History2 > 1873-1881
Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. : A Chronological
edited and written by Michael R.
Reilly, copyright 1995
Date of Last Revision
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
| 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
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.
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
| 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
World War I ends with the signing of the Versailles Treaty on June
|| 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
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
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
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.
||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
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
History2 > 1873-1881