149 Waubesa St. Built 1903 Astylistic Utilitarian Building Madison Landmark National Register
34,000 Square Feet, Cream City Brick, Two rows of upper clerestory windows maximize light and
ventilation at the time when those things weren't done mechanically
Example of a one-story production shed, a turn-of-the-century, industrial architectural style.
The building originally was built with heavy timber, but when Kupfer took over, they took salvaged
bridges, sometimes assembling and riveting pieces together, and created a steel structure within
the wood structure. It allowed them to remove some of the columns and create more open space for
the large pieces it manufactured.
The 320-foot-long steel gantry, or crane, is still at the back of the building. It was used to load
and unload railroad cars and trucks.
In 1906, Joseph Steinle and his son, George, leased the building when they broke off from the
Gisholt Machine Co. and went into business as the Steinle Turret Lathe Co., making machines
invented by the younger Steinle for manufacturing metal parts. The business boomed, leading to
additions in 1910, 1916 and 1920.
The building was vacant for a time in the 1930s until Theo. Kupfer Foundry and Ironworks expanded
and opened a second plant here in 1940. They were the longest inhabitant of the building and had
a part in the construction of many steel buildings and bridges in Madison and elsewhere, including
the frame for the Dane County Coliseum, decorative castings for the Mount Horeb Opera House, the
monkey cages at the Henry Vilas Zoo, and the Tenney Park footbridge. In 1985 Kupfer closed
Durline Scales and Manufacturing bought the building in 1990 to manufacture truck scales. In 2003,
Durline was bought out by B-Tek of Ohio and the operation was moved to Rockford.
Also at one time home of American Shredder Co., which manufactured farm equipment.