Anton Brotz was a
natural born mechanic, technician, and engineer who spent his entire
working life in the engineering department of the Kohler
Corporation. Born in Sheboygan, Brotz seemed to always be building
something, he built his own automobile in 1902.
Famed aviator Lincoln
Beachey was the first pilot to fly over Sheboygan in 1912 and Brotz
was there. A decade later, at age 44, Anton Brotz completed pilot
training in Chicago, brought home his first airplane - a war surplus
Standard - and established Sheboygan's first airport.
In 1927, he accepted
the invitation of Walter Kohler to develop an airport in the Village
of Kohler and advised him on the purchase of a Ryan 'Brougham'
aircraft. The aircraft was aptly named, Village of Kohler. Later,
making 104 flights across Wisconsin in 80 days, covering 7,280
miles, helped elect Mr. Kohler as "The Flying Governor" of
Wisconsin" in 1928.
high-altitude flight, Brotz refitted his open-cockpit Woodson
Express biplane with a Wright J-5 'Whirlwind' engine and flew it to
over 18,000 feet. When his son-in-law, Felix Waitkus, made a
successful attempt to fly his Lockheed Vega solo across the
Atlantic, Brotz had been there helping to prepare the aircraft for
its long over-water journey.
Anton Brotz retired
from aviation when the Kohler Airport closed in 1936. He is
remembered as the founding father of aviation in the Sheboygan area
and of a family of aviators whose accomplishments he inspired.
Anton designed and built this car,
ca 1904(submitted photo)
Anton Brotz was Kohler Village President for 20 years