Augustus Charles “Gus” Gruhlke

Death 30 Apr 1935 (aged 85)
Waterloo, DeKalb County, Indiana, USA
Burial Waterloo, DeKalb County, Indiana, USA
Memorial ID 105695847 · View Source
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The Waterloo Press May 2, 1935

Inventor of Standard Electric Cigar Lighters and Held More Patents Than Any Other Lighter
Augustus C. Gruhlke, one of the oldest citizens of Waterloo was found dead in bed in his rooms at the rear of his shop, where he lived just south of the interurban station, at about 6:30 o'clock Tuesday evening. Mr. Gruhlke was 85 years of age and had been in declining health for several months. For many years he lived on West Railroad Street, and after the death of his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Bixler moved in with him. Last year, Mr. and Mrs. Bixler moved out and another family rented the home, but soon left. Later his property was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Russell Robinson and Mr. Gruhlke moved into a small room at the rear of his shop where he lived alone.
On Monday Mr. Gruhke was downtown although he had been quite ill the past week. Tuesday evening about 6:30, William Bixler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Bixler went to his shop to inquire as to Mr. Gruhlke's condition and found him dead in his bed. Indications were that he died without a struggle and that his passing must have been very sudden. Dr. Ish was called later. The county coroner was notified and after investigating the cause of death the body was removed to the Phelps Funeral Home on Wayne Street, from which place the funeral will be held tomorrow.
Mr. Gruhlke was born in Prussia, Germany on March 6, 1850 and when about nine years of age came to America with his parents locating in Pulaski County, Indiana on a farm. At the age of 17 he left home and started out for himself, engaging in farm labour and then began railroading. He came to Waterloo in 1872 and was employed by the old Lake Shore and Southern Michigan Railroad as a target man, operating the old lantern lighted targets at the crossing of the branch line here. A few years later he erected a small building opposite the passenger station on Lincoln Street and started a restaurant which he and his wife conducted in addition to his work as target man. He disposed of the restaurant business in 1899 and about that time resigned his position with the railroad company.
Mr. Gruhlke was an inventor of considerable ability, and worked out many unique contrivances, man of which were never developed. He installed the first electric telephone lines in Waterloo, which was operated between his restaurant, the crossing tower, the frieght house and downtown in addition to several other points.
In 1895 he came out with his best invention, an electric cigar lighter, and formed a partnership with Wm. Kessler of Auburn. For a number of years they manufactured the lighters called the Standard Electric Cigar Lighter. After starting out in the production, Mr. Gruhlke sold out his interests to Mr. Kessler. He then devoted his entire time to inventions of various items, and after improving on the cigar lighter, he again came out with a new lighter and operated under the name of the Star Electric Company. In 1908 he sold out the business again and entered into a partnership with Mr. A. Flack under the name of the Waterloo Cigar Co., and for several years manufactured cigars in large quantities. During this time he invented a cigar bunch making machine which eliminated a great deal of handwork. In addtion to this he invented a spraying device for use in cigar factories and other places where a fine spray was desired.
Mr. Gruhlke had a hobby as a collector and was at one time a celebrated numismatist, and was interested in the publication of a magazine called The Numismatist, published at Monroe, Mich., and also The American Archeologist which he later sold to Warren K. Moorehead of Andover College, which was afterward merged with Popular Science.
He had a large collection of coins in addition to a collection of Indian relics numbering at one time about 26,000 pieces. He had at one time the largest collection of pistols and weapons in the state, as well as a large collection of curiosities of every kind. These collections have been disposed of in recent years.
In 1879 he was united in marriage

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  • Created by: EDM
  • Added: 23 Feb 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 105695847
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Augustus Charles “Gus” Gruhlke (6 Mar 1850–30 Apr 1935), Find A Grave Memorial no. 105695847, citing Waterloo Cemetery, Waterloo, DeKalb County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by EDM (contributor 48043755) .