Parkersburg Viscose Plant website Parkersburg WV

            Parkersburg  Viscose Website

This website is a Tribute to the Parkersburg WV Viscose Plant. the Parkersburg plant was the largest of all the Viscose plants. it opened in 1927 and closed in 1974 the plant was a important part of Parkersburg when Parkersburg was a boom town with lots of Industries and Businesses

September 1 2014

This Website has no connection with the Viscose Company or FMC Corp.  

This Website is Owned by

Mackey's Antiques & Clock Repair
1249 Gihon Road
Parkersburg WV 26101
 

   304 422-7274

 e mail   rmackey@mackeysclockrepair.com

Website  http://www.mackeysclockrepair.com    

Tygart School Reunion website http://www.tygartschoolreunion.com

Marrtown Reunion website http://www.marrtownreunion.com/

Parkersburg Viscose website http://www.parkersburgviscose.com/

Wood County History Photography & Scenery  http://www.wchps.net

For Early Parkersburg History and Old Pictures

 Over 900 Old Parkersburg & Wood County WV Pictures

OLD PARKERSBURG & WOOD COUNTY WV SCHOOLS

 

STORY OF AMERICAN VISCOSE AND HOW IT STARTED

 CLICK HERE FOR THE PROCESS OF MAKING VISCOSE RAYON FIBER

 CLICK HERE FOR OLD VISCOSE PICTURES

 MORE OLD PARKERSBURG VISCOSE PICTURES

 CLICK HERE FOR OTHER VISCOSE PLANTS

1944 VISCOSE PICTURES PARKERSBURG WV

MORE 1944 VISCOSE PICTURES PARKERSBURG WV

VISCOSE WATER FILLING THE CITY'S TWO RESERVOIRS PARKERSBURG WV 1943

 CLICK HERE FOR 1946 PARKERSBURG VISCOSE PICTURES

 CLICK HERE FOR MORE 1946 VISCOSE PICTURES

 CLICK HERE FOR 1952 VISCOSE PICTURES

 

CLICK HERE FOR EARLY PARKERSBURG WV HISTORY INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL

 

                                

CLICK HERE FOR ANTIQUE CLOCK REPAIR

CLICK HERE FOR PAPAW'S CLOCK REPAIR HELPERS

I AM WRIGHTING A BOOK ON PARKERSBURG & WOOD COUNTY

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK GO TO THE LINK BELOW CLICK I LIKE

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Parkersburg-WV/MACKEYS-ANTIQUES-CLOCK-REPAIR/141916939168718

 

WE HAVE A AMERICAN VISCOSE GROUP ON FACEBOOK.

  https://www.facebook.com/groups/209089352474234/

The site of the Parkersburg Viscose plant looked like this in May, 1926 when construction had just started on the new plant. when all was completed and up in Production in August 1927 it was the Largest Rayon plant in the World 33 Acres under Roof. in 1963  The Viscose Plants were sold to FMC Corp  on November 14th 1974 the Parkersburg Plant Closed. Picture Courtesy Gary & Sheila Hall

 

This Container holds a sample of the First Rayon Yarn Produced at Parkersburg WV in August 1927. Picture Courtesy Gary & Sheila Hall 

 

George Downing was born in Lancashire, England, and went to school there. He attended the Harris Institute and technical schools of Engineering and then was employed by the Atkinson Co., a British concern. In 1910 Mr. Downing came to the United States and started at the Marcus Hook Viscose Plant on June 15th of that year. Construction had just been started on the plant at that time and Mr. Downing remembers that the village of Marcus Hook had nothing but shell roads. Lamplighters made the rounds at night to light the lamps. A hotel, the McClure, was built near the plant where a bank now stands. After seventeen years in the vicinity of Marcus Hook the Downings moved to Parkersburg in 1926. The site of the present plant was only a bare and muddy field then and Mr. Downing, as Assistant Chief of Engineering to Harry Long, put on his boots to supervise the building of the Engineering units for the new plant. After many months of work the first Parkersburg rayon yarn was produced in August, 1927.

