Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Prusse/Hasler Cars & Boats 1920-2016

Prusse/Hasler Cars, Trucks & Boats 1920-2016

A collection of photographs from:

Hanna Hasler's photo album, 
Bill & Elaine Prusse's album,
Art  Hasler's color slides, 
A few pictures from the internet
Fritz Hasler's color slides through 2000 and 
Fritz's digital pictures after that.

But First!

Figure 0: Jay Leno driving his 1909 Baker electric upright

At the turn of the century, if you were a wealthy old lady living in Manhattan, you drove a Baker Electric. The gas cars of the day required a hand start from a strong man.

The car had lead acid batteries and had a range of 30 miles and a top speed of 30 mph.

With the advent of the electric starter the long reign of the GAS-MOBILE began.

Almost exactly 100 years later in 2008, lithium ion battery technology had advanced to the point that Tesla was able to release the Roadster, the first true highway capable pure electric car.

In 2011, Nissan introduced the Nissan Leaf, the first practical, highway capable affordable pure electric car, with seating for five, large trunk, smooth as silk, with top speed of 100 mph, and EPA range of 84 miles.

We purchased our Leaf in January of 2014. (See Figure 37) It was fantastic for driving around Utah County, but going to SLC, Park City, the Airport, and Brighton were a stretch.

In March of 2016 we upgraded to a 2016 Leaf (See Figure 39) with a range of 107 miles, much improved heater, navigation display, and a few other frills. The 2016 Leaf was a huge improvement for us, It put SLC International, UofU hospitals, and Brighton within Easy range, and improved free high-speed charging availability meant that trips of up to 150 miles were now possible with a quick recharge.

We love the car and are anxiously awaiting the time when a cross country (200+ mile range car) becomes affordable for us.

Galen has an BMW 3i Electric, Brad's brother-in-law has a Leaf, and there are several pure electric cars in our Stake (seven LDS congregations)

The electric revolution has begun

Now on with Prusse/Hasler Cars, Trucks & Boats

Figure 1: Barker Bakery Truck, Provo, 1920

The Barker Bakery Truck that came with the bakery in Provo that  Grosspapa bought.

It was seven long years since Wilhelm Heinrich Prusse sold his bakery in Hanover Germany and moved to Salt Lake. He had to work for others, in the Hotel Utah etc. to earn enough to buy his own bakery, not in Salt Lake, but in Provo.  Rather than lose customers, he kept the Barker name.

Figure 2: Wilhelm, Barker Bakery, Provo, 1925

Grosspapa in front of the bakery he was finally able to buy in Provo in 1920, which resulted in the family moving from Salt Lake City.

2nd Daughter Eveline writes about moving to Provo in the Barker Bakery truck:

"We did move to Provo, Utah in the latter part of June 1920. Dorothy was the baby that was expected and Mamma was worried for fear that the baby would come before we got moved. Dad had been in Provo for a short time and was delighted with the prospects of owning the bakery.

He found the house at 492 East 2nd South, right across the street from the Maeser School. It was on a week end and when Pappa came he had the bakery truck which he was driving. It was loaded to the gills plus a big box of chickens, live that is. Dad took Hanna along earlier, as she was the oldest to help him and they left for Provo on the Interurban Train. Erich, Alfred and myself and Dad rode in the truck.

I sat on the chicken box and two of the chickens died. At that particular time they were paving the road from Salt Lake to Provo and by the time we got to the point of the mountain it was then covered with thick sand, which they were doing in those days to cure the cement. Dad hit a culvert that stuck out, he didn’t see it and he was not too good of a driver.

I flew out of the car onto the road as this truck was open and had no door. Dad was unable to handle the car, but after the three of us did a bit of praying along came a couple of men returning from a fishing trip and they helped us. One of them drove with Dad and we got into their car and finally got to Provo at 3 0’clock in the morning. Traveling in those days and on such a road was a living nightmare. Mamma was so glad to see us and the baby came about three days later."

Figure 3: Scout Campout, Caravan, Provo, 1924

This is the way Art went camping. 

He got his Eagle in 1924.

Figure 3.5 Hanna, Grandaddy, Gramsie, Mirror Lake, 1931

1929 Chrysler

Figure 4: WH Prusse's,  Mom, Dad, Kids, red Packard, Provo, 1929

After only 9 years with his own bakery Wilhelm had enough money to buy a fancy Packard.

