The Cleereman family has a long history in the sawmill business. The family started out in 1889 owning and operating a sawmill business in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Later, in 1912 the Cleereman’s decided to move their sawmill operation north to an area of untouched stands of timber in Forest County, Wisconsin. Their destination was a new logging town called Newald.
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By the age of 15 Francis Cleereman Sr., the inventor of the Cleereman carriage, was supervising wood crews and showed a talent for solving mechanical problems. So much so that other sawmills in the area used to call on the teenage Francis Sr. to help solve some of their more perplexing millwright problems. As Francis Sr. grew up he was relied on more and more for his judgment concerning the family sawmill’s operations.
When WWII came around Francis Sr. took time off to fight in Europe, and when the army no longer needed his services, he came back to Newald to work at the family business. The post-war period saw changes in the timber industry. While the war years produced a tremendous demand for lumber, the slowdown afterward hit hard. Francis Sr. decided that in order to be more efficient and keep the mill running they needed to make some changes. Francis Sr. knew that with a little time he could design and build the right equipment to make the mill run more efficiently.
His designs were simple and efficient. Eliminating the need for a man to turn the log and another to set-up the carriage, the head sawyer was now able to do it all by using electricity and compressed air. The edger he designed was all push-button. This type of equipment is common today, but it was a startling innovation in 1950. He developed a method to heat tension saw blades that kept them tensioned for months of running, to replace the pounding method of trueing a saw that was short-lived. He designed and built the feed for moving the carriage, using hydraulics and air. What was important was that it worked, and worked well. The Cleereman mill began to turn a profit.
As local mill owners heard about the success of the equipment Francis Sr. built for his mill, they wanted this equipment in their own mills. In 1955 the first ever Cleereman Carriage was built and sold to the public. As word spread about the efficiency and durability of the Cleereman equipment more and more orders flooded in. At this point there was no need for advertising; word of mouth kept Francis Sr. busy enough.
Today Cleereman Industries continues to follow Francis Sr. original designs, ideas and values. We offer a wide range of sawmill equipment from Carriages to Track Frames to Trim & Grading Lines and everything in between. We are proud to be a leader in innovative and cutting edge sawmill equipment.