Broadway Facility History
Fort Howard is an outpost erected on the Fox River to help protect the flourishing fur trade.
In February, Austin E. Cofrin starts the Fort Howard Paper Company. Cofrin, 36, is a no-nonsense Yankee entrepreneur who stresses independence, aggressiveness and a sense of family. Cofrin gathers investors and purchases land on the west side of the Fox River south of Green Bay. In October, Fort Howard’s original building is completed, and houses the first paper machine and all other machinery and activities for the new company.
In January, paper production begins. In November, excavation for the second building begins, just eight months after the first shipment left the mill.
John Cofrin, son of the founder, is named company president.
No. 8, a new high-speed paper machine, starts up and produces saleable paper the first afternoon—
a rare achievement in the paper industry.
First common stock issue sold to the public.
Construction begins on a second papermaking and converting facility in Muskogee, Okla.
Fort Howard’s expansion includes the acquisition of Harmon Associates, a New York-based wastepaper broker, which provides a portion of the mill's raw material.
Fort Howard expands to Europe through its purchase of The Sterling Group, a British sanitary paper producer and converter of retail products.
Fort Howard acquires Maryland Cup Corp., the nation’s largest manufacturer of single use paper and plastic products for food and beverage service, and a major manufacturer of containers for ice cream, dairy and other food items.
The largest single modernization project in Green Bay begins operation. The No. 10 paper machine is the widest tissue machine in the world.
Lily-Tulip Corp. is purchased.
Fort Howard is taken private at $53 per share by management and investment banker Morgan Stanley.
Ecosource™ is established by Fort Howard and becomes a subsidiary. Ecosource™ uses a semi-automated system to sort nearly a quarter million pounds of mixed wastepaper daily from offices throughout the upper Midwest for recycling at the Green Bay paper mill.
West Mason Inc. opens in Green Bay.
A new paper machine starts up in Green Bay, manufacturing tissue grades at speeds up to 6,000 feet per minute.
Fort Howard builds a new tissue paper machine and other related facilities to double the capacity of its British mill.
Fort Howard re-emerges as a public company with a stock price of $12.62 per share.
Fort Howard’s joint venture in Shanghai begins making products.
W.W. Grainger named Fort Howard its single-source supplier.
Fort Howard is one of 20 U.S. organizations to receive the U.S. EPA’s WasteWise award for its comprehensive and successful waste reduction programs.
Fort Howard is acquired by James River Corp. of Richmond, Va., creating a $7.3 billion consumer products company named Fort James.
Fort James operates nine of the 11 largest 270 inch-wide tissue machines in the world.
On July 17, Fort James merges with Georgia-Pacific Corporation for $11 billion.
Georgia-Pacific celebrates its 75th year in business.
All four facilities in Green Bay merge into one “virtual” mill with shared administrative functions.
GP invests $60 million in mill capital improvements; No. 9 Paper Machine is rebuilt and is “one of a kind” in the paper industry because it makes air-dried, very soft commercial tissue.
Koch Industries, Inc. acquires Georgia-Pacific. Georgia-Pacific is a privately-held, indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc.
Georgia-Pacific invests $50 million to install a new paper recycling system at Broadway.
Broadway achieves CEO Safety Excellence Award (1 million hours without a Lost Time Accident and a recordable incident rate of .05 or less).
The cleanup of the Fox River begins.
Broadway earns its second CEO Safety Excellence Award (1 million hours without a Lost Time Accident and a recordable incident rate of .05 or less).
Day Street History
Northern Tissue - The Early Years
“When tissue paper first appeared in lavatories, it was looked upon as a real luxury. But the dull and reactionary individuals in this, as in everything else, had to make way for the more appreciative. And so it came that a short time ago... manufacturers with visions of the possibilities of this demand set themselves the task of creating a tissue paper especially adapted for the purpose, and which has taken the name of toilet paper.
