Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

Harvard Business School Baker Library Historical Collections

Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Milwaukee Gas Light Company - Lehman Brothers Collection

Milwaukee Gas Light Company

List of Deals

The Milwaukee Gas Light Company was a public utility company that delivered natural gas to customers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and its environs. The company manufactured and distributed natural gas for use in heating, cooking, and industry. The company was a subsidiary of American Light & Traction, later called American Natural Gas Company. Other subsidiaries of American included Michigan Consolidated Gas, Michigan Wisconsin Pipe Line, American Louisiana Pipe Line, and Milwaukee Solvay Coke. American Light & Traction opened for business in 1901.

Revenues for Milwaukee Gas Light Company remained flat or negative from 1929 through 1945. In 1943 the company had 780,000 customers. American Light & Traction built a large pipeline project from Louisiana to Detroit in the postwar years. The pipeline allowed Milwaukee Gas Light to add 30,500 new gas customers and to serve 250,000 total households in 1957. Revenues had been $6.9 million in 1942; in 1957 total American Natural Gas revenues were $31.3 million, and American Natural Gas revenues hit $292.3 million by 1962.

Milwaukee Gas Light Company is perhaps best known for its Milwaukee Gas Light Building, the Art Deco corporate headquarters the company built in 1930 in Milwaukee. The neon “flame” on top of the building was designed to promote natural gas heat; at the same time it announces the predicted Milwaukee weather by its color.

The Milwaukee Gas Light Company changed its name to Wisconsin Gas Company in 1966. The company subsequently became a subsidiary of WICOR, Wisconsin Electric, and then We Energies. 

Note: The deal book contains little historical information, but it does describe an indenture to Mellon National Bank and D.A. Hazlett. The original indenture took place in 1950 and was revised several times through 1964. Also note that the Lehman Collection holds a deal book for Michigan Consolidated Gas, another subsidiary of American Natural Gas Company. There is an accompanying company history for Michigan Consolidated Gas on this web site.

Harvard Business School Harvard Business School Baker Library Histrorical Collections