Blum Brothers Box Company in Marshfield
In 1910, brothers John and Paul Blum founded the Blum Brothers Box Company in Marshfield. According to a Severt's history of the Blum Brothers Box Company:
"They were employed in various occupations from 1905 to 1910, working at farms, a sawmill, logging camps, a lumber company, a flour mill, and for the railroad. Probably the jobs most important to their future enterprises were at the Underwood Veneer Company, Wausau; the Campbellsport Cheese Box Company, Campbellsport; and the H.E. Cooley Cheese Box Manufacturing Company, West Bend."
Hoping to fill the void left when the Roddis Veneer Company stopped producing cheese boxes, their chosen location felt ideal as it was surrounded by nearly twenty cheese factories. The two designed and built all of their own equipment to make the boxes, mainly using wood rather than metal to keep costs low.
The Blum brothers worked hard to build up their company, working fourteen-hour days for years. Paul would make sales calls to customers on his bicycle in the early years before automobiles became more accessible. After awhile they made enough money to purchase a motorcycle, and eventually a small car. The business continued to grow over the years; World War I created a demand for cheese and butter, and they expanded to making butter tubs as well, forming the Wisconsin Butter Tub Company. The Box Company survived not only a factory fire, but also weathered the financial storm of the Great Depression.
World War II was a boon for their continued expansion. Continues the above-linked history:
"Blum Brothers Box Company had as many as 100 employees until the war was over. About half the population of Marshfield had worked at making cheese boxes or butter tubs at one time or another. Continuing with the tradition of a family business, many family members were also employed. John’s children Marcille (Molly) Blum Nuhlicek, John Jake, Gordon William and Lester Paul, as well as Paul’s son Harold, worked in various aspects of the company."
Not long after the second World War, the business began to decline. John passed away after a long illness in 1951, and in 1960, after fifty years as president, Paul retired from the company. Blum Brothers Box Company continued to fade as demand for cheese boxes lessened and the business was liquidated in 1972.
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