Munising Woodenware Company History
The woodenware started in 1896 in Kalkaska. From there it moved to Munising. The company had a contract with the U.S. government during World War 1 to make tent spikes. The factory filled boxcars daily full of wood to be sold all over the world.
In 1908 Milton Bong and John Cavilck started a woodenware company in Munising. It consisted of eight buildings. The company started very quickly. It was the largest company of its kind in the world. It had a catalog of over four-hundred items. Some pieces became collectors items. They also employed over two-hundred people. Workers put in eleven hour days from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.. Those were the hours right up until 1930 when federal laws required companies to have two shifts: 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m..
Starting pay was 25 cents an hour. The next step up in pay would be 30 cents. This was for the boss and manager type people. The federal government said no over time and forty hours a week. The idea was to increase jobs, but then the depression hit. The wages went way down. Women worked on a piece bases. Clothes pins cost about 15 cents a granny sack Women made thousands of clothes pins a day. The company had stood right up until 1962.