Biography of Frederick J. Osius
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“Opportunity knocks but once” and Frederick J. Osius has never waited for the second knock but has improved every chance that has come. Moreover, he possesses the energy and tenacity to successfully complete what he undertakes and his work in several respects is notable. America leads the world in invention. Wherever work has been extensively carried on by hand, man’s ingenuity has set to work to contrive labor-saving devices whereby the output could be increased at a minimum expenditure of time and material. ft is this inventive genius, combined with mechanical and technical skill and fostered by a laudable ambition, that has brought Frederick J. Osius to the front in industrial circles of Racine and made him the efficient head of the Hamilton-Beach Manufacturing Company, which he organized in the spring of 1910.
Mr. Osius is a native son of Racine, born November 25, 1879, his parents being M. L. and Josephine (Heltich) Osius, who at an early period in the development of this section of the state established their home here. The father became a retail merchant of the city and was well known in business circles.
Then a lad of thirteen years Frederick J. Osius became a clerk in his father’s store and eventually embarked in the retail business on his own account. Through the wise and capable management of his business he managed to save twelve thousand dollars. He not only had the ability to successfully control the sale of goods, but he also possessed natural mechanical ingenuity and his experiments resulted in the invention of a sewing machine. In this undertaking, however, he sustained a six thousand dollar loss, his health became impaired and he suffered greatly from indigestion. Because of this he purchased an electric medical battery and noting that it could be improved upon he immediately set to work to make the improvement and with this end in view hired a machinist. This was his initial step in organizing the Standard Electric Company for the purpose of manufacturing batteries and the undertaking proved very profitable. Into the field of industrial activity he has thus ventured and from it there is no turning back, as the limitless opportunity for the exercise of his inventive genius makes continuous call upon him. He invented the first portable vacuum cleaner and continued in the business until December 1, 1909, when he sold out to the McCrumb-Howell Company for three hundred thousand dollars. It was at this time that he organized the Hamilton-Beach Manufacturing Company in the spring of 1910, establishing his plant on Douglas Avenue over the F. J. Greene factory. He started there with three men, with himself as president and general manager of the business. Since that time his inventive powers have been continually called into play and he is constantly studying upon new lines that will meet the public needs. He patented the Cyclone drink mixer which is operated electrically and the popularity of this is indicated in the fact that eighty thousand of these have already been sold. He also manufactures hair dryers, shoe sewing machine motors and all kinds of labor-saving devices, most of which are made under his own patents. In August, 1915, he built a new factory on the Rapids road and the Northwestern tracks which was completed in March. 1916. The main building, three hundred by five hundred feet, is three stories in height and is of modern mill construction with a sprinkler system. Such is the thorough protection against fire that he has the lowest insurance rate given in Racine. There are also two other buildings, the warehouse and polishing, room being maintained in a three story building one hundred and twenty-five by thirty feet, while the boiler room is in a building sixty by seventy feet. The marvelous growth of the undertaking is indicated in the fact that while he began business with only three employees he today has over four hundred people working in his plant and the product is sold all over the world. The sales now amount to one million dollars or more annually and the factory is the most modern in construction and equipment in Racine.
In 1913 Mr. Osins was married to Miss Mary Dolan, of Michigan. They are well known in Racine, where Mr. Osius holds membership in the Elks. He also has prominent club relations in other cities. He belongs to the Chicago Athletic Club, to the Milwaukee Athletic Association, the National Manufacturers’ Association, the Racine Manufacturers’ Association and the Commercial Club. His record is marvelous by reason of his notable success attained within a comparatively few years. He has anticipated and met the wants of the public in the line of his manufactured articles, and judicious advertising and the spirit. of enterprise have enabled him to put his output upon the market in such a way that the sales have been continually increased_ When one reads the history of an American business institution such as this, one recognizes that fact always outstrips fancy in the long run. Determination and courage have been the foundation stones upon which the undertaking has been built. Not only has it won success for its founder but has also been a public benefaction in that it has furnished employment to a large force of workmen: and such a business is not only a maker of money-it is also a maker of men.