View Full Version : Steam powered wooden box factory - "OSHA/EPA Free Area"

11-11-2013, 03:53 AM
A friend sent me this. Fascinating present-day use of 1800s technology (mostly):


11-11-2013, 07:11 AM
Very cool,Thank you!

11-11-2013, 09:34 AM
What do you suppose happened to the dog's tail....

11-11-2013, 09:50 AM
very cool.

you can find out more at the Phillips Brothers' Mill and Box Factory website:


11-11-2013, 01:15 PM
What do you suppose happened to the dog's tail....

You beat me to it.

11-12-2013, 06:07 PM
i could work there no............problem at all love it!

11-12-2013, 06:37 PM
I could happily work there , not too much electronics to fail , reliable gear .
Not too much pressure .

And no nitpicking unwanted people who want to shut you down because in their biased idea "this place is unsafe"
There is no cotton wool to wrap the workers in .

11-12-2013, 08:16 PM
We had a thread on this six months ago, here: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/59300-You-guys-might-enjoy-this-steam-video-of-an-old-operating-business-making-boxes?highlight=Redding. But its title does not make it easy to find in a search.

11-12-2013, 08:37 PM
Nice video! The shop has its own "rhythm" to it. I'm not a safety Nazi but how do they get away with a shop like that and not have OSHA all over them?

11-12-2013, 09:06 PM
Pull up Sturgeons Mill.com

Every body's got rules, learn 'em, follow 'em.

11-12-2013, 10:51 PM
What do you suppose happened to the dog's tail....

I wondered about that to. The dog seemed like a perfect fit.

That video was better than anything on TV tonight.

11-13-2013, 08:27 AM
What do you suppose happened to the dog's tail....

You beat me to it.............. he must have got it snagged in one of those open belt pulleys. Poor guy.


11-13-2013, 08:54 AM
Nice video! The shop has its own "rhythm" to it. I'm not a safety Nazi but how do they get away with a shop like that and not have OSHA all over them?

Shops with under 10 employees are not subject to OSHA inspection.
And quit being a safety Nazi.


11-13-2013, 09:08 AM
Actually they are.

They are exempt from record-keeping and they are exempt from certain requirements regarding supplying mandated safety gear and they are exempt from "internal enforcement" policies. Basically if Bob lops a hand off on the saw you don't have to report it, you don't have to give Bob ear-plugs OR safety glasses, and you don't even have to advise Bob that the saw is dangerous. It's more of a trap to catch/bleed-out small businesses that screw up than it is any sort of benifit.

Doozer, you're local to me so when I say Dutton Ave over in Grider right across from where the old Niagara Machine Works was... you know where I'm talking about.
Four man shop, was shut down by OSHA for flagrantly violating every regulation out there and exposing workers to catastrophic levels of fiber-glass dust. This happened about a month ago.

As for this steam-powered shop... Everyone there is a long-time worker, or family. They've got decades of experience working around those machines therefore they are more than likely safer in that shop than any one of us would be... simply because they've worked with the stuff so long.

Black Forest
11-13-2013, 01:41 PM
They could claim to have gone digital. The thermometer on the branding machine was digital!

Great video.

11-13-2013, 04:31 PM
It was always digital, since the workers use their fingers... :p

11-13-2013, 05:03 PM
Yes I know that area.
Short story of a place I once worked....
The place was a fiberglass molding place, they make the mats that
get set into the concrete as the sidewalk slopes down to the crosswalk.
Anyhow this place was renting some of the old Worthington Iron Works
in Kaisertown, off Clinton Street. Across from Wechieck's bar and back
a ways. I forget the company name, but
pressing fiberglass was all they did. The presses looked like sheet metal
stamping presses. Clearing, Niagra, Bliss, Minister, etc. Only they had
hot oil heated mold plattens for the fiberglass. My job was a sparky, and
I was to wire up a used 3 story press for them. The smell of methyl keytone
in the air gave me the worrrst headache that I ever had. I quit the next
day. The boss understood. He told me he works from 5am to 5pm every
day and had a migrane headache every day. He said he just deals with it.
Totaly crazy insane.
All the workers were PertoRican. Everyone is sure to get brain cancer from
working there. And awful polution for the neighborhood. Yep, worked there
only one day. No telling how much glass was in the air there.
Just awful.


11-13-2013, 06:26 PM
Doozer: Engineered Composites. They are a Canadian company that works here on the promise of "JOBS HOORAY" while getting more tax breaks than you can imagine. They got kicked out of Brampton for violating Canada's environmental standards. Spent about a month there myself as a mold-setter. I got out when they wouldn't answer technical questions I needed to have answered about the material. Ya know so I can set up the goddamn press? Turns out they'd been butthertzed by OSHA to the tune of six digits about a year before I got there... what happened was someone came in, asked a bunch of similar questions and then turned around and blew them into OSHA. THEY claim OSHA sends undercover agents to spy on them. But after seeing how they treat people I'd put my money on a disgruntled worker blowing them in.

The company on Dutton is/was a spinoff of that one, they were trying to make a similar product using a different technique, same mindset. No safety processes in place, pure production, don't ask questions.

11-13-2013, 07:15 PM
Hey Wtf,
Small world. Yea, that was the name. I think the owners were two Swed brothers. I only met the one guy, real red nose and face. Seemed like he had a short temper. The day I was there I was putting that press together. The electrical cabinet had been cut off for transport and someone cut all 300 wires in the buss duct. I was digging in, trying to sort colors out, all day. The wires were drenched in hydraulic oil. Not wanting to be a ***** on my first day, I did not ask for work gloves. I figured that greasy hands were no big deal. Well that night, (along with the mad headache), my hands ITCHED to high hell from the fiberglass dust that was in the oil and all over the wires. Man! My hands are pretty tough from always working on stuff, and still they were on fire, full of glass dust. AUUGH! There was no question. I would quit the next day. I honestly do not know how anyone makes fiberglass anything. Boats, bathtubs, Corvettes, whatever. This stuff is nasty. I know that smell, and it was definitely methyl keytone. I did some research, and I think the chemical is bisphenol resin (Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether). Don't know if that answers any of your questions about that place. It as by far the worst place I have seen to work at. How long did you hang out there? Did you have headaches also?


11-13-2013, 08:04 PM
I was there a month, as a mold-setter. I changed the molds on that monster-press (over 5K tons) and the smaller presses. I worked with the solid-state "sheet molding compound" which is a methyl-styrene polyester something or other with glass chopped up in it. The liquid on the other presses was a polyester-acrylic that was dissolved in a methyl compound and mixed with a mineral filler and poured over a glass-fiber core.

Plastic is my life, and I know my materials... even when the bosses play dumb.

Basically, the shops I've worked at that handle FG in large quantities use dust-extractors on the same scale as a wood-shop... and require PPE. Face-mask, Tyvek suit, booties, and hair-net. E-C and Avanti do not -- they prefer to live in fear of OSHA than to spend the money on air handlers and PPE.

The folk they hire get them a double tax break. Most of them are poor ex-prision folks there on a state program, so they get tax credits for that... and because they are all on the state OTJ program they get credit for that too. Place is a toxic mess and it's only a matter of time before they get closed down for good.

The sad part is they are making money hand over fist with that product, they are the sole producer of all of those tiles, nationwide. They all come from the Buffalo plant. If they wanted to they could automate so much of that and do the final grinding with robots in dust-collection rooms... but they would rather have their little empire of po' folk.