A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, October 3, 2011

History: American Can Company, Cliffwood (1962-1966)

The American Can Company moved to Cliffwood in 1962. Its plant was sold to Midland Glass in 1968. I found the following articles related to American Can in editions of The Matawan Journal from 1962 to 1966.

The 1 Nov 1962 edition of The Matawan Journal, front page, says that the Republican incumbent for Matawan Township Council, Sigmund Kowalski, was defending his seat that Tuesday against his Democratic opponent, Gilbert Hickman of 24 Sweetbriar in Cliffwood. Mr Kowalski, who was finishing his first 3-year term on the Council, lived in the River Gardens section of the Township and worked as a foreman for the American Can Company of New York.

The 3 Jan 1963 edition of The Matawan Journal, front page, has this small piece on the company's start in what was then Matawan Township:

To Start Construction

American Can Company's Glass Division will begin construction in January of a 200,000 square foot
facility on its 51-acre site in Cliffwood, Matawan Township, it was announced today by William C. Stolk, company chairman. American had previously announced that the site would be the new home of its glass division.

The 22 Oct 1964 edition of The Matawan Journal, First Section, pg 3, contains a third quarter earnings report for the American Can Company. It includes this comment about M&T Chemical acquiring the Hanson-Van Winkle-Munning Company:

All figures for both 1963 and 1964 have been restated to include the results of Hanson - Van Winkle - Munning Co., Matawan, acquired by M&T Chemicals Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, in September 1964.

(Check the 17 Aug 1972 edition of The Matawan Journal, front page, for an article about the closing of the M&T Chemical plant in Matawan. The article contains a detailed history of the company, which opened a branch in Matawan in 1911.)

The 7 Jan 1965 edition of The Matawan Journal, pg 3, includes comments from President and CEO of American Can Company William C Stolk, who claimed his company's 1965 sales would be even higher than 1964, which was a record-breaking year.

The 5 Aug 1965 edition of The Matawan Journal, front page, included the following article and photograph:
American Can Co's Cliffwood facility will be doubled with construction completed by May 1966. Expansion will double the number of employees, production, and parking facilities.
 Valentine J. Verhuce, vice president of glass products manufacturing for the American Can Co., yesterday reported the multi-million dollar facility his firm has constructed in Cliffwood will be doubled. Completion of the expansion program is anticipated in May, 1966.

The company executive noted the expansion program for the Cliffwood facility is almost one year ahead of what had been originally planned. The expansion will also permit a diversification of glass products manufactures at the plant.

Mr. Verhuce said ground already has been broken for the construction of two additional furnaces at the plant and construction is under way on a new parking lot to increase the present 400-acre capacity to 775.

The company will build a second warehouse of 200,000 square feet, doubling the present warehouse space, and expand the manufacturing area by another 100,000 square feet. Output capacity will be doubled and the number of employees will be increased from 450 persons to 900.

Mr. Verhuce said one of the new furnaces will be constructed to manufacture flint, or white glass as well as green glass. The second will run amber colored glass as well as the flint or white glass. The plant at present manufactures beer and beverage containers but will diversify its product when expansion is completed to include the manufacture of glass food containers. The overall production capacity will be increased to 900,000,000 units, Mr. Verhuce said. 

Described by the company as "the most advanced glass plant in the world," the present facility occupies 326,000 square feet of floor space on a 51-acre tract adjacent to Garden State Parkway. The plant was completed in December, 1963 and formal opening ceremonies were held in January, 1964. In May a 180-ton per day tank for molten glass was placed in operation six months ahead of schedule.

The 27 Jan 1966 edition of The Matawan Journal, pg 13, contains a photograph with the following caption:

Employees of the American Can Company, glass division, Cliffwood, enroll under the Monmouth County Blood Bank group plan  by providing over 200 donors. Left to right: Mrs Mary Stratton, RN, plant nurse; William F Eaton, president of the Glass Bottlers Union Local 119, which cooperated in the undertaking; Valentine J Verhunce, vice president of Rigid Containers, Glass Operations, American Can Company; and Mrs Margaret Donaghue, RN, head plant nurse.


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