Grandview Heights moment in time
Fred Behmer was born in Columbus in 1886, and at a young age he had access to a camera and quickly developed an eye for photography.
At 16 he started taking photos for money and at 17 he started working at Jeffrey Manufacturing doing corporate photography. He married in 1907, and he and his wife, Sophia, had a son and two daughters. The family then moved to a new home at 1407 Wyandotte Road in Grandview.
After about a year, Behmer left Jeffrey to join the Baker Art Gallery of Columbus, which was the largest photo studio in the country. After two years, he went to work for the Ohio Sun, a Columbus newspaper, where he was the sole photojournalist.
In this capacity, Behmer was the first local press photographer to cover out-of-town football games from Ohio State University and owned the first Graflex camera used for press work in Columbus. The Graflex was popular for sports and press photography in large part due to its use of a focal plane shutter to produce shutter speeds fast enough to feel like they were freezing fast movements like in games. of football.
Behmer returned to Jeffrey in 1908 as chief photographer. Jeffrey’s main business at the time was related to the coal mining industry, having been formed out of the Lechner Mining Machine Company. The founders of Lechner were the inventors and manufacturers of some of the first automated coal mining equipment. Jeffrey grew into a diverse manufacturing company, producing equipment including stone crushers, loaders, conveyors and locomotives that were used in stone quarries near Marble Cliff and across the country.
Behmer did all the photography and layout of the company’s catalogs and instruction manuals and advertisements.
In 1910, he made the first advertising enlargements of large photos in Columbus. Jeffrey built simulated industrial environments at his factory in Columbus to place his products for photography sessions. This photo shows a number of Jeffrey’s employees acting as coal miners for a Behmer photoshoot. Behmer was sometimes one of the “minors”. He has also photographed corporate events, including its annual golf outing to the Arlington Country Club in Marble Cliff.
Behmer’s son, Fred Jr., graduated from Grandview Heights High School in 1926 and began working with his father in Jeffrey while attending OSU. In 1933 he joined Jeffrey full-time, taking on the “roadwork” responsibilities his father had previously performed. He has done industrial Jeffrey photography, including films of Jeffrey machines at work, in all 48 states, Canada and Mexico. He succeeded his father as head of Jeffrey’s photography department in 1953. He died in 1968 at the age of 59. His father died in 1972.