Joseph S. Hartmann, president of the Hartmann Trunk Company, of Racine, was born in Germany, in 1846, and was a youth of sixteen years when he made the long voyage across the briny deep to the United States in 1862. He first settled in New York but afterward made his way- westward to Wisconsin, establishing his home in Milwaukee. A few years later he embarked in the trunk business there under the name of Carpeles-Hartmann & Company, and later removed to Chicago although he established his business in Racine.
The Hartmann Trunk Company was organized in November, 1889, and the plant opened at Hamilton and Railway avenues. The promoter of the business was Joseph S. Hartmann, of Chicago, and his son Henry S. became his partner and has since resided in Racine. The present officers are Joseph S. Hartmann, president; Henry S. Hartmann, vice president; Samuel J. Hartmann, treasurer; Hugo Hartmann, secretary; and George H. Wheary, factory manager. The business was established on a small scale but today the buildings constituting the plant cover three acres and they are three stories in height with basement and all of mill construction. The plant is supplied with sprinkler system throughout and employment is given to, three hundred people, most of whom are skilled in their line. The general sales offices of the company are in Chicago and New York, the wholesale branch in Chicago being maintained at No. 207 W. Jackson Boulevard, and the retail stores at No. 626 South Michigan avenue, and No. 119 North Wabash avenue. The wholesale salesrooms in New York are situated in the New Waldorf building at 16 West Thirty-Third Street and the company has agencies in all parts of the world. They manufacture the Hartmann wardrobe trunk and the company has over one hundred patents issued and others pending. This trunk received the grand prize at the California exposition. The company sells direct to all dealers and is represented upon the road by twelve traveling salesmen. They also manufacture a line of traveling luggage. Their wardrobe trunks bear the trade-mark names of Rite-Hite and Berth-High. The Rite-Hite is the standard upright trunk; the Berth-High is a steamer wardrobe trunk. In their employ are a number of men who have been with them for twenty-five years or more, which speaks volumes in behalf of the relation of employer and employee. They have always paid good wages to their workmen, who recognize the fact that faithful service on their part means promotion and advancement.
Joseph S. Hartmann was united in marriage to Miss Laura Heller, of New York, and they have five children: Sam J., a resident of Chicago; Henry S., who was born in New York and is now residing in Racine; Hugo, who is living in Chicago; Mrs. A. W. Bensinger, also of Chicago; and Mrs. A. M. Wolfson, of New York. The son Henry is a member of the Elks lodge and is also a chapter Mason.
In his political views Henry S. Hartmann is a republican and his social nature finds expression in his membership in the Racine Country Club, the Ravislow Country Club, of Chicago, and the Standard Club, of Chicago. He is likewise a director of the Racine public library, of the Central Association and of the Cleveland Orphan Asylum, of Cleveland, Ohio. He is interested in local progress and co-operates in many plans and measures which have to do with the substantial upbuilding and development of this city. At the same time the major part of his attention has been given to his business affairs. He was trained to the work of the establishment under the direction of his father and mastering every branch of the trade has become vice president of the company and his father’s able assistant in. the conduct and management of the business, largely relieving him of cares and responsibilities in connection therewith. The labors of the son efficiently supplement and round out the experiences of the father and both are regarded as progressive and representative business men of Racine.
Geo. H. Wheary, who is factory manager and a director of the company, was born in Petersburg, Virginia, June 21, 1875. He came to Racine in 1902 and became associated with the Hartmann Trunk Company as designer. He was the patentee of the Hartmann wardrobe trunks and later became superintendent and is now factory manager. He married Mamie Gebb, of Racine, and they have three children, George, Eugene and Virginia. He is a member of the Elks, the Moose, the Eagles, the Racine Commercial Club and the Racine Country Club.
Source: Stone, Fanny S. Racine, Belle City of the lakes, and Racine County, Wisconsin : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement; Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916.