backwards severely injuring his hip when one of the reigns broke.

Dickelman Chicken Coops

M. Brenneman was hired on at the Dickelman Mfg. Co. after graduating from the Lima Business College in March, 1910. A threatened strike of coal miners induced the Dickleman Mfg. Co. to lay in a supply against a possible shortage. Six car loads were received in March, 1910.


A Dickelman Mfg. Co. mule team spooked and were finally stopped at the Jackson elevator in July, 1911. The cause was never known.

Dickleman started the lumber business in 1915 and Ray Fox was put in charge of that business. In September, C.H. Gollings was sent to Sycamore to take charge of the branch lumber yard of the Dickelman Mfg. Co. It was the fourth of a chain of lumber yards which the company opened. The others were located at Forest, Mt. Victory, and Tiffin. Lawrence Dickelman attended the Marion Fair in the interest of the Dickelman Mfg. Co.

Christmas Card

The Christmas card, dated December 25, 1915, was probably sent to employees and customers of the company.

Lawrence Dickelman was the local manager of the Dickelman Lumber Manufacturing Company in Forest. Don Jones was his assistant. Bert Young did concrete work through the Dickelman Lumber & Mfg. Co.

Dickelman Lumber Mfg. Co.

J.L. Dickleman became very sick in May, 1917 and was considered in such serious condition that he was not expected to recover, but he did enough to recognize and speak to people around him. A specialist called in from Columbus considered his case hopeless. He died after a two week duration from Bright's Disease. He was the oldest member of the Forest Methodist Episcopal and the last surviving member of the building committee which erected the church and parsonage. The Dickelman Mfg. Co. shipped corn cribs and silos in car lots to Ostrander and Nevada the third week of June, 1917. In November Lawrence lost his nickle plated cover off his automobile tank. Frank Ragan, in the employment of the Dickelman Mfg. Co., resigned in December to take a position in Akron.

"If you can't put a gun on your shoulder put a silo on your farm," says the Indiana State Council of Defense in a three colored poster. The Dickelman Mfg. Co. will put a silo on your farm, actually put it there for you, something no other company will do. And when it is there you will have saved money on the purchase, have all the feathers that other companies will ask you to pay for as "extras."

Pauline Rinehart worked in the office of the Dickleman Mfg. Co. between 1916 and 1918. Her resignation in May, 1918 was due to her acceptance of a government position at Cleveland. W.W. Burk became the General Superintendent at the Dickleman Mfg. Co. in June. W.E. Beagle & Son purchased the dray and transfer business conducted for many years by Carl Snider. After purchase, Earl Wilcox was hired as a driver. Snider, in the employed at the Dickelman Mfg. Co. would supply his wagons for the transfer of sold goods.


In 1918 Dickelman Mfg. ran this Advertisement in the "Prairie Farmer's Reliable Directory."

The Dickelman Mfg. Co. donated a a metal corn crib for the American Legion Carvival which started on January 1, 1920. Lawrence Dickelman was elected to the Forest School Board for 1920. J. Del Miller was an agent in the west for the Dickleman Mfg. Company in 1920. L.A. Conklin worked for the Dickleman Mfg. Co. in Illinois. Lester McDaniel was employed by the Dickelman Mfg. Co. He died in October, 1952. In his obituary is stated that he was a superintendent of the Dickelman Mfg. Co. for a number of years. Harry Clinger began working for the company the second week of April. L.A. Conklin was the Dickelman Mfg. Co. representative in Indiana. Ray Phillips was re-hired in the Dickelman offices in September.


Lizzie had three patents attributed to her:

#US1219267 (15 May 1917) grain storehouse construction
#US1226477 (5 May 1917) metal building plate
#US1328132 (13 Jan 1920) ventilated storage warehouse.

W.F. Borset was appointed a director and the vice-president of the First National Bank in January, 1921. He was assistant manager at the Dickelman Mfg. Co. J.M. Townsend, former manager of the Cleveland Hardware Co., took charge of the sales department of the Dickelman Mfg. Co. in January. Edith Cornely, who had once worked for the Dickelman Lumber Co., returned to their employment in January.

A 30-horse power motor was installed at the Dickelman Mfg. Co. to replace the steam power previously used. The motor was first used on February 11, 1925. Leo West was employed by the Dickelman Mfg. Co. when he got married to Hazel Hensel.3 Dec 1925, p1


In 1926 Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hetzel Dickelman, Joseph's second child, patented a ,"brooder," a heated house (next stage after incubation) for rearing chicks without the mother birds. Her patent provided a multi-purpose small farm building, specifying a Frame with adjustable sash for convertible grain bins and brooder houses."

By 1927 it had distributed product to thirty states; west to California, north to North Dakota, east to New Hampshire, and south to Florida. In December of that year the company received from the Kentucky Hatchery in Lexington, Kentucky an order for four Brooder Houses to be shipped to Spain for use on the farm of the King of Spain.

Assembling a Chicken Coop

Therefore, Henry Jenkins and Henry Hagerman could be any of three different individuals in the photograph. The assumption is that the original names were correct and have been entered as such. All the other names are assumed accurate. You might compare the facial features of Elmer Hagerman (second from right middle row) with the facial features of both Henry Hagerman and Harry Jenkins plus the individual sitting fifth from the left front row.

Two unknown men Assembling a Chicken Coop in front of what looks to be a standard 40-foot telegraph rail car delivering to or shipping from the Dickelman Mfg. Co.

Work Crew

Joseph L. Dickelman can be seen in the Work Crew photograph standing in the doorway with many of his workers around him. The individuals listed on the photograph include:

  • unknown
  • Clarence Hune
  • Gurney Hune
  • Pat Case
  • John Wheatly
  • unknown
  • Martin Holmes
  • Elmer Hagerman
  • Frank Talbert
  • Pat Curtin
  • Todd Goling
  • Dick Baker
  • unknown
  • Joseph L. Dickelman
  • unknown
  • unknown
  • Fred Haner
  • Will Ewing
  • James Curtin
  • Charlie Unkard
  • Clyde Eckelberry
  • Jake Cooper
  • Tom Derringer
  • John Kachley

Hand Cars
Telegraph Car
Box Car

A Joseph W. Dickelman died of tuberculosis in El Paso, Texas on December 2, 1903. His body was shipped to Forest for burial in Hueston cemetery. Joseph L. Dickelman died 5 May 1917.

Dickelman Mfg. Co.

Dickelman distributed his products throughout the United States. One individual, a Mr. Wm. Kinderman, of Boonville, Indiana and probably a farmer who purchased a Dickelman product, was sent a letter on July 30, 1900. The substance of that communication can only be speculated, but from the return address on the envelope, The Dickelman Mfg. Co. was being marketed as The Dickelman-Bowers Mfg. Co.


A Mr. John H. Smick was vice president and a member of the Board of Directors for the company in 1925.

Brooder sign

The Brooder Sign on the fence was found under a house in western Ohio. The sign measures 18" x 24" and was probably attached to a brooder at one time. The brooder on the sign is similar to the photograph of the inside of a Brooder House.

Brooder House

Dickelman distributed nationwide. One individual, a Mr. Wm. Kinderman, of Boonville, Indiana and probably a farmer who purchased a Dickelman product, was sent a letter on July 30, 1900. The substance of that communication can only be speculated to, but from the return address on the envelope, The Dickelman Mfg. Co. was being marketed as The Dickelman-Bowers Mfg. Co. To see a brochure on Dickelman Mfg. Co. metal brooder houses, click here (7.2 megs).

G.L. Cowell letter
Tell Hopkins letter, p2
Tell Hopkins letter, p1

On February 8, 1930, the United States Federal Court, of Toledo, rendered a decision in favor of the Dickelman Mfg. Co., of Forest. The court held that the Dickelman patent No. 1,670,932, covering a sheet metal brooder house for baby chicks, to be valid, and that other sheet metal brooder houses that have been manufactured and sold are infringements on the Dickelman patent.

The Dickelman Mfg. Co. published a small booklet, "A Cheap Roof," which consisted of 8 pages of reasons for building good roofs. The date of the booklet is unknown, but probably sometime in the 1930s.

Forest radio fans listened in on the program given by the Dickelman Mfg. Co. over station WOWO, Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The program aired Tuesday evenings of each week from 8 to 8:30 p.m.

A single advertisement for wanting to sell a "used" Dickelman corn crib was published by William A. Mapletoft in September, 1931.

Lawrence Dickelman died in January, 1934. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky on Janurary 30, 1886. He was intered at Patterson cemetery. August fount H.S. Silverthorn and Louis A. Conklin, employees of the Dickelman Mfg. Co. displaying at the Ohio State Fair. In October would-be burglars entered the office of the Dickelman Mfg. & Lumber Co. and attempted to open the safe by knocking off the combination. All they accomplished was to jam the combination.

After the Ohio State Fair and other fairs throughout the state a few Dickelman Corrugated Metal Brooder Houses were sold at $85, complete with metal floors and skids, including the delivery to the farm.

William S. Konold, of Warren, Ohio, was employed by the Dickleman Mfg. Co. in 1937 as their General Sales Manager. He took charge of the company's sales and headquartered himself in Forest. He had been the Business Manager of the National Convention Corporation of Cleveland, Executive Vice-president and General Manager of the Warren Tool and Forge Company, and with Republic Steel Corporation. He said Forest "should be known throughout the nation as the Home of the Dickelman Brooder and Poultry Houses, the houses with the 3-WAY CONTROLLED VENTILATION." The Dickelman Mfg. Co. located to a new office on the second floor of the Swimley block, corner of Lima and Gormley streets. The rooms had undergone extensive repairs and were furnished to accomodate office personnel and equipment. In August the Dickelman Mfg. Co. factory buildings, "of mammoth proportions," were given a coat of aluminum paint. A new heating plant was install for the offcie in October.

Mary Helen Dickelman, wife of J.L. Dickelman, died in August, 1938.

Ray Hempy and Robert Spencer bought the Dickelman Lumber Yard in 1944. The Dickelman Mfg. Co. was sold to the Gramm Truck & Trailer Co., of Delphos. Marvin J. Halsey had at one time worked as a foreman for the Dickelman Mfg. Co.

It was reported that the Dickelman Products Co. leased from Ray O. Hempy a large cement block warehouse east of the Forest Flour Mills to be used in the manufacture of farm wagons. The wagon production start took place in July. On Saturday, February 24th the Dickelman farm on State Route 81, one-half mile west of Patterson went up for auction. In June, Harold Wolf, vice-president of Dickelman Products Co. stated "Dickellman Products Co., like other firms doing war work would be inconvenienced womewhat by reduction in the output of war goods, but that the factory in Forest would depend more on post war civilian needs."

Ivan W. Harpster died in August, 1952. He had at one time worked in the office of the Dickelman Mfg. Co.

Lulu (Craven) Dickelman died in May, 1952. She had been the wife of Lawrence Dickelman. Ralph C. Moore, at one time, worked for Lizzie Dickelman for many years.

These are advertisements, letters, and photographs of some of the structures built by the Dickelman Manufacturing Co. Joseph L. Dickelman was inducted into the Hardin county Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dickelman Chicken Coop
Inside a Coop
Building a brooder house by installing walls & windows