Passaic Machine Works-Watts, Campbell & Company - Newark, NJ
The Passaic Machine Works opened in 1853 in Newark, NJ. It was originally operated by William Watts and Zachariah Belcher. Belcher passed away in 1855, and was replaced by Watts’s brother George. In 1865, they were joined by Daniel Campbell and the business was renamed Watts, Campbell and Co. The company originally specialized in Corliss steam engines and boilers, but phased that out in the 1920s when more efficient engines replaced them. The factory used to be twice its current size, but a portion was demolished when it switched to repairing machines for local industries.
It had many customers over the years, from Thomas Edison Labs, Ballantine Brewery, Murphy Varnish, Westinghouse and even the Campbell Soup Company. At one point, Watts and Campbell employed over 300 local machinists. The building was renovated in the 1950s, with the historic facade being removed and the dirt floor being replaced by a concrete one. Despite some of the historical features being removed, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August 1986. The company went into decline in the latter half of the 20th century. They could not upgrade the aging equipment because of many of its industrial customers moving away or closing. That they couldn’t afford to upgrade or replace machinery caused them to lose customers that stayed in business.
Watts Campbell closed in 2007 because of a lack of customers and the building was eventually repossessed by the City of Newark due to back taxes. A portion of the roof collapsed after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which exposed much of the remaining equipment to the elements.There is some dispute over who currently owns the machinery in the building, which is estimated to be worth around $1 million. The future of Watts Campbell is uncertain, as the local government lacks the financial means to restore the building.
Matt Lambros NJ Newark Aug 04, 2022 Architecture Factories History
Location: Newark, NJ
Matt Lambros Aug 04, 2022
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