Henry A. Hempel


Täglicher Buffalo Volksfreund, Thursday, April 1, 1920

Henry Hempel dead

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A modern day Gutenberg and
inventor of metal wedges for
securing printing blocks (quoins)
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At the advanced age of 83 Mr. Hanry A. Hempel died yesterday afternoon at his family home at 55 Baynes St. after a month's illness. He was a widely respected man especially among the older Germans of the city.

Mr. Hempel came from Waltershausen, Gotha Germany, where he was born on October 21, 1836. There he learned the book printers trade. In 1867 he emigrated to the New World and sought his fortune in the United States. He went West for many years and worked in many German book printing establishments. In 1876 his fortunate star led him to Buffalo at a time when this city had at most 140,000 inhabitants. In 1871 he became a United States citizen. In this city Mr. Hempel held a job as a type setter for the Buffalo Volksfreund when this newspaper was published on the Irr Block on Washington St. near Huron. This is where Mr. Hempel brought his dream of lucrative invention to fruition with his metal wedges for securing typeface printing blocks. John Mayer was work supervisor at the Volkfreund press at the time and he assisted Mr. Hempel in his experiments with this invention. Mr. Hempel also had financial help with his invention. He acquired financing from Mr. Joseph Dingens, who established the first delicatessen on Main and North Division Streets and operated a wine and spirits shop next door. Mr. Dingens made sure Mr. Hempel attained a patent for his invention in Washington while at the same time becoming a business partner. The printing wedges rapidly found takers in America and in Europe and are still in use today since no substitute has been discovered for them. Mr. Hempel's success in this field fulfilled yet another dream he had, namely to settle himself and his family in Florida. After acquiring land and establishing an orange grove, he founded a settlement in Orange County near Orlando which he named Gotha after his native homeland. He built a saw mill and a hotel. Many years ago encroaching old age forced him into retirement. He returned to Buffalo where he lived a carefree existence until his death. On Saturday afternoon he will be buried at Elmlawn Cemetery.

Surviving the departed are his widow and four children, Mrs. F.L. Lewton of Washington, D.C.; Adolf Hempel of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Mrs. J.C. Lang and Otto F. Hempel of Buffalo.

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The Galant Woodsman

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Lady: "Good God, sir! I'm afraid of your dog. He could bite me!"

Woodsman: "Have no fear, fair lady. He doesn't like sweets!"