John’s Story Continues

John’s story continues:

The many miles of underground mines at Waynesburg, Magnolia and Malvern were a large fixed cost for the company. The electric power bill to keep the water pumped out of the mines was too expensive to continue. The Ohio Department of Mines supervised the mines’ closing by blocking the entrances at the Waynesburg plant. For two years, the water pressure built up and finally broke through and flooded the plant. Since then, the water has drained from the mines opening. From then on, the coal and clay were obtained by surface mining.

The size of the fireproofing tile operation had grown and a substantial cadre of technical, management and salespeople were needed in the business. When the business stopped, JJ’s children did not accept the urgency of cost reduction and JJ himself went to all the salaried people and laid them off. He then gave these instructions to his children, “John, you run the factory. Art, you take care of sales. Donald, you keep the books.”

There was little fireproofing business remaining. The stack brick business and 8 x 8 x 16 salt glaze foundation tile business continued, hardly enough for even a small plant operation. Finding new products was the order of the day.