At the Dawn of the XXth Century: the Kruger Spark
In the early 1900s, Joseph Kruger, a New York City paper merchant, settled in Montréal with his wife, Nettie, and their first child, Gene Henry Kruger, still a toddler at the time. Joseph planned to continue his career in the booming city of Montréal where the first vehicles were starting to roll down the streets.
The First Steps: Kruger Paper Company Limited
He founded Kruger Paper Company Limited in 1904 and incorporated it in 1921. The company’s offices were located on McGill Street, in what is now known as Old Montréal. His distribution business of Canadian-made paper targeted local printers and graphic arts companies.
THE SECOND GENERATION AND THE ALUMINIUM ADVENTURE
Joseph Kruger died suddenly of a heart attack in 1927 and his son, Gene, who was just 25 at the time, took the helm of the business. Bernard, his younger brother, joined him later.
Gene was a surprisingly astute businessman with strength of character, while his extroverted brother Bill had an innate sense of customer service. Together, they were a formidable duo and a powerhouse brotherly alliance that secured the family business’ success for decades to come.
When World War II broke out, the Kruger brothers ventured into aluminium, founding numerous companies and acquiring several others, primarily in Québec. They manufactured various residential, industrial and even military products and they implemented innovative processes.
The Kruger brothers, who had decided to focus on the pulp and paper industry, sold all of their aluminium companies to Reynolds Aluminium International in the early 1960s. One of those companies, Aluminum Extruders, dominated the Canadian market at the time and was considered the world’s largest privately held manufacturer of aluminium profiles.
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