Joseph R. Bernauer. Since assuming the management of the Fredonia Window Glass Company’s plant at Caney, Joseph R. Bernauer has been successful in showing excellent financial results, and has evidenced a broad knowledge of mechanical science as well as a wealth of executive ability. Many years of practical experience contribute to his equipment, and during his career he has been connected with some of the leading concerns of this kind in the West.
Mr. Bernauer was born in Baden, Germany, August 13, 1863, and is a son of Raymond and Brigeta (Schlagel) Bernauer. His grandfather, Quirin Bernauer, was born in Baden, Germany, where the family has resided for many generations, in 1800, passed his life as a successful merchant, and died in 1883. Raymond Bernauer was also born in Baden, in 1834, followed the weaver’s trade for some years, and likewise engaged in farming to some extent. He was also possessed of much inventive genius, as his invention of the wire screen will testify, but his career in this direction was cut short by his early death, in 1869. Mrs. Bernauer, who was born in 1843, died in 1883, in the faith of the Roman Catholic Church, of which her husband was also a member. They were the parents of three children, namely: Joseph R., of this review; Pauline, who is still a resident of Baden; and Otto, a blacksmith by trade, who died at Fredonia, Kansas, when thirty-five years of age.
Joseph R. Bernauer received his education in the public schools of his native land, after leaving which he served an apprenticeship to and thoroughly mastered the blacksmith’s trade. He was only six years of age when his father died, and he did his share early in supporting the family, but on attaining his majority decided to seek better opportunities in the United States, and in 1884 arrived in this country and first located at Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. There he found employment at his trade and in the course of time became the owner of a business of his own, which he built up to substantial proportions. He still has a home in the town in which he first located on coming to America. In 1904 Mr. Bernauer came to the West. He had gradually enlarged the scope of his operations, and was brought to Fredonia, Kansas, to construct the plant of the Fredonia Window Glass Company, subsequently becoming factory manager, a position which he retained for eight years. He next erected a plant for the same company at Coffeyville, Kansas, and in 1913 was employed to build a large machine plant at Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Following this he went to Texas, where for eight months he managed a plant for F. E. Wear, at the end of that time returning to Kansas and locating at Chanute, where he reconstructed a glass plant. Mr. Bernauer remained at Chanute only a short time, however, for he was called to Caney to become manager of the plant of the Fredonia Window Glass Company, in which important position he has since been retained.
The Fredonia Window Glass Company is the owner of the plants both at Fredonia and Caney, and the officers at this time are: C. F. Lutz, president and general manager, Fredonia; B. E. LaDow, Fredonia, vice president; F. E. Wear, Kansas City, treasurer; David Bowie, Topeka, secretary; J. J. Wolever, superintendent of Fredonia factory; J. R. Bernauer, superintendent of Caney factory; C. E. Klock, in charge of the offices at both plants. The company manufactures window glass exclusively, the Fredonia plant having a capacity of forty-eight doors, and the Caney plant of thirty doors. The Fredonia plant, which was established in 1903, is situated in the extreme southwest part of the town, between the Frisco, the Missouri Pacific and the Santa Fe Railways; the Caney plant, established in 1915, is located just northeast of the city limits, on the Missouri Pacific Railway.
Mr. Bernauer is known as a man who is thoroughly familiar with every department of the work in which he is engaged. He has made a close and careful study of all its details, and his natural talents and ingenuity have resulted in a number of improvements and additions to both process and equipment. He is essentially a business man and has not mixed in politics, although he takes an interest in public matters of importance and gives his support to the republican party and its candidates. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Odd Fellows, at Wellsboro, Pennsylvania; the Red Men, in Texas; and the Brotherhood of American Yeomen, at Fredonia, Kansas. With the members of his family he belongs to the Lutheran Church.
Mr. Bernauer was married in 1885, at Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, to Miss Minnie Loebich, a daughter of Mrs. Anna Loebich, who still resides at Wellsboro. Three children have been born to this union: Elsie, who is the wife of Wallace Ingerick, clerk in the postoffice at Charlestown, West Virginia; Raymond, who attended Kansas University two years, and also attended the University of Wisconsin two years, pursuing the course of mechanical engineer, and now associated with his father; and Minnie, the wife of LeRoy McMullen, of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, and now attending Olson’s Business College, at Parsons, Kansas.