Courtesy of Anuta Research Center 
A marketing advertisement promotes the Lloyd-designed wicker park stroller and baby carriage that were signature products manufactured at the Menominee plant. Although the company’s roots began in Minneapolis, Lloyd’s rapid growth here turned the company into the area’s largest employer with more than 1,200 workers. The diversified company made more separate products than any other manufacturer in M&M history. The company’s peak years were in World War II when it produced a variety of products for the armed forces. 
Courtesy of Anuta Research Center 

A marketing advertisement promotes the Lloyd-designed wicker park stroller and baby carriage that were signature products manufactured at the Menominee plant. Although the company’s roots began in Minneapolis, Lloyd’s rapid growth here turned the company into the area’s largest employer with more than 1,200 workers. The diversified company made more separate products than any other manufacturer in M&M history. The company’s peak years were in World War II when it produced a variety of products for the armed forces. 

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When Marshall Burns Lloyd moved his company from Minneapolis to Menominee in 1906 and went on to become a worldwide leader in the production of woven-reed baby buggies, doll carts, teddy bear cages, wagons, woven-wire fireplace fenders, parasol baby carriages and woven doormats, the employment rolls swelled. Eventually Lloyd Manufacturing Co. became the largest employer in the Twin Cities.

The lines of communication, unlike the explosion of present-day technology that provides instant news, was still befitting for the early years of the 20th century. The Menominee Herald-Leader and Marinette Eagle-Star were rivals on a daily basis, each attempting to outdo the other in news and advertising. The two local newspapers were without doubt the No. 1 messengers in community life.

The multi-party telephone system meant sharing information with party stalkers. Western Union Telegraph was for sending brief messages afar.

There were no local radio stations. Television was nothing more than fiction. Other than that, the word-of-mouth was an option. The men visited the corner tavern to exchange viewpoints. For women, the best transmitter of news and gossip was over the outdoor clothesline during the Monday morning wash.

Mr. Lloyd took the extra step to improve communications among his workers. He started his own shop newspaper.

The Lloyd Shop News hit the bulging department layouts on July 25, 1920, 14 years after the company turned on the lights and started up the machines at the Lloyd plant. Each of the 17 departments assigned a reporter who was responsible for collecting and writing news copy.

Reporters were chosen for each department so that news items involving the entire factory “may find a way into print.” George W. Rowell Jr. was named to oversee the Shop News because it fit his role as head of the company’s advertising and publicity department.

“Most of the progressive manufacturing plants of the nation are issuing publications like this because it is felt that the workers are interested in the doings of each other and because employers know that acquaintances gained through personal contact and through reading breeds a confidence and loyalty in all sides,” stated a Page One notation in the first publication.

The following people were assigned to be reporters in their departments: Alma Taylor, cutting and upholstery; Harry Telot, wicker-making; Sophie Todish, stock; George LaPerrier, weaving; Michael Waulett, welding; Wilfred Edwin, shipping; Ella Berg, Assembly No. 1; Grover Thompson, Assembly No. 2; Nels Minne, wicker assembly; Carl Hornick, wheel; Edward Cherney, gear; Elof Klar, experimental; Henry Keil, heat, light and power; Charles Chase, machine; Alverda Becker, wood; Andrew Quever, paint; and Theresa Bauer, office. David W. Archie was named staff photographer.

The “Lloyd Shop News” staff left no doubt it entered the project with pride and a pledge to improve with each publication.

“We want to make the August number better than this one,” noted a Page One article. “In fact, we want to make each number better than the one before it. To do this, we will need the earnest help of everybody. Unique photographs involving Lloyd employees are desired. Cartoons drawn in ink will be used if possible,” the Shop News added. 

And the publication issued an all-points challenge: “Get together and help make this magazine the best of its kind in the world, just like the baby carriages which you make are the best in the world. Co-operation also will do this.”

The initial publication was well-covered with news about the company. One of the feature articles reported on two Englishmen who came to Menominee to study the Lloyd method of producing loom for wicker products. The visitors were associated with Lusty and Sons, a company that had acquired patent rights to Lloyd products. 

A small front page item reported on the shortage of Benzine. A rail tanker arrived at the plant with 5,000 gallons. It was the first order of Benzine to reach the plant “in many days,” according to the article. Delays in shipping were blamed on slow rail deliveries. 

The banner headline in the Shop News highlighted the upcoming company picnic which was scheduled for July 31. 

“Lloyd Workers to Picnic on July 31,” beamed the Page One banner. 

“The Lloyd Manufacturing Company’s employees are going to celebrate in the greatest industrial picnic ever held in this neck of the woods,” the Shop News boasted. “It will take place at Henes Park on Saturday, July 31. It will begin at 10 o’clock and continue until the great Lloyd family cares to play,” the story continued. 

About 1,200 workers and family members were expected to attend the affair. Foremen in each department were charged with distributing tickets for street car transportation and other events. 

A street car route was mapped out for Marinette residents employed at the plant. The street car departed Dunlap Square at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning, traveled east on Main Street to the Menekaunee Bridge and ended up at Electric Square in Menominee (10th Avenue at 1st Street).

A second rail car left West End Park in Menominee and went east to Electric Square, picking up employees and guests along the way. A third street car was in wait at the square. Together all three embarked for Henes Park. The famous Cherney Band of Menominee was in one of the cars to help build momentum along the way. 

The Lloyd Shop News was born 99 years ago. Stories about workers, their families and scores of other folks who touched the history of the legendary company were kept alive for future generations to enjoy. Memories from some of the stories will be covered in future columns.