Wednesday, June 28, 2017


A.I.Root pictured on a promotional
brochure for Root Candles.

Named for its founder, A. I. Root has been in been in business for 148 years. Prior to going into the beekeeping business, Root had a successful jewelry store on the Public Square in Medina.

Medina Gazette 22 July 1870 ad for Root's Jewelry business.
But in August of 1865, A.I. Root became fascinated by a swarm of bees. He  purchased the swarm and began studying bee culture. At that time, whenever honey was collected, it destroyed the hive. By 1869, Root had invented a method for harvesting the honey leaving the hive intact. He incorporated his bee supply manufacturing facilities.

Shortly after, he published a bee journal, Gleanings in Bee Culture, now just named Bee Culture. In the 1870's he first published ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture, the bible of beekeeping. It is now in its 42nd edition.

Masthead for Gleanings in Bee Culture
Bee Culture remains the beekeeper's                                                                           The ultimate beekeeper's
   magazine nationwide.                                                                                         encyclopedia. 

A bee smoker introduced by A. I. Root in the 1870's.

For years, the Root company pioneered beekeeping. They kept bees and were leading producers of honey, causing Medina to be nicknamed "Sweetest Town on Earth."

In 1878, Root sold his jewelry business and purchased the old Medina Fairgrounds on West Liberty Street. That is still the company headquarters.

View of Root Company with the hives, circa 1920's

In May of 1890, The Gazette reported that the Root factory was entirely lighted by electricity.

Another view of the factory.

After World War I, the Root company got out of the honey business and was strictly a bee supply company for a few years. Then a chance encounter with a priest on a tennis court led the company in another direction. The Priest complained that it was very difficult to get an "honest" candle for the church altars,   The church required a certain percentage of beeswax in their candles. In 1931, Root company started making religious candles.

The company expanded and had factories in San Antonio, TX and Council Bluff, IA. In the 1970's  the Texas plant, then the Iowa plant moved into making decorative candles. By 1980, the Medina plant transitioned to the decorative and fragrance candles. On certain days, you can tell by the scent in the air which fragrance the company is manufacturing that day.

Promotion from the 1970's

  • Root provides the candles that illuminate the path at Antietam National Battlefield every year.
  • Over half of all the candles that Root produces go to churches.
  • It is still a privately owned company and the profits are divided among the Root family members.
  • Employed 180 people in 2001; 160 in 2010, 100 people in 2017.
  • They have over $8 million in sales, yearly.
  • Brad Root is the sixth in the Root family to head the company. 
The Root Presidents

Root Company History

Ohio Secretary of State, Root Company Business Filings

Medina Gazette,  17 Dec. 2008.

"Candle Factory Keeps Medina Busy as Bees", Plain Dealer,  22 July, 2001, page B-1.

"From Bees to Candles", Western Reserve Magazine, Nov.-Dec. 1982, pp.38-41

"Root Abuzz with Tour Plans" by Katie Byard, Akron Beacon Journal, 6 July 2010, page A-1

"Root Candle Has Kept a Light in the Window for Generations, Providing for Church and Home" by Leon Bibb WEWS. Twitter, 7 March 2014.

ReferenceUSA database accessed through the Medina County District Library on 23 Jun 2017.

Historical Highlights of Medina, Eleanor Schapiro, editor, 1966.


Anonymous said...

This was so interesting, Kathy!

Lisa said...

I always learn something new with your blog. Thank you!