vendome-history-2
1872
Louis Hoffman and George F. Ahlers become sole proprietors of Cincinnati Copper Works, established in 1834.

October 13, 1878
W. Elmore Sherman (William Elmore James Sherman) is born.

August 1879
Hoffman-Ahlers Co. opens Louisville branch at 625-629 East Main Street under direction of Isaac A. Hoffman, son of Louis Hoffman.

May 1899
Isaac A. Hoffman dies in Louisville.

January 1, 1901
Business is incorporated in Louisville as Hoffman-Ahlers Co. with W. J. Elmore Sherman listed as one of six stockholders. L. (Lewis) H. Hoffman, younger brother of I. A. Hoffman, and George F. Ahlers hold majority of shares.

1901
Elmore Sherman is first listed with company as bookkeeper.

October 14, 1902
Elmore Sherman marries Lutzia Isabell Ewering.

1902
Elmore Sherman listed as Assistant Secretary and Treasurer; G. F. Ahlers of Cincinnati is President.

1903-1909
Elmore Sherman listed as Vice-President of Hoffman-Ahlers in city directory.

1903 or 1904
L.H. Hoffman forms short-lived Hoffman & Co., located at 725-729 (later 721-723) East Main Street, the future address of Vendome. No doubt started as the result of a disagreement between Hoffman-Ahlers stockholders, company appears in publication on Louisville industries and in 1904 city directory. By 1905, city has no listings for company or for L. H. Hoffman.

January 18, 1910
George F. Ahlers dies.

1911
Vendome Copper and Brass Works listed in city directory for first time at 721-723 East Main Street.

September 1, 1911
Vendome advertises for first time in Wine and Spirits Bulletin.

September 1911
Vendome places ad in program for National Federation of Storekeepers, Gaugers and Storekeeper-Gaugers Annual Convention held in Louisville September 5-6, 2011.

April 1, 1912
Articles of Incorporation filed for Vendome Copper and Brass Works, Inc.

October 22, 1912
Vendome obtains $1500 mortgage to be paid in three yearly payments for property at 721-723 East Main Street (paid off in 1914). (Jefferson County Deed Book 771/454)

Vendome buys property at 721-723 East Main Street (52’6” x 102’). (Jefferson County Deed Book 773/251)

1914
Ahlers and Gregoire, successors to Hoffman-Ahlers, first advertise in city directory at 621-623 East Market Street. They continue advertising throughout 1920s.

May 1914
Vendome creates miniature distillery that is displayed at National Wholesale Liquor Dealers’ Association convention in Washington, D. C.

1915
Miniature distillery is exhibited at Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. It receives diploma and Bronze Medal. Distillery disappears from train on return trip from San Francisco.

August 1917
Lever Food and Fuel Control Act passed by Congress creating “Wartime prohibition” on use of food stuffs in manufacture of distilled spirits marking the end of beverage alcohol production until the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

1919
Ratification of 18th Amendment prohibiting the production, sale or transport of distilled spirits (January) and passage of Volstead Act (October) to implement its enforcement beginning on January 1, 1920.

January 1, 1920
Official beginning of Prohibition.

1923
Last listing for Vendome in city directory until 1934.

1923-1925
Elmore Sherman enters boiler business in partnership with Gus Kleinsteuber. Kleinsteuber and Sherman is listed at 721 East Main Street.

1925-1926
Elmore Sherman accepts job to dismantle Henderson, Kentucky distillery and reinstall it in Vancouver, British Columbia. Family moves to Canada for six months.

1927
Listing for Kleinsteuber Boiler Works at 721 East Main Street in city directory has no mention of Elmore Sherman.

Listing for Southern Gasoline Pump Works, pump manufacturers, at 1425 Story Avenue with Elmore Sherman, Sr., Elmore Sherman, Jr. and E. C. Sherman as proprietors.

May 10, 1927
Elmore Sherman buys lot (67’ x 60’) on east side of Shelby Street 162 ‘ north of Franklin Street. (Jefferson County Deed Book 1603/577). This property at 153-157 North Shelby Street becomes Vendome’s new plant.

1931
Elmore Sherman is listed in city directory as bookkeeper for Nugent Sand Company.

1932
Vendome constructs 3,000 bushel-twenty-four hour distillery for Joseph S. Finch Distillery in Schenley, Pennsylvania owned by Schenley Products Co. Finch Distillery is one of a handful permittedby U. S. government to produce whiskey for medicinal use.

1933-1939
Vendome is incredibly busy producing distillery equipment as plants begin to come back on line after end of Prohibition.

1937
Vendome survives the terrible devastation of the 1937 flood. Water reaches rafters of shop before receding.

1942-1945
Federal government halts all production of beverage spirits during World War II to allow for found-the-clock production of industrial alcohol for use in war materiel. Vendome’s business shifts to equipment for industrial alcohol production.

Early 1950s
Elmore Sherman, Sr. retires. And Elmore Sherman, Jr. takes over as President.

By early 1950s, Vendome has manufactured distilling equipment for about 100 different distilleries. During 1950s stainless steel is introduced as important new fabricating material alongside copper and brass, Vendome incorporates stainless steel equipment into its product line.

1960
Thomas Sherman begins working for company followed by his brother, Richard, a short time later.

1960s
A steady stream of distillery closures and consolidations leads Vendome to expand its product line to serve beer, chemical, pharmaceutical, food, dairy, confectionary and other industries.

August 3, 1963
Elmore Sherman Sr. dies.

March 21, 1974
Elmore Sherman Jr. dies.

Shortly after, Thomas Sherman becomes President of Vendome and Richard J. Sherman become Executive Vice-President.

1970s
Business booms as Midwest interests gear up to make ethyl alcohol for gasohol. Demand is high from industrial alcohol plants for huge stills and other equipment. By 1979, Vendome has 46 employees compared to 10-11 two decades earlier. Vendome continues to fabricate new equipment and repair existing equipment for the beverage distilleries still in operation.

1980-1981
Company moves to present location at 729 East Franklin Street.

1980s
Vendome produces increasingly large distilling equipment for fuel alcohol business including largest multi-column still ever made and largest skid-mounted ethanol plant.

1990s-2000s
Vendome does rapidly increasing business designing, fabricating and installing batch distilling systems for the newly emerging micro-distillery industry.

2003
Vendome builds replicas of an early pot still in the Smithsonian’s collection for George Washington’s newly reconstructed distillery at Mt. Vernon.