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Mercer-Craft Boats

Mercer Industries, Inc.

Mercer, Wisconin

The Bessemer Herald reports the town of Mercer, Wisconsin built a new plant south of town on Highway 51 to be rented by Mercer Industries (May 7, 1959). Mercer Industries was comprised of Mermaid Marine Co. and Hill Archery Corp. This is likely the same Mermaid Marine found listed at Manitowish, Wisconsin. According to a Feb. 28, 1960 article in the Milwaukee Sentinel, Harold P. Redding was president of Hill Archery and Mermaid Marine.

At the time of the article, he sought capitol to form the Rhinelander Marine Manufacturing Co., Inc. at Rhinelander, Wisconsin. This was to be another boat manufacturing firm. It found capitol from the Rhinelander Development Corp. and Arthur Boelter and Thomas Wilson of Lac du Flambeau with operations beginning in summer 1960. A fire destroyed the former vocational school building housing the business on January 3, 1961. Redding was later charged and convicted of pocketing a $1,185 order and accused of illegally transferring four boat molds to his Hill Archery factory in Mercer (Apr. 11, 1960, Feb. 2, 1961, and Mar. 13, 1963, The Milwaukee Sentinel)

History By Andreas Jordahl Rhude

28 October 2010

Glass Fab, Inc. began making fiberglass boats in the spring of 1965 at New London, Wisconsin. The firm was incorporated on 08 December 1964. The boat manufacturer got its start when investors in the Waupaca/New London area bought the assets of Mercer Boat which had been located in northwestern Wisconsin at Mercer. Ted Barth was at the helm of Mercer Boat.

A later business, Mercer Marine Company was advertising in 1968 issues of Wonderful Wisconsin by Wisconsin Vacationland, Inc.

Mercer Boat Company, Inc. filed incorporation papers with the State of Wisconsin on 26 January 1959. Incorporators were Theodore and Verna Barth and Basil Cimaglio. The company filed statement of intent to dissolve on 16 April 1965. Directors at that time were: Theodore Barth; Mark E. Brandt; August Fierek; Herman Jerger; and Ted Szafraniec.

The company went as far back as 1954 and advertised "MercerCraft fiberglass boats" and "new boats out of old boats with fiberglass". Ted and Verna Barth were also involved with Lakeside Resort at Mercer.

In 1960 the boat company made 1,200 gallon fiberglass storage tanks for a winery. In 1963 something called "Mercer Fiberglass pPoducts Co., A Division of Mercer Boat Co." was making fiberglass grain storage bins. Ted Barth was president.

Apparently this company ceased to operate in 1965.

A new company was established at Mercer, WI in 1970 to make fiberglass boats called Mercer Industries, Inc. It had no affiliation with the previous boat builder. Small fishing boats were the first product of Mercer Industries. They eventually expanded into runabouts. Chester A. Haines and Louis A. Russell headed the firm. In 1972 the company leased a former mine company building at Hurley, WI as a boat assembly plant.

In the Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe newspaper of 06 April 1972 Mercer Industries was advertising for three women workers to join the fiberglass department.

By 1974 the boat operation was defunct and the building was owned by Thompson Boat Co. of Peshtigo, WI according to a newspaper report. In 1978 the former boat factory became site of a sawmill.

Mercer Boats in Use

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