Author Topic: What happened to RCA plants?  (Read 15593 times)

cbalducc

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What happened to RCA plants?
« on: December 16, 2010, 02:43:47 PM »
RCA was once a major employer in and around Indianapolis.  What happened to those factories since TV production ended?

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2010, 04:11:44 PM »
Marion shuttered its ops close to a decade ago.  Been speculation on what it would become, I believe someone bought the plant, but not sure what is going on in there now.

IndyHog

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2010, 10:08:30 PM »
RCA had the Sherman Dr. plant and one on Rockville Rd. The Sherman Dr. plant made TV's and records at the older part on LaSalle. The Rockville road produced VCR's. Both got cars (plastic pellets ?) by rail. They have both been closed for about 15 yrs. Another tenant is in the Rockville Rd plant and although it still has a switch on the I & F, I don't think they get rail service. The Sherman Dr. plant is partially occupied by some city offices. Between the two plants RCA employed thousands. Bought out by the French. ( Thompson ?)
The old dome downtown was called RCA dome although the plants closed and only offices survived in Carmel. Not sure if they are still there.
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Bob Durnell

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 07:41:45 AM »
I didn't realize that ANY VCR's where ever made anywhere but Asia.  When my parents bought their first one in 1985, (A Zenith, good unit, lasted for many years) we were told that pretty much all VCR's were built by three Japanese companies, regardless of what name was on it.  It seems like it was Sony, Panasonic and somebody else.

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 08:42:59 AM »
The old dome downtown was called RCA dome although the plants closed and only offices survived in Carmel. Not sure if they are still there.
The multi-color office building in Carmel, on Meridian Street just north of 465, went to Thompson, and then was bought by St Vincent Hospital a couple years ago for admin offices.
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cbalducc

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 10:22:49 AM »
Was this the Rockville plant?

http://tinyurl.com/23xwhw5


And the Sherman plant?

http://tinyurl.com/25gxmdy

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IndyHog

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2010, 11:51:25 AM »
Yes, they are.  On the Sherman Dr. plant note that the Belt ran right through the middle of the plant(s). The plant ran from LaSalle St to Sherman Dr. I suspect everything west of the Belt was the old plant where records were made and everything east of the Belt is where televisions were made. Elvis Presley made RCA records big business.
  And yes I was told when I was switching it the Rockville road plant that VCR's were made there. This was back in the battle days of the VHS-Betamax format war. VHS won for you youngsters. Sony lost big time. Not much,if anything had been shipped overseas for manufacture.
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Freightrain

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2010, 01:28:52 PM »
December 2007 I was getting my tires changed in new castle.The guy changing my tires said he was from indy.I asked him  what his dad did.Ilike history and america when it was going good (Industry Etc)He said his dad worked at RCA were they made audio tape .Stuff used in cassette tapes.This summer I WAS TALKING to a guy  who was retiring .He said I have been here for 25 YEARS(Von Duprin).I ask Him where he started He said he got back from the service .He got on at RCA on 30th street.This is now kid glove the wheel chocks for semi trailers still say RCA.According to him they built that plant to just make Elvis records.He said he remebered Blue Vinyl for the album Moody blue.He said 1985 was the last year.I wasvrelating this story to my neibhor he sai he worked for Mercury records in Richmond indiana   1964 to 66.Smash records was it.He said they worked 7 Days a week for 2 weeks making  Roger Miller chug A lug   45 .s.

IndyHog

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2010, 03:59:15 PM »
I forgot about the RCA facility on east 30th St. It was a warehouse facility where the RCA Record Club was run out of. Later cassette tape were shipped from there. Remember you joined the club for a dollar and got five "free" records and then every month they sent you a list of records you were obligated to choose from. Mostly stuff they couldn't unload anywhere else.
   That area also had Chrysler Electric and Western Electric which employed thousands did do business with the railroads. Also Jenn-Aire plant was in the area. The Eastside of Indy was booming. Its all crap now thanks to outsourcing, and shipping jobs overseas and south of the border.
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Jeff

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2010, 02:52:46 PM »
I worked at the Sherman Dr. facility in the 70's. I worked on the 8 track tape line. I remember going over to the LaSalle plant and hearing music played over and over. It was the master for the records being produced. Sure was a while back.

speedyd

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2010, 07:30:22 PM »
In Bloomington plants 1 & 2 where torn down  in 99-2000 and has spark comerical office space. Plant 3 has be remodel for Cook INC. The old Bloomington Southern (IC Branch) was made into a city road. All rail is gone.
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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2010, 01:34:41 AM »
I worked at the Sherman Dr. RCA plant in early 80s.  The first VHS VCRs were indeed built at the
Rockville Road plant.  After 1 year they had Hitachi build them and scrapped the line at Rockville.
The videodisk players were also built at the Rockville road plant, that never took off and was scrapped
early in the 80s.  RCA would not press disks with "R" ratings (or worse) on them and because of that,
sales never took off like they wanted and laser disks took the market share.

