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Working at Vermont Castings
A couple stories from an employee - from years ago...
VC operates (or operated) two Vermont facilities, a Foundry in Randolph and an assembly plant in Bethel.
Operations at the Randolph Foundry are all related to casting iron for VC and OEM sales of items like cooking range burner grates and stadium seating uprights.
At the Bethel assembly plant all stoves are assembled and there is an enamel line for the enameling of stove plate and burner grates. Gas burners and log sets are also assembled in Bethel as are the infamous BBQ. God I loved it when that thing was in R&D, the then Director of R&D John Guest would call me up and tell me to come on up the hill, they were doing some QC on the new design and involved several chickens and a side of beef.
When I worked there virtually all employees purchased CDW stoves because of the enormous difference in price, larger CDW combustion chambers and equivalent stove performance. True ‘working man’s’ stoves. A few top level managers bought enameled VC stoves but they were pretty rare. Occasionally there awesome deals on chipped enamel stoves or my favorite, the Autumn stoves. Autumn stoves were red gone wrong, one panel reddish, another organish, and maybe some yellow thrown in for flair. BTW - Red is only done in the winter. Because of the cadmium in Red, production folks have to wear Tyvek bunny suits and full face respirators. The enamel furnace runs at 2,000FA few more recollections from the period approx 2000:
At the end of the month/quarter to encourage production to hit the numbers, cases of beer were alternated with every third or fourth stove at the head of the line. You want to see stoves fly down the line, that’s the way to do it!
A the top of the sand tower at the Foundry there was a little device that earned the nickname Saddam. Essentially it was an automated scooper. It would pack a ball of green sand and drop it on a scale where weight and Moisture Content readings were taken. This was used to maintain the right sand consistency for the casting line. Sometimes though, the scoop mechanism would malfunction and launch a sandball in a random direction. Many a time a worker got smacked by these ‘scuds’, getting hit became a rite of passage.