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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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LOETSCHER, Emil. (Dubuque, IA, Oct. 7, 1876--Dubuque, IA, Apr. 4, 1938). The son of Christian LOETSCHER, one of the founders of the FARLEY AND LOETSCHER MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Emil attended Cornell University from which he graduated in 1899 with degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering. (1)

He worked for the Midvale Steel Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then the Pittsburgh Coal Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1902 he moved west to work with the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company. After his marriage in 1903, he returned to Dubuque where he was one of the executives of the Loetscher-Ryan Company. He moved to the Farley and Loetscher Company around 1914 and served as a superintendent. (2)

In the eight years before his death, Emil was primarily concerned in research work in the factory. He was a leader in the introduction of plastics to the millwork industry and was responsible for the development of Farlite, a synthetic laminated sheet and Lithowood, a wooden door. (3) On September 14, 1914 he received a patent for a clothes iron that distributed heat all over the surface, but concentrated it at the edges and points. (4)



1. "Emil Loetscher Dies Suddenly," Telegraph Herald, April 4, 1938, p. 1

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Loetscher, Carole. Wood: The History of Farley & Loetscher Manufacturing Company Once the Largest Millwork Company in the World, 2017, p. 48