Reflections: Singer’s poultry enterprise thrived


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

It’s probably one of the least publicized businesses in Cardington, at least in later years, but from 1880 to 1911 George Singer operated a million dollar poultry business that reached across the United States.

Singer was born, raised and educated in Maryland. He came to Ohio in 1857 and attended Tiffin University and then Ohio Wesleyan University. After one year there he taught school in Morrow County when he also began buying butter and eggs and opened a grocery in Cardington.

When the Civil War began Singer enlisted in Company C, 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, as a private and was made Corporal and later promoted to Sergeant. With his regiment he went south and was in battle at Yazoo Swamps and later in all battles in which it participated until the war’s end. When he became ill he was sent to a hospital in Memphis.

Recovering, he served as clerk in the head surgeon’s office and following discharge, he returned to Cardington and accepted a position as clerk here in the depot. Five years later, in 1877 he established himself in the livery business, dealing in coal and ice. Then in 1880 he began raising fancy poultry merely for a pastime. The business grew rapidly and in 1893 he sold no less than $3,000 worth of eggs.

Feeling the need of better incubator and brooder facilities, he invented the Olentangy incubator and brooder and he took out patents on these. The business thrived and while he alone handled it in 1890, by 1893, he employed 100 people.

He established a branch factory in Omaha, Nebraska, and from that point and from Cardington he shipped his incubators to all parts of the United States, Australia and other foreign countries.

His business building in Cardington, built in 1885, was on North Marion Street, just east of the bridge. A two story brick building there was also a livery barn and sales outlet for coal and ice attached to it. It was from here that Singer sold his chickens and incubators and brooders.

One writer described the business as a “million dollar” enterprise. Singer resided at 313 S. Marion St. The poultry business ended in 1911. I have searched, but cannot find the reason.

Following the horse and buggy era, the stables were razed and the brick building remained with several businesses occupying it through the years including a car wash. The upstairs was used for apartments in later years.

It was razed in 1974 when it was owned by Marjorie Curl.

A seemingly forgotten time in history, but George Singer made an impression with his business ingenuity.

70 years ago, April, 1948: Bean Oliver Sales offered 15% off on a 1.5 HP Chief Garden tractor with a set of cultivators.

60 years ago, April, 1958: The Capitol Theater, Mount Gilead, was showing the movie, “Day of Triumph,” advertised as the greatest story of all time, it was the first sound full color production of the portrayal of Christ.

50 years ago, April, 1968: Nancy Fate was named 1968 Cardington High School May Queen. Her attendants were Vicki Armendinger, Linda McAlister, Bonnie Stapleton, Brenda Rhineberger, Sharon Teasdale, Patricia Heacock, Donna Ackerman, Cynthia Crum, Susan Kelly and Judith McDowell.

Don Webb and Howard Radel were to receive their State Farmer degrees They were among the two percent of the Ohio FFA membership so honored.

The first worship service in the sanctuary of the newly completed St. John Lutheran Church, Windfall, was held March 24. The sanctuary had a seating capacity of 350. The congregation was originally incorporated March 5, 1836. The new church cost approximately $150,000.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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