15. John E. Fredrick Desk

The Frederick Desk is no longer on exhibit. However, we have left this information for you to enjoy.


John E. Fredrick was born in Randolph County, Indiana and trained as an M.D. He worked as a doctor for a time, but gave that up during the gas boom year of 1896. With two other men and a $1500 nest egg, he moved to Howard County and went into business.

In Kokomo, he started the Kokomo Fence Machine Company, which sold a machine used by farmers to weave fencing on-site. The company became Kokomo Wire and Nail and then Kokomo Steel and Wire. A 1927 merger with two other companies created Continental Steel - and Fredrick was Chairman of the Board. He was also President and a director of First Federal Savings and Loan, and Chairman of the Board of American Art Alloys (manufacturer of Dirilyte) and of Union Bank and Trust.

John served as president of the Kokomo Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Manufacturers Association. He was one of the original trustees of the Kokomo YMCA, and was active in the Democratic Party, the Indiana Historical Society, Rotary, Elks, and the Masonic Lodge. John was an unsuccessful candidate for US Senate and Governor of Indiana, as well.

"Success in life depends on the individual," he is quoted as saying. "He must fit himself and be qualified to meet fully the opportunity when it comes, by possessing skill of brain and hand, as well as the knowledge necessary to succeed. This, coupled with the habit of industry, persistances and courage, and an inborn sense of justice and right, will insure anyone against failure."

When John died in 1943, his obituaries spoke of a man who was not only respected, but loved.