Biography of William Timmerman

Western Terea Cotta Company of Kansas City, Kansas, is the only successful industry for the making of this building material, which has had such a remarkable growth of popularity in use during recent years, between Chicago and the extreme Pacific coast. It is an industry which reflects credit upon the growing importance of Kansas City, Kansas, and is the only concern of its kind in the state.

Terra cotta, which is the Italian for “burnt clay,” is perhaps the oldest manufactured building material known in history. It has been manufactured in America only during the last forty or forty-five years to any extent. Many improvements have been made in the manufacture, and the modern terra cotta is noted for the beauty of its glazed surface, the variety of color that may be introduced and even more for its practically fireproof qualities. The manufacturers of terra cotta in America are mostly all members of the National Terra Cotta Society, and that organization has done much not only to standardize much of the manufacture but also to advertise the advantages of terra cotta as a modern building material.

William Timmerman and Paul C. Baltz organized and first established the Western Terra Cotta Company. The business was organized in Kansas City, Missouri, October 12, 1906, but the company found its available location in Kansas City, Kansas, and began operations in December the same year. They started with one kiln and with only five employes. At the present time the company has eighty-five men on its pay roll and the plant, now covering over a block of ground, represents an investment of more than $50,000. Its products are distributed all over the Central West and the output and value of the products have grown steadily since the first year of operation. Mr. Wm. Timmerman is president and general manager of the company, Mr. P. C. Baltz is secretary and treasurer, and since 1916, Walter Timmerman has been vice president. Both Mr. Timmerman and Mr. Baltz are residents of Kansas City, Kansas, and have been effective and loyal citizens and ever ready to engage in any movement for the general welfare.

Mr. William Timmerman was born in Chicago, Illinois, November 6, 1867, one of the six children of Henry and Christina (Lau) Timmerman. His parents were born near Hamburg, Germany, came to America when still single, the mother having been brought by her parents in 1852 in a sailing vessel that was four weeks in crossing the Atlantic. Henry Timmerman for many years was identified with educational work in this country.

William Timmerman had a private school education at Chicago, and early developed his talents for artistic lines. He took courses of instruction in designing and other art work in the Art Institute at Chicago, and for a year was a student of art in Boston. He learned the trade of architectural designer and modeler with the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company, and for several years was head modeler and designer for the Winkle Terra Cotta Company at St. Louis. He also spent twenty years in journeyman work at his trade and is everywhere recognized as one of the American experts in the manufacture of terra cotta.

On November 19, 1910, Mr. Timmerman married Miss Emilie M. Baltz, who was born in St. Louis, a daughter of George and Barbara (Herthel) Baltz. Mr. and Mrs. Timmerman were married in Topeka, Kansas. They have one child, William, Jr., aged four years. Mr. Timmerman is affiliated with Clifton Heights Lodge No. 520, Free and Accepted Masons, is independent in politics, and in religious matters inclines to the Presbyterian Church.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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