In 1849 when the business was started, the plant occupied the portion of what is now known as the Main Plant, from Keowee street east to a point coinciding with the east line of No. 1 Paint Shop-correctly designated as Shop M-10. A fence running north and south at this point, divided the car plant from the territory east to the junction of the two canals, which was a swampy meadow. At a point just south of the main street about the west line of Shop M-10, stood a frame dwelling which was occupied by the night watchman and his family.
The creek which enters the present works opposite the Big Four Pump House and which crosses the main street opposite the Upholstery Shop and flows westwardly under the M-39 Shop, Dry House, Foundry, Machine Shop and empties into the canal under the north end of the Blacksmith Shop, identifies the original buildings occupied by the Car Works, which consisted of a long brick building, the west end of which was three stories high and was occupied by the Machine Shop and Planing Mill on the ground floor and by the Wood Workers and the General Office of the Company on the second floor, and the agricultural implements on third floor. The Blacksmith Shop occupied the one story portion to the east of the Machine Shop and the Foundry occupied the one story portion at the east end of the building. This building was located south of the creek with the west end of the three-story portion coming on a line about half way between the present Machine Shop and Wheel Foundry. This west portion of the building was in the form of an “L” running north to the canal and abutted an old saw mill which stood near the present canal lock. The space now occupied by the present Blacksmith Shop was first a vacant commons and later used for storage and piling lumber and laying off and framing car timbers. At that time there was quite a large mill pond at a point about where the wheel pit house now stands. For many years the power for the operation of the plant was a water wheel located near the present canal lock.
The Car Erecting Shop was a frame building built on the same lines as the center section of the old frame Paint Shop Building M-9, and was located where the present Body Shop M-1 now stands. There was also another frame shop used for a Paint Shop, which was located about where the present Body Shop M-4 now stands.
At this time the upholstering was done in a raised longitudinal cupola in the roof of the frame Car Erecting Shop and the Storeroom consisted of a space in the center of this shop enclosed by slat partitions.
Later on a frame Planing Mill was built about where the present Body and Cabinet Mill Building M-5 now stands. In 1883 the present Brick Body and Cabinet Mill Building M-5 was erected, being built over the old Frame Mill which was kept running every day and was finally torn down and the machinery changed into the new mill without losing a day.
There was also a frame Freight Car Shop, located where the old Freight Truck Shop stood and which in 1906 was torn down to make space for the long transfer table between Body Shops M-1 and M-4.
The present Frame Paint Shop Building M-9 was built in 1865, the center section only being erected at that time, the north and south sections being added a year or two later.
At this time the Storeroom was located underneath this frame Paint Shop. The original frame shop which was located where present Body Shop M-1 is now, was torn down about 1868 and replaced with a brick building with a basement in which was located the Upholstery Shop and Storeroom.
This brick building had a succession of gable roofs running north and south. This second building only stood a few years until it was torn down and the present brick building now Body Shop M-1 was built in 1880.
As the business increased it was found necessary to remove the General Office from the second floor of the Machine Shop building and about 1860 a frame office building was erected about where the present Blacksmith office is now located.
In 1868 the present office building was erected but did not extend out to the Keowee street line. In 1892 the west end of the building was extended to the Keowee street line and in 1905 an extension was built on the east end of the old office building and in January, 1910, the two-story extension was built on the east end of office building to its present form.
In 1869 the present brick Blacksmith shop was erected and the north half, and “L” extending along the canal, were added in 1882.
The present three and a half story brick Machine Shop was erected in 1871.
The present brick Wheel Foundry was built in 1870.
Early in 1873 the Foundry was damaged by a disastrous fire and was immediately replaced by the present building. The Soft Iron Foundry was built in 1876.
The West Cabinet Shop was erected in 1870.
In 1871 the old frame shop where Body Shop M-4 now stands, was replaced by the present building and in November, 1899, the space between this building and the old Passenger Truck Shop was built in, making the present continuous Body Shop M-4.
The present brick East Cabinet Shop was erected in 1872.
