Auto-Wheel Coaster Company (95 Schenck)

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Auto-Wheel Coaster Company (95 Schenck)


Buffalo Sled employees, 1917Employees of the Buffalo Sled Company in North Tonawanda plant. PHOTO: North Tonawanda History Museum Organized as the Buffalo Sled Co. in 1905 by John J. Schneider and Henry J, Tiedt, having been in business since 1899 (other sources say 1904). The firm moves to North Tonawanda in 1909 after the local trade organization agrees to cover the expense. They move into the large, 3-story factory built by the Orient Manufacturing Company when they relocated here from Dayton, OH in 1903. (Orient manufactures novelties, is led by D.W. Hyman, and has a modest subscription for electric power from Niagara Falls; in 1905 locals complain about the nuisance of smoke from the works).

The Buffalo Sled Company originally makes sleds and shovels. They add coasters (wagons) in 1912. Soon they are enjoying national success, advertising aggressively in several publications, and marketing their boys' toys ingenuously with clubs and giveaways. In July of 1920 they file paperwork to change their name to the "Auto-Wheel Coaster Company."

The North Tonawanda plant was located at foot of Schenck Street, west of Oliver and south of Schenck, though they at times also have operations in Buffalo, on Ellicott Creek in the old A. B. Williams plant, and in Preston, Ontario. The NT site was formerly (1908) occupied by the Orient Mfg. Co. (Fred Paschen lived just east).

From the Internet's Harry Rinker:
A fire on April 16, 1920, destroyed the wheel department and storehouses. According to the 1921 City Directory, the company rebuilt and assumed a new name, Auto-Wheel Coaster Company.
Auto Wheel files for bankruptcy in July 1964, but is bought by area men to resume production. This did not seem to be successful, as the plant was is in the process of being converted to a palette factory when it is completely destroyed in a spectacular fire on Memorial Day (May 29), 1972, taking at least seven nearby homes with it.