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No. 2 Memory Lane: Recycling & the Factory

For Gary, Toni and Cynthia: a few more “where we came from” pictures on the way to Talking Values.

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This one is Dan – SPF clueless – in 1974. He, Ray and Boyce were building the Bullseye factory, brick by recycled brick.

Most of the building materials for the furnace room came from Zidel’s, a salvage yard in Portland’s south waterfront, a junk-lover’s paradise where dismantled naval vessels gave up their innards to the inveterate artist-tinkerers whose recipe for glassblowing, commerce, and hard-partying pretty much summed up the Zeitgeist of Portland’s ‘60s-sprouted entrepreneurs.

Refractory bricks from old ship boilers – at 5¢ apiece – went to build furnace walls.

Scrap steel pipe became burners for the lehr and furnaces.

Bearings for the front of the lehr came from the drive shaft of a decommissioned ship propeller.

Insulating bricks cast on site out of perlite and lumnite cement formed the lehr walls and furnace exteriors.

The roller for the casting table was a piece of surplus 6” diameter steel pipe that had been filled with sand, caps welded to its ends and handles attached. The Rube Goldberg table design was later knocked off by a couple of other West Coast start-ups, Genesis Glass and David Hopper’s Orient & Flume.

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Blind advising the blind. Dan (in the LSEYE t-shirt) confabbing at the rolling table of Jerry Bosco and Ben Milligan’s (long gone and sorely missed) Genesis Glass, another early DIY Portland sheet glass factory.

How many of the decisions about building Bullseye were values-driven, fueled by ecological concerns and a commitment to doing The Right Thing by recycling building and product materials? Even the guys who were there at the time really can’t say – at least not the one I live with (Dan).

Sometimes the stars of fiscal and ethical responsibility just happen to line up. As I’ve said before in this blog, I wasn’t there. I didn’t wander into Bullseye until 1983. But looking at the culture of this company today – and in the years between then and now – I feel pretty comfortable about the choices that have been and continue to be made.

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Bullseye’s earliest Backbone, the old John Deere tractor that after leveling the building lot did double duty driving the crusher for all those recycled glass jars.

Still ahead: the saga of the recycled bottle, water-conservation, oxygen-fired furnaces and some silly tree-hugging by yours truly.

8 Responses to No. 2 Memory Lane: Recycling & the Factory

  1. Bert Weiss says:

    My kiln floor is made from IFB that I got for free when a boatyard was dismantling a huge furnace that was used for tempering steel for bombs during WW2. I filled the back of a Volvo wagon several times with all the bricks I could haul away. Nearly 20 years later, I’m low on replacements.

  2. Lynice says:

    Is that a VW Microbus on the street there in front of that house? Not that unusual a site here in the NW, even today. As my brother-in-law once said when he came to visit from Chicago in the 90s, “so this is where all the Microbusses ended up”.

  3. Cynthia Morgan says:

    Boy, when you get going, you go with a vengeance, don’t you? ;-)

    Love it–isn’t that house in the picture the one across the street. I always walk by that one and wonder if it’s an old-fashioned boarding house or an artist colony or just what…

  4. lmcgregor says:

    Bert, don’t worry. WW3 should be here any day now…

    Lynice, yes, that’s a VW Microbus – the neighbor’s. Although your b-i-l is right: Bullseye had one too. Didn’t everybody?

    Cynthia, nope, the house in this picture was torn down years ago. It was located where the maintenance shop is now…and look who’s talking about vengeance – another 10 years of this and I’d still be in your dust!

  5. mknitchie says:

    Wasn’t that house the legendary FROL , a dive inhabited by generations of Reed College students? Known for frequent late night parties and punk band practices (because there weren’t any residents around to complain about the noise at night.)

    Mary Kay

  6. Thanks, Lani! I continue to find the history completely fascinating. Keep bringing it! :D

    Toni

  7. lmcgregor says:

    Toni, I’ll try to keep it up. There’s just way more history than time!

    Mary Kay, yes, that’s the Reedie FROL house (but I forgot what the letters stood for – hints?)

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