 

Instructors from the American Viscose Marcus Hook Pa. Plant at the opening of the Parkersburg Viscose plant in august, 1927 Front row, left to right: Roy Collins, Harvey Rodgers, Ernest Winstead, Albert Murray, Jack Baath. Back row: Lew Moore, Mary Durkin, Edna Smith, Imogene Bowman (Kelley), Helen Stockman, Helen Mundy, Jean Haller, Jean Bittner, Ethel Louth, Bob Crewdson.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
the Last Yarn bleached at Parkersburg 1974, pictures is - Leonard Flynn - Tony Haddox - Bill Schultz and Red Haney

 

 

LINKS TO OVER 800 OLD PARKERSBURG & WOOD COUNTY WV PICTURES

                                                          http://www.mackeysclockrepair.com/links_old_parkersburg_wv_picture.html

 

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK GO TO THE LINK BELOW CLICK I LIKE

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Parkersburg-WV/MACKEYS-ANTIQUES-CLOCK-REPAIR/141916939168718

 

WE HAVE A AMERICAN VISCOSE GROUP ON FACEBOOK.

  https://www.facebook.com/groups/209089352474234/

WE WILL BE ADDING LOTS OF PARKERSBURG VISCOSE PICTURES, FROM THE 40s AND 50s IF YOU HAVE ANY PICTURES TO SHARE LET ME KNOW

THIS WEBSITE IS ALL ABOUT THE AMERICAN VISCOSE PLANT HERE IN PARKERSBURG WV THIS PLANT WAS THE LARGEST OF ALL THE VISCOSE PLANTS. IN IT'S HAYDAYS IN THE 1930s EMPLOYED OVER 5500 PEOPLE. IT WAS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF PARKERSBURG

THE PARKERSBURG PLANT OPENED IN 1927 AND CLOSED 1974

HISTORY OF RAYON

AMERICAN RAYON INDUSTRY BORN AT MARCUS HOOK PA.


SAMUEL AGAR SALVAGE, THE FOUNDER OF THE AMERICAN RAYON INDUSTRY, WAS BORN IN LONDON IN 1876, THE SAME YEAR THE CHESTER TIMES WAS STARTED. THAT WAS ALSO THE YEAR THAT ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL INVENTED THE TELEPHONE AND LOUIS PASTEUR DEVELOPED THE THEORY OF GERMS. THERE WERE, OF COURSE, NO RADIOS, NO AUTOMOBILES, NO AIRPLANES, AND THE MAN-MADE FIBER CALLED RAYON WAS YET TO BE PRODUCED.
SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER YOUNG SAMUEL SALVAGE SAILED FOR THE UNITED STATES TO SEEK HIS FORTUNE-ONE OF 400,000 MEN AND WOMEN WHO IMMIGRATED TO THIS COUNTRY IN 1893. ANOTHER 17 YEARS PASSED BEFORE SALVAGE CAME TO MARCUS HOOK. HERE, AT HIS SUGGESTION, THE ENGLISH TEXTILE FIRM OF SAMUEL COURTAULD & CO. BUILT THE FIRST COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL RAYON PLANT IN THIS COUNTRY. SPINNING "ARTIFICIAL SILK," AS IT WAS CALLED THEN, STARTED AT MARCUS HOOK ON A SUNDAY NIGHT, JUST SEVEN DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN 1910.

