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History    > 1848-1873    History21873-1881     History3 >   1881-1907    History4 >   1907-1933    History5 >   1933-1969 History6 >   1969-1982   History7 >   Post-1982  JSBC History Index


Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. : A Chronological History

1907-1933

edited and written by Michael R. Reilly, copyright 1995

Date of Last Revision 08/16/2015

  1907, "composition cork" filled crowns on the market; fewer "leakers".

    When Captain Adolph Frietsch, a Milwaukeean, wanted to sail around the world, Schlitz came forth as the sponsor. The ketch he built was named the Schlitz Globe. Even though he failed to get any further than the Mississippi, the brewery paid his Illinois canal toll charges, despite the fact that he never went around the world but returned to Wisconsin and settled in Baileys Harbor (Door County). 11-108

 

German? business card for D. Hausherr at 732 Park Street, Cor. Eleventh Ave., Phone Hanover 1327, Milwaukee. Schlitz Brewing Co's Lager Beer - Choice wines, Liquors and Cigars. Measures 4 1/2 " X 2 3/4".

 

    In the 1907 (and perhaps in 1904 when Mrs. Emil Schandein died and her will was contested) Mrs. Clara Heyl (nee Schandein) brought a divorce complaint against her husband, the Uihleins were brought into court as witnesses.

    The original Uihlein brothers gave considerable thought on how to maintain control of the business and insure that most of the assets were passed along from one generation to the next. The method they adopted was to hand over managerial responsibilities in the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co., the Second Ward Savings Bank and other family enterprises to the second generation while the first generation was still around to keep an eye on things.
    Not only the responsibilities were handed down but much of the family fortune as well. The process was gradual and somewhat complicated but, in general it worked quite well.
    It was in 1907 that August began to distribute his wealth. His six surviving children received a total of 36,000 shares of Schlitz stock. It was given outright to his sons Joseph E., Robert A., and Erwin C., but the daughters shares were placed in a trust.
    The following year, Henry gave away his 30,000 shares to his six children and took steps to divest himself of other profitable holdings. His goal was to leave himself only enough investments to bring in a modest $75,000 a year. Henry also established $1 million trust fund for each of his children, urging each of the girls to keep their property in their own name and not allow it to mingle with the property of their husbands. Henry tried but he continued to make money, so that in 1917 he had to distribute another $2.5 million or so to his children. Another attempt was made in 1921 to reduce his income to $75,000 per year when he handed over a spare $1.5 million in bonds, but that still didn't work because when he died at the age of 77 at 7 p.m. in 1922, he was in the middle of making plans to rid himself of another $1.5 million that had accumulated.
    As a result of this method, the degree of control an Uihlein descendant now exercises over his/her share of the family fortune depends on whether they trace their ancestry through the paternal or maternal line. August's grandson, Joseph Jr., explained how it all worked. His father got one seventeenth of the brewery stock. Joseph Sr. and his two brothers, Robert A. and Erwin C. had the right to do as they chose with their inheritance. August's daughters on the other hand, had their portions placed in trust. So in the second generation, the males had the best of it. Joseph Sr. with full control over his fortune, chose to place it in trusts for his children, but the stock which was placed in trust for August's daughters went to their children. So that August's grandchildren who are descended through the maternal line now have access to their inheritance while those who are descended through the male line have income but not the control. The situation will swing back in the fourth generation when Joseph Jr.'s children will have control of their inheritances, although as each descending generation is reached, the Schlitz stock is divided into ever smaller portions. After a century of this working, nearly 82% of the stock remains in the hands of the original Uihlein brother's descendants.
    When an heir died without children, the estate was generally left to nieces and nephews.
Robert A. Uihlein Jr. is another example of how well the system worked, taking over the Schlitz presidency from August's youngest son, Erwin, in 1961. "I knew my father wanted me in the company. I went to the college where he wanted me to go. I went to the law school where he wanted me to go. It worked out all right." he mentions a quotation from Goethe which holds that no one truly owns property unless he works toward building it. " If that kind of precept can be accepted by our children, we can continue to build on the family foundation." 9-2

<--POSTCARD, circa 1908, shows 6 men on Schlitz Beer Wagon, pulled by oxen, sign on side says "Schlitz, On Sale Here, Milwaukee." There is also a gorgeous Schlitz sign hanging up behind them with the fairy.


