Biography of Charles N. Bellman
Lucas County, OH Biographies

Among the large commercial enterprises of which Toledo is justly proud, none confers greater prestige upon the city than that of the Franklin Printing & Engraving Company, of which Charles North Bellman is the vice president, general manager and founder. The trite quotation, "Great oaks from little acorns grow," is particularly applicable to this business, which had its inception some forty years ago, when an ambitious school boy persuaded his father to invest the sum of ten dollars for him in a small hand press and a font of type. With these as a beginning, the boy worked after school hours and in the evenings, and that this was more than a passing fad is shown in the fact that a year or two later a press operated by a water motor was installed in the family woodshed at No. 1138 Huron street, from which was finally evolved a printing establishment that ranks with the best in the country.

Charles North Bellman was born in this city on the 8th of December, 1864, and his parents were William H. and Charlotte (Meredith) Bellman, the former a native of the state of New York, while the latter was born in Ireland. In early life they came to the United States, locating in Toledo, and the father became prominently identified with business interests of the city as a member of the firm of Crabby, Bellman & Company, wholesale dealers in grain and seeds. He continued to make his home in this city until his demise. The mother has also passed away. In their family were five children: William M., Charles North and Mrs. Charles S. Ashley, all of whom are residents of Toledo; Alfred D., who is living in Santa Barbara, California; and Lawrence S., a member of the firm of Mills, Rhines & Bellman, well known architects of Toledo.

The public schools of this city afforded Charles N. Bellman his educational advantages and in 1882 he completed his high school course, after which he engaged in the grain business with his father, with whom he was associated for four years. In the meantime he had learned the printer's trade, in which from childhood he had been deeply interested, and in 1887, in association with his brother, he opened a small plant on the second floor at No. 264 Summit street, over Birkencamp's undertaking rooms. Two years later the business was established at the corner of St. Clair and Oak streets, the present site of the Navarre Hotel, and the firm name was changed to the Bellman Brothers Company. They continued at that point' for eight years, when another removal became necessary, and a store at No. 327 Superior street was. leased. In 1895 the present style of the Franklin Printing & Engraving Company was adopted in honor of the illustrious and patriotic Franklin, the leading printer of his day and one of America's foremost men, and on the 30th of September, 1899, the business was incorporated. In 1898 the firm erected a building at No. 321 Superior street, which they continued to occupy until April 1, 1922, when they removed to their present location at Nos. 226-36 Huron street. This is a substantial modern structure four stories in height, containing between sixty and seventy thousand square feet of floor space and is conceded to be one of the finest and most complete printing establishments to be found anywhere in the United States. The first floor is devoted to office supplies, stationery and pictures and the second floor is occupied with a large stock of office furniture, while it also contains the general offices. The composing room, pressroom and bindery are found on the third floor and the fourth floor is given over to steel die and copper plate engraving. The large basement has ample storage space for surplus stock for all departments and also houses the picture framing department. Since its inception the business has grown steadily, keeping pace with the development of the city, and from one hundred to one hundred and twenty five people are now employed in its operation. The success of the undertaking is largely attributable to the capable management and untiring efforts of Mr. Bellman, who is vice president and general manager of the company, and he is endeavoring to give to Toledo a printing establishment of which, were Benjamin Franklin alive today, he would feel justly proud.

On the 27th of October, 1886, Mr. Bellman was married to Miss Kate Foley, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Foley of this city. Mr. and Mrs. Bellman have a daughter, Marguerite, who attended the Smead school of Toledo. She is now the wife of Lucius J., Sears of this city, and they have three children, Lucius Jackson, Jr., Kate Bellman and Henry B. Sears.

Mr. Bellman is a member of the Collingwood Avenue Presbyterian church and his high standing in the line of work in which he specializes is indicated in the fact that he has twice served as president of the National Association of Stationers & Manufacturers of the United States of America. He is identified with the Masonic fraternity and is also a member of the Toledo Yacht Club, the Inverness Club, the Rotary Club, the Toledo Commerce Club and the Toledo Club, being a director of the last named organization. Mr. Bellman is a self made man who has been both the architect and builder of his fortunes and he exemplifies in his life the spirit of enterprise and progress which has been the dominant factor in Toledo's upbuilding and development. His entire life has been devoted to the printing business, in which he has attained that position of leadership which follows superior ability and concentrated effort, and he is a native son whose record reflects credits and honor upon the city. His residence is at No. 2230 Fulton street.

Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio
BY: John M. Killits, A.M., LL.D.
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago and Toledo

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