Schlitz Brewery Strike 1948

MKE Memoirs

This Day in Milwaukee County History: on April 26th, 1948, a strike by CIO Brewery Workers in Milwaukee cuts off production of over 12 percent of the United States’ beer supply. Six of the city’s major breweries were affected by the walkout. Bottling house employees of the Schlitz Brewing Company had failed to show up the night before. By the early morning, bottle house employees from the Blatz, Pabst, Miller, Gettelman and Independant brewing companies had joined in the walkout.

The strike lasted a full 24 days. By the end of the first week, local bars and taverns were running precariously low on the product that made Milwaukee famous.

The strike had broken out due to a dispute over wages. The Local 9 of the CIO Brewery Workers Union had demanded a wage increase of $16 per week. The breweries countered with an offer of $5.50. This offer was unacceptable for…

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Undergrad History Nearly History

My time as an undergrad student at UW-Oshkosh is coming to a close. It is hard to believe that in two weeks I will have completed four years of college and be walking across the stage to receive my hard-earned degree in history. This is the brief history of my four-year experience as a history undergraduate student.


My first year was the big transition period of experiencing new things, learning who I am, and what I want to do. I started off freshman year wanting to be a high school history teacher in my hometown. I quickly changed my mind and the direction I wanted my education to take me. I have always been passionate about history, but I realized that being a secondary educator was not enough for me. I wanted to be the Indiana Jones type, minus the encounters with Nazis or Communists, saving history to share with the world.


Sophomore year will go down as the most memorable year in my college experience. I met the love of my life, whom I will marry in less than two months. Molly has been my rock and inspiration theses past three years. We have been there for each other through the good, the bad, and the emotionally devastating events that crossed our paths. She has been so supportive of all the “big projects”, as we call them, that I have started.

Molly and I

Molly and I

It was sophomore year that I took on the daunting task of penning a local pictorial history of my hometown. I contacted Arcadia Publishing, publishers of such titles as Images of America, Then and Now, and Post History, and began writing Images of America: MarkesanWinter break and my summer between sophomore and junior year were consumed by research and writing. I spent many hours at the Markesan Historical Society and finished the book about 2-3 weeks before the fall semester 2011.


Junior year is when I finally decided to get involved with our campus’ History Club. It was a great learning experience, and it was a way for me to gain some experience in planning history related events. We planned a field trip to Madison to the Wisconsin Historical Museum, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, and the Wisconsin State Capitol. We hosted guest speakers from other colleges, and we had UW-Oshkosh professors host movie nights.

On February 20, 2012, my book was finally published. I gave my first presentation and book signing at the Markesan Historical Society meeting in April 2012. It was milestone accomplishment that every young historian would be excited about. It is exciting to walk into the university’s book store and see a book that you wrote sitting on the book shelf.

My first book!


Senior year was the year I had to take my history seminar class and write the biggest paper in college. The topic of the seminar was the period of the 1950s and 1960s. Each student, about fifteen in all, were required to pick a topic to research and write a 20-25 page paper on. We were encouraged to pick topics that would be supported by primary resources that could be researched in the Polk Library Archives. I chose civil defense in the state of Wisconsin as my topic. I had somewhere around 30 boxes of historical documents that I had to sift through to piece together this Cold War story. This is what being a historian is all about.

It happened to work out that my professor for the history seminar class was collaborating on a project directly related to my topic. He expressed interest in my topic and asked if I would be interested contributing what I was researching to an exhibit that was in the works. After 8 months of research, writing, and collaboration with other exhibition members, “Take Cover Neenah! Back Fallout Shelters in Cold War America” will open on May 5 at the Neenah Historical Society.  This was a spectacular opportunity for me to get hands on experience with building an exhibit. This is the type of work I want to do, and I hope to do in the future again.

Presenting our exhibit to faculty and students at the Phi Alpha Theta Honors Society Dinner

This past semester I was also an intern at the Oshkosh Public Museum researching and cataloging information on the museum’s duck decoy collection. The museum has given me an amazing opportunity to work behind the scenes and get hands on experience with historical artifacts.  I never could have imagined working with antique duck decoys, but I have really enjoyed it and am learning a lot of local history.

The last two weeks have also been a time where I have been recognized for my work in school. The UW-Oshkosh History Department awarded me  the Braatz/Starr Award. It is truly an honor to be recognized for my hard work and dedication studying  history at Oshkosh. Words cannot express how thankful I am that the faculty in the department recognize my hard work.

Braatz/Starr Award


Attending school at UW-Oshkosh has been an amazing experience. I look forward to using what I have learned, and moving forward with my dream of working in a museum. UW-Milwaukee has a public history program that I would like to enroll in for my masters degree. I have a positive outlook on my future education and career endeavors. I look forward to lifelong learning  in the history discipline.

Allis-Chalmers Patent Archive

-New Page –

I am starting a BIG project that involves researching, sorting, and cataloging Allis-Chalmers patents. Most of these documents are already online, but it takes some intense searching to find them. It is not as easy as typing in “Roto-Baler” and having all of those patents appear. There are a lot of great diagrams and detailed mechanical descriptions with them. I also ran across some improvements or accessories invented outside the company. Click here to get to the patent archive. I have uploaded the Roto-Baler patents for right now. You can also access the page by clicking the link under “Menu” on the homepage. Be sure to check back from time to time because more patents are on the way.

National Beer Day!

(Pink Lemonade of Life)

Today is National Beer Day celebrating 80 years since the end of an awful beer dry spell.  Franklin D. Roosevelt came into office in 1933 trying to break the Great Depression that gripped the nation. FDR pushed through congress and signed the Beer & Wine Revenue Act that made alcohol under 3.2% potency legal. Why did FDR want liquor to flow freely again? I am sure our 32nd president enjoyed a good beer every now and then, but the revenue and jobs breweries offered was just what the country needed.  On April 7, 1933, beer was able to flow freely once again, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the place to be.

