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Bretting History


The C. G. Bretting Manufacturing Company is a family owned and operated business in its fourth generation.  Christopher George Bretting purchased the Parish Iron Works back in 1890.  The company, with a good sense of stability, still occupies its original site on the shore of Lake Superior in the east end of Ashland Wisconsin, U.S.A. Christopher George Bretting
Christopher George Bretting
  Sawmill Industry

From 1890 to the 1920’s the company manufactured machinery and equipment for the sawmill industry.  For a number of years within that period, the Ashland area had the world’s largest concentration of sawmills that harvested the great white pine forests of the region.  In 1904 Christopher George Bretting passed away, but family intervention saved the company.  His widow and oldest son Ralph Bretting continued to operate the company.  With this transition in management also came a transition in manufacturing.  Because of the depleting number of sawmills and the increasing number of local mines, Bretting started catering to the needs of the mining and shipping industries.



By 1929 Christopher Bretting’s youngest son Lyman returned to Ashland with an engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and took over management of the company.  He was sole operator of the company until 1958.  At this time his son Tad Bretting returned to Ashland after receiving a business degree from Notre Dame University and went into business with his father.  By 1960 Tad took over sole management of the company. Lyman Bretting
Lyman Bretting
  First Napkin Folder
First Napkin Folder

In the early 1960’s the C. G. Bretting Manufacturing Company began to concentrate on the design and manufacture of equipment for use in the paper tissue converting industry.  By the mid 1970’s word of mouth had spread the reputation of Bretting equipment and the company began to bloom, receiving inquiries from overseas converters as well as those in the United States. The Bretting product line expanded from napkin folders, which included Bretting’s pioneered automatic count and separation, to include interfolders for singlefold and multifold hand towels, facial tissue interfolders and C-fold towel machines. 



In 1997 Tad Bretting retired and turned the company over to his sons - David Bretting, President and Chief Executive Officer andPaul Bretting, Chief Operating Officer. Tad passed away in 2003.  Under the fourth generation of ownership and management Bretting has continued to grow and has expanded to become a truly global operation. The goal to remain focused on the customer and to offer quality products in an ever-changing marketplace is still the driving factor at Bretting. Tad Bretting
Tad Bretting

Today our product line also includes rewinders, table cover machines, in-line letterpress and flexographic printers, a variety of packaging equipment, along with other specialty equipment that can be utilized in other industries such as aluminum foil, wax paper, plastics, non-wovens and other disposable products - these machines can be found in over 40 countries. Bretting has earned a reputation for top-quality products and excellent customer service in the manufacture of paper converting equipment. Now, Bretting has expanded into for-contract services to manufacturers throughout the Upper Midwest and is well suited to provide turnkey services for contract manufacturing.



Not only does the company attract scores of visitors to the Ashland area each year, it also sends some 40 plus field service technicians, trainers, and sales people all over the world to provide quality service to every Bretting customer.

The company currently occupies over 280,000 square feet of office, manufacturing and assembly space.  The facilities are as modern and convenient as any in the United States.

Bretting Manufacturing Facility  
  3D Drawing

The Bretting engineering department is staffed with some 100 members, including mechanical, electrical and software engineers.  The custom nature of this business requires constant development and design upgrading so we are continually involved in research and development to provide the most reliable, durable, and innovative equipment available.  Engineering production and development is enhanced through the use of state of the art 3D computer aided design equipment.

Technical publications, audio-visual and customer service round out the staff at Bretting.  Working together we offer each customer the personalized, efficient service that they deserve.



The Bretting machine shop includes many computer numerically controlled machining centers and is among the most modern, efficient, and sophisticated operations in the United States. Because the majority of parts incorporated in Bretting equipment are manufactured in house, we are able to control our high quality demands and prompt service. Machine Shop  
  Bretting Team Members

Bretting has been fortunate to commemorate over 117 years of heritage, pride, and manufacturing in Ashland with its excellent work ethic and stable work force.  Bretting is now on the way to becoming a World Class company by following the LEAN philosophy.

Delivering on our promise, earning the right to be the customer’s choice.

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© C. G. Bretting Manufacturing Co., Inc. • 3401 Lake Park Rd. • Ashland, WI 54806