O, FOR HISTORY: The founding of DELCO

July 21, 1909: Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, DECLO, is incorporated.

Yesterday, while researching Col. Edward Deeds and DELCO, I learned that the company was formed on July 21, 1909 and that their first manufacturing plant was on the northwest Dayton corner of St. Clair and Fourth streets. The Barn Gang needed a larger facility upon signing their contract with Cadillac and opened their office in the United Brethren Building on Main Street, two blocks west of St. Clair and Fourth.

I checked with Dayton historian, Andrew Hershner, to see if the current St. Clair Lofts was the same building I saw on the way to The Neon. Andrew responded with:

“The building known today as the St. Clair Lofts was occupied by The Dayton Engineering Laboratory Company( DELCO). This is where Charles Kettering and Edward Deeds first began production of the automobile self starter. Built in 1910 the building was a spec loft industrial space known as the Beaver Power Building. At that time spec loft industrial spaces were called “power buildings”, as they had their own power supply, at first from steam prime movers and belt systems and later via on-site electric generators. It was built by Fredrick Phillip Beaver who was a local industrialist, in the tobacco trade in the 1880s and later founder of the Beaver Soap Company (“Grandpa’s Wonder Soap”). Through 1911 demand for the automobile self starter was so great and so insistent that additional manufacturing space was required by DELCO and negotiations were made with Beaver to construct a new building on First St. to accommodate their specific needs. The First St. building would be known as Beaver Power Building #2 and later DELCO Products Plant 1 (now the Delco Lofts). It was completed in 1912 but DELCO had actually moved in and started operations before it was finished. The connection of the two buildings can be seen today as they both have a similar form.”

Here are two articles telling DELCO’s story beyond The Barn Gang:

The first article:

The Founding of DELCO

The second article:

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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