New Bremen Cement Products Company

The Cement Products Company was one of the new manufacturing enterprises for New Bremen on South Herman Street, next to the Municipal Light & Water plant. The factory was formerly located at Chickasaw (Chickasaw Cement & Tile Co.) and had been in successful operation there for some years when the abandonment of the D.T.& C. railroad left that village without transportation facilities.

The business was located at the site of the former handle factory in the southwest end of town. The buildings were remodeled and a spacious dry kiln was erected for proper drying treatment of the product as it left the machines. The firm was able to turn out the 3”-12” concrete drain tiles at the rate of 3,000 a day, while the 15” tile was made by a somewhat slower process.

Cement blocks, depending on size and kind, were made at the rate of 350-1700 a day, while the concrete grave vaults were manufactured at a slower rate, requiring so much more labor and material. The demand, however, never required them in great quantities.

All the products of the company were dried in the large steam kiln where they were given a thorough 3-day treatment, insuring firmness as well as adhesiveness of the ingredients.

The stock in this firm was owned to a great extent by the Niekamp family. Manager Julius J. Niekamp and his force of helpers were enthusiastic in their enterprise. The large piles of sand and limestone and the stacks of cement disappeared as if by magic when the shovels and the mixer began to work feeding the forming machine. The Cement Products Co. proved a valuable adjunct to New Bremen’s list of worthy manufacturing enterprises. (N.B. Sun – 8/4/1922, 10/11/1923)

The 1933 Sanborn maps show the New Bremen Tile & Cement Block Co. at 321 South Herman St., just south of the light & water plant, at the end of Boesel St. They were listed as manufacturers of “C.B. Specialties”.

These cement products were “colored” by adding crushed glass to the concrete. The blue crushed glass came from Vicks jars, the green from 7-up bottles, and the red & yellow flecks were various medicine bottles, etc. These glass items were gathered by New Bremen’s children and taken to the Cement Products Co. to be crushed.

This building was built by Herbert Schulenberg beside his Lilly White Gas Station at the corner of Washington & Monroe Streets in September of 1920. In December, it was moved to the west side of the Monroe Street bridge and (as shown here) occupied space partly on the canal bank and partly on beams extending out over the canal bed at the southwest corner of the bridge. The transfer was made across the bridge at night after Western Ohio (interurban) traffic had ceased for the day. The building was later moved to South Herman Street for the use of the Cement Products Company.

[Articles taken from “The Towpath” – July 2005]