Sunday, May 20, 2012

David Buick's Marvelous Motor Car.

A former Buick employee named Ward Smith who has contributed to this blog before, sent this article along. This is a great book for anyone interested in the early history of Buick. Ward was retired out of factory #29. 
 You can super enlarge just about any photo on this blog for viewing small details. The way this is done is a little different depending on which browser is used.

Factory #29 Tool Factory.

David Buick's Marvelous Motor Car  
Kevin Kirbitz says he believes Buick is at the upper left with Sherwood next to him. This is in 1897. Click on story for original link. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Telephone Directory 1931.

I bid on this item but lost. It would have been interesting. I had many of these in my years at Buick but never kept one. When I worked at Bay City Powertrain the book I had there was the General Motors Directory and included my old numbers from my office at Buick. That surprised me. It is interesting that the ambulance numbers are different exchanges depending on the time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Factory Tour.

This is the start of one of the many factory tours at Buick during it's lifetime. This one appears to be about 1969. You will notice the person leading the group in the dark suit has a loud speaker. This was definitely needed in most areas of the factory because of the steady noise. (CLICK HERE FOR THAT SOUND). In this tour (starting from the Buick main office) you can see factory #04 filling the background. You can also see the body receiving area off to the right. This corner of Industrial and Hamilton Avenue always was the prime place for taking photos. I was the clerk for the truck dock shown in the background during 1981 to 1982. I have two different folding postcard sets (from 1968 and 1969) that were given out to the people taking the plant tour. When I took the tour in the 50's I was given a miniature pocket sewing kit. Even then I was thinking that was a stupid keepsake. Follow the courtyard link for more on my tour. The postcard photos I mention, are posted throughout this blog. You can just do a search with the keyword 1967 or 1968 at the upper left corner to see these photos. Follow the link THE TRIP I MADE for one of the older keepsakes given out.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

The Trip I Made

Court Yard Between Factory #07 and #10

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Body Receiving Through The Years.

This shows a load of closed body's coming from the Buick body plant located at Industrial and Hamilton Avenue (the old W.F. Stewart plant) about the year 1921-1922. Closed body's were now partially built in factory #08 which was attached to factory #4 in 1920. This is Industrial Avenue looking north. The body's are on their way to factory #10 which was assembling the closed body Buick's at that time.

This photo (from 1920) shows factory #01 in it's original form. It has the west, south and east wings, plus the center section is only one floor. The demolition work done between 1932 to 1934 removed the east wing (shaded yellow) first, followed a year later by the south wing (shaded red). The west wing lasted all the way until 1963. The roof trusses from the center section were reused for the new east wing of the crankshaft factory #66. Closed body production was so low in the teens that they were (for a short time) just trucked from the Fisher brothers plant in Detroit. As mentioned earlier, final assembly was in factory #10 for the closed body Buick's. Most production in the early years was the open body style which traveled through a tunnel (see inside factory #4 link) running under Hamilton Avenue to factory #01 and then onto #06 assembly by way of an overhead bridge.

Buick Factory #01.
Inside factory #4

This was the new closed body receiving conveyor installed in 1922 in a 1932 photo. It is attached to the west wing of factory #01. Factory #10 is (at this time) attached directly to the west wing of factory #01. Since closed body's were becoming more popular, a factory dedicated to just building for Buick was found in Detroit. That factory was designated #75. Building #18 was the body assembly. Since hauling chassis's from Flint was expensive, this was changed in 1925 when Buick started building all their own body's at the plant in Flint. Scripps Booth.
Oral history link.
July 1922.

Factory #01 closed body receiving 1924. Factory #01 closed body receiving 1924.

This 1932 overview of the south-end of Buick shows the east wing of factory #01 has now been removed. The center section has been raised to it's full height. The red arrow indicates the future (1935) entry point for closed body's being relocated to the east side of the factory,where it would remain until 1963.

This 1934 view of the east side of factory #01 shows the area indicated in the previous photo. This is where the east wing of #01 once stood and will shortly be the new body receiving area. The red arrow points to one of the future entry points for the body's. This view would be blocked when the main office received it's addition.

A tandem body truck. This photo is from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan.

This view is facing north across Hamilton Avenue in Flint, Michigan. This truck is being loaded from the north dock of factory #04 (old W.F. Stewart body plant). The building seen across Hamilton is The original Weston Mott axle plant which would be Buick #31 by this time.

The red arrows show a couple of body trucks. One backed into the west wing conveyor and the other waiting it's turn on Hamilton Avenue in 1934. The yellow arrow shows the south wing of factory #01 has now been removed. Farther below you can see the almost identical scene in 1960.

