Friday, March 23, 2007

Stormy Kromer Open Thread

*I just received this urgent missive from UB:
I don't know why I received the following e-mail, but it's perhaps that I researched the name a bit 1 - 2 years ago. I don't know if you know who Stormy Kromer is. He's a Kaukauna name from the first half of the 1900's. He was a railroad man who needed a warm cap when working the railroad yard. His wife made him a wool cap, with ear flaps. The cap worked so well, and his co-workers liked it so much, that his wife made caps for them also.
I remember that your Grandfather Lyle A. owned one. When the cap resurrected a few years ago, I researched the full story, found out where the caps were being marketed, phoned a hardware store in Oostburg, found out that they had one cap left. Would you believe that it was just the color I was looking for, and in my exact size? They had it waiting for me when I arrived, nicely packaged in a brown kraft bag. I love the cap; when I wear it George has found another reason to ignore me, the lady at the Post Office calls me Elmer Fudd, and I think of Johnny Carson doing one of his skits while he was wearing a cap like that. Like I said, I have no idea what the piece is to be about this evening, and we will be out of town. But I am taping that half hour. You may have to get several thousand of your closest friends to vote for Stormy. As one of our elite Kaukauna historians, you may want to watch the show. Also, when I checked out Stormy a few years ago, I just googled, and there he was. UB
----- Original Message ----- From: Stormy Kromer To: UB Sent: Friday, March 23, 2007 12:09 AM Subject: Stormy Kromer Needs Your Vote! Watch CBS News 3/23 Want to learn more about the phenomenon that is Stormy Kromer? Friday evening, March 23, tune in to the CBS Evening News at 6:30 pm Eastern/ 5:30pm Central and watch Assignment America with Steve Hartman. You’ll see three short stories from around the US, of which Stormy Kromer’s will be one. You’ll then have the opportunity to vote for your favorite (ahem…Stormy Kromer) at: CBS will tape a full segment on the favorite story, to be aired on a subsequent show. So watch, vote, and keep your fingers crossed and noggin warm, and we might just do it! We’ll certainly keep you posted and let you know when to watch if we do win.

*This seems like a good time to open a Kaukauna Area Historical Society Stormy Kromer thread. Tell us your own story in the COMMENTS or an email about the best cap ever, your Kromer domer!

TD comes through with some George "Stormy" Kromer clippings:

(at left)
George Kromer (Catcher) and Harry Frambach (Pitcher) were hired on to the Kaukauna Baseball team in 1897.
George was 21 at this time and Harry Frambach was 29.
Harry Frambach and John Stoveken Jr. were first cousins and born 2 years apart.
Harry is the son of Henry Frambach and was working at the Badger Paper Mill Between 1887-1897 as an accountant until 1902 when he moved to Cheboygan, MI with his father to operate the new Cheboygan Paper Mill being built by the Frambach family.

(below - the wedding announcement of George Kromer & Miss Ida Homan)

(Base Ball Trouble
or Stormy's Got
a Temper)

(Don't Call It A Comeback)
(K-town Kaps?)


CAL said...

Jim S. is a big Kromer fan – he’s been up to their current plant and talked with the current owners The library has a box of a variety of the contemporary Kromer caps and their brochures and catalogs.
The Kaukauna Public Library also has several copies of the Little Golden Book about Stormy called, I think, “Railroad Bill.”

Tom D. said...

I have done a little bit of Stormy's genealogy and found out that he was a catcher on the Kaukauna Baseball team. Henry Frambach's son was the Pitcher at the same time. My Great Great Uncle was also married to a Kromer and If I remember right it was George Kromer's sister. I am sure I can dig up the clippings.

KC said...

As a lifelong wearer of the woolen cranial warmer, I take exception to all the tasteless louts who would
equate the "Kromer Blizzard Kap" with that "wascawwy wabbit" chaser's choice of chapeaux. Mind you, Mr. Fudd is a long standing hero of mine, if only for his persistence. But his top knotted cap, lacking the (patented?) six panel dome construction of the genuine article, is clearly not of Kromer lineage. The sleek lines of the "Blizzard Kap" are befitting of a much more stylish fop.

By the way, the title of the Little Golden Book is "Mr. Puffer-Bill".


Anonymous said...

My grandfather's brother was "Stormy Kromer". My son almost always wears a winter Stormy and in the summer, the cotton Kromer Cap. He has many colors and fabrics of each hat. I had a green & black fabric that I had gotten from my Grandma Kromer in my storage bins. When my sons and I went up to the factory in Ironwood, MI, I had Bob Jacquart and his employees make up some "Stormys" from this factory. I don't believe caps were ever made from this fabric. I'm sure it was a sample of fabric from a woolen fabric company. My son & father appeared in a Kaukauna Times edition of the newspaper (2001) wearing their caps. It was in the 100th year of making "Stormys". My father remembers Stormy very well. He was his Godfather along with being his uncle.

Bob J said...

Greetings...I am the owner of the Stormy Kromer Mercantile in Ironwood, MI. Just talked to Jim S and thought I would say hi. I am having a blast bringing this hat back to life including just gettting Lambeau Field Licensing. If you are ever in the area, we give tours everyday at 1:30. You can contact us at if you have any SK news to share and we can start doing the same
All the best to all of you
Bob Jacquart

Anonymous said...

Where in Kaukauna did Stormy Kromer live?

Kaukauna Area Historical Society said...

In 1880, I found a 3-year old George Kromer living in the Town of Buchanan. As of June of 1900 and April of 1910, he is living with his wife, Ida, on 8th Street. By 1920, Stormy and Ida have moved to Milwaukee.

Lisa said...

I have found some unworn cotton Kromer Klean Kloth Kaps that I belive are from the 1960s. They were made in a cotton canvas and are a baseball style with small bill. They are red with white polka dots, green w/ white polka dot and yellow w/ white polka dot. I even have a childs Kromer Kap ( Kromer Jr ) in a USA print red, white and blue fabric. They are fabulous! Is this the same company?

Milty said...

I used to buy Kromer Kleen Kloth Kaps in the late 60's early 70's. They were cotton with a bib used for welding and stated that they were union made. I looked here hoping the company still existed so as to buy more. any info would be appreciated my email is

Anonymous said...

I grew-up on 14th Street in Kaukauna in the 60's & 70's and recall that Stormy Kromer lived at Rose Nursing Home near the Kaukauna Community Hospital. He was seen walking along the side of the road in front of Rose's daily. I recall generally that he was known as a retired professional ball player and that he had designed a cap but I thought it had been some modification to a baseball cap. The Tonight Show's bit by Johnny Carson wearing what appeared to be a "Stormy Kromer" brought comments like: "That looks like the hats we wear around here."

Scott Stephens said...

Does anyone know the ethnicity of George Kromer - sounds German...What was the mother's side?

Kaukauna Area Historical Society said...

According to KAHS's good friend, Jay Wilpolt, at, Stormy's mother was Ottilie Wilhelmine Korth, born in Baden, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany. His father, Johann Georg Kromer, was born in Weisweil, Emmendingen, Baden-W├╝erttemberg, Germany. Thanks for the question!

Linda said...

Ottilie (KORTH) Kromer was my great-great-grandmother. Stormy was my grand-uncle, the brother to my grandmother. Stormy loved baseball. Stormy and his wife Ida started their cap business in Kaukauna and moved it to Milwaukee. Ottilie was born on 23 Oct 1885 in Czeslawitz, (Charlottrenhof Vorkwerk), Kreis Wongrowitz, Posen, Germany and she died on 09 Apr 1882 in Kaukauna, Outagamie County, WI.