University of Wisconsin–Madison

All Objects

  • an illustration of an infant reaching for a bottle of malted milk

    Malted Milk and Infant Nutrition

    Although known today mostly as a flavoring for milk shakes and chocolate-covered malt balls, malted milk made its first appearance in the 1880s as a substitute for human breast milk.  At that time, breastfeeding babies …

  • a color photo of several early Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks with dice

    A Brief History of Dungeons and Dragons

    In the late 1960s, Gary Gygax of Lake Geneva, WI fell in love with the board game Wargames. Wargames simulated actual battles from historic wars, but offered players the opportunity to carry out campaigns in …

  • The Wisconsin Chair Company

    Founded in 1888 by Frederick A. Dennett, the Wisconsin Chair Company (WCC) was perhaps the most important business in Ozaukee County at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. The company, …

  • Emelie Manthei’s Point Blanket Coat

    When the Great Depression hit Wausau in the 1930s, Emelie Manthei (now Emelie Borth) was a high school student from a working-class family. Her father lost his job before finding employment with the Works Progress …

  • 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 illustration diagramming the parts of a mepps lure, highlighting the furry tail at one end of the lure.

    Squirrel Tails Wanted? The Improved Mepps Lure

    Driving through Antigo, visitors are often puzzled by a sign proclaiming “Squirrel Tails Wanted”. It identifies Sheldons’ Inc., manufacturer of Mepps lures. Squirrel tail hair has unique properties ideal for lures. [1] Its addition to the …

  • 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 …

  • An old postcard showing four men behind a bar holding very large muskies for display

    Building a Tourism Industry in Northern Wisconsin

    Equipment manufacturers played a major role in developing fishing as a part of the tourism industry in northern Wisconsin. Each year nearly two million people fish in Wisconsin’s waterways. They catch about 72 million fish …

  • Picture of Old Abe, the eagle, on the Case company logo

    Old Abe’s Visual Legacy

    Old Abe began his career as a real, live eagle, serving as a mascot during the Civil War. In the decades that followed, the Grand Army of the Republic brought the bird on toursaround the country. In the many …

  • French map detail showing the Baye des Puans

    French Wisconsin at Fort la Baye

    French explorers, voyageurs (fur traders), Jesuit priests, and other settlers began arriving in the Upper Great Lakes region of North America in the mid-1600s. Jean Nicolet supposedly landed near present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1634, naming the …

  • The 1911 Workman’s Compensation Act and the Birth of an Industry

    Wisconsin passed the nation’s first constitutionally upheld worker’s compensation law in 1911. It is one of the great successes of Progressive-era social legislation and a triumph of the Wisconsin Idea.[1] Previously, American workers toiling in industrialized workplaces …

  • workplace safety poster

    Promoting Workplace Safety

    For an insurance company like Employers Mutual, it made sense to try to promote safety in the workplace. Reducing the number of industrial accidents would naturally lead to less money lost to claims. But Employers Mutual …

  • A black and white image of three people testing an audiometer, one man has headphones on his ears while a woman looks on and another man is testing a read-out from the machine.

    Preventing Hearing Loss

    In 1953, Wisconsin added occupational hearing loss to the list of claimable conditions under workers compensation. Employers Mutual of Wausau quickly created a program that would make the company an industry leader in hearing loss prevention. Creating …

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