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    It is the enterprise and character of the citizen that enrich and ennoble the common wealth. From individual enterprise has sprung all the splendor and importance of this great west. The greatest merchants have developed from the humblest origins. From clerkships have emerged men who have built great business enterprises. America is a self-made country, and those who have created it are self-made men. No influence of birth or fortune has favored the architects of her glory. Among those who have achieved prominence as men of marked ability and substantial worth in Piqua, the subject of this sketch, William K. Boal, occupies a prominent position.

    The unostentatious routine of private life, although of vast importance to the welfare of the community, has not figured to any great extent in the pages of history. But the names of men who have distinguished themselves by the possession of those qualities of character which mainly contribute to the success of private life and to the public stability and who have enjoyed the respect and confidence of those around them should not be permitted to perish. Their example is more valuable to the majority of readers than that of heroes, statesmen and writers, as they furnish means of subsistence for the multitude whom they in their useful careers have employed.

    Such are the thoughts that involuntarily come to our minds when we consider the life of him whose name initiates this sketch. William King Boal was born in Muncy, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, November 3, 1831. His father, James Boal, was a native of Glasgow, Scotland, and acquired his education in the Glasgow University. In connection with his father and brother he loaded a vessel, the Mary B., with merchandise and the two sons sailed with it to Philadelphia, where they disposed of the goods. James Boal remained in his native land and engaged in the importing business throughout his active career. William Boal built and sailed other vessels until the firm had seven engaged in the merchant trade. James Boal married Agnes Frederick, who was born in Muncy, Pennsylvania, in 1806. It was for her great-grandfather, Moses Frederick, that the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia, was named. George F. Boal, another brother of our subject, was graduated in Dickinson College of Pennsylvania, afterwards studied law and became a member of the legislature of the Keystone state. Another brother of our subject, James McLellan Boal, studied at Dickinson College and afterward removed to Minnesota. He was at once time the owner of the site on which the city of St. Paul now stands, and was a member of the first legislature of that state.

    After the death of his father, James Boal, in 1840, William K. Boal, of this review, removed with his mother to Greenup county, Kentucky, where his sisters, Mrs. James W. Allison and Mrs. William M. Patton, resided. On completing his education at the Inductive Seminary there, he afterward entered the office of the Iron Furnace Works, owned and controlled by his brother-in-law, William M. Patton. In this way he gained an excellent knowledge of the business with which he was afterward to become so actively connected. He served as bookkeeper and manager until 1855, when he accepted a position in a bank at Ashland, Kentucky, there remaining until 1863. In that year he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where, he became a very extensive dealer in cotton and hemp. He also conducted a commission business, his annual sales amounting to more than a million, five hundred thousand dollars. In 1872 he purchased the stove foundry of W. C. Davis & Company. Under his management the business increased rapidly and he sold it to the Favorite Stove Company, but the new organization did not make a success of the enterprise, and in 1888 Mr. Boal organized the Favorite Stove & Range Company, securing the plant and business of the defunct Favorite Stove Company. The new corporation purchased land and established its foundry in Piqua, and since that time the business has steadily and constantly grown until it is now one of the largest of the kind in the United States.

