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Al Capone’s car at area dealership PDF Print E-mail
Monday, November 19, 2012 10:51 AM

The Auburn factory sent out the serial numbers of some stolen vehicles to Pennell’s, Van Wert dealership. A few days later, two men came to Pennell’s dealership with a car that matched the description of one of the vehicles. The car had a defective starter and Pennell knew it was to be repaired under warranty.

“As soon as the men left, Pennell rolled back the floor mat to check the serial number on the body. At that time he noticed there was clearly burnt into the wooden floor boards, ‘Property of Al Capone.’ Then he called the factory to report what he found with the serial numbers matching the telegram. Later the factory telegraphed back notifying him not to worry about it and fix the car under warranty.”

When the men returned for the car, Pennell told them the repairs had been made under warranty and no reimbursement was needed. The men gave Pennell $20 and left.

During the time he operated the dealership, Pennell would make frequent trips to the Auburn Automobile Co. He tried to make his trips around lunchtime so that he could lunch with the company executives — perhaps E.L. Cord — at Tom Proctor’s restaurant (now Auburn Marine and Tackle).

Pennell would find out information about cars that were being developed and techniques used in manufacturing the cars.

Pennell would visit Auburn at the end of the model year and purchase excess bodies, parts and materials that were left over. Then he would buy wrecked vehicles and assemble various cars in his shop. Over the years, Pennell created some non-standard vehicles.

Pennell’s dealership provided the Auburn Limousines used by the Greenville-Dayton Transportation Co. for an east-west passenger route between Lima, Delphos, Van Wert and Ft. Wayne. The service also carried mail and small packages.

The bus service was owned by brothers Lasko and Kelton Mitchell. It replaced the Inter-Urban line that went defunct in 1932 and the schedule was identical to the former Inter-urban timetable.

Pennell worked as superintendent of maintenance for the service from February 1933 to March 1934. The service’s chief mechanic was Jigger Johnson, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1931 and 1937 as a riding mechanic. The service ran with Auburn until 1936, when it was replaced with buses.

In 1934, Pennell established the Lima-Defiance-Bryan Bus line using Auburn and Cord automobiles. The service again paralleled the route of the Inter-Urban line.

Pennell later changed the name of the service to the Ohio Northern Coach Line, which originated in Van Wert and traveled to Jackson, Mich. The service paralleled the Cincinnati Northern Railroad Lines that had petitioned the Public Utilities Commission to stop service.

The Ohio Northern line used Auburns and front-wheel-drive Cords. Kirchenbauer has a photograph that appears to show a L-29 Cord chassis with an Auburn body. A similar eight door stretch limousine with a Cord chassis and Auburn body was found in Michigan.
(I do not have the source or date for this information. R.H.)

Delphos Mfg. Co. to
Open Branch at
Knox, Ind.

H.L. Leilich, manager of the Delphos Mfg. Co., of Delphos, Ohio, paid our town a visit of inspection. He bought part of the Robertson lands on which he and other parties interested with him hold an option. Mr. Leilich expressed himself well pleased with our town and shipping facilities and there may be a chance that he might be wanting to put a branch of their large factory here. Here is hoping that he may decide in our favor.
Stark County Republican,
Knox, Ind.

When interviewed relative to the above clipping, manager H.L. Leilich, stated that it was true; that he and others had bought 30 acres of land at Knox, Ind., 60 miles from Chicago, where the galvanizing department of the Delphos plant will be located, and a part of the can making machinery will also be moved. This will decrease the number of the working force here, now at 322. A union will be made with an eastern graniteware, tinware, tub and pail manufactory, which will also be located at Knox, and Chicago will be made the central shipping point for sheet metal and finished products.

Manager Leilich stated that while the addition to the galvanized department, now under construction, will be used for another purpose than that originally intended.

The office building will be erected, for which a contract has been given. He stated that there were three reasons for the establishment  of a branch plant at Knox, instead of maintaining the entire plant here, and bringing the graniteware manufactory to Delphos, which would mean that the force of employes would be doubled. The company is unable to procure more land near their present plant, which will be absolutely necessary if the entire plant was retained here. Inability to get a switch from the Northern Ohio track to the factory grounds is another reason, and the third is the large saving that will accrue to the company by making Chicago a central shipping point.

This state of affairs is to be deplored. This magnificent institution, so valuable to Delphos as a means of affording employment, is of more real benefit to this town than many people realize, and that further building, beyond now, is a severe blow.
Delphos Herald,
Mar. 30, 1909

Worked on German Guns
Erwin Scherger and Wm.  Hanker returned to Delphos Sunday morning after more than a year in the service. They were in the Ordinance Department and were together most of the time. They worked in the repair shops where the large guns were brought for overhauling and helped on repairs on the guns which the Germans turned over after the armistice and were sent to this country after being repaired. They came to the United States on the U.S.S. Malory landing on July 19.
Delphos Herald,
July 28,1919

Lincoln Way Dairy
to Move to New Location

The Lincoln Highway Dairy company will move to the new location, which has been prepared for the plant on East Second street, the early part of next week. They will occupy the building in which the Delphos Creamerywas formerly located.

The building has been completely remodeled and the entire interior repainted. A large cooler has been built in. Machinery for the Pasteurizing, filtering and handling and cooling milk in a modern way has been installed.
When they are located in their new plant they will be better fitted to give service than ever before. While they are moving to their new location next week, they will endeavor to keep their service up to the usual high standard, but ask the indulgence of their patrons in event of interruptions to the service are incurred.
Delphos Herald,
July 26, 1919

Boxes of Handkerchiefs
Found in Oatsfield

While Mat. Tornefeld, living about four miles west of Delphos, was working in his oatsfield, he found hidden in the oatsfield, fully two hundred boxes of handkerchiefs, each box marked to retail for one dollar. Mr. Tornefeld suspected that this crop had been “planted” on his place for a purpose and he called up the Delphos police who, with detective Allen of the Pennsylvania railroad, made a trip to the place.

A large packing case filled with the handkerchiefs had been taken from a car on the Pennsylvania and carried under a cement culvert where they were removed from the case and carried into the oatsfield for concealment.

The handkerchiefs were brought to Delphos Friday night  and taken to the Penna. station to be shipped to a firm in Chicago to whom they had originally been consigned from a New York concern.

Although no arrests have yet been made the police have a clue which may lead to the arrest of the guilty parties.
Delphos Herald,
July 26, 1919

Accident at Roth
Bros. Butcher Shop
There occurred in the rear room of Roth Bros. butcher shop yesterday an accident, which under different circumstances, would have resulted in the death of two men. A new chopping machine was recently put in which turns out chopped meat at the rate of 75 pounds per minute.

The machine necessarily requires rapid running, and a 45-inch pulley on the shaft overhead furnishes almost lightning-like momentum to the small pulley of a 4-inch belt. Frank and Joseph Roth, two members of the firm, were standing beside a trough at the sausage stuffing machine and John Roth Jr., was working near the rendering kettles only a few feet away.

There were several other men working in the room at the time, when without warning the large wooden pulley on the ceiling shaft, bursted and the pieces were hurled to the floor. One large piece weighing perhaps 30 pounds, struck a steam pipe directly over the heads of Messrs. Joe and Frank Roth, which saved them from injury. The pipe was bent double and clouds of steam soon filled the room.

The belt flew around like mad after coming loose from the smaller pulley and would itself around John Roth’s neck, throwing him violently to the floor. Everything was pandemonium for a few seconds and after Dr. Brundage was called and found that John had no broken bones. Everyone in the room was nonplussed at their good fortune in escaping alive.
Delphos Herald,
Feb. 14, 1896


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