Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

December 7, 2017 Max-Cast “rescues” World War I doughboy
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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When he arrived at Max-Cast in Kalona from Appleton, Wisc., the World War I doughboy was barely holding it together.

Originally made in 1934, the statue was cast in zinc and copper-plated. However time took its toll, with electrolysis between the two copper plating and zinc resulting in severe pitting all over the piece’s surface.

A car also struck the statue in 1986, breaking both of his legs and shattering the M1903 Springfield rifle the soldier carried.

Steve Maxon, who owns and operates Max-Cast in Kalona with his wife Doris Park, said the statue had been somewhat restored a few times already.

“The legs were filled with concrete which led to freeze-thaw issues where the metal and concrete expand and contract at different temperatures,” Maxon said. “This leads to more damage.”

Maxon added the repairs done in the past were a little off, making the soldier look like he was staggering. His shattered rifle was repaired by being cast in aluminum, but the bayonet broke in two and was repaired with bonds and brass strips. The rifle’s skin was a real leather sling electroplated in bronze,

“It was like bronzed baby shoes,” Maxon said.

Maxon and Park decided to have another, identical statue made, this time cast in bronze. This new statue would be installed outdoors while the original was repaired by Max-Cast and placed in an indoor museum in Appleton.

To repair the original statue, Max-Cast made a rubber mold of the doughboy’s original rifle, then smoothing out the pitting and casting a new version all in bronze. The sections were fitted together and welded so the soldier no longer staggered. Barbed wire was added to the base between the two tree stumps to evoke a French battlefield during World War I.

The goal was to have it ready for Veterans Day on Nov. 11 and Max-Cast returned both statues to Appleton in time for the town’s Veterans Day celebration, where the new statue was installed back on the original granite base.

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