“In the manufacture of toilet paper, the sheets” pass over the heated surface of the cylinders of the Fourdrinier Machine [so that] every particle becomes thoroughly sterilized, eliminating all possibility of any germs being carried in the sheets. The continuous sheets come from the machine in Jumbo Rolls of about 50 inch width, which when wound to the desired thickness are removed by huge cranes, eliminating the necessity of the paper being touched to any extent by human hands.
“After the Jumbo Rolls come from the papermaking machine, they are carried to a cutting machine, where they are slit...Four perforations are made on the sheet at every revolution of the cylinder. After the ...machine is started it runs continually until the jumbo roll is run off, taking about 35 minutes. The three shafts on the rewinder are filled with cores and when the counter shows the number of sheets on the core, the rewinder shaft is turned over and the sheet chopped off...This rewinder is a very ingenious device used exclusively by the Northern Paper Mills.
“After the rolls are made up in this manner the labels are pasted on by hand, no practical machine having been developed up to this time...Girls [do this work] behind the table and pack them in a case near at hand. The case is then weighed, nailed and removed to the conveyor, ready for shipment.”
Excerpts from Northern Lights (December 1919 & June 1920)
March 29—The mill is founded by the investments of seven men from Green Bay and Milwaukee. Frank H. Suffel, Michael J. McCormick, W.P. Wagner, Iver J. Terp, Elias H. Bottum, Charles Fisher, and Herman Segnetz pool together $70,000 to build Northern Paper Mills at the juncture of the Fox and East rivers.
In its first year, Northern employs 25 men, ships 800 tons of paper, and produces one primary product called Sanitary Tissue. These are packages of 1,000 sheets of tissue, 4x10 inches. Each bundle is pierced with a wire loop so that it can be hung from a nail!
April 12—The name “Northern” is adopted for our bathroom tissue.
Begin producing paper for the Sears Catalog on the new Paper Machine No. 2, a Cylinder Machine.
Construction of the Pulp Mill begins. Operations begin on March 15, 1917.
An advertising campaign for Northern products is launched in five magazines including the Saturday Evening Post and Literary Digest.
Northern Paper mills emerge as the largest manufacturer of tissue in the world.
The mill’s recreation hall with a bowling alley and billiard tables opens in the latter part of March on the third floor of Building 25.
Advertisements focus on sterilization as a selling point for Northern Tissue.
Constructed two hydroelectric plants, Chalk Hills and White Rapids, on the Menominee River to provide power for the mill.
The Welfare Club, a forerunner to the Northern Employees Activity Team (N.E.A.T.), is formed.
The ship Inca, later known as the Norco, is chartered to haul pulpwood to the mill from woodlands along Lake Superior.
January 19—The “Northern” name is used on napkins for the first time.
Advertising turns to focus on a common problem for bathroom tissue consumers: the splinter. Northern Tissue is heralded as being a “splinter-free” bathroom tissue.
1942 - 1943
The Engineering Deptartment and Machine Shop manufacture war materials for prime contractors of WWII.
Pulpwood fire destroys half of the 10,000 cords of wood in the yard, amounting to a loss of $200,000.
Fluffy the Northern Cub becomes Northern Tissue’s newest salesman.
Fluffy the Northern Cub
Ross Wetzel became the artist for Northern Tissue’s ad campaigns in the 1940s and, in doing so, gave us one of the most beloved mascots for Northern Tissue: Fluffy the Northern Cub.
Beginning in 1941, Young and Rubicam, Inc., Northern’s advertising agency, began a search for a new artist for its Northern Tissue advertisements. Their search went no further than their Michigan Avenue building in Chicago—the same location as Ross Wetzel's studio. Having worked as an artist for Disney beginning in 1938, Wetzel was deemed to have the approach Young and Rubicam was looking for in its next artist.
Wetzel began his work for Northern Tissue and was no sooner led in an alternate direction. Drafted into World War II, Wetzel was sent to California where his experience with animation at Disney led him to do training films under Ronald Reagan. While his days were preoccupied, Wetzel offered to continue working for Northern during his free time at night. Young and Rubicam had not found a replacement artist and therefore agreed to send the ad layouts to California for Wetzel to do the finished art. Thus began a series of memorable ads with six posters a year, as well as magazine and newspaper advertisements.
