Pohlman Studios Records, 1936-1997

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains nitrate and safety film negatives, some prints, and a few lantern slides taken by Pohlman Studios, Milwaukee. The negatives range in size from 35mm to 8" x 10". The studio, founded in 1919, specialized in commercial photography. The bulk of the images were taken in the 1950s-1970s. Many images were used in company catalogs and depict products manufactured by industrial firms. They also include images of the facilities, people, and machinery used in the production of industrial goods.

The collection includes images from many prominent regional manufacturers, such as: Allis-Chalmers (agricultural implements and machinery), Amity Leather Co. (wallets, purses, etc.), Bear Automotive (automobile repair), Blackhawk Co. (hydraulic jacks), Chain Belt, Inc. (industrial chains), Evinrude Motors (outboard motors), Falk Corp. (industrial gears), Globe Union Co. (automobile batteries), J.I. Case (agricultural machinery), Johnson Service Co. (thermostats), Koehring Co. (cranes), Manpower, Inc. (temporary employment), Master Lock (padlocks), Milwaukee Electric Tool Co. (power tools), Murphy Diesel Co. (diesel engines), Oster Manufacturing Co. (small kitchen appliances), Waukesha Engine Co. (diesel engines), West Bend Co. (stainless steel cookware), and others.

The Blackhawk Manufacturing Company is especially well represented in the collection. Images of this company range from the 1930s through the 1970s. There are especially fine images taken during World War II (1941-1945). These photographs document a wide range of company activities unique to that period: blood drives, bond drives, Red Cross rallies, special advertising, and labor management committees. They also depict more common activities such as bowling leagues, holiday parties, sales conventions, and product images.

The collection contains images Pohlman took for advertising agencies (work for hire). These images show products as they appeared in print ads. The studio worked with many agencies including Al Herr, Ads Inc., Andrews-Mautner, Bader-Rutter, E.F. Schmidt Co., Eisenberg Studios, Geer-Murray Co., Hartwig Display, Hoffman, York, Ken Schmidt, and Ray Klug Studios, among others.

Pohlman Studios was founded in 1919 and existed until the late 1990s. The collection is also valuable because it documents the company's existence. It includes images of buildings that housed the business, studios and sets within those buildings, staff, equipment, and advertising.