This file portion of www.watertownhistory.org website

 

Washington Cutlery Co

 

Village Blacksmith

 

201 Frederick

 

Washington Cutlery Co

 

W. C. Co. stands for "Washington Cutlery Co.," which became Village Blacksmith, a firm that made cutlery, farm knives and tools from the early 1900s through the 1960s in Watertown. The firm went out of business and most of the manufacturing departments became what is today Fischer-Barton.

 

1906

   03 20 1906

 

Monday, representatives of the Washington Cutlery Company were here and a conference held with the executive committee of the advancement association consisting of Mayor Wertheimer, Fred Keck, Eugene Meyer, Henry Mulberger, W. H. Woodard, S. A. Hoffman and Ferd. Schmutzler.

 

The committee agreed that in case the company moved its factory from Milwaukee to this city to raise as a bonus the sum of $3000 which was satisfactory, and work will be begun at an early day. On Milwaukee street, will be erected a building, 50 x 150 feet, part of which will be one story high and part two stories high.

 

The company at the present time employs 30 men and will increase its force when its new building is ready for occupancy. Twenty of the employees are expert workmen who will move to this city with their families who will need homes in which to live and every available home will be taken.

 

   08 21 1906

 

Work is progressing rapidly on the construction of the plant for the Washington Cutlery company on South River Street.  Although work was started only a week ago on the superstructure, the frame work is well under way and the work is being pushed by Contractor L. J. Larson of Milwaukee, who is on the ground giving the work his personal supervision.  The plans for the new factory building were drawn up by O. C. Uehling of Milwaukee.  The building is to be 60x144 feet, the front end and main portion, 60x36 feet to be two stories.  Contractor Larson stated yesterday that according to the terms of his contracts the building is to be completed by Oct. 1st, but he assured a representative of the Leader that his labors would end before that time . . . The factory, it is expected, will begin operations at least by the 15th of October and will give steady employment at the start of about sixty employes, which number will be augmented from time to time, as the demands of the business will warrant.

 

1906

   05 23 1906

 

The news comes from Milwaukee that the gentlemen behind the Washington-Cutlery Company, which is soon to be removed to Watertown, are actively engaged in drawing plans for their new factory building on Water Street. The members of the firm are expected here in a few days to start building operations.

 

1906

   12 06 1906

 

The wheels of another industry in Watertown will begin their activity today and contribute to the industrial progress that has been the slogan in this city for the past few years.

 

Reference is made to the new plant of the Washington Cutlery company, the building for which was recently completed and which is now equipped with the necessary machinery for carrying on the manufacturing business.  A representative of the Leader paid a visit to the plant yesterday and was agreeably surprised as a result of his observations and believes that there is a great future in store for the concern ... a trial run of the machinery will be made today and the factory will start in a small way, increasing throughout the week and it is expected that by the first of [next] week, everything will be running full blast.  By tonight five of the ten grinding stones will be ready for action and . . . four tripp-hammers ready to pound away . . .

 

1917

   Jefferson County WI and its People

 

Prominent among the industrial concerns of Watertown is the Washington Cutlery Company, which was incorporated in 1906 with a capital of thirteen thousand.

 

The company manufactures the "Village Blacksmith" brand of butcher knives, cleavers, tools, corn knives, sickles, cold chisels, screw drivers, punches, etc., and their products are sold principally in the United States.

 

They furnish employment to from fifty to sixty hands, fifty per cent of whom are skilled workmen. Their plant has a floor space of sixteen thousand square feet and is supplied with the latest equipment, being remodeled, enlarged and new machinery being installed in 1917.

 

The equipment now includes automatic grinding machines, forges burning fuel oil, oil tempering machines, punch presses and trip hammers, all of the latest design and the best to be found in the market.

 

The business has grown rapidly and the plant is now behind in its orders.

 

The officers of the company are Gustave H. Lehrkind, president and sales manager; Charles Richenbaum, vice president; and Hugo E. Volckmann, secretary, treasurer and manager. They are all men of long experience in metal manufacturing and their plant is one of Watertown's prized assets.

