International Harvester Collectors of Indiana Chapter 7

Evansville Works

Roger Krentscher

Here is a little bit of history on the Evansville Works site:

After World War II, Fowler McCormick and the board of directors at International Harvester decided to expand the company.  With $150,000,000.00 dollars they bought war factories from various companies.  These factories were converted for use by IH.  Most of these factories were used to build aircraft and aircraft parts, and most were located by airports.

They purchased factories at Louisville, KY, Melrose Park, IL and Stockton, CA.  They built a new factory in Memphis, TN, for Ag use.  They also purchased a plant in Emeryville, CA, for truck production and a foundry in Waukesha, WI. 

 IH had refrigeration for farm use for years to help in the use of milk production, but now decided to built refrigerators, ice chest and air conditioners for home use.  

 Evansville Works was converted to manufacturing the refrigeration products.  It also had engineering and testing labs. 

 In 1955 with 1300 employees and the factories rolling along, IH decided it had to put in new product pool for lines or sell it.  They decided to sell the Refrigerator Division to Seager-Whirlpool for 5 million dollars.  So that brought an end to the refrigeration division and the Evansville Works.  But that was not the end of the factory.  Whirlpool kept making refrigerators in Evansville until June 25, 2010, when they shut the factory down.  They had kept the engineering and test labs till the end.  

 When IH was running the factory, they had peak employment of two thousand and was running two shifts.  

 I have some information to share that I got out of a factory magazine called, Frostalk.  Frostalk is one of a group of magazines that cover each factory.  Each factory had its own magazine with a name close to what the factory manufactured.  These magazines started in the thirties ran until sometime in the fifties.

Evansville Works purchased - January 6, 1946
First local hired - February 1, 1946
Refrigeration Division arrives - February 4, 1946
Title to plant acquired - May 16, 1946
Equipment justification begins - May 17, 1946
Manufacturing operations begins - May 20, 1946
First milk cooler off-line - June 12, 1946
First freezer chest off-line - August 27, 1946
1,000th employee hired - September 15, 1946
The first plant manager was Paul G. Schreiber. 

Evansville Works memorabilia is like Emeryville memorabilia, it is hard to find.  So if you have some, keep it.  To view the plant, it is on the north side of Evansville, off US 41, southwest of the airport, it is right by US 49 and is the big blue building.