William E. Urschel, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of William E. Urschel

WILLIAM E. URSCHEL was born in Wabash County, Indiana, on April 6, 1880, the son of Andrew and Maria (Evans) Urschel, both of whom were natives of Ohio and in 1879 removed to Wabash County, Indiana, where they engaged in farming and here Andrew Urschel also taught school. To their marriage were born the following children: Clay, Maggie, Cora, William E., and Myrtle. William E. attended the schools of Wabash County, and the University of Valparaiso where he completed the course in fine arts in 1901. He supplemented this with post-graduate work, and attended the Art Institute of Chicago for three terms specializing in landscape and portrait painting. He was endowed with the requisite appreciation in that line of painting, and soon his canvasses attracted favorable attention; they were shown in many art exhibits, and a number of times received honorable mention. Entering the commercial field, he became a designer in the Lakeside Studio of Chicago for two years, and in 1907 he turned to machinery designing. His first achievement in this field was the invention of a gooseberry snipper, an ingenious machine for the purpose of removing stems and blossom ends from gooseberries. Other inventions quickly followed, such as cherry stemmers, currant cleaners, onion toppers, and cranberry cleaners. Perhaps his most noted invention is the bean snipper which revolutionized the method of handling beans for canning. It will be seen by a review of these inventions what a wonderful contribution Mr. Urschel has made to the canning industry; in the economy of time, in sanitary handling, and accelerated production, he has perhaps revolutionized the entire bean canning industry. It has not, however, been without proportionate recompense to his efforts, and on the beansnipper alone he has today received more than $200,000 royalties. Other inventions affecting the selection of beans are his bean grader which grades the beans into five different sizes, and the bean cutter which cuts green beans into small pieces for canning. He is now developing a bean harvesting machine for gathering green and wax beans from the field. It seems that Mr. Urschel has a profound anticipation of the wants of certain lines of manufacturing. To say the least, his achievements show a remarkable versatility; to meet the demands of the fish cannery he created the sardine decapitator, and later developed an Eskimo pie machine which cuts and dips Eskimo pies and other ice cream confections. The various devices are manufactured and marketed by three concerns: the Eskimo Pie Corporation of Louisville, Kentucky; Chisholm-Ryder Company, of Niagara Falls, New York, and the Scott-Viner Company of Columbus, Ohio, all with suitable royalty arrangements. Mr. Urschel does his research work and conducts his business under the name of "The Urschel Laboratories." This, of course, embraces many intricate machines and devices for experimental purposes; the building covers a floor space of 10,000 square feet, and was built on substantial lines and ideas suggested by Mr. Urschel. While having a multitude of duties as one may well surmise from a review of these activities, Mr. Urschel has nevertheless found time during his sixteen years of residence in Valparaiso to enter into the general social and community life of this city. He has attained a great measure of personal popularity, and as an active member of the Chamber of Commerce has been of inestimable value in the civic affairs of this city. Mr. Urschel was united in marriage with Ruth, daughter of Winton and Della Richards of North Manchester, Indiana, on August 20, 1910; to their marriage were born four children: Joseph, Gerald, Kenneth, and Esther, who died in infancy. Mr. Urschel's religious affiliation is with the Christian Church; he is a member of the Kiwanis Club; Chamber of Commerce; Country Club; and the National Canning Machinery Association. He is vice president of the Scott-Viner Company and also vice president of the Citizens Savings and Trust Company.

Source: Cannon, Thomas H., H. H. Loring, and Charles J. Robb. 1927. History of the Lake and Calumet Region of Indiana Embracing the Counties of Lake, Porter and Laporte. Volume II. Indianapolis, Indiana: Historians' Association. 827 p.
Page(s) in Source: 634-635

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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