Based in MIlwaukee, Wisconsin, the company was the first large-scale company in the United States to create panoramas. It was formed by Chicago businessman William Wehner in 1885.
He had observed at the 1884 Cotton Exposition in New Orleans the installation of the panorama created in Germany titled “The Battle of Sedan on September 1, 1870”. Wehner’s idea was to bring experienced panorama painters to the United States from Germany to create panoramas of the Civil War.
August Lohr was the first German artist to sign on, and shortly after Franz Biberstien emigrated from Germany to join the company. The first studio of The American Panorama Company was at 628 Wells Street in Milwaukee, and the first two productions were “The Storming of MIssionary Ridge” and “The Battle of Atlanta”.
The company went out of business in 1887, but several successor firms kept the industry alive.