- - - MERCHANTS - - -

Seltzer & Steele

The partnership of Seltzer & Steele was organized in 1879/1880
with each individual bringing his unique talent to their business.
Joseph Albert Seltzer was born March 12, 1850 in North
Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. He was probably
the youngest of at least four children of Daniel and
Elizabeth Kochendorfer / Seltzer. His parents remained
in Lebanon County, but Joseph moved west and arrived
in the Shelby area about 1870. While only 20, he at once
became involved with the business trade in Shelby.
He was at first associated with Thomas Mickey & Co.
and learned the dry goods business. In April, 1873
Joseph married Mary Elizabeth Strock, a daughter of
Daniel and Eliza J. Strock. Over the years they raised a
family of four children. After several years of experience
in the dry goods trade, he then joined forces with
H. W. Steele to form Seltzer & Steele.
Harrison Warner Steele was born in Ross Twp., Luzerne
County, Pennsylvania in December of 1850. His parents
were Stephen and Melinda Steele and he had at least six
older siblings. Harrison was working on the home farm in
1870 and sometime in the next few years (c1873) he met
and married Emma A. Rice. Their only child, Daisy Ruth
was born in 1874. By 1876, their new family had left both
their own families in Pennsylvania and moved to Shelby,
Ohio where Harrison almost immediately entered into
the hardware business in a partnership with C. W. Mann.
Mann & Steele



Mann and Steele located their business on East Main Street in Shelby.
The ad (at left) indicates they were located west of Lybarger & Son in East Shelby (Shelby's first lots were West of Gamble St.) and 18 years passed before lots were laid out on the "East" side of Shelby.
They were probably located on the first floor of the original Opera House at the corner of High & Broadway (Main & Broadway).
As you can see, when they formed their business, they acquired the stock of a former hardware business: G. Shook & Son.
The first Opera house burned in the very early
1880s and it appears that Mann & Steele suffered from that fire.
Advertisement from The Shelby News, April, 1880........................................................ ...................................................... .
Several months after the above advertisement, the following
ad appeared in the Shelby Times newspaper.

(Galss we assume is Glass)
Evidently by this time, they have had the fire and are attempting
to recover from the disruption, reassure their patrons, and continue
their daily trade.

It was at about this time that Joseph Seltzer and H. W. Steele
decided to pool their talents and form the Seltzer & Steele
hardware business. This was a partnership that would
endure in some form for many years.

The Republican Industrial Edition
Joseph Seltzer & Harrison Steele at the time of their early partnership.
The following is abstracted from an article in the Republican
Industrial Edition - 1897 - H. E. Sheets, Editor.
 "The hardware firm of Seltzer & Steele, the subject of this half tone engraving (above) herewith presented, is one of which the city of Shelby may well feel proud, not only from the fact that their business blocks on West Main Street (68-70 West Main St.) add much to the beauty of the city but from the fact that their store is one that is creditable to any city. Its appearance does much toward giving the city a commercial standing with other towns, and its business relations. It has already done much for the community in giving to our people a complete stock of hardware, stoves, tinware, paints, oils, varnishes, bicycles, robes and horse blankets. They are agents for the famous Ideal bicycles manufactured in Shelby and last season sold over one hundred of this special make.
They also have a tin shop in connection, doing all kinds of repair work, roofing and spouting, and make a specialty of slate roofing on either town or country property. The store is always a model of system and neatness, showing at various seasons those articles which climatic conditions necessitate, or allow as luxuries, such as stoves, bicycles, etc.
With such men as these at its head, the institution has earned the reputation which it now enjoys in the community. From a business of $30,000 per year at its inception, it has grown to be one of over $100, 000 per year with a steady increase. They are the owners of four store fronts on Main Street (1897) and various warehouses and are interested in thirty-five residences which are now occupied by working-men.
They make a specialty of McCormick machinery, and claim the honor of having delivered more of these machines in one day than any other agent in the United States. In one day in 1893 they delivered one hundred and eighty-six McCormick machines, making a parade over one and one-half miles in length, and of such a display as has never been shown elsewhere. The firm has demonstrated its belief in the future of Shelby both in the excellence of its store and also in the other investments it has made, and many a large town will not show a more thriving institution in business, stock, or methods of transaction. In every detail does it fill the bill, not only for today, but for years to come."

Seltzer & Steele - West Main Street, Shelby - c. 1890 (Shelby Museum Photo)
Joseph Seltzer (left), Harrison Steele (middle)
It was probably this business - partner experience of nearly
20 years that (3 years after the above article) gave birth to their
next business experience: The Spring Hinge Company.
These two men continued in that business for many years.

Courtesy of The Daily Globe - April 1906
Both were involved in many of the growing businesses of early
Shelby and neither "retired" until they had pursued many business
interests. "Uncle Joe" as he was known in his later years, was
associated with the Ohio Seamless Tube Co., and the Shelby Cycle
Company. He was at one time a bank director, farmer, as well as
serving the community as a councilman for several terms. He gifted
the city the land for Seltzer Park in memory of his son Howard.
Joseph Seltzer died February 18, 1929, 3 weeks after an automobile
accident in Cleveland, Ohio. His wife Mary Elizabeth died a year later
on January 6, 1930. Both are buried in Oakland Cemetery.
Harrison Steele became first the treasurer and then the president
of the Shelby Spring Hinge Company. He was president of the
First National Bank of Shelby, and closely associated with the
Shelby Building and Loan. He continued his work until 2 months
before his death, March 13, 1938. His wife Emma Rice / Steele
died April 11, 1941. Both are buried at Oakland Cemetery.

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