Mural Project – Celebrating 70 Years of Manufacturing in West Allis, WI

Painted on the Northside of our building and along the Hank Aaron Bike Trail at 94th Place, is the actual mural pictured that is our donation to the city of West Allis, WI named “Timeless Manufacturing”. The mural memorializes the history of manufacturing and the contributions to the world that our community has been a part of building. Although the history of the city is much older, we were founded in 1953 and wanted to focus from that year forward.

City of Industry and Homes

The “City of Industry and Homes” sign is the actual logo use for the city in the 1950’s as you entered the city limits and the map next to the sign is the actual city boundaries in 1953 when it was only 4 square miles. It wasn’t until 1954 that the city acquired an additional 7 square miles of land from the surround communities of Wauwatosa, New Berlin, and Greenfield. At that time, most of the land west of 92nd St. was mostly farmland as as represented under the Allis Chalmers Tractor WD-45 Tractor that was built here at Allis Chalmers in West Allis from 1953 to 1957.

Beer Barrels and Tractors?

Located in the upper middle of the mural on either side of the Allis Manufacturing logo is a replica of an old photo from the Allis Chalmers shop floor in the 1950’s and flanked on either side of the logo are Hoff-Stevens beer kegs that were considered the height of beer technology in the 1950’s and credited partially to West Allis as the transition was made from wooden beer barrels to steel by a company called Pressed Steel Tank.

Sustainable Energy Contributions

The evolution towards sustainable energy has many ties to our community that people do not realize as represented by the lower middle of the mural directly below the logo and the beer kegs. Pictured are the original and later replaced turbines located inside Hoover Dam that were built by Allis Chalmers which are still in service today. The picture of the solar panel fields are representative of the fixtures we built for several ongoing installations of solar fields in TX and CA being built currently, and the wind turbines pictured are representative of the repair work we do to this day on the gearboxes that are inside the windmill housings from wind farms all over North America.

Brook Stevens

Moving to the right of the turbines, pictured is the original Excalibur automobile prototype designed by the renowned Industrial Designer Brook Stevens and first appeared at auto shows in 1963 and the only on screen appearance was in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians being driven by Cruella de Vil. Brook Stevens famous designs also gave the world the Hiawatha passenger train, the Harley Davidson Hydra-Glide, and outboard motor line for Evinrude and the fleet of Weiner Mobiles for Oscar Meyer. You can read more about Brook Stevens accomplishments here from the Milwaukee Art Museum website.

Below and Above the Ground

At the far right side is a picture of the famous mining shovel from P & H Mining (now Komatsu) that most machine shops in the area manufacture parts for to this day (including us) and a picture of the next autonomous space shuttle designed by Sierra Space for which Allis Manufacturing built the test engine stand for and was tested right here in Wisconsin as featured in the news here.

What Is Behind The Wall?

We are a machine shop by heart and a custom manufacturing company and when people ask us what sort of projects we work on, this mural is very representative of the variety of industries and sizes of projects we have done and continue to do today. From agriculture to automotive, from recycling equipment to medical equipment, and from working on projects for under the ground to on the ground and even above the ground and everything in between.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the contributions made to the world by manufacturing in West Allis, WI and we hope you have a safe bike ride to the east or west of our building.

For more history on West Allis, WI itself and more manufacturing before 1953, you can visit the West Allis Historical Society website here.