PRODUCTION THEN AND NOW


TOTAL UNITED STATES PRODUCTION IN 1911, THE FIRST FULL YEAR, WAS 362,000 POUNDS OF YARN. ALL OF IT WAS MADE AT THE MARCUS HOOK PLANT OF WHAT IS NOW THE AMERICAN VISCOSE CORP. FORTY YEARS LATER, IN 1950, TOTAL UNITED STATES PRODUCTION WAS 1,260,000,000 POUNDS. IN 1950 AMERICAN VISCOSE CORP. ALONE IN ITS SEVEN RAYON PLANTS MADE 416,000,000 POUNDS, OR MORE THAN 1000 TIMES AS MUCH AS IT TURNED OUT IN 1911. PRODUCTION THIS YEAR, BOTH BY THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLD AND BY THE AVISCO, IS EXPECTED TO BE EVEN GREATER. THE GROWTH OF RAYON TO ITS PRESENT OUTSTANDING PLACE AMONG THE WORLD'S OUTSTANDING TEXTILE FIBERS IS ONE OF THE PHENOMENA OF THIS INDUSTRIAL AGE. ITS SUCCESS IN THIS COUNTRY IS CREDITED LARGELY TO THE PERSEVERANCE AND CONFIDENCE DISPLAYED BY SAMUEL SALVAGE.
AFTER LANDING IN NEW YORK IN 1893, YOUNG SALVAGE WENT FIRST TO CINCINNATI , OH , WHERE HE WORKED FOR A COMPANY OF WHOLESALE CHINA AND GLASS MERCHANTS FOR A YEAR. ACCORDING TO HIS OWN STORY, HE "BROKE TOO MUCH GLASSWARE" AND LEFT IN 1896 TO GO TO NEW YORK .
HIRED BY LINEN FIRM BUSINESS CONDITIONS WERE POOR THAT YEAR AND YOUNG SALVAGE RANG MANY A DOOR BELL BEFORE HE WAS HIRED BY J. B. LOCKE & POTTS, A LINEN FIRM. HE WORKED THERE SEVERAL MONTHS, THEN BECAME ASSOCIATED WITH WILLIAM M. CROWE A YARN MERCHANT AND - IN 1897 - STARTED HIS OWN SMALL BUSINESS AS AN IMPORTER AND SALESMAN OF COTTON YARNS. UNDER THE NAME OF S. A. SALVAGE CO., HE GRADUALLY BUILT UP AN EXCELLENT TRADE, PARTICULARLY FOR FINE-COUNT ENGLISH YARNS.


AMONG THE GOODS HE IMPORTED WAS SOME "ARTIFICIAL SILK" FROM GERMANY . HE FOUND A MARKET FOR IT IN THE BRAID AND TRIMMING TRADE, BUT NO ONE ELSE WANTED IT. DELIVERIES FROM GERMANY WERE POOR, SALVAGE RECALLED YEARS LATER, "BUT I BELIEVED IN THE PRODUCT," HE SAID. "WHEN SAMUEL CORTAULD & CO. STARTED TO MAKE ARTIFICIAL SILK, I GOT HOLD OF SOME AND SAMPLED THE TRADE WITH IT. IT WAS ENTIRELY SATISFACTORY AND I FINALLY GOT THEIR AGENCY HERE IN 1908". IT WAS THE NEXT YEAR THAT SALVAGE WROTE COURTAULDS TO SUGGEST THAT THEY BUY THE VISCOSE PATENTS FOR THE UNITED STATES AND BUILD A PLANT HERE. THE PROPOSITION, SAID TO HAVE BEEN SENT ON A POSTCARD, WAS ACCEPTED; THE AMERICAN VISCOSE CO. WAS FORMED, AND MARCUS HOOK WAS CHOSEN AS THE SITE FOR A PLANT.


INDUSTRY BEGAN IN 1910


BUILDING SOON STARTED, BUT WAS NOT COMPLETED, WHEN ON THAT FATEFUL SUNDAY NIGHT, JUST SEVEN DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN 1910, A LITTLE GROUP OF ENGLISHMEN AND AMERICANS GATHERED ANXIOUSLY TO WATCH THE FIRST YARN FORM AS THE VISCOSE SOLUTION WAS PUMPED THROUGH A SPINNING JET. AS THE YARN FORMED THE AMERICANS GREW EXCITED, BUT THE ENGLISHMEN, TRUE TO THEIR TRADITION, DID NOT CHANGE EXPRESSION. AFTER ALL, THEY HAD SEEN THE SAME THING AT COURTAULDS IN COVENTRY , ENGLAND .
THE NEXT MORNING AT SEVEN O'CLOCK, WITHOUT CEREMONY, THE FIRST FIVE MACHINES WERE STARTED. SOON RAYON WAS ALL OVER THE FLOOR, STUCK TO THE WALLS, THE BENCHES AND THE CEILING, FOR ONLY A FEW MEN WHO HAD COME OVER FROM ENGLAND KNEW HOW TO HANDLE THE STICKY, WET YARN. MOST, IF NOT ALL, THE RAYON MADE ON THAT MONDAY AND FOR SOME TIME TO COME WENT INTO THE WASTE BASKET.


