Fred Henry Meyer

Page 515 - Fred Henry Meyer. One of the factors which has established the commercial and industrial life of grand Rapids on the firmest of foundations is the Lietelt Iron Works, which is not only one of the strongest firms of its kind in the city but one of the oldest as well, its very solidity contributing a stability to the manufacturing of the city where it is located. But this solidity is not an outgrowth of chance fortune but rather the result of years of steady development guided by officers possessed of keen business judgment and executive ability. One such officer is Fred Henry Meyer, secretary and general manager, who is directly responsible for the present flourishing condition of the company. He was born in Livingston county, Michigan, in 1876 and when he was eleven years old his parents, Louis and Harriet (Thompson) Meyer, moved to Manton, Wexford county, Michigan, where their son attended the public schools until his graduation from high school at the age of fifteen years. At that age, Fred Meyer began to shift for himself. For nine years he taught in the primary schools of northern Michigan and then engaged in the hardware and machinery business until the year 1913 when he became connected with the Leitelt Iron Works in the capacity of salesman, at the end of three years becoming the superintendent of the elevator department and secretary and general manager at the end of another three years. His rapid rise in the company which he now manages is but another story of just reward for conscientious effort applied in the interests of the concern for which he worked and recognition of a native ability which proved him fit for the responsibilities of such an office as he now holds. The Leitelt Iron Works is an outgrowth of a partnership between two brothers of that name, Adolph and Edward, which was established in 1862. The brothers conducted a blacksmith shop for the repairing of sawmill machinery and boilers, for at that time, the lumbering business in Michigan was at its height and sawmills were many. The excellent quality of the work performed by the brothers brought them such a rapidly growing trade that it was not long before they began the manufacture of engines and sawmill machinery in conjunction with their repairing business. Still later they were encouraged to add the manufacture of freight elevators and special wood working machinery to their business. The year 1886 witnessed the dissolution of the partnership, the operation of the company remaining in the hands of Adolph Leitelt who became president of the firm at the time of its incorporation that same year, remaining as president until his death in 1897. Edward Ansorge became secretary and treasurer at that time. Adolph Leitelt it might be said, was a native of Bavaria, Germany, and came to the United States at an early age. He settled at Ferrysburg, near Grand Haven, Michigan, and remained there until the time he went into business with his brother in Grand Rapids. Following the death of Adolph Leitelt, his son, Adolph Jr., succeeded him as president of the iron works, but death removed him from that office after a period of eight productive years as head of the concern built up by his father. Mr. Ansorge, who during this time had been secretary and treasurer then stepped into the office of president to be succeeded in 1911 by Julius La Bonte. Mr. La Bonte was the husband of Pauline, the youngest daughter of Adolph Leitelt, Sr. A reorganization of the business in 1919 took over the interests of the Leitelt family, and David McKay became president and Fred Henry Meyer secretary and general manager. The real point of the reorganization in 1919 was that the interests of the Leitelt family were sold to a group faithful, efficient, and hard working employees. Besides the two officers already named, F. J. Zylman became vice-president and G. W. Sackett treasurer. F. V. Cedarland, A. J. O’Brien, R. A. Wing, and G. Rosema all became stockholders The Leitelt Iron Works today figures prominently in the industrial life of Grand Rapids, and that it does play such an important part in the city’s manufacturing life is due in large measure t the managerial ability and business acumen of Fred Henry Meyer. Mr. Meyer, in 1903 married Ada Baum, whose family resided for many years at Springport, Jackson county, Michigan.

Transcriber:  Nancy Myers
Created: 5 November 2002