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Village of Delta

Business and Industrial History



Past and Present







The above Ad was in National Geographic magazine in 1917




 Founded in 1883 in Delta, Ohio



THE OVAL WOOD DISH COMPANY, with principal offices at Delta and works at Traverse City, Mich. is one of the leading business enterprises of Fulton county. It was incorporated in 1884 by J. M. Longnecker, of Delta; Henry S. Hull, of Wauseon; and A. S. Flack, of Tiffin, with a capital stock of $50,000. The primary purpose of the company was the manufacture of the oval, wood dish, but since it first commenced business it’s scope has been widened to it luck among its products wire end dishes, clothes-pins, wooden wash-boards, and certain grades of lumber. As the hard or sugar-maple is the only wood used in the manufacture of the wooden butter-dish the works were established at -Traverse City, soon after incorporation, in order to more easily obtain suitable timber. The plant is under the personal supervision of the president, Henry S. Hull, and the offices at, Delta, where the general business of the company is transacted, are in charge of Mr. Longnecker and a corps of capable assistants. Over three hundred people find remunerative employment in the various departments of this concern; the original incorporators still control the affairs of the company, and the output has grown to mammoth proportions.  The wooden butter-dish came as an innovation and a boon to grocers and dealers in meats. If has been generally introduced to the trade throughout the United States and Canada, and is fast coming into popular favor in European Countries.  The wooden dish was invented by S. H. Smith, formerly a resident of Delta, but now of Hillsdale, Mich., but it remained for J. M. Longnecker to apply the basic principle underlying its production.  It is largely due to his business sagacity that the Oval Wood Dish Company owes its existence, and the great degree of success it has attained is largely due to his unceasing efforts, his business acumen and the high order of his executive ability and of those who he has associated with him. But the establishment of this industry—of itself a great triumph in the industrial world—is not the only line in which Mr. Longnecker has shown himself to be a useful, public-spirited and consequently a highly appreciated citizen of the community in which he lives. He was largely instrumental in securing the passage through Delta and Fulton county of the Toledo and Indiana electric railway, one of the best-equipped electric lines in the State of Ohio.  As president of this corporation he has always been a potent factor in shaping its affairs, and with that same quick perception and tenacity of purpose that have distinguished his course in other undertakings, he has placed the road among the popular and successful lines of the country.  In 1900 he erected a finer three-story brick hotel, furnished it throughout and made it ready for guests. The result is that Delta has one of the best appointed and most popular hotels in Northwestern Ohio, "The Lincoln," comparing favorably with the leading hostelries of some cities twice as large. Mr. Longnecker is a native of the "Keystone State," having been born in Cumberland County, Pa., and there reared and educated. While still in his teens he, like many- another gallant youth of that great commonwealth, heard the call of his country, and in the dark days of the Civil war enrolled as a musician in Company B, Forty-seventh Pennsylvania volunteer militia.  After three months in this service he enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and Ninety-second Pennsylvania volunteer infantry, where he served until the close of the war. In both organizations his lot was cast with the Army of the Potomac, there he was an active participant in some of the most stirring and decisive engagements of the war. When war against Spain was declared in the spring of 1898 he again offered his services to his country and was made a United States paymaster. In this capacity he was stationed most of the time at Washington, D. C., where he was engaged in paying mileage and allowances to officers and men. His titles in this line of work were discharged with the same thoroughness and fidelity that have marked the conduct of his private undertakings.  Mr. Longnecker located at Delta in 1870, and soon became identified with the progress and development of that beautiful little city. Throughout his entire residence, of more than a third of a century there, his career has been distinguished by patriotism, progressiveness and persistence. Always true to his local, state and national institutions, yet filled with a desire to see them keep pace with the world's 'progress, he never swerves a line from what he conceives to be the highest duties of a citizen. Politically he is a stanch supporter of Republican principles, but has never been a seeker for public office, finding his highest satisfaction in assisting worthy men to positions of trust and responsibility, that his political principles may be properly sustained and his party's creed vindicated. In the councils of Free 'Masonry Mr. Longnecker occupies a high place and takes special interest in the deliberations of that ancient and honorable fraternity. In his domestic relations he is to be emulated, if not envied. For a life companion he selected Miss Almeda, daughter of Simon Zimmerman, one of the pioneers of Fulton county. To this happy union have been torn four sons, each an honor to his parents. Charles S. is the owner of the Delta electric light plant, in which he is doing a prosperous business, and has displayed many of those sterling qualities that have characterized his worthy father; Fred M. is associated with his father in business ; Benjamin F. is a graduate of the New York School of Law and is rapidly working his way to eminence in the legal profession, and Edgar B. is attending college at Cleveland, Ohio.



James M. Longnecker mausoleum in Greenlawn Cemetery

James M. Longnecker Mausoleum in Greenlawn Cemetery



Oval Wood Dish Company


The Oval Wood Dish Company was founded in 1883 in Delta, Ohio by James Longnecker and incorporated in 1884 as stated above.  Four years later, the company relocated to Mancelona, Michigan. There they manufactured wooden dishes, made of a single piece of wood, scooped out to form a bowl a sixteenth of an inch thick.  The bowls were disposable containers used by butchers as temporary containers for the ground beef and other meats purchased by customers. It was moved to Traverse City Michigan in 1892 but by 1915, due to the over-harvesting of the trees, it led to the serious decline of the state's lumber industry. Lack of wood forced the company in 1916 to relocate to Tupper Lake, N.Y., where lumber supplies continued to be plentiful. When the company moved, it took 50 Traverse City families with them, nearly 250 people, devastating the local economy.  It remained in operation in New York till around 2005.  The business adapted to the times and in 1964, Roger Sullivan and local attorney Adam Palmer purchased the woodenware division of Oval Wood Dish Corp and established O.W.D., Inc.  Mr. Sullivan purchased Mr. Palmer’s interest in the company after a few years and the company grew from a small regional venture into the second largest plastic utensil manufacturer in the world. 

Click here to read more about operations 1916-1964


Click here to read Roger Sullivan's Obituary


Click for more on Longnecker Family


Some 1960 Businesses

Click for larger view and more information



Davenport Hardware Store

Delta Yearbook Ad from  1963





Obituary of Mrs. Davenport former owner of Hardware Store



Markey Bronze B Circa 1930's



Can You Name Anyone in this Photo?

Click Here to go to Enlarged View and another with individuals numbered


Delta Yearbook Ad from 1964



"The Winds of Change of Change Sweep into Delta"

Business Venture Magazine 1996

by Sam Allen

Note: this is a very large file, please allow time for it to load




North Star BlueScope Steel




Worthington Steel


Bailey Oxside, Delta, Ohio


Calendar of Sesquicentennial Events

Click Here


Table of Contents Outline



Links to Other Pages




Sesquicentennial Committee Appreciation Page




Early Delta History




Delta Park History


Delta Photos of the Past


1860 Federal Census list for Village of Delta

with other facts and biographical information of the early settlers


Mary Augusta WOOD

First child born in village of Delta


Delta Antique Building Collapses

June 2008




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