Thursday, January 21, 2016

Stewart Warner and C&NW Deering Yard

Paul Haltiwanger shared
Bill Kolton also posted
Reuven Torres posted
There were lots of comments in the posting about remembering or working in the plant. But I had to explicitly ask where it was. Interestingly I got two answers:
  • 1826 Diversey Pkwy. At walcott. 1905-1993
  • Wellington between Paulina and Ravenswood

Judging from a 1938 photo and confirmed by Wikipedia, it was on Diversey, on the north side. The photo also shows C&NW's Deering Yard.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Except for some of the scoreboard information, this material is from Wikipedia.

The company was founded in 1905. Their first products were instruments for automobiles. For example, they built the speedometer used in the Ford Model T. They also made radios, refrigerators, heat exchangers, scoreboards, and the "zerk" grease fitting named after its inventor, which was associated with the company.

At its peak the plant covered one-million square feet and six floors. From a comment by Lance Grey "SW employed about 6,000 people at its peak."

In the 1980s, the scoreboard division was sold off to White Way Sign. That company closed July 2, 2015, but Olympic Signs acquired the assets on May 20, 2015

The rest of the company was bought in 1987 by British Tire & Rubber, which then moved operations to Juarez, Mexico. At the time of the closure, it sill employed 700 workers. Through a bunch of coorporate transfers, the brand still exists.

On April 25, 1993, a fire destroyed most of the buildings. The place is now a bunch of upscale condominiums.

Some comments of interest from Facebook:

Brian Oelberg I worked across the street in the former Paasche Factory building (1909 W. Diversey, also gone). We didn't have a clock on the 2nd floor, everyone just looked out the window at the tower.
The clock tower also served as the turn-around point for planes at the Air & Water show, so we got to see jets swoop by ridiculously close.

Erik Newman Raw steel went in one loading dock, precision instruments left from another. It took a long time to tear that building down, very thick concrete floors.

John Tiefenback
During demolition.
Tim Paske posted
Stewart and Warner , before the yuppies,ha. I think the tower is still there.
Diversey and Damen, my Mom worked there during WW II.
[Lots of comments about grandparents and/or parents worked here.]
Update: Bob Ewaniuk posted three photos with the comment: "Anyone remember this factory on Diversay Ave it was huge."





  1. my father was the Vice President of developmental engineering and was in charge of moving operations down to Juarez. very sad to see that place gone

    1. The Conservative TigerMay 31, 2022 at 10:37 AM

      I was an engineer at Stewart Warner in the 1980's. I do not recall anyone with that title. We had an engineering department and there was an instrument and Alemite side to it. Tom Bjorn became chief engineer when John Shragal stepped down because Tom thought he was entitled to the position. Tom ran the 10th floor lab before coming to the 6th floor. He was an alky and shown himself to be a real asshole. If that was your father I feel sorry for you.