IN 1916, SALVAGE WENT TO LONDON TO TELL THE DIRECTORS THAT A SECOND PLANT WAS NEEDED TO SATISFY THE GROWING DEMAND FOR YARN. WITH SOME TREPIDATION HE REPORTED THAT EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS WERE REQUIRED. "THEY TOLD ME," HE SAID IN LATER YEARS, "TO GO RIGHT AHEAD-WHAT WAS IWAITING FOR? THEY WERE-AND ARE-VERY FAR-SIGHTED PEOPLE, AND HAVE ENCOURAGED AND STIMULATED ME TO AN EXTRAORDINARY DEGREE. THE CONFIDENCE THEY PLACED IN ME HAS BEEN PRICELESS." THEY FURTHER DEMONSTRATED THEIR CONFIDENCE IN HIM THAT YEAR BY ELECTING HIM VICE-PRESIDENT OF VISCOSE CO.
THE SECOND PLANT WAS BUILT AT ROANOKE , VA. , AND STARTED OPERATING IN OCTOBER 1917. IT WAS FOLLOWED, AS THE YEARS WENT ON, BY PLANTS AT LEWISTOWN , PA. ; PARKERSBURG , WV.; AND FRONT ROYAL, VA.


NAME "RAYON" IS ADOPTED


AS OTHER PRODUCERS ENTERED THE FIELD PIONEERED BY THE VISCOSE CO., THE NEED WAS FELT FOR A NAME OF ITS OWN FOR THE FIBER KNOWN AS "ARTIFICIAL SILK". SALVAGE PRESIDED AT A CONFERENCE IN 1924 TO CHOOSE A NAME. MANY WERE SUGGESTED, AMONG THEM "GLOS," "FILATEX," "KLIS" (SILK SPELLED BACKWARDS), "GLISTRA," AND "FILACEL." KENNETH LORD OF THE TEXTILE FIRM OF GALEY & LORD, INC., SUGGESTED "RAYON". THE NAME MET WITH WIDE APPROVAL AND THE NEW FIBER AT LAST ACHIEVED ITS OWN IDENTITY. SAMUEL SALVAGE WHO HAD ALWAYS ADVOCATED THAT THE MAN-MADE FIBER SHOULD STAND ON ITS OWN MERITS, WAS WELL PLEASED.
IN MAY, 1925, SALVAGE WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE VISCOSE CO., A POST HE HELD UNTIL 1937, WHEN HE BECAME CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD. TWO YEARS LATER HE RETIRED AS CHAIRMAN, BUT REMAINED AS A DIRECTOR AND CONSULTANT UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1946. DURING HIS ACTIVE TENURE, THE COMPANY WAS THE LEADING PRODUCER OF RAYON IN THE UNITED STATES-A POSITION IT STILL FIRMLY MAINTAINS.


