University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Economics Through Objects


Explore Wisconsin’s history through objects related to the economy.

Related Histories

  • a color postcard showing a bird's eye view of downtown Wausau

    The Wausau Group: The Businessmen Who Revived Wausau’s Economy

    Located on the Wisconsin River, Wausau developed as a logging town in the 1830s. George Stevens chose the site because of the waterfall that spanned the river, which provided power for sawmills used to turn …

  • A detail of a printed poster advertising the Wausau Witner Frolic and showing a clown on skiis

    The Wausau Winter Frolic: Wausau’s History as a Sports Capital

    In 1929 a teacher in Waupaca asked her pupils what Wisconsinites did for winter sports. According to one newspaper, the children “with one accord all exclaimed: ‘They go to Wausau!’” In the 1920s, when Wisconsinites …

  • What is a Point Blanket Coat?

    The practice of converting Hudson’s Bay Company blankets into coats began years before the company began mass-manufacturing point blanket coats in the twentieth century. During the fur trade, Native Americans hunters traded beaver pelts for …

  • A technical drawing of the Mepps fishing lure identifying its component parts

    Mepps Lures: The Antigo Connection

    A chance encounter of an American G.I. in France after World War II with a local fisherman led to the development of a major industry in Antigo, Wisconsin and put Antigo on the sports fishing …

  • a black and white photo of a man fly fishing in the Wolf River standing in the rapids

    The Wolf River

    Todd Sheldon first discovered the virtues of the Mepps Aglia spinner and later realized improvements afforded by a tuft of squirrel tail while fishing at one of his favorite spots: the Wolf River. Today the Wolf continues …

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Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society (Image ID 61521)