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1921

   Watertown High School Orbit

 

Village Blacksmith

 

The Village Blacksmith Folks have been established over twenty-five years and up to twelve years ago were located at Milwaukee. The shops were removed to Watertown because of the superior advantages of this city, and the energetic solicitation of the Watertown Advancement Association.  From time to time additions have been built, and it is planned to develop the plant still farther, when normal and stabilized business conditions warrant it.

 

Since its establishment, no changes have taken place in the ownership or officers of this company, who are: G. H. Lehrkind, President; H. E. Volkmann, Secretary and Treasurer, and Charles Reichenbaum, Vice-President.

 

In the early years, only a limited line of Household Knives was made. The output at this time was only ten to fifteen dozen per day. The knives were sold to the retail stores in Wisconsin.

 

The product now consists of: Knives, Cleavers, Grass Hooks, Corn and Hedge Knives, Screw Drivers, Chisels, Punches, Draw Shaves, and other tools. All of these are high quality goods, and the production reaches some 700,000 pieces annually, which are sold in more than 3,000 hardware stores, as well as in Restaurant and Butcher Supply, Auto Supply, and in Seed and Implement Houses throughout the United States.

 

Jobbers take care of the major portion of the distribution under the trademark: “The Village Blacksmith Folks.”

 

The goods which are listed and illustrated in a large number of catalogues are estimated as follows:

 

120,000 in Hardware Lines.

  10,000 in Butcher and Restaurant Supply Lines.

  25,000 in Auto Supply Lines.

200,000 in Seed and Implement Supply Lines.

 

The company maintains a western selling and distributing branch at 731 Market Street, San Francisco, as well as a local agent at Chicago.

 

1954

   Watertown Daily Times, 12 16 1954

 

Officers and delegates were elected this week in Watertown by Machinists Local No. 1367 of the International Association of Machinists, AFL, it was announced today. The local represents the Parts Engineering Co., the Village Blacksmith Co., the Otto Biefeld Co., the Syncromatic Corp., the Kusel Dairy Equipment Co., and the Brandt Automatic Cashier Co., all of this city. The following officers were re-elected: Kurt Rex, president; Eric Loeffler, vice president; George Havlicek, treasurer; Fred Harder, financial secretary; Roland Schauer, recording secretary; and Melvin Gruenewald, sentinel.

 

1956

   Watertown Daily Times, 03 17 1956

 

The Village Blacksmith Company this year is observing the 50th anniversary of operation in Watertown, Henry Winogrond, head of the firm, told the Rotary Club at its noonday luncheon. The firm actually was established 62 years ago, he said. It was founded in Milwaukee as the Washington Cutlery Company. The plant moved its operations to Watertown 50 years ago. Mr. Winogrond commented on the changes in buying habits and living standards of the American people which has resulted in changes in items manufactured by the firm since World War II. Professional cutlery has become an important item at the plant. This line of knives and other cutting equipment is sold to meat packing houses, hotels and restaurants, and in recent years this phase of the business has become more and more important. More people eating out, he said, is to a large extent responsible for the growth of this phase of the business.

 

1958

09 26       Residential Mail Boxes

A Watertown merchant and a Watertown manufacturer have combined talents to provide the community with an example of products “Made in Watertown - Sold in Watertown.”  The result is currently on display at 220 South First Street, the Hutson-Braun Lumber Co.  It is here that the Hutson-Braun Lumber Co. has designed a complete display window for the showing of Village Blacksmith's new line of “Galaxy Letter Boxes.”  Local residents had a preview of these residential mail boxes last spring at the Jaycee Industrial Fair at the National Guard Armory.  Since that time they have been acclaimed as the most beautiful line of home mail boxes produced anywhere in the nation.   WDT

 

2013

05 15       Fire at Fisher-Barton, portion of building the former Village Blacksmith.

 

 

Cross-References:

Prior to the 1940s the Village Blacksmith name was incised or stamped directly into the blades of cleavers.  Afterwards it was stamped on the handles (WFJ)