290 Ferry Street was the plastics/film/polyethylene
plant for Celanese. Specifically, 290 Ferry Street was the administrative/accounting
building and, last I saw, was a realtor's building--but it was the
"official" address for the U.S. Mail. It is a magnificent
old, brick building.
I believe the tiny "original" brick building is still
intact on the side of the strip mall (across from 290) that later
took over the plant's footprint. I worked in that little building,
as had both my parents and some other relatives.
Tucked behind that little brick building along the side street
was what was called the "Articles Department". Personal
articles--dresser sets for ladies with brushes, mirrors and combs,
etc., were made of "genuine imitation ivory", along with
letter openers, etc.
I have the dresser set my Dad had had made for his eldest sister,
as well as Dad's letter opener.
I can tell you that, during the summer, the heat blasting out of
that department right outside *my* window gave me a fair idea of
what Hades was all about! I was in awe of the stamina the employees
demonstrated. (Plastic-making was not for wimps!)
In order to manufacture the product, there was a 'still' on the
premises. The ABC would trot in now and again to ensure that the
safety and integrity of the still was intact...heh heh...and nothing
else was being produced!
The gatemen confiscated all matches and lighters at the guard house.
Being caught on the premises *with* one match was grounds for immediate
dismissal. (There had been a massive explosion back in the late
'40s or '50s--so no one was taking chances.)
As Celanese expanded, they had coatings, plastics (later called
"resins") and fibers and, possibly, a bit more in their
product line. Does anyone remember "Fortrel, the Fiber that
As to the original plant in Newark, there's a neat history there.
The means to make celluloid was discovered in the late 1800s by
a fellow in upstate NY, I believe. Celanese began as The Celluloid
Company. The Celluloid Company--and *celluloid* gave us *movies*!
During the 1980's, Hoechst (Germany) bought Celanese. The Hoechst-Celanese
sign at their facility in Bridgewater was replaced shortly thereafter
with a more recent acquisition's hyphenated name...and so on. Celanese
was not only off the NYSE, but out of our vocabulary.
I believe the name Celanese *has* been rejuvenated recently, although
I don't quite recall the details just now.