TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Western Electric and Al Capone

Re: Western Electric and Al Capone

Ernie B. (ernie@withheld)
Wed, 08 Dec 2004 09:04:07 -0500

Having lived in the shadow of the Hawthorne works in Cicero, IL in my
youth, this book intrigues me. I have been in search of photographs of
the interior and exterior of this fabled manufacturing facility. Can
you tell me if this book contains any pictures? The web has produced
only one vintage photograph of the plant as viewed from 22nd st. I
recall that at one time I read that the huge neon sign on the Cermak
Road (22nd st.) facade was once the largest neon sign in the world. I
could see it's glow from my bedroom at night. I also remember that
every Christmas, the tower of the building, located at the corner of
Cicero Ave. and Cermak Road was festooned with colored lights from top
to bottom.

Anyone who knows of a source of photographs of this behemoth plant
please contact me at: beeaybay "at" yahoo "dot" com. These pictures
would only be used for non-commercial personal purposes.

Thanks in advance,


Pat, please delete the e-mail address that this message originates from.

Thank you.

Jim Haynes wrote:

> I'm currently reading a book, "Manufacturing the Future - a History of
> Western Electric" by Stephen B. Adams and Orville R. Butler.

> Al Capone had a couple of casinos across Cicero Avenue from the
> Western Electric Hawthorne Works. Joseph Juran was a statistics
> expert in quality control at Western. After spending some time in
> Capone's establishment after hours, Juran noticed that one roulette
> wheel operator worked "like a robot", making the operation of his
> wheel amenable to statistical analysis and prediction. His expertise
> enabled him to win $100, which at the time was several weeks' pay.

> (Compare with the much later activities of some college students
> documented in the book, "Eudaemonic Pie". They used computers in
> briefcases and radios in their shoes in a successful scheme to predict
> the behavior of a roulette wheel.)

> jhhaynes at earthlink dot net

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