News / 3.4.15

Throwback Thursday – J.J. Tourek Manufacturing Company

Considered in 1952 the most modern screw machine industry facility of its kind

For today’s Throwback Thursday we journey back to April 1952 for the opening of the J.J. Tourek Manufacturing Company’s new processing facility located at 1901 S. Kilbourn in Chicago. Tourek manufactured precision screw-based machines, ball points and pipe plugs and this Epstein designed and engineered facility was in 1952 considered the most modern in the screw machine industry.

This 60,000 square foot building was constructed of brick with concrete block and the roof was comprised of precast concrete slabs supported by steel purins and girders. Along the north elevation a large bay extension allowed crane service for placing raw materials in bins. The interior finishes consisted of concrete block in the warehouse/manufacturing wing and unglazed structural facing in the employee space. In addition, the elevation for this facility utilized a modernist limestone trim at the entrance.

Additional interior features included an enclosed three door truck shipping dock and a two-truck receiving court. Tourek’s offices featured tile floors, acoustical ceilings, wood trim and, most importantly, air conditioning!

Lighting for the plant was from incandescent bulbs and heating was provided by a low pressure boiler with automatic oil burner. Heat was radiated throughout the factory through unit blowers suspended from the ceiling and in the offices and other rooms by wall convectors.

Tourek operated independently out of this facility until the late 80s when it as purchased by the English firm Tuthill. Tourek continued to market under the Tourek name until 1999 when it was eventually absorbed by Tuthill and became part of the Tuthill Linkage Group. The building was vacated by Tuthill shortly thereafter and now a company called Vent Products occupies the facility where they produce energy-saving air-control products and accessories.

As you would expect much has changed in this part of Chicago since 1952 but one thing that has thankfully remained is the simple, yet elegant, modernist limestone entrance elevation. And lastly, from what we can tell from Google’s photography, the 50s era window treatments have also stood the test of time and appear to be in very good shape as well.