The Monarch Co
Dornfeld Iron Works
812 S First
Location of a pair of industries,
the Dornfeld-Kunert Co. and the Monarch Tractor Co.
Watertown Street Dept Bldg
810 S Second
1893 DORNFELD-KUNERT BUILT SOCK ROAD BRIDGE NEAR LOWELL
Bridge design same as N. Second St bridge of about the same time. Dornfeld-Kunert also constructed the Oconomowoc Ave bridge.
This Pratt truss is one of two bridges in Dodge County which was built by the E. Kunert Manufacturing Company. Erected in 1893, it may be one of the earliest truss spans manufactured by this firm. The bridge is significant because it was built by a smaller Wisconsin bridge builder. The structural details of the bridge offer evidence of the manufacturing capacity of the company's physical plant.
The structure is not significant to its location. There does appear to have been a bridge at this spot as early as 1860, but the village of Lowell never had a railroad connection, nor was Sock Road ever a major wagon or automobile road. Beginning in the late 1870's, the proceedings of the Dodge County Board of Supervisors show an increasing concern with bridge construction and replacement, The Sock Road Bridge was one of two or more bridges agreed to for the Town of Lowell by the Board in 1893. The Board authorized reimbursement of half the costs for these bridges. By 1910 Sock Road was part of Rural Fire Route No. 2.
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The E. Kunert Manufacturing Company of Watertown was incorporated in the State of Wisconsin in January, 1883. Daniel Kusel, one of Watertown's leading citizens since 1848, may have been vice-president at one time. The firm initially consisted of a brass and iron foundry, a boiler shop, and machine shop. With these facilities, the company was able to manufacture iron and brass castings, steam boilers, and "machinery of every kind." In the articles of organization the firm's founders also stated that their operations would include the repairing of steam boilers and other machinery, doing steam and gas fitting, and installing castings, boilers, and machinery.
In 1903 the firm changed its name to the Dornfeld-Kunert Company upon the addition of J. F. Dornfeld of Chicago to the board of directors. Consequently, a few years later, in 1912 the company was authorized to transact business in the State of Illinois. In spite of this expansion, the company's stated capital stock never rose above $75,000.
Until bankruptcy in 1915, the firm was always described in the annual reports as a foundry, machine shop, and structural iron works. In 1906 structural steel was added. However, as early as 1893, the company began to advertise itself as a manufacturer of metal truss bridges, and continued to do so until 1910. Throughout its history, E. Kunert Manufacturing Company was a comparatively small firm, struggling to compete with the larger Milwaukee-based and central states bridge companies . . .
To cut its expenses, the E. Kunert Manufacturing Company appeared to be making some structural components for its bridges with tools not specifically designed for bridge fabrication. The larger firms could either manufacture such parts in great quantities or order them from a foundry or mill. Because of the large volume of business they did, the more prominent companies could also afford to operate large punching and slotting machinery, E. Kunert, in fact, was obtaining components such as channels and eye bars from other manufacturers, but it may not have been able to afford the more costly specialized machinery. Thus, where the firm could fabricate parts with its own tools, it readily did so.
The tools the company had on hand were, most likely, those suited for the fabrication of boilers, and for steam and gas fitting. Interestingly, the fact that E. Kunert ventured into truss bridge fabrication underscores the diversity of many of the firms manufacturing metal truss bridges in nineteenth century America. Like the E. Kunert Manufacturing Company, they did not limit their plant operations to the design and fabrication of truss spans.
1893 Otto Biefeld, Sr. (1861-1906) secured employment with the Kunert Bros. Machine Co. and was employed by that firm till 1893, when he and his brother Richard formed a partnership (Otto Biefeld Company)
10 13 Water tower (stand pipe) and waterworks boiler contract proposed for Kunert Manufacturing.
10 03 CONTRACT FOR LOCK IN THE OCONOMOWOC RIVER
The extensive work contemplated by the Oconomowoc Waterways Company in connecting some of the lakes of that region so as to provide continuous navigation will have a start this fall. The contract for a lock in the Oconomowoc river, near Armour bridge, has been let to a Milwaukee marine mason, while the E. Kunert Manufacturing company of this city, will put in the iron work. The great gates will open and close on ball bearings. To keep the bed of the river dry and to enable the work to proceed, a coffer dam, 70 by 18 feet, will be built and a mammoth pump kept busy expelling the water. December 11 is the time limit for the completion of the mason work. WR
xxx E. Kunert Mfg. Co., Ernst Kunert, pres., August Tank, v-pres., Charles Kunert, sec., Fred. Hoffman, treas. Machine shop and foundry, foot First Street.
