1928 Milwaukee newspaper advertisement reading,
On February 20, 1928, 147 thousand, six hundred Master Padlocks were shipped by rail to New York City. The shipment weighed sixteen tons and was worth $65,000.  The humorous and ironical part was that the locks were made in Milwaukee, the national beer capital, and in quarters leased from the Pabst Brewery. Pabst was not brewing beer because of the National Prohibition Act. 



Five Flapper Women in fur coats posing in front of Master Lock Company rail shipment. February 1928.
The newspapers were full of articles concerning raids by Federal agents on distilling operations and speakeasies. The tools in the trade of the Federal agents consisted of two items; a long handled ax to smash the barrels of illegal brew and a supply of padlocks to secure the doors and prevent any further use of the establishment.

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In the majority of cases, the locks used were Master padlocks, the strongest padlocks ever built. Twenty cold-rolled steel plates, seven times riveted and forming a solid, indestructible case. It could be hammered upon and would not break or crack.

It took seven trucks to move the 16 tons of locks from the company to the train yard. On the sides of the trucks were banners that read, "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous." These banners were crossed out and covered by banners, "Make Milwaukee Mightier." Acting Mayor Cornelius Corcoran of Milwaukee locked the rail car witha 3-foot padlock and broke a bottle of near beer over it. He sent the key to Jimmy Walker, mayor of New York, by air mail.
Images and research by John Lupiezowieck, Master Lock historian

Exhibit of Master Lock on display at the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear since June 2016 - now

 
 
PictureLuick Dairy Milk Can, Chudnow Museum
John Luick, a Civil War veteran, revolutionized the ice cream industry not just in Milwaukee, but throughout the world.  He was born in New York, and except for his two years of service in Virginia, lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Luick “saw the rise of ice cream from a Sunday luxury to an everyday dessert.”[i]  This rise was brought on largely by Luick himself.  

In the 1880’s, Luick was already making delectable ice cream in his small confectionary shop in Milwaukee.  It was his son William’s idea to sell wholesale ice cream, an idea that his father did not readily buy into.  William rented a failing drugstore soda machine on Milwaukee Street between Wisconsin and Wells.  William also purchased a small shop and started to make 10 to 20 gallons of ice cream a day.  At this time, ice cream had to be hand-turned in a small freezer.  A drugstore on 27th and Wisconsin Avenue was William’s first customer.[ii]  Because of his son William’s success in making and selling wholesale ice cream, John was convinced of the business potential.  

“The Dairy Industry is the biggest in the world.  It is bigger than the steel industry.” Thomas McInnerney 1926 to the Milwaukee Sentinel 
PictureLuick Dairy Advertising Truck
In 1897 he formed “Luick’s Ice Cream Co.”  The company grew so big in its first 90 days that the business was moved into a larger building at 602 East Ogden Street.  Copying his son’s idea, he also installed a soda fountain which turned his building into one of the most popular in the city.[iii]  Another of his brilliant ideas was to serve ice cream in the winter, which helped to spread its popularity.   

Luick made a number of important contributions to the Ice Cream Industry.  He was the first person to sell pint “bricks” of ice cream wrapped in paper and quarts of ice cream in cartons.  He created flavors of ice cream other than the traditional Neapolitan flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.  Luick mixed his ice cream with fruit and candy to increase his flavor potentials.  Luick’s business was so revolutionary that confectioners from across the country came to observe his business.  Eventually, John retired and left his business to his son William.

PictureRecreated Luick Ice Cream logo
At the end of 1923, a man named Thomas McInnerney formed the National Dairy Products Corporation with the goal of consolidating all of the independent ice cream companies in the US.  McInnerney was highly successful and merged with Luick Ice Cream Co. in 1926.  Luick Ice Cream Co. was largely left to create ice cream the way it always did.  A newspaper at the time reported, “Mr. Luick [William] will remain president of his company and its organization, methods and product will remain unchanged.”[iv]  William was even appointed to the board of directors of the National Dairy Products Corporation.[v]

PictureMilk Half Pint with Luick & Sealtest Cap
Around 1929, Luick Ice Cream became part of the Sealtest division of the National Dairy Products Corporation, which would eventually become Kraft Foods, Inc.[vi]  Sealtest and Kraft were companies that were purchased by the National Dairy Products Corporation to consolidate the food industry.  In 1969, the National Dairy Products Corporation changed their name to Kraft, which is one of the biggest food-producing companies today.  In 1993, Kraft sold its ice cream brands, including Sealtest (the brand that owned Luick Ice Cream) and Breyer’s to the Unilever Corporation, which owns them today.[vii]   

Nevertheless, Luick Ice Cream was a Milwaukee staple for decades, especially in the 1920’s.  This decade saw the standard of living rise along with wages.  Never before in history did the majority of the population have some sort of disposable income or leisure time.  These two things merged together at the soda fountain or ice cream parlor that Luick helped to popularize. 

