|Birth: ||Sep. 15, 1866|
|Death: ||Apr. 14, 1934|
Charles Ettinger was the son of Charles Ettinger and Rebecca J. Romig Ettinger, who became Diehl when she remarried after Charles' death. Charles' marriage license application tells us that he was born in East Texas, Pennsylvania. By the time of his marriage on June 30, 1891, he'd become a resident of Allentown, or so it claims; the church record of the union says he was still a resident of East Texas while his bride was living in Allentown. His early church was Bethany United Methodist in Wescosville (with his parents) and he is in their records as baptized December 30, 1866 by Rev. D. Z. Kembel, but there called "Charles William" though it is him as his parents are correctly named.
Likewise, a hitherto unknown brother was also baptized there May 14, 1871, Harry Jonas Ettinger, born October 13, 1870, of the same parents and by Rev. Frank Siechrist. Another "new" brother was also christened at Bethany- born March 25, 1879 and baptized June 22, 1879 was Edwin Mather, and again, his parents are named so there is no mistaking him. His parents were his sponsors when a Rev. Baker did the deed... but his name was Edwin Nathan Ettinger; I know this man and his date of birth matches.
Both age 24, Charles and Emma A C Clauss married at Ebenezer Evangelical Church in Allentown, and were later members of Bethany Evangelical (224 N. 6th, which spun off 430 members from Ebenezer) and later still were members of Grace Evangelical Congregational Church at 137 North 15th Street in Allentown. In fact, Charles was chairman of the building committee when Grace was beginning in 1906. The couple were the parents of Paul Clauss Ettinger, Henry Clauss Ettinger, and John Clauss Ettinger. They also had two children who died young or were stillborn, one of whom was named Walter or Walnut Ettinger, the other unknown. Paul, Henry, John and Walter were all baptized at Bethany.
The 1895 city directory of Allentown shows Charles' data as "Chas H Ettinger, bookkeeper, 137 N. 8th St, (wife) Emma."
Charles was from East Texas, Pennsylvania, an Allentown suburb, but once in Allentown, he was originally a bookkeeper for a department store. I was told it was either Leh's or Zollinger-Harned, and checking the dates each began, I found he must have worked at Leh's since Zollinger's began about 1906-9 while Leh's existed since the 1850's (originally a dry goods store it switched to a more modern department store layout in 1911). The 1900 census shows him still working as a bookkeeper, but that year things would change. The May 17th, 1900 Allentown Leader newspaper announced the founding of a copartnership between Charles, George B. Mell and N. Albert Kistler. These three gents were founders of what would become C.H. Ettinger and Sons, an Allentown, Pennsylvania business that did plumbing, tin, roof, and stove work. Initially begun at 123 N. 7th Street in Allentown, it was called the Ettinger-Mell Company (or Ettinger, Mell and Company Limited).
George B. Mell, a son of Daniel Mell of Lebanon County, must have been drawn to Allentown as many were at the time of growth near the turn of the century to 1900. A tinsmith by the 1900 census, George B. Mell died in June of 1903, about age 35, falling off the top of a high building. Tinsmiths often did roofing, so he may have been at work. His widow was Katie B. Mell, daughter of Nathan, and 1900's census said they had no living children. I found a Lebanon newspaper article stating that Mell was laid to rest in Allentown, but no cemetery is named. In June of 2014, I found another obit for him in the Allentown Leader that did. Genealogy found online suggests his widow Katie B. (nee Berk) Mell, who was nine or 10 years younger, lived a long life without him, passing in 1978 at about 103 years old.
The other partner, N. Albert Kistler was the uncle of Charles' wife Emma, that is, her mother's sister, Aunt Mary (nee Bear) Kistler's husband. In any case, N. Albert Kistler does not seem to have been long with the firm, as when in June of 2014 I found the announcement of the partnership, it was the first and only reference I have seen to his association with the company.
The company structure changed in 1906 after Mell died. In 1908 Charles bought out a plumbing and steamfitting company and brought his brother Edwin N. Ettinger into the business to become C. H. Ettinger and Company. It was probably after Charles' brother Edwin died or retired that it became C. H. Ettinger and Sons. My grandpa was one of those sons. Born near the turn of the century, there is a picture of him in a company truck from perhaps the 20's or 30's and it shows the name still as "Company" rather than "Sons". It is a new truck, or at the least, a newly painted one, designed for advertising Haag washers in which they dealt, offering consumers a demonstration deal to have their wash done for free - and in the back bed of the truck, one such washer is displayed.
1908 would be significant for one other whimsical reason - as the automobile was slowly moving into greater use, and Allentown had more drivers than any other city of its size that year, there were still a large number of people using horses for transport. That year there was the largest parade of its kind in Allentown of horse users and fanciers. Charles H. Ettinger Company was represented in the parade by a horse named Captain.
