Charles A. Schieren Company
PRODUCTS of the Charles A. Schieren Company, manufacturers of leather belting, are everywhere recognized as the type and symbol of belting perfection.
This enterprise has recently passed its fiftieth anniversary, for it was founded in 1868 by the late Charles A. Schieren, who, with two men to assist him, established the business in small quar-ters at 90 Gold Street, New York, where he re-mained until 1881, and since that time has been at Cliff and Ferry Streets, where it finally built its present large and imposing structure, which is used for offices, salesrooms and factory, for it has grown to be the foremost enterprise in the leather belting industry. In 1893 the company took one of its most progressive steps by founding the Dixie Tannery at Bristol, Tennessee in the Holston Valley, 1,800 feet above sea-level surrounded by the Holston Mountains. This tan nery is central to an extensive region of bark sup ply furnished by a great forest of rock oak trees the bark of which excels in merit that of any other tree for use in the tanning of belt leather.
The selection of hides and the bringing of them from the slaughter houses of Kansas City and Chicago to the Dixie Tannery are important steps preparatory to the processes of cleansing, liming, "bating" (to remove the lime), and then the va-rious tanning processes, which consume one hun-dred and twenty days to bring the hides to a con-dition of leather fit to use as the raw material for belting.
Taken from the vats, the hides are washed to remove every particle of tan-bark, and then dried in a darkened loft with very little heat, after hav-ing been oiled on the grain side. Each hide is then cut into widths, according to its grade and weight. The bellies, shoulders and all flabby or imperfect leather are thrown out for shoe purposes and the central portion or heart of the hide reserved for belting. The solid leather is carefully shaved on the flesh side, in huge machines operating somewhat on the principle of a milling machine, and is then scoured by other machinery for the purpose of opening up the pores for the reception of the stuffing of cod oil and pure beef tallow, by which the leather is preserved and made suitable for the transmission of power. This stuffing feature, which occupies several hours in the Schieren process, imparts to the hide the long life which is a predominate feature of Schieren belting. When this is completed the leather is allowed to dry, brushed off, packed in bundles, and shipped to the New York factory. Some of this finished product, however, is now retained at Bristol, and manufactured into belts there.
Some of the problems solved have been incident to the changed requirements of modern industry. For instance, the old rivetted belt was found to be unsuited to the requirements of electric light plants, and the Schieren factory evolved the riv- etless belt, which is now largely used for those and other plants, for which they have been found to be better adapted. The Perforated Belt, patented in 1888 by the Schieren Company, has been found to be especially applicable to electric light and street railway service. Other special types include the Excelsior Belt, introduced by the company in 1880, which was the first dynamo belt made with extra dressing to render the belt more water-proof and less susceptible to atmospheric influences; and the Electric Belt was the original black belt upon which a blacking is used which protects the belt from damage caused by mineral oil.
During its fifty years of progress the Schieren Company has developed special machinery and facilities for the manufacture of extra belts for extra service, and especially of extra wide main driving belts for the heaviest work of factories and mills.
Greatest of all the triumphs of the Schieren Company's half century of effort is its belt made under the trade-mark name of "Duxbak." From the first process of the selection of hides of su-preme quality, transmitted into leather of the most perfect tannage, followed by a special treatment which renders it immune from damage by water, steam, oils, or chemicals, and when so finished made up into a belt that holds with the utmost tenacity. It never slips and performs its functions with the highest dependability. This belt is, in fact, the supreme achievement in belt-making art.
Charles Adolph Schieren, who founded this business, conducted it upon the highest plane of endeavor, and was long one of the most honored and respected business men of the Greater City of New York.
While in Brooklyn, where he made his resi-dence, he attained the distinction of being its Mayor in its last years of municipal independence prior to its merger in the Greater City, giving to Brooklyn an administration which for ability and faithfulness to confided interests had never been surpassed by any incumbent of that important office.
In business he trained his sons in the principles which had brought success to his entei-prise, and when he died, March 10, 1915, his son, Charles A. Schieren, succeeded to the presidency of the company, with a complete equipment of ability and experience for carrying it on to larger usefulness and wider honor.
He was born in Brooklyn, May 8, 1869, was educated in the schools there and in the Polytech-nic Institute of Brooklyn, and afterward enlarged his knowledge by the broadening effect of exten-sive travel in Europe, Cuba and Mexico. His business training began as an apprentice in his father's tannery, followed by seven years' experi-ence as traveling salesman. Having from the be-ginning of his training been impressed with the idea that his life work was to be devoted to the manufacture, sale and distribution of leather belt-ings, he has always kept before him the ideal that The Charles A. Schieren Company should be the maker of the best leather belting produced in the world. This ambition is fully justified by the supreme excellence and world-wide acclaim of the inimitable "Duxbak."
No other belting has received as many medals and awards as the Shieren belts, which in com-petitive exhibition were twelve times honored by the American Institute between 1869 and 1891, and received the medals of the Centennial Exposition, 1876; World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893; Atlanta, 1895; Nashville, 1897; Omaha, 1898; Liverpool, 1886; Paris, 1880 and 1900; Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901; the Grand Prix highest awards at Brussels, 1910, and at Turin, 1911; and the gold medal of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915.
Branch houses of the company are established at Atlanta, Ga Boston, Mass Chicago, 111 Cleveland, Ohio Detroit, Mich Denver, Colo Kansas City, Mo Memphis, Tenn New Orleans, La Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pa St. Louis, Mo Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle, Wash., and Dallas, Tex., each of these being the center of an active and growing business in its section.
There is a large export business in Schieren belting in Europe, South America, the West In-dies, South Africa, the Dutch East Indies, Hawaii, and the Orient, Schieren belting repeating in the foreign field the triumphs won at home.
During the war period Schieren belting was an important factor in war work, and after the United States entered the war much of its prod-ucts was sold direct to the Government; of the re-mainder the larger share went to manufacturing enterprises principally engaged in war work.
A very prominent feature of the Schieren busi-ness is its engineering service, which is freely ex-tended to customers to enable each one to select the special type of Schieren belt exactly adapted to the needs of its manufacturing plant, thus bringing to each customer the benefit of exact and expert knowledge built up by the company in its fifty years of active experience so that every cus-tomer of The Schieren Company may be so served as to always be a satisfied customer.