The original Mauler store was a dry goods store on Eastern Ave
near the present Inner Harbor of Baltimore. This was started by
Conrad Mauler who came to America with his mother as a child in
the early 1800's. He started his dry goods business in the
1850's. He drove a wagon from Baltimore to points north and
west as far as West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and even
into Tennessee. His business was located near President Street
which is where the Union troops were confronted by Baltimoreans
sympathetic to the south prior to the Civil War. When he
retired he left his business to his youngest son, also named Conrad. In 1889 Conrad, (the son), started C.Mauler & Sons at 1731
Fleet Street in the Fells Point section of Baltimore. This was a
wholesale business from the beginning. It became a, kind of,
gathering place in the neighborhood for the local political types.
Conrad was friends with Doctors from Johns Hopkins
and he himself was president of Canton Savings and Loan. When
he retired he liquidated the business. Three of his sons, which
included Winfred C., Robert E.,and Elmer J., bid on the goods
being liquidated. The day after the liquidation the three started
Mauler Brothers. A nephew, James Mauler, and Winfred's son,
Robert H. Mauler (Pop) would later join the firm performing
various task including sales and delivery.
After World War II Robert H. Mauler (Pop) returned to take a
more active role in the business.Mauler Brothers stayed at it's
1731 Fleet Street location until 1953. The store was moved to
111 South Gay Street across the street from what is now the
Inner Harbor. Robert H. Mauler (Pop) had married Mary J. Blum
(Mom) and the two of them bought the building on Gay Street.
Mary, (Mom), would work the Christmas season from September
through December 24th with Robert H. Mauler, (a.k.a. Bob/Pop).
Together, and with the suggestion from Mom they started saving
the toys in their original boxes and in some cases cartons. There
were still items from the 40's in stock by the time they started
collecting. When Winfred and Robert E. passed away Pop and
James were the sole owners for the oldest independent toy
wholesaler in Baltimore. Direction of the business fell to Pop who
handled all of the businesses affairs, along with Mom of course.
In 1974 Mauler Brothers moved, once again, to 227 Holliday
Street. The building was an historical site being the location
where the first motorized bus was built in America. The
Hollinsworth Building as it was known would be the last site for
Mauler Brothers. In 1994, one year after Pop had heart
bypass surgery, Mauler Brothers closed it's doors for good.
Many city officials shopped at Mauler Brothers and 'celebes'
stopped in all the time. Mom and Pop's toys collection became
famous even before the business closed. In 1977 the Peale
Museum decided to feature children's toys as an exhibit. "So
Well Remembered - Toys of the Near Past" was the title of the
exhibit and it displayed toys from the 1900's to the 1950's.
The News American Paper called it a "...dazzling array...(of
toys)." They went on to say the Peale show concentrates on the
era of Clarabelle, Dragnet, Zorro, etc.
The Baltimore Sun Newspaper also picked up the story; "Impetus
to the project came from the Peale's next door neighbor, the
Mauler Brothers Wholesale Toy firm. About 80% to 90% is from
stock they saved, Mr.Dressel, (assistant director of Peale),
said....the reason most items look so new is that they have
remained boxed and wrapped for a long time! One
entry was still wrapped in a 1948 newspaper."
With this web site Mom and Pop have been encouraged to display
their toys for all to see. Before this site was ever dreamed of
Mom and Pop have had vendors searching them out from as far
away as Canada and England. This was all with word of mouth
from the small number of toy shows Mom and Pop
attended over a few years time.
You really have to see it all to believe it!
Update note: Pop took his journey on September 6, 2003. Travel
well my father....
For those of you who knew this wonderful man you know what I
mean when I say 'wonderful'. Pop always had a big smile when he
greeted you. Anyone who did business with him knew him to be a
fair and honest man.
Pop grew up in Baltimore during the depression and he started
working at a very young age and contributed to the household
income. Once, when he was about 13, a RC cola delivery man
offer him a job for about $8.00 a week. This was a lot for a kid
to be making back then and Pop took the job. When Pop found
out the RC man was paying him by cheating the store owners out
of returns, Pop quit. Not many 13 year olds during the
depression would be that moral and honest but that was our Pop!
He dropped out of school when he was in the 8th grade to help
the family, but he still managed to make the family business a
success and left his wife and family with a very nice home and
20 acres of land in west Anne Arundel County. But he worked his
whole life to make that happen and together with Mom learned to
make very wise investments. He always told me that "a little
work never hurt anyone." Right up until he passed from lung
cancer, (he had not smoked since 1953), you could find him doing
one project or another in his wood shop or cutting wood for the
woodstove in the winter. I sure miss the times I spent cutting
wood with my dad! Once when I was very young Pop was doing
finishing work on the upstairs of our first house. We had
returned from church and I went upstairs to be with him. I
asked him why he did not go to church with us? He took me over
to the window and pointed out side to the woods behind our
house and said that is "all the church you will ever need." He
taught me more about our true connection to 'God' than any
priest, nun, or preacher I ever met.
To illustrate the intelligence of this man with an 8th grade
education I submitt an excerpt from a letter he wrote his sister
during WWII. When Mom told me to read this and guess who
wrote it I had no idea! December 30, 1944:Burma
...I have just completed a trip up the road, from it's
terminus at the tiny, dingy ...of Ledo...far into the matted
jungles of Burma where powerful bulldozers operated by
sweating, swearing Americans, colored and white, are blasting
the highway....The road is a single, minute thread of modern
America almost lost on the vast green tapestry of a dim,
primordial world world which for countless centuries, has
afforded the elephant and tiger and devil-tormented aborigine a
refuge from the encroaching tides of civilization....despite
month-long monsoon downpours, mud and disease-the American
soldier has transplanted the spirit of his homeland in this remote
corner of the world....
I never knew my father was another Hemmingway. He was too
busy providing for his family to pursue the arts...but he surely
could have accomplished anything he set his mind to! I could have
had twenty lifetimes with Pop and it would not have been
enough...and the wonderful thing is I got to tell him that before
he left this earth!
Travel well Pop. I'll meet you on the other side!
Georgie Jessup Mauler