The red arrow shows the body receiving area in 1940.The yellow outline shows where the main office will have it's addition added in 1955.

Here we have some 1936 Buick body's arriving from the Fisher body plant #1 on south Saginaw Street in Flint. The old Durant factory was taken over by Fisher body when William Durant went bankrupt after the 1929 stock market crash. All (Flint) Buick body's would be built at that location until the creation of Buick City in 1985. One other thing visible in this photo is the area of wall on the main office that is bricked over (above trailer). This is where the small bridges were attached to the south wing of factory #01 for quick access of office personnel. Follow the second main office link to see this bridge.

Buick's Second Main Office.

The first office was also connected in this same manner. This photo is from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan.
Walter Marr,Buick's First Engineer
Buick City "The Beginning"
Factory #62 1936
William Crapo Durant

This shows the moving carriage used for unloading or receiving the body's as they came off the trailer from Fisher body. The photo diagram (shown below) explains the general workings of this structure. As the body truck arrived, there was a sign that said: "DRIVERS STOP HERE". Once directed, the driver pulled the loaded trailer forward, up the ramp directly north, (shown farther below from overhead) once in position the whole carriage could then be activated (moving on rails) to a position directly behind the trailer. This is 1936. facing west at the east wall of factory #01. You can super enlarge just about any photo on this blog for viewing small details. The way this is done is a little different depending on which browser is used.

Here is the explanation of the workings of this unique structure. The red lines show the rails that the carriage rolled on. The yellow arrows point to the carriage stops. The blue arrows point to the wheels on the carriage. The yellow outline shows the entire carriage that would roll into position behind the trailer. The orange outline shows the empty dolly's (dunnage) that the body's rode on during their entire journey through Fisher Body then onto Buick. These were stacked and shipped back to Fisher body in about every other trailer. This was the exact same procedure for handling the returnables in my time. The green arrow shows the beginning of the ramp "or incline" with gravity helping the body's roll off the trailer. That is a 1936 Buick ready to enter the building. The white arrow points to the carriage operator in his seated position. This would have been a cold work station in the winter, and I'm sure he got plenty wet at times. We had some similar jobs in my time where the chassis was sent into the assembly plant. This photo and the one below are from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan.

Here is an overhead view showing the entire body receiving area as viewed from the main office in 1946. This view is facing north and the operation is described below. That is factory #40 building #16 in the background. This factory replaced old #06 assembly. That is the first factory I ever worked in at Buick and always seemed to be like a magnet for me through the years. old factory #06

The red lines show the rails that are shown two photos above. The yellow lines outline the movable carriage. The red arrows show the direction the carriage would move, thus placing it in position for unloading, once the truck (blue X) and trailer (green X's) were in position on the ramp.

The red arrows show the two entry points for the body's entering factory #01. The orange arrow shows the exit point for the body dolly's (dunnage). The yellow outline shows the carriage that moved up and down as indicated by the blue arrow. "Rube Goldberg would have been proud".

This 1947 photo shows a body truck just getting ready to drive onto the ramp into it's unloading position. In my time this was the location of the "Tank Farm". There is a lot going on in this photo. That is factory #40, building #16 in the center background where I first entered a Buick factory.

October 1941. Original link

This (east facing) view from 1960 is almost the same as the 1934 photo (shown farther above) with the body trucks on Hamilton Avenue. The yellow arrow shows the same location as the 1934 photo.

This 1966 photo shows the new body receiving area built in 1962 (indicated with the red arrow). The yellow arrow indicates the extension made to the main office, as mentioned farther above in the 1940 view.

This 1969 photo shows great detail of the office extension done in 1955. You can super enlarge just about any photo on this blog for viewing small details. The way this is done is a little different depending on which browser is used.

The red arrow shows the complete body receiving structure in 1977. The yellow outline shows the footprint of the old main office which was blocking this view until 1968.

The opposite view as shown below.

Here is the view inside of body receiving which was in use from 1962 until the creation of Buick City in 1985. This was a more simple and straight forward receiving area than the previous one located at factory #01. After 1985 the entire body was built (in house) in factory #12. The whole of Buick City assembly was known after 1985 as factory #86. You can super enlarge just about any photo on this blog for viewing small details. The way this is done is a little different depending on which browser is used.This photo is from the Buick Research Gallery in Flint, Michigan.

Body Receiving 1947.
Fisher Body #1
Buick 1975
1954 Buick Fisher Body #1
Factory #44 During Construction
Buick Body By Fisher
The Fisher Brothers.
Fisher Body #1 1940
The W.F. Stewart Factories In Flint.
W.F. Stewart Factory 4 & Buick Garage #08.
Buick City Factory #86