I’ve been holding on to these photos for way too long. It’s one of those sets of photos I just knew I couldn’t possibly describe correctly and wanted to keep all to myself. I like them too much to never share though…
A month or so ago Jeff, Jake, and I spent the day exploring. We had a decent sized list of places we at least wanted to cruise by. Some we knew were do-able, others were a bit of a long shot. We eventually ended up about fifteen minutes away from this place, an abandoned china factory. The spot that had led us close by ended up being a bust so we decided to just keep driving. Jeff had been here a few years earlier but Jake and I had never been. Despite really digging the photos I had seen of it, I was always under the impression it was further away from home than it really is so it was never really a huge priority to me but from the second we walked in I was in awe. Dishes upon dishes. Many of them unbroken, and still stacked. In regard to things left behind, this might be one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. (Another favorite would definitely be the rubber duck factory, of course!)
I thought the dishes would be the clear highlight of the factory. I couldn’t imagine what else would be as interesting… then we got upstairs. I found a sheet of decals on the floor that Jake and I were like “Oh! Look these must be how they decorate the plates and mugs. How neat.” We took turns shooting the single sheet. What we didn’t realize was that the whole room in front of us was FILLED with them! Drawers upon drawers of decals for diners, for special events, with flowers, with maps, with intricate designs. They littered the floor yet most of the drawers were still filled. I guess I’ve never really thought about how plates or mugs get the designs they have on them but here were thousands of them!
Between all of the remaining buildings on the property, I saw molds, decals, silkscreens, blank dishes, finished products, kilns, and more. It was incredibly interesting to me to be able to see so many steps of the process. I’ve been in my fair share of factories but none with as much of a story left behind. After the factory closed there was an auction to clear out inventory so its a little bit strange to me that there is still so much left. Even today there is a ton that could still be salvaged. Doesn’t it just break your heart to see those beautiful drawers left to rot?
Two more interesting things – one significantly more interesting than the other.
- X-rays! There was a pile of them on the floor still in their original envelopes, labeled with names and dates. They were of employee’s lungs. Judging by the box of unused x-ray film found nearby it seems this might have been an in-house operation checking to make sure the employees weren’t dealing with any adverse effects from production. It’s so wild to me that when this place closed up no one thought to dispose of these medical records properly.
- One of my favorite things to find in abandoned factories – newspaper articles attached to the wall. This sort of thing makes it so much easier to imagine that people really did work here at one point. To me, it’s just an empty factory but this was previously a place where people spent a good portion of their life.
This factory turned out to be one of my favorite adventures to date. I can’t believe after all these years of being abandoned that there aren’t more broken dishes. I’m thankful the people before me didn’t make too much of a mess and hopeful the people after me won’t end up ruining it for everyone else.
Check out the abandoned tag for more grime.