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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.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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R. S. BACON VENEER COMPANY. The R.S. Bacon Veneer Co. was founded by Robert S. Bacon in 1898 in Chicago, Illinois. The company continued to grow with direct connections in Europe and Russia until the outbreak of WORLD WAR I. Robert Bacon sold the company in 1921 to Robert Scott who held it until his death in 1928. Upon his death, Scott’s family sold Bacon Veneer to Joseph F. Mertes. The 1930s saw Bacon Veneer grow considerably.

In 1937 George Wilhelm joined Bacon Veneer. His leadership and innovation led Bacon Veneer to become a leader of the veneer business. Wilhelm invented grooved decorative hardwood plywood paneling, called Panawall, which grew rapidly in the plywood business. By 1957 Bacon produced 15,000 square feet of paneling per day and employed 125 people.

After being vice president for many years, George Wilhelm and four partners bought Bacon Veneer on March 1, 1963. In 1965 operations for Bacon Veneer were moved to Dubuque, Iowa on Jackson Street. The Panawall division was sold, as was the Augusta warehouse location and the headquarters was moved to Hillside, Illinois just outside Chicago. In 1981 a warehouse was bought in Grundy Center, Iowa and in 1984 all production was moved to that location. Sales offices remained outside Chicago in Hillside, Illinois as well as in Calgary, Alberta.

The 1964 through 1985 Dubuque City Directory listed Jackson Street at the address.