A.F. Gelhar Co Inc. successfully engineers, manufactures and delivers products leveraging 100 years of knowledge, expertise and quality control.

We exceed customer needs and expectations by thoroughly understanding requirements while at the same time delivering consistent experiences throughout long term business relationships.

Our commitments are the same for employees. Our business culture empowers employees in a safe, productive and clean environment establishing operational excellence.

This ensures our solid financial commitment and equitable pricing for all products creating stability plus growth as a foundation for lasting business.

We believe in doing well by doing good including supporting local communities and charities both financially and through employee affiliations and involvement at the highest and also grassroots levels.

We are committed to meet environmental rules and regulations for the sand and mining industry within all management practices and decision making.

Our goal is to minimize waste and resource consumption while delivering top quality products and services to our customers.

*revised 1/25/2019


In 1919, Albert Frederick Gelhar started selling sand part-time while maintaining his farming and other small business ventures. All loading and unloading was done by hand with a shovel, and that same hard work ethic has trickled down throughout leadership at AF Gelhar. This beginning has allowed AF Gelhar the ability to connect with their customers’ needs and expectations and build long lasting relationships throughout multiple industries.

Albert passed the business down to his son, Harvey, who continued to reinvent and specialize in the sand business practices well into age 80’s. In the mid-1970’s, the current owner, Jim Gelhar, entered the family business after learning from earlier generations and completing his college business degree.

And, the future looks bright. The chances that a family business makes it to a second generation are about one-in-three, but AF Gelhar has successfully stayed the course throughout national economic shifts and changes – customer business evolutions – and constant demands for process innovations and efficiencies.


1919 - Albert Frederick Gelhar (1893-1980) farmed one mile east of Berlin. Al was approached by a sand broker to see if he would be willing to sell the sand found on his land to the foundry industry


Taken in 1938, this photo shows Al Gelhar (far right) with Robert Weiss of Iroquois Foundry, along with Bill Slaker and Leo Koening, both of J.I. Case Company


1943 - the A.F. Gelhar Company became a full-time sand mining operation


1945 - Harvey Gelhar (1919-2004) returned from service in the Marines during World War II and joined the sand company full time after having worked for the company during high school and college. Harvey stated that one of his earliest memories was “in 1924, sitting in a wagon and watching my dad load sand up and take it to the railroad.” A March 18, 2000 newspaper article in the Oshkosh Northwestern stated about Harvey, “He’s more comfortable in bib overalls than a business suit and he has never carried a business card.” Harvey never officially retired and worked up until about two weeks before he died at the age of 85


1948 - The Gelhar’s built a new processing plant in Larsen, Wisconsin which was less than ten miles from Neenah and the home of Neenah Foundry. The company now had a plant in two locations, Berlin and Larsen


1952 - The Gelhar sand operation was incorporated as A.F. Gelhar


1961 - Al Gelhar “officially” retired, but kept his hand in the company until he was in his 80’s


1966 - A plant was opened to process bank sand at Readfield, Wisconsin


Early 1970’s - the Berlin Plant Closed


Mid 1970’s - Harvey’s son, Jim, entered family business full time after graduating with a degree in business from UW-Green Bay. Like his father before him Jim grew up working at the sand plant during high school and college and learned with business at his grandfathers and fathers knees


1987 - The Larsen Plant closed and a new plant was opened in Markesan


Taken in 1999, Jim and Harvey together celebrating the companies’ 80th anniversary


2009 - Started producing Frac Sand


Taken in 2014, Jim Gelhar with daughter, Heidi, son Forest, Vice President and Nephew Kyle Grahn donating funds to a local K-9 program


Plant operations and customer care expands while installing state of the art tecnology


100th Anniversary


US Department of Labor

Mine Safety Health & Administration

AF Gelhar Inc.

Four Time Certificate of Achievement Award: Markesan Plant

23,171 Employee Hours Worked without Injury

2004-2008 Joseph A. Hohnes Association

AF Gelhar, Inc.

Certificate of Honor

Mine Safety & Health Award

2009-2011 US Department of Labor

AF Gelhar Inc.

Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA)

200,000 Continuous Employee Work Hours without Injury

AF Gelhar Inc., Markesan Plant

2015 US Department of Labor

AF Gelhar Inc.

Certificate of Achievement in Safety

Large Bank or Pit Group

42,000+ Employee Workdays without Injury

2013 Industrial Minerals Association North America (IMA-NA)

AF Gelhar Inc.

North America

Safety Achievement Award

Zero Reportable Injuries

2006-2011 Industrial Minerals Association North America (IMA-NA)

AF Gelhar Inc.

Safety Achievement Award

Best Company Safety Record