ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Hevi-Duty Electric Co

200 Hart Street



Announcement was made today of plans to open a new industry in Watertown in the fall which will employ between 100 and 150 persons.  The announcement was made by Harold E. Koch, an official of the Hevi Duty Electric Company of Milwaukee, following reports of a new industry which have been in circulation here in recent weeks.  Negotiations have now been completed. Mr. Koch said that the company will take over the building of the Perfection Table Slide Manufacturing Company at 200 Hart Street and convert it into a plant for the making of electrical transformers for electric furnaces which his company manufactures.


11 19          Announcement was made by Mrs. Muriel Thauer, president of Perfection Table Slide, that negotiations have been completed for the sale of its equipment and inventor to the Watertown Table Slide Corporation and for the sale of the Perfection factory building and real estate to Hevi Duty Electric Company of Milwaukee.  It is expected that the Hevi Duty Company will take possession before the end of this summer and thus bring to Watertown a substantial new industry.



02 16          EXPANSION

`Plans for a $75,000 addition to the plant of the Hevi-Duty Electric Co. at 304-308 Hart Street were announced today.  The addition will extend west 66 by 316.5 feet, and north 68 by 231 feet, from the present plant.  The application for a building permit was signed by Al Krause, local building contractor, acting as agent.


07 21          The Hevi-Duty Electric Co., operating plants in Milwaukee and Watertown, is playing an important part in bettering lighting controls at the nation's airports and has just been awarded a $757,000 contract for 47 new lighting substations by the Civil Aeronautics Administration.  The newest type of regulators will permit operators in control towers to vary the brightness of lighting with ease, at the same time knowing from a control board whether the lights are operating at the proper level. As a result, safe landings can be assured despite inclement weather.


07 27          The Froedtert Corp. of Milwaukee today announced the purchase of about 25,000 shares of common stock of the Hevi-Duty Electric Co. of Milwaukee and Watertown.  Froedtert Board Chairman Anthony von Wening said the purchase was the first step in the corporation's program of diversification through investments.  He said the purchase was less than 10 per cent of Hevi-Duty's outstanding common stock, but it was understood it made Froedtert the large single stockholder of Hevi-Duty.  Hevi-Duty, which was incorporated in Wisconsin in 1924, had net sales of nearly 11 million dollars in 1956.  It produces electric furnaces, current regulators and transformers.



10 15       Officials of the Hevi-Duty Electric Co. announced production of a new furnace for determination of the compression strength of coke and ore pellets at high temperatures.  This furnace is the first commercially available machine which will accurately predict the strength of coke at the temperatures encountered in the tuyere zone or high temperature zone adjacent to it.  This furnace fulfills a need that has long existed in every plant with a blast furnace or foundry, since tests previously used have shown little correlation between room temperature strengths of coke or ore and actual characteristics at furnace operating temperatures.    WDT




Sales and engineering personnel of the Hevi-Duty Electric Company, a total of 70 persons, have taken up their quarters at the local facilities of the company.  The Hevi-Duty plant and office is located in Hart Street.  Approximately 40 engineers took up their quarters here on Monday and today the sales force, numbering 30 persons, moved in.  Formerly the 70 were located at 30th and Burleigh Streets, Milwaukee.   WDT



02 26       The Hevi-Duty Electric Co., a division of Basic Products Corporation, Milwaukee, has broadened its export market with its first shipment of a large gas-fired conveyor furnace to the Orient.  The 32-ton furnace is being transported by rail from Watertown to the port of Baltimore, and shipped from there to the Philippines.  It will be used by Inter-Island Gas Service Company, Manila, for heat treatment of metals under a licensing agreement with Pressed Steel Tank Company, Milwaukee.   WDT


04 07       A record-sized “Clean-Line” heat-treating furnace, constructed with double chambers, has been built and shipped as a unit by the Hevi-Duty Electric Company, Watertown, for use in the processing of airplane parts.  The fully automatic “Clean-Line” unit, so big it required a special rail car for shipment, is the largest in size ever constructed in one piece in the Hevi-Duty plant, although bigger furnaces have been field-erected in customers’ works.  Hevi-Duty, a division of Basic Products Corporation, Milwaukee, used a 60-foot-long rail car to ship the equipment to its destination in Ohio.   WDT



03 02       The Hevi-Duty Electric Company today instituted, as part of its 50th anniversary celebration, a search for the oldest product of the company still usable.  Hevi-Duty is a division of Basic Products Corporation.  Elton E. Staples, Hevi-Duty president, said the company has posted a reward of 50 silver dollars which will go to the person who discovers the oldest product.  This product probably will be a tube or muffle furnace, a crucible furnace, or a hot plate made by Hevi-Duty or its predecessor company, Electric Heating Apparatus Co., which was formed in 1912 in New York City.  The company owning the oldest product found by Aug. 1, 1962, will receive, free of charge, a new Hevi-Duty unit having the same function as the older unit.  The 50-dollar reward for the discovery of the oldest unit can be won by any person bringing to the attention of Hevi-Duty the product which is found to be the oldest still usable..   WDT