In 1903 the East and West Cabinet Shops were joined together by building the present Arcade.
When the East Cabinet Shop was built in 1872 the Upholstery Shop was removed to the fourth floor of that building and the Storeroom was located in the basement of, and the Sewing Room and Drawing Room in the second story of, the present Office Building.
The west half of brick No. 1 Paint Shop Building M-10, was built in the winter of 1879-80 and when completed the Storeroom was removed to the basement of this building where it is at present located.
The extension on the east end of No. 1 Brick paint shop Building M-10 was commenced the latter part of 1889 and completed in 1890. The tin used on the roof of this building was some of the first tin plate made in America.
When the Tin and Pipe Shops were organized in 1882, they were located in the basement under the west end of building M-10, with a portion of the Pipe Shop for bending heater coils located under the Baggage Shop as at present.
In 1886 the present No. 2 brick Finishing and Upholstery Shop was removed from the fourth floor of the East Cabinet Shop to the third floor of Building M-12, and the Sewing Room was removed from the second floor of the main office building to the second floor of Building M-12.
In 1889 the No. 3 Brick Shop Building M-13 was erected and a Veneer Room constructed in the basement for the storage of valuable veneers.
In 1900 the M-16 Shop was erected. This was a frame Finishing Shop which was built on site of what had previously been occupied by a walled-in pond of water constructed by the Lumber Department for soaking the sap acids out of oak timber. Immediately west of the Frame Shop was the large Passenger Oak Storage Shed which was built in 1893 and filled with a choice accumulation of Dry Passenger Oak.
On February 20th, 1905, occurred the most disastrous fire in the history of the company. On this date a fire started in a passenger car inside the frame M-16 shop and entirely destroyed this shop, together with six express cars being finish-ed inside the shop, and also destroyed the Passenger Oak Lumber Shed together with the entire lot of oak lumber stored in same. As soon as the debris could be cleared away the present new brick and steel M-16 shop was erected and was occupied May 1st, 1905. On the site of the oak shed was erected immediately thereafter the present M-19 shop, which was first built a frame lumber shed and in the latter part of 1905 it was walled in with brick to be used as a Passenger Finishing Shop.
The original frame Freight Shop which stood where brick Freight Shop was located, where long transfer table is now between Body Shops M-1 and M-4, was torn down July 1st, 1879, and replaced by a brick building into which ran an incline from the main street. This building was used for building freight car trucks and was torn down in 1906 to make room for the transfer table above mentioned.
The brick building which forms the west end of the Body Shop M-4 was built to be used as a Freight Paint Shop, but later was used as a Passenger Truck Shop until the Passenger Truck Shop was removed to the M-39 shop.
The M-39 shop was built in 1901 and in 1903 an addition was built to this shop to be used as a passenger truck shop, and this department was removed to its present location and the place it formerly occupied in the west end of Body Shop M-4 was used for building passenger car bodies.
When the new Steel Plant was gotten in operation the Wood Freight Department was transferred to that plant and the building formerly occupied at the Main Plant was converted in to the present Body Shop M-1 and was first occupied with passenger bodies in April, 1906.
In 1887 the Hammer and Forge Shop was erected at the Annex Plant. In 1905 the north addition was built on Hammer Shop and a new Sellers hammer and a waste heat boiler installed.
In 1900 the old frame stable which stood about where main Power Plant is now located, was removed and the present brick stable was erected on the canal bank abutting the west line of the Thresher Varnish premises.
In 1890 the large passenger car Sill Storage Shed was built on Monument avenue west of C. H. & D. R. R. tracks.
In 1888 the first steam dry kiln was erected in its present location opposite the Storeroom.
In 1896 the new two-story brick Casting Cleaning Building was erected.
In 1907 an addition to the west side of the main Annex building was made, running from the boiler room to the original “L” wing on the north end of this building. In March, 1911, the three-story extension was built on the north end of main Annex building, this being the grey pressed brick addition.
