During the onslaught of religious reformists, German monasteries protected examples of religious symbolism that flourished in the Middle Ages. They were sharing the preserved records with non-Catholics, as well as Catholics who came to study the meaning of ancient Christian worship. It was at this time that Francis Baumer recruited Jacob Steigerwald, a young yet accomplished Bavarian candle designer.
For 16 years, Steigerwald supervised production at the Francis Baumer Candle Company and learned American business practices. In 1896, Baumer merged his company with the Eckermann & Will Candle Company, expanding his presence in the residential market.
Steigerwald faced a decision: should he join the bigger, diversified company and share in the increased responsibilities? Or should he concentrate on religious traditions?
His answer was Cathedral Candle Company, opened in 1897. Over 125 years later, it is owned and operated by the fourth and fifth generations of Steigerwalds. Cathedral still makes only church candles.
The original factory, on Kirkpatrick Street in Syracuse, remains the core of today's expanded manufacturing facility. Assembly lines of molds, presses, and inventive automation devices built to Jacob Steigerwald’s specifications still operate there today, alongside modern state-of-the-art candle manufacturing equipment built to Cathedral’s specifications.