    Excerpts from a letter that August Uihlein wrote to his son, Joseph, while visiting Bad Kissingen, Germany in 1908:
    Concerning his Schlitz employment in 1858 - "My compensation for services rendered as a full fledged bookkeeper was the privilege to buy my clothes and charge them to expense account and to take 25 cents every Sunday spending money and charge that also."
    A year later at the Second Ward Bank - "At the bank, I got a thorough training keeping books, accounting, counting currency, collecting in banks. - For my service for one year at the bank I received a gold pen - no salary."
    Regarding the Chicago fire - "The breweries were burned to a great extent, which created a demand for beer - and if that had not happened I doubt very much if Milwaukee would be on the map today as a beer center."
    Turning the business into a stock capitalized company - "Mr. Schlitz also presented each one of us with some stock in the new enterprise."
    Schlitz's will - "bequeathed us brothers enough stock, as he said, for the purpose of having sole control and, as he said, to be molested by no one, saying he was under obligation for faithful services rendered by us and that we should, in the event of his demise, carry on the business interfered with by no one."
    Mrs. Schlitz - "Aunt Schlitz worried me some after Schlitz's death, but she let good enough alone and let us carry on the brewery business as I saw fit. Later on, Aunt Schlitz appreciated our services and willed us brothers large amounts."
    Regarding the business's value in 1908 - " The plant and real estate is worth much more today in my estimation, including good will, and if we are not interfered with by adverse legislation and prohibition, and if we come back to sane laws and regulations, I would advise to keep the plant and not sell out at any price. "All excerpts taken from 9-1.

<-- advertising sign is copyright 1909 with beautiful lady litho bears the signature of Harrison Fisher. The image was used in the advertising for the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company and Milwaukee Lager Beer. It measures about 10 x 13 1/2" and is done on a heavy paper (which was trimmed from its' orig. size).

 

A jingle found on a postcard c.1910 - "A young lady by the name ANNHEISER, Who said no man could surprise her, But PABST took a chance, Found the SCHLITZ in her pants, And now she is sadder, BUDWEISER."

    Here's another called a "Dippy Dope" - "Have you any Anheuser-Busch in your pocket? I have Schlitz in my pants."

To your right, an unusual postcard c.1910->

    At the outset of the generation - in about 1911, the Schlitz brewery embarked upon a modern advertising campaign reminiscent of Captain Pabst's efforts to sell his product in the nineties. The post-prohibition period saw even more intensive efforts in this direction. Early in February 1937, Schlitz began a campaign of full-color advertising in thirteen large magazines, designed to reach four out of every five homes in the United States. Publicity appeared in 500 city newspapers during the summer, twenty-four-sheet bill postings were displayed in 500 cities, and the Schlitz Palm Garden of the Air carried the message to the nation's radio listeners. A similarly extensive advertising campaign acquainted the American public with the merits of the "Blue Ribbon" product; and the Pabst network of sales organization covered the country.

    The brewing industry, also better than any other of the city's manufacturers, exhibited the extent to which the industrial revolution of metro Milwaukee was conditioned by changes in law and popular practice during the period 1910 to 1940. Despite its association with the Gemuetlichkeit of the Wisconsin city, beer more than the other major items of production, was vulnerable to attack on social grounds. This was increasingly apparent during the reform-minded "progressive era"; and as early a 1916 some of the city's promoter were at pains to point out that in one census year - that of 1889 - had brewing constituted Milwaukee's largest industry, and that "in 1915 not more than one-twentieth of all goods produced ...was beer."

1911, August Uihlein dies. Joseph Sr. becomes the president of the Second Ward Savings Bank. Henry took over the Schlitz top job until 1917. 9-2


1912 Uihlein Trotter Sale Catalog Harvester

Executor's Sale of Standard Bred Trotters
The Property of the August Uihlein Estate
To be held at the State Fair Grounds
Milwaukee , Wisconsin
Wednesday , March 20, 1912
Sale Under the Management of James G. Boyd
Geo. A. Bain, Auctioneer

" As is well known , for the past few years , with our various dispersal sales , it was the intention of the late Mr. August Uihlein to close out his large holdings in trotting bred horses with a view to reducing the breeding stock to a limited number of the choicest animals on his farms. And this has been practically done. Hence in this final dispersal of every animal owned by the August Uihlein estate you will have an opportunity of bidding on those selected from a total of 500 head , which were to constitute the harem to be headed by the stallion king - The Harvester .

Every mare kept was selected for her individual excellence , rich breeding and the probable ability of reproducing her kind. They are all broke to harness and practically every one on the place can be driven with perfect safety anywhere 

All these mares have been mated with the stallion that we anticipated would make the best cross for her and the prospective foal should be worth what you would pay for these mares .

