Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Woolsey Wheel Company

The Woolsey Wheel Company was located for many years at the northwest corner of Water and Fulton Streets. Harlan Hatcher wrote in his book The Western Reserve, that Sandusky wheel factories “turned out more carriage and wagon wheels” than the factories of any other town in the Western Reserve. In the 1850’s, the business began as Pierce, Woolsey & Co. The company manufactured components for wagon and carriage wheels. In the 1860’s, Charles and Rollin Hubbard joined the firm and it was then known as Hubbards and Woolsey.

In 1875, when Fred Woolsey, son of Johnston V. Woolsey, joined the company, the named changed to J. V. Woolsey & Son. Later the business name was changed to the Woolsey Wheel Company, and even later, the business was known as the Woolsey Spoke and Wheel Co. Eventually the business moved to the foot of First Street. The company ceased operations after a fire in 1905.

J.V. Woolsey was listed as the president of the J. W. Woolsey Wheel Company in the 1882-1883 Sandusky City Directory. He was born in New York State, and moved to Sandusky about 1851. J. V. Woolsey died in 1893. He is buried with his wife Ann in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.
J. V. Woolsey filed for several patents. Patent Number 156449, for An Improvement in Wheels for Vehicles, was filed on May 16, 1874. A search for Woolsey and Sandusky in Google Patents will result in several patent applications filed by J. V. Woolsey between 1867 and 1880.

Picture below is the home of Fred M. Woolsey, around 1890, at the southwest corner of Huron Avenue and Adams Street. Though they are barely visible, Lee and Lucille Woolsey are in the horse and cart with their neighbor Jenna Hubbard, and Leontine Woolsey is on the bicycle. Lee, Lucille and Leontine are all children of Fred and Ida Woolsey, and grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. J. V. Woolsey.

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