Beyond Vision

Ptacek Retires Article

Quarter Century of Working With Blind
Ends for Originator of Mat Production

Milwaukee Journal, 1957

After a quarter century of working with the blind, Joseph Ptacek will retire Tuesday. And he will have a gold watch to remind him of the affection of the men and women he has helped.

Ptacek, who lives at 4641 W. Medford Ave., has been head of the coconut mat department at the Wisconsin workshop for the blind, 2385 N. Lake Drive, for 25 years.

He went there in the depression year of 1932, and started the production by the blind of coconut fiber doormats.

45 Men Employed

Ptacek found that the blind were conscientious and hard workers. Now, about 45 men are working on mats at the workshop.

Looms that Ptacek developed are used by the men, and the Wisconsin workshop has the only extensive program of coconut mat making for blind persons in the country.

The men are working on government orders. The mats will be used in such places as post offices and military barracks.

Mats also have been purchased from the workshop by department and hardware stores.

Will Take It Easy

Ptacek, who learned his trade many years ago at weaving schools in Bohemia, pointed out that he had reached the retirement age of 65 and was looking forward to “taking it easy.”

He may make a trip to Florida next winter.

His leave taking Tuesday will not be elaborate but it will not be without feeling either. Employees of the workshop are to give him a gold watch before his final day of work there is over.

Newspaper clipping from 1957