Thursday, October 6, 2011

Buick Factory Floor.

Another type of "cushioned" wood block flooring used at Buick in 1921. This is in (the then new) factory #40.

Taking up the wood floor during a factory remodel at Buick. This photo is from the Buick Research Gallery.

Anyone who worked at Buick in Flint will certainly remember these floors. This ad is from July 1919. When I first hired into Buick they had one old man who's job it was to maintain these floors. After Buick City was created (1984) and the wood block floors were gone, "so was his job". I believe they may have still had them north of Leith street in other factories. His job always fascinated me with the speed in which he could lay those blocks. "His only tools were a hatchet and squeegee". This ad shows them using an ax. When a floor required repair he would show up with his mule (truck) which was modified with a steel frame on the hood for holding the blocks. He also had his five gallon bucket of black goo setting next to him. The main problem with these floors were when they got really wet. They soaked up the water and would expand, then create a bulge, that after truck or people traffic they would eventually break up (zipper effect). "These wood blocks were much easier on your feet than concrete". That was the reason for all the rubber mats after the creation of Buick City.


Anonymous said...

Now what's REALLY amazing is that the Jennison-Wright Company is still in business, in Ohio, and still offers Kreolite wood block floors!

Here is their website:

Gerry Godin said...

Now that is amazing!

Anonymous said...

After doing some further research, this company had a manufacturing site in Toledo, and another one in Illinois which became EPA superfund sites after the company declared bankruptcy in 1989 (no doubt, in part to avoid the costly cleanup).

You can Google the company name and read all of the EPA reports. If you look at the aerial maps of the sites, they have been fully cleaned up and there is no evidence of anything having been there (much like many of the former GM plants around the Midwest).

The company must have reorganized, and now operates out of Cleveland. Of course, they can no longer use all of the nasty chemicals that they once did to preserve the wood blocks (and probably use only slightly less nasty but different chemicals today).

Some of the oldest Delco manufacturing plants in Kokomo (now all torn down) where I worked as a GMI co-op student had the wood block floors in them. They were nice - quiet, smooth, and easy on the feet.

Gerry Godin said...

Thanks for all the added information.