[i] “Luick, Veteran of Civil War, Is Dead at 97” The Milwaukee Journal, March 30, 1938, Page 1.
[ii] “Everybody Likes Ice Cream” The Milwaukee Sentinel, January 29, 1952, Section 2.
[iii] Ibid 
[iv] “Chain Concern Booms State Milk Future” The Milwaukee Sentinel, September 3, 1926.
[v] “Trapp Dairy Co. Unites With Chain Organization” The Milwaukee Journal, December 16, 1927, Page 1.
[vi]“Luick Dairy Co. Horse and Wagon,” Milwaukee Public Library Digital Collections, accessed June 23, 2011, http://content.mpl.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/HstoricPho&CISOPTR=4111&CISOBOX=1&REC=1
[vii] “Breyers,” Unilever USA Brands, accessed June 23, 2011, http://www.unileverusa.com/brands/foodbrands/breyers/index.aspx


 
 
PictureGarden Homes Construction, 1923
The Garden Homes housing project is the nation’s first and only municipally-built, public housing cooperative. The property, composed of 105 living units in 93 free-standing buildings constructed between 1921 and 1923, is bounded by North 27th Street and West Ruby, North Teutonia and West Atkinson avenues. Its origins can be traced to the 1910 municipal election of the nation’s first Socialist mayor, Emil Seidel. One of the planks of the Socialist platform was construction of city-built, low-cost homes for workers. Although Seidel failed to make public housing a reality during his term, Daniel W. Hoan, the city’s second Socialist mayor, succeeded.

PictureGarden Homes Construction, 1923
In 1920, the lack of adequate working-class housing was the key issue in the community. The Garden Homes Company was formally incorporated in 1921 under new legislation that allowed the formation of public housing corporations. It was originally intended to provide housing for families earning a modest $1,200 to $1,500 a year. Occupants would purchase housing corporation common stock equal to the value of the house. Monthly payments would be spread over 20 years that were to cover interest, taxes, upkeep and other fixed costs. The project would be financed through sale of preferred stock with 5% per annum dividend which would be purchased by city and county governments and other investors. The goal was a home built at a cost of $4,500, about 25% less than a comparable home, which a family would own, or be owned by the cooperative.

PictureAerial Section of Garden Homes, 2016
Not everyone was in favor of this project or loved the idea of public housing. According to a Milwaukee Sentinel report some opposed the plan because it "hinted something strongly of Sovietism” and some believed it did not guarantee individual ownership of the homes.  Some thought success with this project would bolster the Socialist Party in the county, and other business leaders, real estate boards, and politicians were upset about the high, union scale wages being paid to the workers. The Town of Wauwatosa and Town of Milwaukee were upset about plans by the City of Milwaukee to annex the area. Milwaukee, however, eventually won a decision in 1925 in the Wisconsin Supreme Court that approved the annexation. Some disgruntled Garden Home residents wanted individual titles to their properties so that they could sell them at appreciated values.  This led to the cooperative being disbanded in July of 1925. With this change to individual ownership, the Garden Homes Company functioned only to sell the housing stock and pay off all loans—a process that took more than ten years. By the late 1930s only about 40% of the original tenants still lived in the subdivision.

The Garden Homes Historic District in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Despite its problems, Garden Homes was an exercise in American ingenuity. Costs were cut by using a standardized building plan and production line techniques utilizing the crews of tradesmen to work from one house to the next performing the same job each time. But most of all, the Socialists showed the citizens of Milwaukee that when they made a promise, they kept it. 

By Steve Daily
Director, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear


 
 
PictureMilwaukee Water Treatment Facility, 1910
When Daniel W. Hoan was elected mayor in 1916, he asked the U.S. Public Health Service to examine the condition of Milwaukee’s water and see if they would recommend a filtration plant. He also directed that work be resumed on the long-time pet project of the Socialists, the Linnwood Avenue intake which had begun in 1912, but had been halted when funding ran out. The Public Health Service report recommended immediate construction of a modern filtration plant to prevent “morbidity and mortality from typhoid fever now caused by the polluted water supply.”  

