Fonds 720 - Klaas W. Brandt fonds

Indoor Wedding Portrait Outdoor Group Portrait Scrapped WWII airplane Scrapped WWII airplanes Working in foundry Working in Foundry Edwin Friesen and Olga Friesen standing beside airplane Edwin Friesen sitting in the cockpit of his airplane Airplane in Snow Ford parts storage shelving
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Identity area

Reference code

CA MHC 720

Title

Klaas W. Brandt fonds

Date(s)

  • 1900-1959 (Creation)

Level of description

Fonds

Extent and medium

This fonds consists of 131 black and white photographs, 69 architectural drawings, and 1 postcard: colour

Context area

Name of creator

(1876-1954)

Biographical history

Archival history

Klaas W. Brandt (1876-1954), Steinbach area engineer, land surveyor, and metal fabricator was born to new Canadian immigrants, Heinrich Brandt and Katharina Warkentin. He received a grade three education in the village school and then left his parents home in Blumenort to work in Steinbach. Klaas took correspondence courses from a University in Chicago and received an engineering degree. As a young adult, he was baptized in the Kleine Gemeinde (now known as the Evangelical Mennonite Conference). In 1902, he married Helena Friesen (1883-1946) and they had four children together Heinrich (1907), Katherine (1910), Elizabeth (1914), Elma (1923). Around 1919 the family began attending the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church in Steinbach (also known as the Bruderthaler church).
In 1914 Klaas Brandt began drafting and building a 60-ton self-propelled walking dredge that would work some of the wettest areas along the aqueduct route that would carry water from Shoal Lake to Winnipeg, which opened in 1919. Brandt then began working on the Great Falls power plant development on the Winnipeg River, near Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba.
In 1926 he started working as a land surveyor for the province of Manitoba and on the side tutored university students. Klaas' brother-in-law Jacob R. Friesen, owned a Ford dealership in Steinbach, Manitoba. Klaas used his drafting and construction skills to build an efficient car parts inventory system, which he offered to the Ford Motor Company. Klaas also drew plans for the first airplane that flew in the Steinbach area. It was powered by a Ford engine.
In the 1930s Brandt started the Steinbach Sheet Metal Company so he could work closer to home. By the end of the Second World War, Brandt learned he could get decommissioned military aircraft for a good price. he hauled them to Steinbach and melted them down for a host of new purposes. Klaas also drew designs for the Bruderthaler Church in Steinbach and a home for the Goossen family.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

This material was deposited by Arlene Rempel and her sister Louise, two granddaughters of Klaas W. Brandt.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This collection of photos and drawings were made or collected by Klaas W. Brandt and depicts his working career as a builder, architect, and designer. Some photos also depict Brandt's kinship networks in Steinbach and Oregon.

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Publication note

See "Klaas W. Brandt: Engineer, Surveyor, Metal Fabricator," published in the "Mennonite Historian," March 2019.

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Note

Accession number 2017-069

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