This file part of www.watertownhistory.org website

Watertown Table Slide

DOES NOT make tables,
only the table sliding mechanism


Ad from Watertown Daily Times, 27 Nov 1917

Profile of the Company

The Watertown Table-Slide Company was established in 1889 with Emil W. Schultz (early business man) as president, Max H. Gaebler and Richard Blaesius; the business was incorporated in 1891.  Its capital in 1917 is twenty-five thousand dollars with an earned surplus of sixty thousand dollars also in the business.

The company's plant is located on Hart Street south of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad tracks and has its own spur track. Here they have three and a half acres of ground on which are several buildings and three dry kilns. They manufacture patented slides for extension tables and their product is sold exclusively to table manufacturers, mostly in carload lots, throughout the United States and Canada.

The material used is principally birch and the annual consumption is a million and a half feet of lumber.  The dry kiln capacity is two hundred thousand feet and the equipment of the plant is first class, all special machines used being designed by the company's secretary and treasurer, Max H. Gaebler.  Employment is furnished forty hands, one-half of whom are skilled workmen and over thirty thousand dollars are annually paid out in wages.

This is today one of the most prosperous and successful enterprises of Watertown and its success is largely due to the stubborn energy of its former president, Emil W. Schultz, who was its manager until his death, June 27, 1916.

The officers are now Mrs. Estella Schultz, president, widow of the former president, William C. Schultz, vice president, and H. Gaebler, secretary and treasurer.  Its superintendent, Henry Winkler, has been in charge of the factory since the establishment of the business.

It is the only concern in its line in Wisconsin and one of the two largest in this class of manufacture in the United States.

Above derived from Jefferson County Wisconsin and its People:  A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement, Vol. II, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co (Chicago), 1917.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Watertown Table Slide stock certificate

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

Table Slide Firm Formed Here in 1889

 

Blaesius Brothers Had Original Plant Here

 

Watertown has been making nationally famous table slides since 1889 when the Watertown Table Slide Co., now a corporation, was organized by E. W. Schultz, Max H. Gaebler and Richard Blaesius.  Prior to that time there had been a small table slide shop here operated by Blaesius Brothers and the Watertown company, launched in 1889, was the outgrowth of that earlier concern.

 

1889

Jefferson Banner, 10 10 1889.

 

Tuesday evening a fire destroyed Edward Blaesius’ furniture factory and his dwelling house at Watertown, together with machinery, lumber and stock, the entire loss being estimated at about $8,000, upon which there is not a cent of insurance.  This is the most serious fire that has visited this town in several years.  The fire department fought hard against the flames, but without avail.  The furniture factory is adjacent to the depot, and was one of the best employing manufacturers in the city.  The cause of the fire is as strange as the absence of insurance.

 

In 1924 another table slide company, known as the Perfection Table Slide Manufacturing Co., was launched here under the leadership of E. W. Schultz.  That concern continued to operate until last year when announcement was made that it was going out of business, that the factory building had been sold to the Hevi Duty Electric Co. of Milwaukee, and that the Watertown Table Slide Co. had purchased its equipment and inventory.

 

Mrs. Muriel Thauer, wife of Attorney Wallace Thauer, was president of the company at the time the announcement was made last July 15 that it was going out of business. She had headed the company for many years, being a daughter of the late E. W. Schutz. She was not connected with the Perfection Table Slide Manufacturing Co. at the time her father helped organize it, but became interested in the company a few years after it was organized.

 

She became head of the company upon the death of her father and had also been general manager. As a girl she had assisted her father in his office and accompanied him on many of his business trips and was practically brought up in the table slide business, gaining much experience which was to prove valuable in a business way for the company when she later became head of the concern. Last year, after many years in business, she decided to retire and began negotiations for the sale of the property.

 

At the time of her retirement, Mrs. Thauer acknowledged the efficient and helpful services to the company of Benjamin R. Krueger who was for 19 years the company's secretary and treasurer. Fred W. Pfeifer of this city was for many years associated with the company and had-served as its first vice president.  Otto Fischer was superintendent since the company was organized and had over 50 years experience in the manufacture of table slides. Several other employees had more than 40 years experience.

 

One Company Now

 

Today the Watertown Table Slide Corp. the remaining such plant in Watertown, is one of five table slide manufacturing concerns in the United States. From the start its policy had been to turn out the best and most efficient product that could be produced and its products have been used throughout, the United States, and some foreign countries as well.

 

Approximately one million board feet of lumber is used in the company plant.  Only hard wood, such as birch and maple, is used. One of the secrets of its successes always has been in the long and special treatment of the wood used.

 

In addition to standard size table slides, the company has turned out a great number of special contract jobs, with slides ranging to vast sizes for special tables.

 

Much machinery and special equipment, some of it being of the most ingenious nature and design, is required to turn out the many types of table slides produced in the plant.

 

Years ago the special wood treatment process employed in the Watertown table slides attracted the attention of U. S. government wood experts who came here to study the method.

 

A. M. (Dip) Ellington has been president of the Watertown Table Slide Corp., for many years. He is also secretary. Lois P. F. Ellington is vice president and treasurer.  Edward Dobbratz is the firm's sales manager.  [Profile of Ed Dobbratz, 1924-2008]

 

Watertown Daily Times / Centennial Edition, June 26, 1954


1906

11 28 1906

The Leader is pleased to note the evident prosperity of one of the local manufacturing industries, which has grown from modest beginnings, till it is now an important factor in the industrial activity of Watertown and gives promise of becoming an institution of far greater importance, due in a large measure to the excellence of management.

 

. . . It will be a source of pleasure to all . . . to know that [the Watertown Table Slide Co] has commenced the erection of two large additions to its plant in order to accommodate the rapidly increasing business . . . The plant at the present time is being operated day and night in order to complete their contracts at specified times.  The working force has been increased from time to time as necessity demanded, till today there is a force of fifty people employed.  The building operations of the new addition is under the supervision of E. W. Schultz, the president of the company.

 

1916      Death of Emil W. Schultz

07 06       Well-Known Business Man and Manufacturer Dies at St. Mary's Hospital

 

At 5 o'clock on Thursday, June 29, 1916, Emil W. Schultz, one of Watertown's most progressive business men, and a manufacturer of national reputation, died at St. Mary's Hospital in this city of cancer of the bladder, with which he had been a great sufferer for months.  All that medical skill could do was done for Mr. Schultz and he received every attention from family and friends to comfort and assist him in his last illness.

 

For six weeks before his death he realized that the hand of Death was on him and he prepared well to meet his Creator, having recourse to the bible many times each day and having it read and explained to him.

 

The news of his death was learned of by our citizens with sincere regret, for Mr. Schultz had many warm friends here, and besides all our citizens realized that he was a businessman who did much good here, not only by his own manufacturing plant, but in other material ways and in charitableness also.

 

Deceased was born on a farm, near Lake Mills in May, 1864, and on May 20, 1887, he was married to Miss Estelle Drew of Lake Mills. 

 

He was a self-made man in every particular, and had he lived no doubt he would have risen to be one of the largest manufacturers in the county, for his business interests were being added to yearly, and just previous to his death a large addition to his factory was built and another addition was being contemplated.

 

After attending school a few years, he secured a position in a general store at Lake Mills, and resigning that position he went to Fond du Lac and was employed in the furniture store of his brother-in-law, Albert Blankenberg, where he mastered the furniture business, and in 1886 he came to this city and opened a furniture store in the building in West Main Street now occupied by the Baumann Candy Co.  In 1889 he disposed of that business and associated himself with Max H. Gaebler and the late Richard Blaesius in the Watertown Table Slide Co., a business that grew and prospered up to the time of his death.  He was also interested in many other enterprises, notably in the Isle of Pines, where he had large land interest.

 

Mr. Schultz was a big man physically, and a big man mentally and in a business way, yet he had many traits of the great big-hearted boy, and many there are who will miss him, for his bigness of heart found him on numerous occasions extending charity and assistance to those less fortunate than he in a business way.

 

The writer knew him intimately for over 30 years, and, though like human beings, he had his faults, his good traits of character were so many, that his faults sank into insignificance alongside of them.

 

He is survived by his wife and two daughters, the Misses Muriel and Helen Schultz, one brother, W. C. Schultz of the Isle of Pines, and two half sisters, Mrs. Wm. Gruetzmacher, Grand Forks, N. Dak., and Mrs. Wm. Fuerstenau of Lake Mills.  He was a member of Watertown Lodge B. P. O. Elks No. 666 and of Watertown Council United Commercial Travelers.

 

His funeral was held Sunday afternoon from his late home, Rev. N. Carter Daniell officiating.  Mr. Daniell read the Congregationial service and preached an eloquent funeral sermon.  Song services was rendered by a number of the Congregational choir.  Nearly 75 of the local Elks marched from the home to the Oak Hill Cemetery, as did also a number of the local council of the Commercial Travelers, and all of the factory force over which Mr. Schultz in life presided.

 

At his grave in Oak Hill the Elks held services . . .

 

The active pallbearers were Otto Fischer, Wm. Draeger, Otto Draeger, Wm. Schmidt, Herman Neubauer and Arthur Behling of the factory force.  The honorary pallbearers were Mayor Charles Mulberger, E. J. Brandt, Geo. Koenig, James W. Moore, J. W. Wiggenhorn and F. E. Woodard.

 

The out of town people who attended the funeral were . . .   WG

 

1953

07 18

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 Manufacturing Company, of this city, 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.

 

The Perfection Table Slide Manufacturing Company was organized about 1924 and has since then been engaged in the manufacture and sale of high-grade extension table slides to table manufacturers in various parts of the country.

 

Mrs. Thauer had no connection with the Perfection Company when it was organized but a few years later she became interested in the company and has since then been its president and general manager.

 

A few years later a separate corporation, the Perfection Realty Corporation, was formed to take over the factory building and real estate.

 

1974

02 01 1974

Watertown Table Slide - Pioneer in use of Aluminum for Slides

 

An innovative approach using aluminum in the table slide industry, pioneered by Watertown Table Slide, 321 Hart Street, is making the firm more versatile, according to Ed Dobbratz, president.

 

The Watertown firm had made wood table slides for many years, and which 15 years ago began the use of steel in table slides, has now become the first company in the nation to make use of aluminum in its table slide product.   WDT

 

Wooden Table Slides Discontinued

 

The wood line, which for many years was the only line made, was discontinued a year ago and with the discontinuance came many changes in the plant. 

 

Some of the old buildings used in the old process were torn down and replaced by a new 60 foot by 120 foot building with additional areas for office space.

 

The completely new facilities handle all manufacturing and business portions of the company.  The remaining old facilities are used primarily for storage of the new raw materials and for some of the old wood slides.

 

Dobbratz said that while the steel table slides account for the biggest volume of the business, the real future lies in the use of aluminum.

 

He explained that use of steel is limited by its size and shape, but aluminum can be shaped exactly to the requirements of any particular project.

 

Dobbratz said “With aluminum there are no design restrictions.  We can make any type of table slide or slide for other purposes and can meet the needs of our clients with aluminum.”

 

The firm is presently manufacturing slides only for tables with the aluminum and steel, but future applications are limitless, Dobbratz emphasized.  He said “There are many slides which remain to be designed and we feel we will be able to produce them in our new facilities.”

 

Can Expand Building

 

The new structure was built with expansion in mind.  Dobbratz said future expansion is planned by adding to the west side of the existing new building.

 

The building was designed and constructed by Metal Structures, Inc., of Oconomowoc.  In addition to the bright production area, the office space includes the president’s area, business office, private meeting room, drafting room and waiting room and entrance.  The floor is attractively carpeted.

 

Watertown Table Slide functions with 27 employees handling both the aluminum and steel lines.

 

The president of the firm takes pride in the equipment used at the facility, most of which was designed for its specific use by officials of the firm.  Several of the machines were designed by Earl Olson of Watertown.

 

Dobbratz is proud of the accomplishments of the firm, noting that the company sells slides in Australia, West Germany, Switzerland, England, Italy, Sweden, France and other countries in addition to its business in the United States.

 

Has Long History

 

Watertown Table Slide has a long history in Watertown, having been formed in 1889 as the Watertown Table Slide Company.  It is now a corporation.

 

The firm was originally formed by E. W. Schultz, Max H. Gaebler, and Richard Blaesius.

 

Prior to that time there had been a small table slide shop here operated by Blaesius Brothers. The Watertown company was the outgrowth of that earlier concern.

 

In 1924 another table slide company, known as the Perfection Table Slide Manufacturing Company, was launched under the leadership of Schultz.  That concern operated until 1953 when it was purchased by Watertown Table Slide.

 

A.M. (Dip) Ellington has been associated with the firm since the late 1920s, having served as its president for many years.

 

1985      Reiss Industries purchased Watertown Table Side Corp

11 01       As a result of the company's recent growth, Reiss Industries has entered into agreement to purchase Watertown Table Slide Corporation.  The Watertown Table Slide assets will be purchased by a newly formed subsidiary of Reiss, Consolidated Industries, Inc., Thomas Reiss, chairman of the board of Reiss, said.  Reiss said the new subsidiary will retain all of the employees of Watertown Table Slide.  He said Ed Dobbratz, current president of Watertown Table Slide, has also signed with Consolidated and will maintain “a vital role” in the new firm.  Reiss Industries recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and operates out of its 120,000 square foot facility at 319 Hart Street.  One of the country's leading manufacturers of custom molded methane products, the firm's products include parts for the office furniture, automotive, health care and aerospace industries.   WDT