Ferdinand Schlesinger, Industrialist

Ferdinand Schlesinger was a wealthy Milwaukee industrialist who in the late 1800's owned mines in the upper peninsula of Michigan, as well as a railroad, ore docks, ore hauling ships and iron and steel manufacturing properties.

Schlesinger controlled many of these companies through his Steel and Tube Company of America. His nickname in the media was "the iron king".

His investment in the region began about 1887. His empire became financially unstable during the panic of 1893. He rebuit it and upon his death in 1920 his holdings were liquidated for $7 million

Mines included the Chapin (Iron Mountain), Dunn and Iron River (Iron River), Youngstown (Crystal Falls), Colby and Newport Mine [Ironwood], Anvil-Palms Mine [Anvil], the Queen group of mines (Buffalo, South Buffalo, Prince of Wales, and Queens) near Negaunee, and Florence (Wisconsin) mines. In 1892, Mr. Schlesinger was reported to be the largest producer of iron ore in the world. The M. A. Hanna Company, a mining agent, was affiliated with Schlesinger.

Schlesinger built the Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Western railroad which became known as the "Schlesinger line" from Antoine (one mile north of Iron Mountain) to Escanaba. Docks at Escanaba were also built. This line was built in 1890 but leased to the Chicago & Northwestern railroad in May, 1891 [MRL], becoming the C&NW "Ore Line".  Schlesinger also graded a line from Antoine west to Florence, WI where he owned a mine, but it was apparently not completed.

His interests also included the Milwaukee Coke and Gas Company, and the Milwaukee Solvay Coke Company.

Born in 1850, he was succeeded upon his death in 1921 by his son, Armin A. Schlesinger. At the time of his death, his fortune was estimated at $40 million but was actually about $7 million.

[IDG/EDP/BH-various dates]