News / 8.5.15

Throwback Thursday – Universal Battery

The Midwest’s first battery manufacturing facility

Our weekly Epstein Throwback Thursday trip takes us back to May 1961 for the opening of the new $1.25M ($9.8M in 2015) battery manufacturing facility for Universal Battery located at 4343 South Pulaski within the Central Manufacturing District’s Crawford Industrial Tract.

This 71,000 square foot located on 3-acre site was the Midwest’s first specifically engineered battery manufacturing plant and was designed with many labor saving and production innovations. For instance, the building featured a screw conveyor system, as well as a pneumatic lead oxide bulk handling system and oxygen was stored outside the building and piped into the plant.

This facility which contained Universal’s corporate offices, a grid preparation area, a battery charging room as well as an assembly line produced approximately 2,800 batteries daily and serviced a distribution network within a 700 mile radius of Chicago.

Like many of the mid-century industrial developments within the once thriving CMD industrial park, this well detailed and efficient Universal Battery facility no longer exists. A Pete’s Fresh Market has replaced Universal – which definitely distributes much more nourishing products than Universal!