The Barrel Business
In Borshivka, near Tetiev, Sam Klausner
had become a cooper - he made wooden barrels. He had a
barrel-making business in the yard of his house, taught
his sons the trade and also employed others.
Sam and his sons Nathan and Ben began by
peddling used barrels. In 1923 Sam Klausner started Klausner Cooperage with a small shop near their home on East 51st Avenue
near Woodland Avenue. Son Jake would soon join them. With Nathan and Ben leading
the way and Jake supervising manufacturing, the business grew rapidly. It moved to 5207 Grant Avenue in
where it had more land, better transportation for the
oak coming in and the finished barrels being shipped out.
Bea Gray, Nathan
Klausner's daughter, writes:
Klausner Cooperage office was on Grant
Avenue in Newburgh Heights, though I can't
remember the address. I worked there in the
early forties, in the office .... made $35 a
week, but being the boss's daughter, my
father took me to lunch every day.
The factory was adjacent to
the office in the rear. It had a railroad
siding and every night it was my job to give
directions to the engineer of the railroad
as to where the loaded railroad cars were to
At its peak the business
had 75 to 100 hundred employees. There were
three in the office, a head stenographer, me
and another girl. Then there were three
private offices, of which one was in used by
my father (Nathan) and my uncle Ben, Uncle
Jake was mostly in the factory.
Cooperage's oak barrels were being sold to major
distillers and sales were good, even during
prohibition (1920 to 1933) and through the
Depression years too.
An old business
management about 1935
Nathan (President), Jake (supervised
manufacturing), Sam and Ben (Vice President)
In 1910 Sam Klausner and sons Ben and Nathan were
This 1930 trade journal ad shows how far they had
come in just 20 years.
For them, America, Cleveland in particular, had been
Die Goldene Medina.
In the Klausner
barrel factory, about 1930
Cooperage, an aerial view
The smokestack proclaiming KLAUSNER could be
seen for miles.
Street View from
Today the KLAUSNER stack, the railroad track and the
building on the right are
This newspaper story, published after 1945, reports
that the company
employed 250 persons and
shipped 1,000 barrels a day.
Klausner Cooperage's business declined in
the 1950's. The company turned its interest to making
oak stair treads and then ceased operating in the early
Continue to a page
with more on each of the nine children.