|Victor G. Bloede
Of all the varied influences that have gone to make this country the most prosperous and progressive on the face of the earth,
perhaps none is so pronounced as the strong German element which has been infused into the nation. It is felt as a tremendous
force for good wherever men from the fatherland have taken up their abode, and especially may we note how strongly the influence
is discernible in the rapid advancement of Maryland and her chief city, Baltimore, There is an earnestness and purposefulness about
the German people that can be claimed by no other nation on earth; distinguished at once by lofty ideals and a most intense
practicality, it is their mission to definitely conceive of progress and to carry it into the fullest and highest realization.
Among these men of progress, deep thinkers and hard workers, who have come to this country to its betterment, may be mentioned
Victor Gustav Bloede, the eminent chemist and manufacturer of chemicals, president of the Victor G. Bloede Company, which for so
many years has taken the lead in this city in its special line of industry. As with most persons who have attained success, Mr. Bloede
has made his way in the world with no other capital than his energy and determination, coupled with business foresight and ability,
and his genuine worth and strict integrity have won the confidence and high esteem of all with whom he has come in contact. His
history is that of a strong man who has set himself to succeed in spite of all obstacles; and he has studied and fought and wrought
until he stands to-day one of the foremost men of the great city of his adoption.
He was born sixty-three years ago, in the year 1849, in the city of Dresden. Germany, the son of Gustav Bloede, a physician and
member of the city council of Dresden during the revolution of that year. His mother, Marie Franziska Bloede, shared with her
husband the lofty patriotism and love of liberty that distinguished the family and caused them to make their home where these
sentiments might best blossom and hear fruit. Coming to America, they settled in Brooklyn, New York, and here young Victor
received the groundwork of his education in the public schools. At the age of twelve years he began to assist in his own support,
becoming an office boy and earning the means to pursue his studies, which were a delight to him; thus while working by day he
began to study at the Cooper Institute night school in New York City, and made rapid progress.
His mother was ever his chief inspiration, guiding, encouraging, and strengthening his growth, and awakening by her own strong
mentality all that was dormant in her young son, for the family was one of marked culture. Not only had the father distinguished
himself by work in the natural sciences, but on the mother’s side, as well, two uncles had been prominent in literature and politics,
and her progenitors had been scientific men. So it came about that young Victor early interested himself in natural science at
Cooper Institute, and was graduated from that division in the year 1867, his class being the first in the institute to receive diplomas
for the scientific course. He had also the inestimable privilege of personal acquaintance with the great philanthropist and founder of
the institution, Peter Cooper himself, whose example and teachings were strongly influential in the molding of his character and in
his lifework. Also in the biographies of other great men the young German student sought and found inspiration and encouragement,
for lie was a great reader and a thinker always, with a passionate thirst for knowledge.
He early formulated that creed which he upholds for success in lift, a concentration of effort in one direction and an indomitable
perseverance in the pursuit of the end desired. Thus following his personal preference, in which he was strongly supported by his
wise and cultivated mother, he turned his attention to chemistry, securing a position in 1868 in chemical works in Brooklyn. Here he
began to study the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceutical preparations, developing his remarkable powers of application,
clear intelligence, and ability to meet and solve problems concerned in the handling of matters entrusted to his charge. It was
excellent training, and he soon proved his worth. In 1877 he established himself in Baltimore as a chemist and manufacturer of
chemical products; and with his habit of close observation and deep thought he soon decided that their was a wide field for
improvement in the methods then in use in chemical factories. Applying to this improvement all his highly cultivated faculties, he
made tremendous advances in the business, principally in regard to the dyeing of cotton fabrics; and between the years 1800 and
1895 he was granted fifteen or twenty patents upon chemical processes, one of the most important being his patent upon the
process for dyeing in “sun-fast”, unfading shades. He has also received a number of medals for his various useful and economic
inventions, which were not all instigated by a desire for pecuniary gain, but by an unusual and most public-spirited wish to benefit
humanity at large, to advance the general health, wealth, and prosperity. It is thus that Mr. Bloede has proved himself a benefactor
not only to the city of Baltimore, but to the nation, and indeed all the world, through the work he has done and the influence he has
exercised upon his surroundings.
