Watts Campbell Engine Co. was founded in 1851 and is located in Newark, New Jersey. It became a premier supplier of big steam engines and at its peak employed 300 people. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 13, 1986.
I recently visited Watts Campbell with several other photographers where we met the current owner, Charles (Chad) Watts, a 70++ year old Veteran and who’s great-great-grandfather started the business.
Chad is still roaming around the facility, trying to preserve it. He met us at the front gate and we were given a history of the company. He is a good man with a sincere desire to preserve as much as he can of the factory. It is a time capsule of local industry with large early machinery still in place and much of it operational at the flip of a switch. Old wood cranes and rail system remain in the floor. Some machinery from 1860/70 converted to electric and still working. Several key machine tools were built by Watts Campbell and Hewes & Philips right in Newark. Without getting into specifics the building was sold and the collection was due to be moved. The move fell through. The building was sold but it’s contents remain looking for a home. A tragic situation.
We were then allowed to roam the premises and admire and shoot all the “OLD” machinery used to make steam engines as well as other jobs that came their way as the (hungry?) guard dogs eyed us as we roamed the building. Chad told us when we were leaving that he is not going to allow other photographers into the building as he found them to be rude and uncaring about what they were seeing and shooting. But, our group of wonderful photographers and people, will be allowed to return.
The following Black & White images can be seen as a slide show by clicking on one of the images below.