TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Western Electric - Major Works - Status Today?

Re: Western Electric - Major Works - Status Today?

Eric Tappert (
Tue, 19 Jul 2005 17:18:54 GMT

On 18 Jul 2005 12:39:17 -0700, wrote:

> The Western Electric Co, manfuacturing arm of the Bell System, had
> three large factory complexes ("works") in Chicago (Hawthorne), Kearny
> NJ, and Baltimore (Breezy Pt). I get the impression all three are
> long closed up, if the buildings even exist?

> W/E also built some newer facilities to make computer components for
> modern gear, such as in Allentown PA. I take it today Lucent
> (successor to W/E) uses those places, though I presume Lucent is far,
> far smaller than W/E. I also recall W/E having a modern office
> building in Newark NJ (near the train station) in the mid 1980s, and I
> wonder if that is in use by Lucent today.

> FWIW, in W/E's early days, they made relays for Hollerith's tabulating
> machines. Hollerith's outfit became IBM.

> [public replies please]

Agere Systems inherited the Allentown, Reading, and Orlando
facilities. Reading is now closed, all production at Allentown has
ceased and the production buildings have been demolished (some office
buildings are still in use, however). Orlando was up for sale a
couple of years ago, but I don't know the current status of production

Hawthorne, Kearny, and Baltimore are long closed. Phoenix was sold to
local management, who moved several cable lines from the Atlanta works
to Phoenix. Teletype's plants in Skokie and Little Rock went to
Avaya, but I'm not familiar with the current status of those plants,
although last I heard Shreveport and Denver (also went to Avaya) were
still in business.

I believe that the Northern Illinois works is closed and all switching
manufacturing for Lucent domestically is in Dallas. Last I heard
Merrimac Valley (Massachusetts) was still doing manufacturing, but at
a reduced level. The North Carolina plants are all closed, AFAIK.
Kansas City works has also closed.

Lucent is shadow of the former Western Electric and is doing more
manufacturing overseas (after all, they are a global supplier now).

E. Tappert (former WECo employee)

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I am not certain, but I think in the
case of Cicero, Illinois at that location now is a shopping mall/
condominium apartment complex called 'Hawthorne Place'. PAT]

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