At various times, purchases of property were made west of the C. H. & D. Railway and between the canal and the Mad river levee, until the company now owns all the property down to Meigs street, with several lots on Taylor street, all of which is used for lumber storage and has extensive lumber sheds and dry kilns.
Originally the method employed for switching cars in the yard was by means of horses or mules. In 1883 what was termed a “car puller” was erected. This was an endless wire cable running over large pulleys at either end, which extended from the Keowee street gate along the track to the present dry kilns.
This car was operated by a winding drum located at the Wheel Foundry. This device was in use for a number of years and the company then purchased a large traction engine for switching cars and the original car puller was removed. The traction engine was used for switching until the first locomotive, No. 14, was purchased, February 7th, 1898, and another engine, No. 21, was purchased in October, 1903, the large number of car load shipments keeping these two engines busy continually and sometimes requiring their use night and day. In 1907 over 7000 car loads of inbound freight were handled by these engines.
As heretofore stated, the original power for operating machinery was derived from a water wheel located near the canal lock. Later on a small saw mill engine of perhaps 15 H. P. was put in to drive the foundry fans. This engine did not prove a success and was replaced by a horizontal engine of about the same capacity.
As the business grew, more power was required than could be furnished by the water wheel and when the north end and “L” was added to the Smith Shop, the east end of the “L” was built for an engine and boiler room and supplied with a Wright horizontal engine and three horizontal tubular boilers. These furnished power for the Machine Shop, Foundry and Blacksmith Shops until 1900, when the Main Power Plant was built.
The power for the Planing Mill was originally furnished by means of a wire cable running across the main street, but when the East Cabinet Shop was built, a steam plant was arranged for in this building with a Wright engine and three horizontal tubular boilers. This engine was replaced in 1891 by a Buckeye horizontal engine, which furnished the power for the Cabinet Mills until the new power plant was built.
The first Shaving Cyclone and Dust Collectors were put into this building in 1886.
The power for the Freight Mill was derived from a steam plant located where the Body Shop office now is, with three horizontal tubular boilers. The engine was a Buckeye horizontal, located in the basement under the brick Freight Truck Shop, which was torn down on 1906.
On June 30th, 1887, the Board of Directors took the following action:-
“It being deemed desirable to gather together the heads of the operating departments once each day, it was decided to serve a lunch at noon to the officers of the Company and the heads of Departments.”
In accordance with this the office building at the Annex Plant, which had formerly been used as the office of the Woodsum Machine Company was fitted up as a dining room and with a complete kitchen, and for a number of years lunch was served free to the officers of the Company and heads of Departments.
On December 19th, 1896, the Board of Directors authorized the equipping a portion of the Main Plant with electric power.
Accordingly on February 20th, 1897, an order was placed with the General Electric Co., for one 207 K. W. belted D. C. generator and 22 motors, aggregating 427 H. P. This generator was placed in the basement of the Buckeye Engine Room under the old Freight Truck Shop, being driven through a jack shaft by the 20”x40” girder bed Buckeye engine now located in Power House Building M-31. This generator was first started August 2d, 1897. The steam for this engine was furnished by the three 80 H. P. horizontal tubular boilers located in the building now occupied by the Body Shop Office.
The first compressed air used in the plant was furnished by a Brownell Compressor located in this same engine room.
On July 31st, 1900, an order was placed with the General Electric Company for two 250 K. W. D. C. Generators and 35 motors aggregating 966 H. P.
On July 25th, 1900, an order was placed with the Buckeye Engine Company for two Cross Compound 15¼”x28½”x27” stroke engines, direct connected to drive the above generators.
On July 21st, 1900, an order was placed with Wickes Brothers for six Wickes Vertical Water Tube Boilers of 250 rated H. P. each.
While the above equipments were being built, the Main Power Plant Building M-31 was being erected and the above generators and boilers were located in this building together with the 20”x40” Wright Engine and the 207 K. W. General Electric Company’s generator and the Brownell Air Compressor which were transferred to this old building from the Buckeye Engine Room under the old Freight Truck Shop. The first of the two engines and generators was started March 23rd, 1901, and the second April 9th, 1901, and the old Wright Engine and Generator and Compressor, which had been transferred from the old Freight Truck Shop, were started in May, 1901.
