Unearth The Story

Antique Heart Pine Reclaimed from 1900s General Electric Factory

Bloomfield, NJ

Many of the buildings that were part of the General Electric Factory in Bloomfield, New Jersey were slated for demolition, their bones to be laid to rest in the landfill. Plans to demolish all but one building piqued our attention and led us to Bloomfield to prevent the wood from ending up as unnecessary waste. While the main building currently remains and is being converted into residential spaces, we reclaimed 81,500 BF of Long Leaf Heart Pine timbers as well as a small amount (15,900 BF) of Oak from several of the surrounding buildings. 

Opening the doors to its 17 buildings in the 1900s, GE expanded to meet the demand for battery manufacturing. With over two thousand workers, and one of the largest local manufacturing facilities, they were busy producing the batteries behind communications systems as well as kinetoscope, wax for phonograph cylinders, x-ray equipment, medical instruments, electric fans, and later, much of the equipment for WWII. After a decline in the demand for manufacturing, the company vacated Bloomfield in 1959. 

“Reclaimed Heart Pine is said to be the species our country was built on. Factories and mills, such as the GE Complex, were largely constructed using these pine timbers,” explained Jennifer Young, General Manager of Pioneer Millworks. “This was a large building and the Heart Pine used to construct it is today a highly desired species due to its dense grain patterns, deep patina, character, and of course, history.”

While the GE factories have run out of juice, their wooden timbers, posts, and planks will be reused around the world. Our goal is to continue to rescue 'old' wood from factories, warehouses, and other industrial buildings giving it new life as flooring and other products for retail, commercial, and residential clients all from our eco-conscious mill in upstate New York. Beginning with raw industrial salvaged timbers, Pioneer Millworks mills board stock repurposing the antique wood into paneling, flooring, fixtures, and more to be used in commercial and residential spaces. To date, we have prevented over 20 million board feet of antique wood from ending up landfills or other wasteful disposal methods. “Old wood isn’t just about sustainability and beauty. It’s about carrying a piece of history forward,” added Jennifer.

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