    From an account of this mammoth business published in one of the local Piqua papers we quote freely, for certainly such a gigantic concern is deserving of particular mention in connection with the industrial activity of the city. For a number of years Piqua has enjoyed the reputation of having the most extensive manufacturing interests of any city of its size in the state, and chief among these is that conducted by the Favorite Stove & Range Company, whose extensive plant is located between Young and South streets. The officers are: W. K. Boal, president; Stanhope Boal, vice- president; and E. W. Lape, secretary and treasurer; while the board of directors is composed of W. K. Boal; Jacob Bettman, of Cincinnati; A. M. Orr; Adam Gray, of Cincinnati; and Stanhope Boal. Under the wise control and capable management of the president, this has become one of the leading stove and range manufactories of the United States. The plant was removed to Piqua from Cincinnati in the fall of 1888, and on the 25th of February, of the following year, began operation. Since that time its business has steadily and rapidly grown, and today the output of the factory is known throughout the United States. The line of goods manufactured is quite extensive, consisting of Favorite steel ranges, cast ranges and many kinds of cook stoves, all of which are made for different kinds of fuel, together with Favorite baseburners for hard coal, and all kinds of heating stoves in varied sizes. In addition they manufacture Favorite gas ranges and Favorite gas heaters for artificial and natural gas, and the Favorite Piqua hollow ware is one of their products. The plant has a capacity for turning out one thousand steel ranges, baseburners and other fine stoves each week, which is equivalent to three thousand stoves of the cheaper grades. In a single day twenty-eight tons of iron are used in making castings of the various stoves and ranges. When the company began operation in Piqua about eleven years ago, it had in its employ two hundred and seventy-five men, including the traveling salesmen. To-day there are four hundred men employed at the plant, while the traveling salesmen and other representatives number fifty, and the weekly pay roll of the concern is enormous. In order to facilitate the trade and make quicker shipments branch offices have been established in New York, Chicago, St. Paul, Kansas City, Ottumwa, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and Menominee, Michigan. At each of these branches a large stock of stoves and ranges are constantly kept on hand so that orders are filled promptly. The rapidly growing trade has necessitated the enlargement of the plant from year to year, and recently a new brick building, two hundred and seventy-five feet and two stories high, was erected. The buildings of the company now number fifteen and, although some are joined together, there are different departments in each. The entire depth of the buildings is fifteen hundred and thirty feet. The office building is located in front of the plant, and is very conveniently arranged, being handsomely furnished and supplied with everything that is required to conduct the extensive business which the corporation enjoys. There are large warehouses and mounting departments in which many men are constantly engaged in setting up stoves and getting them ready for shipment; the cleaning shop, where the rough edges of the castings are taken off before they are sent to the mounting department; the moulding department, in which every piece that enters into a stove is cast, and in the center of this room is a large cupola where the iron is melted; in another building are the core ovens, where the cores for the gas ranges and hot plates are made. Another interesting building is the wood pattern department. It is here the designs for all of the new stoves are made. Every piece that enters into the construction of a stove is carefully carved from selected pine, and, after being made to fit perfectly, they are taken to the moulding department and iron patterns made from them. When those have served their purpose they are stored in fire proof buildings and are kept for future use. In this building the concern has every pattern that has ever been made for a stove, no matter how large or small, for they are liable to be needed at any time. There is also a nickel- plating department, and after the plating is done the pieces are carefully dried and then taken to the polishing room where they are brightened. There are storage rooms, and gas range, hollow ware, tin shop and odd plate departments, each being equipped with the latest and most improved machinery. The plant is operated with a two-hundred-horse-power Corliss engine and one hundred-horse- power Seely engine. There is also a dynamo in this room used for generating light for the entire plant, save for the nickeling department, which has its own dynamo. There are machine shops where various things are made for the different departments, and a Japanning house, coke and sand houses. Thus thoroughly equipped the Favorite Stove & Range plant has been the most extensive in the entire country, and its output finds its way to every state in the Union.

    While thoroughly a man of affairs whose competency to control extensive business interests has been manifested in the success of the enterprise with which he is now connected. Boal is in private life a genial, kindly gentleman who has won many friends. In 1855 he married Miss Eliza Naomi Van Bibber, the only child of Dr. James and Naomi Barton (White) Van Bibber. Her father was a very successful physician and the best known citizen of Greenup county, Kentucky. He was also a cousin of Daniel Boone. His wife was a daughter of Naomi Barton, who was of English birth, and a cousin of Francis Scott Key, to whom, as the author of the Star Spangled Banner, the country will ever owe a debt of gratitude. Mr. and Mrs. Boal are the parents of seven children, namely: Stella; Nannie; Louise; Eliza Van Bibber, wife of A. M. Orr, of Piqua; Naomi, wife of George Wiedeman, of Newport, Kentucky; Ailine, and Stanhope. The son is associated with his father in business, and is vice-president of the Favorite Stove & Range Company, is president of the National Stove Manufacturers' Association, of the National Gas Stove Works Association and the Western Association of Stove Manufacturers. A man of fine physique, of affable manner and genial disposition, in business life he is highly regarded for his marked executive ability and the faithfulness with which he discharges the duties that devolve upon him through his connection with the various organizations of which he is the head. A most pleasant relationship exists between him and the employees of the foundry and a similar regard is shown his father, William K. Boal, who sustains a most enviable reputation in business circles. He is well known as a thorough-going business man who conducts his affairs along systematic lines and requires absolute faithfulness on the part of his employees. At the same time they recognize that fidelity to duty is the stepping stone to something higher, and that as opportunity offers he will reward their faithfulness by promotion. The humanitarian spirit of Mr. Boal was shown at the time of the great financial panic of 1873, when the company retained all their men, paying them regularly every Saturday, although the output the factory was very much diminished. Through his effort and those of capable associates he has built up one of the most extensive industrial pursuits in the country. The day of small undertakings, especially in cities, seems to have passed and the era of gigantic enterprises is upon us. In control of mammoth concerns are men of master minds, of almost limitless ability to guide, of sound judgment and keen discrimination. Their progressiveness must not only reach the bounds that others have gained, but must even pass beyond into new and broader, untried fields of operation; but an unerring foresight and sagacity must make no mistake by venturing upon uncertain ground. Thus continually growing, a business takes leadership in its special line and the men who are at the head are deservedly eminent in the world of commerce, occupying a position which commands the respect while it excites the admiration of all. Such a place does Mr. Boal now fill. Outside of his office he is known to be a man of genial disposition, courteous and companionable. He is highly esteemed by his brethren of the Masonic fraternity and the Odd Fellows society, and is a leading member of the Episcopal church, in which he is now serving as vestryman. His home is one of the most elegant residences in Piqua, and stands as a monument to a life whose labors have been discerningly directed along lines that have brought to him handsome prosperity, and at the same time have gained for him that good name which is rather to be chosen than great riches.

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