When we build a piece of furniture such as a custom farm table or family room coffee table set, we take pride in keeping some part of history alive with the materials we use. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to visit a once booming industrial factory and salvage materials to repurpose and transform.
The Roebling Steel Company was started in Pennsylvania in 1849 but realized that with the country’s need for manufacturing, it needed to relocate to a more accessible location for shipping and rail transportation. John Roebling and his family settled on building their 7 building complex in Trenton. In 1905 the complex began manufacturing steel wire for a variety of purposes: elevators, cable cars, shipping, mining, ski lifts, electrical wires, but the most important manufacturing line was the high strength steel cables for suspension bridges.
John Roebling was responsible for design and manufacturing aspects of many suspension bridges: some of which include the Niagara Suspension Bridge, Allegheny Bridge and The Brooklyn Bridge. Production for pieces across the country continued until 1974 when production stopped and the complex shut down.
The building we were able to salvage from building 101. This building is 4 stories tall and was responsible for testing the tension strength of the wires being made in the surrounding buildings. The flooring of the building was required to withstand massive machinery and excessive weight from the spools of varying wire. The flooring is 5”x7” old growth pine tongue and groove. The history and stories that this flooring has absorbed is something that can’t be obtained from anywhere else. These flooring pieces were responsible for testing and manufacturing iconic American landmarks that turned America into what we have today.
Reclaiming and repurposing is something that happens on a vast scale. RustiK Rehab repurposes materials as small as 1” hand forged nail to heavy timber members. The Roebling Steel Company complex has stood vacant and decaying since the closing in 1974. However, in 2015, construction began on building 114 to repurpose this massive factory into the new ‘Wire Rope Lofts’. Bringing a shot of new population and attention to such a historical piece of Trenton and the country is important and well deserved.
We look forward to cleaning the lumber we salvaged and turning the flooring into useable pieces of lumber for farm tables, bars, kitchen islands and whatever else presents itself. This is just another story that we are able to tell when we deliver furniture made from this material which makes pieces from RustiK Rehab truly unique and one of a kind.