Basic Products Corporation has commissioned Derald M. West, architect of Lake Geneva, to design a new plant for its Hevi-Duty Electric Division in that city.  The Watertown plant will continue to operate here.  Raymond G. Nordstrom, Basic Products vice president in charge of the Lake Geneva and Watertown Hevi-Duty divisions, made the announcement today.  Nordstrom said the 30,000 square foot plant is to be completed this fall.  The Hevi-Duty Electric Division, formed last month, will manufacture and market small transformers.   WDT



Basic Products Corp., parent company of the Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Company of Watertown, has reached an agreement to acquire the Lindberg Engineering Co., a major producer of heat treating equipment and of ceramic products.  Basic will pay more than 3 million dollars cash for Lindberg’s assets.  Lindberg’s annual sales volume currently is at a 13 million dollar rate, representing approximately a 20 per cent increase in annual sales volume for Basic Products.   WDT




A huge furnace which travels on rails to heat treat spars for helicopter rotor blades has been delivered to Vertol Division, Boeing Aircraft Corp., by Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Co.  The 41-foot-long furnace travels on more than 100 feet of rail to treat spars on two work platforms.  The special order installation was the result of a $200,000 contract awarded Hevi-Duty.  Included in the installation are the “traveling bell” furnace containing the electric heating elements, two 35-foot-long work platforms, two corrugated metal retorts which cover the work platforms to seal in the nitrogen atmosphere used in the processing, and electrical power supplies.   WDT


10 03       EXPANSION FOR R&D

Most of the nearly 5,000 square feet of additional floor space being added to the plant of Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Division, Basic Products Corporation, will be utilized by the company’s research and development staff, Elton Staples, president, said today.  Construction got underway early in the fourth week of September, with the work being done by Oliver Construction Company of Oconomowoc.   WDT



A multi-range tube furnace for experimentation in the heat treating of space age metals has been shipped to the National Aeronautical and Space Administration [NASA] by Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Company of Watertown, a metallurgical division of Basic Products Corporation.  The furnace provides controlled operating temperatures over a range of 200 to 3,300 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is provided with atmosphere generating equipment which allows the introduction of a wide range of gases into the heating chamber.   WDT



A special 2-furnace installation for the Italian Nuclear Energy Agency which will be operated, serviced and maintained completely by robot and mechanical manipulation has been designed and built here by Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Company.  The furnaces and an associated atmosphere generator were built for the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, Atomic Energy Division, under contract to the Italian National Committee for Nuclear Energy.  They will perform an essential role in a remote nuclear fuel reprocessing and refabrication plant now under construction in southern Italy.   WDT


12 20       FOREIGN ORDERS

Foreign aid financed orders for $4,270 worth of electrical equipment sold in Pakistan have been placed with Basic Products Corporation’s Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Division in Watertown, according to the Agency for International Development.  The Pakistan purchases are financed under the U.S. economic development program in that South Asian nation, including provision for import of goods and materials needed for commercial and industrial development.   WDT




Chester E. Meyer, vice president in charge of manufacturing for Hevi-Duty Electric Company, has been named general manager of Hevi-Duty, succeeding Elton E. Staples, who has been named to a new position with Basic Products Corporation, parent company of the local concern.  Meyer has been associated with Hevi-Duty since 1952.  He was permanently assigned to the local plant in 1960.  He is married and has three children, Mirian, 16; Kristine, 13, and William, 6.  The family resides in the town of Delafield, near Pewaukee Lake.   WDT



When the nuclear-powered S. S. Savannah leaves New York harbor Nov. 3 on its maiden voyage, a laboratory furnace made in Watertown will be one of the items in its cargo.  The furnace, made by Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Company here, a division of Basic Products Corporation, is part of a “Tools for Freedom” shipment to Turin, Italy.  Early next year students from the developing countries will begin using the furnace and other tools donated by American businesses at the new Turin International Center for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training.   WDT



Officials of the Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Company today were pondering means of shipping the 125-foot-long heat treating furnace built at the plant in Watertown.  The furnace, built in sections, will be shipped on a combination of lowboy trailers and railroad flat cars.  A photo of the huge furnace, largest ever turned out here, appeared in the Daily Times on Wednesday.  Hevi-Duty, a metallurgical division of Basic Products Corporation, Milwaukee, says it’s the biggest roller hearth furnace ever manufactured by the company, and also the first of its type built here.  It will be shipped to the Stellite Division of Union Carbide Corporation at Kokomo, Ind.  WDT