GROWTH CREDITED TO RESEARCH


BORN IN THE LABORATORY, RAYON OWES ITS SUCCESS, IT IS GENERALLY AGREED, TO CONTINUING RESEARCH. IT IS A SEARCH FOR NEW AND BETTER PRODUCTS, AT LOWER PRICES, WHICH TOGETHER MAKE FOR A BETTER LIFE FOR EVERYONE.
THE FACT THAT RAYON IS MAN-MADE MEANS THAT, LIKE THE AUTOMOBILE AND THE AIRPLANE, IT CAN BE ENGINEERED TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF AN INTEDED USE. FOR THIS REASON AMERICAN VISCOSE CORP., HAS LONG RECOGNIZED THAT THE RAYON INDUSTRY REQUIRES AN EXTENSIVE AND WELL PLANNED RESEARCH PROGRAM COVERING ALL PHASES OF THE BUSINESS FROM RAW MATERIALS TO THE PRODUCTION OF FINISHED PRODUCTS BY ITS CUSTOMERS.
THIS RESEARCH PROGRAM IS CENTERED LARGELY AT MARCUS HOOK. HERE, 12 YEARS AGO, AMERICAN VISCOSE CORP. ESTABLISHED ITS UNIQUE TEXTILE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT, WHICH CONTAINS THE ELEMENTS OF SIX OF MORE FULL-SIZE TEXTILE MILLS. THERE IS ONE FOR COTTON SPINNING, ONE FOR THE WOOLEN SYSTEM OF SPINNING, ONE FOR THE WORSTED SYSTEM, ONE FOR WARPING AND WEAVING, ONE FOR KNITTING, AND ONE FOR DYEING AND FINISHING. HER, UNDER ONE ROOF, MAY BE SEEN AND STUDIED THE METHODS USED THROUGHOUT THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY IN THAT INFINETLY COMPLEX PROCESS BY WHICH TEXTILE FIBERS ARE CONVERTED INTO FINISHED GOODS.
THE DEPARTMENT'S WORK IS PRIMARILY RESEARCH ON NEW DEVELOPMENTS-NEW TECHNIQUES, NEW MACHINERY, NEW FABRICS, NEW FIBERS FOR NEW USES, AND NEW USES FOR EXISTING FIBERS. AT THE SAME TIME, IT CONSTANTLY CHECKS THE COMPANY'S PRODUCTS TO MAKE SURE THEY PERFORM AS ITS CUSTOMERS WANT THEM TO.
AT MARCUS HOOK ALSO ARE THE COMPANY'S CHEMICAL RESEARCH AND MECHANICAL DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENTS. AT NITRO , WV IS A RAYON STAPLE DEVELOPMENT PLANT, IN ADDITION TO THE COMMERCIAL RAYON PLANT THERE, AND IN NEW YORK , IS THE FABRIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT.


RAYON SUITS AND CARPETS


NEW KINDS OF RAYON, NEW PRODUCTS OF RAYON AND NEW MARKETS FOR RAYON ARE CONTINUALLY BEING DEVELOPED. IN 1950, FOR THE FIRST TIME RAYON WAS USED IN MORE THAN HALF OF ALL MEN'S SUMMER SUITS AND IN HEAVIER-WEIGHT SUITS IT PASSED FROM THE EXPERIMENTAL STAGE TO VOLUME PRODUCTION. THIS FALL AND WINTER THE STORES WILL FEATURE ALL-RAYON AND RAYON BLEND SUITS AND TOP COATS IN A WIDE RANGE OF COLORS AND TAILORING.
AVISCO "15" A NEW CARPET STAPLE, WAS INTRODUCED ONLY A YEAR AGO. YET SEVEN OUT OF TEN OF THE CARPET LINES ON SALE TODAY CONTAIN RAYON.
RAYON IS ALSO PLAYING A MUCH BIGGER PART IN THE CURRENT MOBILIZATION FOR DEFENSE THATN IT DID IN 1940 AND 1941, AND IT PLAYED A BIG PART THEN. SOF FAR THE BULK OF THE RAYON COVERED BY DEFENSE ORDERS IS GOING INTO TIRES, LININGS FOR UNIFORMS, AERIAL DELIVERY AND CARGO PARACHUTES. THE ARMED SERVICES HOWEVER, ARE EVIDENCING GREATER AND GREATER INTERST IN RAYON FOR USE IN UNIFORMS.
THUS THE COMPANY WHICH SAMUEL SALVAGE FOUNDED 41 YEARS AGO CONTINUES TO EXPAND. BUILT ORIGINALLY BY THE ENGLISH FIRM OF COURTAULDS LTD., THE CORPORATION IS NOW LARGELY OWNED AND MANAGED BY AMERICANS. THERE ARE 16,000 SHAREHOLDERS MANY OF WHOM ARE AMONG THE CORPORATION'S 22,000 EMPLOYEES.
THE CORPORATION IS MANAGED BY A BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTED BY THOSE SHAREHOLDERS. SEVEN CORPORATION EXECUTIVES ARE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD. CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AND PRESIDENT IS DR. FRANK H. REICHEL, WHO JOINED THE COMPANY IN 1946, WHEN IT ACQUIRED THE ASSETS AND BUSINESS OF SYLVANIA INDUSTRIAL CORP., NOW THE SYLVANIA DIVISION WHICH MAKES CELLOPHANE.

IN LATER YEARS, AMERICAN VISCOSE CORP. WAS ACQUIRED BY THE FMC CORPORATION IN SAN JOSE , CALIFORNIA IN 1963

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