On March 9, 1877 28 year old Charles Glawe, an Old World sail maker incorporated his company in Cincinnati, Ohio. One month later he moved the firm to Dayton, Ohio where it has remained since that time.


Upon moving to Dayton the office was located at 111 N. Main Street. The accompanying picture shows the office right in the middle of a huge circus parade down Main Street. The employees enjoyed a ringside seat.

The primary products in those early days of the business were horse blankets and wagon covers. The company also sold many yards of heavy “duck” canvas to firms in the area, including the Wright Brothers. Glawe was also concurrently building the custom made residential and commercial awning business, along with a slowly developing tent manufacturing and rental operation.


The factory was moved to Elm and Hall Ave. Later that address became 515 East Herman Avenue.


At the request of the Wright Brothers, Glawe manufactured two special tents for them. One of these they took with them to Kitty hawk, NC. for their attempt to accomplish powered flight which they did on December 17, 1903. This picture is the original Wright photograph of Wilbur scrubbing pans outside the tent at Kittyhawk.

The Wright Brother’s Glawe connection has continued in a manner of speaking. The Carillon Historical Park has built a replica of the Wright Brother’s Workshop in the park. Glawe donated the company’s belt driven drill press which was the exact make and model used by the Brothers in their workshop.


1913 was the year of the great flood that covered the Miami Valley.

After the flood, which toppled the two-story factory onto Herman Avenue, a concrete first floor was constructed with two-foot thick walls. The original two-story building was placed on top of this construction to make a three-floor plant. The home of Mr and Mrs. Glawe on Hall Avenue also had to be rebuilt. The company remained in this location until the construction of “Malfunction Junction” and I-75 necessitated another change in location.

FEBRUARY 17, 1925

Charles Glawe passed away and was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. Mrs. Glawe (Belle) was a stockholder along with other partners. One of the partners, William Huesman eventually purchased all of the stock and, along with his wife Catherine reorganized as a partnership. The name of the company remained The Glawe Manufacturing Company.


William Huesman contacted Leo B. Schaefer, the husband of his niece Magdalene, who was living and working in Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island in regard to moving his family to Dayton and coming to work at Glawe. The family did move in 1945 and Leo became a salesman, installer and later a cutter. Leo continued at Glawe and served as President until his death in February 2001. The eldest son of the family, Vernon, began working after school and summers at the company. With the exception of serving in the army in the Korean conflict, Vernon has been at Glawe since that time.


William Huesman passed away and the company began the transition of both ownership and location. In 1960 the facility was moved to 600 Burkhardt Avenue were it would remain for 12 years.



In 1972 a desire for a more modern and structurally sound building for the business meant a move to Beavercreek, a rural suburb east of Dayton. Glawe purchased a brick and block building on North Fairfield Road that at the time seemed “way out” in the country. That would soon change! By 1994 the area had grown tremendously. What was once farmland became a large shopping district with the associated traffic problems. The company was outgrowing this facility and began to look towards designing and building a facility to house operations.


The dream of a custom building became reality in October 1994 as the company moved to the current location at 851 Zapata Drive in Fairborn, Ohio. The back of the building faces the 675 by-pass, which affords easy transportation access and high visibility.

Over the years the business has evolved into a successful custom commercial and residential awning firm as well as one of the region’s largest tent rental companies. The firm has employed hundreds of workers over the years and currently has employees with 20 + years experience with the company.


Vernon Schaefer remains at the helm of the company along with new generations of family members. The Glawe facility has many artifacts of the past, along with new and exciting images of current projects.

The company began working with the Wright Brothers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and today works with Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the Carillon Historical Park, and the Dayton Airshow. We have provided tents for generations of families in the Miami Valley and numerous Presidents and dignitaries over the years. As we like to say “We’ve put the Rest in the Shade”