PictureRiverside Pumping Station on Milwaukee River
Hoan’s appointment of a committee in 1917 to study the problems of filtration and a water treatment plant took two years.  During this time, completion of the Linnwood Avenue intake in 1919 started delivering cleaner water to the citizens of Milwaukee.  Mayor Hoan fought with those who did not see the need to build high priced structures to filter and treat the water, and those large customers who argued about having to pay higher prices for cleaner water such as the breweries and tanning industries.  Some opponents suggested waiting until the sewerage treatment plant was completed before deciding whether to build filtration plants, which was what the Common Council voted to do in 1922.  

'Sewer Socialists' were so called because they cared about 
the health of the citizens and providing good drinking water. 
PictureNorth Point Pumping Station, Lincoln Memorial Dr.
Finally in 1933, with the help of Milwaukee’s new city engineer, Joseph Schwada, and his campaign to educate the citizens about Milwaukee’s water and the need for filtration, that Mayor Hoan and the Socialists were able to declare victory. The Common Council under Socialist August Strehlow passed a resolution to build the filtration plant in June of 1933. Construction began on the Linnwood Avenue Water Purification Plant in 1934 and it went on-line in 1939.


PictureJones Island Sewage Treatment Plant
So it was not until June 26, 1925 when the Jones Island Sewage Treatment Plant opened that further discussions and work began to bring more modern filtration and pumping stations. But it was not to be an immediate thing. Some members of the Common Council, major industries, and some civic groups continued to fight against filtration. They argued that the new Jones Island Sewage Treatment Plant had not been in existence long enough to study its effects on Milwaukee’s water quality. The fighting raged on over the years with some pointing out that, after all, Milwaukee had won the Healthiest City award in 1929 and 1931. Others pointed out that this was because of Milwaukee’s health department, not the quality of the water. 

By Steve Daily,
Director, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
 
 
PictureMilwaukee Mayor Hoan
Daniel Hoan served as mayor of Milwaukee from 1916 to 1940. The twenty-four years that Hoan served as mayor made him the longest serving socialist politician in United States History. He was elected Milwaukee city attorney in 1910, and for the six years before he became mayor, he worked to reduce governmental corruption, which had become a major issue. After being elected mayor, Hoan continued this work on a broader scale, cleaning up local government and making it more efficient. He also implemented countless progressive reforms, many of which proved successful. 

Included in these reforms were the Garden Homes Project, restructuring the city’s public transportation, and a push towards municipal ownership of quarries, water treatment and sewage disposal. He also began work on a highway system, but funding was cut and the project was put on hold. Eventually, funding was secured and the project was finished in 1977. The expanded system included the Hoan Bridge, Milwaukee’s only tribute to a man who changed our city in so many ways.

Daniel Hoan Was Milwaukee's Longest Serving Socialist Mayor From 1916 to 1940.
PictureFormer Mayor Emil Seidel and Mayor Daniel Hoan
Socialism is a word often confused with communism. The biggest difference between the two is that socialism is an economic system, while communism is a political one. This means that socialism can work in the context of a democracy, whereas communism cannot. Although socialism does have roots in communism, they are not the same. Communism is often viewed as a more extreme version of socialism. In a communist political system, socialism would likely be the dominant economic system. However, this does not mean that socialism and communism always go hand in hand. There are many programs in the United States that borrow from socialist principles, including Social Security and the highway system. During Hoan’s time as mayor, Milwaukee was the center of the Socialist movement in America. He, along with other politicians, practiced what became known as sewer socialism. This particular branch of socialism focused on cleaning up Milwaukee after the industrial revolution and a return to the basics of socialism to maximize the help given to citizens.

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One of Mayor Hoan’s most famous programs was the Garden Homes project in 1923. The end of World War I brought with it a housing shortage, and politicians were scrambling for a solution. This was when Hoan developed the Garden Homes project, the country’s first public housing project. Hoan commissioned the Garden Homes Company to build six room houses. 

When the homes were finished, each family who wanted to live within the project bought stock in the company. Each month, a family made payments on their stock, as well as made a small payment for upkeep on the house. Over the course of the next twenty years, the value of the stock decreased until each family was only paying the rent for the upkeep of the property, not making payments on the stock. A six room home cost about $4,500. For the first month, a family would pay $49.33, and then $22.25 every month after that until his stock was paid off. The project was extremely successful, and by 1936 every family who had purchased stock had it paid off and were homeowners in their own right.

