The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series is Washington County’s Aluminum Industry from local author Janean Mollet-Van Beckum and the Washington County Historical Society. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images depicting the impact of the industry on the county and beyond.
The aluminum and cookware industries in Washington County were main employers during the 20th century. Manufacturing competitors West Bend Aluminum Company and Kewaskum Aluminum Company (later Regal Ware, Inc.) began production early in the 20th century only eight miles apart. These company histories, while interesting in themselves, would be remiss without discussion of broader influences. Both companies had a substantial effect on American consumerism, women’s social roles and industrial design.
Today the West Bend Company and Regal Ware, Inc. are two of the best-known makers of cookware and small appliances around the world. Their ability to survive economic depression, war and changing times are three reasons for their success and make them excellent examples of the American dream come to life. With deep roots in Washington County, they were able to spread wide nets and capture loyalty around the globe.
The authors hope the book will be “a tribute to the workers as well as a wider audience for the collections that are rarely seen.”
Highlights of Washington County’s Aluminum Industry:
• Proceeds from the book will support the West Bend Co./Regal Ware Museum operated by the Washington County Historical Society.
• The majority of the images come from the collection of the West Bend Co./Regal Ware Museum.
• Many of the photographs featured are of the employees doing their job.
• The book also contains interesting images of processes and factory interiors.
Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or
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