|Photo by Edward S. Bronson|
The Kettenring car is reported to have been a Winton. In the car, at the wheel, is Charles H. Kettenring. Next to him is William Kettenring. In the back seat are: from left, Peter, the father, and Ransom, and in the rear, Karl, son of Will.
It is said that Peter Kettenring came to Defiance from Germany with $2.50 in his pocket. He started sharpening plowshares and making iron kettles. He gradually built up a line of woodworking machinery and at one time the Defiance Machine Works, of which he became president, was one of the largest builders of woodworking machinery in the country with sales offices in London and representatives in other European counries.
When the sons entered the business, they expanded the line, started the manufacture of machine tools and specialized in boring mills. During World War One, the plant had its greatest growth, and employed as high as 600 workers. The United States government practically took over the plant and there were about 50 Navy men who supervised certain operations in Defiance. Gun stock machines were produced and also anti-aircraft guns in addition to many other machines which were supplied to U.S. arsenals and plants.
In later years, the plant was purchased by the Toledo Precision Products, Inc., who built boring mills during World War Two. It was then discontinued and the buildings purchased by Glass Fibers, Inc, now Johns Manville Fiber Glass, Inc. The Defiance Machine Works would have been 100 years old had it continued several years more.
For years it was the industrial backbone of Defiance. It had a apprenticeship plan that graduated some of the finest machinists in the county. There was no speed-up system at the old Machine Works but quality and high class workmanship were stressed. Nearly all the old time employees owned their own homes.
Peter Kettenring lived at the northwest corner of Perry and Third Sts. in what is now a city building. Ransom P. Kettenring later resided there. Will Kettenring and later Charles Kettenring, at times, lived at Jackson Ave. and Third St. in the house which became part of the Eagles lodge home before it was torn down to make way for a service station. Charles Kettenring later resided in the house in the flatiron at Holgate and Park Aves. and later in the large brick house with the tower at Holgate and Fifth St.
Source: Lloyd Tuttle, "Backward Glances," Defiance Crescent-News, October 10, 1963.