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A Brewer's Pair of Speedwell's and an Electric Car in Dayton, Ohio

A Brewer’s Pair of Speedwells and an Electric Car in Dayton, Ohio

Updated – By Jonathan D. Lageman:  My great-great Grandfather’s name was George Schantz, who was born in 1851. He and his brothers were sent to the US in the 1860s in order to avoid having to serve in the German military. After arriving, they worked at a few different jobs until they both decided to go into the brewing business.

In 1882 George and his brother Adam opened the Riverside Brewery in Dayton, Ohio. Shortly afterward, George sold his interests in the business off to Adam and formed a partnership with Louis Schwind. Together they established the Gem City Brewery in 1888 and then formed the Schantz and Schwind Brewing Company. Eight years later prohibition was being talked about, and they soon saw the writing on the wall.

Circa 1912 Speedwell touring car

  •                   Circa 1912 Speedwell touring car photographed in front of the Schantz carriage house. 

Editors note: The car above was unidentified, and research shows that it is a circa 1912 Speedwell. Four different touring cars were offered during the model run, and an image of the exact body style seen on this touring car is yet to be found. Note the third moulding behind the top rear door hinge on the rear tonneau. Look back at an earlier article, and study the chassis and fenders that confirm it is a Speedwell.

Several Dayton area breweries then formed the Dayton Breweries Company in an effort to join forces before prohibition. Adam Schantz served as the President and George Schantz served as the Vice President until his death in 1917. When the government act was soon implemented, the Operation was shut down. George also served as director for: The Dayton Iron and Steel Company, First Savings and Banking, and the Dayton Street Railway Company.


  •                                                The Dayton electric car with the stable-hand and car care taker.

This set of two images was taken in 1914 as the license plates are dated that year. George Schantz and his prized cars are all in front of the family carriage house behind the main house. He is standing on the far right in front of a circa 1914 Speedwell. The maker of the center car is unknown, but it is an electric car (maybe a Baker) and is shown with his stable-hand-car caretaker. The man pictured on the far-left was the family chauffeur.

Update – Arejan Bos has identified the mystery car, which turns out to be a Dayton Electric Car. This discovery now identifies George Schantz’s entire fleet as being manufactured in Dayton, Ohio. The illustration is from the Automotive Trade Journal.


The image below is of the late Speedwell Touring car with my great grandmother Emma (George’s daughter) at the wheel. This would have been shortly before she was married and had my grandmother. It is a family legend that Emma was the first woman in Dayton, Ohio to obtain a driver’s license. Shortly after obtaining it she drove one of the cars through the back wall of the carriage house.

1914 Speedwell touring car

  •                        Emma Schantz posing with the late Speedwell Touring car with the top down.

The house was demolished before I was born. The carriage house stood into the early 1980s and I visited it as a very young child just before it was demolished. As far as I know the house remained in the family until it was taken down. My father remembers visiting the house as a child to see his grandmother and other family.


  •                      The George Schantz residence in 1904, the carriage house was located behind it.

I am on the lookout for any unpublished information regarding Schantz’s brewing activities as well as locating breweriana, brewing, and beer related items connected to the family.

Editors note: A follow up to this post will include some interesting photos and automotive press articles found that cover the Rotary Valve Speedwells. The circa 1914 touring seen here may be one of this type of machine built just before the Company went out of business.

14 responses to “A Brewer’s Pair of Speedwells and an Electric Car in Dayton, Ohio

  1. Germany, though a changing mix hundreds of small states, was still thought of as “Germany” long before 1870. For example, in 1807-8 – Fichte published “Addresses to the German Nation”, calling on the people in general, to disregard “all those divisions and distinctions between different sections of one nation caused by the unhappy events of past centuries…” (from Wikipedia). The states had a unifying German language and culture and long thought of themselves under that identity.

  2. Thanks to all who contributed to this. It’s been a bit of an intermittent hobby of mine to research different aspects of the family’s roots. Credit for much of the information goes out to: Curt Dalton (Breweries of Dayton), Robert A. Musson M.D. (Brewing Beer in the Gem City) , and Sean Gorman (Oakwood Living 3/96). The rest has been passed down through the generations.

    This branch of the family tree always seemed to be the most interesting and appealing to research, I think mostly because I enjoy brewing and cars and can relate. It’s is very neat that it was found that all cars were found to be build in Dayton by Dayton companies. I know that the family had great pride in the area and still has roots there.

    As a car guy, I always wondered about the cars. It’s amazing to get a positive ID on them to pass along the info to others. Hopefully the pictures will be useful in preserving the history of the vehicles and add to the history of Dayton as well. I realty appreciate those who contributed and David Greenlees’ effort with this amazing website porthole to history.

  3. One other addition. George was my great-great grandfather (my grand-mother’s grand father). Emma (George’s daughter) would have been my great-grandmother. Thanks.

  4. David. You are correct. The 10 had front fenders that were flat at the front. I do have a 10 with original upholstery in the barn. Should get it out some day. Also noticed the other day that I had a match trophy to the one you mentioned from Empire City from 7/25/03, this one for first prize for an American Darracq driven by Jules Sincholle. Its also indicated to be a 40 hp

  5. John,
    Maybe someday when you get your 1910 out of the barn, you could post a picture or two for us? Is it the only one in existence? Perry

  6. The older Speedwell has the 1011/12 fenders but the front axle has a pronounced dip in the center, the 11/12 were almost flat also the headlights are not the same as the 11/12 more like a 10. The car probably is a 1910 and went back for a fender upgrade , you would not upgrade the lights and axle back to 1910 style . Also it is missing the sidelights. Some of the Speedwell features are the five spider steering wheel, the upright crank , and two different size hubcaps along with the radiator shape. In 1912 they used an S shaped horn and this car has the older type.

  7. Also in 1912 the radiator shell was painted body color, it is only in the current era we strip and polish the radiators of cars that were painted when new and put on older or incorrect lights

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