Automatic Sprinkler Co. of America

Youngstown, O. - The remains of the Automatic Sprinkler Co. of America. This firm was incorporated in 1919, and the headquarters was moved to Youngstown in 1936, which was the location of their main plant. Automatic was sold to Harry Figgie, Jr in 1963 and continued to manufacture fire suppression equipment in Youngstown up until 1967. There was an ongoing strike, and a decision was made by  Figgie to move the production out of state with no warning to the employees. According to the Vindicator photo below, they were informed by the newspaper's photographer that they were out of a job. This decision was touted in his biography as a shrewd business move, but I say it was a good reason to get punched in the mouth. He did go on to be successful, but so did Art Model. This was the beginning of major companies being sold off to out of town interests that had little to no concern for the workers in the Valley. 


I don't know if the water was off or what, but the reason this place is in such bad shape is that it burned repeatedly in 2012. The sprinklers did't appear to do their job.

Sprinkler Head.

Sprinkler Head.

I was aware of this building for some years, but never made it over to shoot it before the fires. While looking at a Sanborn Fire Insurance map of the area, I noticed this factory and the fact that it was noted to have wood block floors (see below). That is what peaked my interest. Also of note is the fact that there are three houses left on Brittain Street, one of which is burned out.

Below are photos of the nearly 100 year old wood block floor. They are really bricks that are made from some type of treated lumber instead of clay. It looks like the floor buckled a bit during the fire here, but was surprisingly in tact other than that. Especially for the fact that the building that used to shelter it was long gone, and the floor was exposed to the elements. 

Found the names written below in the concrete that butted up against the block floor. 




There was a vault onsite that had seen better days. Not sure what they stored in here, but I live in a 105 year old factory, and 3' from my front door is a similar vault marked Tools & Dies. I keep my rolling cooler in there. 

Exterior of Door

Inside Vault

Lock Exterior

Lock Interior

Below are images of the results of the fires/partial demolition. Think about the people that live in the house in the background. How would you like to wake up to this view every day?

Structural Issues - See Below.

Below are some detail shots that I thought were interesting, beginning with the oldest UL sticker I have ever seen in the wild.

Underwriters Laboratories 


Hot seat

Hot seat

Made in China

Fish Eyes

Fish Eyes

End of Turn

Handwriting No. 1

Handwriting No. 2

All photos copyright Paul Grilli 2017