Born in Chicago, Kraut moved to Fond du Lac when his father went to work for Giddings & Lewis. He started as an indentured apprentice at G&L, then got his BSME at Wisconsin, worked as a production engineer at A. 0. Smith, then spent four years at General Electric as a student engineer, later working in inspection and experimental, sales and advertising, accounting, and finally as a traveling auditor. In 1935 he returned to G&L as assistant works manager.
An active reservist, he served in the infantry during World War II first as a Captain, served in the Pacific with the Xth Corps, then was G-3 of the 6th Division during the invasion of the Phillipines during which he was promoted to Lt Col. Immediately after V-J Day he returned to G&L as President. Under Kraut, G&L pioneered in NC, working with GE to produce the first NC skin mill, and signing a research contract with MIT immediately after MIT completed the original contract for the Air Force. G&L soon developed its own controls. He greatly broadened the firm's operations, acquiring Cincinnati Bickford, Kaukauna Machine, Kelly Reamer, Prescott, Gisholt, and Gilman in the US and Fraser in Scotland. Elected 1996