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Municipal ownership is the idea that a city’s local government owns and controls services that are used by the public at large, such as the water supply, public transportation and access to natural resources. A system like this prevents large corporations from using these markets to make money. It also allows for consistency. Without municipal ownership, a city could have three water treatment plants, each selling different qualities of water at different prices. 

Mayor Hoan believed in municipal ownership of the city’s water, sanitation and quarries. The corruption in local politics at the time ran deep, and many government officials were making money by allowing large corporations to bend the rules. This led to spoiled water and various other problems. In Hoan’s effort to clean up the government and stop corruption, he began the push for municipal ownership, and eventually succeeded in his efforts. Milwaukee’s local government gained ownership of the stone quarries, street lighting, water purification and sewage disposal.



By Lena Tomaszek,
Museum Intern, University of Minnesota Undergrad
This panel is part of our 2016 exhibit on Daniel Webster Hoan, Milwaukee's longest serving socialist mayor. For educational purposes, we have made the document available as a pdf. -->
 
 
At first glance this little book may appear to be a simple book of matches, but when you open it up you realize that it contains a styptic kit in case “the gentleman” should cut himself while shaving and a hosiery mending kit “for the lady”.

Also, it looks like a few of the “matchsticks” to prevent your stockings from running were used, since there’s only three left!



By Kayla Sutherland
Associate, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
 
 
PictureEngraved Stove-Box Detail of Favorite Model No. 514
This parlor stove's body is nickel-plated cast iron. The windows are Isinglass, a thin sheet of mica which can withstand up to 1650 degrees Fahrenheit, and the (not original) decorative top or finial is copper. Typical of the Victorian Era, the stove's design simulates castle or Gothic church architecture. Before the introduction of central heating, a stove such as this or a fueled cooking range, would have been the only heat source in the house. Cold mornings often found children running from their beds to the stove to dress in its warmth. 

Picture
Ornamental Design
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Replacement Finial
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Coffee Pot Warming Shelf
PictureTin Advertisement Sign of the Favorite Plant
This coal-burning model was manufactured in 1895 by the Favorite Stove Works of Piqua, Ohio and cost around $25. Opened in 1880, the Favorite Stove Works produced over 50,000 cooking ranges and parlor stoves each year. The slow down during the Great Depression, changing technology and the death of their owner, Stanhope Boal, led to the downfall of the business. The company closed up shop for good in 1958.



By Joel Willems,
Curator, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
 
 
PictureWarren Harding as a Child, Center
In the spring of 1882, Harding graduated from Ohio Central College at just 17 years old. After graduating, Harding returned to Marion and purchased the Marion Daily Star. He, with the help of Florence, turned the paper around and made it one of the most popular in the country. 

In 1899, Harding won a seat on the Ohio State Senate and his political career began. For the next several years, Harding remained active in both local and state politics. Harding was chosen to give the nomination speech for President Taft at the Republican National Convention in 1912. The exposure given to him at the convention allowed him to run for U.S. Senator. Harding won the race and served until his inauguration in 1921. 

During the summer of 1920, Harding began to campaign in earnest. The campaign was run in a very modern fashion, with print ads, sound clips, news reels, anti-Democrat literature and celebrities all being used in an attempt to win voters. On November 2nd, 1920, Harding won the election with 60% of the popular vote and 404 electoral votes.

"Return To Normalcy" - 1920 Campaign Slogan
Picture29th U.S. President Warren G. Harding
In June of 1921, President Harding signed the General Accounting Act, a piece of legislation that would shape federal finances for many decades to come. The bill called for the President to submit an annual federal budget to Congress, to help control and minimize government spending. Additionally, the passing of the General Accounting Act created the Bureau of the Budget, a government agency that reviewed spending requests from the various governmental departments. The Bureau was then supposed to advise the President during the drafting of the annual budget. Harding appointed Charles Dawes as the first director of the Bureau of the Budget, and within his first two years, he slashed government spending by half. Dawes would later go on to be Vice President under President Coolidge.

At the same time, Harding was making budget cuts in various other areas to make good on his campaign slogan, "Less government in business and more business in government." Over the course of his Presidency, tax rates were decreased across the board, and these slashes were felt by every income group. Even with the tax reductions, the Federal debt was reduced by one third in the 1920s, mostly due to policies started by Harding.

