Charles Maynard established the Maynard Steel Casting Company in 1907 at 716 Reed St. The company came into existence at an inopportune time, as the Panic of 1907 halted expansion of the previously booming steel foundry industry. Sylvester J. Wabiszewski, a Polish immigrant and officer at the Mitchell Street State Bank, acquired the struggling company in 1913 and became its president within a year. To meet the demand for steel castings created by World War I, Wabiszewski built a new and more advanced plant at 2856 S. 27th St. Very quickly, Maynard Steel became one of the largest electric steel casting plants in the Midwest. Following the cessation of hostilities in 1918 and a dramatic drop in orders, the company struggled again. Fortunes rebounded when local companies, such as Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, started purchasing Maynard Steel’s products. The Great Depression severely affected Maynard Steel, and the number of employees dropped from 400 in 1929 to 86 in 1933. However, the company survived and its fortunes improved due to demand created by World War II. The Kwasniewski Collections includes a large number of photographs of the Maynard Steel building (interior and exterior views), employees, and products from the 1920s and 1930s.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee