Friday, February 9, 2018

Glass Plant #1

I'm not sure this ties in to my Steel Mill at all, but it certainly looks like it would be fun to model. While on a business trip to NJ, I passed this plant on the way to where I was staying.  At first, I thought it was the remains of an old Open Hearth.  But when I got closer, it was obviously some other kind of industry. After getting to the hotel, I jumped on my computer, and started doing some sleuthing as to what this place was.  It was obviously closed when I had first seen it.  What looked like some type of material hoppers that were concrete were crumbling, and the grass was overgrown everywhere.  My investigation revealed that it had been a glass plant, and had shut down after being sold to a German company, who later moved operations to Mexico, which killed the plant for good.  I've proposed that this plant be built somewhere on the Prairie Scale layout.  It's a pretty incredible medium industry, that I believe wouldn't be too much work to scratch build.  I'm thinking perhaps just the track side sections of the plant, or perhaps re-arrange the plant to make it more linear.  Perhaps still as a backdrop type industry, but you could run it along 15 or 20 feet of backdrop and make it out to be a larger facility that what it really was.  Although it did take up an entire city block.  You can see that most of the large buildings would be fairly easy to build, as they are all corrugated sheet.  And the smoke stacks are all steel, so you could build them to prototype height easily.   Same goes for all of the concrete storage hoppers.  All could start life as PVC plumbing pipe.  And there would finally be a use for the awful Testors "Concrete" paint that isn't really the color of any concrete I've seen in the Northern states.  The entire thing is serviced by one siding (likely for setting out cars from a train), and then the plant spur with only three switches inside the plant.  If you were to lay this out in linear fashion, I think it would work nicely.  Also, for operating, the plant seems pretty small for it's own switcher, so that would have to be done by the local. Or you could use a trackmobile if you were modeling the Diesel era.

The monitor on the most Southern of the three tin buildings along the main road had a really interesting monitor. I've really never seen one quite like it, but then, I'm not an authority on industrial architecture. It should be a blast to model. I may incorporate this feature into some of the buildings at the Steel Mill.

I believe this structure to be some kind of drying kiln building. At one time, it had rail service inside, and there are obviously hoppers to hold sand.  A conveyor goes from it to another large building with a smoke stack.  Presumably where the glass furnace(s) were.

I jumped on Google Earth and snapped some screen captures of the whole facility, focusing on the areas I couldn't get from the street:

Kiln building?

Buildings along the road/tracks.  The one with the very different monitor is on the left.  And you can see the backside of the track side, concrete storage hoppers. You can also see the remnants of the inter plant rails. It looks to me like the three tin buildings on the left at one time had rail service that went into the right hand building of the three.  And then a switch brought you back between the two buildings center bottom.

This looks to be an electrostatic precipitator or a bag house of some kind. It's located to the West of the three tin buildings, between them and the concrete hoppers.

Guard shack / plant entrance.  This looks to have been built in the 1950's from the architecture.

Another view of the kiln building and the furnace / casting houses.

An electrical substation nearby, that I'm guessing once served the glass factory.

Unfortunately, this assembly was gone when I went to see the factory in person. It looks like some kind of cooler coil assembly.  This shot is from Google Earth Street View.

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