Tag: Factories

  • Abbott Ice and Packing Plant, Carnegie

    You can still see the name “Abbott” in dimmer letters, but the chimney now points the way to Standard Ceramic.

    Would you like to see the same picture done up as an old postcard? The two-color process creates an interesting effect, and it may be amusing to compare it with the natural-color rendition above.

  • A Visit to McKeesport in 1888

    McKeesport was the second city of Allegheny County, far enough from Pittsburgh to be a small metropolitan center in its own right, but near enough to be within commuting distance of the larger city. The economic engine of the city was the National Tube Works, which gave McKeesport the proud nickname “Tube City.”

    Metal tubing, however, was not the city’s only industry. For example, the Wernke Brothers produced carriages, wagons, and other vehicles.

    All that money had to be kept somewhere, and this was the First National Bank. Later bank buildings in McKeesport grew much grander.

  • Duquesne Brewery

    In the late 1970s, artists began to take over the vacant Duquesne Brewery. Now (after many battles over ownership) it has been renovated as artists’ lofts and studios.

  • Hipwell Mfg Co. (the Flashlight Factory)

    This building is remarkably well preserved mostly because it belonged to a company that stayed in the same business until 2005 without ever outgrowing its limited premises. The Hipwell Maufacturing Company’s most famous products were metal HIPCO flashlights, the kind that used to be ubiquitous before plastics took over. But the company (according to this page) was an important innovator in the electrical business, inventing the single-cell batteries that power our flashlights and digital cameras and toys and a thousand other things we never think of until we have to buy batteries again. It was also involved in the early stages of telephones and electric toy trains.

    Today the building is lovingly preserved as—what else?—loft apartments, as well as a banquet hall called HIP at the Flashlight Factory.

  • Armstrong Cork Factory from the River

    Frederick Osterling, one of Pittsburgh’s most interesting architects, designed the Armstrong Cork Company buildings, a masterpiece of functional yet attractive industrial architecture. They have now been turned into expensive loft apartments. You can see the buildings from a different angle here.

  • Heinz Factory

    Some of the old Heinz factory buildings have been turned into loft apartments, and some are still awaiting their next use. The H. J. Heinz Company was a kind of workers’ paradise when old H. J. himself ran it—there was never a strike, never a wage reduction; medical care was free; there was a library and a gymnasium, free concerts for everyone in the auditorium, and even free manicures for the women. Heinz was also notorious for pushing for federal food regulations when the rest of the food industry was fighting them tooth and nail. It was probably just the way old H. J. was constituted, but it was also priceless publicity: would you rather buy food from the company that fights federal oversight or the company that flings wide the doors and welcomes the inspectors?

  • H. J. Heinz Factory

    KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

    This photograph from Frank Curto Park, across the Allegheny, reminded Father Pitt of the old sepia gravure factory prints of a hundred years ago. So why not offer it in sepia tones? Much of the old Heinz complex is now loft apartments, but the buildings are remarkably intact, and on the National Register of Historic Places.