William Casteel/Newcomerstown News

A total of 52 former employees attended the recent Heller Tool Company's tribute Aug. 14 at Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center in Newcomerstown. It was estimated that over 100 people attended the event.

William Casteel/Newcomerstown News

Edith Marquand, a former Newcomerstown resident now residing in the Columbus area, is seen standing beside the replica of the former Heller Bothers Tool Company that her father, the late Russell Marquand, made by hand in the mid 1960s.

William Casteel/Newcomerstown News

Members of the Heller family were in attendance at the recent event that was a tribute to the tool-file company that was founded by Elias Heller. They are, l to r, front row, Edna Heller Meek, Carry Heller McAllister, Jenny Heller Welsch; and back row, Alfred "Duke" Heller and Frances "Fanny" Heller.

Tribute to Heller Brothers Tool Company brings out retirees, families

William Casteel

Newcomerstown News

It seems almost anyone that has lived in Newcomerstown in the past 50 years has either worked at Heller's or had a relative that did.

The company provided jobs for many local residents over the years which in turn help Newcomerstown's population and increased revenue for many other business in the area.

The Newcomerstown Historical Society recently had an open house to pay tribute to the company and its many employees. Earlier this year, the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) was able to purchase a handmade replica of the floor layout inside the factory and donated it to the Newcomerstown Historical Society. The purchase was made possible through the Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

On Aug. 14, Newcomerstown Historical Society board member Ray McFadden opened the program, welcoming 52 former employees and guests to the tribute at the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center. Among the guests were Duke and Wanda Heller, Frances Heller Ripley, Edna Heller Meek, Carry Heller McAllister, Jenny Heller Welsch, and family members of Alfred Heller, the son of the company's founder, Elias Heller.

Edith Marquand was also present for the event. A former resident of Newcomerstown, Marquand's father, Russell Marquand, was a former employee of Heller's for many years. Marquand also made the replica that was on display at the event. She recalls her father made the replica sometime in the mid 1960s.

"He would be very honored (to have the replica on display)," she said.

The replica, now dedicated to the memory of Alfred Heller, is extremely detailed and displays a scaled-down version of each department inside the 185,000-square foot building. Former employees spent about two months cleaning and securing the tiny plastic pieces of the replica -- including miniature equipment. The replica had been in storage for many years, with the pieces in disarray.

Jack Ellis, a former Heller employee, gathered some of his former co-workers together and the group met every Tuesday restoring the scale model. Some of those participating were Paul Morrison, Charlie Rine, Kenny Parks, Fred Lehman, Jim Lehman, Ray Heston, Dode Welch, Milford Addy and Ron Criss.

Harold Huff, a former employee for 43 years, provided a historical timeline of Heller's from Elias Heller's start at making files by hand in New Jersey in 1836 to the closing of the company decades later. Heller Brothers Tool Company was acquired by Wallace-Murray in 1965 and the name was changed to Simonds Cutting Tools. Paul Hamilton was also present at the event and had been employed with Hellers for 44 years.

Dana McPeak, a former supervisor with Hellers from 1959-1976, recalled many of the former employees and managers, including Bob Decker, who now resides at Wooster. He recalled Hellers having a baseball team, golf team and a bowling league.

Hellers not only employed men, but also employed many women, especially during World War II when many local men were away in the service.

The tribute-open house also featured a tool display, photos and other memorabilia. The Newcomerstown Historical Society also featured a large scrapbook for viewing that had been put together by the Heller Brothers Tool Company many years ago.

According to historical society members, a total of over 100 people visited the open house.