On January 21st, 1903, a Rand Air Compressor of 1050 cubic feet capacity was purchased to replace the old Brownell Compressor in Power House M-31.
On June 28th, 1902, an order was placed with the General Electric Company for one 200 K. W. G. E. Co. D. C. belted generator and 5 motors aggregating 235 H. P. These were installed in the Annex Plant, Building W-1, Engine Room and driven by belt from the 20”x30” Buckeye Engine, the engine being speeded up from 90 to 135 R. P. M. At the same time there was installed one more 80 H. P. Horizontal tubular boiler in addition to the three boilers already in use, making a total of 320 boiler H. P. at this plant. This generator was first started November 1st, 1902.
In 1905, oil was introduced as fuel in the heating furnaces in the Blacksmith Shop at the Main Plant, the oil being stored in three tanks of 10,100 gallons capacity each, 30,300 gallons total, the tanks and pump being located in a concrete pit just north of the main power building M-32.
THE STEEL PLANT
On August 5th, 1899, this Company leased from the Erie Railroad ten acres of land lying north of the Erie track and east of the junction of the canal and hydraulic, now the west end of present Steel Plant. This land was for the purpose of storing lumber and other materials. At this time the Car Company built the bridge across the hydraulic canal, connecting the main plant with this leased ground, and extended the railroad tracks across same.
On December 10th, 1904, the first discussion took place in the Executive Committee of the necessity for a new Freight Car Plant and Henry Tesseyman and Arthur J. Stevens were sent to visit various other car plants.
On December 22nd, 1904, the report of Messrs. Tesseyman and Stevens was received and discussed with the result that Mr. Tesseyman was instructed to proceed with the preliminary plans for a new Freight Car Plant.
On this same date, December 22nd, 1904, was discussed the necessity of the Company controlling its own yellow pine timber supply, with the result that A. J. Stevens was sent south to investigate the possibilities.
On January 16th, 1905, Mr. Tesseyman submitted the preliminary plans for the new Freight Car Plant, with the result that orders were issued for the immediate construction of same.
In the meantime, negotiations were in progress for the purchase from the Erie Railroad and Ezra Bimm, of all the land lying between the Erie Canal and Hydraulic feeder on the north and the Erie main track on the south and extending from the junction of the canal and hydraulic at the east end of the Main Plant to the west line of Findlay street, which resulted finally in the Company purchasing all of this property in March, 1905.
On February 28th, 1905, A. J. Stevens presented his report of his timber investigations in the South, with the result that authority was given for the purchase of the Saw Mill Plant and timber land of the Gress Lumber Company, at Milltown, Georgia, after the purchase of which, the present Milltown Lumber Company was organized. The purchase from the Gress Lumber Company consisted of their Saw Mill and Planing Mill property in Milltown, Georgia, about 50,000 acres of timber land, the Milltown Air Line Railroad extending from Milltown, Georgia to Naylor, Georgia, four locomotives and fifteen miles of Tram Road.
In August, 1907, purchase was made of an additional 36,000 acres of timberland in the territory contiguous to the land first purchased, aggregating an approximate total of 86,000 acres of timber and timberland now owned by the Company.
In March, 1905, ground was broken for the buildings for the new Steel Plant-the buildings for which were rapidly erected, machinery and tools purchased and installed and the plant put into operation and the first steel cars, being those built on Order No. 2102, were turned out December, 1905.
The first buildings erected of the Steel Plant consisted of the Main Erecting Shop, 738 feet long by 180 feet wide; the Paint and Dry Lumber Storage Building, 738 feet long by 75 feet wide, and the Wood Planing Mill, 288 feet long by 100 feet wide- all of steel frame and hollow concrete block wall construction, and a brick Power House, consisting of the Engine Room, 75 fee wide by 68 feet long and the Boiler and Pump Room, 72 feet long by 54 feet wide. For this Power House the following equipment was installed:-
On February 11th, 1905, an order was placed with the Buckeye Engine Co., for two Cross Compound 15¼”x28½”x 30” Engines.
