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Christian Steinmetz

Box manufacturer

-- from Callahan, J. M. (1923). Vol. II. In History of West Virginia, old and new (p. 117). Chicago: American Historical Society.

Christian Steinmetz, Proprietor of Steinmetz Box Company, Wheeling, WV

CHRISTIAN STEINMETZ, proprietor of the Steinmetz paper-box manufactory in the City of Wheeling, was born in the town of Oestrich, on the Rhine, Germany, December 27, 1843, and is to-day one of the veteran business men and honored and influential citizens of Wheeling, in which city he established his home in 1868. He is son of Christian and Sophia (Steinmetz) Steinmetz, both of whom passed their entire lives in Germany, the father having died when the subject of this sketch was a child and the mother having passed the closing years of her life at Frankfort-on-Main.

He whose name introduces this sketch was the only child of his parents and gained his early education in the parochial schools of his native town. At Frankfort-on-Main he learned the trades of book-binding and paper-box making, to which he continued to devote his attention in his native land until 1866, when he came to the United States and settled at Indiana, Pennsylvania. Later he entered the employ of English & Osgood, book-binders in the City of Pittsburgh, that state, where he remained until 1868, when he came to Wheeling and here engaged in the manufacturing of paper boxes for the Wheeling Hinge Company. From this modest inception he has labored earnestly and effectively in the developing and building of the substantial manufacturing enterprise of which he is now the owner. His former factory was at 1221 Main Street, and November 19, 1919, he removed to the modern factory plant which he erected and equipped for the purpose at the corner of Twenty-fifth and Woods streets, the building being four stories in height and 66 by 87 feet in dimensions. The mechanical facilities and all accessories of the plant are of the most approved modern type, and the output includes not only paper boxes in endless varieties but also various types of wooden boxes, including cigar boxes. The products are sold throughout the trade territory normally tributary to Wheeling for a radius of 100 miles, and in the factory is retained a force on an average of from 75 to 100 employees, many of whom are skilled mechanics. Mr. Steinmetz continued as the active executive head of this prosperous industrial enterprise until January, 1920, when he turned the business over to the control of his three sons and one daughter. He is a director of the Citizens-Peoples Trust Company, is a stockholder in the Wheeling Steel Corporation and various local enterprises, and is one of the capitalists of the city that has long represented his home and had the stage of his constructive activities here. His residence is at 2134 Chapline Street. He is affiliated with the Knights of St. George of America, in which he is a director, and is an earnest communicant of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.

In 1870 Mr. Steinmetz wedded Miss Amelia Walter, and she died at Wheeling at the age of twenty-eight years. Agnes, younger of the two children of this union, died at the age of one year; George F., the elder, is one of the owners of the business founded and developed by his father.

In 1877 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Steinmetz to Miss Bernadine Shafer, who was born in Germany, in 1855, and whose death occurred in 1914, she having been a young woman when she came from her native land to the United States and became a resident of Wheeling. Of the children of this second marriage the eldest is Sophia, who is the wife of George P. Erb, of Wheeling. Clement A. and Lawrence C. are associated with their elder brother in the Steinmetz box-manufacturing business, which is a closed company, all stock being owned by members of the family only.

Mr. Steinmetz was far advanced in his foresight of the possibilities that the Wheeling District held, and from time to time invested in many industries that have helped make Wheeling one of the prominent manufacturing cities of this country.

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