April 6, 1933, The Milwaukee Sentinel headlined “BEER HERE AT MIDNIGHT!”  and was followed by stories and information of what people were to expect. Cases of beer from Milwaukee breweries were flown out to Washington D.C. for President Roosevelt with a message saying, “Here’s to you-President Roosevelt. The first real beer in years!”  Friday, April 7, 1933, beer made its triumphant return to the city of thirsty beer drinkers. The Milwaukee Journal headlined “Huge Midnight Crowds Hail Beer Here”.

100,000 Give Cheers as Breweries Open

I celebrated National Beer Day by enjoying OktoberFest beer brewed by the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. As you can see, my fiance’ also took part in the celebration. We both enjoy a good beer now and then. We even made a trip to New Glarus, Wisconsin, to tour the New Glarus Brewing Company this past winter. It is hard to imagine in our nation’s history that such a fine beverage like beer was poured down the drain and forbidden to drink. I hope that history never repeats itself.


Snap-Coupler Hitch System


In the 1940s and 1950s farm equipment manufacturers began designing brand specific hitching systems that allowed implements to be mounted directly to the tractor for transporting.  Allis-Chalmers developed a hitching mechanism it trademarked Snap-Coupler. The system was as simple as backing the tractor up to the tongue of the implement until the large hook mounted under the tractor locked, or snapped  the implement into place.

Individual Design

3 Point Hitch

  • John Deere
  • Minneapolis-Moline
  • Ford
  • Massey-Harris


The Snap-Coupler hitch system was invented by La Crosse Works Chief Engineer Willard H. Tanke. He filed his patent for the  mechanism on August 13, 1953. Allis-Chalmers tractors previously had a single-point hitching system, but it was difficult for the operator to line up the tongue of the implement under the tractor. Tanke’s design had a funnel like guide, called the bell, with a single, spring-loaded hook. The tongue of the implement resemble the eye of a needle, which would be hooked into the bell. Lift arms on the implement would be hooked into the Snap-Coupler latches on the tractor’s lift arms. (See full patent here)

Allis-Chalmers introduced its new Snap-Coupler hitching system on its tractors in 1954. The company also began marketing a variety of implements that could be mounted on tractors. Tilling, planting, and forage implements came in a variety of sizes to match tractor horsepower. A hydraulic control system called Traction Booster was also integrated with this hitch system. This hydraulic system controlled tire traction when the implement was in the ground by lifting and lowering the implement automatically.

The Snap-Coupler hitch system continued to be standard equipment on Allis-Chalmers tractors through the 1950s. Beginning in the 1960s, tractors had the option of being equipped with the more universal 3 point hitch system. By the late 1960s, Allis-Chalmers abandoned the Snap-Coupler system because farm equipment manufacturers began to standardize to the 3 point design. A few other factors that led to the demise of Snap-Coupler was that it became increasingly difficult to adapt the hitching system to the larger tractors that were entering the market. Snap-Coupler implements were built by Allis-Chalmers for Allis-Chalmers tractors, so it limited the farmer to one brand. The 3 point systems being considered versatile, safe, and easy to use is what made it the choice of farm equipment manufacturers when standardization took.

There are still quite a few Snap-Coupler implements left out there, and a lot of AC collectors use them. This blogger has some old Snap-Coupler machinery that he uses from time to time. If you have a Snap-Coupler hook up on your tractor that needs repair check out DJS Tractor Parts or your local AGCO dealer.


Allis-Chalmers D-14 and Snap-Coupler Disc

Take Cover Neenah! My First History Exhibit Project

Our Exhibit Poster

As May approaches the opening day of Take Cover Neenah! exhibit at the Neenah Historical Society gets closer! It has been a great opportunity to work with fellow historians to assemble an amazing exhibit about Cold War history in the United State and in Neenah, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Humanities Council awarded a grant to the historical society to help fund the exhibit.

Hours of research and planning have gone into putting this together. What prompted this exhibit to become reality? It just so happens that a fallout shelter was found in the backyard of a Neenah residence. The current property owner is also a key member of our team. When the shelter was opened by them it was filled with water and also waterproof ammo boxes filled with supplies from the early 1960s.  The former resident had built a fallout shelter in the early 1960s as Cold War tensions rose.

I enrolled in a history seminar class where I was writing my senior paper on Wisconsin’s civil defense preparation. My professor asked if I would be interested in a exhibit that was in the works, because the paper I was working on would correlate with the exhibit. During our time working on this exhibit, I have learned a lot. My professor has been an astounding mentor and I am really glad he gave me the opportunity to be involved and collaborate with this project.

Winnebago County Civil Defense Article(Newspaper Archive)

Winnebago County Civil Defense Article 2/02/1963
(Newspaper Archive)

Some of the areas of research for my part of the exhibit focuses on civil defense in the United States, Wisconsin, and Winnebago County. The Wisconsin Historical Society Archives has several boxes with state information on civil defense and the UW-Oshkosh Archives and Area Research Center was able to get them for me to look through. The UW-Oshkosh archivist also assisted with the exhibit and helped me find the documents I was looking for during my research. A few other resources that we utilized were:

Visitors to the exhibit will be intrigued by the different aspects we have incorporated to tell the story.  We invite people to learn the history of the Cold War and how it affected American life. Visitors can observe the attempts of the national, state, and local government  to prepare and educate the public about nuclear warfare and see the objects hidden in a fallout shelter for nearly 50 years. People today may not be able to imagine what life would be like living in a fallout shelter after a nuclear war, but our exhibit will give you a glimpse of it. You will just have to see it!