Figure 5. Wilhelm's big fancy red Packard car. Art the doctor's son going on a date with Hanna, the baker's daughter in the baker's car, Provo, 1932

An ordinary Packard was not enough, Wilhelm had upgraded to a fancier 1932 Packard. Notice the fancy wire wheels and deluxe chrome lights and single fog light.

Apparently the doctor, Walter T. Hasler MD, son of an immigrant mother, Louisa Thalman who came from the German speaking part of Switzerland and had been on a Mormon mission in Germany, became good friends with the German immigrant Baker, Wilhelm Prusse. They both spoke German and probably spent hours talking about their times in Germany. A story is told about them hunting deer together.Supposedly, Wilhelm got buck fever, shot too quickly, and brought down a doe. Since shooting a female was illegal, the doctor managed to graft some antlers onto the doe to get them out of the predicament.

Figure 6 Restored 1932 Red Packard similar to Grosspapa's

This is not exactly the same model (convertible with longer hood and smaller windshield)

However, it is probably the same color, has the same wire wheels, and chrome lights.

It must have been quite a sight coming down the road. This model had a V12 engine.

Figure 7: Art and Hanna, Provo, 1932

Art and Hanna, with weird car near the time of their marriage, Provo, 1932

It must be Walter T.'s, note the MD insignia on the grill

Figure 8: Newlywed Hanna, Provo, 1932

Headed for Madison?, a little too big for a car......the car would come later.

Figure 9: Art & Hanna's First Car, Chrysler, Madison, 1933

Exchanged for mom's wedding ring when their motorcycle with side car broke down in Nebraska coming from Utah to Wisconsin.

Figure 10: Putting in a boat, Trout Lake, 1934

Trailing a boat was a little more primitive in those days, but they already had the idea. Note: Outboard on the windowsill, and the oars on the running board. 

This picture was taken at the Trout Lake Camp in Northern Wiscosnin where Art did lake research as a graduate student.

Figure 11: Fritz, Sylvia, Madison, 1942

I didn't know they had Kayaks in those days.

Figure 12: Haslers, Elaine, Madison,1943

Art, Driving boat with Fritz, Hanna, Bruce, Elaine Prusse, Sylvia, Picnic Point Beach, Madison, Wisconsin.

Bill & Elaine stopped in Madison on their way back to Utah from Harvard Business School in Massachusetts. 

Figure 13:  The new '48 Hudson, Bear Lake, 1948

The eight Haslers made the annual trek from Wisconsin back to parents and siblings in Utah in this car. 

With a family of eight there is no room for the spare tire in the trunk.

Karl often slept on the rear window roost.

Figure 14: The '48 Hudson headed West again, 1949

The Hudson Commodore with step down design.

Figure  15: Haslers, Hudson, Tetons, 1950

Mark, Sylvia, Karl, Hanna, Galen, Bruce, and Fritz.

The Hudson takes the Haslers out West again.

Figure 16: Karl, Galen, Mark, Bruce, Fritz, St Joseph's Island, 1950

Five boys in a boat. This was before the days that 2 1/2 hp, 5 hp, 15 hp, 25 hp, 50 hp, 90 hp outboards and 325 hp inboard motors powered our boats.

Figure 17: Fritz, St Joseph's Island, 1952

From an adventure in Canada where we cleared a lot for our future cabin. It turned out that we cleared the wrong lot and we never went back. Note: we are up to 2 1/2 horsepower on the motor.

In 2016 new AlumaCraft boats are made exactly as they were 60 years earlier in 1950. The Gruman Aircraft Company had switched their WWII airplane factory over to making boats.after the war.

Figure: 18: Lab Boat Impulse, Madison, 1952

Limnology lab students and spouses socializing on Lake Mendota

Figure 19: Karl, Fritz, Bruce, Douglas Lake, Michigan, 1953

We had to be on the water, when no boats were available, we had to make do.

Figure 20: Hanna, Nash, Germany, 1955

Back to cars again:

This is the 1954 Nash Ambassador that carried eight Haslers all over Europe 1954-1955

One of the first cars to have reclining seats. Some of the boys had to sleep in the car while the rest of the family got to spend the nights in the hotels. Mark remembers waking up in the morning in the car outside the hotel in Cologne Germany embarrassed to have school children looking in on him.

Hanna, speaking German to the farmer's wife by a farmhouse in Germany.  Notice that the house and barn are attached (You don't have to go outside for milking) and the farmer is holding Brunhilde with cowbells hanging on the wall.

Figure 21: Fritz, Ray, Willys Jeepster, 1956

At age 15, I am about to embark alone on a 2400 mile adventure to Philmont National Scout Camp in Cimarron New Mexico with my 16 year old neighbor Ray Hamel in a cheap Jeep.

Mark remembers: We were always looking for the best price on gas. Sometimes we would be coasting into the next town out of gas, hoping for a better price.
On a short detour into Texas, at a gas war, we bought gas for 17 cents per gallon.

Figure  22: Gramsie, Hasler Boys, Hanna, VW, Madison, 1959

Galen and Mark poking out of the Sun Roof, Karl (inside) Fritz standing in back of our first VW bug, a 1958 model.

An early foreign economy car for around town use.

Figure 22.3: Bruce, Karl, Fritz, Nash, Snow Storm, Munich, 1954

Big snow storm at our house at 55 Kunigundenstr Schwabing, München

Figure 22.5: Karl, Bruce, Fritz, Nash, West Lafayette, 1960

The boys washing the Ambassador on a Spring trip to Purdue U. See the 1959 Ford Fairline in the next driveway.

The 1954 Nash Ambassador was purchased in 1954 with room for all 8 Haslers for the trip to Europe. It rode the SS Flandre Steamship to Plymouth England, flew across the English Channel in Sir Richard Fairy's flying box car. It toured France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland with the whole family onboard and made it back on the MS Berlin to the US. Here, four years later in 1960, it had taken the family from Madison to Utah four times already and would go two more times before retirement in 1962.

Figure 22.7: Art packing Nash Trunk, West Lafayette, 1960

The inscription on these slides says 1959, but we are going with primary sources. See the 1960 tag on the Wisconsin license plate .

With Sylvia already married and gone there were only seven Haslers, but even then it was a challenge to get all the luggage in the trunk/

If you look closely you can see the signs of rust on the Nash from salt used during Madison winters.

Figure 23: Fritz, VW fording Stream, Yugoslavia, 1961

On my 60th day of skiing in Austria and Switzerland, I broke my leg at the Swiss resort of Arosa.

It was a complete spiral fracture of the tibia and fibula. The Swiss doctors opened me up with a 10" cut requiring 21 stitches and set the bone with four screws in the tibia.

I woke up the next morning with no cast on my leg. After three days, they had me walking on "American" crutches. Then they fitted me with what they called a Gehapperat (walking apparatus) as you can see above. It was very painful to even lower my leg to walking position (it wasn't too bad if kept elevated). And the Getappaerat was almost useless for walking because it hurt too much even after several weeks.

After a week they sent me home to Munich where our friends, the Detigs, put me up for a week while my leg healed a little more.

Then I was on a train to Brindisi Italy where I caught up with my JYM colleagues and friends, Hüby and Cindy Küter in their VW bug for the ferry to Greece for a two week tour of the country.  We returned to Germany through Yugoslavia and Austria.

In the picture above you can see the VW bug as we forded a stream on the main road in Yugoslavia.

Figure 23.5: Pontiac Star Chief, Madison, 1962

Long and sleek, the 1962 Pontiac Star Chief replaced our 1954 Nash Ambassador.

At the time, GM was the largest automobile manufacturer in the world.

In the US they sold the Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac cars. After their bankruptcy in 2008 the Pontiac and Oldsmobile lines were limited.

GM of course also made numerous different trucks and models like Opel in Europe. 

Figure 24: Hasler Cars, Madison,1962

1947 Chrysler Town and Country "woody" that Galen and Mark restored with a new top, refinished wood, new seat covers, and new paint. Don't you wish you could have had a car like that to take your girl on a date.

The motor was a straight eight. Mark says we nicknamed the Mayflower, because all the girls had to come across.

