Saturday, January 29, 2011

Factory #04 Assembly 1983

This is the second floor of factory #04. This is probably near the center of the factory judging by the bins holding tires. The cars in the foreground (traveling to the right) have yet to be through body scheduling. The car in the left background (traveling to the left) is a Regal (already through scheduling) heading for factory #40. Body receiving was all done in factory #04 at this time. The materials group #88 was in charge of body receiving. The body's in the foreground are still on the carriers that carried them through the Fisher body factory on south Saginaw st. The tires and wheels in the bins were just extras that were occasionally needed.

Tire / Wheel Installation 1976

Friday, January 28, 2011

Factory #20

 This story on the new Buick foundry #20 is from the trade journal "The Foundry" June 1917.  August 1917 story.

This post card shows the (then new) Buick foundry located at the corner of Leith st. and Division st. This north facing view shows the foundry on the left with the die and pattern shop #15 on the right. This new foundry which took the place of the old Michigan Motor Castings factory on Industrial Ave was built in 1916. This factory was demolished between 1931-1932 being replaced by factory #70 built directly north of this spot. Building #85, which was built later (on this site) was the Engineering building where I hired in during 1972.

Buick 1932

Factory #15 1997

Factory #15 Die And Pattern Shop

Factory #20 Foundry

Buick Factory Designations                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Factory #40 1983

This view facing north on the second floor slat line about 100 feet south of the body drop shows the same job I did in 1976 in factory #04.

Factory #40/bldg 16 1978

Factory #40 1980.

Factory #04 Second Floor Pit

Monday, January 24, 2011

Buick Dealers

The factory #03 Drop Forge is in the background.

You can see the rail loading dock that Buick used in 1916 in the right background.

Instead of a banner on factory #06 the factory is now painted "BUICK MOTOR COMPANY PIONEER BUILDER VALVE-IN-HEAD MOTOR CARS".

I tried buying, but was outbid by a dealer. Above is shown some other closeup photos.

This photo which is reminiscent of the Walter Chrysler photo showing 5,000 Buick workers was taken 3 years later on June 21,1916. The photo above is the whole panorama.

5,000 Buick Employees

Weston-Mott Employees

Walter Chrysler Photo 5,000 Buick Employees

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Buick Entertainment.

This photo taken before the creation of Buick City shows a workers companion "The Boom Box". I still have my machine and my special mix tapes. If you've ever seen the movie "Car Wash" you will understand the need for this device. The worker shown is Jay Britt. After the creation of Buick City, TV was the status symbol in the factory. The problem was reception, (being surrounded by the steel structure of the building). Many antennas would sprout up on the roof with cables running hundreds of feet down into the factory. Every so often management would send maintenance workers up on the roof for antenna removal. The maintenance workers always had the best equipment and of coarse they would never remove their own antennas. On factory #40's roof alone could be found well over 30 installations. As with the numbers runners, makeshift restaurants, bordellos (Mattress Mary's in old factory #40), liquor stores and gambling establishments being shut down every few years, the same held true for rooftop antennas. P.S. knowbody seemed to care about Mary's being shut down because that meant a new mattress. Life in the factory sure was interesting at times. 'We really were a city'.

Buick City Assembly

This process of removing and re-installing the doors only lasted through the first year of production at the new Buick City assembly plant. The original purpose of removing and re-installing the doors was considered a step forward in a quality build, plus it would be more ergonomic for the worker. All the door components would be installed off the car on a separate assembly line and then sent by a super fast elevator to the second floor for re-installation. As with many things eliminated after the first year, this was considered almost a Rube Goldberg way of doing a simple job. It was a real pain getting the doors back into their original alignment. This photo shows the solution they came up with for helping with the alignment procedure. The worker shown is Gene Wolfram who helped develop this device.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Buick 1920.

In this view of the Buick complex the artist has made Industrial Avenue three times as wide as it actually was.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chassis Receiving Before Buick City

We had two of these large gas powered fork lifts for unloading the flat-bed rail cars. This was quite a balancing act that sometimes led to disaster. We would occasionally go joy riding in these at night on second shift. You had to be careful because of the extra tall mast, so as not to knock into any overhead bridge. A smaller version of these trucks were used for loading onto the factory conveyors. The frames in my time came from A. O. Smith factory in Milwaukee,Wisconsin And early on from Midland Steel in Cleveland Ohio. I have an interesting story about this unloading procedure in my memoirs. links:  News of a shutdown for a lack of frames in 1945.

Factory #04-03 In 1976

Chassis Line 1966

Factory #62 Chassis Loading

This shows the two locations where the chassis first started their long journey through the two factories of Buick final assembly prior to the creation of Buick City and the Unit-body construction. The chassis was placed on a link conveyor (upside down) when entering the factory. There were metal spacers or dunnage placed between the chassis during shipping. These were the first things removed after they entered the factory and thrown into a tub for return to the manufacturer. Then the manifest that would tell the assembler on the line how to build this particular Buick would be added. The large Electra's and LeSabre's were built in factory #04, The intermediate Century and Regal were built in factory #40. An interesting note is that the frames for factory #04 were hung from chains.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Industrial & Hamilton Avenue 1915.

In this 1915 view of the Weston-Mott factory it shows a lot of activity. The  Industrial bank has been in place since 1909 and the road surface is having some more brick work done. I also like how Weston is misspelled. Also this has a good look at Buick factory #01.

Close-up detail showing more bricks being laid at the intersection. I think the street car line (follow links) was extended from this intersection all the way to Saginaw street at this time. Also great office detail.

Close-up detail of the south-west corner of the Weston-Mott factory.

This Weston-Mott employee never mailed this card. It must have been his personal keepsake, as evidenced by his note on the back.
Here is the Industrial Bank in 1915. 
Here is the main Industrial Bank in Downtown Flint.  

links: Weston Mott & Industrial Bank

Weston Mott 1906-1909

Weston Mott 1909

Buick winter

Weston-Mott Company

Inside Weston-Mott

Weston-Mott 1923

Factory #10 and #07 during construction. Plus Industrial and Hamilton

Weston-Mott Employees

Industrial and Hamilton Showing Oak Park Subdivision

Weston-Mott Officers

Hamilton and Industrial

The Oak Park Industrial Complex 1907

Buick 1920

Industrial and Hamilton

Early views of Buick & Weston-Mott.

Industrial and Hamilton Avenue

Industrial & Hamilton Avenue 1913

Weston-Mott At Industrial & Hamilton

Factory #4 Postcard Showing Bank                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mott's Legacy.

Industrial Avenue Business "NOT AS USUAL".

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1936 Buick instrument panel.

Instrument cluster being painted using a printing press. This appears to be in one of the annex additions between factory #06 and #07.

Close-up of the finished instrument cluster.

This is the description on the back of the photo below.