Battery Open House at Canby OR

Canby, Oregon battery plant shows off new addition

April 28, 1979 (PD: 201706)

Canby plant employee Doug Olson explains to open house visitors how battery elements are welded together before a plastic container is sealed onto the battery

Johnson Controls’ battery plant in Canby, Oregon (which is about 20 miles south of Portland) held an open house on April 28, 1979 in order to let the public view the new 74,000-square-foot addition to the plant. The newly expanded plant was the city of Canby’s largest at 134,000 square feet.

Over 1,500 local residents took the tour of the expanded plant, during which they were shown the various steps in the manufacture of automotive batteries.

According to plant manager Charles Wood, the expansion was needed to meet rising demand for the company’s private label automotive batteries by customers such as Sears, NAPA, and Ford.

The Canby plant, which had the capacity to produce 6,000 batteries a day, was opened in 1973 at a cost of $3.5 million by Globe-Union (which merged with Johnson Controls in October 1978) as an eventual replacement for the nearby Oregon City plant.  The Oregon City plant continued to operate together with the Canby plant until 1975, when all battery manufacturing operations were moved to Canby.  By that time, the Canby plant employed about 225 workers – fifty more than the Oregon City plant.