GLA Living Landmark: Ruben Hartmeister

Ruben Hartmeister, GLA Living Landmark

Ruben Hartmeister

Golden Landmarks Association honored Ruben Hartmeister as one of its first Living Landmarks.

Born in 1910, east of St. Louis, Missouri, to German immigrant parents, Ruben first spoke English when he attended elementary school.  In 1934, Ruben received a degree in Civil Engineering from Valparaiso University and married Ruth Stahl from Galva, Illinois in the Spring of the same year.

During the Second World War, Ruben had a job as a machinist die maker at a ball bearing plant in Indicana.  In 1944, he and Ruth farmed out their four children with relatives so they could take a vacation trip to Colorado on the train.  They rented a car near the train station in Denver with only one tank of rationed gas to sightsee in the mountains.  They visited Golden and Idaho Springs on on of their drives.  Ruth fell in love with Golden.  They decided to buy a house and move to Colorado.

In 1955, Ruben was hired by Coors Brewing Company along with several other engineers to prefect the process of extruding aluminum cans from aluminum slugs for a price that would be competitive with the existing tin cans.  Prior to 1955, several of the large aluminum companies has tried unsuccessfully to manufacture an aluminum can substitute for the tin beverage can.  Ruben’s primary contribution during the next four years was the development of the process to print the labels on the cans as part of a high speed, continuous operation.

After retiring from Coors in 1975, Ruben and his sons started Hartmeister Manufacturing to produce some of the mechanical devices Ruben had patented over the years.  Although Ruben held 15 patents, although  the patent on the aluminum can process was not one of them.

In 1972, when a group of citizens became concerned that the old stone building at 12th and Arapahoe in Golden, sometimes called the Astor House Hotel, was to be torn down for another parking lot, Ruben, by then a Golden City Council member for over 8years, became interested in the project.  He and Frank Leek formed an alliance on the Golden City Council to save the old building.  They forced the question to a vote of the people.  The vote was 3 to 1 in favor of the purchase of the building by the City of Golden.  The vote allowed the newly organized Golden Landmarks Association  to begin renovating what is now the Astor House Museum.  Ruben and Frank purchased all of the antique furniture to be used in the newly renovated building and donated the furniture to Golden Landmarks Association, the original organization to ensure the Astor House’s long-term viability.  The furniture provided GLA with a way to begin restoring the interior furnishings back to a period appropriate setting.

Golden Landmarks has been proudly honoring Living Landmarks since 2001.  To support Golden Landmarks Association and its mission of historical preservation and education, become a member today or volunteer.

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