Frederick W. Salmen is president of the Salmen Brick & Lumber Company, whose executive offices are in the Whitney Bank Building at New Orleans and the main manufacturing plant at Slidell. This is the largest building material manufacturing concern in Louisiana, which originated in the remarkable industry, perseverance and far-sightedness of Fritz Salmen, father of Frederick W., a man who has been frequently referred to as one of the most interesting business builders and industrial leaders in the state.
Fritz Salmen was born in Switzerland, was brought to America at the age of twelve, his people locating at Hansboro, near Gulfport, Mississippi, where his father shortly afterwards died and where Fritz began self supporting work in lumber mills and as the employee of an uncle who had a small brick plant. It was in 1882, after a thorough apprenticeship in the brickmaking industry and as a young married man, Fritz Salmen undertook to establish himself independently. He found the type of clay he desired at Slidell, about thirty miles from New Orleans. It was a locality in the midst of a virgin forest. Fritz Salmen went to work with one negro employee and a mule used in grinding and mixing the clay, and he acted as salesman for his own product on occasional visits for that purpose to New Orleans. The business grew slowly but steadily and he soon started a store; set up a sawmill to manufacture the timber on the land, and in a few years was joined by his brother, Jacob, who had been a traveling salesman and who became city salesman for the brick and lumber concern.
Mr. Salmen for years reinvested the profits of the business in additional stumpage, until he acquired an immense tract of cypress and pine timber. His brother Albert also joined the firm, and out of their joint endeavors grew Up at Slidell a model industrial town, depending upon the Salmen industries, consisting of a Plant manufacturing over a quarter of a million brick daily besides hollow the and other clay products; a sawmill with a capacity of two hundred thousand feet daily; and planing mills. The company has established other lumber mills at various points in Louisiana, and has one mill in Nicaragua, and a lumber yard in Mexico, while New Orleans has a wholesale and retail plant of the company. The business employs one thousand workers. Fritz Salmen has expended a large amount of money in developing cutover land at Slidell, experimenting with farming on this type of land, and has demonstrated the possibilities of stock raising and agriculture there. Fritz Salmen invented crate or carrier for transporting brick economically from the brick kiln to the ultimate point of use. He has been one of the older type of industrial executives; grew up in the plant and has never been satisfied to be far away from it. His personal contact with workers has kept labor troubles entirely away from the Salmen industries at Slidell. After his son became president of the companies he remained as chairman of the Board of Directors.
Frederick W. Salmen, son of Fritz and Rosa (Lidele) Salmen, was born at Gulfport, Mississippi, in 1887, hut spent many of his youthful years at Slidell. His education in local schools was supplemented by a period of residence abroad and studies in the University of Geneva. Switzerland. Returning home in 1907, he began learning all the details of his father's business iii the plant at Slidell, at first in the logging department and later as foreman of the brick plant. On the death of his uncle, Jacob, in 1911. he went into the executive offices of the company at New Orleans, and has since become president of the company.
He is a member of the New Orleans Association of Commerce, the Contractors and Dealers Association, the Southern Yacht Club, the New Orleans Country Club, Young Men's Gymnastic Club, and the Chess, Checkers and Whist Club.