It was 1931, just two years after the stock market crashed, sending the U.S. into the Great Depression. The country had gone dry thanks to prohibition and – though not connected – people in the High Plains were struggling for survival because of the Dust Bowl.
It was that year in a small unassuming brick building on the banks of the Fox River in Appleton, Wis., Badger Plug started manufacturing its first Wood Core Plugs.
The paper industry was one of the largest industries in Wisconsin. After getting its start in the southern part of the state, the industry moved north to the Fox River Valley. Close to hydropower, transportation routes, the rich untapped north woods and an eager workforce, the area was an ideal location for pulp mills.
Badger Plug was born to address a need of the paper companies. Like today, Wood Core Plugs were used to keep cores of large paper rolls from crushing. Of course, the closer the supplier of these important plugs, the better.
Like the paper mills, Badger Plug tapped the power of the river with an 18-horsepower water wheel to drive its industrial machinery – turning birch logs into Wood Core Plugs. It would be 17 years before electricity would become available.
Because of Badger Plug’s proximity to papermills, and its commitment to quality, many Wisconsin-based mills became loyal Badger Plug customers. And, when mills throughout the country had similar needs, Badger Plug responded with increased production and wider distribution.