The Bartholomew Company

The Bartholomew Company was started sometime between 1875 to 1880. Its original location was in Iowa. I have a catalog from the early 1900s before 1910 that lists two addresses:

The Bartholomew Company
117 Fredonia Avenue
Peoria, Illinois

It shows the factory for that location which is a three-story brick building with a large smoke stack and an adjacent one or two story building. I would say that the factory building in total is probably 50-75,000 sq. ft.

Also shown is an address in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 229 S. Second St.

The catalog specifically states that the peanut roaster factory is in Peoria, Illinois. I would say the combination wagon for peanuts and popcorn were made in Philadelphia.

In the early 1970's when I first started to write the history of the popcorn industry, the Bartholomew Company had operated out of Belleville, New Jersey for a number of years. Probably from the 1940s, the war years, and onward until they stopped doing business in the early 1970's.

O.Y. Bartholomew had a son who was the last person to manage the business in New Jersey. At the same time, he apparently owned a three-story factory building in Chicago that had been used for manufacturing and had literature and all of the invoice information from almost the very beginning.

Jeff Neble had interviewed the sister of O.Y. Bartholomew who at the time of the interview was losing her memory and her concentration. She claimed the family dated back to the revolutionary war. When he was living and working in Los Angles, after acquiring the equipment, a girl came to see him at an antique show who claimed her father was related to Bartholomew and would like to go back to manufacturing the automobile they made.

He has agreed to send to us the original parts on what we need for the Bartholomew Wagon that we got from Washington State. They are only to be used for reproduction and recasting and all of these parts must be returned to Neble. There will be no cost for sending to us on loan providing we send them back to him and this is essential. He had promised to find the date our antique was made because we have the serial number and also to whom it was sold to and the cost.

He pointed out that in one of the factories they had the serial number on a brass plate while in the Peoria location where ours was made they stenciled the number on the antique. It was not a model number but a serial number.

Bartholomew also kept a large library on catalogs from all of his competitors much like Cretors has. Jeff wanted the hard parts and Frank Lang wanted the literature. Frank held on to the whole collection for about 1-1/2 years.

At a Fun Fair, Lang came up to Neble mad about something that had happened and said he would sell anything in the collection that he wanted. Since Neble was also manning a booth at that same Fun Fair, it took a while before he got around to the collection. In four hours, many odd lots had been bought up and taken elsewhere. It took about three years to trace them and Neble bought them back at a price three times what Lang had sold them for. This included about 75 glossy 8"x11" photos, also many lots of original art drawings of a car they made.

Jeff Neble took the required parts from Lang to California and started manufacturing and restoring antique peanut and poppers under the Bartholomew name. He had sheet metal patterns, plates, and he tried to match the patents. He was doing recreational and furniture manufacturing at the same time. He was in the process of patenting seats for recreational vehicles. He did a patent search on Bartholomew and tried to find an heir so he could get a license to capitalize on the 100-year old company. It was about 100 years old when he started working with reproducing the antiques in California.

 

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