Felt & Tarrant - the DeBerard connection


Its probable that Charles Joseph DeBerard (the 1st), an accountant and Vice President of Tarrant Foundry (1849-1910) introduced the young Dorr Felt to Robert Tarrant around 1886. The DeBerard-Tarrant connection is confirmed by these 1900 Chicago City Directory entries...
TARRANT Foundry Co. Robert Tarrant pres; C J. DeBerard v.pres; George L. Hopping sec and treas; founders 46 to 66 Indiana st.

TARRANT, Robert prop Marine Engine works 52 to 56 Illinois h. 72 Park av.

Three pre-1900 corporation "agreements" indicate that DeBerard held a 1/16th interest in the firm until at least the mid-1890s. What is not clear as yet, is how that interest was allocated at the time of the split-off of the Comptograph Company in 1902.

When Ada Grace DeBerard died in 1950, her will included 6140 shares of the (then public) Felt & Tarrant Mfg. Co. as well as an interest in the Tarrant Foundry. It now seems clear that these shares were passed to her from her father (C J).

Arthur J. DeBerard, a younger brother to CJ, was listed by the 1910 census of Brooklyn NY as a salesman of adding machines, probably either Comptometers or Bob Tarrant's Comptograph.


The author's current conjecture follows...
Darby's rather clear description of the terms of the 1902 split-up indicating that Felt got 51% of F&T while Tarrant got 51% of the Comptograph Co., would now seem not so clear. With DeBerard's minority ownership firmly established both before and (much) later, it now seems likely that he would have held the "balance of power" at the time and, most likely, brokered the arrangement. It is hoped that documents yet to be discovered will eventually shed more light on this subject.

As we know, the Comptograph machine met with little success both before the split-up and thereafter. Any shares that DeBerard held in The Comptograph Company would then have been converted to F&T shares after that ill-fated venture was re-absorbed by F&T following its post WWI failure.

This page will be updated with any additional information that comes to light.

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For much of the above, I am grateful to....
Mary Elizabeth Schmidt, granddaughter of the inventor, for providing access to many early documents. She clearly recalls Ada DeBerard as being a "close friend" of her mother (Virginia Felt Koch) and of many visits at their home in the 1930s.

Sandy Rogers, a great-granddaughter of Charles Joseph DeBerard (the 1st) and a grand-niece of his daugher, Ada Grace DeBerard. Her father worked for Felt & Tarrant in the early 1900s and often referred to the family's "business connection".

Walt Knauff of San Francisco and his research of the DeBerard genealogical threads.




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