|In 1945, many of the pioneers of the Old Hickory DuPont site began celebrating their 20th anniversaries. The Cellophane Flashes publication did a series of articles written by these employees. Three of these articles are featured here. These articles capture the feelings of many DuPonters share today, but they also remind us of things we may take for granted.|
In the past twenty years I have seen many people come to and go from Old Hickory: plant managers, plant superintendents, assistants, area supervisors, shift supervisors, mechanics and operators, and I do not know of any who did not regret leaving Old Hickory and would be glad to return. That within itself speaks for the kind of community we have in and around Old Hickory.
I began work for E.I. du Pont in 1924 as a machinest on construction of the first rayon plant built here. At the completion of No. 1 rayon, I was transferred to Fiber Silk Company as Shop Foreman. After about four years as shop foreman I was transferred to Buffalo Cellophane plant as Maintenance Supervisor for a short time, then back to Old Hickory Cellophane as Maintenance Area Supervisor, now my present job, and I may add that there are only three people left on the plant that started out with Cellophane in Old Hickory, namely, Miss Flossie Corbin, Steve Houghton, and me.
I have made a number of trips to other plants within the company and to plants of other companies and have always found the personnel of other plants eager to praise the du Pont Company and its liberal policies.
In talking with men like Mr. Carpenter, Mr. Hatt, Mr. Hines, Mr. Switzer, and many plant managers and superintendents, I find the one and same ideas instilled into each that is, "the great asset of the Company is not its buildings, machinery, etc., but in its personnel." They ask: "What good is brick and mortar buildings filled with machinery and equipment without loyal and honest employees?" In other words, they realize their employees above everything else, and to me this is the answer to why they are a good company to be connected with; is why they have liberal policies, such as pensions, vacations with pay, group insurance, sick and accident insurance and disability wages. These are the tings that have kept me with the du Pont Company for twenty years.
In closing, permit me to ask each of you to give the company your cooperation and an honest day's work for the continued success of the Company, which means they will continue their policies, and this means our continued success.
Upon receiving his 15-year service pin, Peeler made the following statement: "I attribute a large part of my success in life to having been associated with the du Pont Company."
CELLOPHANE "CHARTER MEMBERS"
September 2, 1929 - Here are the people who direct the manufacture of the clear, transparent wrapping material which helps the baker and candy maker sell his goods. Standing L to R: Miss Flossie Corbin, Mrs. L.W. Pfeiffer, C.C. Owen, R.H. Rishell, H.T. Twing, C.G. Fuss, W.L. Pfeiffer, W.H. Wearne, J.W. Johnson, Miss Ardale Warton. Front: G.W. Brant, E.N. Peeler,
My I can frankly admit that I was glad to see the Du Pont Company come to Old Hickory back in 1924, as the work I had been doing here since 1919 was fast drawing to a close. Just about everything remaining from World War I was disposed of, and it gave me a certain feeling of security to know that an organization such as Du Pont had decided to locate here on a permanent basis, thus offering employment to hundreds of people.
Something like 150 families constituted Old Hickory in 1924, but the steady, successful growth since that time is evident to every one. Yes, I have seen many changes in Old Hickory - changes in personnel, working conditions, safety, health and policies of our Company. All of these changes were made for the better and equally, are evident wherever you choose to look. Even during the so-called tough years of the depression, and they were tough, the Old Hickory plants operated far above the average for an industry of its kind.
To me the 20 year service pin that I have been awarded is symbolic of good relationship between the company and me during the years. It also represents the faith and trust that each has placed in the other.
I am proud to have been associated with the Du Pont Company for the past 20 years, and I look forward to many more years of continuous service.
Swinging Bridge - Crossed by Auberta Hutchinson to gain employment at DuPont
Twenty Years.....it's certainly been a long, long time, a continuous panorama of interesting events and personalities. I remember very vividly my first introduction to Old Hickory and Du Pont, though I had lived in Nashville all my life, was on January 12, 1925. It was one of those very bright, extremely cold days with about six inches of snow and sleet underfoot. It seemed fun to be going job hunting for the first time and we traveled out the Gallatin Pike in an old 7-passenger Studebaker jitney (a cab) which was, according to the driver, POWDER PLANT bound! After getting out of the city limits of Nashville, we saw only a few houses dotted along the way, the rest being just sort of a wilderness. All was well until we approached the old suspension bridge which was caked with slippery sleet and ice. The jitney made several false starts up the incline approach to the swinging bridge only to zig-zan crazily backward each time. All ambitions to land a job were completely forgotten and all I wanted was to be out, with my feet on the ground, and my face turned toward home. With some skillful maneuvering the driver finally made it up and across and down. Then we traveled on a little way and the jitney drew up in front of a tar-baby shack and said, "This is it!" I quickly asked, "This is what?" --- The answer, "Why, this is the Du Pont office!" (In my imagination thru the years I had associated working in an office with the Stahlman Building in downtown Nashville.)
Once inside, though, things were better almost immediately, warm and cheerful. The atmosphere was vibrant with the pioneering spirit, too, I expect. Anyhow, Mrs. Lola Smith was running the Employment Office with Ladye High and Rella HInes. A little later a very able man with cold steel blue eyes, cleancut and clipped-tone, interviewed me (Mr. I. D. MacNaul). I suppose applicants weren't too numerous in those very early days because at the end of the interview I found myself with a job, as stenographer in the Service Department of the Du Pont Fibersilk Company.
Started getting acquainted right away with Old Hickory's first nucleus of personnel. IN the next room was Mr. J.P. Hannum who had just finished building the du Pont Plant (present Plant One Rayon). Next was the Purchansing Office with Mr. Gleen Lee, Alice Rainey and Margaret House. Then across the hall were Bob Darden and Roy Thompson in the Accounting, next were Mr. Gamble, Chief Timekeeper, and Bill Feldkircher. Then a room equipped with some sort of inspection apparatus and presided over by Marian Walsh, Mrs. Elinore Herrick, Julie Vance and Therese Domster. The last down the hall were Dr. H.J. White and Mrs. Ida T. Dean (Murphy). A twin version of our tar-baby shack was just adjacent and connected with ours by a little wooden walkway. This was the Construction Office. At lunch time we either unrolled sandwiches from home or ventured across the street to the "Greasy Spoon."
While I, myself, had never thought of SAFETY in terms of an organized resistance to accidents and deaths, there were those who had -- those where were OLD TIMERS with Du Pont even as I spent my first day with the Company. They knew that Old Hickory must have a Safety Supervisor. One day riding out in the same old Studebaker jitney, a couple of use were wondering audibly when this J. Thompson Brown was supposed to arrive and what he would be like. About this time a young male voice spoke up from one of the little side seats and said, "Well you don't need to wonder any longer, -- just look him over." We looked him over, with red faces, but we couldn't OVERLOOK him for long because in the years that followed we were to see Jack Brown, with magnificent cooperation down to the last man establish a WORLD'S SAFETY RECORD for the Du Pont Plants at the Old Hickory location.
Nobody can write of twenty years' experience and say it was all smooth sailing, because it wouldn't be true. For instance, in the year 1939, the flu hit us and hit hard....those escaping were busy running to First Aid to get two little ones and a big one, in order to keep pinch hitting for the ones who were laid low. Then, happy thought, Wage Disability had begun to function in '37 and a fellow could take heart and get well a little quicker knowing his illness need no longer spell financial disaster for his family.