From postcards, to war planes, to vacuums — C.U. Williams was entrepreneur

pc

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
February 1, 2017
The Big Blue River starts in southern Johnson County, Kan., where Wolf Creek and Coffee Creek meet south of Stanley to form the Blue River. It meanders lazily in a northeastern direction toward the state line, through Martin City, then turns north, skirting the eastern boundary of Kansas City toward its destination, the Missouri River. Along the way, it collects waters from both Brush Creek and Indian Creek.
Lewis and Clark referenced the Blue in their diaries during their westward exploration in 1804:
“We set out early, the river falling a little, the wind from the S. W. Passed the mouth of a Small river on the L. Side above the upper point of a Small Island, called Blue Water River, this river heads in Prairies back with the Mine River about 30 yd. wide.”
In this C.U. Williams “Photoette” postcard published around 1910, we view the tranquil river as it flows through Swope Park. A trademark of Williams’ postcards was the decorative writing style that described the view on the card and the trademarked Photoette process he used.
Williams was a prominent businessman of the time and owned a variety of businesses in the Bloomington, Ill., area in addition to his picture postcard business, among them an automobile dealership and a manufacturing company that made oil heaters for homes and businesses. The Oil-O-Matic heater was widely known as the most satisfactory oil burner in America at the time. During Wold War II, Williams’ company manufactured gears for anti-aircraft guns, and its employees actually sponsored an Army Air Corps P-47 fighter plane in support of the United States war effort. For that effort, the company was awarded the Navy’s E award for excellence.
In 1945, the company merged with the Eureka Company of Detroit and was renamed Eureka-Williams Corporation. It began producing vacuum cleaners. In 1974, A B Electrolux of Sweden purchased the company. Today, the Williams company is still alive and well and manufactures products under the banner of Electrolux Home Care Products North America.

Comments are closed.

  • A Dime and the Dinky

    July 26th, 2017
    by

    This week, in place of our weekly Historic Postcard feature we publish the third of a four-part series of short […]


    The Alleys of Childhood

    July 12th, 2017
    by

    Northeast News July 5, 2017 This week, in place of our weekly Historic Postcard feature, we begin a four-part series […]


    City Hall once stood at the City Market

    July 5th, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017 In 1889, when cattle, pigs and all manner of livestock still roamed […]


    Hahatonka an oasis from city life

    June 28th, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017


    A grand old flag with a grand old history

    June 21st, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017 During the American Revolution, a number of patriots made flags for our […]


  • Early 1900s school site is now interstate interchange

    June 14th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News June 14, 2017 This view of The Paseo, between 15th and 16th streets, looks north […]


    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    June 14th, 2017
    by

      Northeast News June 14, 2017


    River trade diminished near turn of century

    June 7th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News June 7, 2017 “Boats on the river at the foot of Main Street, Kansas City, […]


    From packing meat to packing heat

    May 31st, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 31, 2017 Patrick Cudahy started in the meat packing business as a carrying boy […]


    The ‘most beautiful’ steel bridge

    May 24th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 24, 2017 In 1936, the American Institute of Steel Construction selected the Hurricane Deck […]


  • What’s Happening

    Following public forum, Smith named KCPD’s next Chief of Police

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News Rick Smith has made quite the impression on the Board of Police Commissioners. Less than […]

    Museum Parking Community Conversation

    by Michael Bushnell Northeast News Kansas City Museum staff along with architects, planners and Parks & Recreation Staff hosted a […]

    Admiral Motel undergoes renovation

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News The Admiral Motel (1409 Admiral Blvd.) is getting a new name. The owner/operator of the […]

  • Local Weather