1962 Pontiac Star Chief

1961 Volkswagen that Fritz bought in Munich and brought back to the States.

Figure 25: Mark, Galen, Laurel, Chrysler Town & Country, Madison, 1962

The "woody" with the convertible top down.

Figure 26: Mark (mostly out of view on the right). Chrysler Town & Country, Madison. 1962

Mark says: "All polished and ready to show off"

Figure 26.5: 1947 Chrysler Town & Country, Racine, 1965

Figure 27: Fritz, Mary, Wedding, Chrysler, Madison, 1965

With Mark driving, not a bad car for escaping the wedding crowd.

Figure 28: Boston Whaler, Skiing, Trout Lake, 1963

From high in a pine tree at the Trout Lake Camp

Figure 29: Marc Wirig, Boston Whaler, Lake Monona, WI, 1967

After very limited skiing behind lab boats and Mark Wirig's Crest Liner aluminum boat with a 30 hp Johnson, the Hasler boys finally had their own ski boat.

Figure 30: Mary, Boston Whaler, Madison, 1963

Mary showing off the stability

Fritz earned his first competition trick water ski trophy in 1967 practicing behind this boat. He was in the USA Water Ski Nationals three years later still practicing primarily behind the Whaler.

Figure 30.5: Mary, Boston Whaler, Madison, 1963

Mary, Marta, Sliverton, 1972

Mary and Marta, open the door bleary eyed.

There was an open field above the town, so we drove up aways and parked for the night.

When we moved to Boulder Colorado, we bought an old Ford conversion van. It was strong enough to pull the boat and had two beds and a cook stove. Perfect for a 30 day tour of the West.

Colorado, Nevada, the whole West coast from San Diego to Vancouver and back through Canada and Idaho.

Mary, Marta, Sliverton, 1972


London Town Public House, Edgewater MD

Our Hydrodyne I/O was docked near our house at 424 Highland Drive in Edgewater.  We took Dad and Hatheway on the boat out into the South River to the London Town Public House.

Starting in 1971 when Fritz got his first job, he had competition water ski boats including: Hydrodyne I/O, Ski Supreme, MasterCraft, Ski Ray, Supra and Correct Craft Ski Nautique. Usually these were brand new demonstrator boats that Fritz had to take to three or four tournaments each year in exchange for a substantial discount on the boat's purchase price.


I owned this boat jointly with Ray Humphry.  And the story goes..........

Fritz, Mary, Liese, Marta. Katherine, Edgewater, 1979

Ski Warm Ski Supreme South River, Edgewater Maryland

Figure 31: Galen Family, Fritz Family, Blue Van, Maine, 1980

This was the prototypical unfinished full sized panel van that Galen pioneered.

A sheet of plywood rested on the rear wheel wells with a foam mattress on top.

Kids and the second driver slept in back. We could drive straight through for 24 hours if someone could manage to stay awake from 2 to 5 in the morning. I would leave work in Maryland at 4 p.m and we would be at Flagler Beach in Northern Florida by morning.

The Fritz Hasler family had versions of a van like this for 20 years.

Mary, Matt, Murphy, Camry, Edgewater, 1996

Digging out the Camry after a three foot snowfall  near Annapolis Maryland.

After a Ford, a Nash Rambler, several Chevrolets, including two vans, we bought a Chevy Prism which is really a Toyota Corola. We never looked back. The improvement in reliability was amazing. We have been Toyota people ever since, owning three Camrys and a Highlander.  Now if Toyota would just make a battery electric car. They make fuel cell electrics (which Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, calls "fool cells". I will be long dead before I could afford a fuel cell car, and who wants to mess with hydrogen anyway.

Figure 31.5: Matt, Greg, Supra Ski Boat, Three Lakes, 2000

16July2000: Matt and friends out boarding at Camp Hasler on Laurel Lake. Note the tall pylon for enhancing the wake jumps. For boarding, the more the merrier to make a bigger wake for jumping.

1998 Supra Competition Ski Boat Demonstrator that we kept for some years, sold to Mark which then went to Blair when we bought our current 2000 Ski Nautique.

Starting in 1971 Fritz had competition water ski boats including: Hydrodyne I/O, Ski Supreme, MasterCraft, Ski Ray, and Supra. Usually these were brand new demonstrator boats that Fritz had to take to three or four tournaments each year.