The Harvester youngsters, as in fact every other colt on the place , have just been barely halter broke, and no attempt has been made to work with them for speed , but all show wonderful natural trotting action for their age.

If you are looking for a stallion, brood mare or racing prospect , this is an opportunity that comes but once in a lifetime, and it goes without saying that every animal offered is put up for absolute sale and will go for the high dollar without reserve or by-bid. " as stated in " Announcement " section

94 page auction sale catalog ; measures approximately 5 3/4 x 8 3/4.

First page with B&W photo of The Harvester. Reverse side of photo with lineage / breeding information.

Next page with The Harvester " World's Champion Trotting Stallion " career summary of races won in 1908 , 1909 & 1910.

Next 88 pages with 94 horse entries included in the sale. Majority of entries # 1 - 89 are full page listings for one horse ; with information on name , bred by name ; some lineage / ancestry ; and a paragraph or so of text description. These entries include the following :

High Admiral * High Drift * Devilkin * Banker Vincent * Electrification * Famous Walnut * Lady Harvester * Harvest Girl * Harvest Queen * Astro Harvest * Brino Harvester * Lulu Harvester * Sir Harvester * Bon Harvester * Cammie E. * Monatan * Erla Cocden * Babe Seneca * Eileen Astro * Western Chimes * Welcome Home * Twinkletoes * Phillis McKinney * Jule G. * Indonia * Half Holiday * Grammattan * Florence Quinton * Dame Seneca * Day Star U. * Canata Maid * Carmen Stewart * Baroness Colfax * Brino Belle * Victoria Chimes * Rosaro * Plutarch * Naomie Belle * Maywood Pet * Miss Yerkes * Mokolette * Marie's Pet * Lady Lathrop * Lulu Butler * East View Belle * Clara Belle * Althelia Direct * Alphabet * Astro Felitsa * Countess Buckner * Felitsa * Sue Vincent * Josie Moko * Countess Admiral * Belle Patch * Athelia Admiral * Molly Dillon * High Seneca * Elvadine * Naomi High * Baroness Jay * Day Admiral * Elva Admiral * Marie Kelly * Yerkosette * Legal Reserve * Petronella * High Welcome * Yerkes Boy * Tilly Field * Nellie Vincent * Phillis Admiral * Electrigram * Elecdrift * Lawrie Famous * Miss Direct * Highnoya * Miss Holiday * Licensee * Jule Boy Sir Alpha * Baroness Wilkes * Miss Cantata * Felitsa Maid * Dolly Ijams * Electric View * Messenger Girl *

Last page with 4 very brief entries , including True Blue II and 3 Percheron stallions.

 

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Postcard - the Brewery in 1909


    Joseph Sr. had to testify in County Judge John C. Karel's court at a tax hearing in 1912 ,the year after his father's death concerning how the Old World doctrine of primogeniture played a role in passing along inheritance. "It was my father's idea that the younger ones, having a greater expectancy of life, should receive less than the oldest. This plan was (also) followed out by his brothers, Henry, Alfred, and Edward, who had favored the eldest in distributing their property." 9-2

    In 1912 Schlitz developed the now universally famous "Brown Bottle", a pioneering step to prevent the harmful rays of light from destroying quality and stability of beer. Among leading contributions may be mentioned enzymatic control, elimination of air from bottles prior to filling these, vitamin addition, besides improvements along technical lines. The cardinal rule only to use the choicest material in brewing, operating under the most sanitary conditions, producing uniformity in quality, careful supervision in all phases of operation, together with scientific control is responsible for the wide distribution Schlitz products enjoyed.

    Summer, 1912 - In a effort to end juvenile delinquency, the Schlitz Pavilion is turned into a community center, and Milwaukee establishes the first Department for Directed Play in the nation. 8-56

    At the 1913 World's Fair in St. Louis, the R. Hegar Malting & brewing Co. of Jefferson, WI., won second place with its Hegar beer ahead of all the big Milwaukee brewers. This resulted in the Hegar slogan "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Jealous." (It was a bit ironic that he, like Schlitz, died while on an ocean voyage returning from Germany.). Note: there was also the Whitewater Brewing Co. (1907-1942) that brewed and bottled " Cream Top, The Beer That Makes Milwaukee Furious." 1-141

wpe4.jpg (9401 bytes)

Milwaukee County Historical Society
910 N. Third St.
1913

This Beaux Arts styled building is made of Indiana limestone, and was originally called the Second Ward Savings Bank. That was absorbed by the First Wisconsin National Bank, now Firstar. It was donated to Milwaukee County in 1966.

http://www.msoe.edu/~reyer/mke/1913b.html

    June 9, 1915 - Hundreds of confiscated slot machines are destroyed by the city. 8-58

CHECK DATED NOV. 1, 1915 FROM VAL. BLATZ BREWING CO. made to the order of Joseph Edgar Uihlein, Vice-President at the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. from 1912-1919 and 1933-1945. Uihlein's signature appears on the back. Signed by J. Kremer and counter-signed by Fred W. Boorshan on front.

