In 1916, Ray Garten met Charles R. Sutton in Chicago, Illinois, when Garten was transferred from Indianapolis to Chicago after Union Carbide bought Indianapolis-based Prestolite. Owned by prominent Indianapolis residents James Allison and Carl Fisher, Prestolite manufactured acetylene lamps and lighting systems for cars and trucks. Union Carbide decided to sell the Prestolite products via distributors, and two years later, Sutton and Garten returned to Indianapolis as the first Indiana independent distributor of Prestolite products.
In 1923, Garten bought Sutton’s interest in the company, but keeping the name of the business the same. In 1926, the Sutton-Garten Co. became the first General Electric electric welder distributor in the United States. In 1930, Sutton-Garten Co. opened operations at a new building at 401 W. Vermont Street, near the Bethel AME Church. In 1953, Sutton-Garten Co. ceased operations as a welding shop to focus solely on distribution of supplies and equipment.
Near the time this ad ran in the 1960 Broad Ripple Riparian, Ray Garten yielded the reins of Sutton-Garten Co. to his son, Bill. Notice this advertisement features “Janie Garten.” Perhaps she is Bill’s daughter?
Bill remained at the helm of Sutton-Garten Co. until his death in 1974. Bill’s son, Pat, has managed the company since Bill’s death. Sutton-Garten Co. now has a headquarters and warehouse at 901 N. Senate, and the fourth generation, Pat’s sons Matt and Ben, now work for this almost one hundred year old local business.