Figure 32: Boat Crew, Whitefish Lake, 2007

02August2007: Rachel, Sadie (our black Labrador) , Fritz, Friend, Mary, Kelly in our 15ft Alumacraft boat.

Sadie thinks she should be starring in the movie Titanic. We are on a boat trip to Whitefish Lake from our cabin in Three Lakes Wisconsin. By this time even our fishing boats have 15 hp motors.

Figure 33: Fritz, Ski Nautique, Camp Hasler, 2008

Fritz driving, with Aaron and a friend skiing behind the 2000 Nautique (Competition Ski Boat), only 100 yards from Camp Hasler (our cabin) on Laurel Lake in Three Lakes Wisconsin.

For many years our boat for skiing has been a 325 hp professional competition ski boat. This is needed for my competition practice and is ideal for teaching kids how to ski using a barefoot boom.

Figure 34: Mary, Max, Sadie, Highlander, Zion, October 2009

The Hasler Workhorse  2005-2016+. The Highlander with a rocket box on top, and now with a small trailer behind makes the 1500 mile commute from Lindon UT to Three Lakes WI and back every year carrying: Mary, Fritz, Two dogs, two cats, bikes, computer gear, water skis, our clothes, etc. etc. etc.

Figure 35: Liese, Brad's Nautique, Utah Lake, 2011

Liese slaloms In the course, Brad 's Nautique, Skiing on Utah Lake

Brad, Liese, Megan, Rachel, Aaron, 01Oct2011 on Brad's boat that is nearly identical to the one we have in Wisconsin.

Figure 36: Fritz, Calvin, Rachel, Sylvania Wilderness, 2011

21July2011: Here we are in our kevlar canoe, on Mountain Lake in the Sylvania Wilderness one hour north of us in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

We are loaded to the gills with all our gear for two nights of camping at the Lynx campsite in the gorgeous old growth forest, The campsite has a small beach from which we swim 1/4 mile out to an island. I am paddling with my deluxe Beaver Tail wood paddle.

Calvin has the King's Sedan Chair in the middle.

Figure 37: Fritz, 2013 Leaf, Sundance, 20May2014

Fritz with car and Emotion Electric Bike Timpanogos, Aspen Grove Trailhead UT

Our 2013 100% electric Leaf had an EPA range of 84 miles

If you are reading this in 2033 and are among the many driving electric, note that I was one of the first to be driving a 100% electric car 20 years earlier.

Figure 38: Matt's Silverado, Lindon, 2015

May 2015 Matt's new Chevy Truck.

Matt was in the tile installation business and used this truck to carry his tools and materials.

Figure 39: Fritz, Leaf, Lindon, 12April2016

Behind the gate, Camp Hasler West, with solar panels on the roof in the near background and Mount Timpanogos in the far background, Lindon Utah.

The 2016 100% electric Leaf has an EPA range of 107 miles.

For us, the 23 miles of additional range was huge: It put SLC International, University of Utah Hospital, my work at Brighton Ski Resort, and Marta's home in Park City within easy range. New free L3 high speed chargers at Thanksgiving Point, Downtown SLC shopping malls, and Park City made recharge fast and convenient, but the L2 charger in our garage that recharges the car from depleted to full in 5 hours is all we use 98% of the time.

Figure 40: Hasler House, Lindon, 2016

Our house in Lindon Utah, with solar panels on the roof, and Mount Timpanogos behind.

We are driving on sunshine!

Figure 41: Galen, BMW i3, Madison, 2015

Galen is also driving on electricity most of the time with the BMW i3 that he has leased.  

The BMW i3 is a high-tech car made mostly of carbon fiber, with radar crash avoidance, self parking etc. The i3 has an official EPA range of  72 miles purely on electricity. Galen's has the version with a gas range extender motor that gives another 80 miles for a total range of 150 miles. At that point he can buy a couple of gallons of gas and go another 80 miles and repeat as many times as needed. The battery can be charged in 3 hours on a L2 Charger or about 20 min on a L3 charger.



  1. We have an annual car show here on the island and someone actually owns a Bake upright. This car has won best in show a number of times, and every year the owner tens to surprise us with something new they’ve added or updated on that old car. It’s so great to see Leno embracing his on the road too.

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  3. Hi Mr Hasler,
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