    The Uihlein family got into the timber business before World War I - "they wanted to go into partnership with John Schroeder's father, Fred," Robert Jr. explained. John Schroeder married Gertude Elser, whose mother, Mathilda, was Alfred Uihlein's daughter. The partnership timbered " the whole north shore of Lake Huron" as well as conducting logging operations in Louisiana and Florida, the brewery president said. As late as the 1930s, the Uihleins were involved in the timbering operations in British Columbia. 9-3

    Also before W.W.I, Joseph Uihlein Sr. and his brother Robert Sr. began the Republic Carbon Co. in Niagara Falls, N.Y. to remedy a shortage of carbon electrodes for use in making steel. 9-3

    1915 - Robert and Erwin Uihlein purchase the schooner Wendameen for about $10,000. For eight years the Uihleins sailed the Great Lakes with family and friends until selling it to a new owner from Chicago on September 16, 1923. Source:  "Wendameen: The Life of An American Schooner From 1912 to the Present", by Captain Neal Parker

    As state after state "went dry" in 1916, the Wisconsin Brewers' Association became sufficiently alarmed to propose cleaning up the saloon business in the city as a means of quieting criticisms by the Anti-saloon League; but more than the forces of reform was spelling the industry's momentary doom.

   To combat the Temperance/Prohibition movement, Schlitz and Anheuser-Busch buy $36,000 worth of bonds in a publicity company that places favorable beer/brewery stories on the front pages of 11,000 newspapers. 19-105.


    April 6, 1917, the United States enters World War I.

    World War I presented a more essential need for the grain from which the beverage was made; and when it was disclosed that such German brewers as Joseph Uihlein, Gustave Pabst, and members of the Miller family had supported Arthur Brisbane's purchase of the Washington Times, as a means of fighting Prohibition, the industry was accused of subsidizing German propaganda and obstructing the nation's war effort. The brewers' allegedly disloyal behavior was the subject of a Senate investigation ordered in September 1918, and a month later, President Wilson signed a bill prohibiting the manufacture of intoxicating beverages after May 1, 1919, and their sale after the first of the following July.

    1918 - Milwaukee had nine breweries left, employing approx. 6,540 citizens.

    This reform-fostered and war-invoked legislation dealt the brewers a drastic blow. By 1912 - less than fifty years after the industry had reported an annual output of 69,000 barrels - production had been boosted to 4,182,000. By 1918 the total had declined to 2,217,000 barrels; but the product still represented a value of $35,000,000 and jobs not only for approximately 6,000 brewery workers but also for the employees of the city's some 1,900 saloons. Russell Austin's "The Milwaukee Story" describes the funeral of John Barleycorn, held in the city shortly before the day when liquor sales were scheduled to close.

    "On June 21, 1919...twenty-some sad faced Milwaukeeans ...gathered at the...Weis liquor dispensary...to hold a funeral. In a back room overlooking the Milwaukee River, a specially made coffin containing the " earthly remains of Mr. John Barleycorn" rested upon a bier lighted by bourbon bottle candelabra. Floral tributes were tastefully arranged in beer mugs around the casket...The pallbearers bore the weighted casket to the river, dropped it in, and tossed after it numerous empty bottles and the firm's cash register for good measure."

    During the evening of June 30, 1919, Milwaukee police arrested 30 people for public drunkenness, and a solitary horn-player closed the Schlitz Palm Garden with a soulful rendition of Taps.

    Equally indicative of Milwaukee's sentiments was the comment of August Kahlo, retiring saloonkeeper, who posted a placard reading, "The First of July Is the Last of August". National prohibition, arriving on January 16, 1920, was greeted in Milwaukee without ceremony or celebration; and only six citizens took leave of liquor so violently as to require the attentions of the police. By 1921 the value of beverages produced in the city had dropped from $35,000,000, the 1918 figure, to less than $2,600,000; and by the close of the twenties the number of employees stood at 512 as compared to 3,217 in 1910.

    Many Milwaukeeans found their adjustment to prohibition in the bootlegger (selling "needle beer" or "spiked beer"), the "speak-easy", and home brew. But the former producers turned to the manufacture of such legally acceptable commodities as cheese, malt, candy, chewing gum, and near beer.

