William Tricker, Inc. is America's Oldest Water Garden Store that was established in 1892 by William Tricker. The nursery is a National Historic District listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service.
William Tricker, Inc. is a leading grower of aquatic plants and supplier of water garden products, aquarium supplies, and outdoor decor. Our aquatic greenhouses have produced superior aquatic plants since the Roaring Twenties. Customers have been receiving quality and guarantees that make water gardening a pleasurable experience.
This picture of a water garden pool was in the Tricker 1930 Catalog.
Tricker's Has Many Historical Faces
There have been many associated with managing William Tricker's company, mostly direct lineage or husbands of the direct lineage of William Tricker. They worked to advance it into a world renowned company based in the U.S.A. The dedication of these individuals and their employees can be seen in the success of their business that was started over a century ago.
William Tricker, nee Charles William Brett Tricker, the upper left of the photos was born in 1853 in England to Charles Tricker, a gardener. He trained at Kew Gardens before immigrating to the U.S. with his wife in 1885. His U.S. citizenship was granted in 1900. He developed his nursery on Staten Island and then moved his nursery to Clifton, N.J. He was a founder of the Commercial Water Lily Culture in the U.S.
Blue Beauty Water Lily 1896 Tricker Hybrid
Tricker's first catalog was created in 1912 while in Arlington, N.J. After William died in 1916, his son Charles Tricker continued the business that had facilities at Saddle River, N.J. which is now the home of Waterford Gardens. At that time, Charles merged with the Independence Nursery. When Charles Tricker passed away in 1961, Schmidlin bought out the existing stockholders and became the sole owner of both the
Saddle River and Independence facilities. In 1986 Schmidlin sold the business name and Independence location to Richard Lee who passed away in 2022. Richard's widow, Cindy Lee, now owns and runs the company.
William Tricker experimented with hybridizing water lilies in the 1800s. He tried to improve the shape, colors and hardiness of these wonderful plants by cross-breeding them. In the early 1890s he earned a reputation as a lead grower of aquatic plants by creating water lily hybrids. In 1892 the first William Tricker Company catalog was introduced. We still have an original copy of the rare 1892 William Tricker Catalog as well as other historic water garden relics.
In the late 1920's and 1930's, Tricker delivered aquatics locally via trucks to customers, delivering fish in milk canisters.
After going through a few companies during the "Great Depression or Panic of 1893", the business prospered over the years and was incorporated with a merger as William Tricker, Inc. in 1927 in Independence, Ohio. As a thriving company, it would also survive The Great Depression of 1929. Today this century old historic location in Independence, Ohio has spring water that supplies the greenhouses, outdoor ponds, and fish nurseries. It has served the water lily culture since 1899. The property represents a piece of history in water lily culture with the involvement of many pioneers, aquatic specialists, and other business associates who worked over the years at William Tricker, Inc.. They include William Tricker, Albert Buskirk, Robert V. Sawyer, William G. O'Brien, Dr. John Charleson, Wilfred Schmidlin, Charles O. Masters and Gilbert Lambacher.
Many of the water lilies were hybridized and named by these noted individuals and are still available today. Some are unique and "first of a kind" in their respective classes and can be purchased from William Tricker, Inc. You can still enjoy these spectacular water lily hybrids and witness the beauty they saw so long ago when we had time to ponder nature's miracles! Not only did the Tricker's introduce many new water lily hybrids but over the long history also developed the fancy fish and ornamental fish propagation, fish remedies, pH testing, aquatic fertilizers, fish food formulations, and the manufacture of aquariums and accessories to name a few contributions.
A 1925 Cleveland Flower and Garden Program
Inside this 1925 Cleveland Flower and Garden Program
is an article written by W.G. O'Brien The Lure of the Water Garden
" which is still true today. W.G. O'Brien, a 1912 MIT graduate in Chemical Engineering, became the Vice President of William Tricker, Inc. While at the Independence nursery, he patented a pH test kit, hybridized the first and only dwarf pink viviparous water lily, Patricia
, and wrote many articles on fish keeping, water chemistry, and water gardening. Those skills helped to improve water garden maintenance.
Today at William Tricker, Inc.
William Tricker Inc. is owned and managd by Cindy Lee, the wife of Richard Lee who purchased the company in the 1980's. While he was alive, Richard honored William Tricker and his heritage by spreading his story. He assembled many documents and images to get the grounds and buildings of William Tricker, Inc. listed in the National Register of Historic Places, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service.
Our "On Tricker's Pond" customer newsletters have included many articles and photographs over the years from our company showing our very long and interesting history not only in water gardening but the aquarium hobby industry. The newsletter included the trials and tribulations of noted individuals that dedicated their lives to William Tricker, Inc.® in developing a company that still offers water gardening and aquarium supplies to customers all over the world. Included in the newsletter were many of Tricker customers that have sent us photographs and testimonials of not only their water gardens but their grandparent's water garden experiences that were made possible from William Tricker, Inc.® Not a year goes by without a Tricker customer describing their enjoyment from a business that was developed so long ago! Join us, you will also be a part of our history!
Tricker's Book, "1101 Water Gardening Questions and Answers" discusses the history of Water Gardening with the pioneer water gardeners, inventions and the history of William Tricker, Inc.®