02 13 The E. Kunert Manufacturing Company recently completed the building of four iron bridges in Monroe County. Altogether the company has put in twelve bridges in that county and one in Rock County, which fact, we should think, speaks volumes for the concern’s ability to satisfy its patrons. Ernst Kunert president of the company, returned last week from Monroe County, where he had been superintending the work. WR
09 21 The E. Kunert Manufacturing Co., of this city, has the contract for putting in the steam heating apparatus in an opera house and hotel at Williston, North Dakota, John Bruegger, a recent visitor in our city from that town having given the order for the same. WG
12 07 FILL OUT PORTION OF MILL RACE
Last week an argument was entered into between the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway company on the one side, and R. P. Koenig &Co. and the E. Kunert Manufacturing company on the other side, whereby the privilege is extended to the former and the latter parties to fill out that portion of the east side mill race extending from Milwaukee street bridge north to the old Bennett machine shops plant. This privilege, we are informed by the railway company’s attorney, Harlow Pease, will not cost the company one cent, the local institutions controlling the water rights in the race agreeing to the conditions specified without any consideration, except that the railway company shall furnish the material for filling up and perform the work. WG
12 14 FILL OUT PORTION OF MILL RACE
The Watertown Republican appears to be greatly grieved because the mayor and common council of this city acted wisely in settling the "mill race matter," and, as it says, "this is an old affair and there is not much-needed discussing it further," as it has been fully discussed in the city papers – still it might be well for us to inform the Republican that the Gazette editor has taken a private poll of our citizens on the question and knows whereof he speaks. "The exact figures," as called for by the Republican of the poll taken by us, are: Two opposed to the settlement of the mill race matter, and the rest of our citizens in favor of it. WG
02 06 KUNERT MANUFACTURING TO BUILD NEW BRIDGE
The material for the new Cady bridge is being received by the E. Kunert Manufacturing company and work will begin shortly. The contract calls for the completion of the structure by April 20. WR
05 01 CONSTRUCTION OF NEW CADY STREET BRIDGE
On Friday the A. Kunert Manufacturing Company began the construction of the new Cady Street bridge. The structure will consists of six spans, each fifty-seven feet long and weighing six tons apiece. It is expected to have the bridge completed by June 1. WR
06 14 NEW CADY STREET BRIDGE
Last Monday the Board of Public Works inspected and accepted the new Cady Street bridge just erected by the Kunert Manufacturing Co., and on Tuesday afternoon it was opened to traffic. The bridge is a first-class one, and reflects much credit on our home institution. It is built entirely of iron, excepting the paved roadway and sidewalks. The work was under the personal supervision of our fellow-citizen, A. F. Baumann, one of the best-posted bridgemen in the state and a member of the Kunert Co. He scrupulously looked after every detail. The result is a first-class job. It is a three-span steel bridge, 18 feet wide, and cost $6000. WG
09 13 FORT ATKINSON WATER TOWER
On Wednesday A. F. Baumann of the E. Kunert Mfg. Co. went to Fort Atkinson with force of men to put up the water tank and pump for the waterworks system there. The tank and pump attachments were manufactured at the Kunert works here. The tank is to be 34 feet high and 22 feet in diameter, and will be mounted on a brick tower 74 feet high. WG
DORNFELD-KUNERT COMPANY FORMED
Firm changed its name to the Dornfeld-Kunert Company upon the addition of J. F. Dornfeld of Chicago to the board of directors.
01 31 Few in this city are aware of the extent of the business done by The Dornfeld-Kunert Company. Its works cover a large area of ground and a large force of men are employed in both the foundry and machine shop in turning out the large orders received from distant points. The company is shipping 300 tons of structural steel to Lockport, Ill., for the Illinois River Drainage canal, and they still have other orders to be filled to say nothing of other orders booked for future delivery. It is one of the permanent manufacturing industries in the city and is a local enterprise, having grown to its present size from a small beginning in the years past. WL
04 19 The Dornfeld-Kunert company desires a small spot of ground near its shops upon which to erect an office building which will be constructed of structural steel and brick and be absolutely fire proof. The city should sell it to the company for a nominal price. Why? Because it is an industry owned entirely by Watertown people, employs about 85 hands and its pay roll amounts to about $1,000 per week, which is spent in this city to add to its prosperity and growth. Our business men are contributing thousands of dollars to induce industrial enterprises to locate here, and it seems strange that the city should withhold from a home concern the small favor asked for. As far as endangering city property its concern, there is nothing in the claim, for the building contemplated will be some distance from the water works plant and will be fireproof. It is a matter in which all are interested and each citizen should give expression especially to the aldermen of his ward . . . WL
11 09 St. P. Ry. ESTABLISHES WORKS HERE
The C.M&St.P. Ry. Co. is building a carpenter shop on the site of the old rolling mill near the junction, which in time may develop to large proportions. The company has also established temporary bridge repair works south of the depot, and the Dornfeld-Kunert Co. has contracted to repair bridges that the company brings into the city for repairs. One bridge was recently brought here on eight flat cars. The paint is taken from the iron work by means of a sand blast, and when removed the iron looks like polished steel. It is quite interesting to watch the work being done. WG
1907 CONSTRUCTED OCONOMOWOC AVENUE BRIDGE
11 27 The new iron and steel bridge being constructed across the Rock River at Oconomowoc Avenue is almost completed and will be ready for traffic by the first of December. It is a structure that reflects credit upon the builders, the Dornfeld-Kunert Company of this city, whose bid was $12,500. The cement work is all finished and the work of laying the brick paving is well under way. The length of the bridge is 256 feet, four spans of 64 feet each. The width of the roadway is 17 feet, of concrete with brick paving, while the sidewalk is five feet six inches of cement. A. F. Baumann of the Dornfeld-Kunert company has had supervision of the construction work and not a detail has been overlooked. WDT
06 04 Amoskeag fire engine owned by city of Columbus, Dornfeld-Kunert secured contract for new boiler on WG
06 18 Line shaft of Dornfeld-Kunert shop attached by belt to a “Nash Gas Engine WG
09 03 Overhauling Waterloo’s Silsby steamer WG
Iron Worker Crew. The Dornfeld-Kunert Co., once was among Watertown's most important and widely known business concerns. It built many iron bridges and operated a boiler works, a foundry, machine shop, etc. It employed a large force of skilled workers, many of them experts in their field. Picture owned by Clarence Peterson; he worked for the concern and is shown seventh from the left in the front row. WDTimes, 03 18 1967
04 29 THE "LONG GEORGE" WILL MAKE THE "FIRE FLY"
Several days ago the Dornfeldt-Kunert Co.'s employees backed another fire engine from Fort Atkinson into their shop for a new boiler and other repairs, similar to the work done for Columbus on their "prize winner." The Fort Atkinson engine was built by Cole Bros, fully forty years ago. Pawtucket, Rhode Island, mechanics produced this steamer that bears, on a brass plate, the following . . . WG
01 26 GAS PRODUCERS
The gas producers manufactured by the Dornfeld-Kunert Co. of this city are meeting with general favor wherever introduced, and present indications are that this Watertown industry will grow to great importance here.
There are hundreds of bakers, candy manufacturers, grocers, etc. in this country using city gas for fuel and paying anywhere from 60 cents to $1.50 per 1000 cubic feet for the same. Such was the case at the Bowen Grocery, Allentown, Pa., until recently, when they installed their own gas making plant, which is used for supplying for the following purposes:
To run a 30 H.P. gas engine, which is used for furnishing light and power, to supply bakers' ovens, a coffee roaster, which is used also for roasting peanuts, a kitchen range, candy stoves and other appliances. This gas-making plant was installed by the Dornfeld Co. of Watertown, Wis., and the following letter lately received from Mr. James Bowen of the Bowen Grocery Co. shows the saving effected:
"We have just completed the installation of one of your sixty H. P. Economic Gas Producers. As our plant is a very complicated one, after persistent efforts, we are accomplishing all that the plant was intended for. With our sixty H. P. Producer we are furnishing enough gas to run our thirty H. P. engine, which supplies all the electric light current we need in the building, besides furnishing power for our elevator, coffee mills and refrigerating plant; also furnishing gas for our confectionery stoves, coffee urns, our kitchen range and bake ovens.
Our power heretofore has cost us not less than Three Thousand ($3000.00) dollars a year, with gas at ninety cents per thousand and electric current at .026 per K. W. This same amount of power with the gas producer will cost us no more than from eight hundred ($800.00) to one thousand ($1000.00) dollars a year, with coal at four dollars ($4.00) per ton.
We feel confident that the gas producer will be the coming medium for furnishing economic power and heat."
Yours very truly,
The gas producer plant consists of a gas generator and a gas cooling and cleaning tower, together with a gas booster, the whole occupying a space of 9x17 feet. The plant is filled with coal every three hours and the ashes removed once in twenty-four hours. The plant is in continuous operation day and night and there it always sufficient gas to meet the requirements. WG
05 16 Contract for addition to the Lutheran Home for Feeble-Minded
07 18 Firm Gets Contract. A. F. Baumann, representing the Dornfeld-Kunert Mfg. Co. of Watertown, was in the city [Ft. Atkinson] and closed a deal whereby his firm will build beneath the Perry building on Rock River twenty-four concrete abutments of pillars to replace the wooden piles. The latter have become rather unsafe, especially when the high water stage is reached, as was the case this spring. The work of putting in the cement supports will be commenced in the near future, as the present low water simplifies the task. – Ft. Atkinson Democrat.
Dec Mr. Cyril J. Atkinson, the inventor of the Atkinson gas producer, has severed his connection with the Dornfeld-Kunert Company of Watertown, Wis. Mr. Atkinson's services and the use of all his patents have been secured by Fairbanks. Morse & Company, of Chicago, and a number of Mr. Atkinson's inventions will be incorporated at once in the FairbanksMorse gas producers. Metallurgical and Chemical Engineering, December 1912, p 824.
1913 DEATH OF FRANK KUNERT
11 13 Frank Kunert, aged 63 years, died at Live Oak, Florida, November 1, 1913, where his remains were interred. His wife, one daughter and one son survive him. Deceased formerly resided here and was a member of the firm of Kunert Bros., who conducted for many years what is now the Dornfeld-Kunert Co. of this city. He was a brother of Ernst and Edward Kunert and Mrs. John Kuester of this city. WG
EMPLOYEES DEPART FOR OTTO BIEFELD CO.
In 1914 Arthur Kuenzi, formerly chief engineer of the Dornfeld-Kunert Company, joined the Biefeld Co. After that was completed other key men from Dornfeld-Kunert Company, such as A. F. Schumacher, accountant, William Kleineschay, engineer and Herman Gerth, manager of production, joined the firm.
10 08 WILL CONTINUE OPERATIONS
Trustee in Bankruptcy A. F. Baumann, who was given charge of the affairs of the Dornfeld-Kunert Company of this city, states that the plant would be in operation for several weeks to complete contracts already begun, following which the plant will probably be closed pending the orders of Judge Sanborn in the matter of selling the personal property, the real estate or both.
The company was adjudicated bankrupt September 12th on the petition of Chicago creditors, represented by Quarles, Spence and Quarles of Milwaukee. Mr. Baumann was elected trustee at the first meeting of the creditors on September 29. The trustee is now taking stock, but the inventory cannot be completed until the plant closes. Kading & Kading are the attorneys for the trustee. Mr. Baumann states that he could give out no figures as yet on the financial standing of the firm. WG
Dornfeld to Continue Business
Dornfeld Iron Works
All Work Given This New Firm Will be Handled
Promptly By Skilled Workmen
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05 27 Some weeks ago the Structural Steel and Iron Works, Foundry and Machine Shop of the Dornfeld-Kunert Co. of this city were purchased by J. F. Dornfeld, who will conduct the business in a manner as before, doing all kinds of structural iron work for buildings and allied trades. In this connection we will furnish all kinds and sizes of boilers and do boiler repairing of any and all kinds.
We shall be prepared to furnish repairs for boiler fronts, fire boxes and the like and in most cases will no doubt have pattern for same. With the aid of a light auto truck we can get to most such work quite promptly. Light or heavy smoke stacks will be made and tools for erection can be furnished.
Special attention will be given to the foundry; and all castings that may be wanted will be made first class and at reasonable prices. We have patterns on hand in the foundry for almost anything required. All these patterns are properly numbered, booked and shelved so that customers can readily get a duplicate casting by referring to a number on the casting. Patterns belonging to customers and left here will be treated in the same way. It will be a principal object to provide first class tools in addition to those on hand in the machine shop and have good mechanics who will understand and can do any work that we may be favored with.
We will have shafting, pulleys, hangers, etc., in stock and will furnish anything in that line at market prices.
Any repairing of automobiles or auto trucks will be done by expert mechanics.
We will employ great accuracy and promptness in line of machinery work, whether it is new or repair work.
We will endeavor to keep in stock, as much as possible, repairs, castings, etc., for any machinery that may be called for. It is our intention to be fair in all deals in that we want your trade and cooperation. Watertown Gazette
06 24 The plant of the defunct Dornfeld-Kunert Company Watertown, Wis. is now being operated in all departments by John F Dornfeld who purchased the property at auction He is specializing in fabrication and erection boilers stacks and operating the foundry on custom work. The Iron Age, June 24 1915, p 1433.
08 26 Dornfeld Making Engine—J. F. Dornfeld, president of the defunct Dornfeld-Kunert Iron Works, Watertown, Wis., has purchased the assets and organized as the Dornfeld Iron Works. The company will make a specialty of extras and repairs on automobiles and has established a well-equipped department for this purpose. A foundry and machine shop is being conducted and the concern is manufacturing gas engines and gas producers. The Automobile, August 26 1915, p 403.
The Monarch Tractor Company was
The first work undertaken by the new Company in its plant was the building of the early models of the well-known Luce Sugar Cane Harvester, which in its latest development is now performing remarkable work in the Cuban cane fields.
Prior to the organization of the Monarch Tractor Company, its incorporators had been working for several years on the development of a crawler type of tractor modeled somewhat after the military tanks. This work was continued in the new company and resulted finally in the completion of the Monarch Tractor as a commercial product.
These tractors are now working successfully in every state in the Union and in many foreign countries. During the war the Company employed about 200 men and turned out six completed tractors per day. Large numbers of these tractors were shipped to France and there took part in operations in connection with the Great War.
The Company has always aimed to support local institutions, and to develop a business which would be of benefit to the community in which it is so fortunately located, and to make the city of Watertown well and favorably known wherever Monarch Tractors may go. Watertown High School Orbit, 1921
1919 1919, Advertisement
08 12 Improvements at Monarch Tractor Co. plant WG
1920, Fold-out pamphlet, similar to the Caterpillar Tractor
Word has been received here of the death of John F. Dornfeld, former Watertown resident, at his home in San Diego, Calif. He died three weeks ago.
Mr. Dornfeld was president of the old Dornfeld-Kunert Company here, which occupied the building here known as the Monarch Tractor plant.
He was 85 years of age and apparently was in good health, a message from his daughter, Leona Dornfeld, states. He passed away March 20 while riding in a car. He was rushed to a fire station near-by, where a pulmotor was used in an effort to save his life. Death was due to a heart attack.
Mr. Dornfeld was born near Watertown on August 3, 1855. He attended Northwestern College here, and after he finished his schooling started his career as an architect and mechanical engineer. Early in his career he built homes and churches in the vicinity, St. Mark’s church being one of his early efforts. For several years he built flour mills, after which he entered the malt house building field in which he spent 50 years.
He had about 50 patents in the malt house construction field. Among the larger plants he installed were the Rahr Malting Company of Manitowoc, the John Kam Malting Company of Buffalo, N. Y., and the Columbia Malting Company of Chicago.
Shortly after the prohibition era began in the late 1900’s, the Dornfeld-Kunert plant here was closed and Mr. Dornfeld left Watertown and took up his residence in California. After the prohibition era, he became associated with the Otto Biefeld Company. Since that association, which began in October, 1933, he built a number of plants, one for the Fleischman Malting Company at Chicago, one for the Hamm Brewing company at St. Paul, Minn., and another for the National Malting Company at Paterson, N. J., and many other smaller installations. Since his association with the Biefeld Company, he spent part of his time in Watertown. He spent two months here last summer. His work in the malting field will now be carried on by the Otto Biefeld Company here.
Surviving are his wife and daughter, who live in San Diego.
Mr. Dornfeld was well known here and highly respected. His death will be learned with regret.
11 30 PROPOSED PUBLIC WORKS FACILITY
Members of the Watertown Public Works Commission got a firsthand look at the conceptual plans for the proposed public works facility that would be located at the current street department parcel on South Second Street during a special meeting Wednesday night. After viewing the plans the Public Works Commission made a recommendation to the Common Council to allow Matthew Long of Angus-Young Associates Inc. to start drafting a site survey for the property that would confirm the locations of easements, utilities, wells, pits, grades and other site issues.
The conceptual plans presented by Long include the anticipated city acquisition of a 1.5-acre parcel next to the street department site that is owned by We Energies. The plans also call for the street department to take over the water department offices on South First Street. The water department would then move next to the treatment plant location on the city's south side.
05 08 LOCATION OF A PAIR of industries, the Dornfeld-Kunert and the Monarch Tractor
Demolition of the former Watertown Street Department building on South Second Street began on May 8, 2007, as part of an effort to make way for the construction of the city's new public works building at the site. Presently relocated to the former Applied Molding Products building, the street department plans to move into the new facility early next year. The building being razed was formerly the location of a pair of local industries, the Dornfeld-Kunert Co. and the Monarch Tractor Co.
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Demolition of former Dornfeld-Kunert, Monarch Tractor and Street Dept bldg
Construction Street Department Building
Dedication of new Public Works Facility; tours of facility. Children had the opportunity to get up close to city trucks and construction equipment.
Brochure printed in conjunction with dedication of facility
History of Watertown, Wisconsin