On February 15th, 1905, an order was placed with the Crocker-Wheeler Co., for two 275 K. W. Direct Connected Direct Current Generators and 63 motors aggregating 1551 H. P.
Steam for the Plant was furnished by three 300 H. P. Munoz Boilers ordered from the Platt Iron Works Co., February 23rd, 1905.
One generator was started November 25th, 1905.
The other generator was started November 28th, 1905.
The first Air Compressor for the Steel Plant was ordered from the Platt Iron Works Company, February 23rd, 1905- 1050 cubic feet capacity and was put in operation November 25th, 1905, and the second Compressor, a duplicate of the first one, was ordered November 23rd, 1905, and put in operation June 29th, 1906.
Up to 1907 all freight car forgings and machine work on same had been made at the Main or West plant and loaded on cars and transferred by switch engine to the East or Steel plant.
On February 12th, 1907, the Board of Directors authorized the building of a Forge Shop at the East Plant. Ground was first broken for this building in March, 1907, and the building was in use in September, 1907, although all the tools and machinery for same were not completely installed until early in 1908. This building is of steel frame and brick wall construction, 360 feet long by 150 feet wide.
On February 14th, 1907, there was ordered from R. D. Wood & Co., one Hydraulic Press of 800 tons capacity, with two Buffalo Steam Pump Co. Hydraulic Pumps and one Accumulator. These were first put in operation October 8th, 1907.
In 1910 we installed in the east end of the Forge Shop at the East Plant, one R. D. Wood & Co. 300 ton Hydraulic Press.
This new Forge Shop made necessary an addition to the Power Plant equipment and on February 22nd, 1907, there was ordered from the Northern Electrical Manufacturing Co., one 300 K. W. Direct Current Direct Connected Generator and 28 motors aggregating 518½ H. P., and on February 14th, 1907, an order was placed with the Buckeye Engine Company for one engine, duplicate of the first two above mentioned, and this combination was first started in operation October 16th, 1907.
On February 14th, 1907, an order was placed with the Ingersoll-Rand Co., for one Imperial Type 10 Steam Driven Air Compressor, capacity 2394 cubic feet of free air per minute. This compressor was first started June 29th, 1907. This compressor, in connection with the first two above mentioned, gives a total capacity of 4494 cubic feet of free air per minute.
On February 19th, 1907, an order was placed with the Atlas Engine Company for one 300 R. Special H. P. Atlas Water Tube Boiler. This boiler was first put in operation September 5th, 1907.
The two Buffalo Hydraulic Pumps furnished by R. D. Wood & Co., for the 800 Ton Hydraulic Press, proved unsuitable for the requirements and on February 19th, 1908, an order was placed with Dean Brothers Steam Pump Works for three Hydraulic Power Driven Pumps, with a capacity of 80 gallons of water per minute each, under 1,500 lbs. pressure, to be operated by three Northern Electrical Manufacturing Co. Motors of 90 H. P. each at 470 R. P. M., to replace the Buffalo Pumps.
The total boiler capacity of this Power Plant is 1,200 H. P.
The total engine capacity of the three engines is 1,200 rated H. P., ultimate capacity of 1,650 H. P.
The total generator capacity of the 3 generators is 850 K. W., equivalent to 1135 H. P.
In addition to the above, there have been at various times a few motors purchased, so that at this time we have in the three plants-Main, Annex and East Plant, 7 generators, aggregating 1,757 K. W., and 176 motors, aggregating 4,274½ H. P.
In 1907 fuel oil was introduced in the East Plant, for fuel in the rivet furnaces in the Steel Erecting Shop and for the heating furnaces in the Forge Shop.