A public-spirited man in every way, and tenderly devoted to the memory of his mother, he presented, on the 10th of November, 1908,
to the Hospital for Consumptives of Maryland the new and handsome structure erected in the midst of twenty-three acres of park
grounds at Towson, Baltimore county, Maryland, dedicated as the “Marie Bloede Memorial Hospital for Advanced Consumptives”. It
was accepted by Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs, as president, in the presence of Governor Austin L. Crothers, the Right Reverend Bishop
Paret, Mayor J. Barry Mahool, and a large and distinguished gathering, Mr. Bloede is the author of other and most important
benefactions, making many improvements in his home town, Catonsville, Maryland. He organized the First National Bank of
Catonsville, of which he was vice-president for ten years, and then in 1908 made president; he organized and financed the Patapsco
Electric Company, founded for furnishing electric light and power to Catonsville and the surrounding country; he projected the
Baltimore, Catonsville and Ellicott City Electric Railway, and he helped to organize the National City Bank of Baltimore, in 1910, and is
now one of its directors.
Mr. Bloede possesses the power of handling large masses of men and of coordinating their energies so that the best results can be
obtained; in his dealings with them he is honest and courteous, yet firm and just, and to his executive ability thus manifested a great
measure of his success in life is due. This ability has brought him into prominence in other business relations, making him in great
demand on various boards of directors, and winning for him the high regard of his business associates as well as their sincere
personal esteem. His devotion to his friends, his probity in his commercial relations, and his wonderful influence over his
subordinates, combine to make him one of the finest business men whom Baltimore has ever known. Gertrude Bloede, sister of Mr.
Bloede, who is better known under her pseudonym. “Stewart Sterne.” inherited the literary talents of her mother and ranks as one of
the poets of the country, although not as widely known as some. Her best known and most popular work is the blank verse poem
“Angelo”, which was published with three other volumes of blank verse. Another sister was a sculptor, who married the well-known
American painter, Abbott H. Thayer.
Mr. Bloede is a conspicuous member of a number of scientific associations, belonging to the International Society of Chemical
Industry, the American Chemical Society, the Chemists’ Club of New York City. and the Johns Hopkins Club, He has also contributed
ably to scientific literature, being the author of the “Reducers’ Manual and Practical Metallurgy”, a text book of recognized worth. In
his political convictions Mr. Bloede belongs to no party, reserving to himself the privilege of voting for the best man wherever found.
On the 5th of June, 1883, he was married to Elise Schon, daughter of Carl Schon and Marie Franziska Schon, of Toledo, Ohio. By this
marriage he gained the life companionship of a most charming and congenial woman, fitted by native refinement, a bright mind, and
a thorough education for the social position she occupies, and upon which she entered with a gracious enjoyment of its duties. Mr.
and Mrs. Bloede have five children: Marie, Carl S, Ilse, Victor G., and Vida Bloede, at their charming home in Catonsville.
Mr. Bloede has always been singularly strong in his personality, alert, virile, progressive and far-seeing. He is a strong and robust
man, believing in physical exercise as in mental, sound in body and mind, and recommending to others those methods by which he
himself has gained such all around success. In fishing, rowing and walking he takes distinct delight, and finds a mine of wealth and
enjoyment in his mental occupations. In perseverance, he believes, is the secret of success, perseverance in a course well mapped
out and chosen, allowing no obstacle to discourage or defeat. “Never give up an undertaking because it is hard and unpromising”, he
says, “but persist until you succeed. I have observed that men seldom fail to accomplish any task or aim which they have set before
them when their motto is ‘Never give up trying’. Persistency is the great single element in success. Have a purpose in life, seek
associates among those to whom you can look up, observe men and women of strong character.” And so by his life-long effort and
achievement, he has set himself among those to whom the citizens of Baltimore, young and old, may well look up, observing him and
following in his footsteps as a man of strong character and a leader worthy of imitation.
Reproduction of biography by Clayton Coleman Hall, "Victor Gustav Bloede", Baltimore: Its History and Its People,
Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1912:
|Victor G. Bloede (1849-1937)
Photo: Williams Haynes, American Chemical Industry, Vol. III