Biography of Grorge A. Tinnerman
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

GEORGE AUGUST TINNERMAN, president of the Lorain Street Savings and Trust Company of Cleveland and founder and owner of the substantial industrial enterprise conducted under the title of the Tinnerman Stove and Range Company, has by his own ability and efforts won secure standing as one of the representative business men of Cleveland.

Mr. Tinnerman was born in Prussia, on the 10th of April, 1845, and is a son of Henry F. and Sophia (Dryer) Tinnerman, both likewise natives of Prussia, where the former was born in 1797 and the latter in 1820. Henry F. Tinnerman, a wagonmaker by trade, was in his fiftieth year when, accompanied by his wife and their son, George A., of this review, he came to the United States, in 1847. He established his residence at Ohio City, which is now an integral part of the West Side of the City of Cleveland, and shortly after his arrival in Cuyahoga County he purchased a farm not far distant from the present city limits, he having paid in gold the purchase price for this property. In 1850, however, he sold the farm and resumed the work of his trade. He opened a blacksmith and wagonmaking shop at what is now the corner of Lorain Street and Fulton Road, and this was undoubtedly the first establishment of its kind on what is now the West Side of Cleveland. Mr. Tinnerman, a specially skillful mechanic, did all kinds of general blacksmith work, including the shoeing of both horses and oxen, and in his shop he also manufactured wagons of the most substantial type, his wife having assisted him effectively in the work of the shop by varnishing the wagons after he had painted them. In 1858 Mr. Tinnerman retired again from the work of his trade, and he then removed to another farm, which he then purchased, but two years later he returned to Cleveland, where he continued to maintain his home until his death, in 1880, his widow passing away in 1888, and both having been devout communicants of the First Reformed Lutheran Church. They became the parents of two sons, of whom the subject of this sketch is the elder, the younger son, Henry, being deceased.

George A. Tinnerman was about two years of age at the time of the family immigration to the United States, and in the schools of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, he gained his early education. At the age of sixteen years he entered upon an apprenticeship to the tinner's trade in Cleveland, and after his three years' apprenticeship he followed his trade for a time as a journeyman. He then opened a shop of his own, on the site of his father's old blacksmith and wagon shop, and it is interesting to record that on this site now stands the substantial modem building of the Lorain Street Savings and Trust Company, of which he is the president. In 1867, after having taken a course in a local business college, Mr. Tinnerman engaged in the hardware business, in a building on the site of his former shop, and for more than half a century he here continued successfully established in this line of enterprise as a practical tinsmith and as the owner of a well equipped general hardware store. It is however, as the inventor and the manufacturer of stoves and ranges that Mr. Tinnerman has gained his most noteworthy financial and business success and prestige. He has developed a large and prosperous manufacturing enterprise that is destined to stand as an enduring monument to his ability and his progressiveness. While handling stoves in his hardware store he conceived clear ideas for improving these essential household equipments, and eventually he perfected plans for the production of ranges of wrought steel. He obtained patents on his invention, and after making his first range he commissioned his wife to bring to the store a batch of biscuit dough, which he placed in the heated oven of the new range, with the statement to his wife that in seven minutes the biscuits would be baked and ready to eat. This statement proved true and established the value of his improved mechanism. Then, in a modest way, he initiated the marketing of his ranges. He demonstrated the range to a number of his friends, to each of whom he made a proposition virtually as follows: "Give me $10 and your old stove and I will set up one of my ranges in your kitchen." In most instances his offer was accepted. The new ranges gave full satisfaction, and thus a basis was established for a new manufacturing enterprise of important order. In 1885 Mr. Tinnerman was ready to initiate the manufacture of what are now known as the Ohio Steel Stoves and Ranges. By a judicious system of circularizing literature sent forth into various states the business of the new concern rapidly expanded in scope, a properly equipped factory was built, and for nearly forty years the products of the Tinnerman stove and range manufactory have been recognized as representing an important factor in the industrial and commercial activities of Cleveland. While Mr. Tinnerman still retains ownership of the business, its management is now vested entirely in the hands of his son, Albert H., who holds the position of general manager.

Mr. Tinnerman was one of the organizers and incorporators of the Lorain Street Savings and Trust Company, of which he has served continuously as a director and of which he is now the president, this being one of the substantial, well ordered and important financial institutions of the Ohio metropolis.

Mr. Tinnennan has done much of practical value in the course of his long and active business career, and, in an entirely unostentatious way, has shown also a fine sense of civic stewardship and has done well his part in the furtherance of the civic and material advancement of Cleveland, especially in connection with the development of the West Side. He is honored as a substantial and public spirited citizen of sterling character and worthy achievement. He and his wife are earnest communicants of the Lutheran Church.

In 1868 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Tinnerman and Miss Caroline Ruley, who was born and reared in Cleveland, and the children of this union were four in number: Emma is the wife of William Tarnutezer, and they have two sons and one daughter; Frank is deceased and is survived by his widow and their two daughters; Albert H., as before noted, is general manager of the Tinnerman Stove and Range Company; Lillian is the wife of Charles DeBolt, a representative lawyer engaged in practice in the City of Buffalo, New York, and they have three children.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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