1512 WASHINGTON ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
1512 WASHINGTON ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Aluminum Goods Manufacturing
Other Name:Mirro Aluminum Manufacturing Company
Reference Number:58811
Location (Address):1512 WASHINGTON ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1911
Additions: 1927 1920
Survey Date:1985
Historic Use:industrial building
Architectural Style:Chicago Commercial Style
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:0
National/State Register Listing Name:Not listed
National Register Listing Date:
State Register Listing Date:
Additional Information:A site file exists for this property. it contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. The Mirror Plant has grown over the years as the company has prospered. The original section of the plant was built in 1911, but has been all but lost in subsequent remodelings and additions; the two most prominent of which date from 1920 and 1927-29. The 1920 building (as seen in photo 43-320 IS SIX STORIES IN HEIGHT WITH A TWO STORY TOWER AT THE CENTER OF ITS so. 16TH street FACADE. IT IS BUILT OF REINFORCED POURED CONCRETE AND HAS BEEN PAINTED WHITE. tHE BUILDING IS CONSTRUCTED IN BAYS WITH FIVE AND A STAIR TOWER On each side of the central bay and entrance which supports the center tower. Brick panels separate multi paned windows within each bay.

The 1927-29 building, which fronts on Washington street, follows the same design pattern but is done in brick rather than painted concrete. It is a much larger building at seven stories in in height and running across the entire block of Washington Street between 15th and 16th streets. This latter building is much less colorful than its neighbor, but the subdued brick tones add a sense of quality to the otherwise standard industrial configuration.

The Mirror Company has roots going back to 1895 when the Aluminum Manufacturing Company was incorporated in Two Rivers by Joseph Koenig, a German immigtant. In 1898, Henry Vits, a Manitowoc tanner and political leader opened the Manitowoc Novelty Company to manufacture goods from aluminum newly introduced to the world at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.

These two companies were combined with the New Jersey Aluminum Company in 1909 as the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Company. George Vits became President in 1912 and the company began manufacturing cookware in 1913. The move into cookware production spurred corporate greowth.

The company continued to grow manufacturing canteens and other miliatary utensils during World War I. In 1919 an expansion program began which resulted in the 1920 building at the Manitowoc plant. In 1917, the MIRRO brand was created and the company began to market nationally. The 1927-29 plant was built at the height of the 1920s boom. Although slowed by the Drpression, the company continued its growth in the 1940s and 1950s and continues in a healthy mode to the present.

The Aluminum Manufacturing Company plant is considered historically significant to the community for its role in the twentieth century industrial development of Manitowoc. As Mirro Aluminum, the company has developed national markets and has the country from its formation in 1972, the "World's Largest Manufacturer of Aluminum Cooking Utensils..."
Bibliographic References:A. Interview with Richard Todl, Engienering Dept. at Mirro Aluminum Co., 3/31/87. B. Leonara Kadow, "The History of Aluminum," Manitowoc County Historical Society Occupational Monography, #19, 1972, np.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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