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Factory Closings 1954 to 1983

Company Product Year of Closing *Number of Employees at Closing *Number of Employees at Historical Peak Stated Reason for Closing
Singer Sewing Machine Cabinets 1954 1,200 2,600 Moved operation closer to wood resources
Kingan Meat Processing 1954 150 Figure Not Available Insufficient level of operations
Bike-Webb Elastic Garments 1959 200 350 Moved to improve efficiency
Curtiss-Wright Heavy Construction Equipment 1961 200 3,000 Insufficient share of the product market
Studebaker Automobile Manufacture 1963 8,500 22,000 Forced out of the market
H.D. Lee Clothing 1964 230 650 Deteriorating plant and equipment
South Bend Tackle Fishing Gear 1965 90 Figure Not Available Labor-intensive plant and equipment
Rockwell Automobile Bumpers 1967 700 700 Inefficient operations
Roth Plating Electroplating 1967 75 Over 100 Noncompetitive operations
Empire Box Paper Cartons 1967 125 200 Marketing and operating difficulties
Essex Wire Automotive Wire Products 1968 Figure Not Available Over 550 No stated reason
Cummins Diesel Engine Castings 1969 1,000 1,000 Necessary plant modernizations too costly
Drewrys Beer 1972 250 500 Not competitive in in product market
Wilson Bros. Clothing 1973 100 2,000 Necessary plant modernizations too costly
Gentner Packing Meat Processing 1973 80 Over 100 Forced out of market by low operation level
Ward Baking Baked Goods 1974 85 Figure Not Available High labor costs and outdated equipment
Associates Loans and Insurance 1975 **550 550 Advantages in Southern location
AM General City Buses 1978 780 780 Not competitive in in product market
H.B. Skinner Industrial Pipe Clamps 1978 40 Over 80 Products outdated
Weyerhaeuser Paper Products, Warehousing, and Distribution 1979 60 Over 100 Market re-organization
Schumacher & Sons Building Construction 1980 Figure Not Available Figure Not Available High labor costs and interest rates; business slump
Whitehouse Health Care Apparel 1982 32 Over 80 Market conditions
South Bend Range Commerical Ovens 1983 30 Over 200 High labor costs and inefficient plant
South Bend Tool & Die Machine Tools 1983 35 450 High cost of labor and new equipment
South Bend Screw Precision Machine Parts 1983 Figure Not Available 60 No stated reason
Garvey Pattern Precision Machine Tools and Fixtures 1983 40 100 Down-turn in market and union problems
Torrington Industrial Bearings 1983 164 Over 1,000 Excess production capacity

*Number of employees includes both hourly and salaried workers.
**Associate's computer operations remained in South Bend and employed 700 people, mostly in technical jobs.
Sources: South Bend City Library historical files and the South Bend Tribune library files



Last Reviewed: 03/2014