Glawe Awnings and Tents Logo Fairborn, OH

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Our Company’s History

Our awning company has been operating for many, many years. We began working with the Wright Brothers in 1877, and today we work with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Carillon Historical Park, and the Vectren Dayton Air Show. Over the years we have provided tents for generations of families in the Miami Valley and numerous Presidents and dignitaries. Glawe Awnings and Tents offers superior awning products. As we like to say—We've put the Rest in the Shade.

1877The Beginning

On March 9, 1877, 28-year-old Charles Glawe, an old-world sailmaker, incorporated his company in Cincinnati, Ohio. One month later he moved the firm to Dayton, Ohio. It remained there until 1994.

1893In the Middle of the Parade

Upon moving to Dayton, the office was located at 111 North Main Street. The accompanying picture shows the office right in the middle of a huge circus parade traveling down the 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 concurrently building up the custom-made residential and commercial awning business, along with slowly developing the tent manufacturing and rental operations.


The factory was moved to Elm and Hall Avenue. That address later became 515 East Herman Avenue.

1903Working With the Wright Brothers

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

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

March 1913The Flood!

1913 was the year of the great flood that covered the Miami Valley. After the flood, which toppled the two-story factory on 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 those partners, William Huesman, eventually purchased all of the stock. Along with his wife Catherine, he reorganized the company as a partnership. The name of the company remained The Glawe Manufacturing Company.

The Wright Brothers' Tent
Factory Exterior in 1913
Charles Glawe

New Company Facility in 1965
Newly Purchased Building in 1972
New Company Building in 1994
Katharine Schaefer


William Huesman contacted Leo B. Schaefer, the husband of his niece Magdalene, who was living and working in Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, with regard to moving his family to Dayton and coming to work at Glawe. The family did move in 1945, and Leo became a salesman, an installer, and later on, 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 at the company after school and during summers. Except for serving in the army during the Korean War, Vernon has been at Glawe since his youth.


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, where it would remain for 12 years.


In 1972, a desire for a modern and structurally sound building to house the business necessitated a move to Beavercreek, a rural suburb east of Dayton. Glawe Manufacturing purchased a brick-and-block building on North Fairfield Road. At that time, it 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 anyway and began to look at designing and building a new facility to house their operations.


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

Over the years, the business has evolved. It is now successful as a custom manufacturer of commercial and residential awnings as well as being one of the region's largest tent rental companies. The firm has employed hundreds of workers over the years and currently has employees with more than 20 years of experience with the company.

The 2000sLooking to the Future

New generations of family members have taken over Vernon Schaefers legacy. His daughter, Katharine Schaefer, is currently at the helm of the company. The Glawe facility has many artifacts from the past, along with new and exciting images of current projects.