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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.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Library of Congress
History in the "baking.(donuts)" Photo courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/ykyguidiiyr/

TRAUSCH BAKING COMPANY. Established in 1907 as the John P. Trausch Baking Company, the firm remained family owned until 1976. (1) One of Dubuque's first bakeries to make a complete line of baked goods, the company unveiled Iowa's first donut-making machine on February 6, 1929. In 1930 the company produced nine varieties of white bread and eight dark breads with Sweetheart being the biggest seller--either sliced or unsliced. The same trade name was applied to rolls, doughnuts, pastries and cakes. The five leading varieties of cake were--walnut fluff, scotch layer, chocolate dessert ring, coconut layer, and devil's food layer. (2)

Trausch Baking Company was established as JOHN P. TRAUSCH in 1907.

The 1915 Dubuque City Directory listed 1108 Iowa as the address.

The 1922 and 1929 Dubuque City Directory listed 1130 Iowa.

The 1934 Dubuque City Directory listed 19-31 Main.

The 1937 through 1989 Dubuque Consurvey Directory listed 25 S. Main.

The company was originally operated by Trausch, his wife and one employee. Deliveries were confined to the city, and bread was the main product. In 1926 William CLEMENS, Sr., joined the firm as a manager. He was intrigued by the possibilities being realized in the baking industry by wrapping bread. Previously bread had been sold unwrapped. This severely restricted the distribution area to generally within only the immediate city. Wrapped bread could be sold over a much wider area with a resulting increase in profit to the bakery. The company grew to distributing throughout the tri-state area with more than one hundred routes. (3)

Advertising trivet for the Trausch Baking Company. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

Clemens became a partner of John P. and Arthur Trausch in 1930. This partnership survived until 1957 when the company was incorporated, and Clemens became the president. Upon his retirement in 1964, Clemens sold his interest in the company back to the Trausch family.

In 1976 the company was sold to the G. Heileman Brewing Company. At the time the company had 350 employees and sales of $12 million annually. The reason for the sale was that the company was producing at capacity would would need to build a new $7.5 million plant. The acquisition also gave the employees job security and opportunities for advancement. Heileman, the nation's eighth largest brewer, entered the bakery business in 1970. The purchase of Trausch would make the fourth acquisition for the company which expected to make $40 million once the purchase was final. (4) Trausch became part of METZ BAKING COMPANY headquartered in Sioux City.

Photo courtesy: Library of Congress

In 1987 the Trausch Baking Company produced of Sunbeam, Hillbilly and Peter Pan bread. In addition to offices and the plant in Dubuque, the company had sales and distribution centers in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Burlington, Ottumwa, in Iowa; Monroe and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin; and Moline and Rock Falls, Illinois. The company was a member of the Quality Bakers of America, a cooperative owned and operated by 150 members. In that year G. Heileman Brewing, the owner of Trausch Baking Company, announced that Bond Corp. Holdings Ltd. could sell the baking operations of the G. Heileman Brewing Company three years after the merger of the companies.

Deck of advertising playing cards. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

In May 1988 the sale, including the Trausch Company, was completed to RT Holding, SA, a family-owned firm based in Belgium and one of Europe's leading sugar producers. In 1999 the bakery, part of METZ BAKING COMPANY, became part of the St. Louis-based Earthgrains Company. Earthgrains was acquired by the Sara Lee Corporation in 2001. In late 2010 the financially weak Sara Lee Corporation was purchased by Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican baking company which then became the largest baker in the United States. All 140 Dubuque employees kept their jobs. (5)

Fleet of delivery trucks circa 1930. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Advertising/delivery truck for the Trausch Baking Company. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Trausch bread wrapper
An toy top advertising that this brand is "tops." Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Bread wrapper
Business envelope



1. Bergstrom, Kathy. "Former Baking Company Owner, Trausch, 66, Dies," Telegraph Herald, December 19, 1997, p. 3A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19971219&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. "Trausch Bakes 17 Kinds of Bread," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, August 24, 1930, p. 7

3. G. Heileman Brewing Acquires Trausch Baking," Telegraph Herald, August 22, 1976, p. 18

4. Ibid.

5. Schmidt, Eilen Mozinski, "Local Bakery Completes Transition to New Owner," Telegraph Herald, September 21, 2012, p. 3A