Maysville Makes Bicycle Parts
The Wald Company Celebrates Its Golden Jubilee This Year
This year marks the golden jubilee of the Wald Manufacturing Company, Inc., which grew from a small bicycle shop in Sheboygan, Wisconsin to an assembly line production plant in Maysville. It was fifty years ago that Ewald F. Pawsat was granted the first patent on a little bicycle tire repair tool which started the company into business.
Today. the company's 376 employees turn out the largest variety of bicycle parts and accessories produced in one single plant in the United States. Its products are shipped to all parts of the country and to many foreign nations. Each year, the employees of the plnat take home an estimated $1,000,000 in payroll checks.
The "Wald" company bears the Christian name of its founder, Ewald F. Pawsat, with the "E" left off. It was first known as the Wald Cycle Company, a shop which also sold cigars, cigarettes, and tobacco.
Here's the story of how the tiny repair shop grew into one of the Ohio Valley's major industries:
The first store was only 12 feet by 24 feet in size and the original equipment consisted of an old gasoline engine and a number 13 Bliss Stamping Press. Lanterns provided light.
This was in Sheboygan.
Mr. Pawsat in his work repairing bicycles became interested in the production of parts, and started manufacturing them. It was in the Spring of 1905 that the founder was granted a patent for a small tire repair tool and that sparked the beginning of today's big operation.
Early in the life of the company, Herman Pawsat, brother of the founder became associated with the firm and today serves as its secretary. Ewald Pawsat now is chairman of the board.
As the years passed, other items for the use of the cyclist were produced and the infant company grew. The Pawsats began to expand and with expansion came the realization of a need for a more centrally located plant site to insure prompt delivery to customers.
In 1923, the company moved its plant and equipment to Maysville. Maysville was chosen because of its central location and excellent transportation facilities. Located on the Ohio River just 64 miles east of Cincinnati, Maysville has two railroad lines, river transportation and good highway connections. Today, this strategic location is near the very center of the bicycle manufacturing business.
Since 1905 Wald had gradually expanded its line of bicycle parts and accessories until today, in its golden year, the variety of its production is impressive.
Complete operation on Wald products are performed in its own plant, from shearing of the steel to polishing and electroplating, packing and shipping of the product, whether it be a bicycle mudguard, a pedal, handlebar, or axle nut.
The plant now covers 150,000 square feet of floor space, mostly in first floor buildings. The first Wald plant in Maysville occupied only 23,000 square feet.
The parts are made on some 400 machines. Both Ewald and Herman Pawsat are natives of Germany where Ewald was born April 13, 1881 and Herman, more than two years later, September 13, 1883. As boys they came to America and were educated in Sheboygan schools. Both now reside in Maysville.
Each year the Wald Company sponsors a "Bicycle Safety Week" which promotes bicycle safety. This week is climaxed by a bicycle parade in which youngsters decorate their vehicles. The "best dressed" bikes bring prizes of brand new bicycles to the winners.
Another community interest of the company is Wald Park, a baseball field where amateur baseball teams as well as youngsters play ball throughout the summer months
by Paul Minch, Jr.,
from the October, 1955 issue of Kentucky Business.