Tuesday, May 11, 2010

S&C Electric- 6601 N. Ridge

S &C Electric is hard to miss.  Basically, they own nearly all the land from Ridge east to the Metra tracks.  Although they don't use the train anymore (as far as I can tell) there's still a spur line leading down into their loading areas. 

S & C was formed as Schweitzer and Conrad, Inc in 1911, building on their invention of a safety fuse that could prevent overload of electrical utilities.  In 1947 they bought 6 acres along Ridge for new facilties.  By 1971 they had expanded to fill nearly 50 acres.  In 2002 they enlarged their Rogers Park plant along Pratt Avenue.  You can follow their history in more detail on their website

I'm fascinated by how much history these companies include on their sites.  I need to get some good recommendations for books about industrial history and architecture.


  1. I was just reading about S&C's history, too. Before Ridge, they were located at Wilson & Ravenswood.

    I think it's either the SW corner, now a parking lot. Or the NW corner, now Advocate Ravenswood Medical Center.

  2. Thanks JeffKay. It would be interesting to track their movement and facilities across the city. I'll bet I could get exact addresses at the Chicago History Museum...

  3. Hi again, I found the former S&C factory. First I went to the 1923 city directory at the Newberry's web site chicagoancestors.org.

    Where I found "Schweitzer & Conrad Inc (Edmund O Schweitzer, Nicholas J Conrad) elect fuses 4435 E Ravenswood av"

    Funny, I bike or walk by this building almost every day. It currently houses Nadeau Furniture (which I can recommend as a satisfied customer).

    S&C's online history has a picture showing a one-story building.

    A second floor has been added, but you can clearly see it's the same place in Google street view

    Bonus: It faces the Metra tracks. From the train look east, just a couple of streets south of the Ravenswood stop.

  4. Great! I'll definitely look for it. Good sleuthin' JeffKay. -Larry

  5. I saw it today. A shame they took out the mosaic insignia. But a very impressive job of adding another story. I don't often use the term seamless, but that's how it looked.

  6. I love these guys' blue walls and backlit metal signs. The current design style appears to date from the 1950s or 1960s, but the buildings are so immaculate they look like they were just finished up last week.

  7. Their sign on Ridge is great. I think it was the first time I ever saw a backlit sign like that.

  8. Thanks for confirming what someone had told me about S&C first location. I have been inside the plant on Ridge, you could eat off the floors.
    About the same time S&C started after Schweitzer and Conrad left Commonwealth Edison, two other engineers struck out on their own.
    Gear and Williams started G&W Electric Specialty. They too moved out from the city center. I think they started downtown, moving southwest to a cool old factory at about 77th and Dante. They are now in Alsip, around 127th & Kedzie. It is a kind of mirror of the S&C business and growth on the north side.
    S&C plant is way cooler looking, though.