Mirro Aluminum Company
|Founders||Joseph Koenig and Henry Vits|
|Products||Variety of Consumer goods|
The Mirro Aluminum Company was an aluminum cookware company that existed in Manitowoc, Wisconsin from 1909 to 2003. It was colloquially referred to as simply Mirro.
Founding - 1940
The roots of the company can be traced to the founding of three companies: the Aluminum Manufacturing Company founded by Joseph Koenig in Two Rivers, Wisconsin in 1895; the Manitowoc Aluminum Novelty Company, founded in neighboring Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Henry Vits in 1898; and the New Jersey Aluminum Company founded in 1890 in Newark, New Jersey. In 1909, the three companies were merged, and the resulting company was renamed the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Company. It was headquartered in Manitowoc and headed by Vits as president and Koenig as vice president. In 1910, a $200,000 deal between George Vits and the eastern capitolists, all offices and manufacturing were moved to Manitowoc.
The company received its first government contract in 1911, winning an $80,000 contract to build aluminum canteens for the army that was developed by Joseph Koenig. Koening filed for a patent in April 1911 and was granted patent US1062716 in May 1913.
By 1914, the company reported that their employment was over 400 and building space had grown to almost 90,000 sq ft. In 1915 the company acquired the facilities of the Standard Aluminum Company, another manufacturer in Two Rivers. For the next two years the company concentrated on the production of cooking utensils. The Mirro brand was introduced in 1917.
The company continued strong growth and by 1920 had increased its capitol to $12,000,000.
During WWII they retooled their factories to make aluminum products for the military. When the war ended in 1945, the company expanded into aluminum toys as well making the popular Sno-Coaster saucer shaped sled. In 1957 shareholders approved a name change to the Mirro Aluminum Company.
In 1958, Mirro began manufacturing a line of 16 ft aluminum boats under the Mirro-Craft name. The boats were introduced at the Chicago National Boat Show in February of that year. The boats were designed by naval architect David Beach. Shipment of production boats did not start until January 1959.
At its peak, Mirro was the Worlds' largest manufacturer of aluminum cooking utensils, and over time it had as many as eight plants in three states, with products ranging from pots and pans to small boats and aluminum siding.
In 1982 the boat business was divested. The aluminum boat business was purchased by employees and moved the business to Gillett, Wisconsin to a plant formerly owned by Mirro. The new company was named Northport, Inc. The MirroCraft tradename was transferred to the new company. In 2003 Northport was purchased by Weeres pontoons of St. Cloud, Minnesota. The fiberglass boat portion was sold to Cruisers, Incorporated of Oconto, Wisconsin. This company is now known as Cruisers Yachts.
Mirro was acquired by The Newell Companies in 1983. Facing competition from other manufacturers, Newell had moved most of its Manitowoc area operations out of the country by 2001, and shuttered the most modern of the area Mirro plants in 2003. Mirro also closed its administrative offices in Manitowoc at that time, ending the company's 118-year history in the area.
The manufacturing facility in the industrial park on Mirro Drive on the northeast of Manitowoc, was purchased by Koenig & Vits, Inc. when it closed. They formed an alliance in 2005 with Tramontina, a Brazil-based cookware and cutlery manufacture to manufacture cookware in Manitowoc at the plant. As of 2014 they are still manufacturing cookware in Manitowoc.
The current owner of the plant, Skana Aluminum, was incorporated in 2009. The plant is currently operated as a contract custom aluminum rolling mill.
As of July 2014, The trademark name Mirro (Groupe SEB.) was registered to
The trademark for MIRRO CRAFT (Gillett, Wisconsin.) was renewed in 2009 by Northport Marine LLC of
The part of the old plant in the downtown location, bounded by 15th, 16th, Franklin and Washington streets, is in the processes of being demolished. The current owner of this parcel is EJ Spirtas Manitowoc LLC. Plans for redevelpment of the remaining portion of the building occupying the south third of the block into the Mirro Shops, are currently on hold.
The newer downtown building in the next block west bounded by 16th and 17th streets is owned by LVR Properties LLC
- Louis Falge (ed.), History of Manitowoc County Wisconsin, vol. 2. Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association: 1911-1912, pp. 210-213.
- "NEW COMPANY TO EMBRACE THREE". Manitowoc Daily Herald. 8 Mar 1909. p. 1.
- Falge, vol. 2, pp. 54-57.
- "VITS FAMILY OF THIS CITY TAKES OVER BIG EASTERN INTERESTS". Manitowoc Daily Herald. 19 Dec 1910.
- Manitowoc Daily Herald. 20 Jan 1911. p. 2. Missing or empty
- "Flask for liquids". p. 4. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "Aluminnum Plant at 2 Rivers Employes 400 Hands". Manitowoc Daily Herald. 1 Aug 1914.
- Evan Gagnon, Neshotah: The Story of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Stevens Point, WI: Worzalla, 1969, p. 236.
- James M. Rock, "A Growth Industry: The Wisconsin Aluminum Cookware Industry, 1893-1920", Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 55, no. 2 (Winter, 1971-1972): 86-99.
- "Would Change Goods' Official Name to Mirro". Two Rivers Reporter. 20 Mar 1957. p. 2.
- "Mirro-Craft Boats Planned". Manitowac Herald Times. 24 Jan 1958. p. M-11.
- "News of the Fox Cities Business and Industry". The Appleton Post- Crescent. 25 Apr 1958. p. 15. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Oklahoma Bound". Manitowoc Herald Times. 20 Jan 1959. p. 3.
- "Firm to Buy Boat Maker". Milwakee Sentinel. 18 Dec 1971. p. Pt 2, Page 5.
- "What aluminum is and how Mirro Aluminum cooking utensils are made". Wisconsin Historical Society. Mirro Aluminum Company. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- Engel, Larry (6 Oct 1981). "Mirro Corp. tops field in aluminum cookware". Milwakee Sentinel. p. Pt 2, p4. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "History of Mirrocraft". Mirrocraft. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- Coneybear, John (24 Sep 1982). "Action Flurry Characterises Boat Industry". The Hour. p. 29. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- Romell, Rick (31 Jul 2005). "Taking on China". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. pp. 1, 19. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Tramontina’s US HQ is in Sugar Land". Fortbend Now. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "History". Skana Aluminum. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "History comes tumbling down". Gannett. htrnews. 30 Dec 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Mirro Shops". EJ Spirtas Group, LLC. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- Content, Thomas (17 Mar 2004). "Mirro being sold to unit of private equity company". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 3D. Retrieved 25 January 2015.