Bio: Plautz Brothers (1939)


Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon


Surnames: Plautz

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.)  December 2, 2009 

Plautz Brothers (1939) 

From The Good Old Days pages of December 1939 in the December 2, 2009 issue: 

In the years of Depression Plautz Brothers created a new industry in Clark County, the manufacture of concrete pipe.  In a wild part of western Mead, on a location little valued otherwise, they have set the beginnings of a real manufacturing plant, turning out a product of merit, for which there is a continuing demand. 

The Plautz business is located on the banks of the Eau Claire River.  Lying west of the mound region and the land had not been considered worth paying the taxes on.  But the Plautz brothers, interested in road making, sensed the possibilities and took on 640 acres. It is largely sand and gravel and hence good for little, except for the purpose of their own industry. 

Upon this land Plautz brothers have gradually accumulated a plant, tools and equipment with which to make their product.  They have steel forms, of various sizes in which the concrete is poured.  They have a steel derrick and hoisting apparatus, with which to handle the heavy forms and the completed pipe.  They have provided an electric vibrator, which shakes the forms as they are being poured and takes the place of hand tamping.  They have a fleet of trucks for hauling materials and for delivery of the finished product.  They have a garage and machine shop in which repair work is done. 

In the busy open season Plautz brothers have employed as many as 30 men.  More will be needed later, if the expansion of their business continues. All of these men are from the immediate locality, Clark County men, who are neighbors and friends. 

Their manufacturing is suspended for the winter.  But it is planned to put up a building next summer that will be in readiness for winter production.   

The Plautz business has had a remarkable growth.  Starting in 1935 with a production of about 250 tons of pipe, the concern manufactured 400 tons in 1936, 500 in 1937, 692 tons in 1938 and 1,294 tons in 1939.  The product is used for culverts, sewers and drainage, wherever pipe or tile of great strength and permanence is needed.  The Plautz pipe is made with re-enforcement of heavy wire-mesh, electrically welded with its strength measured by a testing apparatus, which is part of the equipment.  

This industry for Clark County was developed by a series of happy chances.  Back in the 1920s Joseph Plautz was in the trucking business, making trips to and from Milwaukee.  The Town of Hendren needed some gravel hauled and the town chairman suggested Joseph Plautz as being able to do it.  The truck was not especially built for gravel and the material had to be transferred by hand. But Joseph made the start.  Then, as his services were increasingly required, he bought handling equipment.  Presently the labors became too great for Joseph and he called in his brother, John. 

But the towns of Clark County need more for roads than merely hauling gravel so the Plautz brothers kept buying more equipment and doing other things for which they found need.  They do grading for the towns of Mentor, Foster, Hewett, Seif, Hendren, Eaton, Mead, Longwood, Butler, Worden, and Hixon of Clark County, for the Town of Maplehurst of Taylor County and for the city of Greenwood.  They also do snow removal for the towns of Foster, Hewett, Hendren, Mead, Eaton, Hixon and the city of Greenwood.  Their present snow removal contracts call for about 200 miles. 

Joseph and John now have the help of their brother Stephen J. Plautz, who is secretary of the co-partnership.  Stephen Plautz has the background of a banker, with service in the bank at Greenwood and elsewhere.  He is the statistician and accountant of the business, performing an important function of the operation. 




My father, Alvin Schutte along with 3-4 of his brothers-in-law, drove gravel trucks for the Plautz Bros. in the 1960s.  He gave jobs and a living to many local families.  Don Schutte, Neillsville, WI 54456



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