Historic Oshkosh Businesses

The Library receives requests for historical information on local companies.
Please submit any request by mail with as much information as possible, including names, dates, sizes, and description. Do not send photographs or any other items you want returned. The Library will respond by mail as time permits. (We process all questions from our local patrons first.) The Library charges 10 cents per page for photocopies, 25 cents per microfilm page as well as postage.

Send inquiries to Oshkosh Public Library, Reference Desk, 106 Washington Avenue, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901.

Oshkosh Public Library Digital Collections
Browse photographs, newspaper articles, and maps about some businesses that existed in Oshkosh.

Books in Local History Collection

A Thumbnail History of Former City of Oshkosh Commercial Establishments. By Steve R. Langkau.

A Thumbnail History of Former City of Oshkosh Industrial Firms.  By Steve R. Langkau.

Carriage Company (J.L. Clark)
Established in 1881. Produced car and truck bodies in later years. Out-of-business in 1930s.

Dunphy Boat Company
Located originally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Moved to Clark plant in Oshkosh in 1935 and began production in 1936. Dunphy made sailboats, outboards, and stern drives. The company was sold to Smith Marine of Berwyn, Illinois in March, 1963. To inquire, send boat type, year, model name, or dimensions if model unkown. Another source of information on the Dunphy Boat Company is Fred Pospeschil's site, which contains photographs from some of the Dunphy catalogs.

Oshkosh Trunk
Organized in March, 1902. The company was sold in 1939 to The Plotkin Brothers of Chicago, the name changed to Oshkosh Trunks and Luggage and went out-of-business in 1962. If the exterior is beige duck cloth with red and white stripes, the trunk is from the front line, the Chief. Sizes ranged from 9 x 20 x 28 inches to 28 x 29 x 43 inches, with various combinations of drawers, hangers, and other features.

Schmit Brothers Trunk
Established in the 1860s by Henry, Peter and John Schmit. Last appeared in the Oshkosh City Directory in 1939. Also went under the names: Schmit Trunk Co. and Schmit Trunk & Bag Co.

United States Motors
Developed from the machine shop of H.C. Doman. Made marine engines by the early 1900s. Also developed gasoline generators for rural power and emergency lighting. Introduced diesel-powered generators in 1934. The company was sold in 1988. For parts, write U.S. Motors Corporation, P.O. Box 758, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin 53052. 262/251-7724.

Universal Motors
Built marine engines and power generators. Developed from the Termaat and Monahan Company. Founded in 1903. The Universal Motors name dates from approximately 1914. In 1961 it became a division of Medalist Industry. The company no longer operates in Oshkosh. The successor is Westerbeke Corporation, 41 Ledin Drive, Avon, Massachusetts 02322. 508/588-7700.