2016-06-29 / Sesquicentennial Edition

Archbold Electric Service Co. Bought By Toledo Edison In 1928

(Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from the Oct. 10, 1928, edition of the Archbold Buckeye.)

Saturday, the ownership of The Archbold Electric Service Co., passed from the hands of local capital to that of the Toledo Edison Co., a Doherty unit.

The company was owned by O.C. Lauber, H.S. Winzeler, Jacob Ehrat and a few preferred stockholders.

Negotiations for the purchase of the local utility have been in progress for several years, but it was not until a month ago that an agreement, satisfactory to both parties, could be made.

The Archbold Electric Service Co., was the last of the privately-owned electric light plants in Northwestern Ohio, and its ownership has long been desired by the Edison Co., because of the continuous growth shown by Archbold and surrounding community.

The Archbold plant is surrounded by other Toledo Edison and Lake Shore Power Co., properties and is now one of their many units.

The Archbold company now serves over 500 customers with many new patrons being added each year, and a greatly increased kilowatt consumption being registered each year.

In 1898, Andrew Walder came to Archbold and started the first electric light service in the village, and the first electric plant between Toledo and Elkhart, Ind.

The Walder family invested a small fortune in the business, generated 220 direct electric current with a large steam engine for but 65 customers.

The business was a losing proposition from the start and caused the Walder family much worry.

In 1911, the business was sold to Thos. DeVries, who with his sons changed the management of the concern and gradually built the business into a paying proposition, adding new customers and improving the service from a six hour to a 24 electric service.

In 1921, Thos. DeVries disposed of part of his holding to his son, George DeVries, and O.C. Lauber, who continued the organization as the Archbold Electric Service Co., until 1923, when the stock owned by the DeVries family was purchased by H.S. Winzeler and Jacob Ehrat.

Since that date, the business has grown to a huge figure under the guidance of O.C. Lauber as manager.

The present organization now serves over 500 customers and maintains 27 miles of lines.

Archbold is now enjoying the lowest electric light and power rates in the history of the village, and the present rates are to be in effect until 1930, an ordinance covering this provision having been passed in July.

Archbold’s rates are lower than most of the towns in Northwestern Ohio served by the Lake Shore Power Co., and in some instances lower than the rates of the nearby municipal plants.

With increased distribution and still lower costs, it is to be expected that the rates will be lowered still more in the near future.

Archbold’s rates have been free from service or demand charges, which is a very good feature, as the demand or service charge idea is always unpopular and unfair to the customers.

Archbold citizens regret to see the control of the last local public utility pass from the hands of local citizens into that of foreign capital, but this procedure was inevitable as present day business development seems to be gradually drifting to the chain or combine idea in practically every line.

The price paid for the Electric Service Co. was higher in proportion to the number of customers than for any utility in this neighborhood which the Toledo Edison or Lake Short Power Co., have absorbed.

Archbold has been prospering and its factories have been growing; consequently, the property has shown an increased value each year.

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