Henry Frambach (1840-1921)
2010 Paper Industry International Hall of Fame Inductee
Colonel Johan “Henry” August Frambach was born in Herkimer City, New York on November 22, 1840. He was the second of four children of German immigrant parents, Charles Augustus J. and Maria Elisabeth (Ader) Frambach. His mother died in 1846 and father in 1854. The children were adopted by Bernard and Francis Stoveken of Milwaukee.
Frambach’s formal education ended in 1857. In 1858 when the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the 61st regiment of the Illinois Infantry and later he was recruited into the Secret Service and served as a spy. In 1863 he was appointed Chief of the Secret Service in the Department of Arkansas and promoted to Colonel. He married Fannie Claspill in 1865.
Frambach was one of the most influential persons in establishing the Fox River Valley as a center for papermaking in the United States. In 1872, Frambach joined his brother, John Stoveken, to rebuild and convert Stoveken’s burnt flour mill in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, into a paper mill. Under Frambach’s technical leadership, the rebuilt paper mill (named Eagle Mill) incorporated the new wood grinding pulping process that had been invented by Friedrich Keller in Germany. From 1877-1880, Frambach owned and operated the Menasha Paper Pulp Company and then returned to Eagle Paper Mill until it was destroyed by fire. He rebuilt the mill and renamed it first, Frambach Paper, then Union Pulp Company, serving as Vice-President and Manager.
In 1884 he sold his interests in Union Pulp Company and organized the Badger Paper Company which was the largest mill in Kaukauna at the time. Badger also built a mill in Quinnesec Falls, now known as Niagara, Wisconsin. In 1987 the Badger mill caught fire and was destroyed. Rather than rebuild the mill, Frambach chose to build a paper mill in Cheboygan, Michigan. He served as President of Cheboygan Paper Company until he sold the operation in 1916. He has at least 10 patents to his credit.
Frambach retired and moved to Los Angeles, California, where he died on March 10, 1921.