Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
Charles S. Franke is the only furrier of central Illinois, and in the city of Springfield is doing extensive and important business, controlling a large trade which comes from a wide territory. He has been a resident of the city since 1895, and is one of the worthy sons of the fatherland who have sought homes in America and have found in it business conditions and livelier competition the opportunities which they sought for advancement along commercial lines.
Mr. Franke was born in Silicia, Germany, March 29, 1860, and after obtaining his education in the public schools, in accordance with the laws of the country, he entered upon an apprenticeship to the furrier's trade when fourteen years of age. He was thus employed for four years, during which time he received no pay for his services. He was afterward located at different times in The Hague, Holland; Leipsie, Berlin, Paris and London, and from the lst named city he came to American in 1885, landing in New York, where he found employment as a workman in his chosen field of labor. Later he became foreman in a large establishment of New York, acting in that capacity for over seven years. In the foreign cities he had also held prominent positions in the establishments in which he had been employed, and through the years of his connection with the fur trade he has become thoroughly conversant with it in every detail from the time the raw material is secured until it is transformed into the manufactured goods.
In 1895 he came to Springfield and for three year was in the employ of Mr. Roberts. In 1898 he began business for himself in a small way with the money he had saved from his earnings, and as he became acquainted the volume of his business extended and he now enjoys an extensive patronage. At the end of two years he had control for the fur manufacturing business of central Illinois, without any competition. He makes a specialty of high-grade handmade furs and the filling of individual orders. He has always been a judicious advertiser and has given his personal attention to every detail of the business and employs nine experienced people in his establishment. He has thoroughly mastered the fur trade in every department and his prosperity is certainly richly merited. He belongs to the Springfield Business Men's Association and is accorded a prominent and honorable place in business circles in this city. His life record stands in proof of the fact that excellent business opportunities are offered to young
men of foreign birth who desire advancement through enterprise, determination and ambition.