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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Telegraph Herald cartoon series depicting prominent business leaders in Dubuque c. 1906. Shown is A. A. Deckert, vice-president of the company. Photo courtesy: Neal Sprengelmeyer
Photographer unknown, “[Harger & Blish Inc.],” Loras College Digital Collections, accessed April 11, 2014, https://digitalcollections.loras.edu/items/show/216.
Deckert piano
Advertisement from leather pouch. Photo courtesy: Jim Massey
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

HARGER AND BLISH. In 1892 an interest in bicycling led to the formation of the DUBUQUE CYCLING CLUB. Taking advantage of the business opportunity, Harger and Blish became the local agent for the Pope Manufacturing Company, makers of Columbia bicycles. (1) In April of 1892 the company announced that it had sold fifteen "safeties" which "entirely removed the element of danger" present in the older "high" bikes. The company also announced the order of the city's first "tandem," a bicycle with two seats. (2)

In 1910 Harger and Blish was the largest jobbers of "talking machines" between Chicago and the Pacific Coast handling their lines of pianos, cameras, office supplies, and music. The company was the exclusive representative of the Deckert piano and maintained the largest piano department in Iowa. It was also the state agent for the A. B. Dick line of multiplying and copying machines and the eastern Iowa agency for the Globe-Wernike style of bookcase and the Eastman Kodak Company.

In 1910 Harger and Blish was the oldest firm of stationers and music dealers in Iowa. A branch office was maintained in Des Moines. Locally the firm employed thirty-four people in addition to traveling salesmen.

The 1890-91 Dubuque City Directory located this business at 902-910 Main.

The 1899-1900 Dubuque City Directory and 1903 Dubuque County Rural Route Directory listed 904-910 Main.

The 1904-05 Dubuque City Directory located this business at 902-910 Main.

The 1909 Dubuque City Directory gave the address of this business as the SECURITY BUILDING.

The 1911-1912 Dubuque City Directory listed 844 Main.

The 1916-1917 White's Dubuque County Directory listed 159 Main as the address.



1. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, March 19, 1892, p. 4

2. "Bicycling Takes a Spurt," Dubuque Daily Herald, April 12, 1892, p. 4

"The Largest Jobber of Talking Machines in Iowa is Here," Telegraph Herald, March 13, 1910, p. 1