In 1905 a frame dwelling house was built at the Findlay street gate of the East Plant for use of the Foreman of the East Plant Lumber Yard.
In addition to the above mentioned buildings of the East Plant, there were erected in 1906, the large frame Passenger Sill Shed, 204 feet long by 196 feet wide, on Findlay street, and the large frame Passenger Oak Shed, 161 by 161 feet square, immediately west of the Sill Shed.
When the Steel Plant was put in operation it became necessary to employ a large percentage of foreign labor and to insure a steady source of supply of this character of labor it became evident that special provisions would have to be made for taking care of their domestic and social needs. Accordingly, on August 5th, 1905, authority was given for the organization of a company for the establishment of a Hungarian Colony. The Dayton Realty Company was there-fore organized January 26th, 1906, for this purpose and 12 acres of land were purchased on Leo Street, in North Dayton. There were erected 80 houses and central club house and general store-the club house and store being owned and operated by J. D. Moskowitz - he also being manager of the entire colony, called the “Kossuth Colony,” together with all the houses comprising the colony.
The entire plant of the Company at Dayton, consisting of the Main Plant, Annex Plant and East Steel Plant, together with the Lumber Storage Yards, occupies 57¾ acres, on which are located about 85 buildings.
There are in the yards of the three plants about eight miles of standard gauge railroad track.
The total area of buildings under roof is 19.55 acres.
The total floor space under roof is 26.61 acres.
In the year 1909 commenced the transaction in passenger car construction, from the wood or composite construction, to steel cars of various designs of construction and the demands for this type of car becoming so urgent, the Company commenced accepting orders for steel passenger cars in the latter part of 1909 and when the East Plant completed the orders on the books for freight cars in the fall of 1910, that entire plant was turned over onto steel passenger car construction only.
This transaction and evolution in passenger car construction, made necessary many changes in our working force. The amount of detail work on drawings made it necessary to extend our Draughting Room and employ more than three times as many draughtsmen as it had been previously necessary to employ in the most prosperous years.
It also made necessary the erection of Sheet Metal Shop Building M-17 with a complete equipment of sheet metal working machinery and tools.
It also necessitated the installation of an oxy-acetylene generating plant for gas welding. Accordingly two Davis-Bournonville Acetylene Gas generating plants were installed, one at the East Plant and one at the Main Plant.
The oxygen generating retorts were installed at the East Plant. This generator was originally a high pressure generator, but was replace in June, 1911, by a low pressure generator.
The Company successfully weathered the storms of the four worst panics this country has ever known. The first experience was that of 1857, only eight years after the starting of the business. During this depression business was at a standstill and the shops were closed much of the time. There is now in existence an old time-book of the Blacksmith Shop for the year 1857, when Mr. F. A. Tenney had charge of the shop, which bears this inscription in Mr. Tenney’s hand-writing:
“Owner, Captain and Crew,” following which is nothing but blank pages, bearing evidence of an idle shop.
The panic of 1873-4 affected the Company in much the same manner as that of ‘57-stagnation of business and closed shops.
During the year 1892 and for several years previous, the Company had enjoyed a very prosperous business, but beginning in 1893, with the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, a period of business depression settled down over the entire country and for the next four and one-half years the car business was completely at a standstill and suffering from a general demoralization. During much of this period the shops were completely closed and in order to keep the wheels moving whenever possible, the Company entered the electric car building field and for the next several years built a great many electric street and traction cars, the electric street railways and traction lines then just coming into general use throughout the country.
With an interim of only a few years of normal prosperity, we were again visited by a financial panic beginning in October, 1907, which swept over the entire country and was followed by a business depression which lasted until early in 1910 and while the car builders and kindred lines were overwhelmed with business in the year 1910, the prosperity was of short duration and because of excessive legislative activity adverse to railroads and restrictions imposed by the Interstate Commerce Commission, general business suffered another slump, from which we had not recovered by the spring of 1911.
But through all these periods of business depression, the Company conserved its resources, improving the physical condition of the plant, always with the motto to “be ready for business, when business comes!”
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