The largest oven ever made by Hevi-Duty Heating Equipment Company soon will be on its way to the Draper Corporation of Hopedale, Mass.  It is a two and a half ton electric, vertical quench oven.  The oven is designed to do “solution heat treating” and “aging” of aluminum castings.  Five thousand pounds of castings are loaded on a built in, hydraulically operated, elevator and raised into the oven.  When solution heat treating, the aluminum castings (about 5,000 pounds) are loaded onto a hydraulic elevator, heated to 1,000 degrees.   WDT



Basic Products Corp., of which the HeviDuty Heating Equipment Co. of Watertown is a part, disclosed in Milwaukee that it plans to change its name to Sola Basic Industries, pending stockholders’ approval at their annual meeting Oct. 28.  The proposal came in the company’s annual report, which showed that earnings in the fiscal year ended July 31 were 40 percent higher than fiscal 1964.  Sales climbed 11 per cent.  WDT



06 14       STRIKE ENDS

The strike at Hevi-Duty has ended.  Work at the local plants, which have been shut down due to the strike since June 1, will resume on Monday.  Agreement on a contract was reached in Milwaukee Friday afternoon in the office of William Kurtz, federal mediator.  The agreement was reached at a negotiating session between representatives of Local 494, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and a committee representing Hevi-Duty.  Approximately 450 workers were involved in the workout.   WDT




The strike at Hevi-Duty has ended.  Work at the local plants, which have been shut down due to the strike since June 1, will resume on Monday.  Agreement on a contract was reached in Milwaukee Friday afternoon in the office of William Kurtz, federal mediator.  The agreement was reached at a negotiating session between representatives of Local 494, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and a committee representing Hevi-Duty.  Approximately 450 workers were involved in the workout.   WDT




Lindberg, a unit of General Signal, plans to spend more than $1.1 million on plant and manufacturing improvements in Watertown this year.  Malcolm “Mac” Moore, vice president and general manager of the Watertown plant, said a restructuring of the facility will enhance the firm’s position as a leading manufacturing of heat processing equipment.  “We are making a major investment in and commitment to our Watertown operations,” Moore said.  “In today’s intensely competitive economic climate, our customers expect the highest quality, fastest delivery and, most importantly, the best value.  “We at Lindberg are taking specific steps to ensure continued fulfillment of these expectations,” he added.   WDT




The annual Lindberg recognition dinner was held Wednesday at Home Plate Inn in Lebanon.  Two new members, Richard J. Kawka and James W. Joseph, joined the club.  Those with at least 30 years of service are Fred Busier, Curtiss Buss, Tim Buss, Harley Draeger, Ruth Flath, Dennis Fosdal, Tom Gillis, Ruth Hartwig, Robert Haseleu, Richard Hinze, Melvin Kasten, Gene Kessler, Charles Lazzara, Joseph Schiferl, James Werner and Earl Zimmerman . Members with at least 35 years of service are Ervin Bankert, John Bill, Joyce Engelbrecht, Donald Grulke, Donald Hartwig, Jerry Hilfiker, William Kaercher, Carl Krueger, Ludwig Porzky, James Propp, Roger Rowlands, Gerald Sell and Russel Tesch.  Members with at least 40 years of service are Robert Carter, Elmer Christian, Wieda Christian, Joe Cuccia, Fred Grulke, Shirley Grulke, David Kube, Philip Lenius and Steve Perez.   WDT



05 04       COUPLE EMPLOYED 86 YEARS (combined)

A Watertown woman who retired from a local company Friday was whisked to work on her last day in a limousine, a tribute to her 44 1/2 years of service. Wieda Christian of Watertown now joins her husband, Elmer Jr., in retirement from Lindberg/Blue M Electric.  Together, the pair worked for the same company a total of 86 years. Married just two weeks after 18-year-old Wieda started work at the former Hevi-Duty Electric, she took a day off for a honeymoon and then went back to the plant.  Her husband began work at the plant a year later.  He retired last year.  WDT




Lindberg Industrial Furnaces Blue M Electric will be consolidating with three other similar businesses in the country, all owned by SPX Corp., into one business causing about half the employees at the Watertown plant to be laid off by the end of the year.  Lindberg is a unit of SPX Corp. headquartered in Muskegon, Mich.  Lindberg makes and sells industrial ovens and environmental thermal shock chambers.  SPX Corp. has more than 75,000 industrial furnace installations worldwide and equipment with extensive replacement parts inventory in the industry.  WDT




Watertown city officials have reached out to the owners of the former Lindberg Hevi-Duty building in the hopes of starting the process to either refurbish or tear down the building to make way for redevelopment.  The building has been vacant for more than 10 years and is deteriorating at a rapid rate.  Lindberg Hevi-Duty went out of business approximately 15 years ago.  The company produced industrial furnaces. In its wake, Lindberg left behind a 100,000-square-foot building at 304 Hart St., right in the heart of the city.   WDT





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History of Watertown, Wisconsin