It might be safe to say that spring is here. And while we can’t celebrate like we did pre pandemic, we can still delight in the reemergence of one sure sign that the weather is taking a turn for the better.
The first sighting of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
After operating for nearly 100 years on the east side of Madison, the Oscar Mayer plant closed its doors. The building transformed from manufacturing to office spaces and mixed usage and is now called OM Station.
Matt Treadaway grew up in the shadow of that plant. He didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps and become an employee, but he did inherit his dad’s love for all things related to the bologna with a famous first name. Treadaway is surrounded by all kinds of Wienermobiles: small whistles made of plastic, child size peddle mobiles and even plush ones perfect for cuddling. And for the right price, a piece of Madison history could be yours. Some of his rare objects, like the uniform worn by famous Wisconsinite Meinhardt Raabe, who was the first “Little Oscar” spokesperson for Oscar Mayer, a problematic title created in the 30s, were not for sale.
On a Sunday afternoon a few years ago contributor gianofer fields caught up with Treadaway and his vast collection in a local church basement. In this episode of Radio Chipstone, Treadaway says that for him, Oscar Mayer memorabilia is more than just stuff.
About the Host:
gianofer (JON nah fer) fields is an Art Historian and Material Culture contributor and curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is hosted by the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the Chipstone Foundation; a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.
About the Guest:
Matt Treadaway is a local collector of Oscar Mayer memorabilia.
Image: Courtesy of gianofer fields
This segment comes from the Radio Chipstone Archives of WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio. See here.