Gasser donates chairs to Tyler History Center

By William K. Alcorn


Gasser Chair Co., with some innovations of its own during its history, donated chairs to the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center to help preserve the history of the Valley.

“Providing the chairs was an opportunity to be a part of capturing the history of the Valley, particularly the industrial history,” said Mark Gasser, company president.

From 1921 to 1935, the building at 325 W. Federal St., the site of the Tyler History Center, was occupied by Harry Burt, a confectioner who invented the Good Humor Ice Cream Bar.

The revitalization of Youngstown’s downtown also figured into Gasser’s motivation for the gift.

Gasser said he is a firm believer that anything good that happens in Youngstown or Warren is good for the surrounding areas.

Also, Gasser said he is impressed with the renovations being done on the Harry Burt/Ross Radio Building, purchased in 2008 by the historical society.

The society has done a nice job of making it functional and have a good plan to make it sustainable, Gasser said.

“We’ll make it part of what we show to our out-of-town visitors. It is another of the Mahoning Valley’s hidden gems,” Gasser said.

“Gasser Chair has once again displayed its ‘home-grown’ corporate generosity by donating chairs to the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in support of the $6 million fundraising campaign to develop this new facility in downtown Youngstown,” said H. William Lawson, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

The Gasser donation includes 200 hospitality chairs for events in the Paul and Marguerite Thomas Ballroom on the second floor and the Anne Kilcawley Christman Discovery Gallery on the third floor, and 16 upholstered side chairs for the public reading/research room in the society’s new archives in the basement of the Tyler History Center.

The value of the donation is slightly more than $31,000, which brings the campaign pledges and in-kind gifts to $4.8 million, or 80.5 percent of its goal, Lawson said.

Gasser Chair, 4136 Logan Way, remains a family-owned business that was started in the mid-1940s by brothers Louis, Roger and George Gasser, who set up shop with a material that was relatively new at the time — aluminum.

Gasser began providing services to local companies such as assembling aluminum storm windows and screens, welding aluminum beer kegs and even fabricating custom parts for a prototype helicopter. The company then began designing and manufacturing aluminum-frame dinette sets.

The history center will be an accessible and inclusive research and learning facility, complementing the Arms Family Museum site on Wick Avenue, Lawson said.

Progress on renovations is 75 percent complete.

For information about The Campaign for the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center, go to, or contact Cheryl Staib Lewis, campaign director, at 330-743-2589, ext. 124.

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