    The Miller brewery turned out a cereal beverage bearing the "High Life" label; and all leading breweries produced millions of pounds of malt syrup yearly. A Schlitz advertisement in 1928 contrasts strangely with earlier and more succinct publicity for the contents of the "brown bottle": "Schlitz-Flavored Malt Syrup. The name Schlitz on the label gives you the same absolute assurance of purity and confidence in malt syrup as the name "Sterling"...on silver. For Better Bread and Finer Candy-Schlitz-Milwaukee."


Schlitz Garden Enters History - The Schlitz Palm Garden, mecca of tourists and visitors to Milwaukee for more than twenty-five years, closes its doors Sunday. The building will be remodeled, possibly into a motion picture house.

The palm garden had no duplicate in the United States. Only in Europe, possibly only in German, could similar halls be found, Where members of the family, from grandpapa to the baby in arms might be found - in the old days - listening to the concert, while the adults sipped beer.

Showplace and Landmark - It was one of the show places - for some years, the principal one - of Milwaukee. It was erected by the Schlitz Brewing Co. at a time when "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous" was advertised throughout the land and when the people of the United States began to associate the name of Milwaukee with beer. The result was that the first thought of the visitor to Milwaukee was of the breweries - and a desire to see the Palm garden.

In the days when excursion boats brought thousands to Milwaukee to remain ashore only for an hour or so, the Palm garden was the place they visited. A brief glimpse of downtown streets - and the remainder of the time in the beer hall. Milwaukeeans began to boast of the place - a beer hall where the laws were strictly observed always, where there was never drunkenness, and where there was never a fight. They took all guests to see the place.

Rivalry and Display - In the days gone by, when competition was keen between the larger breweries of Milwaukee, thousands of dollars were spent in entertainment. The Schlitz Brewing Co. always used the palm garden when entertaining large organizations. The convention of International Fire chiefs, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery of Boston, big national conventions of every description - were entertained here. The baseball banquets were always held int he palm garden.

Woodrow Wilson once visited the palm garden for a moment. It was when he was governor of New Jersey and was making his first campaign for the presidential nomination.

Didn't Taste Brew - Before going to the Pabst theater to deliver his address, Mr. Wilson expressed a desire to see the beer hall. The inspection was brief and the distinguished visitor did not try the brew.

The music, the concerts and the singers appearing there in the old days, were the best. The garden opened with "Clauder's Sextet" and many musicians. now famous, have played there. Source: Milwaukee Journal, March 6, 1921


    In wartime (W.W.I) Wisconsin, the Anti-Saloon League and its allies said, in denouncing the brewers," We have German Enemies across the water, we have German Enemies in this country too. And the most menacing are Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, and Miller." Prohibitionists condemned "Schlitzville-on-the-Lake" for producing "Kaiser brew", and argued that German brewers contributed only to industrial disorder at a time when efficiency of production was essential for national survival. 15-96

     The brewing and liquor interests that opposed the prohibition of alcoholic beverages also opposed woman suffrage. Worried about the possibility that women might cast enough votes for prohibitionist candidates who would in turn dry up Wisconsin. The brewers and distillers thought they had good economic reasons for opposing woman suffrage. 15-106

      August 1917, the Food Control Law shuts down all distilleries. and in Sept 1918, Congress passed a "wartime" national prohibition amendment as a rider to the so-called Food Stimulation Act becoming law on November 21, 1918 effectively barring the use of grains, cereals, fruit, or other food product in the manufacture of beer and other alcoholic beverages. (Note: Before WWI, cocktails sold for 25 cents, a sot of better whiskey for 15 cents; afterwards, $20 for a pint of whiskey and $40 for a cheaper bottle of champagne. Sugar was especially scarce.)

    Robert Uihlein serves on the executive committee of the Milwaukee County Council of Defense. 10-174

    The last bottle of beer produced by the JSBCo. before Prohibition, was considered of such historical significance that it was insured for $25,000.

    Henry Uihlein passes the Schlitz presidency over to his kid brother, Alfred, then 64 years old. Alfred proved equal to his trust. Convinced that the nation would eventually come to its senses, he kept Schlitz's pedigree yeast cultures inviolate and the equipment in running order. 9-2

    Schlitz introduces FAMO as a near beer in 1917.

 

1918 Schlitz beer ad 

Two unemployed men outside the Schlitz brewery broke up beer cases to use as kindling after Prohibition went into effect. Source: Milwaukee Sentinel files

     After the Prohibition law went into effect in 1919, JSBCo. had to cease its brewing operations. During the 14-year dry spell, president Alfred Uihlein tried to seek profitable alternatives to brewing beer, maintaining hopes in the meantime that the Prohibition law would be repealed. He (as well as Pabst and Miller) kept every mechanism in the brewery in working order while the company experimented with various ventures, including the ill-fated Eline Milk Chocolate Bar operation (an estimated $17 million loss to the company). (Eline's Milwaukee Old Style Cocoa tin with paper label. 4.75" x 3.25" x 2.25").

     During Prohibition, Schlitz replaced the word "beer" with "brew" and temporarily changed its name to the Schlitz Beverage Company and its slogan to "Schlitz- the name that made Milwaukee famous". When Prohibition ended it took back its former name. Despite the candy venture set-back, Schlitz survived the Prohibition years by becoming involved in wise land investments, banking interests, an aluminum venture, sale of interest in the American Tobacco Co. , and manufacturing malt syrup, for cooking and baking (and for the needs of the wildcat brewers in the homes) and soft drinks.

    World War I ends with the signing of the Versailles Treaty on June 28,1919.

July 1, 1919 - Schlitz begins to manufacture Eline Candy Bars. " Here is the ideal location," Joseph Sr., announced. " Wisconsin is the greatest dairy state in the union and good fresh milk is the one requirement for a chocolate manufacturer... We have made plans for unlimited expansion." "My father had the theory that with beer and liquor cut off, people would turn to chocolate," Joseph Jr. said. "Instead of starting in a small way, the family built a tremendous plant."
   "Until then, my father had tasted nothing but success all his life. He hadn't known anything about reverses. He was born before there was an income tax. Before Prohibition, it was no trick to sell beer - you'd buy a corner, and put in a good man and sell it."
    The gallant effort to show the Hershey's how to make chocolate bars began with construction of the Eline plant on N. Port Washington Rd.. Its lobby was paved with Italian Travertine marble. Every office had a fireplace. The garage was modeled on the orangery at Apthorpe Hall in England. The entrance pillars were duplicates of those designed for the Harvard University by Stanford White.
Joseph Sr. was president of the new company with Robert Sr. and Erwin as vice-presidents, as well as Alfred's sons, William B. and Ralph A.; another son of one of the six brothers, William J., was superintendent.
    No expenses were spared; experts were brought in and elaborate plans for marketing their products were made.
    But the truth soon became apparent : As candy kings, the Uihleins were excellent brewers.
As early as 1924, there were rumors that the plant was for sale. But the Uihleins persevered, adding $1 million worth of machinery two years later. 400 more salesmen were hired and the plant began to produce hard candies as well as chocolate. 9-2

    The Uihleins began unloading their vast real estate holdings in 1919. On October 24, of this year, Schlitz announced that it planned to sell nearly 2,000 properties, including 400 saloons and other store sites in Milwaukee, under the motto : "Own a Home for Your Business." Sol Abrams, manager of the brewery's real estate department, said that Schlitz owned more scattered real estate than any other company or individual in the U.S..
    It was logical to sell saloons in 1919, the year Prohibition began, but the Uihleins generally held onto other properties until the mid-'20s. Then they heard about the failure of a large Philadelphia real estate operation.
    "They thought they saw trouble coming," Robert Jr. said , "so they started to liquidate. Between 1925 and 1927 they sold the bulk of their properties. There are still (in 1972) a few pieces left but they don't amount to a hill of beans." (One of those hills of beans is a 28,000 acre tract of land south of Tampa, Florida which is used for growing timber, pasturing cattle, raising tomatoes and citrus fruit. The Uihleins own 50% and the First Wisconsin has another 43% ownership.) 9-3

    D-2 style, cast iron, Pre-pro Schlitz cap lifter (opener) from the Schlitz Brewing Co. had the square hole or Prest-O-Lite key. This was used to open a valve to allow carbide gas to flow to the headlights in early automobiles and was quite common on pre-pro openers.

