• U.S.

Business: Alert Toledo

3 minute read

Last week Curator Blake-More Godwin of the Toledo Museum of Art, pressed a button. Curtains fell in the 19 great display windows in the famed Toledo department store of Lasalle & Koch (pronounced “cook”) revealing 19 vast paintings of Toledo industry.

“We have always felt that Toledo is only as great as its industries,” explained President Alfred B. Koch in describing the origin of this impressive show. In order suitably to glorify these industries, the department store turned to Art. It scorned half measures, hired Arthur Covey, internationally famed mural painter. Six times he visited Toledo and peered appreciatively at Toledo industry. He went to work, telling the story of Toledo with tubes of paint & with brushes.

Seventeen of the canvases relate the visual majesty of 17 Toledo industries. In them rude men ladle out molten metal, neat girls direct bottle-filling machinery, smoke stacks smoke, vast iron wheels whir, newspapers flutter on the city, crowds walk in the rain before the shops, fantastic masses of machinery move. Two additional canvases show Toledo of today—neat, smoking, moving; Toledo of the future—a high, angled sky line rivaling that of Manhattan. The represented industries:

Willys-Overland Co.

Electric Auto-Lite Co.

Toledo Scale Co.

Mather Spring Co.

Toledo Machine & Tool Co.

Toledo Edison Co.

Conklin Pen Manufacturing Co.

Air-Way Electrical Appliance Co.

Page Diary Co.

Toledo Rex Spray Co.

Libbey Glass Manufacturing Co.

Ohio Bell Telephone Co.

Bunting Brass & Bronze Co.

De Vilbiss Manufacturing Co.

Hull Brothers & Haas Co.

Acklin Stamping Co.

Toledo Blade Toledo Daily Times and Toledo News-Bee.

Though this display is directed by private enterprise, it is indicative of Toledo alertness in general. This fall, millions of magazine readers throughout the U. S. are pausing before huge full-page displays of Toledo’s industrial triumphs. For these advertisements (headlined “LEADERSHIP”) the Chamber of Commerce pays. They reveal the personal virtues of leading citizens of industry —of Gordan Mather, president of the Mather Spring Co.; of J. D. Rittenhouse, for 27 years foreman of the enameling department and responsible for the fine finish of Toledo Scales; of many another. They tell Toledo’s advantages: third largest railroad center in the U. S., a municipal university, a greater percentage of home owners than any other city of like size, an art museum endowed with more than $10,000,000.

This art museum is one of Toledo’s dearest prides. The citizens, not contentwith stark commercialism, determined to bring to their city all the concentrated beauty that a staggering sum of money could buy. It stands today one of the finest public collections in the western world. It was unquestionably the influence of this museum that prompted Lasalle & Koch to engage Artist Covey as their window-dresser. Nor did they engage him to help sell shoes and pots and furniture. Not one item of their stock was to be placed in their windows during the twelve days the pictures were on exhibition.

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