Trade card in public domain; scanned by the Boston Public Library

Business: William F. Piel & Co.
Year of this Advertisement: late 1800’s, between 1873 – 1899
Location:  1050 W. Raymond Street
Neighborhood: South
What they did: Starch production
Years of operation: The business operated under the name in this advertisement, William F. Piel & Co., from 1873 – 1899.  However, the company was formed by Piel in 1867 and still exists today as the National Starch and Chemical Company.  It was originally located on the west bank of the White River on Morris Street, then moved to the east bank of the White River on Morris Street, before moving to its current location at 1050 W. Raymond Street.
Notable: Piel helped to found the Deutschen Allgemeinnen Protestantischen Waisenvereins (German General Protestant Orphan Association), which is now the Pleasant Run Children’s Home.
Additionally: Lump starch, the product advertised above, was used as a laundry enhancement.  Today, National Starch and Chemical Company focuses on starch-based food additives.  Do you remember using starch in your laundry?  Do you still use it?  Have any funny “over-starching” stories?

Piel Brothers Starch, an incarnation of William F. Piel & Co. formed by Piel’s sons after his death, was recently mentioned in HI Mailbag: Rhodius Park Area.

8 responses to “Sunday Adverts: William F. Piel & Co. (National Starch and Chemical Company)”

  1. Lisa Zachary says:

    Summer of 2013 my husband and I purchased an old farmhouse. While doing major demo work we discovered a piece of lumber with the name “Mr. W. F. H. Piel” written in what looks like chalk. Originally we thought maybe he was the one who built the house.

  2. Paul Boat says:

    Eleanor Wischmeyer Piel’s father was a farmer near Indianapolis. Piel went into business with his brother-in-law, and I believe bought a farm. They fell out over business dealings. In fact, Eleanora’s niece is listed as a household servant. Anyway, that could explain the board. But, Piel was a Cooper and, at one time, had a grocery, so they could be repurposed lumber.

  3. Katherine Koelling says:

    Hi Lisa, my name is Kate Koelling and I’ve been doing a lot of research about my father’s side and I believe that W.F.H Piel is my great great grandfather. Do you by chance still have that piece of wood?

  4. Paul Biat says:

    Hello, cousin.

  5. Kather says:

    Hello, do you have history on the piel family?

  6. Tiffany Benedict Browne says:


  7. paul boat says:

    Yes, I do.

  8. Marty Piel says:

    Hello Cousins!

    William Piel was my 3rd great grandfather. I’d love to visit and compare family history.

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