SANATOGA PA – One of Sanatoga village’s longest-operating and most well-known businesses, appliance retailer Sanatoga Corporation at 2783 E. High St., has officially entered an entirely different kind of trade.
Under a new business name, “Little Bible Ministry,” that was registered in September with the Pennsylvania Department of State, it’s now a seller of tiny booklets filled with Bible verses. State approval of the company’s fictitious name is really the only thing that’s new, though; Sanatoga Corporation founder, the late Oliver Wittenmyer, began promoting Christianity using miniature Bibles in the 1950s.
The booklets themselves are smaller than palm-size, just 2-inches-by-1-1/2-inches, the Little Bible Ministry website explains. A handful easily fits into a pocket. Twenty-four different titles can be purchased online in six different languages, including Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. They’re inexpensive too, ranging in cost from about 6 to 25 cents apiece, depending on quantities ordered.
The pricing is purposeful: the more broadly the booklets are distributed, the company believes, the greater their impact. “Little Bibles can aid … (in) ministry efforts and leave people with a tool for spiritual growth,” the website notes.
Wittenmyer, a son of missionary parents, began what is now Sanatoga Corporation as the Sanatoga Radio Company in 1925. Although trained as a machinist at age 16, he loved assembling radio receivers and found the local market filled with potential buyers. He went from selling radios he built himself to radios built by other firms, and launched what developed into the bustling appliance business from the enclosed front porch of his home.
Then, in 1938, near-tragedy struck Wittenmyer. He was involved in a boating accident while on a deer-hunting trip to Canada, and barely escaped drowning. The experience was “life-changing,” his successors say; it “gave a new perspective to life, and he realized there were more important things than being successful in business.” Wittenmyer began attending church with his wife and children, and grew increasingly interested in distributing Bible literature.
During a 1952 trip to South Carolina, Wittenmyer met an advertising specialties salesman who offered a small book of Bible verses as one of his products. Wittenmyer liked what he saw and envisioned its future, according to the website. Two thousand copies were purchased, and the back of each bore a message: “You may not preach or teach, but you can point others to Christ as you pray and give out little Bibles. For extra copies write, Box 1, Sanatoga, PA.”
They were an instant hit. Users not only began asking for more copies, they also suggested Scripture verses for inclusion. That led over time to the variety of booklets now available, some of them bearing verses personally selected by Wittenmyer. At the Sanatoga Corporation showroom, small baskets – filled with a variety of booklets, free for the taking – are often located just inside the front door.
Oliver Wittenmyer died in 1994. His son, Charles Wittenmyer, bought the appliance business from his father in 1970. He and his children, Bryan, Karen, and Connie, and their staff continues its traditions today in the same (but substantially expanded) front-porch location where the firm was born, the website reports.
A legal advertisement, published Oct. 4 on behalf of the company, announced the new name registration. The content of the notice appears below:
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN pursuant to the provisions of Act of Assembly, No. 295, effective March 16, 1983, of the filing of an application in the office of the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an application for the conduct of a business in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania under the assumed or fictitious name, style or designation of Little Bible Ministry with its principle place of business at 2783 E. High Street, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 19464.
The names and addresses of all persons owning or interest in said business are: Sanatoga Corporation, 2783 E. High Street, Pottstown, Pennsylvania 19464. The application was filed on September 3, 2013.
Lee F. Mauger, Esquire
MAUGER & METER
240 King Street P.O. Box 698 Pottstown, PA 19464
Related (to Sanatoga Corporation):
- Sanatoga Corporation’s Dramatically Different Look
- Turning The Dial On Sanatoga’s Wayback Machine
- Family Appliance Business Has Long History In Santa-toga
- Timeless Treasures Fill Historical Society Chapel Offices
Photo (top left) from LittleBibleMinistry.com; at bottom, from Google Images