    The Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company owned $325,000 worth of real estate in Grand Rapids when Michigan went dry, sold the last of its holdings to Rice Veneer and Lumber Company in 1923.  Reference - http://www.mi-brew.com/history/seeger/braumeisters/index13.html

    After the war ended it was decided to convert the Niagara Falls carbon electrode making plant into an aluminum making venture. The plant had cheap electricity available ,but what it needed was a bauxite supply.
    Problem was that most bauxite deposits were already owned by the Aluminum Co. of America (Alcoa) and the owners, the Mellons, weren't about to share.
    To counter the Mellon's grip on the deposits, the Uihleins sent Sol E. Abrams down to Venezuela to discuss the leasing of bauxite rich lands with then dictator, General Juan Gomez. Sol was refused an audience so he departed to British Guyana where Robert Uihlein Sr. joined him.
    Both of them went looking about in the jungle but where ever they found any deposits, Alcoa was always one step ahead of them. Sol lost 50 pounds chasing about in the hot, steamy climate and Robert Sr. lost nearly as much. Finally they found a local land owner and closed a deal with her, Melvina Hubbard. They bought 1,500 acres of rich bauxite land but were challenged in court by the a Mellon Subsidiary. Meanwhile as events were unfolding, Robert Sr. broke his ankle playing tennis one day and later, as the story goes, they ordered refreshments from their house boy who brought them scotch and sodas. When they asked for more ice, he said he was sorry be he couldn't get it. The ice for their cocktails was all he'd dare steal from a corpse being preserved for a burial.
    Local white barristers (lawyers) were either on the Mellon payroll or had no stomach for challenging them in court. Until a black Oxford educated lawyer, Phillip Nathaniel Brown, took their case and won it for them before the West Indies supreme tribunal. The Mellons of course appealed to the British privy-council, but after four years Lord Haldane handed down a decision for the Uihleins. While this was occurring, Joseph Sr. had gone to Holland to talk authorities into making bauxite deposits in Dutch Guyana available to them. Joseph Sr. later related in a federal court hearing that, "There was such a fear of the Aluminum Co. that I left Holland with empty hands. Later he added that the subsequent sale of the Uihlein holdings to Alcoa came about because, "they pursued and persecuted us."
    Robert Uihlein Jr. recalled the story he heard from his father, an arrangement had been worked out to use a source of electrical power in Quebec and to go into the aluminum business full scale despite the Mellons. But at the last minute "father and Joe decided they didn't want to spend the next 20 years on the railroad." Robert Jr. recounts that his father offered either to buy his brother's share or to sell his holdings to Joseph Sr. but was turned down. When the $4 million sale was made to the Mellons, Joseph Sr. insisted on receiving cash, as a result, Robert Jr. continues, "we didn't get Alcoa stock - at 1922 prices." 9-3

    The Eline Milk Chocolate Bar venture was discontinued in 1928. Production stopped for good. The family had finally decided not to throw more good money after bad. Estimates of $17 million were lost in the venture ( Joseph Jr. stated that these were "hard" dollars). The venture had run into a variety of problems including the use of a fish oil preparation on the candy wrapper that spoiled the taste. Almond bars would show up without almonds, and sometimes the gum drops were so hard they would shatter if dropped on the floor. 9-2

    Portions of the Eline buildings were rented to various concerns until early in World War II, when the candy plant became part of the Milwaukee Ordinance Plant. After the war, the brewery bought the plant back. 9-2 (note - The city so heavily taxed the vacant plant because of its choice location, that the Uihleins, without finding relief from it, eventually blow up the building to reduce the property tax. It may be that movie footage of the demolition of the building appears in the movie, "Herbie Returns".)


CHEYENNE (Wyoming) FRONTIER DAY -JULY 24-28, 1928 COVER DESIGN THROUGH COURTESY OF J.C. PENNEY COMPANY LAST PAGE IS A LOOSE LEAF BI-FOLD AND HAS THE TIMES OF THE CONTESTANTS WRITTEN IN PENCIL ON IT BY THE NAMES THIS IS A LIST OF ALL THE EVENTS AND THE CONTESTANTS ENTERED AS WELL AS THE 1928 FRONTIER DAYS COMMITTEE NAMES HAS ADVERTISING THROUGHOUT, SUCH AS : BOYD'S CIGAR ~ CHEYENNE CREAMERY CO. ~ UNDERWOOD'S FLOWER SHOP ~ CARLSON TIRE SHOPS ~ SKAGGS SAFEWAY STORES ~ TEXACO ~ COCA COLA COMPANY ~ WESTERN SPORTING GOODS CO. ~ B.P.O.E ELKS CLUB ~ SCHLITZ, EAST SIDE BOTTLING WORKS ~ UNION STOCK YARDS CO. THESE ARE JUST A SMALL FEW OF THE ADS IN THIS NEAT BOOKLET


