Cameron, West VA
Eljer Co 11/14
note soap holder drains!
available here @ Black Dog Salvage
Eljer, Inc. was founded in February of 1904 by Raymond ELmer Crane and his cousin, Oscar JERome Backus, from whose middle names "ELJER" was coined.
Eljer's original location was Oakland, California, where flush valves were manufactured. Shortly thereafter, a move was made to Newark, New Jersey, where the firm manufactured a diaphragm-type flush valve with mediocre success.
In 1907 an old dinnerware plant was purchased in Cameron, West Virginia, and converted into a sanitaryware plant. In the beginning, only a washout closet bowl was produced. However, it was in this plant that the first vitreous china tank was developed. Prior to the advent of the china tank, copper-lined wood tanks were the vogue.
Eljer continued to grow, and in 1918 purchased a dinnerware pottery in Ford City, Pennsylvania, located approximately 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the east bank of the Allegheny River. The Ford City area was particularly well-suited for the production of plumbing fixtures because of its abundance of raw materials; supply of fuel, such as natural gas and coal; and easy access to transportation via railroad and Allegheny River. The town of Ford City itself was originally founded by Captain John B. Ford as the site of a P.P.G. plant. It was Captain Ford and John Wick who built the pottery, now occupied by Eljer, back in 1897. The acquisition of the Ford City pottery enabled Eljer to offer vitreous china fixtures for every type installation; i.e., residential, commercial, industrial and institutional. The Cameron, West Virginia, Plant continued in operation until 1929 when the production of all vitreous china was consolidated at Ford City. By this time, two of the longest tunnel kilns in the world for the firing of chinaware were in operation at the Ford City Plant.
In the early 1940's, a large single deck kiln was installed in the plant. Approximately ten years later, a larger triple deck kiln was installed.
In 1956 a second plant was built adjacent to the original plant, greatly increasing the production capacity of vitreous china products. This plant contains three one-fire, single deck kilns, 354' long and one double deck refire kiln, equally as long. Plant No. 2 has since been expanded with the installation of a completely automated, direct-fire kiln, 175' in length. In 1989 the Schenley Park Distribution Center and Plant #3 were added. Today, Eljer Plumbingware's vitreous china facility in Ford City is one of the largest and most modern of its type in the world.
The original construction of what was to become the Salem, Ohio cast iron manufacturing facility was completed in 1908. The original plant contained 32,000 square feet. The operation was quite crude, requiring brute strength to accomplish most of the tasks. Castings that today are finished using portable grinders were filed and chiseled by hand. Enamel furnaces were heated with crude oil and the wooden floors were prone to catch fire.
In 1914, the company was purchased by investors to form the National Sanitary Company. By 1922 the floor space has been increased to 65,000 square feet. In 1922 and again in 1928, the foundry was completely destroyed by fire, but rebuilt with new equipment.
In 1929, the Eljer Company purchased the majority of the stock and the Salem plant became Eljer Plumbingware Enamelware Division. During World War II, the plant went into war production. The plant produced castings for diesel engines, plumbing fixtures for war housing, fabricated heavy machinery for war use, produced tool castings and fabricated 1,000 lb. G.P. aerial bombs.
At the close of the war, a $2.5 million expansion began to modernize the foundry. In 1992, the first robotic enameler was installed.
Eljer, Inc. is one of the most prominent brand names in the plumbing fixtures industry. In addition to vitreous china and enameled cast iron, Eljer offers a complete line of quality plumbing fixtures made of acrylic.
American Standard Brands
American Standard Brands was formed in February, 2008 from the merger of 3 companies: American Standard Americas, Crane Plumbing, and Eljer.