While I was at the plant, I saw a document that showed that RCA made ALL their profits from the
licensing fees paid to them from other manufacturers of Color Tvs and VHS VCRs.  Something like
13 cents per Color Tvs and 17 cents per VCR, turned into Millions of dollars of pure profit for RCA!!

The people who worked there were really dedicated to RCA, too bad the company was not.  It really
was like a family, hourly and salary workers tried to help the company in every way.  Sad to see it
go down the way it did.

The railroad did go right between the plants.  There were several tracks inside the plant complex, but
I think they were used sparingly, if at all, during my time there.   

Freightrain

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2010, 01:37:30 PM »
I forgot about the RCA facility on east 30th St. It was a warehouse facility where the RCA Record Club was run out of. Later cassette tape were shipped from there. Remember you joined the club for a dollar and got five "free" records and then every month they sent you a list of records you were obligated to choose from. Mostly stuff they couldn't unload anywhere else.
   That area also had Chrysler Electric and Western Electric which employed thousands did do business with the railroads. Also Jenn-Aire plant was in the area. The Eastside of Indy was booming. Its all crap now thanks to outsourcing, and shipping jobs overseas and south of the border.
I talked to the guy earlier this summer I remember he said that was what  they did in the final days the record club.I worked at hooks drug Warehouse in 1986 .They used to get railservice.Scott paper towels and tissue.But they (Hooks ) had a strike.The railroad wouldn.t cross the lines so they got rid of the spur.

cbalducc

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2010, 02:23:02 PM »
I read that Bloomington was consider "the home of color television", thanks to the history-making RCA CT-100:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CT-100

Did all of Bloomington's railroads serve the RCA factory? 

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2010, 07:21:05 PM »
There is a tenant in the old RCA plant that still gets occasional rail service.  General Cable gets plastic pellets in once a week or once every two weeks.  I think they put the coating on wire or fiber optic cables.

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Freightrain

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2010, 09:57:50 PM »
I read a 1973 ICC report on traffic of lines up for abandoment. One move I remeber was .Some maker of cabinats for stereo,s or TV,s.Monticello Indianav L&N to Indy I guess Indianapolis belt to Illinois Central to RCA Bloomington Indiana.I can.t remeber how many cars Seems like 3 to 7.I think they had a total count for the year of 1972.I borrowed the book Off of a Freind and he passed away 3 years ago.

speedyd

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2010, 01:37:41 PM »
IC was the main shipper for RCA in Bloomington. There was a warehouse built early 60's next to the Monon yard that was served by the Monon. I don't remember there being at interchange track for Monon Mcdoel Yard to IC Southern branch to RCA. When INRD took over the IC, they whould interchange the RCA cars at Sullivan with CSX.. Then later they where ship to Avon once CSX own a portion of INRD.
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B@M

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2011, 09:50:50 PM »
the old rca plant on sherman drive is used as a city recyling plant

CONRAIL1981

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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2011, 12:10:14 PM »
Ah yes.  The TV plant was bought out by Thompson Consumer Electronics.  An uncle of mine worked there for a long time.  He had to fine a new career, however, as provided by NAFTA they moved facilities to Mexico.  They did offer him transfer,  but with a family and a life in Indianapolis he politely declined. 
  Now does the recycling tenant there in one of the buildings now use rail at all? 
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Re: What happened to RCA plants?
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2013, 02:17:56 PM »
I worked in the RCA "R&D" group (about 30 employees), at the Sherman Drive plant, from Summer of 1970-1973 (while in college), and permanently to Dec 1975. Our R&D group, on the 2nd floor of the engineering building (the CED video disc group was on the 3rd floor) designed a VCR that was not a VHS or Beta type mechanism, although the electronics were similar. There were 2 production runs (Rockville Road plant) strictly for the purpose of testing consumer interest and use of a VCR. About 2000 total units were made and put into the field. RCA closed this group down in 1975, and decided to go with the VHS standard, and get all of these machines from Japan. I then quit and moved to California, where I continued working in video.
The huge manufacturing plant was all one giant room (4+ football fields long), with sections devoted to printed circuit board manufacturig, to injection molding, metal stamping, to product assembly (audio products only). it was amazing to walk througjh this giant space and see all of the work being done there. It was also very clean, and noisy! They had a complete metal shop in engineering, where you could make any kind of chassis parts, even for "G" jobs. There was a huge anechoic chamber for testing loudspeakers. There were about eight 10'x10' RF screen cages for eliminating all radio & tv signals. There were demo rooms in engineering where you could see the futuristic prtotypes of TV consoles that appeared in magazines like Popular Science and Ppoular Mechanics.
Engineers could eat in "The Hoosier Room" for lunch; a nice excecutive restaurant located near engineering and the executives. The main long hallway connecting these areas had carpeted walls. The food was very good and inexpenive. It was a great place to be an engineer. Whatever you needed, you got.