One might wonder (at least I do) how two boys like Charles and his brother Edwin got into plumbing, heating, stoves and washers when they came from a background as young laborers in the ore mines in East Texas, Pennsylvania, in an area known as "the Flats". The mining was "pit mining", and required shafts to be drilled, so that would bring some mechanical experience, but what of plumbing experience? My best guess is based on reading about those mines; it seems much of the business revolved around the washing of the ore, so perhaps they got involved in the setting up or operation of equipment for that washing. Growing up I had never heard much about mining in this area, but there was quite a boom of it in the mid to late 1800's. It was the iron age, and the need of iron helped drive the development of trains to haul it.
Anyway, local farmers would give up their fields to enjoy the profits of ore mining on their land, and there was a concern the entire area would be left ugly and pitted from the work being done. Some re-conversion of the land, coupled with time have shown this not to be true, though probably such pits remain, unrecognized today for what they are. All my young life, I knew there was a nearby place called "Orefield" but never stopped to think about the name until I saw the census showing my Ettingers working in mining, as miners or mine carpenters. My first thought was "What mining? There was no coal mining around here." True, but there was ore mining, and a lot of it, and it may be where my Ettinger boys got some hands-on training in plumbing, washing the ore. The area does still have some remaining furnaces, where the ore was heated to further remove impurities, but before that could happen, all the clay that was prevalent where the ore was found had to be removed from the ore.
Naturally, I wondered how the washing was done. Though I could find no specific local information, it seems that in 1842 an ore washer was developed which was basically two rotating logs with replaceable iron paddles sticking out. The ore was in a trough between the logs, and when the logs were spun, water was poured in which took the clay and other sediment downwards, while the rotation moved the cleaned ore to the top, ready to be removed for further processing. Advancement in well drilling to provide the
water and in pumping technology allowed the log washer to be operated right at the mining site.
To my astonishment, more than two years after I wrote the above speculation, in October of 2015 I found my supposition was right - that this ore mining and washing did indeed influence Charles' choice of career because it had been his father's. I found estate notices of his father's estate to be sold by his mother, and they include items from this profession; "A stationary engine, 2 boilers, a washery, a pump, an engine and boiler house, a shanty, 4 carts nearly new, 4 cart harnesses, a lot of mining tools,and a variety of other articles." Indeed, the notices even state the name of the business - "Hoffman & Ettinger" and explain that these goods represent an undivided half-interest in the company.
This ore mining and washing industry accounts for why areas around Macungie and East Texas have large areas of clay dumps, evidence of where the washing once took place. They are not usually visible to the eye, but they remain under whatever has managed to grow on top. Funnily, this area is facing its past right now. An expensive high end shopping area is being planned for near Krock's Road and Hamilton/Rte. 222, one hoped to be finer than the Promenade Shops in Center Valley. The developers recently found out that the land they have selected for the new shops will not support any structure of serious weight because of the clay wash deposits underneath. The soil requires mediation first to be able to hold structures, and they are hoping to receive tax breaks to get the shopping center built. Good luck with that.
Charles passed away, apparently at home, of a stroke and sudden heart issues. I've got his death certificate filed away.
Students of Allentown history and Ettinger researchers will see info about C. H. Ettinger and assume a relationship that I cannot yet prove. There was another Ettinger family in the same business in Allentown. I know, what are the odds? But there was a competing business. When I first saw it, I thought surely this was a branch of my clan and there had been a family squabble - not out of the question with some of my cantankerous Ettingers. The other clan's business was begun (before ours) by Amos Ettinger who worked with his probable brother in law, Nathan Laudenschlager. Some of Amos' kids were involved in the business too. Supposedly the local phrase "Ettinger's Stove Store" referred to their business.
Like ours, it began with copper and tinsmithing and branched out. But no, I have not been able to find any connection yet between our two families. Amos' clan was not far from mine (New Tripoli) but they went to Allentown before mine, and as far back as I can trace my line, there's no connection. I have a hunch way back there may have been, back before any one came to Allentown, but heaven knows if that will ever be proven or disproven.
Charles H Ettinger (1839 - 1884)
Rebecca J Romig Ettinger (1845 - 1927)
Emma Amelia Clauss Ettinger (1866 - 1941)
Infant Boy Ettinger (1892 - 1892)*
Walter Clauss Ettinger (1894 - 1895)*
Paul Clauss Ettinger (1896 - 1968)*
Henry Clauss Ettinger (1900 - 1971)*
John Clauss Ettinger (1903 - 1976)*
Alice Rebecca Ettinger Romig (1864 - 1931)*
Charles H Ettinger (1866 - 1934)
Edwin Nathan Ettinger (1879 - 1944)*
Plot: Vault 8, mausoleum
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Jun 21, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14665230