Curt Dalton, Dayton historian and author, knows I like to take photos in old factories. He suggested I visit Dayton Stencil (113 East 2nd Street) which is possibly Dayton’s oldest business. I drug my feet until artist Hamilton Dixon said the same thing. Then I finally visited.
Mark was my guide around the building. In this photo he’s on the right in a yellow shirt. Tim is working on the left, and Mike can be seen in the rear. Together, these three have about 100 years experience.
I learned that the business began in 1859 and moved to its current location in 1907. The only way a business lasts that long is if it learns how to adjust to market changes. Originally they cut stencils for the many distilleries and breweries in Dayton. Then they made metal tags, and every refrigerator made by Frigidaire had two tags made by Dayton Stencil. Later they added golf club tags for McGregor, and eventually started making them for most of the country’s top golf courses. They currently make rubber stamps and dies; steel stamps & dies; stock and custom stencils; custom industrial engraving; signs, plaques and lettering; tags, badges and nameplates; embossing seals; decals; industrial markers; flags & banners; and time stamps.