After the war, Wetzel came back to Chicago. With TV beginning in several markets, he began a career in TV animation. In 1947 or 1948, Wetzel created Northern Tissue’s first TV commercial. (While TV advertising wasn’t fully utilized for Northern products until 1953, key markets, such as Chicago saw the ads earlier.) The black and white animated film featured Fluffy the Northern Cub in a tree, telling viewers that not even he was as soft as Northern Tissue.
After approximately eight years, Wetzel created his last caricature for Northern Tissue. The last artifact in the mill archives to be signed with his name dates from approximately 1951. Ross never got to visit the mill and see where the tissue he made famous was produced.
Marathon Corporation of Menasha, Wisconsin, merges with Northern Paper Mills.
Northern’s Kolorpak™ Napkins become the Northern line's first colored tissue product. Northern Tissue follows in 1954 and Northern Towels in 1955.
Television advertising begins for Northern products
Shipment of Northern Tissue’s first multi-packs begins on April 16 with white and assorted-colored bathroom tissue in 3- and 4-roll packs.
American Can Company of New York, New York, acquires Marathon Corporation.
Frances Hook’s American Beauties begin to appear in Northern Tissue advertisements. On March 23, 1959, the first rolls of tissue featuring the girls are shipped from the mill. The American Beauties, the brand’s first “Northern Girls,” send tissue sales skyrocketing. Offers for prints of the girls and Northern Towel’s All-American Boys break records with 30 million sets of prints being sold by 1966.
Aurora Tissue, the first two-tone, two-ply, scented bathroom tissue, is introduced.
The mill ends its identification as “Northern Paper Mills.” Up until this year, the mill is known as “Northern Paper Mills, a Marathon division of American Can Company.”
Photographs of children, known as the “Living Dolls,” appear on new packages of Northern Tissue.
Gala Towel, the first decorator towel, is introduced.
Northern Products undergo a "facelift" with the appearance of Saul Bass' trivet design on packages of Northern Tissue, Towels, Facial Tissue and Napkins.
Northern Tissue’s famous “Northern Girls” make their return to the packaging.
October 2—The name “Brawny®” is first used on our paper towels.
An addition is made to the mill for the production of Fresh’n Pre-Moistened Toilet Tissue.
Northern Tissue is embossed for the first time.
The “A” Process Dry Former, the nation’s first commercial airlaid machine, is installed.
Production of Bolt Toweling begins.
Northern Soft Prints are introduced.
James River Corporation acquires the Dixie/Northern sector of American Can Company, including the Green Bay Mill.
Northern Tissue is sold in the new 6-roll pack form.
Northern Tissue goes national by using the manufacturing capacity of the company's facility in Old Town, Maine.
The mill begins production of Vanity Fair Napkins with the 2- and 3-ply napkin lines from James River’s Groveton, New Hampshire mill.
Production of Natural Touch, a disposable baby washcloth, begins at the mill.
Green Bay becomes the only mill in the James River system to produce the first line of 100 percent recycled, high-quality, branded products: Recycled Northern Bathroom Tissue®, Recycled Brawn Towels®, and Recycled Northern Napkins®.
Northern Tissue becomes “quilted” with the addition of a new emboss pattern.
Quilted Northern Ultra® is launched to the public.
Quilted Northern Quilters begin demonstration how Northern Tissue is ‘Quilted to Absorb.”
James River merges with Fort Howard to form Fort James Corporation.
November 27—Georgia-Pacific Corporation acquired Fort James Corporation.
Georgia-Pacific Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer A.D. “Pete” Correll presents the Chairman's Award to employees on February 16 for achieving 500,000 hours without an OSHA recordable incident. Day Street is the first mill in the consumer products’ unit to receive the award.
On February 28, Day Street becomes the first of the former Fort James locations to run a Georgia-Pacific product: Sparkle® towels.
Koch Industries, Inc. acquires Georgia-Pacific. Georgia-Pacific is a privately-held, indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc.