When the ringing of bells announced the turn of the century on January 1, 1900, they also marked the birth of the Ewald Furniture Company. Known then as "Ewald and Pahl," it began as a furniture and undertaking establishment. Joseph N. Ewald, founder of the store, moved to Tiffin in 1896 from a farm north of the city. He went to work for the furniture retailer, A. J. Henzy Company, as a salesman.
On January 1, 1900, Mr. Ewald, together with his brother-in-law, Charles Pahl, bought out Mr. Henzy and became partners in the furniture and undertaking business.
Young people of today might wonder at this strange association of seemingly unrelated endeavors. However, in those days, furniture and funeral directing were commonly combined to the mutual benefit of both, as the same horses could be used to pull the ambulance and hearse as well as the wagons and sleds used to deliver furniture.
A familiar sight on the Tiffin streets was "Pete," the biggest and blackest horse in town, racing out with the Ewald and Pahl ambulance or sedately pulling the black hearse to the tolling of church bells. The Ewald and Pahl families drove "Pete" on alternate Sundays for their outings in the country. "Duke" and "Maud," the frisky pair of sorrels, were used most often on the furniture van.
When the automobile arrived on the American scene, Ewald's purchased one of the first trucks in Tiffin. This was in 1913. The original truck was chain driven and had hard rubber tires. The purchase marked the end of one era and the beginning of another.
As time marched through the following century, the store location was changed, ownership passed to new generations and economic hardships were weathered. On January 1, 2010 Ewald's marked their 110th anniversary of continuous family operation. Little would Joseph N. Ewald imagine that 110 years after its beginning, his great-grandsons routinely unlock the from door of Ewald Furniture for another day on the job.