PictureThe Little Green House on K Street
As the newly elected President Harding was entering the White House, World War I was drawing to a close. After his inauguration, Harding set out to surround himself with the most capable minds in the country. Four our new President, this largely meant filling his cabinet positions with his friends and associates from Marion, Ohio. Many men relocated their families to the Washington D.C. area, and the new clan, who would come to be known as the "Ohio Gang", set up their headquarters in a house in the city that would eventually be known as "The Little Green House on K Street."

The Harding administration had many scandals brewing beneath the surface, though few of them came to light before the President passed away in August of 1923. Harding's biggest challenge by far was keeping the Ohio gang under control during his time in office. Unfortunately for him, many of the gang members were able to sweep their illicit activity under the rug. While he may have been dimly aware of the trouble his friends were causing, he was kept out of the loop for the most part, making it nearly impossible to put a stop to it. After Harding's death, many of his friends were sent to prison for the various crimes they committed while Harding was in office.

PicturePresident and First Lady
Florence Kling was born in Marion, Ohio on August 15th, 1860. As a girl, she hoped to become a pianist and took piano lessons for many years. When she was 19, she eloped with Henry DeWolfe and they had a son, Marshall Eugene DeWolfe. Six years later, the couple quietly filed for divorce. Free of her first husband, Florence began to pursue Warren Harding. While Florence and Warren were courting, he began to refer to her lovingly as "the duchess," because she was so poised and driven. In July of 1891, Florence and Warren were married. Over the course of the next few years, Florence worked at their newspaper, and with her help it grew even more popular.

While Harding was running for office, "the Duchess" was very involved in his campaign, moreso than any other First Lady up to that point. After he was elected, Florence worked to make the country a more welcoming place for war veterans to come home to.  The White House had been closed to the public during the Wilson Administration, and the First Lady opened it again, and restarted the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn.

Warren Harding, a Republican from Ohio, served as President from 1921 to 1923. Harding viewed the Presidency as a largely ceremonial role, and advocated for keeping the government out of businesses. He was an early proponent of civil rights.
PicturePresident Harding with Ohio Gang members
President Harding was quite scandalous in his own right. He was heavily opposed to Prohibition, a fact he made clear by continuing to serve whiskey and various other liquors in the White House. The First Lady was in on the fun as well, and could frequently be seen mixing drinks for guests while they gambled with her husband. It was not uncommon for the couple and their guests to stay up late into the night playing high stakes poker, smoking cigars and sipping whiskey.

Lena Tomaszek, 
Museum Intern, University of Minnesota Undergrad
This panel is part of our 2014 exhibit on U.S. Presidents Between the World Wars. For educational purposes, we have made the document available as a pdf. -->
 
 
While cataloging some artifacts in the collection, we came across this wonderful bottle of Glockengasse No. 4711.
Here are some interesting facts from the cologne's wikipedia page and their website:
  • This scent has been produced in Cologne, Germany since 1799, so it can call itself an Eau de Cologne quite literally as a geographical reference
  • Bottles were given to members of the German Navy who served aboard U-boats in an attempt to make the submarines smell better. It didn’t work, since they kept bringing the cologne home and giving it away as gifts.
  • Their bottle has remained virtually unchanged for 195 years.
  • President John F. Kennedy was supposed to have worn it.
  • It has a lovely refreshing citrus scent.
Here is some other interesting facts about the bottle that we have here at the Chudnow Museum:
  • It smells a lot like gin.
  • We’re pretty sure it’s full of gin.
  • But it’s very pretty.


By Kayla Sutherland,
Associate, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
 
 
Picture
This is an item in the Chudnow Museum’s collections. It’s a “Jiffy-Way” egg scale, manufactured by Cyclone. To weigh your egg, you put it on the small cup on the right, and the arrow on the left would tell you whether your egg could be considered small, medium, large, or extra large. This particular model was described by one blog as the Numbus 2000 of egg scales, which is a pretty big deal.

This book on North American egg scales is unfortunately out of print, but its cover does give us some insight into the purpose of these egg scales, and why they can be found in so many auction listings and antique stores.
Our “Jiffy-Way” egg scale probably would have been used by a family that owned a small number of chickens and wanted to make a little extra cash. It has a patent from 1940, so it was most likely used during World War II.


By Kayla Sutherland,
Associate, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear