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Biography: Charles W. Franzheim

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Wheeling Businessman

February 3, 1853-October 22, 1912

-from "HISTORY OF WHEELING and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens." Edited & Compiled by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1902; p. 762-63.

CHARLES W. FRANZHEIM, a prominent citizen of Wheeling, West Virginia, is president of the Wheeling Pottery Company, the first pottery works established in the city, and is also president of the Riverside Pottery Company. Mr. Franzheim was born in Wheeling, in February, 1853, and is a son of George W. And Mary A. (Hornung) Franzheim.

George W. Franzheim was born in 1824, in Waechtersbach, near Frankfort, Germany, and in 1840 crossed the Atlantic to this country, locating in the city of Wheeling. He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank (now Bank of the Ohio Valley), also of the Franklin Insurance Company of Wheeling, and is a member of the city council and board of county commissioners for many years. He served in the militia as a major during the Civil War. He was united in marriage at Cincinnati, Ohio, with Mary A. Hornung, who was born at Allentown, Pennsylvania, of German parentage, and who now resides at Echo Point.

Six sons blessed this union: Charles W.; George W., Jr., deceased; Louis H., deceased; Albert A., contractor and ex-sheriff; Henry C., a member of the firm of G. Mendel & Company; and Edward B., the well-known architect of Echo Point.

The Wheeling Pottery Company was organized and incorporated in 1879, and Charles W. Franzheim was one of the original stockholders and a member of the board of directors, which included: George K. Wheat, William A. Isett, Edward M. Pearson and D. J. McKee. Our subject has been an officer of the company since it's inception and has served in the capacity of president and general manager since the spring of 1893. The first buildings were on the corner of Thirty-first and Chapline Streets, where they are still operating eight kilns. The plant at Woods and Thirty-first Streets, where the office is also located, was erected in 1889, and a higher grade of goods is there manufactured. The latter is also an eight-kiln factory, and both are built of brick. They employ some 450 men, including an office force of 10. They make a specialty of fine cameo china and ornamental ware, also a variety of ornamental art goods, ranking favorably with the product of any other factory in the country. Mr. Franzheim, as president, is general manager and oversees all the work of the concern. He is also president and general manager of the Riverside Pottery Company, which was organized and incorporated in April, 1899, under practically the same management and ownership. In addition to his duties in connection with the potteries, Mr. Franzheim is also vice-president of the German Bank of Wheeling, vice-president of the Franklin Fire Insurance Company of Wheeling, trustee of the Mutual Savings Bank, and president of the Vance Faience Company, which is located at Tiltonville and is exclusively engaged in the manufacture of art goods. Our subject graduated as a civil engineer in 1872, but has always been engaged in the pottery business. From 1889 until 1893 he was the president and general manager of the Warwick China Company. He is a director of the Wheeling Board of Trade.

Mr. Franzheim was united in marriage in 1880 with Lyda H. Merts, of Ravenna, Ohio, she being a native of that state, and they have five children: C. Merts; George W.; Mary R,; Catherine M.; and H. Kenneth. Mr. Franzheim has a very fine home on the Island. In politics, he is a stanch Republican. He is one of the trustees of the First Presbyterian Church, and is a man whose home is his club and lodge.

Additional Resources

Resources in the Library:
▶ Archives: Charles W. Franzheim correspondence, non-circulating. View by appointment only. Please call 304-232-0244 or ask at the reference desk to make an appointment. 
  ▶ View finding aid for this collection   |    ▶ View images from this collection on Flickr 

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