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Louis A. Iten 1838-1904


Posted By: Michael J. Kearney (email)
Date: 8/2/2002 at 12:30:16

Wolfe's History of Clinton Co. 1911 p. 1078-1080 At the present time one of the largest and most substantial business industries of Clinton is that of the L. Iten & Sons Company, the proprietors of the Snow White Bakery, whose products have by their excellence gained a wide reputation and sale in several states. The rapid growth of this business is due to the principles upon which it was founded by Louis Iten, which, carefully followed by himself during his lifetime, and by his sons since his death, have brought to the company deserved success. Louis Iten was born in Unteragi, canton Zug, Switzerland, in August, 1838, the son of John Iten, who was born in the same place in 1806. In the was of 1830 John Iten was a lieutenant in the French army and a member of the Swiss bodyguard of Louis Philippe. In 1850 he came with his family to America and located in Milwaukee, where he spent the remainder of his life. Louis Iten began his education in his native town and completed it in Genesee, Illinois. IN 1857 he went to Davenport, Iowa, and engaged in the vinegar business with his uncle, with whom he continued until 1863. Then he formed a partnership with W. Smith, which continued until 1867, when he discontinued his former business to engage in the making of crackers, which he followed during the remainder of his life. In 1892 Mr. Iten came to Clinton and started the L. Iten & sons Cracker Company of Clinton, in a building forty by one hundred and ninety feet in size. In this factory crackers and cookies were made and sold throughout this section of the country, the high quality of the goods creating a demand that soon taxed the capacity of the little factory. Through all the years this firm manufactured crackers and cookies, one feature of the business was ever uppermost in the mind of its owner - keep the factory clean. Under ideal conditions of sanitation and through the use of only the best materials money could buy, the business of this little factory grew and flourished, until, in 1905, a factory measuring one hundred and forty by one hundred and seventy-five feet, three stories and a basement, giving a total of about seventy thousand square feet of space, was a necessity. A model in factory construction is the Snow White bakery. It is built so that at no time can any other building be erected close to it, and this allows ample light and plenty of air at all times. The building is surrounded by streets on the north, west and south; to the east is the broad Mississippi river, with it constant breezes, and this forms an ideal location for a factory manufacturing food products. The prominent idea in the construction of this factory was the one which has been ever foremost in the minds of the proprietors since the establishment of the business - that is, to insure a system of sanitation which would at all times make it as clean and healthful as the most exacting critic could demand, as cleas as the best housewife keeps her kitchen, and they have obtained this feature at great expense. The building is kept constantly ventilated by an enormous fan, which forces air through big pipes to all parts of the building, and this air is purified before entering the building by passing through an air washer, so that it contains no dirt or impurities. The water used is from an artesian well one thousand one hundred and eighty feet deep, the most exacting cleanliness is required from employees and the machinery is new and cleanly and of the latest type. Truely this is a "snow white bakery." The products of the Snow White Bakery are no more distinguished by their absolute cleanliness, than they are for the class of materials from which they are made. The flour, lard, honey, sugar, molasses, chocolate and all other constituent materials are of the best value which money can buy. As the proprietors of the bakery are glad to allow the public to witness the exceptional conditions under which their products are made, it is open to visitors during working hours. The above description of the methods and ideals which have animated the proprietors of the Snow White Bakery, which were firmly laid down and consistently worked out by Louis Iten, sufficiently accounts for the phenomenal success of the L. Iten & Sons' biscuits and crackers. Mr. Iten was a far seeing man in all business affairs, and one who recognized that the best way to establish a profitable business was to found it upon the rule of giving to his customers the best obtainable, and of making the best to be better still, if possible. The results justified his sagacity. In his fraternal relations Mr. Iten was a member of the Union League and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He was married in 1861 to Theresa Ziegler, of Rock Island, Illinois. To this union were born seven children: John J., Anna M., Louis C., Lizzie G., William F., Frank J. and Sadie M. Louis Iten died on September 14, 1906, and his sons, Frank J., Louis C. and John J. are now carring on the operations of the company which he established. Louis Iten was a man who took much interest in the affairs of the community and was ever ready to assist in whatever promised the betterment of the city. Generous and philanthropic, he had many friends among all classes, and was loved and respected by his employees, of whom he was always considerate. His career is an eminent example of success won by an immigrant to this country, through his ability and perseverance.


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