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History of Creamery Package Begins Series of Articles on Fort Atkinson Industries
Jefferson County Union, 1939; pertinent info extracted in full from article.
Start Here in 1865
W. W. Cornish and David Curtis entered the lumbering business here in Fort Atkinson in 1865. Three years later Mr. Curtis invented the famous Curtis rectangular churn and the firm began manufacturing these churns in a small building at the site of the present factory.
It was then a revolutionary idea. Prior to that time most churns had inside paddles, dashers, and other devices designed to assist in churning. The Curtis Rectangular churn was a cube supported from two opposite corners and without inside "fixings" of any description. One of the first churns of this type made by the company is on display at the Fort Atkinson Museum.
At first the business consisted of selling Curtis churns to small butter workers direct to the farmers, but gradually new articles were introduced until the firm was making a full line of dairy and creamery supplies. In 1884 W. S. Greene entered the firm.
Because Curtis advertised widely and courageously the little factory grew to be a leading industry, well known in its home town and surrounding country as the "churn factory."
Win World's Fair Title
Advertised as the churn used in best creameries, the Curtis revolving box churn was awarded many gold medals including the highest award at the World's fair in Chicago in 1893.
Curtis was a moving spirit in the organization of the Wisconsin Dairymen's Association and a contemporary and friend of W. D. Hoard, founder of Hoard's Dairyman, and later governor of Wisconsin. Curtis was a business man -- a manufacturer who sensed that his success was dependent upon the welfare of his customers, the dairymen, and gave freely of his time and substance to promoting sound and profitable dairy practices.
As a natural result of his keen intelligence and abundant energy, he gathered around him a group of able associates and together they developed a dairy machinery manufacturing business ranking with the largest in the United States.
In 1888 the entire factory buildings were destroyed by fire and it was then that the spacious structures now occupied were started, which have been added to from time to time as the needs of the growing business demanded.
The next year the sons of the original founders of the business consolidated the Cornish Curtis and Greene company with the Creamery Package manufacturing company of Chicago and incorporated under the laws of Illinois with a capital of $4,000,000. The concern then became one of the strongest of its kind in the world and gradually the volume and variety of the output has increased to its present proportions.
The business continued to expand, and today the Creamery Package Manufacturing company has the following members in its family: Fort Atkinson, Wis.; Lake Mills, Wis.; De Kalk, Ill.; Portland, Ind.; Omaha, Neb; Minneapolis, Minn.; Toledo, Oregon; Arlington Heights, Ill.; and Derby, Conn.
Sales branches have been established in Chicago, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn., Buffalo, N. Y., Kansas City, Mo., Waterloo, Ia., Omaha, Neb., Toledo, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pa., San Francisco, Cal., Portland, Ore., Boston, Mass., Atlanta, Ga., New York City, Denver, Colo., Los Angeles, Cal., Seattle, Wash., Dallas, Tex., Toronto, Canada, London, England.
Warehouses are established at Chicago, Ill., Des Moines, Ia., and Salt Lake City, Utah. The main offices are at Chicago.
The local plant has been made absolutely modern from the smallest details of the fire department to the most intricate features of the stock room.
The up-to-date factory has grown from a small shop where wooden churns were made, to a highly organized business. The Fort Atkinson building houses the following shops and departments: Pattern shop, brass foundry, wood shop, machine shop, sheet metal and tinning department, stainless and black steel welding department, brush machine department, galvanizing department, nickle plating department, lumber yard, power plant, experimental and development department, drafting and engineering department.
In 1879, Cornish and Curtis employed but 10 men, and today, in 1939, 300 to 400 men are employed at the local company.
Certainly local residents should be proud of the modern factory and office buildings of the Creamery Package Manufacturing company here, and thankful to the progressiveness and inventive genius of Fort Atkinson pioneers who made this factory possible.