    The Second Ward Savings Bank and the First Wisconsin bank (begun in 1853 as the Farmer and Millers' Bank) during 1928 merge to form a $200 million consolidation, described as the largest in Milwaukee history. The Uihleins received 2 1/2 shares of First Wisconsin stock for each share of Second Ward stock. Joseph Sr. was asked by a reporter if the Uihleins were getting out of the banking business, His answer, "Positively not!" By 1972, the Uihleins held about 20% of the total shares of First Wisconsin Bankshares Corp., the holding company for First Wisconsin and other banks and banking offices across the world. Bankshares total assets amounted to $2.6 billion and about 1/5 of the directors are represented by the Uihlein family. (one of the original proposals had been to build a forty story building on the site of the old Republican Hotel across from the Second Ward bank on 3rd St.., but this would have required a change in city ordinances to permit a structure of such height. Fortunately for the Uihlein family they decided to merge.) 9-2

Federal agents take sledgehammers to more than 75 half-barrels of "wildcat" beer found in Milwaukee in February 1928. Source: Milwaukee Sentinel File.

wpe7.jpg (11911 bytes)

Following the 1929 stock market crash, Joseph Uihlein Sr., son of August, traveled to Washington D.C. to discuss the legalization of light wines and beers with president Herbert Hoover. Finding Hoover and his treasury secretary, Ogden Mills, unreceptive (they literally threw him out), he then met with Franklin D. Roosevelt in Albany, New York, who appeared to be more favorably inclined towards brewers' interests (he told Joseph Sr., "Of course the poor man has got to have his beer - it's a damned outrage."). Joseph Sr. then formed an alliance with Arthur Brisband, William Randolph Hearst's chief editorial writer, and other brewers to help bring about a Democratic landslide in the next election. The brewers raised over $300,000 for Roosevelt's campaign. With such an overwhelming Democratic victory, Prohibition was doomed, and Congress ruled that 3.2 beer ("near" beer) was legal and considered non-intoxicating. However, it would be four more years before the 18th Amendment would be completely repealed, but the near beer law put the breweries back into business again. According to Joseph Jr., beer's comeback, came none too soon. The family had considered selling the idle brewery several times but couldn't come to an agreement. Joseph Jr. added, "There's nothing more ridiculous than saying you're down to your last million, so I won't say it. But if beer hadn't come back, we wouldn't have had any money." A lot of breweries weren't able to survive. But Sol Abrams was a genius and Uncle Erwin was - how should we put it ? - careful. So when it became legal to go back to making beer we were ready to start up again." 9-2

    The Prohibition Bureau estimated that 700 million gallons of beer was brewed in family homes during 1929.

    August, 1930 - Oconomowoc police raid a drinking party at an old refrigerator building formerly owned by the Schlitz Company, located on East Wisconsin Ave.

    The big bank consolidation had come only two years before the depressed 1930s, when banking was not a very lucrative business. at one point, federal auditors figured that the First Wisconsin lost $27 million. Joseph Sr. testified in a court hearing about his own asset reversal during this time, "I lost $5 or $6 million in the decline of this bank. I had 297,000 shares of stock that went down the river. My wife had 80,000 more and they went down the river, too." 9-2 As noted earlier, this lost must have eventually come back up river for the Uihleins.

1933, the Cullen bill is passed permitting the production and sale of 3.2 % beer in states that did not have prohibition laws, it provided for a $5 a barrel tax and a $1,000 a year brewer's tax, and prohibited the shipment of beer into dry states.

    The Death of Prohibition in 1933 with the repeal of the 18th Amendment. The following was excerpted from a 1953 newspaper article recalling the "event":
"A hundred thousand people turned out 20 years ago just to watch a truck rumble through Milwaukee streets. It was a pretty ordinary sort of truck but it carried an extraordinary cargo. Spotlights marked its passing, factory whistles saluted it with a shrill blast and the crowd drowned out the whistles with a great happy roar. The time was one minute after midnight , April 7, 1933 The occasion - the death of Prohibition. The truck, of course, carried beer. After 14 long, dry years, Milwaukee was back in business as brewmaster for America. Actually, there were seven "first" trucks that night, one from each Milwaukee brewery. In the cheerful confusion, no one was sure which truck rolled first, and no one really cared. The crowd was content to know that there was more , lots more, where that one came from."

1930's era advertising postcard issued by the "Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin"-->

   U-permit numbers were issued to brewers by the U.S. Government following prohibition as a method of licensing.  The permit #'s were required to be on all product labeling from 1933 until September of 1935, but the usage extended into at least 1936.  The mostly appear on bottle & keg labels, but they also do appear on some early cans.  They are a quite reliable way (along with other indicators) to reliably date early post-prohibition labels. Schlitz's was WIS-U-730. Reference - http://www.mi-brew.com/permits/index.html and http://www.mi-brew.com/permits/wi-u-permit.html

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