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John Guedelhoefer Wagon Company advertisements

 Collection — Folder: OBD047
Identifier: OBD047

Scope and Contents

This collection includes two large advertisements from the John Guedelhoefer Wagon Company in Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from 1880 to 1960 regarding their wagon models.


  • circa 1880-1960


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

John Guedelhoefer was born in Germany December 26, 1832 to John and Anna Guedelhoefer. By age 17, Guedelhoefer was learning the carriage-making trade. In 1869, he arrived in Indianapolis with very little to his name. After three years, Guedelhoefer had saved enough money for his own business and opened his first shop there in 1873. Guedelhoefer married Magdalina Schmidt and together they had seven children: William, Julius, August, Mary, Paulina, Otto and Bernard. He died in 1905 in Indianapolis.

John Guedelhoefer's son August became owner and president of the wagon company, while another son, Bernard was treasurer. August and his wife Ella had four children: Bertha, John O., Marie and Loretta. John O. Guedelhoefer became owner of the company after the death of his father, retiring in 1962.

Historical Note

The John Guedelhoefer Wagon Company was founded in 1873 by John Guedelhoefer in Indianapolis, Indiana, although the company advertisements claim its founding occurred in 1880. The first shop opened in 1873 at 69-71 West South Street. In 1886, the business moved to a newly constructed factory on a triangular lot at the corner of West Georgia Street and Kentucky Avenue. The business grew quickly and by 1893, Guedelhoefer had added an additional building to his blacksmith shop, wagon factory and paint and finish shop, who oversaw all operations.

The company specialized in delivery wagons, particularly for ice, dairy, and bakery products. As technology grew more sophisticated, the company attempted to make improvements to their designs. By the 1930s, the company manufactured special truck bodies to suit a variety of customers that were then mounted on chassis from other manufacturers, such as General Motors. The business remained in family hands for three generations before going out of business in the 1970s.


John Guedelhoefer Wagon Company papers, 1913-1942, n.d. Manuscript and Visual Collections Department, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, IN.

Pictorial and biographical memoirs of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana, together with biographies of many prominent men of other portions of the state, both living and dead. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers, 1893.

R.L. Polk and Co.'s Indianapolis Directory. Indianapolis: R. L. Polk and Co., 1881. Accessed June 26, 2017.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 extra-large oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/01/23 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid created 2017/01/23 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid revised 2017/06/26 by Brittany Kropf.
John Guedelhoefer Wagon Company advertisements
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.