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Paper Folding Machines

The early 1880s saw the development of another industry in which Sidney companies would play a major role for several decades. A. T. Boscom and L. M. Studevant founded the Boscom Folding Machine Company in 1884. Mr. Boscom, the inventor, and Mr. Studevant, the financier, produced newspaper folding machines. After Boscom retired a few years later, the firm’s name eventually became the Eclipse Folding Machine Company. It was located in the former Dunson Auto Supply Co. building at 328 N. Main Avenue.

George Mentges founded Mentges Folder Company in 1897. He began the business in his garage, and later constructed a building when business increased. It was located at the southern terminus of Oak Avenue. The building (shown below) can still be seen located behind the Bonnyconnellan Castle which is on Walnut Avenue.

Both companies prospered. A third business joined the field in 1917 when L.K. Aldrich (along with Ray Anderson and several friends) formed the Liberty Folder Company. At one time, Aldrich held 37 patents on folding machines. By 1935, the owners of Liberty Folder had purchased both the Eclipse and Mentges companies. In the same year, Russell Baum joined Liberty Folder as a salesman. He was considered by many a marketing genius. Mr. Baum had acquired a controlling interest in the company stock by 1947. The folding machines became known as 'Baum' folders.

By 1964, this manufacturing operation was spread throughout Sidney, Ohio, in four locations with the principal plant at the corner of Brooklyn Avenue and Court Streets. A small machine shop was located on Ohio Avenue, an assembly plant on Oak Street and a combination warehouse/model shop on Wapak Road. In March, 1965, Baumfolder announced its plans to consolidate all facilities in one location on a 15 acre site at Campbell Road. Today, the company is still in existence. Baumfolder Corporation is located at 1660 Campbell Road across from Copeland Corporation.

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Industry segment written in January, 1998 by Rich Wallace

 

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