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These are the earliest things we can find in our archives about Merts and Riddle, the company that Charles Merts and his brother-in-law Henry Warner Riddle I, bought from ND Clark in 1861.

In 1867, just two years after the end of the Civil War, businness must have been good.



One year later the "Hub" a trade magazine based in New York had a brief paragraph in their magazine about the company in their May 1871 edition, page 39:

Merts & Riddle of Ravenna, O., employ sixty-five hands in their carriage factory, and will soon increase that number to seventy-five. They are building a great many heavy jobs, such as Clarence coaches, coupes, hearses, etc. They intend to turn out five hundred new jobs this year.


The company suffered its first disastrous fire in 1871. It was described in the September 1871 issue of the Hub on page 116.

On Friday, the 11th inst., a fire broke out in the wood working department of Merts & Riddle's extensive carriage-works in Ravenna, O., and gained such rapid headway that all attempts to check the flames were found to be useless, and efforts were turned to clearing the buildings of all the work and material, which was promptly done. Merts & Riddle's loss, including two large frame buildings, which contained varnish rooms, trimming-shop, wood-shops, office, lumber rooms, and old repository, and in addition, one dwelling house, amounts to about $20,000 with no insurance. In less than twenty-four hours after the fire occurred, with their usual enterprise, they commenced clearing away the ruins, and making plans for the erection of a new shop, which is now well under way, and will be, when finished, a fine four-story brick building, 75 feet front, by 110 feet deep, including about 40,000 feet of flooring. It will probably be ready for occupancy within ninety days, when it will constitute one of the largest and best appointed carriage factories in Ohio. P. J. S.

They apparently quickly rebuilt and celebrated the completion of the re-built factory on November 10, 1871.