For The Railroad Nation, The House Of Zinc

 

window-2

Photo: Ethan Wallace

In Fishtown, where Richmond Street meets Frankford Avenue, developer Michael Shamschick will turn the former Ajax Metal Company complex, dating to 1893, into the concert venue Live Nation. The complex contained everything from the company offices to foundries and furnaces, and even laboratory facilities. The company started off melting brass and bronze in standard crucible ovens. They moved to smelting zinc, lead, copper, brass and tin, producing alloys that were essential to the railroads and the emerging automotive industry. In the labs they invented products with names like Bull Babbitt, Ajax Metal, and Plastic Bronze, and the company became a leader in the production of high quality machinery bearings.

This was not only not that efficient, but could also cause the zinc to be released as a vapor which caused nausea and a condition referred to as the “zinc shakes.” In 1912, the company began working on creating an electric furnace, and eventually they came out with their own design, the Ajax-Wyatt Furnace. The company holds numerous other patents such as the Ajax-Hultgren Salt Bath Furnace.

The company continued in its Fishtown location until 1950 when the property was sold. For a while some of the buildings were used as warehouses. The company eventually moved to Trenton and became Ajax Electrothermic Corporation.

Ajax Metal

Photo: Ethan Wallace

window-3

Photo: Ethan Wallace

window-4

Photo: Ethan Wallace

window

Photo: Ethan Wallace

Ajax3

Photo: Peter Woodall

Ajax4

Photo: Peter Woodall

Ajax Metal

Photo: Peter Woodall

Ajax6

Photo: Peter Woodall

Ajax7

Photo: Peter Woodall

Ajax2

Photo: Peter Woodall

About the author

Ethan Wallace attended Temple University, where he received a BA in Communications. He has always been interested in the forgotten, unknown, or unseen parts of the city and has spent the last several years photographing Philly’s hidden and vanishing locations. He is also involved with the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Pa. More of Ethan's photography can be seen HERE



1 Comment


  1. Environmental clean up nightmare? Probably. The D.E.P. MAY want to see soil samples…just a maybe…

Trackbacks

  1. We Heart This Bar? | Hidden City Philadelphia
  2. The Buzz: Year in Transportation | AVI update | Temple’s new boathouse | NLNA on Canal Street North | inside Ajax Metal
Recent Posts
'Scared Half To Death,' Reporter Says

‘Scared Half To Death,’ Reporter Says

August 28, 2014  |  Vantage

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Columbia Avenue riot. For the second installment of our series, we have a first person account by Philadelphia Evening Bulletin reporter William Naulty, who was sent in to cover the mayhem on the night of August 28, 1964. > more

Roxborough Sawmill Preserves An Old Industrial Aesthetic

Roxborough Sawmill Preserves An Old Industrial Aesthetic

August 28, 2014  |  Morning Blend

One man's mission to preserve the physical history of industrial Philadelphia, groundbreaking for Rodin Square, street mural requested for Triangles Plaza, the genesis of JFK and 30th Street Station, and this weekend's Made in America Fest > more

Bridesburg, Riverfront Neighborhood Now With Riverfront Access

Bridesburg, Riverfront Neighborhood Now With Riverfront Access

August 28, 2014  |  News

With a land swap championed by Councilman Bobby Henon, Philadelphia gained a win-win scenario with the expansion of Dietz & Watson's facilities and a new riverfront park. Plan Philly's Jared Brey and Hidden City's Brad Maule explore the future park in Bridesburg—the riverfront neighborhood which will finally have access to the riverfront > more

Rodeph Shalom As A Beacon On North Broad

Rodeph Shalom As A Beacon On North Broad

August 27, 2014  |  Morning Blend

A look at the historic Jewish synagogue’s expansion, the economic importance of bike lanes, Suzanne Roberts Theater gets $2.5 million boost, remembering the Philadelphia Trades School, and approvals from the Historical Commission > more

Spruce Street Harbor Park To Remain Open Extra Month (Updated)

Spruce Street Harbor Park To Remain Open Extra Month (Updated)

August 27, 2014  |  Buzz

The overwhelming success of the pop-up park convinces officials to keep the party going > more

When Columbia Avenue Erupted

When Columbia Avenue Erupted

August 27, 2014  |  Vantage

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the Columbia Avenue riot, an incident that would deeply impact North Philadelphia and the politics of the city for decades to come. "When Columbia Avenue Erupted" is the first installment of a four-part series that begins today. > more