Text Box:         Where Old Time Craftsmanship
is more than just a memory…
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        Toepfer Security Corporation    2215 Corporate Drive    Waukesha, WI 53189    262-650-7233





In The Beginning... 

An earlier logo...



The images to the left are of the Toepfer Safe & Lock display located in the Streets of Old Milwaukee in the Milwaukee Public Museum

The Coach Safe



His name was Frank Toepfer nee Franz Hrncir born June 10th, 1845.  A man blessed with an intensely mechanical and inquisitive nature which attracted him to the safety industry.  An early focus of his was the hand forged safe and locksets, which were standard for the age.  Perhaps it was the recent invention by Linus Yale in 1861 of the "mortise cylinder pin tumbler" lock design (which is considered, even today to be the greatest invention in the history of lock making), which drove Frank to open the doors of Toepfer Safe and Lock in 1862.   His natural ability along with significant industry innovation occurring around him inspired a natural response to capture an opportunity presenting itself.

With this in mind, when Frank was approached by Gottfried Schloemer, a prosperous local physician and an inaugural marketer with the idea of building an attention-grabbing and unique mode of transportation in which to sell his restorative tonics, Frank was up to the challenge.  Together Toepfer and Schloemer designed the first gasoline-propelled automobile in Milwaukee. This design came to fruition in 1895.  The design consisted of a one cylinder engine provided from Sintz Machinery located in Grand Rapids, Michigan which was belt driven.  It offered two speeds - neither of which were reverse and both were very slow.  Although it was designed to run on gasoline, the Toepfer-Schloemer team determined that it worked better using a "naphtha" compound. (A liquid hydrocarbon mixture.)

This vehicle was thought to be the first of its kind in existence by the Smithsonian Institute until it was later proven that the "Lambert" car built in Anderson, Indiana was actually manufactured and in use by 1891.  The Toepfer-Schloemer car is currently displayed in the Streets of Old Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Public Museum.  

Frank's interest in the automobile industry continued and thus, he diversified.  He merged his locksmith shop to become one of Milwaukee's first auto repair shops.    


What It Became... 

The Toepfer Schloemer car

See it at the Milwaukee Public Museum



Through the 1900's, even as the automobile became more prevalent and auto repair flourished, Toepfer & Son (as it was renamed) continued designing the custom safe, lock and grillwork for Milwaukee's finest homes and public buildings.  The family proliferated and Ed Jr. (Frank's grandson) along with his brothers LeRoy and William took over the business in 1959.

Though all three boys had a role in Toepfer, it was Ed Jr. who possessed the same enthusiasm and mechanical wizardry which thrust his grandfather into his chosen trade all those years before.  Ed, who is still with us today, would be considered a genius by any standard.  It was his innovation and drive to solve the problems presented to him which led to his design of the universally adopted Electric Strike.  This patent was ultimately sold to the commercial giant Folger Adam.  Ed's enduring passion for design led to over 200 patents utilized in the security industry.


What It Is Today...      


                 Toepfer Security Corporation - Serving the Community for over 140 years                                                                  Since 1862