Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fred J. Hinkey, Blacksmith and Boiler Maker

Fred J. Hinkey was blacksmith in Sandusky for sixty one years. (Here he is pictured in the uniform of the Knights of the Maccabees or the Knights of Pythias -- if you know which it is, let us know in comments.) He started working as a helper in a blacksmith shop, and later he opened his own shop on Market Street, near Franklin Street. In the 1935 Sandusky City Directory, Mr. Hinkey listed these services at his shop: dealer in sheet and bar steel, general blacksmithing, power forging, ship work, and boiler making and repairing. His ad stated that his work was promptly done to order and at the lowest rates. An article in the January 22, 1921 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Mr. Hinkey did not have to lay off employees, as his business kept the workers busy at all times of the year. During the spring fishing season his shop turned out thousands of iron grab hooks used by fisheries for their trap nets.  In the summertime, boats and barges needed repairs and new parts for their machinery. Fall fishing season brought in more repair work. The winter ice season brought with it “a myriad of orders” for new ice handling equipment and repairs to the old equipment. Besides providing repairs to machinery, Mr. Hinkey also had six boiler makers who made and repaired boilers in an area of about a sixty mile radius around Sandusky.  He stated that the three things which contributed to his success were courtesy, good workmanship, and promptness.

These ice tongs were made at Fred Hinkey’s shop, and can be seen at the Industry Room of the Follett House Museum.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Fred’s son Leroy M. Hinkey provided portable arc welding services to Sandusky area residents. Leroy Hinkey later moved to the Dayton area.

Fred J. Hinkey passed away on June 27, 1939. His funeral was held at his home on West Market Street. The Garfield Company of the Knights of Pythias held graveside services for Mr. Hinkey at Oakland Cemetery. Fred J. Hinkey was survived by three sons and a sister. His wife Dorothy had died in 1932.

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