The success of Vulcan’s manufacturing led to the rapid expansion of the company. In 1891 the capitalisation of the company was expanded from $50,000 to $200,000, and again it was expanded to $230,000 in 1897. During all of this the company was steadily relocating from the Clinton Avenue facility to a new one at 327 North Bell Avenue (it was called Irving Avenue at the time.) This remained Vulcan’s office and factory until its relocation to Chattanooga, TN in 1960.
A front view from the railroad yard of Vulcan’s facility at 327 North Bell Ave.
A view of what’s left of the foundry after it was torn down.
It’s time to go: when Vulcan left for Chattanooga, the old shop went up for sale. This is the sales brochure for the facility.
Woodworking equipment at Vulcan’s 327 North Bell facility, necessary not only for the pattern shop but also for making the boxes and crates necessary to ship a heavy product such as pile driving equipment.
Looking down on a Super-Vulcan hammer at the 327 North Bell facility.
One way to put ram keys in: using a DGH-100 hammer to install ram keys in a Vulcan 016 hammer at Vulcan’s 327 North Bell Avenue facility in Chicago. Vulcan’s offshore customers were to do the same thing for the larger offshore hammers in the 1970’s.
Looking back in the shop at 327 North Bell Avenue. Note the parts storage upstairs on the right. Upstairs parts storage and offices became a thing of the past when Vulcan moved to Chattanooga, although the upstairs office came back into vogue when Vulcan had its fabricating facility in West Palm Beach.
The shop floor at Vulcan’s 327 North Bell Avenue facility. The machine in the front is a planer with a reciprocating table, used for ram key slots and other specialised operations. With its unique capabilities, it survived the move to Chattanooga and remained in that shop until it was closed in 1998.
The earliest extant plan for the 327 North Bell facility, “Car Shop for Vulcan Iron Works,” dated 1894. It states the address as “Kinzie St. & Irving Avenue.” Kinzie Street runs along the north edge of the rail yard that forms the north border of the property; the facility never really gets that bar. Irving Avenue is what the street it faced was called until it was renamed.
A street view of Vulcan’s facility at 327 North Bell Avenue, taken at the time of the company’s centennal in 1952.
A floor view of a Super-Vulcan hammer at the 327 North Bell facility.
Looking down on the shop floor at the 327 North Bell Avenue facility. In the upper right hand corner one can see the “mezzanine” behind which were Vulcan’s offices, upstairs.
Some of Vulcan’s machining capabilities–and the machinists that made them possible–at Vulcan’s 327 North Bell Avenue facility.
Other links of interest: