Web site visitor Bill Sheleski submitted these notes on the Gilbert Paper Company. Thanks!
I happened to stumble across your website when I Googled Gilbert Paper Company.
I'm talking about the one in Menasha, Wisconsin, not the other ones that pop up when you do an Internet search.
My father worked for Gilbert Paper from about 1943 to when he retired about 1985. He worked in the powerhouse, which had one or two huge boilers. The boilers were used to generate the steam for the papermaking process as well as to spin a turbine to generate electric power for the mill. The boilers originally ran on coal that, in my memory, was shipped by river barge through a series of locks on the Fox River from Green Bay. In later years, the coal was delivered by railcar and trucks. And, later still, I think they converted the coal-fired boiler to natural gas, although I might be wrong about this. In any case, they eventually shut down the turbine because they calculated that it would be more cost effective to just buy the power from the City of Menasha Utility or Wisconsin-Michigan Power Company (which were totally separate entities).
In the 1960s, my father used to tell me stories about Gilberts making paper for US currency. When this paper was produced, the Secret Service had agents on duty all the time to prevent somebody from taking any of it. Even the waste from the process was carefully guarded. An agent would accompany the waste paper to the powerhouse and watch as my father would put the stuff into the furnace that heated the boiler. Once the paper was incinerated, which I presume did not take very long, the ashes were removed from the hotbox and the agent poked through the ashes to ensure that the waste paper had been totally incinerated.
If I recall, my father told me that Gilberts also made paper for several foreign currencies, although I don't remember the details. Unfortunately, he passed away 25 years ago so I can't ask him any more questions.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE GILBERT PAPER CO $1 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTES, SERIES 1963
Wayne Homren, Editor
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