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Mr. Weigl and the Chancellor - 1960's


These were the days when Lyndon Johnson was President, and I was still the CEO of the Austin Chamber. These were interesting times, and sometimes challenging times.

But on with the story. One day I get a call from the LBJ Ranch that Chancellor Adenauer of Germany was coming to visit at the Ranch, and that the President wanted us to stage a parade for him. I think that I have written about that before, and we wound up with a pretty good parade.

The parade was to start from our office, and LBJ and the Chancellor and other dignitaries were to assemble in our conference room. I had the bright idea that a neat gift from us to the Chancellor would be a cattle brand made up of his initials. And I knew just the place to get it done: Weigl Iron Works--now a well known Barbeque place.

Well, the two Mr. Weigls, sons of the founder, had their own ideas on what they did and how they did it. The Mr. Weigl that I knew was really not interested in making a cattle brand. He weakened a little when I told him who it was for. When I threw a little German into my pitch, he consented. And it was done in the five days before the parade so that we could present it in our office before the parade began. I learned later that Mr. Weigl actually was proud that some of his work went to the Chief Executive of Germany, the country from which his father had immigrated to America.

That really ends that story, but there is a prologue. I had worked closely with the seven man site selection team from Westinghouse when they were studying Austin as a potential site for a new facility. They had a very professional team, and I thought it would be a nice gesture to give them each a cattle brand with their logo of the W with a circle around it. Naturally, I went to Mr. Weigl to see if he would make me seven brands like the logo that I was showing him.

Again, he didn't think much of the idea. After explaining how important this facility would be to our area, and once again resorting to my best German, he agreed. The brands were so popular with the site selection team--and the company president and vice-president that l once again had to go to see Mr. Weigl. This time he just smiled and said, "Aber nur zwei mehr!"

Vic Mathias -- March 19, 2011